Power Rankings

    The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 14)

    by Lance Pugmire
    Denver and New England rise to the top two spots and the top 10 shuffles quite a bit as the race for the playoffs heats up.

    Up: Chargers + 4 | Down: Steelers - 5

    1

    broncos

    10-3
    2

    Cruising as they now go to Ravens. Thirty TDs and 3,800-plus yards from Manning – way better than expected.

    2

    patriots

    10-3
    2

    Tempting to make them No. 1 after Brady dissected former top-ranked Texans Monday. They’ll be in AFC title game.

    3

    texans

    11-2
    2

    Now the theory is they’re good but can’t handle an elite quarterback. Either that, or it really wasn’t a killer to lose Monday.

    4

    falcons

    11-2
    2

    Blowout loss at Panthers puzzling, but they were operating with a cushion in NFC standings, so no reason to panic.

    5

    49ers

    9-3-1
    0

    DE Aldon Smith now has 19 1/2 sacks after two in gritty victory over Dolphins. Leaning on RB Frank Gore eases their road.

    6

    packers

    9-4
    0

    By continuing dominance over visiting Detroit, they now just need a win at Bears to wrap up North.

    7

    colts

    9-4
    0

    Down 13 at half vs. Titans, they had ‘em right where they wanted, taking big step to wild-card spot.

    8

    giants

    8-5
    3

    If rookie RB David Wilson is going to be who he was Sunday (100 yards, three TDs), they’ll be challenging for another ring.

    9

    seahawks

    8-5
    3

    Showed no mercy in hammering Cardinals 58-0 to get to 6-0 at home. Get Buffalo in Toronto next.

    10

    redskins

    7-6
    3

    Losing Robert Griffin III for a week or two could spoil their momentum. RB Alfred Morris still running hard. At Cleveland now.

    11

    ravens

    9-4
    3

    Fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after OT loss to Redskins. In skid, but not hurt with Steelers, Bengals losing, too.

    12

    bears

    8-5
    3

    Health of Jay Cutler again a topic in 1-4 slide, but he says stiff neck shouldn’t prevent him from playing vs. Green Bay.

    13

    cowboys

    7-6
    2

    Endured emotional week after death of teammate Jerry Brown, scoring 10 points in last minutes to edge Bengals. Host Steelers now.

    14

    vikings

    7-6
    2

    Playing at home, where they’re 6-1, and handing ball to Adrian Peterson (154 yards, two TDs) secret to success.

    15

    steelers

    7-6
    5

    Had bear of a time stopping Ben Roethlisberger from pressure vs. Chargers, and secondary was leaky.

    16

    bengals

    7-6
    2

    Blown fourth-quarter lead leaves them 3-4 at home, so maybe they’re relieved going to Eagles Thursday.

    17

    rams

    6-6-1
    1

    Sam Bradford threw a final-minute TD pass in Buffalo for first three-game win streak since ’06, in playoff hunt going against Minnesota now.

    18

    buccaneers

    6-7
    2

    Harsh late home loss against badly slumping Eagles is likely the fatal blow. Had 21-10 as RB Doug Martin again bettered 100 yards.

    19

    browns

    5-8
    3

    Rookie RB Trent Richardson has tied Jim Brown’s team record with ninth rushing TD, and rookie Travis Benjamin had 93-yard punt-return TD in blowout of Chiefs.

    20

    bills

    5-8
    1

    Second loss after two-minute-warning lead shows how close they are. Rank 28th run with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch coming to Toronto.

    21

    jets

    6-7
    2

    Falsely inflated move up after beating Cardinals and Jaguars. Get Titans now, expect run game to remain focus with sketchy QB play.

    22

    chargers

    5-8
    4

    Now that elimination is at hand, they’re playing well again. QB Philip Rivers relished protection, interim coach Turner called for gutsy fake punt.

    23

    dolphins

    5-8
    3

    Dropped to 2-5 on road and managed just 227 yards vs. 49ers to lose for fifth time in six games.

    24

    saints

    5-8
    3

    As they await bounty ruling, giving up 52 points to Giants shows they have big offseason of work to pursue.

    25

    panthers

    4-9
    3

    Where has that Cam Newton been? Impassioned performance vs. Falcons and now Coach Ron Rivera goes back to San Diego

    26

    eagles

    4-9
    1

    Something finally goes right: QB Nick Foles throws for 381 yards and no-time-left TD pass to win at Tampa Bay.

    27

    lions

    4-9
    3

    Just can’t win at Green Bay after taking 14-0 lead, getting 118 yards from WR Calvin Johnson. Loss was fifth straight.

    28

    titans

    4-9
    3

    QB Jake Locker threw for 262 yards, but was mistake-prone in key moments, throwing two INTs, rushing another play to blow lead.

    29

    cardinals

    4-9
    0

    They’ll keep Coach Ken Whisenhunt until the end of the year. The problem isn’t him, but absence of a QB.

    30

    raiders

    3-10
    0

    Playing for the draft now. They’re 2-5 at home, could salvage some fan appreciation going against Chiefs this week.

    31

    chiefs

    2-11
    0

    Highly ugly loss to Browns despite 165 yards rushing by Jamaal Charles. Without injured WR Bowe, QB Brady Quinn was awful.

    32

    jaguars

    2-11
    0

    Losing to Jets at home anbother indignity. At least they have WR Justin Blackmon to build around along with RB Jones-Drew.

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