2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

As the weeks move along, the AFC and NFC are in 2 different places right now. In the AFC, you have the clear front runners in the Patriots and Steelers, followed by the 2nd-tier teams like the Jaguars and Titans, then you have everyone else. The fact that there are a host of teams with sub-.500 records still in the playoff hunt speaks volumes. Meanwhile in the NFC, there are 7 arguably elite (or very close to it) teams all fighting for important seeding position in an attempt to get a home game (or more) in the playoffs. Hold tight, folks. It’s going to be a wild finish this season.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-11, Previous Ranking: 32)

Last Week: L, 30-16, at Bengals
Next Week: at Chargers (5-6)

Another week, another Browns loss. Nothing new here. Keep reading.

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31. San Francisco 49ers (1-10, Previous Ranking: 30)

Last Week: L, 24-13, vs. Seahawks
Next Week: at Bears (3-8)

The time is finally here: Jimmy Garoppolo will get his first start as the quarterback for the 49ers. Jimmy G had a very brief showing at the very end of Week 12, where he managed to throw a touchdown pass. He’ll hope to continue doing just that moving forward.

30. New York Giants (2-9, Previous Ranking: 31)

Last Week: L, 20-10, at Redskins
Next Week: at Raiders (5-6)

Eli Manning to the bench to see what the “future” holds in Geno Smith. Since 2004, Manning has made 210 and just like that, his legacy with the Giants is all but over. To say that this is a major disappointment would be an understatement. Not that this wasn’t already the case, but Ben McAdoo’s time in New York is all but over now.

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-8, Previous Ranking: 29)

Last Week: L, 20-16, vs. Titans
Next Week: at Jaguars (7-4)

I swear that every time Chuck Pagano opens his mouth during a press conference, he is closer and closer to going off of the deep end. Just take a listen to this sound bite from last week. It accurately sums up the Colts season.

28. Miami Dolphins (4-7, Previous Ranking: 28)

Last Week: L, 35-17, at Patriots
Next Week: vs. Broncos (3-8)

Less than a year ago, the Dolphins were the Wild Card darlings that many people believed could come into 2017 and make some moves. Entering Week 13, the only moves they’re making involves jockeying for draft position.

27. Denver Broncos (3-8, Previous Ranking: 26)

Last Week: L, 21-14, at Raiders
Next Week: at Dolphins (4-7)

Just like the Dolphins, the Broncos came into 2017 with high hopes of making a playoff push. So for that reason, it’s only fitting that the two teams are facing each other in Week 13, right? Oh yeah, and Trevor Siemian is back at quarterback. So there’s that. John Elway needs to do something this offseason to effectively address quarterback, or else it’ll be more of the same.

26. Houston Texans (4-7, Previous Ranking: 24)

Last Week: L, 23-16, at Ravens
Next Week: at Titans (7-4)

This season has not gone as expected for the Texans, but at the end of the day, they have to be excited for what 2018 and beyond has in store for them (provided they can actually stay healthy).

25. Chicago Bears (3-8, Previous Ranking: 25)

Last Week: L, 31-3, at Eagles
Next Week: vs. 49ers (1-10)

Last weeks game against the Eagles wasn’t indicative of how tough the Bears have been this season. That’s more so an indication of how good the Eagles are this year. The Bears are beginning to get a decent foundation to build on for the future.

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24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7, Previous Ranking: 20)

Last Week: L, 34-20, at Falcons
Next Week: at Packers (5-6)

The Buccaneers only chance of success for the remainder of this season is that Jameis Winston, the man who eats W’s, can return sooner rather than later from his injury. But at the end of the day, Tampa Bay is about one more loss away from having no shot at the playoffs. The NFC South is just too tough right now.

23. Arizona Cardinals (5-6, Previous Ranking: 27)

Last Week: W, 27-24, vs. Jaguars
Next Week: vs. Rams (8-3)

Nice revenge win for Blaine Gabbert. But don’t be fooled: he is not a starting quarterback in the NFL. Still remains as a fringe backup in my eyes. But hey, nice job notching a win against the NFL’s best defense. Can’t take anything away from that.

22. Green Bay Packers (5-6, Previous Ranking: 23)

Last Week: L, 31-28, at Steelers
Next Week: vs. Buccaneers (4-7)

Really thought this game was going to go the other way. Brett Hundley and the Packers stepped up in a big way on the road in a hostile environment in Pittsburgh. Hundley shows so many small traits that remind you of Aaron Rodgers (not at all saying that he is the same caliber player… he isn’t). The scary part? The Packers could still make a move to put them in a position to get Rodgers back AND make a Wild Card push over the final 5 weeks of the season. A tall task, but if they play like they did on Sunday night, anything is possible.

21. New York Jets (4-7, Previous Ranking: 21)

Last Week: L, 35-27, vs. Panthers
Next Week: vs. Chiefs (4-7)

The Jets’ season has been a collection of “almost’s” and “what if’s” with the amount of close games they have played. I say this each week, but this is a team that very easily could be 7-4/8-3 had 1 or 2 things in each game gone differently. But that’s the difference between bad teams and good teams: good teams find a way to win no matter what.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6, Previous Ranking: 19)

Last Week: W, 30-16, vs. Browns
Next Week: vs. Steelers (9-2)

The Bengals are going to be navigating through the rest of their season looking to push for one of the AFC Wild Card spots. Which is completely attainable, considering the weakness of the AFC this season. If they can get a win against the Steelers, they’ll be right back in the mix.

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19. Oakland Raiders (5-6, Previous Ranking: 21)

Last Week: W, 21-14, vs. Broncos
Next Week: vs. Giants (2-9)

The Raiders are one of the many teams still fighting for a playoff spot in the AFC. But the thing is, they aren’t just fighting for a Wild Card spot… they’re fighting for the AFC West crown. With the Chiefs spiraling out of control, the Raiders will have to have a perfect stretch over the next 5 games.

Oh yeah… that brawl was a terrible display of sportsmanship… but was enjoyable to watch.

18. Dallas Cowboys (5-6, Previous Ranking: 13)

Last Week: L, 28-6, vs. Chargers
Next Week: vs. Redskins (5-6)

This team is not the same without Ezekiel Elliott. Dak Prescott has struggled in a major way without Zeke beside him in the backfield. He won’t return for another 3 games, and at that point, the Cowboys season could be just about over.

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17. Buffalo Bills (6-5, Previous Ranking: 22)

Last Week: W, 16-10, at Chiefs
Next Week: vs. Patriots (9-2)

The Bills have been up and down all season, but this was a quality win for the Bills on the road. Tyrod Taylor took back his rightful place as the starter, posting his usual safe, unspectacular, conservative stats. But most importantly, he didn’t throw 5 interceptions in the first OR second half of this game. Sorry, Nathan Peterman.

16. Baltimore Ravens (6-5, Previous Ranking: 17)

Last Week: W, 23-16, vs. Texans
Next Week: vs. Lions (6-5)

If the Ravens make a playoff push this season, it’ll be because of their defense. They have been special at times this year, but have been relatively inconsistent. The X-factor will be Joe Flacco; which version of him will we see over the next few weeks? If he can protect the ball and push the ball downfield, the Ravens could be a deceptively dangerous team if they make the playoffs.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5, Previous Ranking: 11)

Last Week: L, 16-10, vs. Bills
Next Week: at Jets (4-7)

Honestly, #15 might be a bit generous for the Chiefs. Losing 5 of their last 6 games has been anything but pretty and both sides of the ball are in a complete tailspin right now. Fans are calling for Patrick Mahomes to replace Alex Smith in the lineup, but that won’t happen. As recently as 5 weeks ago, we were ready to crown Smith the NFL MVP. Now, the only thing saving his job is a late-season playoff push. The NFL is weird, man.

14. Washington Redskins (5-6, Previous Ranking: 15)

Last Week: W, 20-10, vs. Giants
Next Week: at Cowboys (5-6)

Let me put this as bluntly as possible: the Redskins are completely mishandling the Kirk Cousins situation. Saying that you need the next 5 games to figure out what to do with him…? The guy has been your quarterback for 3 years. He has nothing left to prove. Either overpay the man or let him walk and let someone else do it. In other words, either you want him or you don’t.

13. Detroit Lions (6-5, Previous Ranking: 12)

Last Week: L, 30-23, vs. Vikings
Next Week: at Ravens (6-5)

The Lions almost notched a crucial division win that would’ve set them up handsomely to push for the NFC North title. Now, they are 3 games back and their best hope is likely a Wild Card berth. They have the potential to do it, but they need Matthew Stafford to bring his A-game.

12. Tennessee Titans (7-4, Previous Ranking: 14)

Last Week: W, 20-16, at Colts
Next Week: vs. Texans (4-7)

The Titans have quietly gone through their ups and downs this season and have maneuvered their way to the top of the AFC South. With a division matchup against the Texans coming next, the Titans control their destiny moving forward. They have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but that sums up every team in the AFC South to an extent.

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11. Los Angeles Chargers (5-6, Previous Ranking: 16)

Last Week: W, 28-6, at Cowboys
Next Week: vs. Browns (0-11)

A month ago, if you asked me which team was the most dangerous in the AFC West, I wouldn’t hesitate in responding with the Chiefs. Fast-forward to Week 13, and the argument can be made that the Chargers are quickly becoming a team that no one wants to face at this point in the season. Their defense is peaking at the right time and Philip Rivers is playing some of his best football as of late. Look out, Chiefs. The Chargers are on your doorstep.

10. Seattle Seahawks (7-4, Previous Ranking: 10)

Last Week: W, 24-13, at 49ers
Next Week: vs. Eagles (10-1)

At 7-4, the Seahawks are currently not in the playoffs as of Week 13. Things could quickly change though, with crucial games lying ahead. As long as they can keep pace with the Rams down the stretch, they could make their move and pull off the upset NFC West title.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4, Previous Ranking: 8)

Last Week: L, 27-24, at Cardinals
Next Week: vs. Colts (3-8)

After a surprising loss, the Jaguars stumble slightly to 7-4 and now “trail” the Titans in the AFC South. The thing the Jaguars have going for them most is the fact that their defense is still the best defense in the NFL. The thing holding them back? A Blake Bortles-led offense. If Bortles can protect the ball and be average, this team is capable of doing damage. The best offense is a great defense, right?

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-4, Previous Ranking: 9)

Last Week: W, 34-20, vs. Buccaneers
Next Week: vs. Vikings (9-2)

Just like some other teams in the league, the Falcons are peaking at the perfect time right now. Not too long ago, Atlanta looked like they were too far gone due to their Super Bowl hangover. Now, both sides of the ball are performing at the caliber that we thought they could. The biggest determinant will be their 2 remaining matchups against the Saints. If they can win both games, this division could suddenly be theirs.

7. Carolina Panthers (8-3, Previous Ranking: 7)

Last Week: W, 35-27, at Jets
Next Week: at Saints (8-3)

While the Falcons are forcing their way back into the NFC South picture, the Panthers have quietly strung together 4 wins after an ugly loss to the Bears. When they’re playing consistent, smart football, the Panthers are hard to beat. But they need Cam Newton and company to show up for the next 5 weeks if they want a shot at a home playoff game.

6. New Orleans Saints (8-3, Previous Ranking: 5)

Last Week: L, 26-20, at Rams
Next Week: vs. Panthers (8-3)

After winning 8 games in a row, the Saints finally lose. But honestly, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Why? Health. When looking at the NFC South, the factor that could potentially determine who wins it all is how healthy each team is. Compared to the Panthers and Falcons, the Saints are struggling on the injury front right now, especially on defense. Without Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, this secondary looks like it has reverted back to it’s previous form: a secondary that is easily beatable. With games against Cam Newton, Matt Ryan (twice), and Jameis Winston still left on the schedule, the Saints need to be at full strength if they hope to have a chance of holding onto their lead.

5. Los Angeles Rams (8-3, Previous Ranking: 6)

Last Week: W, 26-20, vs. Saints
Next Week: at Cardinals (5-6)

Just when it looked like the Rams were potentially drifting back to the rest of the NFC, they come away with a huge NFC victory against the Saints. This win helps silence some of the naysayers that don’t think the Rams are for real. They still have some left to prove with some tricky matchups, but if they can get through it and come away with the NFC West, Sean McVay will have put the finishing touches on one of the quickest turnarounds in recent NFL history.

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4. Minnesota Vikings (9-2, Previous Ranking: 4)

Last Week: W, 30-23, at Lions
Next Week: at Falcons (7-4)

What Case Keenum has accomplished this season with the Vikings is nothing short of incredible. Last year, the Vikings 5-0 season quickly turned into a disaster. This year, the Vikings are trying to keep up with the Eagles to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As long as Keenum keeps playing this well, the Vikings are a big threat in the NFC. Just wait until they get Dalvin Cook back next season too… sheesh.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2, Previous Ranking: 3)

Last Week: W, 31-28, vs. Packers
Next Week: at Bengals (5-6)

As I mentioned in the Jets breakdown, the difference between bad teams and good teams is that good teams find ways to win. The Steelers committed 3 turnovers and gave up some big plays. But still came away with the victory, albeit a close one. Was it pretty? No. But the Steelers keep on winning. It would be nice to see them put together a complete game as the matchup with the Patriots looms. But first, they need to worry about locking up the AFC North. Win the next 2 games, and it’s all theirs.

2. New England Patriots (9-2, Previous Ranking: 2)

Last Week: W, 35-17, vs. Dolphins
Next Week: at Bills (6-5)

Any issues that the Patriots were suffering from earlier in the season appear to be behind them at this point. They haven’t been perfect, as they still have some issues on defense. But just like other teams in the league, the Patriots are peaking at the right time. They will still be the favorites in the AFC unless the Steelers prove otherwise. Until then, you get the feeling that this is another Patriots team poised to make yet another late-season run.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1, Previous Ranking: 1)

Last Week: W, 31-3, vs. Bears
Next Week: at Seahawks (7-4)

The Eagles keep on winning. How bad was this game? A couple of Eagles players were caught playing tic-tac-toe on the sidelines towards the end of the game. Some people will call that a lack of focus. Others will call that confidence for a team riding a 9-game win streak. The Eagles control their own destiny more than virtually any other team in the league. But they will be tested over the next 2 weeks, with matchups against the Seahawks and Rams waiting for them. Get through those games, and the #1 seed is all but certainly Philly’s.

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