December 13, 2022   6 MIN READ

Falling Star

ITB Power Rankings: 'Boys Slipping After Close Call; Bengals, Lions Surging


In our weekly NFL team rankings, we’ll grade them by:

– Roster
– Current Injury Issues
– Coaching
– Performance
– Record

We don’t subscribe to the theory that a team with a lesser record can’t be ranked higher than a team with a better record. It’s about how they look as of now based on the criteria listed above.

Dak Prescott

The Cowboys were fortunate to escape with a win over 32nd-ranked Houston Texans in Week 14.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1, previous ranking: #1): Can anyone beat them over their final four games?

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3, previous ranking: #2): That’s now wins in six of the last seven games for Andy Reid’s team. Despite last week’s defensive collapse, they’re more talented on that side of the ball than in recent years.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4, previous ranking: #6): During their five-game winning streak, the Bengals have shown that they’re back to playing at a championship level. 

4. Buffalo Bills (10-3, previous ranking: #5): While they’ve won four games in a row, their offense has not played at its usually high level during that time.

5. San Francisco 49ers (9-4, previous ranking: #7): They have the NFL’s best defense, but can rookie QB Brock Purdy show that he can win on the road?

6. Dallas Cowboys (10-3, previous ranking: #3): They’re lucky the Texans had no idea what they were doing on what should have been a game-sealing drive during last week’s narrow win.

7. Baltimore Ravens (9-4, previous ranking: #9): That’s now wins in six  of their last seven games despite the injury issues at QB.

8. Minnesota Vikings (10-3, previous ranking: #4): Reality hit the Vikings last week when the Lions beat them quite soundly.

9. Miami Dolphins (8-5, previous ranking: #8): They got handled pretty easily last week by a beat-up Chargers team, which should never happen.

10. Washington Commanders (7-5-1, previous ranking: #11): They’re coming off their bye week with a challenging schedule (vs NYG, at SF, vs CLE, vs DAL), but at least three of those games are at home.

11. Detroit Lions (6-7, previous ranking: #17): When the Lions were 1-6, they had major trouble closing games, but during their turnaround – with wins in five out of their last six games – they’ve shown signs of being a playoff type of team.

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-6, previous ranking: #10): That’s now three losses out of their last four games and they have a very daunting three-game stretch coming up (vs SF, at KC, vs NYJ).

13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6, previous ranking: #18): That was a great win over the visiting Dolphins last week and the Chargers have a favorable schedule for the rest of the way against three teams who are well below .500.

14. New York Jets (7-6, Previous ranking: #12): They’ve now lost three out of their last four games, and their offensive line issues aren’t going away.

15. New England Patriots (7-6, previous ranking: #16): A nice win over the lowly Cardinals in Week 14, but the Patriots are in a three-way tie for the final AFC Wild Card spot.

16. New York Giants (7-5-1, previous ranking: #13):  They haven’t won a game in four weeks and they’ll face a Commanders team coming off a Week 14 bye.

17. Tennessee Titans (7-6, previous ranking: #14): That’s now three losses in a row for head coach Mike Vrabel’s team.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8, previous ranking: #22): Of all the teams with six wins or less, the Jaguars are actually the most talented – and it showed during last week’s win over the host Titans.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7, previous ranking: #15): Too many injuries on their offensive line and TE Rob Gronkowski’s retirement are contributing factors for the Buccaneers’ regression.

20. Carolina Panthers (5-8, previous ranking: #25): Their defense is outstanding, but they’re a good QB away from being a playoff contender.

21. Green Bay Packers (5-8, previous ranking: #24): They’ll have to win their final four games to have any shot at an NFC Wild card spot.

22. Atlanta Falcons (5-8, previous ranking: #23): This was a three-year turn around program for GM Terry Fontenot when he took over last year and that not only remains the case but actually may take four seasons based on the current roster, which lacks enough blue-chip players. At least we’re going to see rookie QB Desmond Ridder start the rest of the way.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8, previous ranking: #19): They essentially needed to win at least four out of their final five to have a realistic shot at an AFC Wild Card spot, and that’s not going to happen.

24. Cleveland Browns (5-8, previous ranking: #21): Any chance to compete for an AFC Wild Card spot evaporated after losing to the Bengals last week.

25. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8, previous ranking: #20): Their season essentially ended once they blew a sizeable lead to the host Rams last week. And QB Derek Carr’s future with the team has to be in question.

26. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1, previous ranking: #26): Next season has to be all about developing the quarterback position if they want to have any chance at being a playoff team in the future.

27. Arizona Cardinals (4-9, previous ranking: #27): This is a lost season for the Cardinals due to several factors.

28. New Orleans Saints (4-9, previous ranking: #28): There’s a saying in the NFL: you can’t win if you don’t have an answer at quarterback. The Saints don’t have one.

29. Denver Broncos (3-10, previous ranking: #29): Their offseason will be interesting because they can’t do a thing about the quarterback position yet they’re strong at a lot of other positions.

30. Los Angeles Rams (4-9, previous ranking: #30): An amazing come from behind win over the Raiders last week, but they’re still a shell of last year’s Super Bowl team due to major injury issues.

31. Chicago Bears (3-10, previous ranking: #31): What’s surprising is how disappointing head coach Matt Eberflus’s defense is so far. Next year, the front office will have to address the defense in free agency and especially the draft in a significant way.

32. Houston Texans (1-11-1, previous ranking: #32): At least they play hard for head coach Lovie Smith.

– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for

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