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NFL 2018 SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Dallas lived up to the title Big D. Now they move up in the rankings.

It happened on Thursday, so the Week 13 narrative finished without the proper amount of emphasis on it, but the Dallas defense put on a show. They took one of the best offenses in the league and held them to 10 points. And it wasn’t a situation where the Saints were playing on a short week; both teams had played on Thanksgiving the week prior and both had the normal amount of rest. No excuses, the Dallas Cowboys’ defense just took it to them. The only question is, how high will the Cowboys move up in the rankings after that performance? Find out below and make sure to check in on your favorite team as well.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (+1)

Los Angeles Rams (11-1)

Los Angeles Rams (11-1)

In a week in which the Saints surprisingly fell to the Cowboys, the Rams looked like they may have had an upset scare of their own in Detroit. However, a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns from Todd Gurley ensured that LA escaped with the victory that clinched them the NFC West title. With just one loss this season (in New Orleans for that matter), the Rams continue to emerge as a clear Super Bowl favorite. (Kyle Trapp)

2 (-1)

New Orleans Saints (10-2)

New Orleans Saints (10-2)

Not only was Thursday night’s result disappointing for the Saints, but it was immensely unexpected. I’m sorry, but not many people anticipated that Dallas would march into Mercedes Benz Superdome and hold New Orleans’ juggernaut offense to a measly 10 points. The Saints entered last week’s matchup with one of the NFL’s best offenses, averaging a whopping 37.2 points per game, while also amassing 416.6 total yards per contest. However, they couldn’t generate any type of offense Thursday, as Drew Brees and company were held to a season-low 176 total yards against Ron Marinelli’s defense. It was an all-around embarrassing showing for a team that came in having won 10 straight. Although their impressive streak is snapped, it’s not time to panic, as New Orleans currently holds a four-game divisional lead over Carolina with four games remaining. However, with two matchups against Ron Rivera’s crew still on the schedule, things have the slight potential to get interesting down the stretch. (Ryan Grube)

3 (-)

Kansas City Chiefs (10-2)

Kansas City Chiefs (10-2)

Death, taxes, and the Chiefs scoring a lot of points. Instead of talking about the domination of the Chiefs again, I’m using this space to commend Andy Reid and the organization for putting its money where its mouth is in regards to a zero tolerance policy. People like Kareem Hunt and Reuben Foster have no place in this league, and the Chiefs recognized the severity of the actions of Hunt. Kudos to the Chiefs for taking action, even if the NFL and its policy isn’t as strong as it should be. Thankfully, the Chiefs are taking the steps the NFL has failed to effectively do. (Matt Fowler)

4 (-)

New England Patriots (9-3)

New England Patriots (9-3)

One wonders if New England has just been messing with us throughout this season (losses to Jacksonville, Detroit, and Tennessee, with wins over Houston, Kansas City, Chicago, and Minnesota). When Brady, Gronkowski, and Edelman are on the field together, it’s money. When you add WR Josh Gordon and RB Sony Michel into the mix, it’s dangerous. The defense has been stepping up, too with big stands on fourth down and in the red zone. (Hunter Bonge)

5 (+1)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)

The Chargers made a huge statement on Sunday Night Football as they defeated the Steelers on the road. The Chargers are in prime position for a wild card spot, but there is plenty of season left for them to fight for some “homefield” advantage. (Hunter Bonge)

6 (+3)

Houston Texans (9-3)

Houston Texans (9-3)

Make that nine straight wins for the red-hot Texans after an 0-3 start to the season. Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, and Lamar Miller have hit their stride and look very similar to the electric offense from last season. The difference comes on the defensive side of the ball. The Texans’ defense dominated the Browns last week and are allowing only 17.9 points per game during the win streak. This team looks strong, and the weak schedule ahead gives Houston a chance to sneak into a first round bye. (Matt Fowler)

7 (-2)

Chicago Bears (8-4)

Chicago Bears (8-4)

Sunday’s contest between the Giants and Bears was, surprisingly, one of the more exciting games to watch, as a first-quarter pillow fight quickly turned into a fourth-quarter showdown with the Bears erasing a 10-point deficit in the final quarter to force overtime. With Chicago needing an onside kick and an ensuing touchdown after Cody Parkey trimmed the Giants’ lead to seven with a minute left, Matt Nagy and company executed the improbable plan to perfection. Not only did they recover the difficult onside, but Tarik Cohen (of all offensive players) capped off an impressive game-tying drive with a one-yard pass to rookie Anthony Miller. Cohen was spectacular, finishing with 187 total yards on 21 touches (12 catches, eight rushes, and the one pass). However, it was in a losing effort, as Chase Daniel was unable to pair a wild fourth quarter with an overtime victory. With a Sunday night showdown against the Rams awaiting them, the Bears are hoping that Mitchell Trubisky will be ready to return. (Ryan Grube)

8 (-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1)

Pittsburgh can’t be feeling good right now. After back-to-back losses at Denver and against the Chargers, they went from having control of their own destiny in the race for a bye in the AFC to needing a lot of additional help. A game against Oakland gives them a chance to get back on track, but if James Conner misses an extended period of time it could be costly for the Steelers as the Ravens are making one last push for the AFC North. (Max Vukelich)

9 (+2)

Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

The Seahawks are winners of three straight and Russell Wilson may be getting into one of his late-season grooves NFL fans have become familiar with over the past several years. That includes an 11-to-zero TD to INT ratio over his last four games. Wilson has quietly had an outstanding campaign, and if he remains hot, teams will want to avoid a date with the Seahawks in the playoffs. Credit to the team for staying on track after a rough start to the season. (Nick Cardozo)

10 (+4)

Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

The Cowboys’ defense made a huge statement on Thursday night, holding an elite Saints offense to just 10 points. The Dallas secondary gave no space to the Saints’ pass catchers, while the front seven made Drew Brees uncomfortable from the first quarter. Dallas has now won four straight and currently has an 80% chance to win the NFC East. A win this Sunday against the Eagles and the division will be wrapped up. The Cowboys will then be out to prove they can contend for a Super Bowl. (Nick Cardozo)

11 (-3)

Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1)

Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1)

Well, that was a disappointing showing. In a game where the Vikings had a chance to prove themselves as legit contenders, Kirk Cousins and company crumbled en route to a 24-10 defeat at the hands of the Patriots. This has been a staple of Cousins’ career, as the seventh-year man out of Michigan State has struggled mightily to produce in big moments. Cousins finished with just 201 yards, a touchdown, and two fourth-quarter interceptions that sealed the deal Sunday. The good news is Dalvin Cook made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 84 yards on nine carries (9.33 yards per rush), while hauling in eight passes for an additional 22 yards in the receiving game. Nonetheless, the Vikings are currently a game-and-a-half back of Chicago in their division at 6-5-1. With future matchups against the red-hot Seahawks and the Bears (again), this is not where the defending NFC North champions want to be sitting right now. (Ryan Grube)

12 (-)

Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

The Ravens have won three straight games behind Lamar Jackson and now find themselves in the thick of the AFC Wildcard race. Lamar Jackson has been a game-changer on the ground. He has rushed for a minimum of 70 yards in each of his three starts, averaged close to 90, and scored twice running it. Through the air has been a different story. He is averaging 151 passing yards, a 73.5 passer rating, and has a 2:3 TD to INT ratio this season. That being said, the Ravens need to ride Jackson the rest of the way this season. Flacco has been poor through the air as well. Jackson at least presents some sort of challenge to the defense and represents the future of the Baltimore franchise. (Adrian Nelson)

13 (-3)

Carolina Panthers (6-6)

Carolina Panthers (6-6)

In what seems like a blink of an eye, the Panthers have gone from one of the NFC’s best teams to one that will have to fight and claw just to earn a Wild Card berth. Their four-game skid continued in Tampa Bay on Sunday, in a game in which they out-gained the Buccaneers by nearly 130 yards. Four Cam Newton interceptions, however, made it difficult to put points on the board, and Carolina lost by one possession for the fifth time this season. They desperately need to turn things around in Cleveland this week. (Kyle Trapp)

14 (-1)

Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

After ripping off five wins in a row, the Colts fell to a rejuvenated Jaguars team, 6-0. Andrew Luck and the Colts couldn’t muster up any semblance of offense during the loss. The poor performance stings for Indy, but a chance to bounce back against the top team in the NFC South awaits Frank Reich and the Colts. If last week’s game is the outlier of a talented team, Andrew Luck should be able to bounce back and put up a fight against Houston. (Matt Fowler)

15 (-)

Philadelphia Eagles (6-6)

Philadelphia Eagles (6-6)

Coming into the season, if anyone had told the Eagles that they would be facing Mark Sanchez on Monday night in their Week 13 matchup against the Redskins, Doug Peterson would have told them “you’re nuts.” Philadelphia benefited significantly from Washington’s prolonged injury bug, as following Colt McCoy’s broken fibula, in came ‘Butt-fumble’ Sanchez, who played about as well as you would expect from someone who hadn’t attempted a pass in the NFL in nearly two years. The Eagles’ defense limited Sanchez to just 100 yards passing and an interception, although they did let 33-year-old Adrian Peterson scamper for a 90-yard touchdown run. Nevertheless, on the offensive side, Carson Wentz was efficient, aside from one pick, completing 27-of-39 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Having won two straight divisional games, this team is beginning to find its groove at the right time. Another crucial NFC East matchup awaits them next week, however, as they prepare to take on the Cowboys in a game with huge playoff implications. (Ryan Grube)

16 (+3)

Denver Broncos (6-6)

Denver Broncos (6-6)

The Broncos picked up their third straight win on the back of another tremendous rushing performance from Philip Lindsay. The rookie RB is averaging an incredible 6.1 yards per carry and may be putting together the best rookie season of any UDFA in recent memory. Denver is in an AFC Wild Card logjam, but can make a legitimate run at the postseason with its slate of upcoming opponents. A Week 17 date with the Chargers could very likely have huge implications for both sides. (Nick Cardozo)

17 (+1)

Tennessee Titans (6-6)

Tennessee Titans (6-6)

At 6-6, the Titans have climbed their way back into the AFC playoff picture. The fortunate thing for them is that their remaining schedule is very winnable. They have home games against the Jaguars, Redskins, and Colts who a few weeks back seemed like they would be challenges, but after recent developments such as the Jags benching Bortles, the Skins losing two QBs, and the Colts’ offense being shut out, now pose easier challenges. The Titans’ lone remaining road game is against the New York Giants who, while hot, have struggled all year and have nothing to play for. It’s all right there in front of them for the Titans. (Adrian Nelson)

18 (-1)

Washington Redskins (6-6)

Washington Redskins (6-6)

It just keeps getting worse for Washington. Colt McCoy suffered a season-ending injury of his own on Monday night, and now the team’s fate is in the hands of Mark Sanchez, who looked how you’d expect Mark Sanchez to look in 2018 after taking over mid-game for McCoy. The Redskins are just a game out of the division lead, but it’s safe to say they won’t be making a playoff push this year. Even outside of the quarterback situation, it feels like players have been dropping like flies, and it’s apparent the team will have some big decisions to make this offseason. (Nick Cardozo)

19 (-3)

Green Bay Packers (4-7-1)

Green Bay Packers (4-7-1)

The coaching carousel is spinning with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy fired this past week. Top coaching candidates include NFL offensive coordinators John DeFilippo, Josh McDaniels, Eric Bieniemy (Go Buffs!), and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley. This season for Green Bay is unsalvageable. (Hunter Bonge)

20 (-)

Atlanta Falcons (4-8)

Atlanta Falcons (4-8)

With four straight losses, the Atlanta Falcons have gone from 4-4 and firmly in the mix to 4-8 and playing for draft positioning. It’s been a disappointing season for the Falcons. Coming off of a season with a playoff berth, a playoff win, and a Julio Jones fingertip drop that separated them from a second straight NFC Championship appearance, Atlanta now is battling with Tampa Bay for bottom of the NFC South. They’ve been hurt on defense since the second quarter of Week 1 and have never really recovered. But with a potential top 10 pick and getting key guys back healthy, Atlanta will be back. (Adrian Nelson)

21 (+2)

Miami Dolphins (6-6)

Miami Dolphins (6-6)

Despite gaining just 175 yards of offense, the Dolphins escaped Sunday’s matchup against the Bills with one of the uglier victories you’ll ever see. The Miami defense epitomized the bend-but-don’t-break mentality in the contest, allowing Buffalo to rack up 415 yards but limiting them to just 17 points while turning them over thrice. A win is a win, however, and it was one that has the Dolphins just a game out of a playoff spot. (Kyle Trapp)

22 (-1)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)

Cincinnati is riding a four-game losing streak and is unlikely to fight its way into the playoffs. The good news is that the Bengals won’t have to trade up very far in the 2019 draft to grab a first-round rookie quarterback. Most teams picking high (San Francisco, Arizona, and Oakland) don’t need a QB. It’s about time for Cincinnati to put QB Andy Dalton out to pasture. Dalton has a 62.3 completion percentage and an 88.8 passer rating. That would be impressive in the 1990s, but it doesn’t cut it in this era of the NFL. (Hunter Bonge)

23 (+2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Coming off of back-to-back wins, the Buccaneers are riding high right now. Jameis Winston has played better as of late and his play could lead to him getting another year as the starter in potentially a new system next year. The Buccaneers’ win streak probably comes to an end this week, though, as they are facing a Saints team looking for revenge from Week 1’s loss. (Max Vukelich)

24 (-2)

Detroit Lions (4-8)

Detroit Lions (4-8)

Against the NFC-leading Rams, the Lions had the ball on their own 42 with nine minutes to play and a chance to take the lead. However, a Matthew Stafford fumble all but ended the upset bid, as LA went on to find pay dirt on the next two possessions to seize a 30-16 victory. This game epitomized what’s been a frustrating season in Detroit, as they’ve shown they can hang with the league’s best teams, yet they’ve won just four games. There are quite a few winnable games for the Lions down the stretch, however, so they have the chance to salvage a respectable season. (Kyle Trapp)

25 (-1)

Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)

Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)

The Browns’ matchup against the Texans on Sunday was a friendly reminder that despite a well-warranted sense of optimism in Cleveland, this team still has a long way to go until it can consistently hang with the big boys. The rookie tandem of Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb was as hot as any QB-RB duo in the league coming into the game, but both were held in check by Houston’s impressive defense. Looking at the glass half-full, Mayfield did throw for a career-high 397 yards, but he also accounted for three of the Browns’ four turnovers. (Kyle Trapp)

26 (-)

New York Giants (4-8)

New York Giants (4-8)

With an impressive win over the Chicago Bears, the Giants are looking to put together a little win streak to end the year to give them momentum into next year. Odell Beckham has more 40-yard touchdown passes this year (2) than Eli Manning (0), which isn’t ideal, but Manning has played better and the Giants offense has been far more successful as a result. (Max Vukelich)

27 (-)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)

The savior has arrived! Quarterback of the future Cody Kessler helped snap the Jags’ seven game losing streak in a 6-0 win over the Colts. Although clearly we shouldn’t credit Kessler for the win, the defense looked like the 2017 version of itself and dominated the field for 60 minutes. Jacksonville shut out an offense that was averaging 34.6 points during its five-game win streak. The team will look to carry that performance into next week and salvage what’s left of this season. (Matt Fowler)

28 (+1)

Buffalo Bills (4-8)

Buffalo Bills (4-8)

Buffalo finished a few inches short of the win on Sunday after an incredible play by Josh Allen was dropped by Charles Clay in the Miami Dolphins’ endzone. And while the win would have been nice, this is a bad team and could use the high draft pick afforded from their poor record. At -115, the Bills have the third worst point differential in the league. Josh Allen has been the bright spot this year. He is still developing as a passer, having completed only 53% of his passes and sporting a 5:7 TD to INT ratio. However, he has shown an ability to make plays outside of the pocket, having rushed for 99 and 135 yards over the last two games. He still has a long way to go, but at least the Bills have hope. (Adrian Nelson)

29 (-1)

San Francisco 49ers (2-10)

San Francisco 49ers (2-10)

Things keep getting worse for the 49ers after another blowout loss at the hands of the Seahawks, but on the bright side, the Cardinals managed to win in Green Bay. This leaves the Oakland Raiders as their only primary competition for the first overall pick in next year’s draft. (Max Vukelich)

30 (-)

New York Jets (3-9)

New York Jets (3-9)

The Jets missed a big opportunity to win in Tennessee last week, but without Sam Darnold in the lineup, it ultimately doesn’t matter. It’s all about developing Darnold and getting him healthy the rest of this year so he is ready to go into the future. (Max Vukelich)

31 (+1)

Arizona Cardinals (3-9)

Arizona Cardinals (3-9)

The Cardinals were able to pull off an improbable win that short term will make their fans feel a bit better, but long term may actually do them a disservice. With a win on the road over the soon-to-be-McCarthyless Packers, Arizona moved to 3-9 and temporarily out of the running for the number one pick of the draft. The Cardinals need a lot of help and the draft is realistically the only way that they are going to add it. Luckily for them, with remaining games against Detroit. Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle they likely will lose out. (Adrian Nelson)

32 (-1)

Oakland Raiders (2-10)

Oakland Raiders (2-10)

Man, Derek Carr wasn’t lying when he said that he wants to spoil his team’s chances of securing the top overall pick in next year’s draft. The fifth-year man nearly pulled off what not only would have been one of the best comebacks of the year, but what would have also been one of the biggest upsets of 2018. Carr and company erased a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to pull within three against the AFC-juggernaut Chiefs with 6:46 remaining in the game. However, their defense, like many others this season, was unable to to get a stop against Patrick Mahomes. The rookie sensation drove right back down the field to extend Kansas City’s lead back to 10 with 1:54 left with his 41st touchdown pass of the season, and thus, the Raiders were 2-10. On the bright side, after the Cardinals’ shocking upset over Green Bay, Jon Gruden is one step closer to securing the No. 1 pick, as only the 49ers now stand in the way. (Ryan Grube)

Edited by Emily Berman.

Kris Pritchard, Dallas defensive assistant head coach, previously coached what defensive?
Created 12/5/18
  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. Chicago Bears
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Seattle Seahawks

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