NFL Power Rankings Week 14: The Elite Tier

2 of 5

SLR’s Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 32-25 Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) is hit as he throws late in the fourth quarter by New England Patriots defensive end Andre Carter (96) and Rob Ninkovich (50) at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots beat the Texans 34-31.Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

32. Houston Texans (2-10) ▼2

If there’s anything positive about this season, it’s that Case Keenum and Ben Tate have had coming-out parties. Those guys helped the Texans push the Patriots to the limit, but in the end, it’s their 10th-straight loss anyway. It’s hard to argue with a 10-game losing streak when you’re looking for the league’s worst team.

31. Atlanta Falcons (3-9) ▲1

Well, they got a win. Maybe they could have done a little more of that when it mattered. All they’re doing now is wrecking their draft position. But where do you even begin fixing this team? The Falcons were supposed to be a title contender, and instead you get this? At least Roddy White is back to form.

30. Washington Redskins (3-9) ▼2

Now is the time to wonder: are they really underperforming this season, or did they just outperform their talent level last season? It’s hard to imagine this team being in the playoffs less than a season ago. Then again, look at the Falcons. Things happen.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) ▼2

The Bucs had gotten hot with three straight wins, but to an even hotter one in the Panthers. Mike Glennon and the offense sputtered out, but who doesn’t against Carolina? Still, the only way this play could be more indicative of the Bucs’ season is if the football was infected with MRSA.

28. Cleveland Browns (4-8) ▼2

Losing to the Jaguars is not an ideal way to keep your team’s slim playoff hopes alive.  The good news: Josh Gordon is awesome, and they got away with highway robbery in the Trent Richardson trade. Get them just an average quarterback, and 2014 and beyond looks bright.

27. Buffalo Bills (4-8) ▼3

A bunch of teams in the playoff hunt lost this week, and the Bills could have stepped into the race through the open door. But that overtime loss to the hapless Falcons should just about close up their playoff aspirations for this season. Had you told a Bills fan in September that they’d take the Falcons to overtime, they likely would have been psyched. Here in December, not so much.

26. Oakland Raiders  (4-8) ▼1

You watch this team from week-to-week and just wonder: do they have actual stars on this team, or just guys who show up whenever? Seems like you can never tell who the top performers are. That makes them bad, but sometimes unpredictably good. On a related note, who in the world is Andre Holmes?

25. Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1) ▲4

Their season is basically reduced to playing spoiler and trolling other teams, and in their last two weeks, they’ve done that incredibly well, with a tie at Green Bay and a win against Chicago. They might be on the verge of an NFL record for starting quarterback switches.