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NFL power rankings coming out of Week 14, broken down by tier

The top and bottom of our tiered power rankings are starting to coalesce. We break down how things looking before heading into Week 15.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) avoids Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) while running with the ball during the second quarter at Bills Stadium. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has one last game to wrap up Week 14. Sunday Night Football is a wrap with the Bills getting a mammoth win over the Steelers. The week will close with a huge Ravens-Browns showdown on Monday Night Football.

In the meantime, we’re back for another round of tier NFL power rankings. Rather than rank teams 1-32, we’ve broken them down into tiers. They’re ranked in their respective tier by record, but teams with the same record are not purposely situated one over another. It’s just to group teams with similar teams in terms of where they stand.

Top tier — not undefeated edition

Kansas City Chiefs (12-1)
Buffalo Bills (10-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)
Green Bay Packers (10-3)
New Orleans Saints (10-3)

We welcome the Bills to the top tier, but are not quite ready to drop the Steelers down. They’re struggling right now, but given how Buffalo has been playing, a road loss isn’t the worst for Pittsburgh. If they scuffle in Cincinnati next week, that might change. For now though, Pittsburgh is headed to the playoffs thanks to the Dolphins losing and the Chiefs have clinched the AFC West.

The Saints are the other team in this tier that took a tough loss in Week 14. They may not get Drew Brees back for Week 15, but if they can get him back for at least a tune-up before the playoffs start, they should be in good shape.

Going to the playoffs tier

Cleveland Browns (9-4)
Tennessee Titans (9-4)
Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)

All four of those teams won, but did not face the stiffest of competition. The Bucs beat a recently surging Vikings team, but otherwise, these teams faced competition going in the wrong direction. Wins are wins, but it’s not enough to bump them up a tier yet.

MNF update: The Browns get a demotion because they remain winless against the AFC North. They’e going to the playoffs, but if they can’t beat Pittsburgh or Baltimore, it could be a relatively quick exit.

The parity tier — AFC edition

Indianapolis Colts (8-5)
Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)

The parity tier — NFC edition

Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
Arizona Cardinals (7-6)
Chicago Bears (6-7)

The Ravens face the Browns and could move up a tier with a win or remain here with a loss. From these seven teams, Arizona, Indianapolis, and Miami are all trending in the right direction. The Cardinals and Colts won while the Dolphins gave the Chiefs a tough fight in Week 14.

MNF update: The Ravens beat the Browns, but I’m not quite ready to move them into the “going to the playoffs tier.” They remain behind Miami due to the tiebreaker and while they have two very winnable games against the two New York squads coming up, they still have to leapfrog the Dolphins.

NFC East tier

Washington Football Team (6-7)
New York Giants (5-8)
Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1)
Dallas Cowboys (4-9)

The division has had two straight big weeks and even with a decent chance of a sub-.500 champ, the group is looking more respectable. Washington held off the 49ers and the Bengals handled the Bengals, but the most impressive win saw Jalen Hurts help guide Philly to a huge win over the Saints in his starting debut. It has resulted in the whole tier getting moved above the “playing out the string” tier. Congrats, fellas!

Playing out the string tier

New England Patriots (6-7)
San Francisco 49ers (5-8)
Detroit Lions (5-8)
Denver Broncos (5-8)
Carolina Panthers (4-9)

We welcome the Patriots, Lions, and 49ers to this tier while bidding adieu to the playoff contention-eliminated Texans and Falcons. New England is two back of the 8-5 Dolphins and Detroit and San Francisco now trail the 7-6 Cardinals by two games with three to go. All three are still alive, but it would be a stunner if any of them ended up in the playoffs.

Mathematically eliminated

At least they have a QB of the future sub-tier

Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
Houston Texans (4-9)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-9)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)

The Texans and Falcons join this tier after being formally eliminated from playoff contention in the 14-team playoff (they would remain alive for a 16-team playoff). Houston has Deshaun Watson, but boy do they have a lot of questions to answer around the roster. Atlanta needs to figure out what’s next after Matt Ryan.

Trevor Lawrence sub-tier

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12)
New York Jets (0-13)

Week 14 felt a little more normal with the Jets and Jaguars both losing in decisive fashion. They are just about settled in as the top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.