NFL power rankings, Week 15: Patriots are the new best team in football

Jared Wickerham

New England stomped the Texans, formerly known as the NFL's best team.

There's a new No. 1 in SB Nation's NFL power rankings for Week 15: New England Patriots. Bob Belichick and the Pats made a big statement on Monday night, delivering a four-touchdown victory over the Houston Texans who, before Monday's game, were the consensus No. 1 team in the league. The Texans still have the best record in the league but after Monday night we know they are not the best team.

Your Week 15 NFL power rankings:


More: AFC playoff picture | NFC playoff picture


1. New England Patriots (LW: 3, 10-3): Your new No. 1. The Patriots have now won seven straight. They're scoring 36 (!!) points per game, they're in the top 10 rushing and passing the ball, and they just beat our previous No. 1 team by four touchdowns. If you're into testing teams to see how good they really are, the Patriots play another elite defense in San Francisco next week.

2. Houston Texans (LW: 1, 11-2): Down goes Houston. This team has now lost to the Packers, 42-24, and the Patriots, 42-14. They're not a one-trick pony -- they also beat the Ravens and the Bears -- so they're capable of winning big games. They just get embarrassed on the national stage -- Sunday Night Football against Green Bay and Monday night against New England.

3. Denver Broncos (LW: 4, 10-3): Very interested in seeing this Broncos-Ravens game. Denver has already lost to a couple of teams they could see in the playoffs in Houston and New England. Baltimore will be a good barometer for where they stand.

4. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 2, 11-2): Down goes Atlanta. The Falcons aren't blowing teams out. They're not imposing their will like the Patriots seem to do at times. They're winning close games which always brings up the question of whether they're lucky or good. Top 10 in offense, defense and point differential ... I'd say they're a very good team, the loss to the Panthers notwithstanding.

5. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 5, 9-3-1): Jim Harbaugh does not seem like a guy you want to cross. Brandon Jacobs might be learning that. The 49ers aren't using Jacobs but instead of cutting him -- which would perhaps allow him to become a free agent and re-sign with a certain big blue team -- they just suspended him for the rest of the regular season.

6. Green Bay Packers (LW: 7, 9-4): The Packers can beat anyone when they're playing well. They have arguably the highest ceiling of any team (which many people will disagree with). But it is slightly concerning that they've notched losses to the 49ers, Seahawks and Giants, all potential playoff teams. Only the San Francisco game came at home, though.

7. New York Giants (LW: 8, 8-5): The NFC East is not over. New York holds a one-game lead but has road games coming up against Atlanta and Baltimore. The Giants could be the underdog in each game. Things could get interesting.

8. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 6, 9-4): You know expectations are high if you fire the offensive coordinator of your top 10 offense. Firing Cam Cameron also underscores the importance of developing your quarterback. Those teams at the bottom of these power rankings would love to have the problems the Ravens are having.

9. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 11, 9-4): The Colts have won seven of their last eight, losing only one to the Patriots. Two of their final three come against the Texans, which means the AFC South race technically isn't over yet. This team could be extremely hot heading into the postseason.

10. Washington Redskins (LW: 14, 7-6): The Redskins finish at Cleveland, at Philly and hosting Dallas. Wouldn't be stunned to see them run the table. For my entertainment's sake in the playoffs, I hope they do. No one had them beating the Giants and Ravens.


Previous Power Rankings: Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14


11. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 13, 8-5): If you held a re-draft today, Russell Wilson would be a top-10 pick and no one would really bat an eye.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 10, 7-6): Oy. The first Steelers team ever to lose to the Chargers in Pittsburgh during the regular season. That can't feel good.

13. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 16, 7-6): Dallas overcame tragedy to beat the Bengals. Avoiding the letdown game will be difficult.

14. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 17, 7-6): Everyone keeps talking about what Adrian Peterson needs to hit 2,000 yards (134 yards per game). What about what he needs to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record? 169 yards per game.

15. Chicago Bears (LW: 9, 8-5): Maybe the Bears aren't a playoff team. They were 7-1 at one point. Now best case scenario is looking like 10 wins, which would probably be enough. But what if they slip up?

16. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 12, 7-6): Streaky team. They won three of four out of the gate, lost four in a row and then won four in a row. They'll also need to beat the Steelers and/or Ravens in the final two weeks of the season.

17. New York Jets (LW: 23, 6-7): It's going to be great when the Jets make the playoffs.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 15, 6-7): The Bucs usually beat the teams they should. Losing to the Eagles was their first loss of the season that's inexplicable.

19. St. Louis Rams (LW: 24, 6-6-1): Keep those playoff hopes alive! Remember who was on the Rams bandwagon back in August!

20. New Orleans Saints (LW: 18, 5-8): Three losses in a row to the 49ers, Falcons and Giants. Remember when the Saints were that team nobody wanted to play?


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21. Buffalo Bills (LW: 19, 5-8): Is Chan Gailey on the hot seat?

22. Miami Dolphins (LW: 20, 5-8): Six weeks ago I thought the Dolphins might challenge for a Wild Card spot. No, I'm never right about anything.

23. San Diego Chargers (LW: 26, 5-8): Norv watch 2012: Will be fired in three weeks.

24. Carolina Panthers (LW: 27, 4-9): Lose to the Chiefs. Beat the Falcons. Sometimes football makes no sense.

25. Tennessee Titans (LW: 21, 4-9): The weekly "Fire the coach!" posts are still there.

26. Detroit Lions (LW: 22, 4-9): Poor Detroit. Last year's playoff run was supposed to be the start of a new era.

27. Cleveland Browns (LW: 25, 5-8): What if I told you the Browns were one of the five most underrated teams this year? It's true.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 32, 4-9): The losing streak is over. Maybe Nick Foles' development means this season isn't a total waste.

29. Oakland Raiders (LW: 29, 3-10): Oakland doesn't deserve primetime games yet.

30. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 28, 4-9): No, it is not a good thing when the team owner has to confirm that you won't be fired during the season.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 30, 2-11): 30th ranked offense, 29th ranked defense. :(

32. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 31, 2-11): Don't feel bad, Chiefs fans. The Browns blow everyone out. Wait. What's that? Oh. They don't.

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