Week 14 proved to be do-or-die for the New York Giants, and a defeat at the hands of the San Diego Chargers meant the postseason was no longer in the cards. The Giants didn’t play like a contender, and now the team is no longer a contender. And as a result, they plummet in the power rankings.
In the NFC East, the Eagles rallied against the Lions in the blizzard at the Linc. The Redskins’ issues on the field are glaring, but they may not even compare to the circus that is taking place away from it.
Jeff Schudel’s Week 15 NFL power rankings
1. Denver Broncos (11-2, last week: 2): The Broncos should cruise to the top seed in the AFC with three sub-.500 teams left on their schedule.
2. Seattle Seahawks (11-2, LW: 1): Losing in San Francisco on Sunday is a reminder how important homefield is to the Seahawks.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3, LW: 4): One week after being overwhelmed in Seattle, the Saints cooled off the red-hot Panthers in the Superdome.
4. San Francisco 49ers (9-4, LW: 9): Phil Dawson kicked the game-winning field goal for the 49ers in their thriller over the Seahawks.
5. Carolina Panthers (9-4, LW: 3): The Saints snapped Carolina’s winning streak at eight. The Panthers get New Orleans in Charlotte on Dec. 22.
6. New England Patriots (10-3, LW: 5): Tom Brady pulled off another miracle comeback to beat the Browns — with a little help from officials.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5, LW: 6): A hamstring injury that sidelined Michael Vick was the best in-season thing that happened to the Eagles this year.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4, LW: 7): The 31-point second quarter against the Browns on Nov. 17 turned the season around for the Bengals.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3, LW: 13): The Chiefs stopped the bleeding of a three-game losing streak and extended the season of misery for the Redskins.
10. Chicago Bears (7-6, LW: 15): The Bears beat the Cowboys on Monday night in a game they had to win to stay in the NFC North race.
11. Baltimore Ravens (7-6, LW: 11): Joe Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left to beat the Vikings and keep the Ravens’ wild-card hopes alive.
12. Arizona Cardinals (8-5, LW: 14): Bruce Arians has done a remarkable coaching job in the same division with Seattle and San Francisco.
13. Indianapolis Colts (8-5, LW: 8): This is a market correction. The one-dimensional Colts were ranked higher last week than they should have been.
14. Detroit Lions (7-6, LW: 10): The Lions are holding onto first place in the NFC North, despite losing three of their last five games.
15. Miami Dolphins (7-6, LW: 18): The Dolphins stayed in the AFC wild-card hunt by rallying to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
16. Dallas Cowboys (7-6, LW: 12): The Dallas defense is as soft as wet tissue paper. It gave up 45 points to the Bears on Monday night.
17. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1, LW: 19): Despite everything that has gone wrong for the Packers, they are only a half-game behind the Lions in the NFC North.
18. New York Jets (6-7, LW: 21): That game between the Browns and the Jets on Dec. 22 is going to be very important to the Jets.
19. San Diego Chargers (6-7, LW: 20): The Chargers are staggering to the finish line, but they showed life by beating the Giants on Sunday.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9, LW: 24): The Buccaneers, 0-8 halfway through the season, have turned their season around.
21. New York Giants (5-8, LW: 16): The Giants thought they were in the playoff hunt when they were 4-6, but they have lost two of their last three games.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8, LW: 17): The Steelers are going to be shut out of the playoffs for the second-straight season.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9, LW: 25): The Jaguars have won four of five games and will probably still take a quarterback with their first draft pick.
24. Tennessee Titans (5-8, LW: 22): The Titans are getting ready to dump running back Chris Johnson as soon as the season ends.
25. St. Louis Rams (5-8, LW: 23): The Rams have a lot of work ahead of them in the AFC West, arguably the best division in the league.
26. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1, LW: 27): The Vikings gave the Ravens a battle but could not hold them off on Baltimore’s last drive.
27. BROWNS (4-9, LW: 26): The Browns don’t know how to close out games and won’t win close ones until they do.
28. Atlanta Falcons (3-10, LW: 29): The Falcons are a major disappointment, but they have the talent on offense to bounce back next year.
29. Oakland Raiders (4-9, LW: 30): Another losing season is in the books for the once proud Raiders.
30. Buffalo Bills (4-9, LW: 28): The Bills and Browns are on the same downward spiral as the season grinds to a conclusion.
31. Washington Redskins (3-10, LW: 31): Three weeks from today, Redskins owner Dan Snyder will be looking for a new head coach.
32. Houston Texans (2-11, LW: 32): The ax fell on Gary Kubiak as expected. Now the rebuilding can officially begin in Houston.