NFL Power Rankings Week 15: The NFC Opens Wide

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SLR’s Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: 24-17

NFL Power Rankings

Dec 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Richard Marshall (31) stops New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) short of a first down late in the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) NC

If the first half of their season wasn’t such an incredible firebomb, they’d be in the playoff hunt right now. They’ve won four of five, and appear to actually be building some positive momentum. Granted, two of those games came against the woeful Texans, but wins are wins. They have a lot of good to build on for next year. The only problem is, they’ve wrecked their draft position.

23. Tennessee Titans (5-8) ▼2

The Titans were presumed dead the moment Jake Locker went down for the season. Give them credit for rallying to stay in the equation for a few more weeks, much the same as they did against the Broncos. In both cases, they were simply overcome by superior firepower. Hard not to be excited about their young talent at receiver, though.

22. New York Giants (5-8) ▼3

Losing this year’s iteration of the “2004 Draft Bowl” (Eli Manning vs. Philip Rivers) eliminates the Giants from playoff contention, but to be honest, that was long overdue, considering this team started 0-6. Although having said that, actually look at their first six games. Cowboys, Broncos, Panthers, Chiefs, Eagles, Bears. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but that was a brutal stretch of games to open the season with.

21. St. Louis Rams (5-8) ▼1

Whatever hopes they had as a dark horse playoff team died with their loss on Sunday. It’s not surprising that they lost, by any means. It’s a little surprising that their defense got abused on the way there, especially considering the Rams formidable pass rush and the Cardinals’ questionable pass protection.

20. New York Jets (6-7) ▲3

The Jets snapped their losing streak with a dominant win over the Raiders. That’s good, and puts them a mere game out if the race for the AFC’s sixth playoff seed. But that was the Raiders. Can they play like that on the road against Carolina and Miami? They’ll need to if they’re thinking playoffs.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) ▼2

The Steelers nearly stole a game with an incredible finish in a week full of incredible finishes. That couple of inches on the sideline probably made the difference between the Steelers being in the thick of the playoff hunt and now being almost assuredly out of it.

18. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) ▲4

Oddly enough, Matt Flynn may have just saved Aaron Rodgers’ season. With another loss, the Packers’ season would have presumably been over, and they would have been better off giving Rodgers the entire offseason to heal up. But with the win over Atlanta and the Detroit loss, they’re a half-game out of first in the NFC North with Rodgers looking nearly ready to return. That’s much better shape than they probably thought they’d be in.

17. San Diego Chargers (6-7) ▲1

They’re still alive in the playoff hunt, because why not? They’ll need help (namely losses by the Ravens and Dolphins) to go anywhere, but hey, who knows? I can’t even tell which team is going to show up this Thursday against Denver: the one that embarrassed the Giants 37-14, or the one that lost 27-17 to the Raiders?

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  • Barry Wood

    Why are you ranking Denver now for what you think they are gonna do later? Last week Denver is 2 and Seattle is 1. Seattle loses to San Francisco and Denver wins, and puts 51 points on the board, 500+ yds total offense, 130+ yds rushing 397 yds passing- in 15 degree weather. The #1 team right now is Denver. No one in their right mind bets against Peyton Manning. The cold weather deal is over. No other Quarterback in over 15 years has thrown 4 TDs with 0 ints in 15 degree weather . 39-59. The man is awesome. If their defense steps up a notch and the team stays relatively healthy, barring a train wreck, they are Superbowl bound.

    • Leslie Nevarez

      Totally agree! I’m very proud of my team, broncos<3

      • Barry Wood

        The bottom line? Against any team I would pick Peyton over anyone, any day. You simply can’t bet against him and a team he leads. How happy those coaches must be having him there.!

    • Dean Holden

      It’s tough to call Denver and Seattle anything but 1a and 1b. They don’t play each other, and they have few common games, so it’s tough to say which is better. The easy way out would be to put Denver in first because they won and Seattle lost. But they’re both 11-2, and as good as Peyton Manning is, Seattle has the more complete team. On a neutral field, I would expect the Seahawks to be a slight favorite (maybe by 1.5 points or so).

      Also, for what it’s worth, the “cold weather” narrative never amounted to anything more than meaningless conjecture. Being a primarily dome QB for most of his career, most of his cold weather games to this point were playoff games. That will skew anybody’s numbers.