Down go the Philadelphia Eagles.
A 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks really doesn’t mean anything for the Eagles’ playoff chances with the NFC East all but clinched. But the defeat does mean a couple of things:
- The Eagles are no longer the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
- A familiar face is back on top of the power rankings.
The football world actually doubted the New England Patriots early in the season. With the defense looking awful, the Patriots limped out to a 2-2 start and looked far from a Super Bowl favorite.
Now the team has won eight consecutive games and can clinch its 14th AFC East title in 15 years with a win against the Miami Dolphins in Week 14. The weirdest part is the Patriots defense is playing really well and allowed just 489 yards and 20 points in the last two weeks combined.
Shame on any of us for ever thinking the Patriots were anything less than, well, the Patriots.
With their playoff hopes on the line, the Seahawks pulled off a gigantic win and jolted themselves into contention. A loss to the red-hot Eagles would’ve left Seattle at 7-5 and behind the Falcons in the NFC Wild Card race. But the win put the team in the No. 5 seed and kept the Seahawks just one game behind the Rams, who they’ll face in a pivotal rematch in Week 15.
Seattle has a history of doing this. Year after year, the Seahawks pull off a statement victory when it looks like their season might be in jeopardy. Now they’re in business.
Climbing into the brutally competitive NFC playoff race is still a long shot for the Packers, but the team deserves credit for staying in the mix without Aaron Rodgers. Wins over the Bears and Buccaneers aren’t that impressive, and the Packers are No. 24 in total offense and No. 25 in total defense. But they’re also still alive at 6-6.
Green Bay won’t catch Minnesota, so its slim chances rest on tracking down and picking off at least two teams out of the trio of the Seahawks, Panthers, and Falcons. Get a win over the Browns in Week 14 and a little luck and maybe it’s not that unrealistic — especially now that Rodgers is back on the practice field and eligible to return as early as Week 15.
The Vikings are a tough out for any team, but the loss — coupled with a win for the Seahawks — leaves Atlanta in a tough spot. Now the Falcons will have to deal with two games against the Saints in the next three weeks and a season finale against the Panthers. That’s a tall order.
Losses for the Panthers and Falcons left a golden opportunity for the Lions. Instead they were blown out by the explosive offense of the ... Ravens?
Baltimore is near the bottom of the league in offense this season but roasted the Detroit defense in a 44-20 win that was never close. So rather than being on the doorstep of the NFC Wild Card race, the Lions have an uphill climb to get back in contention.
Eli Manning is back in his starting role, but his time in New York is reaching its end. The offense is bad and the defense is bad. Whoever is tasked with fixing the Giants will have their work cut out for them.
Full hope rankings
Weekly disclaimer: These aren’t your average power rankings and are instead an attempt to measure the current state of mind — or “hope” — for each team and fan base.
The NFL can be an emotional roller coaster, and one big week can shoot a team’s spirits through the roof and tank another’s hopes of finishing with the Lombardi Trophy in February or beyond. Teams near the top are feeling great after Sunday, while those at the bottom aren’t feeling too optimistic.
If you’re looking for a ranking of who would beat who, this isn’t always going to be the best gauge
Hope rankings, Week 14
|1||New England Patriots||2|
|5||Los Angeles Rams||5|
|6||New Orleans Saints||6|
|9||Los Angeles Chargers||10|
|15||New York Jets||21|
|18||Green Bay Packers||27|
|22||Kansas City Chiefs||19|
|24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22|
|26||San Francisco 49ers||28|
|31||New York Giants||25|