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Detroit News NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

1. New England Patriots (9-2): They've won seven straight, most recently dominating the Lions, 34-9. Tom Brady has been masterful, and their backfield-by-committee continues to work. The last big test in their schedule gauntlet is a showdown at Green Bay. Last week: 2

2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2): The six-game win streak is over after a 19-3 loss to the Seahawks, which makes NFC West race intriguing coming down the stretch. They finish the season with Seattle at home and at San Francisco. Last week: 1

3. Dallas Cowboys (8-3): They found a way to get a win against the Giants, despite Odell Beckham Jr.'s best efforts. This week's showdown with the Eagles will be critical. DeMarco Murray is chasing the all-time single-season rushing record. Last week: 3

4. Green Bay Packers (8-3): It wasn't pretty, but they held on to beat the Vikings, 24-21, behind Aaron Rodgers (209 yards, two touchdowns) and Eddie Lacy (125 yards rushing, touchdown). This week's matchup against the Patriots is must-see TV. Last week: 4

5. Denver Broncos (8-3): After trailing the Dolphins, 28-17, they got all they could handle and rallied for a 39-36 win to reclaim the top spot in the AFC West. This week's matchup at Kansas City will be huge in the playoff race. Last week: 5

6. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3): After dispatching the Titans, they've won five of the last seven ahead of a key matchup against at Dallas. Mark Sanchez is finding a groove, posting 307 passing yards and LeSean McCoy (130 yards) is powering the run game. Last week: 8

7. Seattle Seahawks (7-4): They got a convincing, 19-3, win over the Cardinals to stay in the playoff race and close the gap in the NFC West. This week's showdown against the 49ers opens a tough four-game stretch (then at Eagles, vs. 49ers and at Cardinals). Last week: 11

8. San Francisco 49ers (7-4): They topped Washington, 17-13, and kept pace with the Seahawks, whom they'll face twice in the next three weeks. The passing game started to click with Anquan Boldin (137 yards, touchdown). Last week: 9

9. Indianapolis Colts (7-4): They bounced back from last week's loss to the Patriots with a dominating win over the Jaguars, as T.Y. Hilton notched 122 yards and a touchdown, hours after his daughter was born. Last week: 10

10. Cincinnati Bengals: (7-3-1): With a big win over the Texans, they stay atop the AFC North, where all the teams have winning records. They've won four of five and have momentum heading to Tampa Bay this week. Last week: 12

11. Detroit Lions (7-4): In eight days, they went from playing for the best record in the NFL to being out of the playoffs. Losing to the Patriots will do that. Now, they have a short week to face the Bears and try to pull out of their nosedive. Last week: 7

12. San Diego Chargers (7-4): The offense struggled to score in the first half, but they overcame a 10-6 deficit and held on to beat the Rams, 27-24. Ryan Mathews (105 yards) returned and Philip Rivers was superb, going 29-of-35 for 282 yards. Last week: 15

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4): After the bye week, they host the Saints, who still are reeling. Their two remaining games against the Bengals could decide the division. Last week: 13

14. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4): Is it possible for a loss to count twice? Falling to the previously winless Raiders, 24-20, may come back to haunt them if they don't make the playoffs. Coming off beating the Seahawks and a five-game streak, this is a low. Last week: 6

15. Baltimore Ravens (7-4): In a dogfight with the Saints, they pulled out a critical 34-27 win to stay in the AFC North race. Justin Forsett (182 yards, two touchdowns) is filling in well in the backfield and the receiving tandem of Torrey Smith and Steve Smith is potent. Last week: 16

16. Cleveland Browns (7-4): Billy Cundiff had four field goals but none more important than the 37-yarder as the clock expired for a 26-24 win over the Falcons. They kept pace with the rest of the AFC North and have won six of their last eight. Last week: 17

17. Miami Dolphins (6-5): They gave the Broncos all they could handle but couldn't shut down Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter. Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdowns and helped lead the offense. Now they'll need to stay in the playoff hunt. Last week: 14

18. Buffalo Bills (6-5): They persevered through a snowy week and relocating their game to Ford Field, dominating the lowly Jets, 38-3. A brutal remainder of the schedule (with Denver, Green Bay and New England) makes the playoffs unlikely. Last week: 21

19. Chicago Bears (5-6): With a 21-13 win over the Buccaneers, they're now just two games behind the Lions, with the Thanksgiving game coming. Quarterback Jay Cutler (130 yards) was sub par and the offense only gained 204 yards, but it was good enough to win. Last week: 23

20. Houston Texans (5-6): Quarterback Ryan Mallett is gone for the season and running back Arian Foster is still ailing — not a good sign for the remainder of their season as they try to catch the Colts. They have a favorable schedule remaining, starting with the Titans this week. Last week: 19

21. St. Louis Rams (4-7): Their four wins are spectacular, but some of their losses are just as good. They hung with the Chargers but withered down the stretch. The next two games, against Oakland and Washington, could be favorable. Last week: 18

22. New Orleans Saints (4-7): After seemingly turning things around, they've lost three straight and are treading water in the horrible NFC South. Drew Brees went 35-for-45 for 420 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-27 loss to the Ravens. Last week: 22

23. Atlanta Falcons (4-7): After a go-ahead field goal with 44 seconds left, they managed to snatch defeat from the hands of defeat, falling to the Browns on a field goal as the clock expired. Yet, they somehow still lead the miserable NFC South. Last week: 20

24. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1): Coming off the bye and a 0-5-1 streak, they need a win at Minnesota to try to move up in the NFC South. Last week: 25

25. Minnesota Vikings (4-7): They gave the Packers a good run but couldn't pull it out in the final minutes. The defense was good, but the offense didn't put up enough points and couldn't move the ball. No rusher or receiver had more than 54 yards. Last week: 24

26. New York Giants (3-8): Odell Beckham Jr.'s eye-popping catch and 146 yards aside, the Giants let the Cowboys get away with a 31-28 win, blowing a 21-10 lead at halftime. Eli Manning threw another terrible interception to give Dallas a chance. Last week: 26

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9): The defense held the Bears down, but they didn't hold on after taking a 10-0 halftime lead. Josh McCown was good, with 341 passing yards, but his two interceptions hurt their comeback chances. Last week: 27

28. Washington (3-8): They were on the verge of a big upset but gave up the lead in the final three minutes of a 17-13 loss to the 49ers. Robert Griffin III struggled with 106 passing yards, but Alfred Morris (125 rushing yards) picked up the slack. Last week: 28

29. Tennessee Titans (2-9): They fell to the Eagles, 43-24, for the fifth straight loss. They fell into an early 17-0 hole and couldn't come back. Zach Mettenberger (345 yards, two touchdowns) had a big game but was sacked five times. Last week: 30

30. Oakland Raiders (1-10): Although the Raiders had lost 16 straight, they averted the 0-16 season by topping the Chiefs in the final minutes. Still, their bumbling celebration after an almost-clinching sack could have cost them. But hey, a win is a win. Last week: 32

31. New York Jets (2-9): Instead of playing in the snow in Buffalo, they were embarrassed by the Bills, 38-3, in Detroit. They totaled 218 yards of offense and their quarterback situation seems to get worse each week. Last week: 29

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10): In a 23-3 loss to the Colts, the offense was nonexistent (194 yards), as Blake Bortles threw for only 146. The defense didn't have an answer for the Colts' passing game. Last week: 31

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

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