Week 14 Power Rankings (NFL)

1. New England Patriots– Eight wins and counting for the defending Super Bowl champions and as of now, they look like the team to beat once again. But then again, that’s every year and that’s how it will be with Brady and Coach Belichick. Remember I said that we would get to a point when we’d say what problems for these guys? I’ll ask again, what problems? This football team hasn’t lost since week four back in September. Their offense seems to click more and more by the week and the defense still does give up the big play down the field, but 20 yards and under in the red zone, they clamp down and they’re a much different defense. With a win on Monday night or a Bills loss today against the Colts, the Patriots will win the division once again. There are things that we can count on to happen: Coaches getting fired, champions in all the major sports and the Patriots winning the AFC East each year. If they win out, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will once again travel through Foxboro, but in typical Patriot fashion, let us focus on what’s ahead right now and that’s the Miami Dolphins.

2. Minnesota Vikings– Another week, another win and they are closing games out in very impressive ways. I think last week was their best win of the season. Anytime you play the defending conference champions, it will always be a big game and that was the case last Sunday for the Vikings when they played the Atlanta Falcons as it looked like the Falcons were turning the page and finding their swagger at the right time. That definitely wasn’t the case in week 13. The Vikings defense shut down an offense with the reigning MVP and a wide receiver who went off for 253 yards receiving the previous week and held a Falcons offense to nine points. Behind the Eagles. this is another one of the more complete teams in the NFL. They are able to run the football, Case Keenum can be more than a game manager, they have a nice trio of weapons in Diggs, Thielen, and Rudolph and they play defense. What more can you ask for? With a win today against the Carolina Panthers, they will clinch the NFC North for the second time in three seasons under Mike Zimmer.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers– Heading into their game against the Bengals last week, I was anxious to see what type of start that they’d get off too because I feel that they sometimes underestimate their opponents at times and their games against the Colts, Packers, and Bengals are all perfect examples because they were down in each of those games, but found a way to come back and win each of them. Each win is important for them, especially with the Patriots on a winning streak of their own. This is by far their most important stretch of games of the season. Baltimore tonight for Sunday Night Football and the game of all games next week when they face the New England Patriots in an AFC Title Game rematch and the winner will more than likely have a better path at clinching the one seed in the AFC playoff picture. The saying really is true: It isn’t always how you start, it’s how you finish and they should definitely have more than the two losses in their loss column right now, but the great teams always find a way to make adjustments and get the W.

4. Philadelphia Eagles– We saw that they are human after all and they lost their second game of the season last Sunday against Seattle, their first loss since week two when they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs (when the Chiefs were still good). All season, the Eagles defense has been stout and they hadn’t allowed a touchdown in the first quarter, until Sunday night… Wentz just couldn’t get anything going, the running game was shut down and the defense struggled to make anything happen against Russell Wilson. They are still in a really good position to win their division, of course, clinch home-field and end the season on a high. This is their second west coast game in a row when they face the Rams today in a matchup of young quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. They want nothing more than to bounce back.

5. Los Angeles Rams– For the first time in nearly 14 seasons, the Los Angeles Rams have clinched a winning season and they have bounced back very nicely since being embarrassed by the Vikings a few weeks ago. The future is extremely bright for this football team and I see more teams filling their coaching vacancies with younger and inexperienced coaches. The Rams will be in the playoffs, that’s a no-brainer, but can they win the division? That’s the one question that’s looming over their heads right now and they’ll have a shot against Seattle in a few weeks. They win that game and the NFC West is theirs. This is also an important game today with the Philadelphia Eagles in town. A win would put them in second place in the NFC with the head to head tie-breaker favoring L.A. (that’s if they win only).