2015 NFL Week 13 Power Rankings: Panthers Perfect, Patriots Pass Blame to Refs

Week 12 has come and gone. I’m not sure what was more surprising – the Sunday Night game between top ranked teams in which a backup quarterback handed Tom Brady his first loss of the season – or the Monday Night game between two of the league’s worst, that ended with a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. But regardless, we are one week closer to the playoffs and that is really all that matters.

There were five prime time games this week and somehow I went 3-2, despite the fact that I am now 0-5 when picking the outcome of a Packers game. The overall season record improves to 19-20.

In Week 13, the Packers play in primetime again, so we might as well chalk that one up as a loss for me, but we’ll take the Lions at home just for giggles. Sunday Night should be a great battle between the Colts and Steelers, and I will take Pittsburgh if Big Ben plays. Lastly, I will take the Redskins to maintain their division lead with a win over rival Dallas. And yes, this is the first time in recent memory both Detroit and Washington would be picked to win in the same week.

Hopefully everyone was able to enjoy their Thanksgiving with lots of food, family and football (and Favre!). Let’s take a look at the 2015 NFL week 13 power rankings as we head into December football.

Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).

(1-4)

  • Carolina Panthers (2): My second bold prediction of the season is that Carolina will lose not one game the rest of the year, but two. Regardless, they appear as close to a lock as possible for that No. 1 seed.
  • Denver Broncos (5): Denver not only showed they could hang with arguably the best team in the league, they showed they could beat them with a backup quarterback. All of a sudden the Broncos look like a potential AFC favorite.
  • New England Patriots (1): Undefeated no more, but New England has bigger problems, such as how long Gronk may be out with an injury.
  • Arizona Cardinals (3): Arizona narrowly avoided a loss to arguably one of the three worst teams in the league. The offense struggled on Sunday and I expect future opponents to take a very close look at the film.

(5-8)

  • Cincinnati Bengals (4): After two straight losses the Bengals took out their frustrations on the Rams in a blowout victory to get back on track.
  • Minnesota Vikings (10): The Vikings were back in the top 5 after a one week hiatus, that is until the Broncos upset New England. But most importantly for Minnesota is that they once again control their own destiny in the NFC North.
  • Seattle Seahawks (8): Losing Jimmy Graham would derail a season for most teams, but for Seattle I don’t expect them to miss a beat.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (6): Another huge offensive outburst by the Steelers but they came up just short. The health of Ben Roethlisberger however is really the only area of concern at this point.

(9-12)

  • Green Bay Packers (7): Usually when you run the ball well and play great defense, it’s a formula for success. In fact, the only area that Green Bay hasn’t really had to worry about for nearly a decade is their biggest concern as we hit December.
  • Kansas City Chiefs (13): Don’t look now but the Chiefs are rolling and are starting to look like a major threat.
  • Indianapolis Colts (14): Matt Hasselbeck is 4-0 while Andrew Luck is 2-5. If this was baseball, I’d say that statistic is irrelevant but in football, it tells me that the Colts coaching staff is going to have a decision to make when Luck returns.
  • Houston Texans (16): Houston has won four straight including two against teams over .500. I’m not sure how dangerous they are in the playoffs but they’ve clearly shown that they are no pushover.

(13-16)

  • Chicago Bears (18): Is this the same Chicago team that was ranked 31st after Week 4? Sure doesn’t look like it.
  • Buffalo Bills (12): Sammy Watkins had a monster game but where has LeSean McCoy disappeared to?
  • Atlanta Falcons (11): It took only seven games for Atlanta to match their win total from last year (6). However at this pace, it might take an additional seven games for them to surpass their win total from last year.
  • New York Jets (19): It won’t be easy but the Jets have the potential to win 10 games and nobody saw that coming into the season.

(17-20)

  • Washington Redskins (26): If you are leading your division with just five games left, then you’re doing something right. There’s still room for improvement but you have to be impressed by what the Redskins have accomplished so far.
  • New York Giants (9): Five of their six losses have come by a grand total of 15 points.
  • Oakland Raiders (20): Oakland finally got back into the win column after three straight losses, but it doesn’t get easier as their next three games come against three teams ranked in the Top 10 (Denver, Kansas City and Green Bay).
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15): I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but if they play decent football, the Bucs could potentially win their next four games, and if Carolina has nothing to play for, Tampa could go 5-0 to end the season and get to 10 wins, and that would be the biggest surprise of the season.

(21-24)

  • Detroit Lions (25): Three straight wins has given Detroit confidence. Now they get to face the Packers at home, the team they faced at the beginning of this winning streak.
  • Philadelphia Eagles (17): A win this week against New England is about their only hope of saving their season. In other words, there is no hope.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (23): I know it’s unlikely but I still give this team a shot at winning their division. They are going to have to win at least four of their last five but I think it’s possible.
  • Miami Dolphins (22): According to some online prices, tickets are available for this week’s Dolphins/Ravens game for as low as $20. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see those two teams play?

(25-28)

  • St. Louis Rams (21): Todd Gurley has really struggled the past few weeks and as a result, so have the Rams.
  • New Orleans Saints (24): Finish last in the division is not how I saw the season going for the Saints. You have to wonder if Sean Payton is on the hot seat.
  • San Diego Chargers (31): Philip Rivers and company finally got going but at this point they might want to see how high of a draft pick they can get.
  • Baltimore Ravens (29): Did anybody else know Matt Schaub was still in the league?

(29-32)

  • San Francisco 49ers (30): The 49ers move up, despite the loss as they looked much better against division leading Arizona. In fact let’s be honest, Blaine Gabbert might have garnered some MVP votes had he won his second consecutive game.
  • Dallas Cowboys (27): Things went from bad to worse for Dallas. Needless to say, their season is officially over and they too are now playing for a draft pick.
  • Tennessee Titans (28): Tennessee has exactly zero wins in six tries at home this year. But they are a respectable 2-3 on the road.
  • Cleveland Browns (32): The Browns lost in the most Browns way possible. What other explanation is there for what we saw on Monday night?

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