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NFL power rankings 2017, Week 14: Oh hey, it’s the Patriots again

You never really doubted the Patriots, did you?

NFL: New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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:

  1. The Eagles are no longer the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
  2. 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.

Riding high

Seattle Seahawks

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.

Green Bay Packers

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.

Low spirits

Atlanta Falcons

Just when it looked like things were coming together for the Falcons, the Vikings came to town and imposed their will. Atlanta was held to just nine points and had a season-low 15 first downs.

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.

Detroit Lions

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.

New York Giants

The firings of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese are worth celebrating for Giants fans, but there really isn’t much reason to be hopeful about the team’s future right now.

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

# Team Last week
# Team Last week
1 New England Patriots 2
2 Minnesota Vikings 3
3 Pittsburgh Steelers 4
4 Philadelphia Eagles 1
5 Los Angeles Rams 5
6 New Orleans Saints 6
7 Jacksonville Jaguars 9
8 Seattle Seahawks 12
9 Los Angeles Chargers 10
10 Carolina Panthers 7
11 Tennessee Titans 11
12 Atlanta Falcons 8
13 Baltimore Ravens 13
14 Oakland Raiders 17
15 New York Jets 21
16 Buffalo Bills 16
17 Dallas Cowboys 24
18 Green Bay Packers 27
19 Detroit Lions 14
20 Washington 15
21 Cincinnati Bengals 18
22 Kansas City Chiefs 19
23 Arizona Cardinals 20
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22
25 Houston Texans 23
26 San Francisco 49ers 28
27 Miami Dolphins 31
28 Indianapolis Colts 26
29 Chicago Bears 29
30 Denver Broncos 30
31 New York Giants 25
32 Cleveland Browns 32

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