NFL Power Rankings Week 14: The Elite Tier

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SLR’s Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 24-17 Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts (84) catches the game winning pass in the end zone while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9) ▲7

I hope people got their fill of the “Jaguars are so bad LOL” storyline, because they’ve just won their third game in their last four. They have a better winning percentage in the second half of the season than the Colts, who lead the AFC South. It’s hard to imagine anyone looking forward to playing them right now.

23. New York Jets (5-7) ▼1

This is likely not what the Jets had in mind when they were thinking about snapping their alternating win-loss streak. They’ve lost three straight now, Geno Smith got benched for Matt Simms (which went about how you’d expect), and we’re finally seeing the Jets team we expected to see all season.

22. Green Bay Packers (5-6-1) ▼5

No longer can there be any question that the Packers without Aaron Rodgers are one of the NFL’s worst teams. They’ve just completed a winless November (0-4-1), and are barely breathing in the playoff hunt. All the Rodgers in the world won’t help that defense, which gave up 241 rushing yards to the NFL’s 22nd-best rushing offense.

21. Tennessee Titans (5-7) NC

While it’s premature to call anyone out of the AFC playoff hunt just yet, that was a must-win game for the Titans, and one in which they had opportunities to win. They have an uphill climb now if they’re still thinking about the postseason, but with as volatile as the entire AFC playoff situation is, why not?

20. St. Louis Rams (5-7) ▼8

And that’s what happens when you put Kellen Clemens up against a good NFL defense. The defense did pretty much what it was supposed to, but there is still plenty of work for them to do in the offseason, starting with finding a new downfield receiving option.

19. New York Giants (5-7) ▲1

The good news is, they got the win. The bad news is the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away with the division, so it probably doesn’t mean anything anymore. Maybe a late run will help save Tom Coughlin’s job (if it was in question two years after a Super Bowl win), but how many years does Coughlin even have left in him?

18. San Diego Chargers (5-7) NC

There was a time that the Chargers shuffled through the majority of the season, only to snap into gear in December and make the playoffs. They’ve started this December with a loss to the Bengals. They’re still in the hunt, but are they even any good? That was sloppy and ugly against the Bengals.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) ▼1

Ultimately, Steelers fans are lucky they lost to Baltimore on Thursday. Missing the playoffs this year will light a fire under the organization to get younger and make some long-needed changes. If they make the playoffs (which they still could), it will just give them reason to stand pat on a sinking ship.