Week 15 NFL Power Rankings
By Liam McKeone
Your weekly power rankings for Week 15 of the NFL season.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)
Cincinnati played okay, but stayed on track for the No. 1 pick in the draft, which is all that matters at this point. Hopefully New England doesn't eviscerate them so badly next week they're wiped off the face of the earth as a franchise.
31. New York Giants (2-11)
Well, that was fun for a half. Then the Giants went back to being the Giants. Eli's return isn't changing the makeup of this team.
30. Washington Redskins (3-10)
Keeping Aaron Rodgers in check was a positive for a defense that has been trending upwards in recent weeks, but we're no closer to knowing if Dwayne Haskins is the answer in the DMV.
29. Miami Dolphins (3-10)
The Dolphins were good enough against the Jets to get into scoring range on eight drives, but attempted EIGHT field goals! And they lost by one. Let this be a lesson to Brian Flores.
28. Detroit Lions (3-9-1)
Everyone in Detroit is just counting down the days until this season is finally over. How many employees will survive past January is the bigger question.
27. Arizona Cardinals (3-9-1)
Kyler Murray had a meltdown of a game, but he's allowed at least one in his rookie season without a lot of help around him.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
A QB controversy loses some steam when the defense gets the snot kicked out of them, and that's what happened against Los Angeles.
25. Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
Laying a 40-burger on a floundering Panthers team fresh off a coach getting canned isn't really worth a lot, especially when they were 3-9 heading into the week.
24. New York Jets (5-8)
Beating the Dolphins isn't particularly telling of anything about this team, although holding them to only field goal attempts without C.J. Mosley is a somewhat positive sign.
23. Denver Broncos (5-8)
Everything went right for the Broncos after a season of everything going mostly wrong. Drew Lock had nearly as many touchdowns (3) as incompletions (5). The defense held the Texans to 3 points through much of the third. A game to look back upon fondly, even if it doesn't mean much.
22. Carolina Panthers (5-8)
A tough week for Carolina. Old Takes Exposed should have a grand time with all those Kyle Allen Is The Future tweets from Week 4.
21. Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)
Fun fact: the Chargers have the best point differential in the league, and are still 5-8. Beating up on the Jaguars doesn't do much to alleviate that pain.
20. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
Not a great look to let the Titans hang 42 on your team, but injuries have decimated the Raiders on that side of the ball, and Year 2 of the Jon Gruden experiment wasn't supposed to yield great dividends anyway. There have been enough encouraging signs to consider this season a success, even with three games left to play.
19. Cleveland Browns (6-7)
Cleveland beat Cincinnati, like they were supposed to, but bigger concerns have arisen around Odell Beckham Jr., and at this point they can only hope to escape the season with their team intact.
18. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
The Colts are pretty much out of the playoff picture at this point, and have to improve in the margins if they want to bounce back next year.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
Bruce Arians has his squad playing inspired football, even this late into what will top out as a .500 season. Maybe they have something here.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
The win against New York keeps them alive in the divisional race, but letting Eli Manning look like he was ten years younger, even if only for a half, is all you need to know about the state of the defense.
15. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
For all the talent the Cowboys have, their struggles against even average competition are baffling. It may not ultimately matter because the NFC East is historically awful, but this is a referendum on everything around the players down in Dallas, and it is not positive.
14. Chicago Bears (7-6)
It'll take a lot for Chicago to get back into the playoff picture, but their competence over the last few weeks may save both Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy. A primetime win over America's Team can only help matters.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
As has been the case of late, the defense ruled the day while the offense did just enough to get the win. It was no different against Arizona and their rookie QB/coach tandem.
12. Houston Texans (8-5)
So... what happened here? Coming off a primetime win against the Patriots, Houston laid a fat egg against the Broncos and Drew Lock, starter of exactly two NFL games prior to Sunday's kickoff. It's hard to put much faith in this squad on a week-to-week basis, even if we know they can hang with the better teams in the league.
11. Los Angeles Rams (8-5)
The Rams' offense seems to have finally come alive, and not a moment too soon. They'll have to hope their defensive dominance against Seattle can carry over if they want to battle for a playoff berth.
10. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
The Titans are officially legit. They've beaten up on bad teams like the Raiders in recent weeks, but Ryan Tannehill is leading this offense to prolific outings and the defense is coming together at the right time.
9. Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
This was the rare bad game for Russell Wilson, and the team isn't good enough to succeed when he isn't spectacular. Rashad Penny going down may hurt more than most realize.
8. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
Aaron Rodgers has been unusually inconsistent this year, but they got the win in Washington to stay ahead of the Vikings, and that's all that really matters right now.
7. Buffalo Bills (9-4)
The Bills gave Baltimore as much of a run for their money as San Francisco did, which should be considered a moral victory, even if any hope of stealing the AFC East from New England is just about out the window with the loss.
6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)
The Vikings took care of their business against the Lions. The goal now is to be healthy for their Week 16 matchup against the Packers, and then the playoffs.
5. New England Patriots (10-3)
The Patriots have the coaching acumen and the defense to beat any team above them on these power rankings. But the offense has proved to be a big enough issue that they'll have a hard time beating any of the teams below them without some serious luck-- officiating issues against KC aside.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
The offense didn't get much going in the second half, but they did enough in the first to leave Foxboro with a W. The defensive performance was far more encouraging, even if it came against the worst Pats offense in recent memory.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
The Saints may have come out the losers of their marquee matchup with San Francisco, but ripping apart one of the top defenses in the league by most metrics is a good enough consolation prize for a team with a comfortable lead for the division.
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
An extraordinarily impressive display from Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Go. Not so impressive from the defense, but they aren't the first team to get picked apart by Drew Brees and Sean Payton. They won't be the last. They got the win, and that's what matters.
1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)
Even with the shootout in the Big Easy, the Ravens remain the top team in the league after scraping out a hard-fought win against the Bills in Buffalo. Give Lamar his MVP already!