Home Sports NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 14: Seahawks Climbing, NFC East Sinking – Sports Illustrated

NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 14: Seahawks Climbing, NFC East Sinking – Sports Illustrated

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Five straight wins is good enough to put the Seahawks in the No. 3 spot. Also, Tannehill and the Titans continue to surge and the NFC East sinks to new lows, with no top-10 votes and the Giants in the bottom spot.

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This week’s NFL Power Rankings Poll voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter / Lead Content Strategist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Conor Orr, Staff Writer
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-2)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 254
Highest-place vote: 1 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat San Francisco, 20-17
This week: at Buffalo

In terms of situational football, this was a good test for Lamar Jackson against an elite defense. Of course, he passed, stretching the Ravens’ final possession across 12 plays and the final 6:28 of game clock while covering 39 yards in the wind, cold and rain. He picked up first downs on a third-and-one and a fourth-and-one during the drive, positioning the criminally under-appreciated Justin Tucker for this difficult 49-yard missile that split the uprights with plenty of leg to spare.

2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-2)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 241
Highest-place vote: 2 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Baltimore, 20-17
This week: at New Orleans

Much like the game the Niners lost to the Seahawks, this loss to the Ravens could conceivably be spun as a moral victory for San Fran. It was tight throughout both on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet, but this failed fourth-and-one proved to be the decider. A great outing for Raheem Mostert, who rumbled for 146 yards on 19 carries.

3. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-2)

Previous rank: 4
Points in poll: 239
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Minnesota, 37-30
This week: at L.A. Rams

The Seahawks churned out their fifth straight win—all of which were by fewer than 10 points—in a roller-coaster ride Monday night against the Vikings, and took over the No. 2 spot in the NFC. Could this team go all the way? It’s as good a bet as ever in a conference where you could argue for or against the 49ers, Saints, Packers or, yes, Vikings.

4. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-2)

Previous rank: 3
Points in poll: 223
Highest-place vote: 4 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Houston, 28-22
This week: vs. Kansas City

Tom Brady was decently protected all night but nobody other than Julian Edelman (six catches, 106 yards, TD) could shake their Texan shadow long enough to get anything remotely resembling space. The stout defense also looked a little shoddier on the back end than usual, giving up back-to-back Houston touchdown drives fueled by long receptions over 25 yards in the third quarter.

5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-4)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 222
Highest-place vote: 3 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Oakland, 40-9
This week: at New England

That was a Chiefs-style blowout we haven’t seen since the kneecap game Week 7 against the Broncos. 40 points is an impressive output for a team that only totaled 259 yards of offense, but a pick-six from Juan Thornhill, efficiency on third down (7-of-11) and in the red zone (4-of-5) and zero K.C. penalties to the Raiders’ 12 helped widen the gap.

6. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 217
Highest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Atlanta, 26-18
This week: vs. San Francisco

Sean Payton looked primed for an aneurysm after the Falcons’ third onside kick, but it didn’t come back to bite the Saints. Still, that’s two shaky outings in a row for New Orleans ahead of their showdown with the Niners. Two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) for Taysom Hill helped cover for sluggish (by their standards) outings from Brees, Thomas and Kamara.

T-7. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-3)

Previous rank: 8
Points in poll: 206
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Giants, 31-13
This week: vs. Washington

Scoring 31 points in the snow is impressive, as is a final quarterback line of 21-of-33, 243 yards and four touchdowns (125.4 rating). Considering the Packers only rushed for 79 yards as a team, Aaron Rodgers’ efforts deserve a golf clap as Green Bay bounced back nicely from a crummy outing against San Francisco.

T-7. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-3)

Previous rank: 7
Points in poll: 206
Highest-place vote: 5 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Seattle, 37-30
This week: vs. Detroit

The Vikings stumbled in a tight one against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, but they’re still hanging onto the second wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs. Can they hold off the Rams down the stretch?

9. BUFFALO BILLS (9-3)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 197
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (4 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Dallas, 26-15 (Thurs.)
This week: vs. Baltimore

There you go, Bills! That’s a Thanksgiving day win with some substance behind it, as the Buffalo D kept Dak and a potent Cowboys attack off the scoreboard from the 10:39 mark of the first quarter until 4:06 in the fourth. Josh Allen has played quite well since the Week 4 stinker, going 19-of-24 for 231 yards a TD and a 120.7 rating to boot on Sunday while the Cole Beasley revenge game took effect to the tune of six catches, 110 yards and a touchdown.

10. HOUSTON TEXANS (8-4)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 195
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat New England, 28-22
This week: vs. Denver

Statement win for Deshaun Watson and the Texans, who accumulated 224 of their 276 total yards through the air. The Houston secondary kept a tight lid on the Patriots’ (limited) stable of pass catchers while D.J. Reader (4 QB hits) and Jacob Martin (1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits) kept after Brady and helped neutralize the New England comeback.

11. TENNESSEE TITANS (7-5)

Previous rank: T-13
Points in poll: 169
Highest-place vote: 11 (5 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Indianapolis, 31-17
This week: at Oakland

Ryan Tannehill is getting a lot of credit for turning his career around, as he rightfully should. But a clean yet very Tannehillian afternoon (17-of-22, 182 yards, 2 TDs) doesn’t mean much without Derrick Henry stomping for 149 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown, especially in a game where no Titans receiver went over 50 yards. Tennessee should feel good, but they’ll need to be sharp down the stretch with Texans-Saints-Texans the final three weeks.

12. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-5)

Previous rank: 15
Points in poll: 164
Highest-place vote: 11 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Arizona, 34-7
This week: vs. Seattle

Much, much better from the Rams, who flashed whatever residual 2018 swag remains as Jared Goff spun a 32-of-43, 424-yard gem with two TDs and a 120.7 rating. Todd Gurley rebounded from his disappearing act against Baltimore, carrying the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown (as well as a lone reception for 20 yards). Robert Woods got busy (13 catches, 172 yards) on the outside while the defense had success corralling Kyler Murray (six sacks).

13. DALLAS COWBOYS (6-6)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 161
Highest-place vote: 11 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Buffalo, 26-15 (Thurs.)
This week: at Chicago (Thurs.)

Tough week for the NFC East when Washington is the only one winning. The Cowboys continue to fail the only test that matters–beat a winning team–with this Thanksgiving debacle at home. The box score looked fine for Dak (32-of-49, 355 yards, 2 TDs, INT, 91.8 rating), but a pair of turnovers within four offensive snaps of each other hurt. Also, a team with this much offensive firepower CANNOT go over 45 minutes of game time without scoring. As Jerry would say, it’s pretty glaring why they couldn’t get it done.

14. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-6)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 149
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Tennessee, 31-17
This week: at Tampa Bay

Injuries have been extremely unkind to the Colts since the preseason, and Indy struggled to keep pace on both sides of the run game on Sunday. The thin defense lost its footing in the second half, allowing 24 unanswered points while the offense stalled. Special teams chipped in a key miscue of their own, allowing this scoop-and-score with five minutes to go that flipped what should have been a 20-17 lead into a 24-17 deficit.

15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-5)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 147
Highest-place vote: 12 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cleveland, 20-13
This week: at Arizona

The Titans have supplanted the Raiders as the leaders of the chase group, but, of course, Pittsburgh holds a conference tiebreaker over them too. However, credit to the Steelers for getting it done with the backups; the Duck (14-of-21, 212 yards, TD, INT, 95.7 rating) looked fine, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels chipped in 121 all-purpose yards from the backfield and James Washington continued a strong year two with 111 yards on four receptions.

16. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-7)

Previous rank: T-13
Points in poll: 141
Highest-place vote: 12 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Miami, 37-31
This week: vs. N.Y. Giants (Mon.)

This team is a joke. The Eagles had a chance to meet the Cowboys at 6-6 after Dallas’ Thursday night bed-wetting against the Bills, but the two-win Dolphins were just too much. When your defense is the one giving up season-highs in points, passing yards, total yards and first downs to the 29-ranked offense, all you can really do is laugh in their faces.

17. OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-6)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 121
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (s voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Kansas City, 40-9
This week: vs. Tennessee

And just like that, the capitulation of the 2019 Raiders is complete. No better way to signal your team has no intentions of competing in January than by giving up 40 points to a division rival the week after a trap-game loss to a three-win team. Three turnovers (including a pick-six), 99 yards of penalties and flimsy third-down defense (KC went 7-of-11) helped seal the deal.

18. CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-7)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 112
Highest-place vote: 17 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 21 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Pittsburgh, 20-13
This week: vs. Cincinnati

Yeah, it’s just a t-shirt, but you still need to back it up. This is the fate the 2019 Browns deserved; losing to their less talented division rivals starting a third-string quarterback and down their top running back and receiver. Oh, and not only did Cleveland beat Pittsburgh by two touchdowns two weeks ago, but a win would’ve vaulted them right into the playoff picture with two games in hand against Pittsburgh. This roster is too good to be 5-7, which means all eyes should turn to Freddie Kitchens.

19. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-8)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 100
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Denver, 23-20
This week: at Jacksonville

Some might wonder why every single one of the Chargers’ losses this season have been by one score or less. Then you watch this play, a play with precisely one objective–draw a pass interference flag. It was a good throw, sure, but Casey Hayward Jr. didn’t even consider locating the ball before making contact with Courtland Sutton. Flag, spot foul, first down, field goal, game over. All in under nine seconds.

20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-7)

Previous rank: T-24
Points in poll: 98
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Jacksonville, 28-11
This week: vs. Indianapolis

A win or a loss in this one wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow either way, but Jameis Winston kept the INT column empty for the first time since Week 9, Tampa had four different receivers with 50+ receiving yards despite a quiet day running the ball and the Bucs quickly hoisted the colors in Jacksonville after building a 25-0 halftime lead.

T-21. ATLANTA FALCONS (3-9)

Previous rank: 21
Points in poll: 94
Highest-place vote: 19 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to New Orleans, 26-18 (Thurs.)
This week: vs. Carolina

There are plenty of teams playing out the string at this point in the season, but at least Dan Quinn still has the Falcons fighting. Atlanta dominated time of possession but couldn’t overcome two second-half Matt Ryan picks and two failed fourth down conversions (especially this one from the Saints’ two). Still, the legend of Younghoe Koo grew a little more on Sunday.

T-21. CHICAGO BEARS (6-6)

Previous rank: 22
Points in poll: 94
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (5 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Detroit, 24-20 (Thurs.)
This week: vs. Dallas (Thurs.)

Mitchell Trubsiky has had a turd of a season–except against the Lions. A 29-of-38 afternoon with 338 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT and a 118.1 rating was enough to squeak past a team giving a third-string quarterback his first career start, and that’s wins in three of the last four (two against Detroit, one against the Giants) for the Bears.

23. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-7)

Previous rank: 19
Points in poll: 91
Highest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Washington, 29-21
This week: at Atlanta

Now, THIS is a team that’s taken a hard left turn off the road, gotten stuck in the mud and overheated the motor trying to back out. Christian McCaffery never quite got going, and the Panthers’ defense surrendered 248 rushing yards to a less-than-prolific ground attack. You can’t sugarcoat a loss to the R-words, especially when it drops you to 5-7.

24. DENVER BRONCOS (4-8)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 69
Highest-place vote: 22 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat L.A. Chargers, 23-20
This week: at Houston

The John Elway quarterback carousel spit out Drew Lock on Sunday, and he was steady enough to both keep the Broncos alive and set up the Chargers for their own undoing. That leaves Lock with the same number of wins this season as Brandon Allen and just one behind Joe Flacco.

25. NEW YORK JETS (4-8)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 66
Highest-place vote: 22 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Cincinnati, 22-6
This week: vs. Miami

I apologize to you, dear readers, for writing nice words about the Jets last week knowing damn well something like this was coming. It’s no surprise to anyone that New York took 106 yards worth of penalties, didn’t score in the second half and lost by 16 to the winless Bengals after winning three in a row because, well, that’s the Jet Way.

26. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-8-1)

Previous rank: T-24
Points in poll: 56
Highest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to L.A. Rams, 34-7
This week: vs. Pittsburgh

The Rams are fighting for their playoff lives a year after making the Super Bowl, and the Cardinals were victims of circumstance after an embarrassing prime time blowout loss for L.A. Still, six sacks of Kyler Murray, under 200 yards of offense and just two third down conversions aren’t going to help.

27. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-8)

Previous rank: 26
Points in poll: 48
Highest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Tampa Bay, 28-11
This week: vs. L.A. Chargers

Welp, that was over quickly. Nick Foles played 11 quarters for the Jags, found himself tied or losing in all of them and is riding the pine again. Mini Minshew Mania is now in effect, and anything other than four more losses by 20+ points would be an improvement.

28. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-9)

Previous rank: 30
Points in poll: 41
Highest-place vote: 26 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Philadelphia, 37-31
This week: at N.Y. Jets

Twenty-three unanswered points in the second half? 27-of-39 for 365 yards (3 TDs, 1 INT) and a 113.7 rating for Ryan Fitzpatrick? This trick play that set up like the Colts’ debacle 2.0 but worked perfectly? The Dolphins are 3-2 over their last five and, dare I even say it, kinda fun.

29. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-9)

Previous rank: 31
Points in poll: 32
Highest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Carolina, 29-21
This week: at Green Bay

Similar to the Dolphins, sometimes a win is just too easy to pass up. Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson combined for 228 rushing yards and 3 TDs on 23 carries against a limp Carolina front, and that’s all it really took for a second meaningless win in a row.

30. DETROIT LIONS (3-8-1)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 29
Highest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost Chicago, 24-20 (Thurs.)
This week: at Minnesota

The David Blough experiment looked like it might work for a half, but late-game execution again let the Lions down. Kenny Golladay still managed to reel in four balls for 158 yards and a touchdown, and the Lions continue to creep closer to a top five pick.

31. CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-11)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 23
Highest-place vote: 28 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Jets, 22-6
This week: at Cleveland

The Bengals’ failure brought them back to the man they inexplicably benched, and Andy Dalton began his audition for a new landing spot with a tidy afternoon (22-of-37, 243 yards, 1 TD) that both boosted his stock and lessened the breathing room for his soon-to-be-former team in the race for the No. 1 pick.

32. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-10)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 19
Highest-place vote: 27 (1 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Green Bay, 31-13
This week: at Philadelphia (Mon.)

At least we got some snow football. Daniel Jones had one of his worst games of the season (20-of-37, 240 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 49.4 rating) but Saquon Barkley had his best game since the ankle injury (83 rushing yards, 32 receiving yards) and New York took advantage of some Ws at the bottom of the league to slide within a game of the Bengals.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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