Power Rankings

    The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 15)

    by Lance Pugmire
    Two new teams move into the top 10, but Denver remains the team to beat.

    Up: Dolphins + 6 | Down: Chargers - 5

    1

    broncos

    11-3
    0

    Swarming, opportunistic defense, reborn Peyton Manning and now Knowshon Moreno’s running like Terrell Davis.

    2

    texans

    12-2
    1

    They needed to flex some muscle after trip to Patriots and RB Arian Foster (165 yards) and WR Andre Johnson (151) did that.

    3

    falcons

    12-2
    1

    Matt Ryan (23 of 28) rids ghost of last season’s playoff loss to Giants to put them a win away from home field throughout NFC.

    4

    49ers

    10-3-1
    1

    QB Colin Kaepernick throws four TDs at Patriots to reward Coach Harbaugh’s faith, and it never hurts to have speed like LaMichael James’ to burn.

    5

    patriots

    10-4
    1

    Bit of a harsh drop after Tom Brady played the character card again in comeback from 31-3. Many would love a 49ers rematch in Super Bowl.

    6

    packers

    10-4
    0

    Clinched North by beating scuffling Bears, as Aaron Rodgers’ connection to WR James Jones (three TDs) proves impossible to stop.

    7

    seahawks

    9-5
    2

    A week after 58-0 win, they fail to call off fake punt up by 30. Now Harbaugh and Carroll renew their, “What’s your deal?” acquiantance in big Sunday night battle.

    8

    redskins

    8-6
    2

    Kirk Cousins’ impressive work in relief (329 yaards, two TDs) vs. Browns should net him another start against battered Eagles, letting RG III rest up for Dallas finale.

    9

    colts

    9-5
    2

    QB Andrew Luck finally quieted in fourth quarter. Disconcerting that he was sacked five more times, with defense getting a bit rolled over.

    10

    vikings

    8-6
    4

    Have to like the team with a man possessed. Adrian Peterson bursting for 212 yards vs. Rams to bear down on Eric Dickerson’s rushing record.

    11

    giants

    8-6
    3

    Unexpected stinker from Eli Manning, whole team stunning given that this is when they usually turn it on.

    12

    ravens

    9-5
    1

    The Joe Flacco haters out in force after his 20-of-40, pick-six trouncing by Broncos. Now they face another tough task at desperate Giants.

    13

    cowboys

    8-6
    0

    If you saw this Tony Romo run of greatness coming, you’re alone, but it’s happening, and positives of OT triumph over Steelers should repeat vs. Saints.

    14

    bengals

    8-6
    2

    In wild-card driver’s seat after running away late vs. Eagles. Can they now show more grit than they did in earlier meeting vs. Steelers?

    15

    bears

    8-6
    3

    How can they miss playoffs after starting 7-1? They’ve lost five of six. Starting that Jay Cutler has thrown 17 INTs vs. Packers.

    16

    steelers

    7-7
    1

    As dark as things appear, they typically rise up to win games like this one against Bengals.

    17

    dolphins

    6-8
    6

    Someone had to rise sharply as middle group struggled. Hammering Jacksonville like they did, still being “in the hunt” as good a reason as any.

    18

    rams

    6-7-1
    1

    They tried eight- and nine-man fronts and still couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson. QB Sam Bradford gave away 10 points with turnovers, too.

    19

    saints

    6-8
    5

    All is right with Drew Brees again (307 yards, four TDs) vs. Buccaneers as he heads to play spoiler at Cowboys Stadium .

    20

    panthers

    5-9
    5

    Might be saving Coach Ron Rivera’s job after beating Atlanta, and then dominating Chargers.

    21

    buccaneers

    6-8
    3

    Fourth consecutive loss a product of QB Josh Freeman erratic throwing — four INTs — and losing a fumble.

    22

    browns

    5-9
    3

    Making Coach Pat Shurmur a Black Monday casualty seems harsh given their competitiveness.

    23

    bills

    5-9
    3

    Yes, Toronto fans chanted, “Let’s go Blue Jays” late in 50-17 pounding by Seahawks.

    24

    titans

    5-9
    4

    Probably don’t deserve this big of a bump, but teams below were so horrid this past week. Does he stay or go? Nice run by Chris Johnson in Monday Jets’ win.

    25

    jets

    6-8
    4

    Those bad words Coach Rex Ryan uttered at game’s end would be a good title for season-ending “highlight” film.

    26

    cardinals

    5-9
    3

    Transformed four turnovers into TDs vs. Lions to finally, finally! snap nine-game losing streak at home.

    27

    chargers

    5-9
    5

    Went to this game as a fan, and after no offensive plays beyond 10 yards, trailing 24-0 at half to Panthers in rain, bid adieu to Norv Turner and left.

    28

    eagles

    4-10
    2

    Of course they want to upset Redskins in this spot, but are incapable of doing so.

    29

    raiders

    4-10
    1

    Sebastian Janikowski’s five field goals and Darren McFadden’s 100-plus yards in shutout of Chiefs eases pain of deeply flawed campaign.

    30

    lions

    4-10
    3

    Now if you’re talking about a name that’s in the mix for Black Monday, it’s Jim Schwartz after this collapse with this talent.

    31

    chiefs

    2-12
    0

    In running for top draft pick after undermanned stinker in shutout loss to Raiders.

    32

    jaguars

    2-12
    0

    No, Chad Henne couldn’t exact revenge vs. Miami, but, yes, they might be worst two-win team in history.

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