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NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

What other picture were you expecting?

What other picture were you expecting?

Welcome to the Week 14 edition of the Cubicle GM NFL Power Rankings.  Every Tuesday you can look forward to our composite rankings, as well as a bit of brief insight and analysis about each of the 32 teams.

The rankings are determined by taking the average of each of the contributors here at The Cube.  For Week 14, we have rankings from five members of the Cubicle GM team, including me, Gideon, Mickey, Walker and Smokey.  So remember, if you disagree with some portion of our rankings, be sure to check the individual rankings to find the culprit.

The undefeated Saints got a pretty big scare from the Washington Redskins this week, but held on to remain both unblemished and at the top of the rankings.  The top portion of the ranks did get a shakeup for the first time in a few weeks, as both the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots lost on Sunday, dropping them to Nos. 4 and 6, respectively, while the San Diego Chargers vaulted to No. 3 after their seventh straight victory.

For the third straight week, only one team dropped out of the Top 10 this week, this time it was the Baltimore Ravens, who fell five spots to No. 12 after losing to Green Bay on Monday night.  Back in the Top 10 after a two week absence are the Denver Broncos, who jumped three spots to No. 9 after a blowout win at KC.

The bottom six of Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Cleveland have now remained the same for five straight weeks, but did get a shakeup in the order.  Oakland leapfrogged Detroit, Tampa and Kansas City to jump to No. 27, while Cleveland and St. Louis swapped spots at the bottom, and the Rams grab the No. 32 spot for the ninth time this season.

The movement in the ranks was massive this week, as 26 of the 32 NFL teams moved at least one spot in the ranks this week. Of those teams, nine moved at least three spots up or down.

The biggest positive movement this week was split between the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars, who each moved up four spots after wins on Sunday.  The biggest downward movement was also a split, this time between two AFC North teams, as the Pittsburgh Steelers joined the previously mentioned Ravens in falling five spots after their loss to Oakland at home.  Their current spot at No. 16 is their lowest of the season.

The disagreements among the rankers are back, and concentrated in the upper half of the rankings.  There were five disagreements of at least eight spots in their ranks, but for the second straight week none that reached a double digit disagreement between two of the contributors.

Tennessee Titans (9) – Smokey 8, Mickey / Walker 17

Dallas Cowboys (8) – Jacob 7, Smokey 15

Baltimore Ravens (8) – Gideon 8, Mickey 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (8) – Smokey 10, Walker 18

Washington Redskins (8) – Jacob 21, Smokey 29

On the divisional side, the AFC South remains at the top with an average score of 12.60.  The NFC East took second place after the big fall from the AFC North, coming in with an average score of 14.25.  The bottom division remains the same for the 11th consecutive week and might just stay that way for the rest of the year.  The NFC West checks in with a 21.55 average score, its highest since Week 3, but still miles behind second to last place NFC South, coming in with a score of 17.85.

As a reminder, you can check out all the backup data here.  Without further ado, onto the rankings.  As always, last week’s ranks are in parentheses.

1. New Orleans Saints (1) – Short week, road game in 15mph winds and 30 degree temperatures and a 10 point fourth quarter deficit?  No problem for Brees and the Saints as they improved to 12-0 and clinched their division.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2) – The Colts stopped the Titans’ impressive run and improved to 12-0, tying the NFL record for most consecutive regular season wins in the process.

3.  San Diego Chargers (5) – With Jim Brown in attendance, LaDainian Tomlinson passed him for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list in the Chargers’ win over Cleveland.

4. Minnesota Vikings (3) – After finding the end zone on their first drive of the game, the Vikings were kept out for the next 54 minutes in their loss to Arizona.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (6) – Looks like Cedric Benson is healthy again, carrying 36 times in a win over Detroit.

6. New England Patriots (4) – After falling to the Dolphins in Miami, the Pats have lost back-to-back regular season games for the first time since Weeks 9 and 10 of the 2006 season.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (10) – The Eagles really spread the ball around in their win over Atlanta, as 2 different players threw the ball, 6 different players carried it, and 6 different receivers caught a pass.

8.  Green Bay Packers (9) – The Packers are 8-0 when Aaron Rodgers is sacked five times or less, and 0-4 when he hits the ground with the ball 6 or more times.

9. Denver Broncos (12) – The Broncos’ history playing in Arrowhead stadium was pretty ugly until Sunday, when they walloped the Chiefs in the form of a 44-13 victory.

10. Dallas Cowboys (8) – A costly turnover cost the Cowboys against the Giants again, but this time it was Marion Barber’s fumble rather than Tony Romo’s arm.

11. Arizona Cardinals (15) – What a difference a QB makes.  Kurt Warner threw for 285 yards (241 of them to Fitzgerald and Boldin) and 3 TDs in a big win over the Minnesota Vikings.

12. Baltimore Ravens (7) – The Ravens sorely missed Ed Reed in their loss to the Packers, allowing three passing TDs to Aaron Rodgers.

13. New York Giants (14) – Eli Manning completed just 11 passes and only 2 receivers had more than 1 reception, but the Giants found a way to pull out a win over the rival Cowboys.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (18) – Home sweet home for Jacksonville, who improved to 5-1 at home and 7-5 overall with their win over Houston.

15. Tennessee Titans (13) – It had to end sometime, as Chris Johnson was “held” to 113 yards rushing in the Titans’ loss to Indy.

16.  Pittsburgh Steelers (11) – It’s pretty obvious that the Steelers miss injured safety Troy Polamalu roaming the secondary, as they allowed Bruce Gradkowski to pass for 300 yards in their loss to Oakland.

17. Miami Dolphins (19) – Miami was outgained on the ground and in the air by New England, but held the Pats scoreless for the last 27 minutes in their comeback victory.

18.  Atlanta Falcons (16) – No Matt Ryan, no Michael Turner, big problem for the Falcons, who didn’t get a point until the final play of the game on Sunday.

19. New York Jets (20) – Mark Sanchez is still having issues with sliding, but his replacement Kellen Clemens played well enough for the Jets to remain in the postseason hunt with a win.

20. Houston Texans (17) – Matt Schaub’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the Texans, who fell to 5-7 and nearly out of the playoff race.

21. San Francisco 49ers (21) – Alex Smith had a career-high in passing yards for the 49ers, but it wasn’t enough as they lost a crucial game to Seattle.

22. Carolina Panthers (24) – Matt Moore threw just one interception in his season debut in place of Jake Delhomme, which has to be considered a success.  So is a win.

23. Seattle Seahawks (23) – Julius Jones returned to the Seattle lineup and replaced an effective Justin Forsett with just 3.4 YPC, but Seattle got the win.

24. Chicago Bears (25) – The Bears gained just 248 yards in their win over lowly St. Louis, and 119 of them were on two plays.

25. Buffalo Bills (22) – Buffalo’s league-worst run defense was at it again, allowing 249 yards on the ground in a loss to the Jets.

26.  Washington Redskins (26) – It was a truly disappointing loss for the Skins in overtime, but Jason Campbell performance (30-42, 367 yards, 3 TDs) against a tough NO defense is cause for optimism.

27.  Oakland Raiders (30) – I can understand beating East Coast teams at home, but traveling to Pittsburgh and beating the Steelers?  This Oakland team will never fail to surprise me.

28. Detroit Lions (27) – Calvin Johnson had an impressive 54-yard TD reception, but that’s about all that went right for Detroit on Sunday.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29) – Josh Freeman looked more like Jake Delhomme against the Panthers, throwing 5 interceptions in a loss.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (28) – “You name it, there were a lot of things going wrong out there,” – Matt Cassel.  Yep, pretty much.

31. Cleveland Browns (32) – The Browns put up a fight in the fourth quarter of their loss on Sunday, scoring three times, including 10 points in the final two minutes.

32. St. Louis Rams (31) – I was there.  It was ugly.  Steven Jackson is the entire Rams offense.

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