2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14


Let’s take a look at the longest win streaks in the NFL right now. The Patriots (guess they are officially back) have won seven straight. The Chiefs (turns out they aren’t out of title contention yet) are winners of five in a row. As are the Dolphins (wait, is that right?) Washington (is this a typo) has won *checks notes* four straight games.

As the old saying goes, it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Surely, all of those teams would have preferred stronger starts to the year, but New England is now the top seed in the AFC while Kansas City leads the AFC West. Washington is currently in a wildcard spot and Miami is 1.5 games back of one. Just a reminder it is important not to overreact to September football. This is setting up a very interesting final few weeks of the NFL season.

Elsewhere, we had the Lions finally winning a game and the return of Minshew Mania! Here is how all 32 teams stack up through 13 weeks.

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1. Arizona Cardinals: 10-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 33-22 at Chicago
One of the quietest 10-win teams in recent memory. Arizona welcomed Kyler Murray back to the starting lineup. He marked the occasion with four touchdowns in a comfortable win for the Cardinals. Not to be outdone, the defense came up with four interceptions of Andy Dalton to set the offense up for success. This team still has to prove itself in the postseason, but it is very possible the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC could run through the desert.

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2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-3 (Last Week: 2)
Won 30-17 at Atlanta
Tom Brady stays undefeated against the Falcons in his career. The Patriots did not play them very often, but that is still wildly impressive. Brady put up some huge numbers, marred only by a pick-six that kept the Falcons in the game just before halftime. Thankfully, the defense stepped up in the second half and shut out Atlanta over the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa still feels like it is ironing out some kinks. It is certainly scary to think they could get even better, but maybe a little worrying that we still see some uneven play in December.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 9-3 (Last Week: 3)
Bye Week
Few teams needed a bye week as badly as the Packers did. David Bahktiari, Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith are in line to practice this week. Those are the three high-impact players that will only raise the ceiling for a Green Bay team that is 9-2 with Aaron Rodgers in the starting lineup. Speaking of Rodgers, a week off likely gave him some time to rest his fractured toe. Same goes for Aaron Jones, who played in limited action against the Rams in Week 12. If this team can get healthy, look out.

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4. New England Patriots: 9-4 (Last Week: 4)
Won 14-10 at Buffalo
That was about as ugly as it gets, but the Patriots put on a masterclass in 1940s football. Mac Jones attempted just three passes in a slugfest that featured a lot of bend, don’t break defensive possessions. With gusting winds that made kicking and throwing very difficult, Bill Belichick leaned into his run game. The plan very nearly fell apart, but great red zone defense and a missed field goal in the fourth quarter saw New England keep its top seed in the AFC.

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5. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-4 (Last Week: 5)
Won 22-9 vs. Denver
Defense wins championships and it really looks like the Chiefs have a great defense right now. Kansas City held Denver out of the end zone for the first 55 minutes of action. Daniel Sorenson even got on the board with a defensive touchdown. Patrick Mahomes is still struggling to get on track, managing just 184 passing yards, no touchdown passes and an interception. He did punch in a rushing touchdown, but these are not the performances we have become accustomed to seeing from Mahomes.

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6. Dallas Cowboys: 8-4 (Last Week: 8)
Won 27-17 at New Orleans
Dallas picked up an important win to maintain a two-game lead in the NFC East. Following three losses in a four-game stretch, this felt like a must-win for the Cowboys. It certainly wasn’t the cleanest game we’ve ever seen from the offense. Dak Prescott threw a costly pick and the team went 2-for-13 on third down conversion opportunities. The defense covered up any issues though with four interceptions. Dan Quinn is running away with the Assistant Coach of the Year award given the turnaround for Dallas’ defense this season.

7. Los Angeles Rams: 8-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 37-7 vs. Jacksonville
Nothing like a get-right game against the Jaguars to help ease the pain. Los Angeles dominated Jacksonville in all three phases. Odell Beckham Jr. looked much more comfortable in the offense and got in the end zone again. The only concern was a brutal hit Matt Stafford took that briefly knocked him out the game. Rumors have persisted that Stafford has not been healthy for weeks. Seeing him take shots like the one Roy Robertson-Harris laid on him is worrying. If Stafford goes down, this team can kiss its already questionable championship hopes goodbye.

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8. Indianapolis Colts: 7-6 (Last Week: 10)
Won 31-0 at Houston
For the second straight week, the Colts scored 31 points. However, this time around, they didn’t give up any points. Beating the Texans is far from something to highlight on your resume, unless you are the Jets. Credit Indianapolis for not playing down to the competition. While winning games is the most important thing, it would be good to see Frank Reich conserve Jonathan Taylor a bit more, especially in blowouts. He had 32 carries, playing well into the fourth quarter despite a three-score lead. Deon Jackson and Nyheim Hines eventually took over in the backfield, but keeping Taylor fresh for the stretch run would be a very wise move.

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9. Baltimore Ravens: 8-4 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 20-19 at Pittsburgh
If that ball was six inches closer to Mark Andrews, we would be talking about what a great decision this was from John Harbaugh to go for the win rather than play for overtime. I think it was the right move. Heading to overtime is literally a coin flip. It was a tough break. However, there are still some red flags. Pittsburgh sacked Lamar Jackson seven times. Comparatively, the Ravens managed just one sack of their own. This offense has a lot that needs resolving.

10. Los Angeles Chargers: 7-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 41-22 at Cincinnati
Los Angeles put the struggles from Week 12 behind them with a big bounce-back win over the Bengals. Justin Herbert looked sharp with over 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the defense was very opportunistic, forcing four turnovers, including a scoop and score from Tevaughn Campbell. Ball security was an issue for the Chargers as well though. Herbert threw an interception while Austin Ekeler coughed it up twice. Still, this was an important win to keep pace in the AFC West and the playoff race.

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11. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-5 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 41-22 vs. Los Angeles
Will they or won’t they? Cincinnati continues to struggle with consistency. The Bengals have yet to win more than two games in a row. Every time it feels like they are beginning to build momentum, a somewhat surprising result brings them back down to Earth. Turnovers were a major issue as was pass protection. Joe Burrow was sacked six times and was clearly pressing throughout the game. All in all, it was not a good enough performance from the Bengals, who missed out on a chance to go atop the AFC North.

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12. Buffalo Bills: 7-5 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 14-10 vs. New England
New England ran it down Buffalo’s throat and the Bills could not reciprocate. Josh Allen was the team’s leading rusher with 39 of the team’s 99 yards. Meanwhile, the Patriots racked up 222 yards on the ground. While that is far from ideal, the more concerning aspect was the offense’s inability to convert in the red zone. A missed field goal and a failed fourth-down play limited Buffalo to just three points on three trips inside the 20 in the second half. A daunting trip to Tampa Bay is up next.

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13. Tennessee Titans: 8-4 (Last Week: 13)
Bye Week
Did the Titans find a way to reinvent themselves during their bye week? Without Derrick Henry and a pair of banged up star receivers, Tennessee struggled mightily heading into its week off. Julio Jones could be back, but Ryan Tannehill cannot carry this team. His four-interception performance against the Texans proved that. All that said, Tennessee has one of the easiest closing schedules. The Jaguars, Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins and Texans remain. Just beating the Jaguars and Texans should get the Titans into the postseason.

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14. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-5-1 (Last Week: 18)
Won 20-19 vs. Baltimore
This feels like a big move up for a one-point win, but everyone around the Steelers seemingly lost this weekend. Pittsburgh did just enough to pull off the victory. It might have been a bit of a lucky break that saw them hold on, but they did a lot to create that luck, if you will. The Steelers had seven sacks and nine tackles for loss. They also scored the go-ahead touchdown and converted on the all-important two-point conversion that put them up by seven with less than two minutes to play. Take the wins however you can get them.

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15. San Francisco 49ers: 6-6 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 30-23 at Seattle
The 49ers hit a speed bump. Maybe they were a little guilty of underestimating the Seahawks after Russell Wilson and company had floundered leading into this game. Jimmy Garoppolo tossed two interceptions while the offense managed just 2.8 yards per carry. Seattle gave San Francisco plenty of chances to win this game. The 49ers held a 23-14 lead at halftime, but their second half drives ended in a fumble, a safety, an interception, two punts and a turnover on downs. That is not a winning formula.

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16. Cleveland Browns 6-6 (Last Week: 19)
Bye Week
Suddenly, the outlook for the Browns does not seem so bleak. Losses by the Ravens and Bengals keep Cleveland within striking distance in the division. Plus, losses by the Bills, Raiders and Broncos keeps them firmly in the wildcard chase. With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt hopefully back at full strength and Baker Mayfield rested up, the Browns’ offense should be much more competitive. A rematch with the Ravens awaits.

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17. Miami Dolphins: 6-7 (Last Week: 20)
Won 20-9 vs. New York
As I talked about earlier, this is quite the turnaround from Miami. Tua Tagovailoa is settling in nicely to the offense and taking care of the football. It certainly helped to face Mike Glennon instead of Daniel Jones, but this was still a pretty strong showing by the ‘Fins defense. Now if only Miami could run the ball consistently. The Dolphins get a week off before looking to continue their hot streak in a matchup with the Jets.

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18. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-7 (Last Week: 21)
Won 33-18 at New York
Minshew Mania is back! Gardner Minshew made his first start for the Eagles and did not disappoint. Granted, it was against the Jets, but the former Jaguars quarterback was hyper efficient and provided a different element to the Eagles offense. He got tons of help from Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell, who combined for 229 yards of offense and a touchdown. Dallas Goedert was heavily involved in the offense as well. Nick Sirianni has already said that Jalen Hurts is still the starter. Hurts could return following the bye week, but if he struggles, Philly fans will be clamoring for Minshew to see more action.

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19. Washington: 6-6 (Last Week: 23)
Won 17-15 at Las Vegas
I don’t know if winning 17-15 games is very sustainable, but Washington repeated the feat this week. Hometown hero Brian Johnson won it with a go-ahead 48-yard field goal in the final minute. It hasn’t been too pretty, but Washington is finding ways to win. It is far from likely, but with five divisional games remaining on the schedule, Washington controls its own fate.

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20. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-6 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 17-15 vs. Washington
Another winnable game blown by the Raiders. Las Vegas now has losses to Washington, Chicago and the New York Giants. All three have felt like missed opportunities. Winning even two of them would have the Raiders tied atop the AFC West. Instead, Vegas is tied with Cleveland and Denver for 10th in the conference. Unfortunately, the Chiefs are next on the schedule.

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21. Denver Broncos: 6-6 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 22-9 at Kansas City
Fresh off a win over the Chargers, the Broncos absolutely fell flat against the Chiefs. Maybe a road win was too much to hope for, but three points through the first three and a half quarters is a disappointing output from the offense. Costly turnovers from Teddy Bridgewater were the difference in the game. If nothing else, this offered a clear reminder that the Broncos will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason.

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22. Minnesota Vikings: 5-7 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 29-27 at Detroit
It was bound to happen to someone eventually, but being the first team to lose to the Lions this year still stings quite a bit. Keep in mind, this team beat a mostly full-strength Packers side just two weeks ago. The offense got off to a sluggish start to life without Dalvin Cook, managing just six points in the first half. Minnesota stormed back to lead 27-23, but the defense wilted in the critical moments, giving up a walk-off touchdown. Turn back up the heat on Mike Zimmer’s seat.

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23. New Orleans Saints: 5-7 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 27-17 vs. Dallas
Things look rough for the Saints right now. Taysom Hill finally got back on the field at quarterback and provided a spark with his mobility. Unfortunately, he suffered a similar injury to Russell Wilson, who missed a month with a torn ligament in his finger. Hill threw four interceptions, ending any hopes of upending the Cowboys. New Orleans has now lost five straight and show little sign of turning things around. It will be interesting to see if Sean Payton looks to bring in a free-agent quarterback.

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24. New York Giants: 4-8 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 20-9 at Miami
So maybe the quarterback isn’t the root cause of all the issues for the Giants offense. Mike Glennon looked mediocre, but didn’t get much protection either. He took eight hits and will begin this week in the concussion protocol. Now, it looks like New York will be starting Jake Fromm against the Chargers in Week 14. On the bright side, the Giants seem to be capable of running the ball. New York averaged 5.4 yards per carry. If Freddie Kitchens can establish the run early in the game and stay within reach, that will take a lot of pressure off the young quarterback.

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25. Atlanta Falcons: 5-7 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 30-17 vs. Tampa Bay
Stat to know: Atlanta has a point differential of -113 this season. Detroit has a point differential of -116. That is the sort of company the Falcons are keeping. Matt Ryan and the offense moved the ball up and down the field, but consistently stalled when it mattered most. Atlanta scored a touchdown on its first drive and then managed a field goal the rest of the game. This team is technically not far out of the playoff picture, but the Falcons do not feel anywhere near the playoff conversation.

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26. Carolina Panthers: 5-7 (Last Week: 26)
Bye Week
In perhaps some of the most shocking and under the radar news of the weekend, the Panthers fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Sure, the Panthers offense has not lit the world on fire, but he is working with Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker and Cam Newton. Christian McCaffrey has played in just seven of the team’s 12 games so far. Carolina has also dropped 22 passes this year, second most in the NFL. Brady was considered one of the brightest young offensive minds in football. He was the architect behind LSU’s record-setting attack in 2019, when the Tigers won a national championship. If this was a reaction to Newton’s 5-of-21 passing performance against the Dolphins in Week 12, I think that is a huge mistake. Trying to find someone to build an offense around Newton is incredibly shortsighted. Brady will likely land on his feet. He will be a highly sought after offensive coordinator in the league and could be in the mix for a return to the college ranks.

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27. Seattle Seahawks: 4-8 (Last Week: 28)
Won 30-23 vs. San Francisco
While it might be too little too late for this season, this felt like a crucial win for the Seahawks. Ideally, this allows Russell Wilson to build some momentum and get this team trending in the right direction. Seattle still has a host of problems that need solving, namely its run game. Travis Homer ripped off a huge touchdown run on a fake punt, but that one play accounted for half of the team’s rushing yards on the afternoon. Neither Rashaad Penny nor Adrian Peterson could really get rolling. Shane Waldron has a chance to prove he can scheme some ways to spark the ground game.

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28. Chicago Bears: 4-8 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 33-22 vs. Arizona
QB1 had a rough day. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions in an embarrassing performance for the Bears offense. Somehow, Chicago did manage 22 points, but the defense simply could not overcome that many turnovers and short-field situations. Matt Nagy’s days in the Windy City are numbered.

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29. New York Jets: 3-9 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 33-18 vs. Philadelphia
For one fleeting moment, it felt like the Jets were turning the corner. New York scored three touchdowns in the first half (even if they missed two field goals and failed on a two-point conversion attempt). There were some special teams miscues away from being tied at halftime. Instead, the Jets were shut out in the second half. Their four drives in the half resulted in a punt, an interception, a turnover on downs and the end of the game. Focusing on the positive is that Zach Wilson looked a bit better this week. As long as he continues to improve, results do not matter.

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30. Detroit Lions: 1-10-1 (Last Week: 32)
Won 29-27 vs. Minnesota
When is the ticker tape parade??? Detroit reacted a bit like it had won the Super Bowl. While winning one meaningless regular season game is not really cause for celebration usually, this a huge weight off Dan Campbell and his entire team. The Lions had come agonizingly close on several occasions this year. This ensures that this Detroit side will not join the infamous group of winless teams. Who knows, maybe Campbell can even build off this. I wouldn’t consider it likely, but I also wouldn’t want to be the Broncos this week.

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31. Houston Texans: 2-10 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 31-0 vs. Indianapolis
Congratulations to the Texans for being the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention! Houston managed 141 yards of offense on an ungodly 2.8 yards per play. Tyrod Taylor suffered another injury as well, which means Davis Mills takes the reins again. Things are going to get much worse in Houston before they get better.

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32. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-10 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 37-7 at Los Angeles
It’s days like Sunday where I am left to sit around and wonder how on Earth the Jaguars managed to beat the Bills.

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