Welcome to the Week 15 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 15, 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 had another close game against division rival Atlanta this week, but held on to remain both unblemished and at the top of the rankings. The top five of the ranks remained exactly the same as last week, although the gap between No. 4 Minnesota and No. 5 Cincinnati widened after the Vikings took down the Bengals on Sunday.
For the fourth straight week, only one team dropped out of the Top 10, as the Dallas Cowboys fell one spot to No. 11 after their loss to San Diego, swapping spots with No. 10 Arizona despite the Cardinals loss. In fact, that was the only swap of teams ranked No. 11-20 last week as well, meaning the teams ranked No.21-32 also stayed the same, although not in the same order.
The bottom six of Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Cleveland have now remained the same for six straight weeks, but for the second straight week got a shakeup in the order. After their surprising defeat of Pittsburgh on Thursday, Cleveland jumped four spots to No. 27, dropping Oakland, Detroit and Tampa Bay in the process. Never fear though, St. Louis stayed put at the very bottom, holding that No. 32 spot for the tenth time this season.
After a massive movement in the ranks last week where 26 of the 32 NFL teams moved, the Week 15 rankings were much more mundane. Just 19 teams moved at least one spot in the ranks this week, and only two moved at least three spots up or down.
The aforementioned Cleveland Browns turned out to be the biggest positive mover this week, jumping four spots after defeating the Steelers. The biggest downward movement was only three spots, as the Seattle Seahawks dropped to No. 26 after being demolished by the Houston Texans.
The disagreements among the rankers are again concentrated in the upper half of the rankings. There were five disagreements of at least seven spots in their ranks, all between the teams sitting in the No. 10-16 spots. And after two straight weeks without any, there was one disagreement that reached double digits between two of the contributors.
Tennessee Titans (10) – Smokey 7, Mickey 17
Baltimore Ravens (9) – Gideon 6, Mickey 15
Arizona Cardinals (8) – Smokey 6, Gideon 14
Dallas Cowboys (7) – Mickey 9, Smokey 16
Jacksonville Jaguars (7) – Mickey / Smokey 12, Walker 19
On the divisional side, the AFC South remains at the top with an average score of 12.25 while the NFC East retained second place with an average score of 13.75. The bottom division remains the same for the 12th consecutive week and will likely stay that way for the rest of the year. The NFC West checks in with a 21.80 average score, miles behind second to last place NFC South, coming in with a score of 18.50.
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) – The Saints squeaked by the Falcons for their 13th win of the season, while the rest of their division has combined for just 12.
2. Indianapolis Colts (2) – The Colts 13th straight win to start the season has clinched them homefield throughout the postseason.
3. San Diego Chargers (3) – After winning in Dallas for their 8th straight victory, the Chargers can all but wrap up their division and likely a first-round bye with a win over Cincinnati next week.
4. Minnesota Vikings (4) – The Vikings might be known for their run defense, but they held the Bengals’ air attack in check on Sunday, allowing just 91 passing yards in their win.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (5) – Not only were the 30 points allowed by Cincinnati the most points they have allowed this season, their 10 point offensive output was the fewest since the first week of the season.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (7) – How explosive is DeSean Jackson? With two TDs of 50+ yards against the Giants on Sunday, he ties the NFL record for a season with eight, and he still has three weeks to go.
7. Green Bay Packers (8) – The Packers are now 9-0 when Aaron Rodgers is sacked five times or less, as he was only on the ground twice against the Bears.
8. New England Patriots (6) – The Patriots beat the Panthers, but only targeted Randy Moss four times in the game (and just once in the second half).
9. Denver Broncos (9) – How impressive was Brandon Marshall’s record day? His 21 receptions were as many or more than 21 NFL teams on Sunday.
10. Arizona Cardinals (11) – After going four games without an interception, Kurt Warner threw two as part of a seven-turnover game in which the Cardinals failed to clinch the NFC West.
11. Dallas Cowboys (10) – The Cowboys’ inability to punch the ball in on three tries from the San Diego 1-yard line turned out to be the difference in their loss to the Chargers.
12. Baltimore Ravens (12) – The Ravens absolutely demolished the Lions to stay in the AFC playoff race, partially because of plays like this.
13. Tennessee Titans (15) – Chris Johnson is absolutely incredible, putting up 186 total yards and 3 TDs, and now needs 374 rushing yards in his final 3 games to reach 2,000 for the year.
14. New York Giants (13) – Eli Manning had a great day with 391 yards and a 130.5 QB rating, but putting up 38 points wasn’t enough in a crucial loss to the Eagles at home.
15. Miami Dolphins (17) – Ricky Williams’ fourth 100-game in his last five was enough for the Dolphins to beat the Jaguars and stay in both the AFC East and Wild Card races.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (14) – Home field wasn’t enough for Jacksonville to overcome just 122 yards passing in their loss to Miami.
17. New York Jets (19) – Kellen Clemens didn’t need to do much filling in for the injured Mark Sanchez, as the Jets defense destroyed the hapless Bucs to keep the Jets in the playoff race.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (16) – The defending champions have now lost to Oakland, Kansas City and Cleveland this season. Yuck.
19. Atlanta Falcons (18) – Without Matt Ryan and Michael Turner again, the Falcons stayed with New Orleans for most of the game but came up just short in a 26-23 loss.
20. Houston Texans (20) – With Brandon Marshall and DeSean Jackson’s big days, Andre Johnson’s 11 catch, 193 yard, 2 TD day in the Texans’ demolition of Seattle was nearly lost in the shuffle.
21. San Francisco 49ers (21) – Frank Gore ran wild against the Arizona defense, gaining 167 yards on 25 carries as the 49ers stayed alive in the NFC West race.
22. Carolina Panthers (22) – Matt Moore outperformed Tom Brady statistically on Sunday, but the Panthers put up just 3 points in the final 3 quarters of their loss to the Patriots.
23. Chicago Bears (24) – Another loss caused by another crucial Jay Cutler interception, which unfortunately overshadowed coach Lovie Smith’s incredulous decision to lose a challenge after calling a timeout, thereby burning two on just one play.
24. Washington Redskins (26) – If you had heard of Quinton Ganther before the season raise your hand. Not even our resident Redskins buff Joey could have predicted 93 total yards and 2 TDs from Ganther in the 34-13 win over Oakland.
25. Buffalo Bills (25) – The Bills rushed for 200 yards, averaging a healthy 5.7 per carry in their win over Kansas City.
26. Seattle Seahawks (23) – After losing by 27 to Houston, Seattle has still only had 2 games this season decided by one score or less.
27. Cleveland Browns (31) – In the Browns’ two victories this season combined, they have scored 19 points and completed 8 passes. Wow.
28. Oakland Raiders (27) – Who would have ever thought that a Bruce Gradkowski injury would be so devastating to a team?
29. Detroit Lions (28) – The Lions’ bad day in Baltimore got even worse when Kevin Smith had to leave the game with a knee injury.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (30) – While the Chiefs lost yet again, they may have found a running back in Jamaal Charles, who put up 143 yards on 20 carries on Sunday.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29) – Since putting up 38 points against Green Bay in their lone win of the season, the Buccaneers have totaled just 56 points in 5 straight losses.
32. St. Louis Rams (32) – When Keith Null (yes that’s a real person) is your starting QB, you don’t stand much of a chance at winning, let alone scoring.