NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks make convincing No. 1 case with big win

Yawn. the Seahawks are No. 1 for yet another week.  (USATSI)
Yawn. the Seahawks are No. 1 for yet another week. (USATSI)

The playoff picture is starting to come into focus. The Seahawks lock up the first postseason spot with a complete takedown of the Saints on Monday night, while over in the AFC, the Broncos are in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed, but they're second to the Patriots in these rankings.

There could certainly be more shifting in Week 14 with the Saints hosting the Panthers and the Seahawks heading to San Francisco to face their hated NFC West rivals.

But for now, the Seahawks rule the Power Rankings roost.

1. Seattle Seahawks: All you had to do is watch the Saints-Seahawks game to know who No. 1 is right now.

2. New England Patriots: Last week No. 3 and starting to peak at the right time. Tom Brady is capable of putting 30 points on any team.

3. Denver Broncos: The 10-2 Broncos are in the driver's seat for home field throughout the playoffs and their running game is becoming a big factor, which will help if weather becomes an issue down the stretch.

4. New Orleans Saints: I can't drop the Saints because of the Seattle game. Next week's game against the Panthers tells the tale of the Saints.

5. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are on an eight-game winning streak and both sides of the ball are doing their part. Cam Newton has taken the next step in his career and the defense has given up the fewest points in the NFL.

6. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are back from a shaky middle of the season and could run the table, but it may be too little too late to get home field in the playoffs.

7. Indianapolis Colts: I have some concerns about this team in the playoffs without Reggie Wayne. There is a lot of pressure on Andrew Luck to create magic play in and play out.

8. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are on a three-game losing streak and will go to the playoffs as a wild card team. They can beat average teams with ease but will continue to struggle against top-flight quarterbacks.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: As long as Andy Dalton doesn't turn the ball over this team can go toe-to-toe with most teams. They still have to play Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, and Ben Roethlisberger. The AFC north race is not over.

10. Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has three very winnable games in a row starting this week -- Chicago, Green Bay, and Washington -- before it finishes in a head-to-head with Philly, most likely for the division title. The Cowboys already beat the Eagles once which will help if they don't slip in the next three weeks.

Who is No. 1 in the NFC East? We've got four weeks to find out.  (USATSI)
Who is No. 1 in the NFC East? We've got four weeks to find out. (USATSI)

11. Philadelphia Eagles: The defense is improving on a weekly basis and Nick Foles is impressive the way he takes care of the ball and throws touchdowns. It's a big game this week against the Lions with a pass rush that will challenge Foles.

12. Detroit Lions: The Lions have the Bears a game back but they already beat them earlier this season. The Lions haven't been able to win more than two games in a row this season and the next three weeks include Philadelphia, Baltimore and the New York Giants.

13. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are a very tough out in their stadium. The problem is they only have two home games left and their road games are Tennessee and Seattle. Right now they are on the outside looking in and the loss to the Eagles on Sunday hurts their tie breaker chances even more. Arizona has three rematch games left and it lost to all three teams earlier this year.

14. Baltimore Ravens: The Thanksgiving win over Pittsburgh put the team in a good position for a wild-card spot, and with an earlier win over the Bengals the division title is still a realistic goal. Their problem is the lack of scoring which could come back to haunt them down the stretch.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: It's going to take a miracle for the Steelers to make the playoffs after the loss to the Ravens. Do you really believe the Steelers can run the table? They haven't won four in a row all year.

16. Chicago Bears: The Bears should have won the Vikings game this week but they didn't and now face two playoff contenders in the next three weeks. The Bears defense can't stop the run and that problem doesn't appear to be going away.

17. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins have so many issues it's impressive they have a 6-6 record. They will be lucky to finish 8-8.

Can the Dolphins stay afloat for the final seed in the AFC?  (USATSI)
Can the Dolphins stay afloat for the final seed in the AFC? (USATSI)

18. San Diego Chargers: One week they score 41 points on the road and come home and score 10 points the next week. Rivers will put up passing yards but the Chargers will struggle to finish 8-8. The future is bright for 2014 with a solid rookie class and Rivers playing better than ever.

19. Tennessee Titans: It's tough to get into the playoffs with a backup quarterback. The Titans are a solid young team that lacks the offensive punch.

20. New York Giants: The Giants are playing relaxed right now just trying to win them one at a time and see what happens. They probably come up short, but they will be a tough out the rest of the way. The Giants are 5-1 in their last six games.

21. Green Bay Packers: No Aaron Rodgers, no chance. Teams like New England and Denver would look the same if their QB went down with an injury. The Packers have averaged 16 points a game since Rodgers went down.

22. St. Louis Rams: The Rams are a work in progress but they lost their QB to injury and Kellen Clemens has thrown five TD passes in six games which leads to a mediocre record.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are better now than they were in September and October, but they aren't going to win many more games with the 49ers and Saints still on the schedule.

24. Minnesota Vikings: No one has more heart or talent than Adrian Peterson but he can't do it alone week in and week out.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are 3-1 in their last four games and play hard with an eye on 2014. Don't be surprised if they finish 2-2 down the stretch.

The Jaguars have finally woken up.  (USATSI)
The Jaguars have finally woken up. (USATSI)

26. Buffalo Bills: The Bills lead the NFL in sacks with 43 and an offense being built for the future. The Last month has three winnable games and a good test to prepare for next season.

27. Cleveland Browns: There are pieces in place for a successful franchise but the QB situation is still a big question. Weeden got a concussion this week and it's a question about who will start this week.

28. New York Jets: The Jet QB situation is shaky at best. I wonder if Sanchez was on the active roster what would happen if he went in for a struggling Geno Smith and won games what would happen.

29. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders always play hard and Matt McGloin is an interesting guy for the team to evaluate at QB. I hope there are no firings at the end of the season. This team needs continuity.

30. Washington Redskins: Between a defense that struggles and Robert Griffin III dealing with his sophomore struggles, this could be a volatile situation. The Kansas City Chiefs are up next and the problems should continue.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Getting a win against the top pass rush defense last week with Matt Ryan taking another beating was impressive. Ryan has been sacked 11 times in the last two weeks and this season can't end too soon.

32. Houston Texans: Again they are in the last spot, which is hard to come to grips with considering what I thought of this team back in August. On September 15 the Texans were 2-0 and they haven't won since. Five of the 10 losses are by three points or less.

 
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