NFL Draft Podcast – AFC Free Agency Primer and Draft Implications

After breaking down the NFC last week, it is time to discuss which AFC free agents will impact the 2020 NFL Draft. The Patriots await Tom Brady’s free agent decision while the rest of the division hopes to close the game and patch up their offensive lines. Tennessee’s incredible run came courtesy of a number of players that are not under contract for 2020. Houston, Indianapolis and Jacksonville all enter free agency with at least one major player it needs to bring back. The reigning Super Bowl champs have to figure out what they will do with Chris Jones. Meanwhile, Los Angeles might need to rebuild its whole offense. In the North, the Ravens have some difficult decisions to make regarding Matt Judon and Michael Pierce. The Browns, Bengals and Steelers all need reinforcements in the trenches. Catch up on all the major pending free agents ahead of the scouting combine! Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
https://anchor.fm/theaftermath

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

The playoff picture is coming into full view now. Well at least the teams that will be in the postseason. The only spot that feels truly undecided is the sixth seed in the AFC. The order is still very much up in the air. There was a lot of movement in the projected seedings with San Francisco losing a stunner at home. We will see a pretty good slate of meaningful games in the final two weeks given that so many teams still have something to play for.

On the flip side, the draft order is going to be very interesting. With the Giants topping the Dolphins, there is now a huge collection of teams with three wins and five wins. The Bengals sit two games clear of everyone else in the running for the top pick. As teams wrap up their years, there is still a lot of potential movement that could occur here. For those not in the postseason, these final two weeks will be just as important with so much still left up in the air.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 12-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 42-21 vs. New York
The Ravens continue to roll, this time taking care of an injury-riddled Jets team with ease. Lamar Jackson all but solidified his MVP campaign with five passing touchdowns. He also broke Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season. This team looks almost unstoppable. The AFC is going to run through Baltimore and that is a scary thing for the rest of the league.

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2. New Orleans Saints: 11-3 (Last Week: 3)
Won 34-7 vs. Indianapolis
How do you follow up losing a heartbreaker? Dominating what comes at you next works well. Drew Brees rewrote a good chunk of the record book on Monday Night Football. He is now the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns. He also posted the best completion percentage in a single game in league history. The defense pitched a shutout for much of the night. This version of the Saints could absolutely win a Super Bowl.

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3. Seattle Seahawks: 11-3 (Last Week: 4)
Won 30-24 at Carolina
It was another less-than-convincing performance from the Seahawks, but they still got the win. Now with the news that Josh Gordon is suspended indefinitely as well, the outlook in Seattle is not as positive as it was maybe two weeks ago. Still, with the San Francisco loss, Seattle now holds the top spot in the NFC. The Seahawks just need that defense to step it up a bit down the stretch. Anything could happen here, but Seattle controls its fate.

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4. Kansas City Chiefs: 10-4 (Last Week: 5)
Won 23-3 vs. Denver
Kansas City is humming along right now. The Chiefs have won four straight and remain hot on the Patriots’ heels for a first-round bye in the playoffs. It was far from your typical offensive showing from Patrick Mahomes and company, but the weather was not very cooperative so it feels justified. Travis Kelce played like a beast though and the defense took advantage of an overmatched rookie quarterback. The defense should get a boost too with the addition of veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs.

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5. San Francisco 49ers: 11-3 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 29-22 vs. Atlanta
Last week, San Francisco outlasted a true NFC contender and took over the top spot in the conference. This week, Kyle Shanahan lost to his former club and the 49ers are back down in fifth. San Francisco still controls its own destiny, but this was the type of game that has me worried about this team’s ability to make Super Bowl run. The pass rush couldn’t get home and Jimmy Garoppolo did not play well enough to make up for it. It was just one game, but this was a major let down.

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6. New England Patriots: 11-3 (Last Week: 6)
Won 34-13 at Cincinnati
The Patriots got back on track, but had a very rocky start in doing so. New England trailed at the end of the first quarter in Cincy and led just 13-10 at halftime. The defense bailed out another pedestrian effort from Tom Brady (128 passing yards) and the offense. New England’s run game got rolling in the second half, but it was really the defense’s five takeaways that made the difference. While the Pats have a tendency for pulling it together and playing their best ball in the postseason, the offensive concerns just grow by the week.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 11-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 21-13 vs. Chicago
Green Bay is winning ugly and doesn’t seem to care. The Packers had a bit of a scare late in the game from the Bears, but pulled out a third straight victory. This has been a very uncharacteristic season from Aaron Rodgers, who ranks 11th in passing yards and 15th in yards per attempt. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his throws on Sunday as well. Green Bay’s offense is going to need to break out of its funk soon. Week 16 will decide the NFC North as the Packers visit the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

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8. Minnesota Vikings: 10-4 (Last Week: 8)
Won 39-10 at Los Angeles
It looked like Minnesota had brought back the Purple People Eaters in Los Angeles. The Vikings forced seven (!!!) turnovers on Sunday. Now the Chargers might not be world class competition, but it is still a huge confidence booster for the defense. The concern offensively will be regarding the health of Dalvin Cook, who left the game with a shoulder injury. Even before he got hurt though, Cook had started to lose steam. He failed to crack 30 yards rushing in three of his four contests, averaging 3.1 yards per carry in the process. Cook needs to get back on track fast with the Packers coming to town this week.

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9. Houston Texans: 9-5 (Last Week: 11)
Won 24-21 at Tennessee
Houston wiped away a lot of the damage it sustained in Week 14’s loss to Denver. Edging the Titans means the Texans are in sole possession of first place in the AFC South. The division is far from locked up though with a rematch with Tennessee slated for Week 17. It was another uneven outing from Deshaun Watson, but this time the defense and ground game stepped up. Consistency is the next step for this team as it looks to lock up a playoff spot.

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10. Buffalo Bills: 10-4 (Last Week: 12)
Won 17-10 at Pittsburgh
Sean McDermott has the Bills playing some old school football and it travels well. This game was unlikely to produce fireworks, but Buffalo’s offense ended up being just a little less ugly than Pittsburgh’s. In truth, the Bills defense deserves credit for that, picking off Delvin Hodges four times. Holding the Steelers to 51 yards rushing and recording four sacks didn’t hurt either. If Josh Allen can find a way to play just a little bit more efficiently, this team could make a run at a division title.

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11. Tennessee Titans: 8-6 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 24-21 vs. Houston
The second half resurgence hit a bump in the road with the loss to Houston, but Tennessee’s playoff hopes are very much still alive. What is likely more significant is the overall improved play of the offensive line in recent weeks. The Titans are beginning to look like a complete football team, even in the loss. A.J. Brown is starting to look like a steal of a draft pick as well. As long as Tennessee wins Week 17 and Pittsburgh loses in Baltimore, the Titans should reach the postseason regardless of what happens in Week 16.

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12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-6 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 17-10 vs. Buffalo
The wheels fell off this make-shift Pittsburgh offense. I really don’t feel good about putting anyone in this 12 spot. Dallas picked up a big win, but that doesn’t wipe out the past five weeks. Tampa Bay is feeding on cupcakes and Jameis Winston won’t stop throwing interceptions. Los Angeles just got steamrolled by Dallas. Pittsburgh’s defense is the only thing that is keeping them alive right now, but as the offense gets a bit healthier, there is a chance this team could find a bit more balance.

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13. Dallas Cowboys: 7-7 (Last Week: 18)
Won 44-21 vs. Los Angeles
Talk about getting back on track. The Cowboys blew out the Rams in spectacular fashion. I have been trying to figure out for weeks what is going on in Dallas. The team is mostly healthy with a good young quarterback, a talented offensive line and some great skill position players in Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott. This team leads the league in total offense and ranks top five in points. Defensively, the Cowboys are top 10 in yards allowed and 13th in points allowed. They are sixth in point differential. That should be a recipe for winning more than half your games, but somehow Dallas just can’t seem to get it done in close contests.

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14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-7 (Last Week: 15)
Won 38-17 at Detroit
Jameis Winston strikes again. Against a dreadful Lions secondary, the Bucs quarterback threw for 458 yards and four touchdowns. Of course he also tossed an interception, but Tampa Bay is playing a fun brand of football right now, and it’s working. The Buccaneers are winners of four straight, tied for the second longest active streak in the league. This run is a credit to what Bruce Arians is building. No one should want to face Tampa right now.

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15. Los Angeles Rams: 8-6 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 44-21 at Dallas
After back-to-back wins, the Rams were firmly in the playoff chase. With the whole team forgetting to show up on Sunday, Los Angeles is now the longest of longshots to reach the postseason. The defense was horrible. It allowed 256 rushing yards and never managed to get after Dak Prescott. The lopsided scoreline lead to Jared Goff throwing the ball 51 times while Todd Gurley got only 14 touches. Sean McVay ran the ball 14 times, three of them with Goff. That formula has been killing the Rams all year long. This team has a lot of soul searching to do in the offseason because LA is built like a contender, but it isn’t playing like one.

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16. Chicago Bears: 7-7 (Last Week 14)
Lost 21-13 at Green Bay
Futility set in once again in Chicago as it missed a chance to grab a massive win. Three straight wins had given the Bears hope, but an ineffective offense cost them a fourth. Mitch Trubisky threw the ball 53 times, which is highly questionable. However, Chicago ran the ball 27 times, so it wasn’t like it completely abandoned the run game. This offense needs an infusion of talent along the offense line and some more reliable contributors at the skill positions. Trubisky has certainly struggled this season, but his supporting cast has also been subpar.

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17. Philadelphia Eagles: 7-7 (Last Week: 16)
Won 37-27 at Washington
Philly keeps finding new ways to win and somehow make me feel worse about its long-term success. Against a paltry Washington side, the defense made Dwayne Haskins look like a Pro Bowler. Offensively, the Eagles played pretty well. Carson Wentz had a really good game despite having no receivers to speak of. Winning with Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is impressive. Wentz does need to solve this fumbling issue that has cropped up in recent weeks. As more starters return, the offense should improve. There might be no hope for this defense though. The showdown to decide the NFC East looms for Philadelphia.

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18. Atlanta Falcons: 5-9 (Last Week: 22)
Won 29-22 at San Francisco
After a dismal first half of the season, Atlanta has really turned things around. It threw the mother of all wrenches into the NFC playoff picture after shocking San Francisco. There have still been some hiccups along the way with lopsided losses to Tampa Bay and New Orleans. However, the Falcons have wins over the Saints, Panthers and 49ers. They are 4-2 in their last six games. Finishing the season with two more wins could save Dan Quinn’s job. With Jacksonville and Tampa Bay on the slate, it is certainly possible.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 6-8 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 38-24 at Arizona
This was likely the dagger in the Browns playoff hopes. It was another unpleasant result for Freddie Kitchens and company. Measuring the Browns based on their expectations entering the year will lead anyone to conclude this has been a shockingly disappointing year. If you look at Cleveland’s past though, not regressing is a big step in the right direction. A better offensive line is crucial for this team to finally reach those highs next year. With $51 million in projected cap space and not a ton of free agents, this team is still in position to make the jump.

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20. Indianapolis Colts: 6-8 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 34-7 at New Orleans
That was an absolute drubbing. It has become abundantly clear that this Colts offense is nowhere near ready to compete with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He is not Andrew Luck and he has a much worse supporting cast than Luck likely ever did. T.Y. Hilton has been banged up all year. Marlon Mack has dealt with his own injuries. Eric Ebron, Chester Rogers, Paris Campbell and more are on injured reserve. It is hard to win games when no one is available to play. That being said, this was a blow to morale. The defense looked powerless and the offense had nowhere to turn. Indy is heading into the offseason with a ton of question marks.

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21. Denver Broncos: 5-9 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 23-3 at Kansas City
If this was a test, Drew Lock failed miserably. It was a rough outing for the rookie making just his third start, this one in the snow back in the same state he played college football in. He should never have been asked to throw the ball 40 times in this game, but he also looked horrible in the process. He threw one interception, and was lucky that it was only one. This serves as a tough reminder there are going to be growing pains with a young quarterback and that Denver is still a ways from competing in the AFC West.

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22. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-9 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 39-10 vs. Minnesota
For the second week in a row, the Chargers were involved in a blow out. This one didn’t happen to go their way though. The Vikings defense tormented Philip Rivers and company. Rivers threw three interceptions and Los Angeles lost four fumbles. That is a recipe for disaster. The Chargers defense didn’t have its best game either, but it was far from being the problem in this one. Expect a major shakeup to that offense during the offseason.

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23. Arizona Cardinals: 4-9-1 (Last Week: 25)
Won 38-24 vs. Cleveland
Snap. That is the sound of Arizona finally snapping its losing streak. After six in a row, the Cardinals got back in the win column, mostly thanks to Kenyan Drake. He ran all over the Browns to the tune of 137 yards and four touchdowns. It was an important win for the overall rebuilding process of this team. It was a good reminder that Arizona is headed in the right direction. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but this felt good for Kliff Kingsbury.

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24. Carolina Panthers: 5-9 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 30-24 vs. Seattle
Christian McCaffrey is a one-man wrecking crew. Kyle Allen spoiled another incredible effort from Run CMC with three interceptions, but the Panthers only lost by one possession. Allen’s constant inability to take care of the ball along with a struggling run defense are major concerns, but their are some bright spots. DJ Moore had another great game and the defense hit Russell Wilson seven times. This team is already in flux with Ron Rivera’s firing so expectations should be kept fairly low for these final two games. We might even get a chance to see rookie quarterback Will Grier.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-9 (Last Week: 28)
Won 20-16 at Oakland
Gardner Minshew worked his magic and engineered a comeback for the Jags. He almost waited too long, as Jacksonville’s offense essentially did nothing for the first three quarters. Lucky for them, Oakland’s offense went into hibernation after halftime and the defense could not hold up. The win really does not mean a whole lot, but it does point towards Minshew being the starter to open the 2020 season.

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26. Oakland Raiders: 6-8 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 20-16 vs. Jacksonville
I hate to say this was a fitting end to the Raiders time at the Coliseum, but that was about as textbook a choke job as you could get. Oakland held a 13-point halftime lead and posted two zeros on the scoreboard in the second half. As this team prepares to move to Las Vegas, it must hope it can unearth a new defense and some wide receivers in the process. Jon Gruden is not happy and Mike Mayock can’t be either.

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27. New York Jets: 5-9 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 42-21 at Baltimore
That was about how you would have expected this game to go for the banged up Jets. The Ravens dominated the first three quarters and once they called off the dogs, Sam Darnold led a pair of scoring drives to provide some false hope to a beaten down team. New York had no answer for Lamar Jackson and continues to add to the list of needs it will have to address in the offseason. Just remember, there were 28 players selected after Darnold and before Jackson.

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28. Washington: 3-11 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 37-27 vs. Philadelphia
For a while there, it looked like Washington was about to deal a critical blow to Philadelphia’s playoff chances. Even though the defense couldn’t see the game through, the front office has to feel good about the level at which Dwayne Haskins played. He threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns while also showing some running ability. It is hard to peg where this team will go next with an interim head coach and a general manager on the hot seat. However, those issues would seem less significant if Washington knew it was set at quarterback.

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29. New York Giants: 3-11 (Last Week: 31)
Won 36-20 vs. Miami
For the first time in months, Saquon Barkley looked like an All-Pro running back. He finally broke out of his sophomore slump with 112 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. It was actually a very productive day for Giants skill position players that figure to feature heavily in the future. Sterling Shepard caught nine balls for 111 yards and Darius Slayton hauled in his eighth touchdown of the year. New York might have hurt its draft stock, but snapping a long losing streak has to feel good.

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30. Miami Dolphins: 3-11 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 36-20 at New York
DeVante Parker made the Dolphins front office look very good on Sunday. Just a few days after signing a big extension, Parker scored two touchdowns. Unfortunately, they were Miami’s only two touchdowns of the game. The ‘Fins have a long way to go, but this team is also identifying pieces it can build around in the future. Given how talent-deprived this roster is, that fact that Miami is even competitive speaks volumes about the job Brian Flores has done this season.

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31. Detroit Lions: 3-10-1 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 38-17 vs. Tampa Bay
Detroit lost its sixth straight game and continue to show how valuable Matthew Stafford is to this club. This team is just crawling towards the finish line at this point. Wes Hill led the team in rushing with 21 yards and David Blough threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. I can’t imagine the Lions expected either of those players to see the field this year, much less be the offensive leaders in a given week. Matt Patricia’s seat has to be feeling awfully warm right about now.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-13 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 34-13 vs. New England
For one half, the Bengals looked like they were really going to press the Patriots. Then the second half came and Cincinnati imploded. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions, coach Zac Taylor criticized his receivers and then wide receiver Tyler Boyd questioned the playcalling. Altogether, not a good look. Cincy pretty much has a vice grip on the first pick with New York winning on Sunday. Bengals fans are already dreaming of Heisman winner Joe Burrow.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Just when we started to feel like we knew what was going on in the NFL, the league threw us a massive curveball in Week 14. We thought the Texans had joined the contenders list in the AFC after beating the Patriots, only to turn up lifeless at home against the Broncos. The Chargers had played close games all year, so naturally they blew out the Jaguars by 35. With the 49ers beating the Saints, the door was open for the Seahawks to seize control of the NFC playoff picture. Seattle ended up being soundly beaten by the rival Rams.

Even Eli Manning added to the fun with a return as the starting quarterback for the Giants. We are also seeing trends we are not used to seeing in the NFL. The Patriots have lost back to back games. Aaron Rodgers had another off week as Green Bay narrowly escaped a scrappy Washington team. The Steelers continue to win despite missing just about every meaningful skill position player. Football is an unpredictable sport, and there are sure to be a few more wrinkles before the playoffs get underway.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 11-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 24-17 at Buffalo
Baltimore is now going toe-to-toe with the best the NFL has to offer. During this nine-game win streak, the Ravens have beaten the Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, 49ers and now Bills. Lamar Jackson did not have his best game, but still threw three touchdown passes. Baltimore’s defense is playing at an elite level, holding Josh Allen to 3.7 yards per attempt. That was in addition to racking up six sacks. Until someone can stop these runaway Ravens, they will be glued to the top spot of these rankings.

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2. San Francisco 49ers: 11-2 (Last Week: 4)
Won 48-46 at New Orleans
I will admit that I was skeptical of this 49ers team despite all the wins. I knew the defense was really good, but could they find a way to win if they had to rely on the offense? Clearly, the answer is yes. This was a respectable Saints defense that Jimmy Garoppolo had a lot of success against. He spread the ball around and showed he has developed a connection with Emmanuel Sanders. San Francisco is going to be tough to stop given their ability to adjust from week to week. However, the defense mysteriously disappeared. Drew Brees had five touchdown passes and the 49ers had no sacks in the contest.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 10-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 48-46 vs. San Francisco
This a bitter pill to swallow for the Saints. Heading into the game, the focus was on how well New Orleans’ offense would fare against a dominant San Francisco defense. Clearly, the Saints forget to prep their own defense for the challenge. Any time you give up 48 points, a lot of things went wrong. New Orleans gave up huge chunk plays and had no way to slow down the running game, as the 49ers gained 6.8 yards per carry. All of this boils down to the Saints giving up the top seed in the NFC.

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4. Seattle Seahawks: 10-3 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 28-12 at Los Angeles
Maybe I am making too much out of one game, but this was a troubling loss for the Seahawks. The Rams have their number. Los Angeles was just a missed field goal away from knocking off Seattle earlier this year. This time around, the Rams rolled to a convincing win. The Seahawks could not get into the end zone on offense, with their lone trip coming on a pick-six. Again, it was just one game, but this is a bad sign for Seattle come the postseason, where one bad game will end your year.

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5. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-4 (Last Week: 6)
Won 23-16 at New England
Kansas City finally won in Foxborough. It wasn’t always pretty, but there is a lot to like about this performance. Patrick Mahomes did not play his best. However, he made enough plays in the first half for the defense to close things out. It was a rough night running the ball as well, making this defensive showing even more impressive. The Chiefs appear to be back on track after some midseason struggles. Assuming Mahomes can get back to full strength, this team will be poised for a deep playoff run.

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6. New England Patriots: 10-3 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 23-16 vs. Kansas City
Simply stated, New England was outplayed. There is no question the Patriots ended up on the wrong side of a couple of bad calls on Sunday. However, that does make up for what was another poor outing for the offense. Jakobi Meyers dropped passes, Tom Brady missed throws and Sony Michel managed eight yards on five carries. New England has now lost against the other three teams currently leading their divisions in the AFC. Between injuries and declining play, this team is at risk of missing out on a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 10-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 20-15 vs. Washington
It was another questionable outing by the Packers, failing to put away a team it should have battered. Green Bay got off to a hot start, but that quickly fizzled into a slugfest. The passing game continues to underwhelm, as Aaron Rodgers finished under 200 yards passing again. Aaron Jones made up for a lot of that with 134 yards and a touchdown. At some point though, it would be good to see the Packers get back to beating up on teams lower down in the standings, especially starting rookie quarterbacks. Green Bay finishes with three straight divisional games, so the margin for error is going to disappear quickly.

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8. Minnesota Vikings: 9-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 20-7 vs. Detroit
Minnesota rode its defense to a comfortable victory over Detroit. It wasn’t flashy, but there was never a point where this game felt in doubt. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook did enough to lead the offense, but it would be good to see them pick up the pace a bit. This Lions defense had been one of the worst in the league entering the weekend, so 20 points is far from impressive. With the Vikings still trailing the Packers by a game in the NFC, Mike Zimmer needs to get this group to click in the final few weeks of the season.

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9. Los Angeles Rams: 8-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 28-12 vs. Seattle
For the first time since the Super Bowl, the Rams looked a lot like the team who won the NFC last year. Los Angeles ran the ball 35 times and set up Jared Goff to be comfortable. The heavy run focus allowed Goff to utilize play action against a Seahawks defense that already struggles to rush the passer. Give the defense a lot of credit as well for shutting down Russell Wilson. Seattle failed to reach the end zone on offense, which is a testament to how well Los Angeles played on Sunday night. Suddenly, the Rams are back in playoff contention.

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10. Tennessee Titans: 8-5 (Last Week: 11)
Won 42-21 at Oakland
Ryan Tannehill has to win some kind of award for his performance this season. He has led an explosive offense in the second half of the year, highlighted by throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. With the Texans losing to the Broncos, the possibility for a division title is more real than ever. However, the Titans will get tested in these final three games. Two games with Houston sandwich a visit from New Orleans. Time to see if Tannehill can continue to shine with the pressure on.

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11. Houston Texans: 8-5 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 38-24 vs. Denver
In terms of shocking results, this one takes the cake for Week 14. Hosting a Broncos team that has struggled all year featuring a rookie quarterback making his second career start, this should have been a comfortable victory. The Texans beat the Patriots a week ago after all. Instead, the defense made Drew Lock look like a Hall of Famer. Deshaun Watson accounted for three total scores, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. This game was 38-3 before Denver just hit cruise control the rest of the way. This was a colossal failure by Houston, as it lost ground in the AFC and the division.

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12. Buffalo Bills: 9-4 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 24-17 vs. Baltimore
A rough day from the Buffalo offense cost it a chance to knock off the kings of the NFL. Josh Allen was ineffective against a talented Ravens defense. On the flip side, the Bills actually did a pretty good job of containing Lamar Jackson. With three games left, Buffalo only trails New England by one game in the division and heads to Foxborough in Week 16 for an AFC East showdown.

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13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-5 (Last Week: 13)
Won 23-17 at Arizona
Pittsburgh held on for another road win with a limited offensive lineup. That is most because defensively the Steelers are playing about as well as anyone else in the league. With five sacks, three interceptions and a punt return touchdown, Pittsburgh made up for a banged up offense. Joe Haden came up with a game-sealing interception for the second week in a row. The race for the final playoff spot is going to be tight between the Steelers and Titans.

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14. Chicago Bears: 7-6 (Last Week 15)
Won 31-24 vs. Dallas
Has Mitchel Trubisky finally broken out of his funk? I think its too early to tell, but his play of late has kept the Bears’ playoff hopes alive. He tore apart a woeful Dallas defense. Chicago’s run defense did just enough to limit Ezekiel Elliott, despite giving up two touchdowns on the ground. There is still a long way to go if the Bears are truly going to reach the postseason, but they are not mathematically eliminated yet.

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15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-7 (Last Week: 18)
Won 38-35 vs. Indianapolis
Jameis Winston has become the league’s ultimate gunslinger. He racked up 456 yards passing and four touchdowns against the Colts. Winston also tossed three interceptions, including a pick-six. Still, he lead Tampa Bay to 17 unanswered points to close the game. One of the most interesting questions to be answered this offseason will be what the Buccaneers decide to at quarterback, because the former Florida State star is quite the conundrum.

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16. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-7 (Last Week: 16)
Won 23-17 (OT) vs. New York
That was ugly in every sense of the word. The Eagles slept walked through the first three quarters of this game. Philly is about as banged up as any team in football. Greg Ward was the team’s most productive wideout. If it wasn’t for Zach Ertz and Boston Scott, the Eagles would never have been able to make this comeback. This concerning win brings Philadelphia level with Dallas in the division though, meaning the season is far from over. While the Eagles have looked really rough this year, if they can get healthy in time, they might just surprise some people.

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17. Cleveland Browns: 6-7 (Last Week: 19)
Won 27-19 vs. Cincinnati
Cleveland avoided the embarrassment of losing to Cincinnati and kept its slim playoff chances afloat. Baker Mayfield had a terrible outing, completing under 50 percent of his passes. He added two interceptions to the mix as well. Thankfully the running game and defense bailed him out. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both punched in a score, while Denzel Ward took one of Andy Dalton’s passes to the house. The Browns are not playing great football, but this was a solid win.

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18. Dallas Cowboys: 6-7 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 31-24 at Chicago
The sky is falling in Dallas as the Cowboys fall below .500. America’s team has been a mess in recent weeks, especially defensively. Mitchell Trubisky looked like one of the league’s best passers facing that Dallas secondary. On the flip side, Dak Prescott is moving the ball down the field, but too many drives have come up empty. A late surge made the scoreline look respectable, but this was another beatdown for a team lacking an identity. Despite all the well-documented problems, the Cowboys are still in control of the NFC East.

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19. Indianapolis Colts: 6-7 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 38-35 at Tampa Bay
I still don’t know the Colts lost this game. Jameis Winston threw three interceptions, including one that was returned by Darius Leonard for a touchdown. Tampa Bay had no real success running the ball either, yet Indianapolis continued to get burned by Winston through the air, squandering a 14-point second half lead. The path to the playoffs is a lot tougher now as Indy trails Houston and Tennessee by two games. This defense needs to step it up down the stretch if the Colts are going to catch either of them.

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20. Denver Broncos: 5-8 (Last Week: 21)
Won 38-24 at Houston
The Drew Lock era picked up a monumental win over the Texans. The Broncos had easily their best offensive game of the year in a thrashing. Lock looked great, as did fellow rookie Noah Fant. Defensively, Denver took its foot off the gas after building a 35-point lead, but this was a real showcase of how good the unit can be. This final stretch could go a long way in building a bright future for the Broncos.

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21. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-8 (Last Week: 23)
Won 45-10 at Jacksonville
Finally, the Chargers featured in a lopsided game. Los Angeles blew the doors off an overmatched Jacksonville squad. Austin Ekeler accounted for over 100 yards rushing and over 100 yards receiving. The contest got so out of hand that Tyrod Taylor made an appearance and threw a touchdown pass. This is the type of showing the Chargers have been waiting for all year long. It is likely too little too late, but it certainly gives them something to build on.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 4-9 (Last Week: 24)
Won 40-20 vs. Carolina
Once again, Atlanta dominated Carolina. Matt Ryan carved up the Panthers secondary, while Devonta Freeman and Brian Hill turned in solid performances on the ground. With four forced turnovers, this was a complete showing. The struggles for the Falcons this year have been around keeping everyone healthy, evidenced by the latest news that Calvin Ridley is done for the rest of the season. There is talent on this roster, Atlanta just can’t seem to get everyone on the field together.

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23. Oakland Raiders: 6-7 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 42-21 vs. Tennessee
Things have gone sideways in Oakland. After a 6-4 start, the Raiders have lost three straight in incredible fashion. The latest one secured the AFC West for Kansas City. The offense played reasonably well in Josh Jacob’s absence, but the defense has fallen off a cliff. Ryan Tannehill shredded the secondary and Derrick Henry ran all over the front seven. Tennessee is certainly headed in the right direction, but Oakland offered little resistance.

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24. Carolina Panthers: 5-8 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 40-20 at Atlanta
It was another uninspiring day for the Panthers defense. Turns out that firing Ron Rivera did nothing to solve the problems currently facing this team. It is clear Carolina needs Cam Newton back and desperately needs to find some more talent to add to the secondary. Getting blown out by a combined total of 46 points by Atlanta is just a sign of how far this team needs to go in order to get back on track.

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25. Arizona Cardinals: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 23-17 vs. Pittsburgh
It was a bit of a bounce back for the Cardinals despite the final result. However, the same issues cropped up once again. Kyler Murray took five sacks and tossed three interceptions. Defensively, Arizona played one of its better games of the year, but it was against a decimated Pittsburgh offense. In the end, the errors and inexperience proved to be too much as the Cardinals dropped their sixth straight contest.

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26. Washington: 3-10 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 20-15 at Green Bay
It was ultimately a loss, but honestly this was closer than Washington ever should have been with Green Bay. There are some brutal stats in this game for Dwayne Haskins and company. Aaron Jones outrushed the entire Washington team and the offense as a whole barely managed over 250 yards. Defensively, Bill Callahan has this team playing the best it has all season. Four sacks coupled with holding Aaron Rodgers under 200 yards passing, Washington has plenty to hang its hat on. Now if only Haskins would start to show signs that he is taking the next step.

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27. New York Jets: 5-8 (Last Week: 30)
Won 22-21 vs. Miami
This team is unbelievably banged up. With Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, most of the offensive line and a good chunk of the defense unavailable, this was a gutty performance. On one hand, New York held Miami out of the end zone, giving up seven field goals. On the other, Sam Darnold had an uneven performance, but it ultimately ended in a win. The Jets still have plenty of holes on the roster, but they are starting to identify a decent base to rely on going forward.

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28. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-9 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 45-10 vs. Los Angeles
Turning the offense back over to Gardner Minshew did not provide much of a spark. The Jaguars got steamrolled at home in an embarrassing meeting with the Chargers. Jacksonville has to do a better job establishing the run and figure out what happened to its once-dominant defense. With five straight losses and a mess of problems, it would not be a surprise to see the team move on from coach Doug Marrone at the end of the year.

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29. Miami Dolphins: 3-10 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 22-21 at New York
At least Miami knows it has a good kicker. Otherwise, this was a disappointing follow up to knocking off the Eagles the week prior. Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best to power a lackluster offense, leading the team in rushing. It was also a bit ridiculous to not see more of DeVante Parker against a banged up Jets secondary. No one expected the Dolphins to be competitive this season, but now that they have shown the capability, it is tough to stay positive when they drop games like this.

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30. Detroit Lions: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 20-7 at Minnesota
If there is any team wishing for the season to end right now, it is the Lions. With Matt Stafford and Jeff Driskel hurt, David Blough has been thrust into action. He proved to be outmatched by a good Vikings front seven on Sunday, taking five sacks, including three at the hands of Danielle Hunter. It is hard to judge this team right now given the lack of talent it has to work with, but that doesn’t make the slow crawl to the end of the year any less painful.

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31. New York Giants: 2-11 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 23-17 (OT) at Philadelphia
For one half, it looked like Eli Manning was going to channel some of that mind-boggling magic as he has done so often throughout his career. Instead, the offense flopped in the second half and the defense could not hold on to see the game out. There were some positive signs as Darius Slayton continues to look like a diamond in the rough, but the secondary is still a joke and Saquon Barkley still has not been able to get back into the same groove he was in a year ago. Given how far this young team feels from competing right now, the result is probably a good thing. Chase Young is well within reach.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-12 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 27-19 at Cleveland
Cincinnati could not find a way to string together wins, but played tough in the loss. Andy Dalton is clearly not the future at quarterback, but his play relative to Ryan Finley indicates Finley isn’t the future either. This team seems like a lock for a top-two pick, meaning they should have their preference of the current college quarterbacks. There is a very good chance we will see Joe Burrow suiting up for the Bengals in the not-too-distant future.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a loaded week of games, including three on turkey day. There were a ton of notable results this week. The Ravens edged the 49ers to maintain their spot atop the power rankings. Seattle downed Minnesota and moves into first place in the NFC West with San Francisco losing. Baltimore also takes over in the AFC with New England falling in Houston.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Jets made the wrong kind of history by becoming the first team to lose two games in one season against teams that entered the game with an 0-7 or worse record. The Bengals can celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl, because they avoid joining the Browns, Buccaneers and Lions in the winless season club, but still hold onto the first overall pick at the moment. This might be the most active week yet in terms of teams shifting in the rankings. They look almost unrecognizable compared to a week ago given all the significant results.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 10-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 20-17 vs. San Francisco
Week after week, Baltimore continues to show why it is the toast of the NFL right now. There is a mess of teams sitting at 10-2 right now, but the Ravens look the best of the bunch, besting the 49ers in some miserable weather on Sunday. It was far from a dominant showing, but Lamar Jackson continued to wow and the defense stepped up big time to make some critical plays. It felt like an old-school contest with both teams eclipsing the 150 yard-mark on the ground. Justin Tucker hit the walk-off winner and the road to the Super Bowl might just run through Baltimore.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 10-2 (Last Week: 2)
Won 37-30 vs. Minnesota
Seattle’s impressive run continues despite a near collapse. The Seahawks definitely let Kirk Cousins and company back into the game with a couple of costly mistakes, but made enough plays down the stretch to seal the win. The run game carried Seattle much of the night, finishing with 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It allowed the Seahawks to dominant time of possession at a nearly two to one ratio. Pete Carroll has this team atop the NFC West and in line for a first-round bye, but it cannot afford any slip ups with how tight the conference is at the moment.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 10-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 26-18 at Atlanta
The end of this game got very interesting in all the wrong ways for Saints fans, but the defense held on for a significant victory. New Orleans sacked Matt Ryan nine times and locked up the NFC South in the process. Pair that with a loss by the 49ers and suddenly the Saints can think about homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Those two teams will face off in the Bayou in the biggest matchup of Week 14. Winner will likely get that coveted first-round bye.

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4. San Francisco 49ers: 10-2 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 20-17 at Baltimore
This was a tough way to lose given how well the defense played. Lamar Jackson tore up the 49ers on the ground, but San Francisco did a good job limiting him as a passer. Jimmy Garoppolo just could not find a way to spark the offense in the second half. It has been a great start to the season for San Francisco, and losing on the road to a top team is forgivable, but the offensive showing left a lot to be desired. Suddenly, San Francisco is facing the prospect of a road playoff game after leading the conference heading into the weekend.

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5. New England Patriots: 10-2 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 28-22 at Houston
Welcome to the point in the year where everyone panics about the Patriots. It is happening a little later than usual, and this time might actually be warranted. Despite the final scoreline, New England trailed 28-9 in the fourth quarter of this game. A late push almost saw the Pats come all the way back, but it is clear this offense is not in a good place. Tom Brady struggled for most of the game, while the defense was far from dominant. There isn’t really much of a resume to make you think this team is ready to contend either, with only two wins over teams currently above .500. With Kansas City up next, the Patriots need to get back on track fast if they hope to hang onto that first-round bye.

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6. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-4 (Last Week: 7)
Won 40-9 vs. Oakland
This felt like the weirdest Chiefs’ dominant performance in recent memory. Patrick Mahomes barely completed 50 percent of his passes, threw for one touchdown and was held under 200 yards passing. Kansas City did not break 100 yards rushing and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Naturally, KC won by 31. The Chiefs defense led the way, forcing three turnovers. It was a bizarre game, but the result is all that matters as Kansas City builds a cushion in the AFC West. A showdown with the Patriots awaits.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 9-3 (Last Week: 8)
Won 31-13 at New York
The Packers did what they needed to do in dominating the Giants. There were still some signs of recovering from last week’s beatdown against San Francisco. It took Green Bay a long time to truly put the game out of reach and the ground game struggled a lot in the snow. Aaron Rodgers was red hot despite the wintry weather, tossing four touchdowns. The Pack are back on track heading into the final four games of the regular season.

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8. Houston Texans: 8-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 28-22 vs. New England
Welcome to the party Houston. The Texans announced themselves as contenders on Sunday night by taking down the reigning champs. While they almost blew it, this was truly a dominant display. Deshaun Watson was masterful and the defense did a good job of frustrating Tom Brady for most of the night. I’m sure Bill O’Brien will have much to say about the near collapse, but the win keeps Houston atop the AFC South.

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9. Minnesota Vikings: 8-4 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-30 at Seattle
Minnesota dug itself another hole, and this one was too deep to climb out of. The Vikings will have no one to blame but themselves after committing a number of errors that ultimately cost them a chance to win. Dalvin Cook had a game to forget, but Mike Zimmer did not do enough to establish the run in this game. There were things to like from this outing though, as Minnesota hung tough on the road with one of the best teams in the NFC. Close only counts in horseshoes, but the Vikings have easily-identifiable areas for improvement.

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10. Buffalo Bills: 9-3 (Last Week: 11)
Won 26-15 at Dallas
Don’t look now, but the Bills are just one game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Can Buffalo really start thinking about its first division title since 1995? It might be a bit early for that, but beating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving keeps those dreams alive. Josh Allen played great, accounting for two scores and no turnovers. Devin Singletary continues to emerge as a true multi-use back as well. Defensively, the Bills gave up a ton of yards, but forced two turnovers. Buffalo gets it biggest test yet with a visit from Baltimore on the horizon.

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11. Tennessee Titans: 7-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 31-17 vs. Indianapolis
Are the Titans for real? Tennessee currently sits just outside the AFC playoff picture and is just a game back of Houston in the division. The Titans also own a win over the Chiefs this year as well. Ryan Tannehill is 5-1 as the starter as he and Derrick Henry continue to revitalize this offense. The defense continues to make big plays as well with two interceptions and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. Tennessee will get a chance to prove itself in this final stretch with games against Oakland and New Orleans and a pair of contests with Houston remaining.

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12. Los Angeles Rams: 7-5 (Last Week: 14)
Won 34-7 at Arizona
These are the Rams we expected to see for most of this season. Jared Goff threw the ball all over the yard, hitting the 300-yard mark before halftime, and finishing with 424 and a pair of scores. Los Angeles had a productive day running the ball as well, led by Todd Gurley. This might have been against one of the worst defenses in the league, but it keeps LA’s playoff hopes alive and provides something to build on moving forward.

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13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-5 (Last Week: 15)
Won 20-13 vs. Cleveland
Pittsburgh won again and I’m still extremely confused as to how. The offense is missing it’s starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Delvin Hodges made his first NFL start against the Browns and led them to an important victory. The defense got after Baker Mayfield and Joe Haden pulled the plug on his former team’s comeback bid with a late interception. Pittsburgh is holding onto the final AFC playoff spot at the moment, but must face the Bills and Ravens to close the season.

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14. Dallas Cowboys: 6-6 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 26-15 vs. Buffalo
Dallas got punched in the mouth on Thanksgiving, losing the third of its last four games. That once prolific offense struggled to put up points for the second week in a row as well. The deficit was really instrumental in how this game unfolded. After falling behind early, the Cowboys had to abandon the run. That played right into the Bills’ hands, who have a great secondary, but are suspect against the run. Dallas is somehow still comfortably leading the NFC East, but this team has first-round exit written all over it right now.

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15. Chicago Bears: 6-6 (Last Week 20)
Won 24-20 at Detroit
Are the Bears finally on the right track? Maybe. Their jump in rankings is more about the teams around them struggling and less about them. So many teams on the outside of the playoff bubble lost this week, but Chicago pulled out a much-needed victory. Even though Detroit’s defense is terrible, it was good to see Mitchell Trubisky excel. He finally got over the 300-yard mark passing on the year. The Bears are truly a long shot to reach the playoffs, but they have another winnable game coming up when they face the Cowboys.

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16. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-7 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 37-31 at Miami
The spiral continues for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Philly dropped its third game in a row with a devastating loss to Miami. Wentz actually played fairly well, with his interception coming on a Hail Mary that was batted around to end the game. It was the Eagles defense that had absolutely no answer for Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker. Parker had 159 yards and two touchdowns, while Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles still control their playoff fate, but this team seems to have a new unit that falls apart every week.

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17. Indianapolis Colts: 6-6 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 31-17 at Tennessee
In what was a clear litmus test for both teams in this contest, Indy proved once again that injuries and kicking woes were too much to overcome. With Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton still out, this offense is playing with a skeleton crew. It is a testament to this team’s core that they are still competitive and sitting at .500, but the Colts need to get healthy to really make a playoff push. It might not take anything more than a 9-7 record to reach the postseason in the AFC after all.

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18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-7 (Last Week: 21)
Won 28-11 at Jacksonville
Jameis Winston failed to throw a touchdown pass and the Bucs won by 17. This defense came to play, chasing Nick Foles from the game. Tampa came up with three turnovers and scored a touchdown on one of them. Peyton Barber punched in a pair of touchdowns as well. There is definitely something to be excited about for this club after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. It is not out of the question for the Buccaneers to win out, but it is just as likely they finish 0-4. Time to see if Tampa Bay can find some consistency.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 5-7 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 20-13 at Pittsburgh
It was another frustrating loss for the Browns, who lost all the momentum they had built in recent weeks. Pittsburgh was about as beat up and inexperienced at key positions as Cleveland could have hoped, but it could not make that matter. Baker Mayfield was uninspiring. Nick Chubb had a subpar game. The Steelers also got to Mayfield five times in the contest. Considering the expectations for this team, specifically the offense, heading into the year, Freddie Kitchens is in some hot water with this latest performance.

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20. Oakland Raiders: 6-6 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 40-9 at Kansas City
Oakland entered Sunday with a chance to take the lead in the AFC West. Instead, the Raiders laid an egg for the second week in a row, getting blown out in a game they needed to win. It was an awful performance from the offense. It committed three turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. After a second-straight lackluster performance, Oakland has to stop worrying about the playoffs and simply focus on executing. The AFC’s final playoff spot is still up for grabs, but the Raiders will have no shot at it if they keep playing in their current form.

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21. Denver Broncos: 4-8 (Last Week: 27)
Won 23-20 vs. Los Angeles
Drew Lock played much like you would expect from a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. He had some good plays mixed with some bad and really didn’t light up the box score. Lock did push the ball downfield and make some tough throws to lead the Broncos to a victory. Without Von Miller or Bradley Chubb, the defense still played well and made enough plays to give Denver a chance to win. With injuries piling up, these final four games represent nothing more an evaluation period for young players, mostly notably Lock.

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22. Carolina Panthers: 5-7 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 29-21 vs. Washington
I wanted to drop Carolina even further after this dismal performance, but so many teams around them in the rankings also lost. Saw what you want about Kyle Allen, I expected a lot more from this defense. The Panthers gave up 248 yards rushing, 8.3 yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns. Considering Washington is playing with a rookie quarterback, this is completely unacceptable. Carolina is in free fall right now after losing four straight and looking like it might be headed for a rebuild of some kind.

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23. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-8 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 23-20 at Denver
Los Angeles lost its eighth game of the season and its eighth one by fewer than eight points. This last one was unbelievably unlucky considering the controversial pass interference call that set up the Broncos winning field goal. Defensively, the Chargers need more out of their front seven playing against a rookie quarterback in his first start. LA hit Drew Lock exactly zero times. It has been a lost season for the Chargers, who may have to start thinking about moving on from Philip Rivers.

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24. Atlanta Falcons: 3-9 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 26-18 vs. New Orleans
After an uninspiring first 55 minutes, the Falcons suddenly sprang to life and almost made an unthinkable comeback. In the end, Atlanta dropped to 3-9. The patchwork offensive line gave up nine sacks to the Saints and failed to open too many holes for the run game. It has been another injury-plagued year that will end in disappointment. Atlanta will have some major questions surrounding the franchise this offseason.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-8 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 28-11 vs. Tampa Bay
Nick Foles has only played three games for the Jaguars, but looks like he might be a very expensive mistake. Doug Marrone pulled the former Super Bowl MVP in favor of Gardner Minshew. The offense responded better under Minshew and finally stopped turning the ball over. The 2017 AFC championship game feels like a lifetime ago now and Jacksonville feels much closer to a rebuild than it does a return to the postseason.

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26. Arizona Cardinals: 3-8-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 34-7 vs. Los Angeles
Even when they weren’t winning, it was easy to highlight the positives in every performance for Arizona. That was much harder to do on Sunday. The Cardinals were overmatched by a Rams team that seemed very prepared for the matchup. The secondary continues to rival the worst in the league after giving up an astronomical number of yards to Jared Goff in the first half. Kyler Murray also looked lost and confused for much of the game, taking six sacks and tossing an interception. Expectations were never high for Arizona this year, but performances like this should not be happening.

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27. Washington: 3-9 (Last Week: 28)
Won 29-21 vs. Carolina
Wait. Washington has won back-to-back games? Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice powered the offense to an impressive win. Dwayne Haskins continues to look very raw, missing on a lot of passes and showing lots of room for improvement. Still, he avoided turning the ball over, which has to count for something. There is no way this team will rush for nearly 250 yards every week, but this looks like a winning formula.

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28. Miami Dolphins: 3-9 (Last Week: 31)
Won 37-31 vs. Philadelphia
Miami definitely isn’t tanking anymore after taking down the Eagles. The Dolphins still have a long way to go, but Brian Flores deserves a lot of credit for this team’s recent success. Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to make plays for an offense lacking proven playmakers and DeVante Parker played the best game of career. The defense did just enough to hang on for the win. The result won’t really mean much in the standings, but it a sign this team is headed in the right direction.

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29. Detroit Lions: 3-8-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 24-20 vs. Chicago
I’ve got to give the Lions a lot of credit. Most teams would’ve folded heading into a divisional game on a short week with an undrafted rookie quarterback making his first start. Instead, Detroit was incredible competitive and actually looked fairly polished offensively, given the circumstances. Having Kenny Golladay made that easier, but when David Blough and and Bo Scarborough are doing a lot of the heavy lifting, this was impressive. The defense is still a mess, but that’s nothing new. The Lions are approaching things with 2020 vision.

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30. New York Jets: 4-8 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 22-6 at Cincinnati
Welcome back to the roller coaster ride that is the New York Jets. After battering a playoff-hopeful Raiders team, the Jets looked lifeless against a winless Bengals team. It is clear Adam Gase is still struggling to figure out how game plan for the talent he has available. Injuries have decimated this roster, but that humility remains the same. New York continues to end up on the wrong side of historic losses and the list of offseason needs continues to grow.

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31. New York Giants: 2-10 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 31-13 vs. Green Bay
Not to be outdone by the inept Jets, the Giants were overmatched in a snow storm on Sunday. The Packers are a very good opponent, but there is a lot to be concerned about with this team. Saquon Barkley seems to have regressed from last season. Daniel Jones had a rough outing, but those are to be expected from a rookie quarterback. The larger issues exist on defense, where New York offered little resistance for Aaron Rodgers. It is hard to stop the future Hall of Famer, but this was another questionable showing defensively.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-11 (Last Week: 32)
Won 22-6 vs. New York
It finally happened! The Bengals will avoid the company of the Browns, Lions and Buccaneers after winning their first game of the year. Predictably, it was against the Jets. Andy Dalton looked pretty sharp in his return to the starting lineup. His stats don’t even do his performance justice given how many touchdown passes Cincinnati dropped in the contest. This probably doesn’t save Dalton’s job long term, but it does buy him credit from grateful fans who are undoubtedly thankful to avoid that embarrassing bit of history.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

Everything is starting to come into focus, in the NFC that is. We pretty much know who the six playoff teams will be, with only the qualifier from the NFC East seeming uncertain. We even got some clarity as to how the top teams stack up with the 49ers thrashing the Packers in primetime. There is a two-game gap though between the Vikings, who currently hold the second wildcard spot in the conference, and everyone else chasing them. There is still lots to play for down the stretch, but I feel confident in saying that collection of seven teams will make up the six who feature in the postseason.

On the AFC side of things, this is absolute anarchy. There are four teams tied at 6-5 right now, and honestly none of them even feel all that deserving of the second wildcard spot. The Steelers currently hold that position, but given how shaky that offense is, they might not have it for long. Even the current division winners feel a little murky, as Kansas City and Houston both own the same record through 11 games. I say it all the time, but these rankings have truly felt like guesswork this year. There has been a reshuffling of the top five and some heavy movement in the middle of the rankings so let’s dive in.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 9-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 45-6 at Los Angeles
There really are not enough adjectives to describe how dominant the Ravens look right now. Baltimore outscored the two teams that featured in last year’s Super Bowl 92-26. That is astounding. Lamar Jackson was on fire again, this time throwing five touchdown passes. The defense swallowed up Jared Goff and kept this Rams team from ever getting into a rhythm. This is a confident outfit that is clearly out to prove it is the best in the league. I can’t think of a team that coaches want to face less right now than Baltimore.

Seahawks logo2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-2 (Last Week: 3)
Won 17-9 at Philadelphia
Is it just me, or is this team starting to feel a little bit like those Seattle teams from around 2013. The Seahawks rode their ground game and smothering defense to a gritty road win. It was far from perfect, as Russell Wilson was sacked six times. The defense more than made up for it though with five forced turnovers. There are several reasons why this season has been impressive for Seattle, but its 6-0 road record might top the list. That bodes well for a team currently holding a wildcard spot. (It is ridiculous that Seattle is currently in a wildcard spot, but that’s the NFL for ya.)

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3. San Francisco 49ers: 10-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 37-8 vs. Green Bay
San Francisco is not messing around. I don’t know if Jimmy Garoppolo heard all the questions being raised about his ability to show up against teams that weren’t the Cardinals, but he sure answered a lot of them with this performance. It was truly a full team effort, but Garoppolo had 253 yards passing and two touchdowns on just 20 attempts. The 49ers were also very happy to get George Kittle back, who had a monster game. This firmly puts San Francisco in the driver’s seat in the NFC, but they can hardly afford a slip up with Seattle holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

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4. New England Patriots: 10-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 13-9 vs. Dallas
It is officially time to panic for this Patriots offense. Tom Brady threw the ball 37 times and failed to crack 200 yards passing. The Cowboys defense he faced on Sunday is not good enough for that to be happening. New England’s defense is more than capable of bailing the offense out from time to time, but this team is going to need to start scoring more points. After all, it is heading into big games down the stretch with Houston, Kansas City and Buffalo all on tap.

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5. New Orleans Saints: 9-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 34-31 vs. Carolina
That was entirely way too close for comfort for Saints fans. New Orleans had this game all but wrapped up, but kept finding ways to let Carolina back into it. The talent for this group is undeniable, but it needs to find more consistency. That is going to start with the defense based on this game. Drew Brees and company played about as well as you could’ve hoped. Cameron Jordan and friends need to do more after allowing Kyle Allen to toss three touchdowns against them.

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6. Minnesota Vikings: 8-3 (Last Week: 7)
Bye Week
Minnesota has to like how the cards have fallen in recent weeks. The Vikings now control their own fate and could even earn a home playoff game with a win over the Packers later in the year. With a week off to get Adam Thielen back to full strength, Minnesota has to feel very good about where it stands in a loaded NFC. A litmus test against Seattle is the first thing this team will get coming off the bye. While the focus for both teams will be on winning their respective divisions, this game could decide the seeding of the two NFC wildcard teams come the end of the season.

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7. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-4 (Last Week: 8)
Bye Week
This hasn’t been how the Chiefs wanted the follow up season to go after reaching the AFC Championship. Injuries have knocked them off course a bit, but Kansas City is still very much in control of it’s playoff fate and lurking in the AFC. While much has been made about the Patriots defense and MVP-favorite Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes still commands what can be the most explosive offense in the league. Fans just have to hope Andy Reid was able to fix the defense on the bye week. An important meeting with Raiders, who sit just a game back in the division despite their meltdown against the Jets, is next. A rematch of that AFC title game with the Patriots follows that divisional clash.

Packers logo8. Green Bay Packers: 8-3 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-8 at San Francisco
Relax? This is the type of game that we could look back on as a turning point in the Packers season. Falling to 8-3, that actually drops Green Bay behind San Francisco, New Orleans and Seattle record wise, meaning that the climb to a first-round bye in the playoffs is steep. The Pack also suddenly find themselves level with the Vikings in the divisional standings. It was a failure to launch across the board, as the offensive line fell apart and the defense got pulled apart by Jimmy Garoppolo. Aaron Rodgers also had the least efficient game of his career. This team has the talent to rebound and finish strong, but this was a clear barometer for the contender status of two elite NFC teams. Clearly, San Francisco has the edge.

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9. Houston Texans: 7-4 (Last Week: 11)
Won 20-17 vs. Indianapolis
This was a gutsy win for the Texans as they reclaimed their spot atop the AFC West. The defense showed up in a big way, shutting down the Colts pass attack and doing just enough to protect a slim lead in the late stages of the contest. Houston showed it could move the ball all night, but that only translated to two touchdowns. Given how leaky the defense can be, Deshaun Watson will have to lead the offense on more drives that finish in the end zone.

Cowboys logo10. Dallas Cowboys: 6-5 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 13-9 at New England
In likely the ugliest game of the weekend, and that’s saying something, Dallas really could not find a way to get into gear. The defense played fairly well, holding the Patriots to just 13 points. Given how explosive the offense can be, the Cowboys should have had no problem rolling to a victory. Give New England’s defense (and the refs) some credit for shutting down Dallas’ offense, but Jerry Jones made it very clear the expectations are higher for this group. The caliber of defense the Cowboys face won’t get any easier either with the Bills up next.

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11. Buffalo Bills: 8-3 (Last Week: 15)
Won 20-3 vs. Denver
Lost in the incredible seasons we are seeing in San Francisco and New England, Buffalo boasts one of the best defenses in the league. The Bills held Brandon Allen and the Broncos to just 148 yards of total offense on Sunday. It was a stellar day running the ball as well. As a team, Buffalo racked up 244 yards rushing and saw Frank Gore pass Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list. The Bills have benefited from a soft schedule, but they will get a chance to prove themselves with the Cowboys, Ravens and Patriots all left to play before the season is over.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 6-5 (Last Week: 17)
Won 42-20 vs. Jacksonville
Every once in a while, particularly against the Jaguars, Derrick Henry turns in one of the best performances we will see during a given season by a running back. He shredded Jacksonville again on Sunday, this time for 159 yards and two touchdowns. That included a 74-yard rumble as well. Ryan Tannehill also put together a stellar statline with 259 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 throws. The former Dolphin averaged an outrageous 14.4 yards per attempt. The biggest challenge facing the Titans is playing at this level consistently, but their last two games have been impressive.

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13. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-6 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 17-9 vs. Seattle
It was another rough offensive outing for the Eagles, who finally got into the end zone in garbage time in a losing effort. Honestly, the ultimate frisbee exhibition that took place at halftime was more entertaining than most of the game. (Seriously, check it out.) Without Alshon Jeffrey or Jordan Howard, Carson Wentz struggled to get the ball moving. For as much as he has struggled this year, Wentz really has not had a whole lot around him. If this season has shown anything, its that Philly really lacks depth at some key positions on both sides of the ball. The schedule gets a whole lot easier going forward. Win out, and the Eagles are in the playoffs, no matter what.

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14. Los Angeles Rams: 6-5 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 45-6 vs. Baltimore
I don’t think too many people expected the Rams to actually beat the Ravens, but I was among those who thought they might at least be competitive. This looked like a college game between a Power-5 school and a team playing in the FCS. Los Angeles had absolutely no answer for Lamar Jackson or really anyone on the Baltimore offense all night. Jared Goff continued his killer impression of a helpless rookie quarterback as well. The Super Bowl hangover doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon for this group.

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15. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-5 (Last Week: 14)
Won 16-10 at Cincinnati
How in the world do the Steelers keep winning games? It is almost inconceivable that Pittsburgh has a winning record. JuJu Smith Schuster and James Conner both sat out due to injury. Mason Rudolph turned in a dud against the Cincinnati, so Mike Tomlin elected to bench him for Delvin Hodges. Hodges threw the go-ahead touchdown in Rudolph’s place and has the inside track to start next week against the Browns. All of that should be a recipe for disaster, but it wasn’t. Maybe that’s just how bad the Bengals are. It was far from pretty, but they don’t award style points in the NFL.

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16. Oakland Raiders: 6-5 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 34-3 at New York
On Sunday, the 2019 Raiders looked like the 2018 Raiders. Oakland’s defense laid an egg and there was little life from the offense. Overall, Jon Gruden’s crew was undisciplined and unprepared. This was a major setback for a team that had been trending in the right direction of late. The loss will ultimately prove inconsequential if the Raiders can get back on track and beat the Chiefs this week. There is still plenty for Derek Carr and company to play for.

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17. Indianapolis Colts: 6-5 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 20-17 at Houston
Indy’s playoff chances and hopes of winning the division took a major blow with this loss, as Houston now controls the AFC South. There probably should have been a review at the end of this game as to whether or not Darius Leonard recovered a loose ball that would’ve given the Colts another chance to complete their comeback. That said, Jacoby Brissett needs to play better than he did on Thursday considering how well the run game and defense performed. He did have a rushing touchdown, but only managed 152 yards through the air against one of the worst secondaries in the league.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 5-6 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 34-31 at New Orleans
This was a much better performance from Carolina after having the doors blown off by Atlanta last week. Close only counts in horseshoes, but hopefully this can help this group build some momentum for the home stretch. The Panthers came an inexplicable missed field goal away from taking a late lead against the Saints. They clearly need to finish the job, but as long as Christian McCaffrey keeps playing like a beast, this team is going to have a chance to win.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 5-6 (Last Week: 19)
Won 41-24 vs. Miami
And just like that, the Browns are one game out of the playoffs. It is incredible how this team has begun to turn things around. Beating Miami is nothing particularly impressive, but Cleveland did it in convincing fashion. Half the battle is beating the teams you should beat. Baker Mayfield finally seems to be settling into the offense this year. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both had great games and the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has been extremely productive. With a weak schedule remaining, the postseason is in reach.

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20. Chicago Bears: 5-6 (Last Week 22)
Won 19-14 vs. New York
If someone finds the Bears offense from last year, I think Matt Nagy might be willing to pay a lot of money to get it back. The running game was ineffective, managing just 2.5 yards per carry. Mitchell Trubisky struggled again, but Chicago gritted out a win to stay in the playoff conversation, kind of. It would take something of a miracle for the Bears to reach the postseason given that the Vikings are holding down the final wildcard spot with an 8-3 record. While everyone wants to blame Trubisky for the team’s woeful offense, the complete disappearance of a running game is playing a huge part. That Jordan Howard trade is looking worse by the week.

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21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-7 (Last Week: 25)
Won 35-22 at Atlanta
There has been no quarterback as polarizing as Jameis Winston this year. In one moment, he is throwing two early interceptions. The next, he is playing flawless football and leading the Buccaneers to a win over a division rival. Winston far and away leads the NFL in interceptions, something he is going to have to change if he is going to remain the long term starter in Tampa Bay. It does not seem like Bruce Arians has any plans to move on from him though, so the Bucs will ride it out with the gunslinger.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 3-8 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 35-22 vs. Tampa Bay
The bad Falcons defense is back. Atlanta came up with two early interceptions of Jameis Winston, but it was all downhill from there. Winston had a ridiculous 11.2 yards per attempt as he finished with 313 yards and three touchdowns. Without a running game, the Falcons put a lot of faith in Matt Ryan, and he really didn’t deliver. He spent much of the game running for his life, as the Bucs brought him down six times, hitting him 13 times in total. This team has been one of the most frustrating ones in the league this year. With Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, expectations were much higher than a 3-8 start.

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23. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-7 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 42-20 at Tennessee
It has been two weeks since Nick Foles has returned and the Jaguars played their worst football of the year. Now, it isn’t fair to blame this all on Foles because it has been the defense that has disappeared. Jacksonville’s once vaunted unit has given up 75 points over the past two weeks. Playoff hopes have all but disappeared on this three game losing streak. Doug Marrone’s seat is definitely getting a bit warmer as well. The only real positive is the continued emergence of Leonard Fournette as a complete back. He had 97 yards and two touchdowns rushing, but also accounted for 62 yards receiving on nine catches.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)24. Arizona Cardinals: 3-7-1 (Last Week: 26)
Bye Week
Despite the less than stellar record for Arizona, this team has taken major strides from where it was a year ago. Kyler Murray has looked the part of a franchise quarterback and the offense has a lot more depth at the skill positions than it did last season. That opens up the Cardinals to focus on shoring up the offensive line and adding to a middling secondary. Despite the offensive successes, Arizona has one of just three defenses giving up over 400 yards per game. There is still a ways to go, but the foundation is in place.

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25. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-7 (Last Week: 27)
Bye Week
A week off for the Chargers was much needed after Philip Rivers’ Monday night meltdown in Week 11. Los Angeles has a shot at the playoffs simply because it is not mathematically eliminated yet. While it might not be possible for Anthony Lynn to get all the way to the postseason, the defense will finally get Derwin James back. That should be a much-needed boost to help stabilize what has been an underperforming unit all season long. If the Chargers are going to run the table, they will have to start by beating the Broncos in Denver.

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26. New York Jets: 4-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 34-3 vs. Oakland
Games like this are why I am not a gambling man. The Jets had been playing better in recent weeks, but I don’t think anyone saw a 31-point beatdown of the Raiders coming. Sam Darnold played lights out and the defense battered Derek Carr. They might have only sacked Carr once, but they hit him six times. What was more shocking was actually the offensive line on the other side of the ball. New York has surrendered the third most sacks in the league this year, but only allowed Darnold to be hit once on Sunday. With the hapless Bengals on tap, the Jets have a real shot to stretch this streak out to four in a row.

Denver_Broncos27. Denver Broncos: 3-8 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 20-3 at Buffalo
The Drew Lock era is drawing near. In what has been a lost season for the Broncos, Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen have both tried, and failed, to spark a lifeless offense. There is a possibility the rookie from Missouri will make his first appearance against the Chargers. He has spent the entire season on injured reserve. Lock can’t be expected to solve all this team’s offensive woes, but anything has to be better than the pathetic 134 yards Denver managed in Buffalo.

Washington made up logo28. Washington: 2-9 (Last Week: 31)
Won 19-16 vs. Detroit
Dwayne Haskins got his first NFL as a starter and he was so excited he forgot to come back on the field for the final snap. Instead, he was taking a selfie with a fan. Haskins actually didn’t play very well, completing just 13 of his 29 passes and committing two turnovers. He turned it up on the final two drives, but it was another lackluster outing. Defensively, Washington came up with four takeaways to make up for the offense’s poor play. It wasn’t confidence inspiring and all this win really does is hurt the team’s draft position.

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29. Detroit Lions: 3-7-1 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 19-16 at Washington
It has been a trying season for Detroit. After an impressive start, the Lions have gone 1-7. Matt Stafford is working through a serious back injury and far from certain to return this year. Kerryon Johnson is on the shelf as well. However, the bigger problem is the struggling defense that is giving up nearly 400 yards per game. Matters weren’t helped by Jeff Driskel having his worst game to date in Washington,  as he tossed three interceptions. If Detroit continues to spiral, Matt Patricia’s job will be in danger.

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30. New York Giants: 2-9 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 19-14 at Chicago
Expectations that Daniel Jones would turn this franchise around were outlandish, but this has been a humbling season. Saquon Barkley looks nowhere near as explosive as he did a year ago and injuries have decimated the receiving core. Jones did throw two touchdowns on Sunday, but managed a paltry 4.2 yards per attempt and finished with 150 passing yards. Defensively, this team is relying on two rookies at corner, who have both had very tough seasons. New York has to focus on developing those young players to build a foundation for the future.

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31. Miami Dolphins: 2-9 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 41-20 at Cleveland
The hope Miami built during that two-game stretch has completely vanished with noncompetitive losses to Buffalo and Cleveland. The Dolphins defense has given up 78 points in the past two games. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had no support in the running game, leading the team with 45 yards. This roster has been stripped down to the bare bones, so it should come as no surprise Miami is struggling, but there is still a laundry list of offseason needs the front office will have to attempt to fill.

Bengals Logo

32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-11 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 16-10 vs. Pittsburgh
Rock bottom just keeps getting lower for this group. Somehow Devlin Hodges came in to lead the Steelers to a win. If you are looking for positives, the Bengals lost by six points after losing by seven the week before. The defense has actually played alright, but the offense has had the wheels fall off even worse than usual. Andy Dalton is going to be back under center against the Jets this week.

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