NFL power rankings entering Week 14 of 2022 season (previous rank in parentheses):
1. Eagles (1): Their 11-1 record remains the league’s best, but Philadelphia must now maintain its pace despite going on the road for the next three weeks – a trip that will conclude in Dallas for perhaps the league’s most-anticipated matchup of the season. QB Jalen Hurts can also further fuel his billowing MVP campaign. Quite surprisingly the NFL’s third-rated passer (108.3), Hurts needs one more rushing TD to become the first quarterback with at least 10 in successive years.
2. Cowboys (3): The filthy rich are about to pad their account – and that isn’t a reference to free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s Texas visit. Perennial Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith’s window to be activated, in the aftermath of the hamstring tear he suffered in training camp, has also officially opened.
3. Bills (4): They began Week 13 in the AFC wild-card chase … and ended it as the conference’s projected No. 1 playoff seed. Buffalo can put a vise grip on the AFC East with the NYJ and Miami headed to Western New York the next two weekends.
4. Bengals (9): Their second-half surge is starting to resemble the 2021 wave they rode all the way to the Super Bowl. Winners of four in a row, the past two coming over division leaders (Tennessee, Kansas City), they’ve also fully unlocked RB2 Samaje Perine as the latest weapon in a fifth-ranked offense’s arsenal.
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5. Chiefs (2): Once again, they hit the Cincinnati speed bump hard. But the ride to postseason looks awfully smooth from there, with trips to Denver and Houston the next two weeks – when Andy Reid will become the third coach to reach double-digit wins in eight consecutive regular seasons.
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6. Dolphins (6): Many offenses have been sidetracked by San Francisco. But Sunday’s abysmal showing should be a reminder to head coach Mike McDaniel that Miami also needs to run the ball after posting a season-low 33 yards on the ground.
7. Vikings (7): The AFC East might be the NFL’s best division, but Minnesota went 4-0 against it. Beat Detroit this Sunday, and rookie HC Kevin O’Connell will not only wrap up the NFC North crown, he’ll be riding a three-week winning streak over teams he played for (Patriots, Jets).
8. 49ers (5): The second three-sack game of DL Nick Bosa’s career propelled him into the league lead (14½), onto a shorter list of Defensive Player of the Year consideration … and perhaps served a reminder of what the Niners are capable of no matter the turmoil on their quarterback depth chart, which is now sans Jimmy Garoppolo.
9. Ravens (8): Like the Bengals, they must be having 2021 flashbacks. But in Baltimore’s case, that’s quite the unpleasant memory as the scuffling AFC North leaders are again facing the prospect of being without QB Lamar Jackson in December.
10. Patriots (10): “The Patriot Way” is once again breaking fresh ground … after all, how many other teams’ best offensive weapon is a rookie defensive back?
11. Jets (12): The quarterback position is understandably commanding much of the attention in Gotham, but what about rookie RB Zonovan “Bam” Knight? He’s one of only two undrafted players since 1967 to churn out 100+ yards from scrimmage in his first two NFL games.
12. Buccaneers (13): Even in his 23rd season, QB Tom Brady continues to find ways to bolster his résumé. His game-winning TD pass with 3 seconds left Monday night was the latest go-ahead strike of his career. It also capped TB12’s 44th career fourth-quarter comeback, giving him sole possession of a record he’d shared with Peyton Manning.
13. Seahawks (14): Lurking a game behind the Niners for the NFC West lead, the ‘Hawks should enjoy a heavy dose of Lumen Field’s advantages as they wind up the regular season with four of five games on their home field.
14. Giants (15): They’ve been surprisingly competitive in a stacked NFC East … even if it feels like they’re definitely no better than a one-and-done playoff outfit.
15. Commanders (16): They’ve been surprisingly competitive in a stacked NFC East … even if it feels like they’re definitely no better than a one-and-done playoff outfit.
16. Titans (11): Little surprise that the “A.J. Brown Bowl” would spotlight AFC South leaders’ offensive deficiencies. Big surprise that Tennessee wasn’t even remotely competitive at Philadelphia.
17. Browns (19): Welp, you’d like to think the Deshaun Watson-led offense couldn’t be any worse moving forward … then again, Cleveland won’t be facing any more FCS teams.
18. Lions (21): Despite a horrendous start to the season, the remaining schedule very much suggests this surging squad should get to eight or nine wins … which might allow them to sneak into postseason.
19. Raiders (28): Despite a horrendous start to the season, the remaining schedule very much suggests this surging squad should get to eight or nine wins … which might allow them to sneak into postseason.
20. Chargers (17): Austin Ekeler needs 32 more catches to break Christian McCaffrey’s single-season mark for receptions by a running back (116 in 2019). One more TD grab, and Ekeler becomes the fourth player with a half-dozen rushing and receiving TDs in consecutive years.
21. Packers (22): A Week 14 bye gives them extra time to relish sweeping Chicago while becoming the NFL’s all-time winningest franchise with victory No. 787. It also continues to churn questions about QB Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team and whether backup Jordan Love will get a season-ending audition.
22. Jaguars (18): You have to like the decisiveness of QB Trevor Lawrence. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, only Brady gets rid of the ball more quickly than Lawrence’s average 2.54 seconds to release.
23. Steelers (24): One of Sunday’s cooler low-key stories involved the Heywards. Rookie TE Connor Heyward caught his first NFL TD, and All-Pro big brother Cam collected a sack in Pittsburgh’s win at Atlanta. Far more important to the siblings, they did it in the town where their late father, Craig “Iron Head” Heyward, not only starred for the Falcons but is also buried.
24. Falcons (20): Among their defensive issues, no team allows longer average drives (3:07), has given up more third-down conversions or has a worse pressure percentage.
25. Bears (23): Nice they get to literally be home for the Holidays, all of their December games at Soldier Field … and a good preamble to being home for the playoffs – though not at Soldier Field.
26. Cardinals (25): Already wondering if QB Kyler Murray will experience any, uh, schematic issues next Monday with Bill Belichick in town …
27. Panthers (29): With the Baker Mayfield experiment officially over, the Sam Darnold experiment should be tested five additional weeks … if he can survive that long.
28. Saints (27): Tough to figure why they’re suddenly unable to beat Brady at his worst. Monday was New Orleans’ first loss at Tampa since 2017 and marked first time Saints have been swept by Bucs in 15 years.
29. Rams (30): They’re the first team to string together a six-game losing streak in a season following a Super Bowl triumph. And you’ll still get to see plenty of this mess of injuries and ineptitude, which is scheduled to play in prime-time windows the next four weeks, their Week 17 date with the Chargers the only one that’s flex-eligible.
30. Colts (26): Sunday night’s dreadful defeat at Dallas means Indianapolis has now been outscored by 89 points this season. Only the Texans have a worse point differential.
31. Broncos (31): Not only does no team have more trouble scoring, Denver has 22 fewer points than the next-worst offense (Houston).
32. Texans (32): Gotta be disheartening to get blown out at home against your former franchise quarterback when your defense doesn’t surrender a touchdown while forcing two turnovers.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
Story Credit: usatoday.com