NFL Power Rankings: Panthers, Patriots and Bengals at the top entering “Details”

NFL Power Rankings: Panthers, Patriots and Bengals at the top entering - Details

NFL – The Panthers hold onto the top spot in our Power Rankings this week with a shootout win over the Saints in New Orleans, moving to 12-0 on the year.

1. Carolina Panthers

Record: 12-0

Week 14 opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

Week 13 MVP: Cam Newton overcame a sloppy first half and threw for 331 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.

One thing to know: The Panthers clinched the NFC South before their game even began, when the Falcons lost their Week 13 game.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Record: 10-2

Week 14 opponent: vs. Minnesota Vikings

Week 13 MVP: Rookie David Johnson filled in as the starting running back and totaled 120 yards with a touchdown.

One thing to know: Larry Fitzgerald became the youngest player to reach the 1,000-receptions club on Sunday.

3. New England Patriots

Record: 10-2

Week 14 opponent: at Houston Texans

Week 13 MVP: James White, who got extended minutes against the Eagles thanks to a depleted Patriots offense. The running back was better as a receiver, hauling in 10 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

One thing to know: Two consecutive losses are nothing to be worried about. What’s important for New England is getting Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola healthy for the playoffs.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 10-2

Week 14 opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 13 MVP: Andy Dalton was excellent against the abysmal Browns, completing 14 of 19 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

One thing to know: The Bengals, Patriots, and Broncos are all 10-2 and fighting for a first-round bye in the AFC. For now, the Bengals are the 1-seed, but this will likely come down to an away game in Denver in Week 16.

5. Denver Broncos

Record: 10-2

Week 14 opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 13 MVP: Danny Trevathan had a key 25-yard pick-6 on Philip Rivers on Sunday. This Denver defense continues to look scary, week in and week out.

One thing to know: C.J. Anderson left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and did not return. The Broncos running game had been starting to pick up steam, so losing him could be costly.

6. Seattle Seahawks

Record: 7-5

Week 14 opponent: at Baltimore Ravens

Week 13 MVP: Russell Wilson went 21-27 for 274 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, while adding 51 rushing yards and his first rushing touchdown on the season.

One thing to know: The Seahawks are on fire and now face an easy schedule the next three weeks. The NFL should be scared.

7. Green Bay Packers

Record: 8-4

Week 14 opponent: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 13 MVP: Tight end Richard Rodgers had 146 receiving yards, including the game-winning touchdown.

One thing to know: Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary touchdown distracted from the fact that this team looked dead in the water against the Lions. It’ll be interesting to see if the miracle win turns this team around or if they continue to struggle.

8. Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 7-5

Week 14 opponent: vs. San Diego Chargers

Week 13 MVP: Jeremy Maclin hauled in two touchdown catches on the day as the Chiefs won their sixth straight game.

One thing to know: Could K.C. push this win-streak to 10 games? With the Chargers, Ravens, Browns, and Raiders on deck, it’s certainly possible.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 7-5

Week 14 opponent: at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 13 MVP: Antonio Brown, who not only dominated the Colts with two receiving touchdown catches and a 71-yard punt return touchdown, but also had the single best touchdown celebration of the season.

One thing to know: The Jets, Chiefs, and Steelers are all 7-5 and in the hunt for an AFC wild card berth. If the playoffs ended today, the Steelers won’t make it

10. Minnesota Vikings

Record: 8-4

Week 14 opponent: at Arizona Cardinals

Week 13 MVP: Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kick-off 101 yards for the Vikings’ lone score on the day.

One thing to know: The Vikings have now lost to the Packers and the Seahawks in two of the last three weeks. That doesn’t scream legitimacy, and things get even tougher in Week 14 against the NFC-leading Cardinals.

11. New York Jets

Record: 7-5

Week 14 opponent: vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 13 MVP: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 50 — 50! — passes against the Giants on Sunday and completed an impressive 39 of them. In all, he threw for 390 yards and two touchdowns.

One thing to know: Leonard Williams logged his first solo sack on Sunday, which is a good sign for the future of the Jets defensive line. ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes that as Williams’ role grows, so too will the Jets’ defense.

12. Indianapolis Colts

Record: 6-6

Week 14 opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 13 MVP: D’Qwell Jackson led the game with 11 solo sacks.

One thing to know: Matt Hasselbeck, who left Sunday’s game, is expected to play through minor injuries to his shoulder and ribs this weekend after MRIs showed nothing too serious. Good news for Colts fans: Andrew Luck will be back after next week.

13. Buffalo Bills

Record: 6-6

Week 14 opponent: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 13 MVP: Tyrod Taylor, who threw three touchdowns, including a 40-yard pass with 1:53 left in the 4th quarter to lead the Bills past the Texans.

One thing to know: With the Bills traveling to Philadelphia this weekend, expect Rex Ryan to make LeSean McCoy captain.

14. Houston Texans

Record: 6-6

Week 14 opponent: vs New England Patriots

Week 13 MVP: Jadeveon Clowney is quietly starting to make his mark on the NFL. He had a sack on Sunday, and expect him and J.J. Watt to terrorize the Patriots this weekend.

One thing to know: The Texans blew a key opportunity to take the division lead from the Colts, but with three of their remaining four games against AFC South opponents, the Texans are far from eliminated.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 6-6

Week 14 opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 13 MVP: Jameis Winston had 227 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, but made the play of the day by scrambling 20 yards for a first down, setting up the game-winning touchdown.

One thing to know: The Bucs are tied for second place in the NFC South, with the Falcons rapidly fading. The playoffs are still a long-shot, but making it this far is a win for this team.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services