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NFL power rankings Week 13: Holy crap, the Browns are ahead of the Packers

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The Broncos and Browns enter the top 20 while the Packers, Panthers, Bengals, and Dolphins slide down the rankings.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Only one team in the top 10 of last week’s power rankings lost in Week 12, which made for little movement at the top of this week’s order.

That was the Steelers, who lost to the Broncos thanks to a handful of mistakes from Pittsburgh. As a result, the Steelers fell slightly but remain in the top 10 while the Broncos climbed into the top 20 for the first time since Week 5. Denver even looks like a team that could fight its way into playoff contention in the final weeks of the season.

The top 10

The Saints, Rams, and Chiefs are still the NFL’s top three teams, but there’s a new team in the top five behind them as the Bears keep proving their legitimacy. Chicago’s only losses this season came to the Packers in Week 1 (Aaron Rodgers’ best game of the year, despite getting injured), the Dolphins in overtime in Week 5, and the Patriots in Week 6. Speaking of the Patriots, they beat the Jets to the surprise of no one, but it’s clear this New England team isn’t as dominant as many recent New England teams. Still, the AFC East will easily be won by the Patriots once again and they’re in position to have the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

The Chargers are one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West and have the best record of any team not in first place in their division. Kansas City’s margin for error is very small in the final five weeks of the season, including their meeting with LA in Week 15.

The Colts’ fifth win in a row has them in the top 10, too. Andrew Luck has been unstoppable in recent weeks and if he keeps playing at the rate he has, the Colts could become a rare team to start the season 1-5 before going on to make the playoffs. But, the Texans will make that difficult as they’ve won eight straight games and are in control of the AFC South.

The Ravens round out the top 10 following their win over the Raiders that featured a Terrell Suggs fumble recovery for a touchdown, his first score since 2008. Lamar Jackson has been impressive, but the Ravens defense is winning them games. They rank first in yards per game and points per game. They have some tough tests coming up, including facing the Chiefs and Chargers before the end of the season.

Notable changes

The Alex Smith injury had the impact we thought it would as Washington lost its spot as the NFC East’s first place team less than five days he was lost for the season. Washington has dropped a few spots as a result and the Cowboys have moved all the way up to No. 12, their highest ranking this season.

After losing three straight, the Panthers are on the decline. Making matters worse is that their most recent loss came to another team fighting for its playoff life, the Seahawks. The Panthers’ schedule isn’t going to get easier as they have four division games — including two against the Saints — in the final five weeks of the season.

The Eagles’ win over the Giants has effectively eliminated New York from the NFC East race while giving Philly new life. The Eagles still don’t have an impressive win this season, but there’s still time for them to get over their Super Bowl hangover.

The Browns also entered the top 20 after their win over the Bengals that may just signal the end of Cleveland’s time as the laughing stock of the AFC North. The Browns have beaten the Ravens and Bengals and tied with the Steelers this season. The last time the Browns had two division wins was 2014 when they beat the Bengals once and Steelers once.

The Packers have fallen so low that the Browns actually rank above them. How is that possible of a Rodgers-led team? Well, Mike McCarthy is largely to blame; it will take a miracle for the Packers to make the playoffs.

NFL power rankings Week 13

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