NFL Power Rankings: Seattle reign continues as contenders stumble

When push comes to shove, the 49ers may have the best chance to win in Seattle. (USATSI)
When push comes to shove, the 49ers may have the best chance to win in Seattle. (USATSI)

So much for that trap game in New York for the Seahawks, given the long flight and the tough loss to the rival Niners in Week 14.

The road to the Super Bowl -- for now -- runs through Seattle.

Meanwhile, in the AFC, the Broncos rank the highest after a week where the top three playoff seeds all lost.

1. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have the best record, they just shut out the Giants on the road, and their next road game could be the Super Bowl.

2. Carolina Panthers: The showdown with the Saints this week will tell me if I put them too high in the rankings, but they are playing well on both sides of the ball and not many teams are right now.

3. Denver Broncos: The offense can't score 35 points every week and when they don't the defense needs to come through. I still like them for the Super Bowl from the AFC.

4. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are getting it going at the right time and may be the only team to be able to go into Seattle and stand a chance.

5. Kansas City Chiefs: I like the way Alex Smith is playing right now and Jamaal Charles looks unstoppable. Wait until they get their pass rushers healthy.

6. New Orleans Saints: They have to solve their road issues soon or it will be a short postseason. It starts this week in Carolina. If the Saints played 16 at home they would be No. 1.

7. New England Patriots: Tom Brady can do more with less than any quarterback in the league, but he's running out of good players on both sides of the ball.

8. Indianapolis Colts: They already clinched their weak division but they should be concerned about their 3-2 record over the last five weeks.

9. Arizona Cardinals: What a shame if the Cardinals don't get in the playoffs and they may have a better record than four teams that get in this year.

10. Cincinnati Bengals: Can they handle the big stage? They sure didn't look like they could in Pittsburgh and now the Ravens are right behind them and they come to town to finish the season.

11. Chicago Bears: Cutler or McCown -- it doesn't matter with the offensive weapons they have but it's the defense that may hold them back.

12. Baltimore Ravens: They know how to win ugly and are holding down the No. 6 spot in the AFC with an eye on the division title.

13. Miami Dolphins: What a job the coaches are doing considering all the drama earlier in the year. Ryan Tannehill is looking like the real deal and the Dolphins have two very winnable games left, with the possibility to close out the season 6-1.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: There are no excuses for the loss in Minnesota to a team without AP and at least three other starters. The Eagles are lucky the Cowboys can't figure out how to win lately.

15. San Diego Chargers: A very dangerous team that probably will not make the playoffs but already beat the Eagles, Cowboys, Colts, Chiefs and Broncos.

16. Green Bay Packers: They are still in the race without Aaron Rodgers. If they win this week and the playoffs are on the line in the last week it will be hard to keep Rodgers off the field.

17. Detroit Lions: The division was theirs for the taking with Cutler and Rodgers out, and they go 1-4 in their last five games? Go figure.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are playing real loose right now and are a dangerous team, especially with Roethlisberger in the no-huddle.

19. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are like the Lions ... it's hard to have faith in them that they can close.

20. St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher is building something good in St. Louis and the win over the Saints was a building block for 2014.

21. Tennessee Titans: The Titans are 1-4 in their last five games, all with a backup QB but, that will not mean much at the end of the season. They need a win or two right now.

22. Minnesota Vikings: If Matt Cassel was the QB for the whole season this would have been at least a 7-7 team right now instead of a 4-9-1 team.

23. Buffalo Bills: This is a learning year for EJ Manuel and things will be better in 2014.

24. Atlanta Falcons: With all their injuries they still play hard, but with the final two games against San Francisco and Carolina the record will be ugly.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One step backward and two steps forward or sometimes the other way around. The Bucs, like the Bills and the Jets, are trying to win with a rookie QB and look where all three teams are right now.

26. New York Jets: Geno Smith can't win on the road but New York needs to beat Cleveland at home this week or the problems go deeper than a rookie QB.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars: There is a lot of fight in the Jaguars, just not enough talent yet. I could see them winning out and finishing 5-1 in their last six games.

28. Cleveland Browns:The Browns are 1-8 in their last nine games and need to get to the offseason ASAP to build this team.p>

29. Washington Redskins: Kirk Cousins gets the last few games in a meaningless season but they could make the Dallas game this week their Super Bowl. There's nothing a Redskins fan likes more than ruining the Cowboys' chances for the postseason.

30. New York Giants: The Giants hit a new low being shut out at home, something that hasn't happened since 1995. Eli Manning is really struggling like never before.

31. Oakland Raiders: Dennis Allen really doesn't have enough talent on the roster to be evaluated but that's not how the NFL works.

32. Houston Texans: Ugly Ugly season!

 
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