Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots continue to slide in AFC
Through 13 weeks, it’s become clear that there are six good teams in the AFC and one very good, maybe great team. The Ravens are a complete team: offense, defense, special teams, coaching, situationally smart, tough, you name it.
Everybody else has the flaw that they’ll either need to cover up or overcome in the playoffs to get past Baltimore.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
These guys appear to have full-on quit. They lost by 35 to the Chargers a week after losing by 19 to the Bucs. Both losses came at home. They’ve lost five in a row and close at Oakland and Atlanta before hosting the Colts. Nobody’s playing worse.
(Last three rankings: 13, 13, 15)
15. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)
See, normally 1-12 would earn you the bottom spot in the rankings. But the Bengals kinda weren’t a disgrace against Cleveland. And they beat the Jets and they haven’t gotten blown out in a month. So here they are at 15.
(Last three rankings: 16, 15, 15)
14. Miami Dolphins (3-10)
They dropped to 3-10 which – given the talent level on their roster – is still pretty amazing. They play the Giants who’ve lost 10 in a row, then the Bengals before closing with the Patriots.
(Last three rankings: 14, 14, 13)
13. New York Jets (5-8)
Needed a last-second 44-yard field goal to beat the Dolphins at home and improve to 5-8. Good for them. Now they have Baltimore at home. Even though they’ve won four of five, the lone loss came against the Bengals. I suspect they are going to get drilled by the Ravens.
(Last three rankings: 15, 15, 16)
12. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
Remember when they won at Kansas City in Week 5? Just rolled over the Chiefs, little chunks of them in their tire treads? Now they’ve lost five of six and just got outgunned by Jameis Winston, 38-36. They are 6-7 and are at New Orleans next Monday night.
(Last three rankings: 6, 7, 9)
11. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
These guys just pulled the ripcord, huh? They lost by three touchdowns at Tennessee after losing on the road to the Jets and Chiefs by a combined 62 points. They are 6-7 but are the coldest team in the conference aside from the Jags.
(Last three rankings: 4, 6, 8)
10. Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)
They blasted the Jaguars in Jacksonville, 45-10. No team will leave 2019 with a “woulda, coulda, shoulda” air around them quite like San Diego which has lost every one of their eight games by a touchdown or less.
(Last three rankings: 9, 10, 12)
9. Denver Broncos (5-8)
If they get a quarterback of any particular relevance – and maybe Drew Lock is the guy – this could be a team that moves from not good to good. They moved to 5-8 with the win over Houston and now have a game at KC this week which would be a remarkable two-fer if they pulled it off.
(Last three rankings: 11, 12, 11)
8. Cleveland Browns (6-7)
They’ve won four out of five and with games at Arizona and Cincinnati have a reasonable shot at 8-8, which is stunning considering how poorly led and disorganized they are.
(Last three rankings: 12, 11, 10)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
After opening with three losses, they’ve won eight of 11 with the losses coming against the Ravens and at Cleveland. The quality of opponents has not been gaudy, but nobody expected them to get close to 8-5 no matter who they were playing once Ben Roethisberger went down.
They have a tough finish with games at Buffalo and Baltimore sandwiched around the hapless Jets.
(Last three rankings: 8, 9, 7)
6. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
They’ve now won six in a row, including back-to-back road wins over the Colts and Raiders. Ryan Tannehill has led them to six wins in seven games and Mike Vrabel is a legitimate Coach of the Year candidate.
(Last three rankings: 10, 8, 6)
5. Buffalo Bills (9-4)
Buffalo did a credible job holding down the Ravens' running game and they had the ball at the Ravens 16 with a chance to tie the score with a minute left in their 24-17 loss. They stand at 9-4 and have to take care of business at Pittsburgh first to make their game at New England mean much.
If both teams win this weekend, it sets up the Bills' biggest regular season game in at least a decade.
(Last three rankings: 7, 4, 5)
4. New England Patriots (10-3)
Neither of their back-to-back losses did much to diminish what I think of their defense. Both games had short-field touchdowns that were set up by interceptions. They held running games in check. They just let up points to good offenses.
But they are so hamstrung by their offensive personnel, lack of a running game and inability to give Tom Brady time that they are tail-spinning.
(Last three rankings: 2, 2, 2)
3. Houston Texans (8-5)
Hard to figure where to put these guys. They have a worse record than the Patriots and just lost to the Broncos at home but — at this point — they are better than New England even though they’re 8-5. They proved that head-to-head in Week 13.
They are at Tennessee this week in the first of two meetings which will probably decide the winner of that division.
(Last three rankings: 3, 6, 3)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
To go into New England and win says a lot about this team, which is 9-4 and has now won three straight with the most recent loss coming at Tennessee a month ago. The Chiefs have a fairly easy close to the season with Denver, Chicago and the Chargers.
(Last three rankings: 3, 3, 4)
1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)
It’s not just who they’ve beaten but where and how they’ve beaten them. At 11-2, the Ravens have now won in Buffalo, against the Niners, at the Rams, at Seattle, against Houston and the Patriots and at Pittsburgh since their winning streak began. They also beat Cincy twice. Yay.
It’s as impressive a run by a team in some time.
(Last three rankings: 1, 1, 1)