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NFL power rankings Week 14: It’s time to believe in the Chiefs and Lions

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Everything is coming together for some teams, while others were exposed as frauds in Week 13.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a single divisional matchup in Week 13, but there was plenty of opportunity to sort out contenders from pretenders. Some teams like the Seattle Seahawks bounced back from adversity, while others like the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants looked nothing like the hot teams that went undefeated in November.

It’s a lesson in overreaction.

The Seattle Seahawks still have concerns that are worth keeping an eye on, but the 40-7 demolition of the Carolina Panthers showed that they aren’t going to roll over or fizzle out. They remain a dangerous team with playmakers to help make up for a subpar offensive line.

And six consecutive wins are nice, but the Dolphins and Giants racked them up against teams that aren’t in the postseason hunt.

Instead it was other teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions that further validated that their recent play is indicative of what to expect the rest of the way.

Deep falls

Come on, Miami Dolphins. I was just starting to believe in you. Six straight wins in the NFL is no joke, but perhaps November games against the likes of the New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers made the Dolphins look a little better than reality.

Or a lot better.

A week after getting toasted by Colin Kaepernick for most of Week 12, Joe Flacco had an even bigger day with 381 passing yards and four touchdowns. Prior to Sunday, Flacco hadn’t thrown more than one passing touchdown in a 2016 game against any team other than the Cleveland Browns.

A six-game winning streak went out the window for the New York Giants too, and there’s reason to question how much the schedule played a factor in their hot streak too.

Big jumps

My apologies to the Seahawks. There was a top tier of four teams prior to Week 12, but when the Seahawks dropped a 14-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I was no longer convinced. Whether or not the Seahawks are an elite team is still a question to be answered as the postseason approaches, but it’s clear that they are a force to be reckoned with and aren’t going to be held to five points on a weekly basis.

There a few convincing and impressive victories in Week 13, and a couple of teams confirmed what many — myself included — doubted for most of the year: The Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs are for real.

Both teams, despite having better records than their opponents, were underdogs in Week 13. But both are looking more and more like legitimate postseason contenders.

Bottom of the trash heap

The Chicago Bears grabbed a third win in 2016 and their first since Halloween, but it came against the San Francisco 49ers, who finished with a whopping six passing yards.

Even worse than the San Francisco offense is the team’s incredibly bad rushing defense that allowed Jordan Howard to run for 117 yards and three touchdowns, despite sloppy conditions that forced both teams to be mostly one-dimensional.

At least the Cleveland Browns escaped Week 13 without a loss, so that’s nice:

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

Sunday’s Chiefs-Falcons game decided by critical plays