NFL Energy Rankings, Week 14: Cowboys, Bengals rise into contender tier

Published:Mar 9, 202417:57
NFL Energy Rankings, Week 14: Cowboys, Bengals rise into contender tier

It is so refreshing to get a glimpse of what contender-on-contender soccer can appear to be. On this season with so few haves and so many have-nots, the NFL schedule has at occasions felt a bit like a ready recreation for the postseason. Video games between the league's elite have been few and much between, as a lot of the final month has been a slog between middling matchups. That modified in Week 13. Headliners like Miami vs. San Francisco and Kansas Metropolis vs. Cincinnati assured we might see some motion on the high. If that wasn't sufficient, we acquired to see motion between playoff contenders in three different video games. Lastly, a measuring-stick weekend. Now that the mud has settled on a wild weekend, here is how the hierarchy shakes out.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1): If there's an argument to be made that this is not essentially the most full staff within the NFL, I would love to listen to it. The Eagles can adapt their offense to do regardless of the recreation scenario requires. Their protection permits a mean of simply 18 factors per recreation. Few, if any groups, have as deep of an arsenal as this one.

2. Dallas Cowboys (9-3): Since Dak Prescott's return from harm, the Cowboys are 5-1, outscoring their opposition by a mean rating of 37-18. Their solely loss got here on the street, in additional time. Sunday's win in opposition to the Colts did not even look that nice — proper up till they exploded for 33 factors within the fourth quarter. Can we fast-forward to the Christmas Eve rematch with Philadelphia already?

Was Cowboys 54-19 win vs. Colts in Week 13 one thing or nothing?

Was Cowboys 54-19 win vs. Colts in Week 13 something or nothing?

The Dallas Cowboys rolled via the Indianapolis Colts for a 54-19 win in Week 13. The Cowboys rushed for 4 touchdowns and their protection compelled 5 turnovers. David Helman discusses whether or not Dallas' win was significant.

3. Minnesota Vikings (10-2): Nonetheless miraculous and demanding their wins could be, the purpose nonetheless stands that the Vikings' solely two losses this season are to the groups above them on this checklist. Credit score to Minnesota's protection for repeatedly turning the Jets away in crunch time of an exhilarating recreation.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4): The Bengals did not even must lean on explosive performs to beat Patrick Mahomes. They ran the ball surprisingly properly, performed strong protection and let Joe Burrow be the best man within the constructing. The effectivity and dedication with which they outlasted Kansas Metropolis was really spectacular.

5. Buffalo Payments (9-3): It nonetheless did not look as enjoyable as we might most likely choose on Thursday night time, however let's not be too crucial of a dominant street win in opposition to a division rival. The Payments additionally climbed again into the AFC's high spot throughout their weekend off, so it will be enjoyable to see how they reply to being the chief of the pack as soon as once more.

6. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (9-3): I do not for a second imagine the Chiefs are literally the sixth-best staff within the NFL, however this rating is a testomony to what number of groups throughout the league are surging proper now. The Chiefs' loss in Cincinnati wasn't even notably troubling, because it felt like a case of dropping the turnover battle. Denver and Houston are on deck, so there's loads of time to proper the ship.

What's most disappointing about Chiefs' third straight loss to Bengals

What's most disappointing about Chiefs' third straight loss to Bengals

A lot to Nick Wright's frustration, for the third straight time, the Cincinnati Bengals discovered a method to greatest the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Nick provides credit score to Joe Burrow's Bengals, and admits the suitable staff received, but in addition breaks down what was most disappointing concerning the Chiefs' efficiency, together with Andy Reid's questionable determination to take the ball out of Patrick Mahomes' arms.

7. San Francisco 49ers (8-4): It feels harsh that the 49ers would not transfer up after such a powerful win, nevertheless it's awfully deflating to lose your beginning quarterback for the season. Brock Purdy was phenomenal in his first significant motion of the season. If he can proceed that degree of play, the Niners protection will give them an opportunity.

8. Miami Dolphins (8-4): He rebounded late, nevertheless it was a troublesome day on the workplace for Tua Tagovailoa. After all, San Francisco's move rush is a pressure. However even when Tua had time to throw, his accuracy seemed off. It is not alarming simply but, nevertheless it's one thing to observe with two extra playoff contenders (the Chargers and Payments) developing on the schedule.

9. New York Giants (7-4-1): As if the NFC playoff image wasn't muddy sufficient, now there is a tie mucking it up. The Giants had the ball at midfield early in additional time, and so they moved near subject objective vary on the finish. It is acquired to sting to overlook each alternatives. No time to dwell on it, although. The very best staff within the league is coming to city this week. 

10. Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Ugly, forgettable, unimpressive recreation. However give the Ravens credit score for locating a method to win regardless that Lamar Jackson left earlier than halftime. All eyes will now be on Jackson's restoration timeline, however this might be a sneaky good win when it comes time to find out the AFC playoff seeding. 

11. Washington Commanders (7-5-1): Genius proposal: once they're performed with their bye week, the Commanders play the Giants once more. What if we simply give the winner credit score for each wins, relatively than trouble with this tie nonsense?

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-5): You'd most likely choose it to be much less demanding in opposition to a Rams staff that appears able to hit the seashore, however in the end the Seahawks broke the dropping streak. Watching Geno Smith attempt to hold his nice season going in opposition to San Francisco goes to be enjoyable TV in a pair weeks.

13. New York Jets (7-5): It is truthful to marvel if Zach Wilson goes to get his job again. Mike White did not even play a very nice recreation. He threw two picks and the Jets had been compelled to accept 5 subject objectives. However White has offered a spark that had been lacking. If the Jets can transfer the ball like this reliably, they appear much more harmful. 

Jets fall to Vikings, disappointing Craig Carton but once more

Jets fall to Vikings, disappointing Craig Carton yet again

Craig Carton's New York Jets could not pull off a win in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings. After battling their means again from a horrible first half, Mike White was in place to show issues round for the Jets, however fell simply brief.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6): Effectively, that was a wild experience. It was exhausting to not write the obituary for a disappointing Bucs season once they trailed, 16-3, halfway via the fourth quarter. A handful of Tom Brady moments later, they're on high of the division. Cease if this sounds acquainted, however they'll need to type out their offense in the event that they count on to make any noise this season. However for now, they proceed to purchase themselves time. That'll do. 

15. Tennessee Titans (7-5): The Titans have proven flaws all season lengthy, however this beating by the hands of Philly flew within the face of their ethos these previous few years. Tennessee prides itself on being bodily, decided, tenacious and well-coached. None of that translated in opposition to the Eagles, who made them look positively pedestrian.

16. Detroit Lions (5-7): It is most likely too quickly to daydream concerning the playoffs, however what a enjoyable stretch this has been for Detroit. The Lions scored on 9-of-10 possessions, and the one that did not yield any factors was once they took the victory formation. Given the youth on this roster, it is enjoyable to see them click on.

17. Cleveland Browns (5-7): The Browns and Texans mixed for 41 factors, and the primary offensive rating of the day got here with 1:57 to play in regulation. Have two groups ever mixed to attain so many factors between protection and particular groups? Suffice to say, Deshaun Watson was rusty in his return from an 11-game suspension.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6): Granted, accidents have hit the Chargers exhausting. Joey Bosa and J.C. Jackson have not performed in weeks. It is nonetheless disheartening to see them battle so fully on protection. It is truthfully superb they had been capable of restrict the Raiders within the fourth quarter contemplating the best way they had been hemorrhaging yards to Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7): It is typically mentioned the mark of a well-coached staff is in its continued enchancment all through the season. The Steelers opened the 12 months 1-4 and benched their beginning quarterback, which was uncharted territory for Mike Tomlin on plenty of ranges. Since then, they're 4-3 and enjoying competent soccer. That may not meet the excessive commonplace in Pittsburgh, nevertheless it's an encouraging signal for a staff transitioning into a brand new period. 

20. Inexperienced Bay Packers (5-8): No matter how forgettable this season could be, it needed to really feel good for Aaron Rodgers to snag a win in opposition to Chicago and enhance his document in opposition to them to 25-5. Even in a startingly down 12 months for the Packers, they nonetheless personal the Bears. 

Packers' 28-19 win over Bears is BAD for the staff shifting ahead

Packers' 28-19 win over Bears is BAD for the team moving forward

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers defeated the Bears 28-19 in Week 13. After the sport, Aaron Rodgers rubbed the loss in for Bears followers by saying "Soldier Area has at all times been a second dwelling to me." Nick Wright says the Packers needs to be specializing in enjoying Jordan Like to resolve on whether or not to select up his fifth-year possibility.

21. New England Patriots (6-6): Neither horrendously terrible, nor appreciably good. Their protection is outstanding, however their passing offense so poor that it would not matter. Extra so than every other staff this 12 months, the Patriots simply appear to exist. It feels secure to imagine they're by no means going to fade away, whereas additionally by no means surging into the postseason image. 

22. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7): The Raiders need to be kicking themselves for a few of these mind-numbing early losses. With Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs balling out like this, this staff appears to be like playoff-worthy. Sadly, the mathematics makes it powerful in a crowded AFC. It certain would have been good to tug out a type of clunkers.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8): It was predictable that Jacksonville would comply with up an enormous win in opposition to Baltimore by laying in egg in Detroit. It is not the loss that was stunning, however the best way the Jaguars let the Lions stroll throughout them.

24. Arizona Cardinals (4-8): When you're in search of optimism in Arizona, the Cardinals do not play a staff that presently has a successful document till the season finale in San Francisco. I am not saying you must imagine they're able to a run, however at the least the opposition is not daunting.

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-8): Look, we all know the Falcons usually are not an excellent staff. However we additionally know they're scrappy sufficient to be a ache to cope with. Contemplating that the Buccaneers are doing the whole lot conceivable to depart the NFC South open for the taking, it is fairly brutal that Atlanta hasn't discovered methods to beat fellow cellar-dwellers like Carolina and Pittsburgh.

26. Carolina Panthers (4-8): The Baker Mayfield experiment is formally a flop, although it seems like we have recognized that for a few months at this level. The Panthers have tried each methodology conceivable to herald a franchise quarterback these final two years. It will be attention-grabbing to see whether or not they flip towards free company or the draft within the spring.

27. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1): It is not typically you see such a sudden demolition. One minute, the Colts had been scrapping in a two-point recreation; the following minute, that they had surrendered the most important level whole of the 2022 season. There are a number of causes for that, however Indy's incapability to deal with the Cowboys move rush is true on the high.

28. New Orleans Saints (4-9): A positively brutal method to successfully finish your season. Had the Saints managed to carry on to a 13-point lead with simply 5:31 to play, they'd be 5-8 and combating for the NFC South lead. As an alternative, they've now been swept by the Bucs after one of many worst choke jobs of the season. And their first-round decide — presently No. 5 general — belongs to our top-ranked Eagles.

29. Chicago Bears (3-10): We might be inspired by Justin Fields' continued development this season whereas additionally declaring that he threw two interceptions late on this recreation, when the circumstances compelled him to attempt to throw the Bears again into the sport. This season seems like a optimistic for Fields in the long term, however there's much more bettering to do – and endurance will not be a part of the equation in 2023.

30. Los Angeles Rams (3-9): Props to the champs for hanging in there. John Wolford performed a strong recreation, and the Rams protection made life troublesome for Seattle. The underside line continues to be that the Rams are quickly heading towards the worst season ever by a defending Tremendous Bowl champ.

Is Russell Wilson enjoying himself out of the Corridor of Fame?

Is Russell Wilson playing himself out of the Hall of Fame?

LeSean McCoy and Pleasure Taylor focus on whether or not Denver Broncos quarterback Wilson's Corridor of Fame candidacy shall be constructed on what he achieved in Seattle.

31. Denver Broncos (3-9): Lamar Jackson clearly would not play protection, so the Ravens dropping their star quarterback did not precisely change the sport for Russell Wilson & Co. Nonetheless, even in opposition to Baltimore's nasty move rush, you'd suppose Denver might discover a means into the top zone at the least as soon as. It bears repeating that if the Broncos had been scoring even 20 factors per recreation, they'd be 9-3.

32. Houston Texans (1-10-1): The Texans' subsequent three opponents have a mixed document of 25-11. Thank goodness for 2 divisional video games in opposition to the lowly Jags and Colts on the finish of the 12 months — in any other case, it is exhausting to think about Houston even sniffing a second win.

High tales from FOX Sports activities:

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand spent 9 seasons masking the Cowboys for the staff’s official web site. In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his position in producing "Dak Prescott: A Household Reunion" concerning the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Comply with him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

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Publish date: 2022-12-06 20:14:51
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