2020 Week 15 Power Rankings

In a change to the Power Rankings we will only be looking at the teams who are still in with a mathematical chance at making it to the postseason. 

So first of all the teams that are no longer in contention for the playoffs from the AFC are:

New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Joining them in the eliminated column from the NFC are:

Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers.

A former undefeated team has plummeted down the rankings and a former AFC East punch bag has now taken the division and are playing their best football just in time for January. With two weeks to go things are heating up and January football is just round the corner. So let’s rank the remaining 21 teams who still have a shot.

21. Philadelphia Eagles - 4-9-1

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas (USA Today Sports)

Philadelphia almost completed the comeback against the Arizona Cardinals but just fell short. A loss here has them two games back from the Washington Football Team with just two games left to play. The positive thing is that Jalen Hurts looks like a bonafide NFL star in his first two starts. He finished his second start with 338 yards and four total touchdowns. Philadelphia should have made the switch a lot sooner and then maybe they would already have a playoff spot tied up.

20. Dallas Cowboys - 5-9

Tony Pollard stepped up in the absence of Ezekiel Elliott and ran all over the 49ers. After the thanksgiving blowout by Washington, Dallas looked dead and buried and now they find themselves right in the hunt for the NFC East title. A must win matchup in Week 15 against the Eagles in a win or go home game for the divisional rivals.

19. Minnesota Vikings - 6-8

A second loss in a row for the Minnesota Vikings and they are now teetering on the edge of elimination. David Montgomery and the Bears ran right through them and the usually strong defense could do nothing to stop them whatsoever. Two games left to try and make the playoffs and with a lot needing to go their way you can just about kick the Vikings to the curb.

18. New York Giants - 5-9

It has now been over a month since New York scored over 20 points in a game and yet they are still one game behind Washington at the top of the division. A 20-6 loss to the Browns could have been a different story if Joe Judge hadn’t elected to go for it on two fourth down tries in the first half. Missing some key players (Daniel Jones and James Bradberry) meant that the Giants had to try anything. Unfortunately for Big Blue neither try came close and the Browns were able to capitalise. Two games left for the Giants to do the unthinkable.

17. Las Vegas Raiders - 7-7

In what was a crucial matchup for the Raiders and their playoff chances they had to start the game with a depleted defense due to injury and they had to win. Then in a nightmare scenario Derek Carr went out injured early on in the game. In came Marcus Mariota and he was really rather good. He finished with 226 yards and a score from 17 completed passes. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Raiders lost in overtime to their divisional rivals. Mathematically Las Vegas still has a shot but by the end of the week they could find themselves two games back with two to play and need a lot of things to go in their favour. Time to think about next season.

16. Chicago Bears - 7-7

Week 15 Power Rankings
Credit: Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Bears have really turned the table on being a boring offense. In the last two weeks they have beaten the Vikings and the Texans and have been fun to watch in the process. Up next is the porous Jacksonville defense and with Mitchell Trubisky and David Montgomery (four touchdowns in four straight games) playing quality football they should be in the playoff race come Week 16. Who would have thought it?

15. Washington Football Team - 6-8

Dwayne Haskins started terribly, got better and then gave up three costly sacks after he had led his team on a potentially game winning drive. The move away from Haskins seems to have been the best choice for this franchise but at least he managed to keep this game close. With one of the best defenses in the league this division is theres to lose and if they do make it to the playoffs then they should be feared.

14. Arizona Cardinals - 8-6

Kyler Murray appears to be out of his funk as he put up a career high in passing yardage. He went off for 406 passing yards and four total touchdowns. In a showdown with Jalen Hurts Murray turned to his favourite wide receiver and the Cardinals benefited greatly. DeAndre Hopkins finished with 169 yards and a spectacular touchdown. Hopkins is making a case for the best receiver in the league and with another 100 yard game he may have just done that.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 9-5

Tampa Bay came out the blocks and looked dreadful. Down 17-0 at the half and no offensive game to speak of it looked like the Buccaneers were just handing the division to the New Orleans Saints. Then the second half started and Tom Brady scored on his first five possessions. Four of these went for touchdowns and Brady had another comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons. If Tampa makes it to the playoffs then they better hope for second half Tom Brady.

12. Miami Dolphins - 9-5

The Miami Dolphins have knocked the New England Patriots out of the playoffs. That in itself was close to getting them to the top spot in my list. Unfortunately I need to provide a balanced view and that is the only reason they aren’t in the one spot. Without DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki the Dolphins could have stalled in this one but instead they turned to the run game and it really worked. Salvon Ahmed looked like a superstar as he finished with 122 yards and a rushing score. A huge win for Miami and they are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot.

11. Los Angeles Rams - 9-5

The New York Jets, the winless New York Jets. That could be the team that prevented the Rams from winning their division. Luckily for the Rams they have two divisional games left to try and regain a bit of pride. Beat the Seahawks and the Cardinals and this loss will be forgotten about, maybe.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers - 11-3

Week 15 Power Rankings
Credit: Charles LeClaire (USA Today Sports)

Earlier on the season the Steelers were branded the worst 11-0 team in history. That could very possibly be true. Three straight losses to Washington, Buffalo and Cincinnati has the Steelers in a slump at just the wrong time. More concerning is the miscues on offense. Ben Roethlisberger is struggling and as a result his electric young wide receivers can’t compete at their highest level. Was the Mason Rudolph offense better? If this keeps up then we might find out.

9. Indianapolis Colts - 10-4

The Houston Texans for the second time in three weeks handed the Colts a big divisional win with a goal line fumble. Indianapolis has a scary defense and with Darius Leonard punching balls out and DeForest Buckner pressuring quarterbacks all game they are capable of beating anyone. Phillip Rivers is playing steady football and has finally hooked up with TY Hilton. Indianapolis go up against the struggling Steelers in Week 15 and will need to win to keep up with the Tennessee Titans.

8. Cleveland Browns - 10-4

The Cleveland Browns look like a completely new team. In years gone by the Browns would absolutely have lost this game. A very winnable game seemed to be the Browns kryptonite but not anymore. Baker Mayfield is playing well and he is getting the best out of his receivers. On top of that the rush game is still performing at a high level. Given the demise of Pittsburgh the Browns could go on and win the AFC North.  Wouldn’t that be a story.

7. Baltimore Ravens - 9-5

Baltimore ran away with their Week 14 matchup as they trounced the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-14. Lamar Jackson has looked back to his best since returning from COVID and still finds himself missing out on the playoffs. Three games won in a row and they will need to win the next two to guarantee January football. If they do make it then no one will want to play them.

6. Seattle Seahawks - 10-4

Week 15 Power Rankings
Credit: Rod Mar (Seattle Seahawks)

Finally the Seattle defense is getting better. Yes it was against Dwayne Haskins but still they looked pretty good. A strong defense is exactly what Russell Wilson deserves. His MVP form has slipped as he was asked to do too much but if his defense can finally step up and help him get to a Super Bowl I’m sure he will forgive them. 

It’s not as exciting as the Seahawks were earlier in the season but if it gets wins then who cares. A playoff spot is now secure so the hunt for Lombardi kicks up a gear.

5. Tennessee Titans - 10-4

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry could both be deserving of the MVP award. Derrick Henry added another 147 yards and got a step closer to the 2000 yard mark. Ryan Tannehill accounted for five touchdowns as the Titans ran out 46-25 winners against the Detroit Lions. Derrick Henry gets better and better as the season goes on and with Tannehill playing at MVP level this team could go all the way.

4. New Orleans Saints - 10-4

Drew Brees returned from injury and it was very obvious that he had been injured. He started the game 0-6 passing and threw an interception. He never really looked back to his best but he made a game of it against the Chiefs. Unfortunately the excellence of Patrick Mahomes shone through and the Saints lost their second in a row. The number one seed might be a step too far now but if Brees can get back to his best then this team can still challenge for a spot in the Super Bowl.

3. Green Bay Packers - 11-3

Aaron Rodgers and his Packers shot out to a quick lead against the Panthers and finished the first half 21-3. Unfortunately the second half didn’t quite have the same offensive domination. Green Bay finished with just three more points in the second half. As number 12 himself said, they won’t beat many teams playing football like that. Fortunately for the Packers they are in the driving seat for the number one seed and have control of their own destiny.

2. Buffalo Bills - 11-3

For the first time since 1995 the Bills have won their division and are heading to the playoffs as champions of the AFC East. A dominant display from the Bills eased them past the Denver Broncos. At the start of the season I thought it would be Kyler Murray hoisting the MVP trophy but I’m now firmly on the Josh Allen hype train. Another incredible performance from Allen and he is cooking at just the right time. This Bills team could go all the way.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - 13-1

Week 15 Power Rankings
Credit: Matthew Emmons (USA Today Sports)

We are all used to seeing the Kansas City Chiefs blow teams away and pile up points in dramatic and entertaining fashion. What we are seeing now though is a team that can still put up the points but are winning closely fought games. A vital skill for a team that wants to win for a long time and one that the Chiefs have certainly mastered this year. Kansas City have won their last five games by a margin of six points or less. It’s not the same route they used last year but it’s also working. The only real question left this year is who will the Chiefs play in the Super Bowl?

MArk Ross

NFL Analyst