Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus who's under fire in the final month

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The NFL Power Rankings looked at players, coaches and executives on the hot seat in the preseason. Now that we're in the home stretch of the regular season, we figured we'd revisit this subject and see who was under fire going into the final month.

Our NFL Nation reporters took a look at players with rocky futures, coaches who might have to update their résumés and executives whose rosters are under scrutiny on the teams they cover who truly need a big December. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:13 |12|11 |10 |9 |8 |7 |6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. Baltimore Ravens (10-2)

Week 13 ranking: 2

Who's under fire: De'Anthony Thomas, PR/KR

It's difficult to designate anyone on the hot seat for a team that's won eight straight games and sits atop the AFC. But there is pressure at returner, especially because Baltimore has already cut one this season in Cyrus Jones. Thomas hasn't been a difference-maker since joining the Ravens four games ago but has shown some progress as a punt returner. He has brought back two punts for more than 15 yards in each of the past two games. The Ravens, though, want more explosiveness and consistency out of that spot. -- Jamison Hensley

2. San Francisco 49ers (10-2)

Week 13 ranking: 3

Who's under fire: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Garoppolo isn't really under fire, but all eyes will be on him as the 49ers play in bigger and more meaningful games down the stretch. Garoppolo has been good for the most part this season, save for occasional trouble protecting the ball. He hasn't been asked to carry the freight much for a team with a strong run game and stout defense, but he has delivered productive outings more often than not. The stage is about to get a bit bigger and the lights a bit brighter, but Garoppolo will be the Niner who garners the most attention as the postseason inches closer. -- Nick Wagoner

3. New England Patriots (10-2)

Week 13 ranking: 1

Who's under fire: WRs not named Julian Edelman

The Patriots' loss to the Texans stood out from the standpoint of Houston devoting extra resources to covering Edelman, essentially daring the team's other pass-catchers to create separation and get open. The results were uneven. The Patriots will need more from Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu, N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers the rest of the way. -- Mike Reiss

4. New Orleans Saints (10-2)

Week 13 ranking: 5

Who's under fire: Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre'Quan Smith, WRs

New Orleans' biggest problem from late last season remains its biggest problem heading into this December -- a lack of reliable wide receivers outside of Michael Thomas. Neither Ginn nor Smith has had more than two catches in a game since Week 3. The Saints badly need one or both to step up in the playoffs. Regardless, they'll be looking for an upgrade this offseason. -- Mike Triplett

5. Seattle Seahawks (10-2)

Week 13 ranking: 4

Who's under fire: Chris Carson, RB

More specifically, Carson's ball security. That has been his only shortcoming this season. Carson is headed toward a second consecutive 1,000-yard season and is on pace to double his reception total from 2018. But he's fumbled seven times, most among non-quarterbacks. It hasn't cost Carson his starting job -- "Chris is our guy," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said last week after Carson's latest fumble and Rashaad Penny's breakout game -- but the 2018 first-round pick seems to be closing the gap at least a little. -- Brady Henderson

6. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

Week 13 ranking: 8

Who's under fire: Andy Reid, head coach

Reid isn't going to get fired for playoff failure, but the Chiefs have been waiting 50 years to get back to the Super Bowl. The AFC playoff field looks as though it will be filled with dangerous opponents in a one-and-done setting, but the Chiefs are talented enough to make a deep run. It's Reid's job to navigate them past the likes of the Texans, Patriots and Ravens. -- Adam Teicher

7. Minnesota Vikings (8-4)

Week 13 ranking: 6

Who's under fire: Riley Reiff, LT

By all accounts, Reiff has been decent -- not great, not terrible -- which has been the standard since he signed as a free agent in 2017. He's allowed four sacks and 15 total pressures on an offensive line that is improved but still a work in progress. Reiff is "under fire" because he's at risk of being a salary-cap casualty with his $13.2 million hit in 2020. The Vikings have a lot of hard financial decisions to make this offseason, and overpaying for a left tackle you don't view as a franchise player isn't the smartest thing to do when Brian O'Neill might eventually move over to that side. -- Courtney Cronin

8. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Week 13 ranking: 7

Who's under fire: Shawn Mennenga, special-teams coach

The Packers are on pace to set a dubious NFL record for fewest punt-return yards in a season. They're at minus-8 -- yes, they've lost yardage -- on punt returns through 12 games. The NFL record for fewest punt-return yards in a season is 27 (by the Cardinals in 1965). The Packers had their longest punt return of the season on Sunday against the Giants: a 3-yard return by Tremon Smith. The next-worst team in punt-return yardage this season is still 98 yards better than the Packers. The best thing you can say about the Packers' special teams is that the unit hasn't cost them a game -- yet. -- Rob Demovsky

9. Houston Texans (8-4)

Week 13 ranking: 9

Who's under fire: Will Fuller, WR

Before the start of next season, the Texans are going to have to make a decision about Fuller, their first-round pick in 2016. Houston's front office tends to extend its first-round picks before their fifth season, but given Fuller's injury history, he might have to play on his fifth-year option instead of signing a big contract extension. Fuller changes the offense for the Texans, but he again missed time with an injury (four games after injuring his hamstring in Week 7), and Houston needs to make sure it can count on him to stay healthy before committing to him long-term. -- Sarah Barshop

10. Buffalo Bills (9-3)

Week 13 ranking: 10

Who's under fire: Stephen Hauschka, K

The Bills are rolling, but Hauschka has struggled this season, connecting on a career-low 71% of his field goals. After he missed two field goals in a three-point loss to the Browns in Week 10 and a field goal and an extra point last week, Hauschka's margin for error is rapidly shrinking. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

11. Los Angeles Rams (7-5)

Week 13 ranking: 12

Who's under fire: Les Snead, GM

Snead signed a contract extension before the season that keeps him with the Rams through 2023, so there's no danger of the general manager losing his job. There's no reason he should after constructing a Super Bowl roster last season. However, the attention on him will undoubtedly grow, as he must find a way to rebuild the offensive line and fill a few key positions with very little cap space. The Rams also don't have a first-round draft pick after Snead traded their 2020 first-rounder (and 2021 first- and fourth-round picks) to acquire cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who also is looking for a payday. -- Lindsey Thiry

12. Tennessee Titans (7-5)

Week 13 ranking: 14

Who's under fire: Rodger Saffold, LG

Bringing Saffold to the Titans was supposed to be the move that tightened up the offensive line. Much has been asked of the left guard, who signed a four-year, $44 million deal in March. Saffold admittedly got off to a rough start but said he's hitting his stride after the Titans upset the Colts. -- Turron Davenport

13. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

Week 13 ranking: 11

Who's under fire: Jason Garrett, head coach/Jerry Jones, owner

There are other candidates, but Garrett has to be at the top of the list. He entered the season in a win-or-else situation because he was in the final year of his deal. He can still earn an extension but might have to do something that is not imaginable at the moment: get to the Super Bowl. Since Jones is responsible for the coaches and players on the roster he is also under fire, but since he owns the team, he isn't going anywhere. Jones thought he put together a team to contend for a championship. That can still happen, but only if Garrett can rise to the occasion. -- Todd Archer

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)

Week 13 ranking: 16

Who's under fire: Randy Fichtner, offensive coordinator

Managing the carousel of quarterbacks hasn't been an easy job for Fichtner. Add in the rotating cast of skill players with injuries decimating the established playmakers, and the job has gotten monumentally harder in the past month. With the defense keeping the Steelers squarely in the playoff hunt, Fichtner is tasked with maintaining an offense that can put points on the board and not turn the ball over. That recipe would be enough to pull off a postseason berth -- something that looked improbable after an 0-3 start. -- Brooke Pryor

15. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

Week 13 ranking: 13

Who's under fire: Special-teams unit and coaches

Veteran Adam Vinatieri has been a major part of the Colts' special-teams problems, having missed 14 kicks and costing Indianapolis two games this season. But the unit, which was one of the top groups in the NFL a couple of years ago, has struggled as a whole all season. Poor blocking on the line has led to Vinatieri seeing three attempts blocked this season, including a potential go-ahead kick that was returned for a 63-yard touchdown in Sunday's loss to Tennessee. -- Mike Wells

16. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

Week 13 ranking: 15

Who's under fire: Mike Groh, offensive coordinator

There are plenty of issues to point to with the 5-7 Eagles, but the inconsistency on offense and in the passing game, in particular -- which Groh is partially responsible for -- have stymied this team's chances. If the Eagles don't turn things around, there's a real chance that changes are made to the staff. -- Tim McManus

17. Oakland Raiders (6-6)

Week 13 ranking: 17

Who's under fire: Derek Carr, QB

Critics of the $125 million franchise quarterback are readying their pitchforks and torches with the Raiders blown out by a combined 74-12 the past two games to fall to 6-6. Yes, fans are a fickle sort, and Carr is quickly becoming one of the most polarizing figures in franchise history with his uneven play. But if Carr can right the ship in two consecutive home games, against the Titans and Jaguars, and then sweep the Chargers and Broncos on the road to close the season, his seat will cool down considerably heading to Las Vegas. -- Paul Gutierrez

18. Chicago Bears (6-6)

Week 13 ranking: 21

Who's under fire: Mitchell Trubisky, QB

That's a no-brainer, right? Trubisky played much better against the Giants and Lions, but for the Bears to win out, Trubisky needs to take his game to another level. The Bears have only one signature victory all season -- against Minnesota -- and Trubisky missed almost the entire game with a shoulder injury. Chicago's playoff chances are slim. For the Bears to make an improbable run to the postseason, Trubisky will have to lead the way. Can he do it? Most of the league remains skeptical. -- Jeff Dickerson

19. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Week 13 ranking: 18

Who's under fire: Ron Rivera, head coach

Ron Rivera went from being under fire to being fired on Tuesday. He was let go because the Panthers will miss the playoffs for the second straight season and third time in the past four seasons since reaching Super Bowl 50. They are 12-16 since David Tepper purchased the team for an NFL-record $2.275 billion. Tepper has said he doesn't accept longtime mediocrity and that he hates losing. The Panthers have only three winning seasons since Rivera took over in 2011.-- David Newton

20. Cleveland Browns (5-7)

Week 13 ranking: 19

Who's under fire: Freddie Kitchens, head coach

After the disheartening loss at Pittsburgh, it seems unlikely that the Browns will make the playoffs. That alone makes this season a disappointment. Kitchens will have the final four games to prove that he should be given a second season to turn things around in Cleveland. -- Jake Trotter

21. Los Angeles Chargers (4-8)

Week 13 ranking: 20

Who's under fire: Philip Rivers, QB

In the final year of his contract and set to turn 38 on Sunday, Rivers has had one of his worst seasons as a pro. His 15 interceptions are second in the NFL, and for the first time in his pro career, he's thrown eight interceptions over a three-game stretch -- the past three games. Rivers would like to play in 2020 and remain in a Chargers uniform. However, with the Bolts 4-8 and looking to build fan support moving into SoFi Stadium next year, ownership has some tough decisions to make. Whether Rivers stays or goes will be at the top of the list. -- Eric D. Williams

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Week 13 ranking: 24

Who's under fire: Jameis Winston, QB

In what's supposed to be a make-or-break season that ultimately decides if the Bucs will award him a new contract, Winston has thrown a career-high 20 interceptions and now has 101 total turnovers for his career. Sources say the organization is currently undecided, with some feeling a new direction is needed at the position. -- Jenna Laine

23. Detroit Lions (3-8-1)

Week 13 ranking: 22

Who's under fire: Bob Quinn, GM/Matt Patricia, head coach

The general manager/head coach team is plummeting toward another top-10 draft pick and is 9-18-1 over the past two seasons after Quinn fired Jim Caldwell. It can be argued two years is not enough time to pull off an overhaul like the one Quinn and Patricia want to do, but the results have not been there in any way. The Lions might have led in every game this season, but they've proved they can't finish, having lost seven of eight games. The future of both men in Detroit at the end of the season is in question. -- Michael Rothstein

24. Denver Broncos (4-8)

Week 13 ranking: 28

Who's under fire: Garett Bolles, OT

Bolles, the Broncos' first-round pick in 2017, has been one of the most penalized offensive linemen in the league. As the Broncos head toward another offseason with plenty of roster changes on the horizon, they are almost certainly going to look long and hard at offensive linemen -- in both the draft and free agency -- particularly tackles. Bolles leads the team in penalties, having been flagged 14 times overall -- five more than the next-most-penalized player (Ron Leary) -- with 12 of those flags for holding. Bolles is actually on pace to be penalized more this season than he was in '18 (14) or as a rookie (15). -- Jeff Legwold

25. Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1)

Week 13 ranking: 23

Who's under fire: Vance Joseph, defensive coordinator

The Cardinals' defense is the worst in the NFL. It's ranked 32nd in yards per game and in passing yards per game allowed -- and that all falls on the shoulders of Joseph. If those numbers weren't bad enough, there's more: The Cardinals are allowing the most first downs per game and have allowed the most passing yards to tight ends by 152. Four tight ends have had more than 100 yards against Arizona this season. The Cardinals' offense has been coming along slowly, but the defense hasn't done its share of carrying the burden. And that might cost Joseph his job. -- Josh Weinfuss

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)

Week 13 ranking: 26

Who's under fire: Doug Marrone, head coach/Dave Caldwell, GM/Tom Coughlin, executive VP

Can't pick just one because those three are connected, and they're all in jeopardy with the way the season has gone. Coughlin and Caldwell are responsible for the bad deal with Blake Bortles and not drafting a quarterback, which led them to signNick Foles for $88 million. That's not working out well. The team is undisciplined on the field, and after Sunday's shouting match in the locker room, it looks like Marrone might have lost the locker room, too. Nothing short of a 4-0 finish could save their jobs. -- Mike DiRocco

27. Atlanta Falcons (3-9)

Week 13 ranking: 27

Who's under fire: Dan Quinn, head coach

Since the 3-9 Falcons are guaranteed a losing record, there's very little Quinn can show owner Arthur Blank over the final four games to salvage the season. What Quinn has to do is make certain his team isn't embarrassed over this final stretch, especially at home against Carolina and Jacksonville. -- Vaughn McClure

28. New York Jets (4-8)

Week 13 ranking: 25

Who's under fire: Adam Gase, head coach

Gase received a vote of confidence from ownership, which said he will return in 2020, but the coach is under fire from the fan base. Sunday's clunker in Cincinnati erased the feel-good vibe from the Jets' three-game winning streak, angering the fans once again. Gase is the first Jets coach since Rich Kotite (1995) not to have a winning record in his first season. The franchise doesn't have many positive trends, and now that one is busted. -- Rich Cimini

29. Miami Dolphins (3-9)

Week 13 ranking: 29

Who's under fire: Entire offensive line

It will be an offseason of change, and Miami could use its significant draft and monetary resources to upgrade at least three starting spots in the trenches. In fact, the coaching staff and front office might be the only areas that don't see significant change this offseason. The Dolphins have given up the most sacks in the NFL, and their rushing attack is ranked last. Change is coming, but how many of the current group will be safe? A strong December from a few members of the O-line, such as Michael Deiter and Jesse Davis, could help them remain starters. -- Cameron Wolfe

30. Washington Redskins (3-9)

Week 13 ranking: 31

Who's under fire: Bruce Allen, team president

Allen has been in charge for a decade and the main football guy since Mike Shanahan was fired after the 2013 season. Despite a two-game winning streak, the Redskins are having their worst season in quite a while, and many around the league believe they will never win consistently with Allen in charge. But does Daniel Snyder agree? Would the owner fire someone he's close to in Allen? Would he just strip the football duties from Allen -- and, if so, would that lead to a power play down the road? There are a few ways this could go, as Allen's regime will be more scrutinized than ever. -- John Keim

31. New York Giants (2-10)

Week 13 ranking: 30

Who's under fire: Pat Shurmur, head coach/Dave Gettleman, GM

When you haven't won since September and are in the running for the dishonor of being the worst team in the league, you have to start at the top. Shurmur is 7-21 as the Giants' head coach and Gettleman has only made the roster worse since arriving on scene in the final week of 2017. They need some wins and signs of progress to validate their work. Otherwise, a third season with this duo in charge appears to be in serious doubt. -- Jordan Raanan

32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-11)

Week 13 ranking: 32

Who's under fire: Jim Turner, offensive line coach

Between a few offseason departures and the situation involving tackle Cordy Glenn, Turner's offensive line has been the subject of criticism at times this season. The Bengals' rushing attack has also struggled as the line lacked continuity at the beginning of the season. Still, Turner likely won't receive enough heat for coach Zac Taylor to make a change. The two men have strong ties and worked together with the Dolphins and the University of Cincinnati. -- Ben Baby

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