By Bryan Dietzler
Week thirteen saw some interesting games take place. The team that has been at the top of my poll for weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles, lost. They have fallen out of the top of this poll but perhaps not for long. The New England Patriots take the top spot for now while the Eagles slide back to number two. The Vikings are staying near the top of the poll and may end up being the best team in the NFC should the Eagles falter again.
There continues to be quite a logjam at the top as there are several good teams vying for the top spots.
The middle and bottom of this poll saw some movement. But things will probably start to solidify as we begin to see who is going to make the playoffs and who isn’t. We already know a few of the teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs, but there are plenty of teams, especially in the AFC, that are still in contention.
It promises to be an interesting end to the 2017 NFL season. It’s hard to believe that the season will end in just four weeks. It seems like it just began.
Here is my sometimes late but always consistent power poll for Week Fourteen in the NFL. Where does your team rank?
- New England Patriots-(LW 2, 10-2) The Patriots move into the top spot in the poll and look like the team to beat. Will someone take them down or will they make a return trip to the Super Bowl?
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LW 1, 10-2) The Eagles were taken down by the Seahawks in sound fashion on Sunday night. It looks like some weaknesses were exposed. Can the Eagles recover and finish strong or will they struggle?
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LW 3, 10-2) The Steelers have had to come back in two games in a row now proving that they seem to play down to their competition. If they can’t play at a higher level, they aren’t going to last long in the playoffs.
- Minnesota Vikings-(LW 4, 10-2) Should the Eagles stumble again; the Vikings will take over as the top team in the NFC. They just might end up being the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Stay tuned.
- Los Angeles Rams-(LW 5, 9-3) The Rams won again but will have to worry about the Seattle Seahawks coming up behind them to win the division. Seattle is hot and cold, so it’s tough to know what’s going to happen, but these two teams will be fighting to the finish to see who makes the playoffs.
- New Orleans Saints-(LW 7, 9-3) The Saints returned to their winning ways against Carolina and look poised to win the NFC South. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch this division down the stretch.
- Seattle Seahawks-(LW -9, 8-4) Seattle beat the NFL’s best team almost convincingly on Sunday night and showed some ability in doing it. Will they be able to make the playoffs, or will they be left out in the cold?
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LW 10, 8-4) This team has been quietly winning a lot of games this season and why not? After years of rebuilding, perhaps things have finally come together for Jacksonville.
- Atlanta Falcons-(LW 6, 7-5) The Falcons were bested by one of the top teams in the NFC. Will they recover and keep competing in the tight NFC South or are they on the outside looking in?
- Tennessee Titans-(LW 11, 8-4) The Titans and the Jaguars are going neck and next against one another for the lead in their division. This race could come down to the wire. Who will win?
- Carolina Panthers-(LW 8, 8-4) The Panthers are part of that good NFC South but lost some ground by losing to the Saints on Sunday. They are playing well but struggle at times and need to play with more consistency.
- Baltimore Ravens-(LW 17, 7-5) The Ravens are doing it with defense and some offense as well, so they are winning games. You cannot count them out of the playoff picture at all and they will be right there in the thick of it when it’s all said and done.
- Oakland Raiders-(LW 16, 6-6) The Raiders are in the thick of the AFC West race believe it or not. They will compete with the Chiefs and the Chargers for the division title and just might win it.
- Los Angeles Chargers-(LW 20, 6-6) The Chargers, like the Raiders, are in the AFC West race and are this writer’s favorite to win the division. Can they keep winning and earn a division title?
- Dallas Cowboys-(LW 18, 6-6) The Cowboys shoot up a little bit thanks to their convincing victory over the Washington Redskins. Granted, the Redskins were beat up when they met so Dallas may have won an easy one. Let’s see how they do this week.
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LW 14, 6-6) The Chiefs continue to struggle to get victories and may not even make the playoffs. Will they be able to finish the season strong and win the AFC West or are they bound to miss the postseason?
- Detroit Lions-(LW 13, 6-6) It appears as if the Lions are starting to take a trip down in the rankings and are in danger of missing the playoffs. Will Matthew Stafford be able to play this weekend, or will he be out? If he is out, the Lions will surely lose.
- Green Bay Packers-(LW 19, 6-6) The Packers didn’t get much going through the air on Sunday and had to rely on their ground game for their overtime win. With Aaron Rodgers coming back soon, will this team get into the playoffs?
- Buffalo Bills-(LW 15, 6-6) The Bills ran into the Patriots last week and that wasn’t a game they were going to win. Can they get back to winning and stay in the hunt for a wildcard berth?
- Washington Redskins-(LW 12, 5-7) The Redskins are a broken and beat up team that struggles to win games. After getting beat up by Dallas, it would appear as if they are going to miss the playoffs. Maybe next year will be better?
- New York Jets-(LW 22, 5-7) The Jets have won several more games than I thought they would. This team isn’t that bad. Just wait until next year and they will be better.
- Arizona Cardinals-(LW 21, 5-7) This is a team you don’t hear that much about because they aren’t doing much. It’s a very disappointing season for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals.
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LW 24, 5-7) The Bengals just about beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night and aren’t as bad as everyone thinks. They have come a long way since firing their offensive coordinator earlier in the year. Perhaps they are doing enough to save Marvin Lewis’ job?
- Miami Dolphins-(LW 26, 5-7) The Dolphins pounded the Broncos thanks to a strong offensive outburst. While this team won’t be doing too many places this year, they have a good chance of doing better next season and getting back into the playoffs.
- Houston Texans-(LW 22, 4-8) The Texans will have to wait until next year to get things going in a positive direction. A healthy DeShaun Watson will make a difference as will getting J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LW 25, 4-8) The Bucs almost won on Sunday but just couldn’t seal it up. This team has a lot of work to do during the offseason. Will they do it with the same head coach or will they be looking for a new one?
- Chicago Bears-(LW 27,3-9) The Bears are looking miserable and have lost to some miserable teams. It looks like it will be another offseason of finding a head coach and starting to rebuild, again.
- Indianapolis Colts-(LW 28, 3-9) Could head coach Chuck Pagano’s job be in jeopardy after this season? This team has a lot of holes to fill. Will they be ready to go by the start of the 2018 season?
- San Francisco 49ers-(LW 30, 2-10) It looks like the 49ers may have found themselves a quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. Put some better weapons around him and he could be a solid starter for several seasons to come.
- New York Giants-(LW 29, 2-10) The Giants fired their coach and general manager. It’s doubtful that they will be any better as a result, but they are heading in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how they close out the season.
- Denver Broncos-(LW 31, 3-9) Still a terrible team. This team has a lot of work to do to get back to respectability and it may take more than one season for them to get things right.
- Cleveland Browns-(LW 32, 0-12) The Browns are running out of time to win a game this year. They will have some opportunities to win one, but will they take advantage of it? Their general manager was also let go this week. Will that help them in the long run?