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NFL Power Rankings Week 15

   by Hollywood Sports - 12/16/2014

1. Green Bay Packers (10-3): Offense looks unstoppable at home where Aaron Rodgers now has a 23:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. They averaged 6.0 yards per carry against the Falcons as they prepare their ground game for the playoffs. But is this the same team outside of Lambeau Field? And what about that defense that could not cover Julio Jones?
2. New England Patriots (10-3): Gritty win on the road in San Diego. The LeGarrette Blount signing gives this team so much depth at running back. The might not give the guy who ran for over 200 yards last month another carry …
3. Seattle Seahawks (9-4): No, it was not just the 49ers' offense on Thanksgiving. With their 24-14 win in Philadelphia, the Seahawks have handed their last three opponents their season lows in both points and yardage. This defense is suddenly playing the best in football. Would Denver beat this team right now in a Super Bowl rematch?
4. Denver Broncos (10-3): Their transition to a running team continued last week with their offense producing ten first downs on running plays. But Peyton Manning saw his 51-straight games with a passing TD snapped. The ground game will serve them in the playoffs but is Manning losing a step?
5. Indianapolis Colts (9-4): The defense continues to play better. The rank above the rest because of Andrew Luck. Yes, he is committing too many turnovers but he has the resiliency to rally in almost all situations. Can they beat the big boys remains the question.
6. Arizona Cardinals (10-3): A gutsy win against a solid Kansas City team. They will be ready to play every week under Bruce Aryans.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4): The 4th quarter play-calling when they were down 10 points to the Seahawks suggests a lack of confidence in Mark Sanchez. Then again, he was facing the Seattle defense.
8. Dallas Cowboys (9-4): Fascinating rematch with the Eagles after getting soundly defeated on Thanksgiving. If DeMarco Murray runs for 166 yards between the tackles like he did against the Bears last Thursday, then the Cowboys will earn their revenge. But do the Eagles lose two straight at home?
9. Detroit Lions (9-4): Their win over Tampa Bay on Sunday was their first win past the month of November since 2011.
10. Baltimore Ravens (8-5): These wildly inconsistent eight-win teams. Baltimore earns a big win on the road against the Dolphins led by a gritty six sacks. Outscored the home team by a 28-3 score after the first quarter. Their losses are (generally) not as befuddling as others win eight wins …
11. San Diego Chargers (8-5): The Chargers stay at #11 with a loss at home to the Patriots. The offense did little after looking great last week against the Ravens. Still, a loss to a New England team who stayed on the west coast all of last week after their loss in Green Bay was to be expected.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5): A major gut-check win on the road against AFC North rival Cincinnati after laying an egg at home against the Saints. Their upside is very high. Le'Veon Bell has three straight games with over 200 yards from scrimmage. The last man to do that was Walter Payton thirty-seven years ago.
13. Kansas City (7-6): A disappointing loss at Arizona but this team is consistently who they are most often from week-to-week: a solid but unspectacular team. Alex Smith is limited when asked to pass the ball downfall.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1): Outscored 25-0 in the 4th quarter to the Steelers. Flashes of brilliance overwhelmed with their consistent inability to take care of business when the pressure is on.
15. Miami Dolphins (7-6): Solid but unspectacular. They are like the Chiefs but with Lamar Miller at running back as opposed to the outstanding Jamal Charles. And the gravitas and coaching acumen of Andy Reid trumps Joe Philbin.
16. Buffalo Bills (7-6): A 24-17 loss at Denver is not to sneeze at. The defense will likely always keep them close while the veteran Kyle Orton completed 38 passes while generating 355 yards. Dangerous.
17. St. Louis Rams (6-7): Two straight shut outs? Wow. Shaun Hill at quarterback may not be quite as capable as Orton, but the Rams and Bills sure look similar. Seven sacks against the Skins. Remember when their vaunted pass rush was MIA? In other news, Chris Long is back.
18. Houston Texans (6-6): Even at Jacksonville, double-digit wins on the road are impressive. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks calmer under center since taking over for the injured Ryan Mallet. The obvious X-Factor is J.J. Watt who keeps making the case that he is the Most Valuable Player in the NFL.
19. San Francisco 49ers (7-6): Hello, Rock Bottom after losing to cross-town rival Oakland who looked every bit the part as worst team in the NFL. The offense looks completely lost, Kaepernick is a mess, Jim Harbaugh's out the door and now they travel to the most difficult place in football to face the red hot Seahawks.
20. Cleveland Browns (7-6): Going to a rookie quarterback in Johnny Manziel this late in the season is either an act of desperation or an act of surrender. But he cannot be worse than Brian Hoyer's 0:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the last three weeks. The Browns have one offensive touchdown drive in their last twenty-nine opportunities.
21. Atlanta Falcons (5-8): Clearly playing the best out of the NFC South teams. Showing grit under likely lame duck coach Mike Smith. Getting healthy helps -- but this team is banged up from playing in Green Bay on Monday night.
22: New Orleans Saints (5-8): (Remain) Completely befuddled as to how this team bounces-back from three straight losses in the Superdome to win at Pittsburgh … to then lose at home to a wretched Carolina team. Thankfully, they get to escape the Superdome to play a game on the road in Chicago where they are 2-4! Now, on to other sentences I never thought I would ever write…
23. Minnesota Vikings (6-7): Another week, another gritty effort for the Vikings under first-year head coach Mike Zimmer. Three straight wins in overtime (4-0-1 in their last five).
24. Carolina Panthers (4-8-1): More befuddlement over their dominant win on the road against the Saints. Cam Newton enjoys his best game in at least a year. Its a shame he suffers a car accident this week which will likely keep him out on Sunday. Hello, Derek Anderson.
25. New York Giants (4-9): Where did that defense come from? In their 36-7 drubbing of the Titans, they forced three turnovers, earned eight sacks, allowed zero points and scored a touchdown of their own.
26. Chicago Bears (5-8): Playing out the string -- and now without Brandon Marshall who appeared to be one of the few players with a desire to win football games.
27. Washington Redskins (3-10): Ran into the juggernaut Rams! More upside than the remaining teams on this list.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11): Still playing hard under a first-year head coach in Lovie Smith. Still finding ways to lose.
29. Oakland Raiders (2-11): A nice bounce-back win against the 49ers after their terrible 52-0 loss to St. Louis. Played with heart despite under lame-duck interim coach Tony Sparano.
30. New York Jets (2-11): More troubles for Geno Smith whose first pass against the Vikings was a pick-six. Showed resolve by not losing his nerve despite being on the road by keeping the Jets close.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11): Outscored 17-0 in the second half to blow a halftime lead against Houston. Should Blake Bortles be playing better at this point in his development
32. Tennessee Titans (2-11): Benefit of the doubt is gone for this team who lost their seventh straight game in increasingly non-competitive fashions. With the season-ending injury to Zach Mettenberger, it is the Return of Jake Locker.

Best of luck for us -- Frank.

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