NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 15: Chiefs, Rams Looking Frisky With Three Weeks Remaining

Three straight wins for Kansas City and a divisional win for Los Angeles is good enough for both teams to rise in this week's power poll. Also, Oakland takes a hit after an ugly loss to Tennessee, and the NFC East remains completely mediocre.
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Patrick Mahomes

This week’s NFL Power Rankings Poll voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Conor Orr, Staff Writer
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-2)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 221
Highest-place vote: 1 (5 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Buffalo, 24-17
This week: vs. N.Y. Jets (Thurs.)

Even when they aren’t running circles around opponents, the Ravens can win ugly. That doesn’t mean Lamar Jackson didn’t have time to collect some more ankles during another solid outing (16-of-25, 145 yards, 3 TDs, INT, 40 rushing yards) while the defense sacked Josh Allen six times, knocked down eight passes and prevented the Bills from mounting a second-half comeback.

2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-2)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 213
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat New Orleans, 48-46
This week: vs. Atlanta

Another strong showing from the Niners and another game-winning drive for Jimmy G, this time covering 49 yards in seven plays with under a minute to go. Robbie Gould, a perfect 6/6 on XPs and 2/2 on FGs, had the pleasure of icing it, and Emmanuel Sanders had a huge game (seven catches, 157 yards, TD) punctuated by this 35-yard gem of a touchdown pass thrown on the run.

T-3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-4)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 199
Highest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat New England, 23-16
This week: vs. Denver

With some help from the officials, the Chiefs ended the Patriots’ 21-game home winning streak. Still, take nothing away from the 17-point second-quarter outburst and a third consecutive win for a surging Kansas City team. Patrick Mahomes was steady despite being hobbled (26-of-40, 283 yards, TD, INT), and Mecole Hardman’s only catch of the night put the Chiefs ahead for good.

T-3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 199
Highest-place vote: 3 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to San Francisco, 48-46
This week: vs. Indianapolis (Mon.)

The Saints lost a tight one in the game of the day but can rest easier knowing they erased a nine-point fourth quarter deficit with the NFC South long in the bag. However, they also coughed up a 13-point lead at home as the defense surrendered its most points of the season against a team New Orleans will probably need to beat down the road.

T-5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3)

Previous rank: 4
Points in poll: 193
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Kansas City, 23-16
This week: at Cincinnati

Sorry to be that guy, but the Patriots have several gripes from this one: a likely scoop-and-score blown dead, a touchdown ruled out of bounds and, if you want to get picky, a missed PI call on the final drive. Still, the offense stunk as bad or worse than the refs for most of the game despite a great second half from the defense that kept New England in range. An impotent rushing attack (22 carries, 94 total yards) forced Tom Brady to stand behind a depleted offensive line and try to find somebody other than the oft-doubled Julian Edelman (95 yards, TD) to throw the ball.

T-5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-3)

Previous rank: 3
Points in poll: 193
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to L.A. Rams, 28-12
This week: at Carolina

Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense just never got in gear against the Rams, mustering 106 yards rushing and 245 yards passing in their lowest-scoring game of the season. Problems protecting Russ continue for the O-line, as the Seahawks surrendered five or more sacks for the third time in four weeks.

7. GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-3)

Previous rank: T-7
Points in poll: 183
Highest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Washington, 20-15
This week: vs. Chicago

Uninspiring victory for the Packers, but they stay on track in an NFC playoff race that demands its participants keep winning. Not the best second half from the offense, but Aaron Rodgers ran almost seven-and-a-half minutes off the clock late in the fourth before Mason Crosby kicked a field goal to keep Washington at arm’s length.

8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-4)

Previous rank: T-7
Points in poll: 181
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Detroit, 20-7
This week: at L.A. Chargers

Just pretend the first sentence of the Packers’ skinny made it down here too. The defense held the Lions to just 161 yards of offense, with Danielle Hunter picking up three solo sacks, while Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone rumbled for 120 total rushing yards.

9. BUFFALO BILLS (9-4)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 169
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Baltimore, 24-17
This week: at Pittsburgh

More proof the Bills aren’t messing around this season, but the offense couldn’t get out of its own way long enough to mount an effective comeback. Shaky outing from Josh Allen (17-of-39, 146 yards, TD, 62.6 rating) against a defense that put him on the ground six times and recovered one of his two fumbles, but none of his receivers got open often enough to generate more than 37 individual yards.

10. LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-5)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 161
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 13 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Seattle, 28-12
This week: at Dallas

All the sudden, the Rams look frisky. The defense finally woke up, planting Russell Wilson five times and holding the Seahawks to their lowest point total of the season. Despite two picks, Jared Goff did enough (22-of-31, 293 yards, 3 TDs) and Todd Gurley flashed some vintage form on his way to 113 total yards and 2 TDs.

11. HOUSTON TEXANS (8-5)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 158
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Denver, 38-24
This week: at Tennessee

This feels like a hangover from the New England win, which is a silly excuse for a team locked into a tight division race and, after this shellacking, working with very little breathing room. But how else do you explain a 38-3 early third quarter deficit at home to a four-win team giving their rookie QB his second career start?

12. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-5)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 152
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Oakland, 42-21
This week: vs. Houston

The Ryan Tannehill redemption tour has been supported heavily by Derrick Henry, but this win was all about the Titans’ rejuvenated QB1. Tannehill terrorized the Raiders to the tune of 21-of-27 for 391 yards, 3 TDs, an INT and a 140.4 rating. With Henry stomping out his usual 103 yards, seven pass catchers had at least 25 receiving yards for a Tennessee team right on the heels of the Texans and Steelers.

13. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6-7)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 135
Highest-place vote: 13 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Giants 23-17
This week: at Washington

Injuries are decimating the Eagles; after Alshon Jeffery was carted off against the Giants, the team is essentially down to negative receivers on the depth chart. The secondary is also a liability—if they play the way they did on Monday night against the Cowboys in Week 16, Dallas will win by three touchdowns.

14. DALLAS COWBOYS (6-7)

Previous rank: 13
Points in poll: 127
Highest-place vote: 14 (2 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Chicago, 31-24
This week: vs. L.A. Rams

Jerry’s pissed, and rightfully so. The Cowboys gave up 151 rushing yards to a team that averages 84.8 per game, 65 of them to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. And after a touchdown on the opening drive, Dallas managed a total of 57 yards on their next six possessions, 52 of which came on a single drive ending in a missed field goal. Still leading the NFC East, though!

15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-5)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 126
Highest-place vote: 12 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Arizona, 23-17
This week: vs. Buffalo

This team is 8-5? Kudos to Mike Tomlin for milking enough out of a dodgy, injured offense to support a postseason-caliber defense. And of course, a nod to Devlin Hodges, who played the modest but turnover-free football (16-of-19, 152 yards, TD, 117.5 rating) asked of him by his coach.

16. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-7)

Previous rank: 14
Points in poll: 119
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Tampa Bay, 38-35
This week: at New Orleans (Mon.)

That’s probably that for the Colts after losing for the fifth time in six games. The defense gave up over 30 points for the second week in a row, surrendered 542 total yards and just couldn’t keep the Bucs out of the end zone late. This field goal would’ve helped, and the same could be said for anything resembling a rushing attack (66 total yards on 22 attempts).

17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-8)

Previous rank: 19
Points in poll: 103
Highest-place vote: 13 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Jacksonville, 45-10
This week: vs. Minnesota

Philip Rivers and the Bolts hung 31 unanswered on the Jags to snap their recent three-game skid. Rivers kept it tidy (16-of-22, 314 yards, 3 TDs, 154.4 rating) and let Austin Ekeler (101 rushing yards, 112 passing, TD) gash up the Jacksonville defense, most notably on this 84-yard catch-and-run.

18. CLEVELAND BROWNS (6-7)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 97
Highest-place vote: 17 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cincinnati, 27-19
This week: at Arizona

Leave it to the Browns to make a win feel like a loss. OBJ is hurt, Baker thinks it’s the team’s fault, Freddie won’t shut him down and Odell? Answering questions about his future as cryptically as possible. Winning four of their last five should be the focus, but that’s just not the way she goes in Cleveland this season.

19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-7)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 94
Highest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Indianapolis, 38-35
This week: at Detroit

A very Winstonian afternoon from Jameis (33-of-45, 456 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs) was salvaged by a fourth-quarter drive (following a missed FG from the Colts) ending in a Breshad Perriman TD catch and a subsequent midfield stand from the defense. Alas, the Bucs were eliminated from the playoffs anyway.

20. CHICAGO BEARS (7-6)

Previous rank: T-21
Points in poll: 93
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Dallas, 31-24
This week: at Green Bay

Teams seem to beat the Cowboys this year by building a lead and sitting on it while Dallas stumbles around and shoots themselves in the foot—and that’s exactly what the Bears did. How’d the Cowboys fare on their second through seventh drives? Punt, punt, missed FG, halftime, punt, punt. Bears drives two through seven? 24 total points.

21. DENVER BRONCOS (5-8)

Previous rank: 24
Points in poll: 92
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Houston, 38-24
This week: at Kansas City

The Broncos went down to Houston and scored on their first five drives (along with a TD on this absurd rugby-esque scoop-and-score), and without much resistance from the Texans, the scoreboard read 38-3 early in the third. A real peach from Drew Lock (22-of-27, 309 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 136.0 rating) and some key grabs from Noah Fant (4 receptions, 113 yards, TD) aided Denver in their best win of the season.

T-22. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-9)

Previous rank: T-21
Points in poll: 78
Highest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Carolina, 40-20
This week: at San Francisco

The Falcons were favored against a team with a better record than them and held up their end of the bargain, as much an indicator of their recent form as the blowout win reflected the Panthers’ recent troubles. Younghoe Koo found himself in the highlight for the second week in a row, recovering a kickoff fumble and hitting all eight of his FGs and XPs.

T-22. OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-7)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 78
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Tennessee, 42-21
This week: vs. Jacksonville

Jeez, this got ugly quick. The promising but still quite green defense hardly touched Ryan Tannehill (3 QB hits, no sacks), and the secondary couldn’t hold up under aerial assault. The ground game missed Josh Jacobs immensely, mustering just 97 total rushing yards.

24. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-8)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 60
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Atlanta, 40-20
This week: vs. Seattle

Christian McCaffery led the team in rushing (53 yards) and receiving (82 yards) on 22 touches, but a pair of picks as well as a fumble from Kyle Allen (and a kickoff return fumble) cost Carolina in a game that went from 10-10 to 30-10 in just over a quarter.

25. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-9-1)

Previous rank: 26
Points in poll: 57
Highest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Pittsburgh, 23-17
This week: vs. Cleveland

The first of Kyler Murray’s three interceptions was the only one exchanged for points by the Steelers, but those seven were enough to hand Arizona another frustrating loss. We’ve seen Murray put together a couple game-winning drives this season, but this was not one of them.

26. NEW YORK JETS (5-8)

Previous rank: 25
Points in poll: 56
Highest-place vote: 23 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Miami, 22-21
This week: at Baltimore (Thurs.)

The Jets cashed in a get-out-of-jail free card after working themselves completely out of field goal range late and showing little interest in scoring for most of the second half. Robby Anderson (7 receptions, 116 yards, TD) played well, though.

27. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-10)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 39
Highest-place vote: 26 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to N.Y. Jets, 22-21
This week: at N.Y. Giants

Oh, the Fins almost had this one. The leaky D looked like it held up on third-and-18 from the Miami 46 with under a minute to go after a sack took New York out of field goal range…and then the laundry landed at Nik Needham’s feet for DPI. Four plays later, the Jets kicked the game-winner.

28. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-9)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 34
Highest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to L.A. Chargers, 45-10
This week: at Oakland

Yes, the defense gave up 525 yards, but the Jags couldn’t even manage half that (252 yards) and lost by 20+ for the fourth time in five weeks. Lots of decisions for Doug Marrone this offseason, if he’s even kept on board to make them.

29. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-10)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 27
Highest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Green Bay, 20-15
This week: vs. Philadelphia

The Washington defense kept Green Bay out of the end zone in the second half, but they couldn’t push them off the field or out of field goal range down one score in the fourth quarter. Bonus points for not letting the Packers cover, I guess?

T-30. DETROIT LIONS (3-9-1)

Previous rank: 30
Points in poll: 20
Highest-place vote: 27 (2 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Minnesota, 20-7
This week: vs. Tampa Bay

Good effort from the D against Dalvin Cook (75 total yards), but David Blough and the offense looked hopeless for most of the day. With an O-line that surrendered five sacks for 44 yards and eight QB hits in tow, it’s not surprising.

T-30. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-11)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 19
Highest-place vote: 26 (1 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Philadelphia 23-17
This week: vs. Miami

Eli Manning was back under center, but that didn’t do a thing to help these hapless Giants, who will struggle no matter who’s at quarterback.

32. CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-12)

Previous rank: 31
Points in poll: 19
Highest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Cleveland, 27-19
This week: vs. New England

The Bengals outpaced the Browns in every offensive category (and had fewer turnovers) expect the one that keeps drives alive–third down conversions. That, a 1-for-5 mark in the red zone and this costly pick-six early on (one of two defense/special teams TDs for Cleveland) came back to haunt Cincy.

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