Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus offense, defense and special teams ratings

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The NFL Power Rankings are about assessing where teams are every week. But sometimes rankings go beyond ordering teams from 1 to 32. Advanced metrics such as ESPN's Football Power Index(FPI) give a deeper look at why some teams are really good (yeah, we see you, Baltimore) and why others need work (sorry, Washington).

Therefore, our 32 NFL Nation reporters used the FPI offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency rankings to sum up the 13-game story of the teams they cover. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:14 |13 |12|11 |10 |9 |8 |7 |6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)

Week 14 ranking: 1

Offense: 2nd

Defense: 6th

Special teams: 4th

No offense has been more surprising this season than the Ravens'. Lamar Jackson has exceeded expectations, becoming the electric catalyst for the best offense in franchise history. Baltimore has the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack, Jackson leads the NFL in touchdown passes and the Ravens already have scored the most points in a single season in their existence. The offense's explosion has overshadowed a vastly improved defense and the always reliable special teams. -- Jamison Hensley

2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)

Week 14 ranking: 2

Offense: 8th

Defense: 2nd

Special teams: 22nd

With Kyle Shanahan in charge, a strong offense was always expected, but the Niners' defense might be the biggest surprise of any unit in the league -- the rough outing against the Saints notwithstanding. Many expected the 49ers' defense to take a step forward in 2019 after adding the likes of Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, but there were still questions about the secondary. The Niners have answered those questions, and this group has been the backbone of the team, winning games even when the offense has sputtered. -- Nick Wagoner

3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)

Week 14 ranking: 4

Offense: 5th

Defense: 18th

Special teams: 1st

Oddly enough, the Saints' defense has carried the team more than the offense has for much of the season. Then it was a total role reversal in Sunday's 48-46 loss to the 49ers, with the offense finally exploding while the defense collapsed. But the Saints' greatest strength is their overall balance. They also have the highest-graded special-teams units by far in FPI's rankings. Punter Thomas Morstead and place-kicker Wil Lutz might have the best pair of legs in the league. -- Mike Triplett

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

Week 14 ranking: 6

Offense: 1st

Defense: 15th

Special teams: 2nd

Given the way the Chiefs have played offensively and on special teams, they knew they didn't have to be perfect on defense. Middle of the pack would have been good enough, and according to FPI, that's about where the Chiefs are on defense. Things are looking up for the Chiefs defensively after three straight big games. -- Adam Teicher

5. New England Patriots (10-3)

Week 14 ranking: 3

Offense: 14th

Defense: 1st

Special teams: 14th

The Patriots haven't scored 30 points in six straight games, one shy of tying the longest streak in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, which happened in 2002 and again in 2005. Entering Week 15, they have a 1.0 rating on offense, which is 14th in the NFL. It's unusual to see the offense be closer to average. -- Mike Reiss

6. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)

Week 14 ranking: 5

Offense: 9th

Defense: 14th

Special teams: 15th

The No. 14 FPI ranking for the Seahawks' defense aligns with what your eyes have told you this season: It is a middle-of-the-pack group. The Seahawks' 29 takeaways are third most in the NFL and include a league-high 13 over the past four games. But the Seahawks are 29th in sacks (23) and 30th in generating pressure on opposing QBs (23.6%). Their loss to the Rams on Sunday night looked familiar in that regard, as Seattle got a pair of interceptions from Quandre Diggs but didn't sack Jared Goff-- while hitting him only four times. -- Brady Henderson

7. Green Bay Packers (10-3)

Week 14 ranking: 8

Offense: 6th

Defense: 22nd

Special teams: 28th

Matt LaFleur was hired to get the Packers' offense -- specifically Aaron Rodgers -- back to an elite level. Considering general manager Brian Gutekunst didn't give him any new weapons last offseason through either free agency or the draft, LaFleur has had moderate success in that area, even though it hasbeen wildly inconsistent. The more puzzling part is how the defense, which looked dominant in the first month of the season, has slipped given all the resources Gutekunst put into that side of the ball. -- Rob Demovsky

8. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

Week 14 ranking: 7

Offense: 7th

Defense: 10th

Special teams: 16th

The Vikings restructured their offense to make Dalvin Cook the centerpiece and surround Kirk Cousins with a host of weapons that would allow them to excel even when faced with injuries or other complications. That approach created a top-10 offense that has had to bail out Minnesota's defense at times. The FPI ranking of the Vikings' defense doesn't quite tell the whole story. This unit is not what it has been in years past, and that can be attributed to a host of issues. Still, the Vikings are a 9-4 team that has all the tools it needs with the playoffs on the horizon. -- Courtney Cronin

9. Los Angeles Rams (8-5)

Week 14 ranking: 11

Offense: 12th

Defense: 7th

Special teams: 7th

Sean McVay's high-powered offense got off to a slow start this season, a really slow start. It wasn't until Week 13 that Jared Goff and the Rams appeared to find consistent momentum and rediscovered All-Pro running back Todd Gurley II. Outside of two massive letdowns against the Bucs and Ravens, the Rams' defense has proved to be formidable. The Week 7 addition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey has allowed the secondary to play more man coverage, which has enabled the front seven to get after the quarterback. The Rams had 13 sacks through their first six games, but they have added 30 more over their past seven outings. -- Lindsey Thiry

10. Buffalo Bills (9-4)

Week 14 ranking: 10

Offense: 22nd

Defense: 8th

Special teams: 24th

On several occasions this season, the Bills' defense held down the fort while Buffalo's offense found its rhythm. Thanks to an improved pass rush and one of the NFL's top secondaries, Buffalo is difficult to throw the ball against, allowing just 195 passing yards per game. The latest feather in its cap came this past week, when it held the Ravens' league-best offense to just 225 yards in a 24-17 loss. Without its defense playing at an elite level, Buffalo would not be 9-4 with a shot at an AFC East title, given its struggles on offense and special teams. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

11. Houston Texans (8-5)

Week 14 ranking: 9

Offense: 4th

Defense: 24th

Special teams: 8th

The Texans' offensive and special teams rankings are about what you'd expect from an 8-5 team, but the defensive ranking shows where the team has struggled this season. In a game in which the Texans finally had a healthy secondary, they gave up 235 yards and three touchdown passes to rookie quarterback Drew Lock in one half on Sunday. The unit is allowing an average of 265.8 passing yards per game, and it didn't show signs of improvement against the Broncos. -- Sarah Barshop

12. Tennessee Titans (8-5)

Week 14 ranking: 12

Offense: 17th

Defense: 9th

Special teams: 12th

The offense has truly come alive with Ryan Tannehill under center. TheTitans' red zone offense -- scoring touchdowns on 72.9% of such possessions -- rocketed to the top of the NFL. Tennessee has scored 30 or more points in its past four games. The defense is matching the offense by scoring a touchdown in each of the past two games and holding teams to 19.6 points per game (ninth best in the NFL). The defense is generating turnovers and thriving off of field position thanks to Brett Kern's NFL-leading 33 punts that have pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line. -- Turron Davenport

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

Week 14 ranking: 14

Offense: 30th

Defense: 3rd

Special teams: 18th

Nearly nothing about the offense has gone right, much of it is due to a perfect storm of injuries and disappointing free-agent signings. Donte Moncrief wasn't what the Steelers needed him to be to help JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ben Roethlisberger's injury started a negative domino effect early. The defense was expected to be a strength, but its No. 3 ranking is significantly boosted by the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick. With the offense near the bottom of the league, the Steelers could've used bigger special-teams plays earlier in the season, but Diontae Johnson's emergence could help that ranking in the final month. -- Brooke Pryor

14. Chicago Bears (7-6)

Week 14 ranking: 18

Offense: 23rd

Defense: 4th

Special teams: 31st

Until recently, everything went wrong for the Bears' offense. Poor quarterback play, uneven playcalling, bad blocking, poor execution ... you name it, the Bears were guilty of it. The past couple of weeks have been a different story, but the Bears need tons of luck to reach the playoffs. The defense turned out to be as good as expected, even without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (elbow) for much of the year. The Bears still struggle on special teams, which is worrisome, especially after the club spent the entire offseason searching for a kicker. -- Jeff Dickerson

15. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 13

Offense: 3rd

Defense: 23rd

Special teams: 29th

If there is a sign that the Cowboys have not played complementary football enough, it is in their FPI rankings on offense, defense and special teams. All of that equals a 6-7 record. If the Cowboys had just middle-of-the-road defense and special teams, they could have run away from Philadelphia in the NFC East. Instead, the defense does not make key plays in key moments, and the special teams have contributed 10 missed field goal tries and made little impact in the return game. The offense has faded in team's three-game losing streak, scoring just five touchdowns in its past 34 possessions. -- Todd Archer

16. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 15

Offense: 18th

Defense: 11th

Special teams: 20th

The defense, despite giving up a season-high 542 yards to Tampa Bay on Sunday, has been the team's strongest unit. It has forced 19 turnovers, which is 13th in the NFL, and the unit is 15th in yards allowed. Its strength has been stopping the run. The D is eighth in the league in that category and has allowed only one player -- Derrick Henry -- to rush for more than 100 yards in a game. Special teams have been a borderline disaster. Veteran Adam Vinatieri, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, has missed 14 kicks, including three that were blocked and cost the Colts games against the Chargers and Steelers. -- Mike Wells

17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 16

Offense: 13th

Defense: 21st

Special teams: 10th

The bulk of the damage inflicted upon Philadelphia's defense happened over the first half of the season, which was somewhat expected as key contributors made their way back from injury. It was supposed to be offset by a high-powered offense that never materialized. The Eagles have been downright mediocre on that side of the ball, as evidenced by their No. 16 ranking in points per game (22.8) entering Week 14. -- Tim McManus

18. Oakland Raiders (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 17

Offense: 16th

Defense: 31st

Special teams: 26th

The Raiders were supposed to improve upon their league-low 13 sacks -- and through 13 games, they have more than doubled last year's output with 27. Still, having FPI's 31st-ranked total defense is more than an eyesore and does not reflect much improvement. Not when the Raiders, with a playoff run in their midst, have lost three straight games by 31, 31 and 21 points, respectively. -- Paul Gutierrez

19. Cleveland Browns (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 20

Offense: 19th

Defense: 12th

Special teams: 30th

It's hard to believe an offense withBaker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr.and Jarvis Landry could rank outside the top 15 in the NFL. But ineffective playcalling, inconsistent pass protection and chemistry issues at the skill positions have doomed Cleveland's passing attack, which has doomed the offense -- and the Browns' playoff chances. -- Jake Trotter

20. Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)

Week 14 ranking: 21

Offense: 10th

Defense: 16th

Special teams: 32nd

According to FPI, the Chargers have the worst special teams in the league. And in a season during which the Bolts have lost all eight games by seven points or fewer, special teams has had its share of hiccups. The Chargers have five fumbles on punt returns, tied for second worst in the NFL, losing two of those. L.A.'s 75% field goal percentage is tied for No. 22 in the league. Most of those misses occurred when starter Michael Badgley was out nursing a groin injury. However, the Chargers are tied for the league lead in the NFL with four missed field goals in the fourth quarter. -- Eric D. Williams

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

Week 14 ranking: 22

Offense: 15th

Defense: 13th

Special teams: 27th

Even with an abundance of turnovers all season, the Bucs' offense is currently on pace to set a new franchise record for scoring. Their mark of 378 points through 13 games is already fourth most in team history. Quarterback Jameis Winston already has surpassed 4,000 passing yards, and Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have each eclipsed 1,100 receiving yards. -- Jenna Laine

22. Carolina Panthers (5-8)

Week 14 ranking: 19

Offense: 24th

Defense: 17th

Special teams: 21st

The loss of quarterback Cam Newton after Week 2 doomed the offense, even though his replacement, Kyle Allen, won his first four starts and five of his first six. Too much was put on a second-year, undrafted player. The defense started out like gangbusters, leading the league in sacks over the first six weeks. But the loss of Pro Bowl DT Kawann Short and NT Dontari Poe depleted the inside push of this unit -- and it began showing up in the running game, where gap control has been horrible at times. Special teams has been plagued by the lack of a consistent returner. -- David Newton

23. Denver Broncos (5-8)

Week 14 ranking: 24

Offense: 26th

Defense: 5th

Special teams: 23rd

It's fairly easy to trace the offensive woes: The Broncos are on their third quarterback in rookie Drew Lock, while guard Ron Leary has battled injuries, left tackle Garett Bolles can't shake the penalties and right tackle Ja'Wuan Jameshas played just 32 snaps in the first 12 games of the season. Special-teams depth has been impacted by the team's injuries but still has been disappointing, with punter Colby Wadman wrestling with consistency issues for much of the season. The Broncos have lost the "hidden yards" battle in plenty of games, and that lost yardage has been costly in close losses. -- Jeff Legwold

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-9)

Week 14 ranking: 27

Offense: 11th

Defense: 26th

Special teams: 11th

It all starts with the lack of pressure up front on defense for the Falcons, who are tied for 29th in the NFL with 23 sacks and are one of four teams with fewer than 25 sacks. The Falcons have gone sackless in six games, registering an 0-6 mark; they are 3-0 when they've recorded five sacks or more. Go figure. -- Vaughn McClure

25. Detroit Lions (3-9-1)

Week 14 ranking: 23

Offense: 21st

Defense: 29th

Special teams: 3rd

The offense's ranking is probably right considering Detroit lost Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson, but the defense has been the real disappointment. Entering the season, the Lions thought they could have a top-10 defensive unit. Instead, they have struggled against the pass and the run, can't pressure opposing quarterbacks and can't put together stops when necessary. "We just keep beating ourselves," safety Tracy Walker said. All too often this season, that's been true, whether a defensive player loses an opponent late or the Lions can't get critical stops. It has led to a 3-9-1 record and another last-place finish in the NFC North. -- Michael Rothstein

26. Arizona Cardinals (3-9-1)

Week 14 ranking: 25

Offense: 20th

Defense: 30th

Special teams: 13th

The Cardinals' offense hasn't been as explosive or jaw-dropping as many people expected when Kliff Kingsbury was hired in January, but that's because he figured out what can and can't work in the NFL and adapted. There's the minor detail of him not running a true Air Raid, but many people overlooked that. But what Kingsbury figured out was sustainable in the NFL has worked as well as can be expected with a rookie quarterback and a roster not yet tailored to the scheme. -- Josh Weinfuss

27. New York Jets (5-8)

Week 14 ranking: 28

Offense: 31st

Defense: 19th

Special teams: 9th

The offense has been a bust. With a new offense-minded coach in Adam Gase and with the addition of RB Le'Veon Bell, the offense figured to be in the middle of the pack, perhaps higher if QB Sam Darnold flourished in his second year. Darnold missed three games because of mononucleosis and everything got out of whack. Since his Week 6 return, the Jet have averaged only 21 points per game. -- Rich Cimini

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)

Week 14 ranking: 26

Offense: 29th

Defense: 20th

Special teams: 5th

The defense has been one of the league's worst, especially over the past five games: 34.8 points and 193.6 rushing yards per game allowed. The Jags haven't been able to stop the run all season (28th in the NFL) and have given up five plays of 60-plus yards. The offense is averaging just 11.4 points per game in their five-game losing streak, regardless of which QB is on the field. The only area in which the Jags aren't embarrassing themselves now is on special teams, asJosh Lambo has missed just one field goal attempt andLogan Cooke ranks third in the NFL in net punting yards. -- Mike DiRocco

29. Miami Dolphins (3-10)

Week 14 ranking: 29

Offense: 27th

Defense: 32nd

Special teams: 6th

The Dolphins' defense is primarily a collection of rookies, young unproven players and journeymen trying to take advantage of any opportunity -- and the unit ranks last in FPI's defense rankings primarily because of those reasons. There isn't much talent, particularly at edge rusher and in the secondary -- two areas opposing offenses have exploited all season. The Dolphins rank last in sacks with 17, and they are in the bottom three in total defense and run defense. There have been so many lineup changes that continuity has suffered, but the goal is to find gems that can impact this team in 2020 and beyond. -- Cameron Wolfe

30. Washington Redskins (3-10)

Week 14 ranking: 30

Offense: 32nd

Defense: 25th

Special teams: 19th

The Redskins never had their planned starting offense together, thanks to injuries (tight end Jordan Reed) and holdouts (tackle Trent Williams). And they had a tough situation at quarterback, with the desired starter not healthy (Colt McCoy), a journeyman who had to start despite learning the offense (Case Keenum) and a raw rookie best served sitting a year (Dwayne Haskins). The defense is talented, but it underachieved early, especially in the secondary; and yet the D actually ranks 11th in yards allowed and ninth in points in the past 10 games. On special teams, Tress Way leads the NFL in yards per punt (49.39), but Washington ranks last in punt returns allowed and 30th in total punt return yards. -- John Keim

31. New York Giants (2-11)

Week 14 ranking: 31

Offense: 28th

Defense: 27th

Special teams: 25th

Well, everything has gone wrong. The Giants' best unit by FPI rankings is their special teams, and they had a stretch when they missed kicks in five straight games. The biggest disappointment is the offense, however. The offensive unit was supposed to carry the team this season; that's where all the Giants' money and prime assets have been dumped in recent years. -- Jordan Raanan

32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)

Week 14 ranking: 32

Offense: 25th

Defense: 28th

Special teams: 17th

Their standing at the bottom of the offensive and defensive rankings shows why the Bengals are the worst team in the NFL. Both sides have struggled with consistency throughout the season, and they will need major upgrades at key positions in order to be competitive in 2020 and beyond. -- Ben Baby

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