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
Cruising as they now go to Ravens. Thirty TDs and 3,800-plus yards from Manning – way better than expected.
Tempting to make them No. 1 after Brady dissected former top-ranked Texans Monday. They’ll be in AFC title game.
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.
Blowout loss at Panthers puzzling, but they were operating with a cushion in NFC standings, so no reason to panic.
DE Aldon Smith now has 19 1/2 sacks after two in gritty victory over Dolphins. Leaning on RB Frank Gore eases their road.
By continuing dominance over visiting Detroit, they now just need a win at Bears to wrap up North.
Down 13 at half vs. Titans, they had ‘em right where they wanted, taking big step to wild-card spot.
If rookie RB David Wilson is going to be who he was Sunday (100 yards, three TDs), they’ll be challenging for another ring.
Showed no mercy in hammering Cardinals 58-0 to get to 6-0 at home. Get Buffalo in Toronto next.
Losing Robert Griffin III for a week or two could spoil their momentum. RB Alfred Morris still running hard. At Cleveland now.
Fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after OT loss to Redskins. In skid, but not hurt with Steelers, Bengals losing, too.
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.
Endured emotional week after death of teammate Jerry Brown, scoring 10 points in last minutes to edge Bengals. Host Steelers now.
Playing at home, where they’re 6-1, and handing ball to Adrian Peterson (154 yards, two TDs) secret to success.
Had bear of a time stopping Ben Roethlisberger from pressure vs. Chargers, and secondary was leaky.
Blown fourth-quarter lead leaves them 3-4 at home, so maybe they’re relieved going to Eagles Thursday.
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.
Harsh late home loss against badly slumping Eagles is likely the fatal blow. Had 21-10 as RB Doug Martin again bettered 100 yards.
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.
Second loss after two-minute-warning lead shows how close they are. Rank 28th run with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch coming to Toronto.
Falsely inflated move up after beating Cardinals and Jaguars. Get Titans now, expect run game to remain focus with sketchy QB play.
Now that elimination is at hand, they’re playing well again. QB Philip Rivers relished protection, interim coach Turner called for gutsy fake punt.
Dropped to 2-5 on road and managed just 227 yards vs. 49ers to lose for fifth time in six games.
As they await bounty ruling, giving up 52 points to Giants shows they have big offseason of work to pursue.
Where has that Cam Newton been? Impassioned performance vs. Falcons and now Coach Ron Rivera goes back to San Diego
Something finally goes right: QB Nick Foles throws for 381 yards and no-time-left TD pass to win at Tampa Bay.
Just can’t win at Green Bay after taking 14-0 lead, getting 118 yards from WR Calvin Johnson. Loss was fifth straight.
QB Jake Locker threw for 262 yards, but was mistake-prone in key moments, throwing two INTs, rushing another play to blow lead.
They’ll keep Coach Ken Whisenhunt until the end of the year. The problem isn’t him, but absence of a QB.
Playing for the draft now. They’re 2-5 at home, could salvage some fan appreciation going against Chiefs this week.
Highly ugly loss to Browns despite 165 yards rushing by Jamaal Charles. Without injured WR Bowe, QB Brady Quinn was awful.
Losing to Jets at home anbother indignity. At least they have WR Justin Blackmon to build around along with RB Jones-Drew.