It finally happened. The Detroit Lions finally made it to the promised land and won their first game of the year. Believe it or not, the Lions have a better record since the start of November than the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings. In the AFC, the New England Patriots are proving passing is overrated. With the playoff race as crazy as ever, here are your updated NFL Power Rankings for Week 14.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 14
1) Arizona Cardinals (10-2) (Last Week: 1)
I hate to nitpick, but the Arizona Cardinals left some to be desired in their 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears. While a late touchdown moved the Bears' deficit to 11 points, it has to be asked why it was able to get that "close." Bears quarterback Andy Dalton threw four interceptions, one of which was on a bobble by his receiver, and the Cardinals still gave up 22 points. While that may not seem like much cause for concern, it should be seeing that out of their next five opponents, three teams (Rams, Colts and Dallas) have good offenses that will pose quite a challenge to this defense.
2) Green Bay Packers (9-3) (2)
The Green Bay Packers had a much-needed bye this past week. There is some optimism among Packers fans that all-pro offensive lineman David Bakhtiari, edge rusher Za'Darius Smith and elite corner Jaire Alexander could return sooner rather than later. With the Vikings' recent loss in Detroit, if the Vikings lose Thursday night to Pittsburgh, the Packers could clinch the NFC North title on Sunday at Lambeau against the Chicago Bears.
3) Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) (3)
The Kansas Chiefs had a big divisional game at home against the Denver Broncos in a game they needed to keep pace in an oddly competitive AFC West. While it was anything but pretty, the Chiefs got it done by a score of 22-9. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked shaky at best and the Chiefs looked like their early season form where they struggled to even move the ball. If not for a Daniel Sorenson interception returned for a touchdown, the Chiefs would've only put up 16 on a decent, but far from great, Broncos defense. With the Raiders on deck, it'll be interesting to see if the Chiefs can dominate them yet again.
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) (4)
It was a bold strategy by head coach Bruce Arians, but it paid off. Going up against one of the worst rush defenses in the league, the Buccaneers took the ball out of the hot hand of running back Leonard Fournette and instead threw 51 passes with Tom Brady. While the ends certainly justify the means, this was another game where again the Buccaneers struggled to put away the Atlanta Falcons until late. With only one of their remaining games against a team with a winning record, Tampa Bay has a real shot at the first seed in the NFC.
5) New England Patriots (9-4) (5)
The New England Patriots put plenty of space between them and the Bills on Monday night in tough conditions in Buffalo. While the overall game can't have too much stock put into it thanks to some bad weather conditions, it is still impressive that they got a win at Buffalo. The Patriots defense is buzzing and the two-headed rushing attack of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson is working wonders for New England.
6) Los Angeles Rams (8-4) (8)
It took head coach Sean McVay a long time, but he finally remembered that wide receiver Cooper Kupp is very good at football. After not so much as looking his way in the first half, they called his number plenty in the second half. Wouldn't you know it, the offense came alive in the second half, as they scored 21 unanswered. While the defense looked good, it's worth wondering if it was the defense or Jacksonville's pathetic offense.
7) Indianapolis Colts (7-6) (11)
While the Indianapolis Colts only held a 14-0 lead at halftime, there was never a doubt who would leave Houston victorious. Jonathan Taylor carved up this Texans defense for over 140 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was solid. However, much of that is due to the Texans having what looked like two high school quarterbacks at the helm all game. The only question for the Colts this week was the heavy workload for Taylor. With a gauntlet to end the season, it's a wonder they didn't utilize Nyheim Hines more to ease some of the hits taken by Taylor.
8) Buffalo Bills (7-5) (6)
The Buffalo Bills lost a close game at home to New England, but they were really done in by the weather. The running game is the strength of the Patriots and the bane of this Buffalo offense. It is nice to see them stay within arms reach in conditions like this, but what a fall from grace for the Bills. For a team heavily favored to win the AFC East, being 1.5 games back without the tiebreaker is not a good look with time running out this season.
9) Dallas Cowboys (8-4) (10)
I want to make one thing very clear to any Dallas Cowboys fans that may be reading this; this ranking was simply by default. The Cowboys played the Saints without Alvin Kamara and with Taysom Hill at quarterback, who suffered a bad-looking finger injury in the first half. They forced four interceptions and still only won by 10 points. This offense has looked horrible since the Atlanta Falcons game three weeks ago. This team is eerily similar to the 2019 Packers who barely beat average-to-bad teams until getting blasted the first time they played a contender in the playoffs. Don't be fooled, this team is good, but far from a legitimate contender.
10) Los Angeles Chargers (7-5) (16)
Knowing the Chargers and how their season has gone, they'll come out against New York Giants next week and get blasted. The Chargers struggle to find any sort of consistency week-to-week, and even between halves this week. After jumping out to a quick 24-0 lead, the Chargers found their lead whittled down to 24-22 in just over a quarter. While the LA defense came up big with a fumble return touchdown and forcing a punt on the next drive that virtually put the game to bed, there was still much to improve on. The Chargers have the talent. The only question is if they'll finally stay consistent, or if they'll drop another "easy" game soon.
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