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NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Niners Back Atop the NFC


Dec 11, 2019

 

Sound the alarms — for the first time this season, the New England Patriots have been knocked out of the Power Rankings.

This is due to a grinding performance from the Kansas City Chiefs in Foxborough on Sunday, who are returning to this list after a month’s hiatus.

With only three weeks of regular season football remaining, things are starting to take their final form when it comes to the playoff picture.

Here are your Power Rankings for Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season.

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Week 15 Power Rankings


1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Week 15 Opponent: vs. New York Jets (5-8)

The Ravens keep on rolling and now have a full one game cushion atop the AFC with only three games remaining.

Baltimore’s 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills clinched the franchise’s second consecutive playoff berth, but John Harbaugh’s team now has its eyes set on the top seed in the conference.

Lamar Jackson “struggled” in the contest – compared to his normal production this season – throwing for 145 yards and only rushing for 40 yards. But he did throw for all three Ravens touchdowns to help secure the victory.

This win was about the Ravens defense and the pressure they brought to Josh Allen. Baltimore’s defense sacked Allen six times and held him to a 14.3 quarterback rating on 17-for-39 passing.

Everything is clicking right now for this team.


2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Week 15 Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-9)

After weeks of wondering if Jimmy Garoppolo would be able to match the skill of the 49ers defense, he showed up in a big way this weekend.

Garoppolo threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns in San Francisco’s epic 48-46 victory over the Saints, including a seven play, 63-yard drive that put the 49ers in position to hit the game-winning field goal.

The win had huge playoff implications for several reason. For one, it was a potential preview of an NFC Divisional Round or NFC Conference Championship matchup. Secondly, it pushed the 49ers back atop the NFC West following the Seahawks poor performance against the Rams.

The game also saw a new bit of San Francisco history when Emmanuel Sanders became the first player in franchise history to throw for and catch a touchdown in the same game.


3. Green Bay Packers (10-3)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR

Week 15 Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears (7-6)

The only thing that Packers had control of this week was beating the Redskins, 20-15, at home.

But then a couple of other cards fell their way.

With the Saints and Seahawks losses, the Packers victory over 3-win Washington pushed them up to the No.2 seed in the NFC, putting them in prime position to secure a bye week slot over the final three games.

As far as the Washington game, Aaron Jones took over from the start, rushing for 134 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.


4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

Last Week’s Ranking: NR

Week 15 Opponent: vs. Denver Broncos (5-8)

Sunday was a good day for the Kansas City Chiefs.

After falling to the Patriots twice last season, including a dramatic overtime loss in the AFC Championship, the Chiefs handed the New England Patriots their first home loss in 21 games on Sunday.

In doing so, Kansas City also clinched the AFC West and a playoff berth.

It wasn’t a flawless performance and Kansas City came just yards away from blowing a 16-point lead, but they still did enough to upend the formidable Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

The biggest victory of the weekend? After a hit in the first quarter, it was feared that Patrick Mahomes may have suffered a throwing hand injury. Luckily for Chiefs Kingdom, head coach Andy Reid confirmed after the game that his quarterback does not have any structural damage to his hand.


5. New Orleans Saints (10-3)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Week 15 Opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)

The Saints stay put at the No.5 spot this week even after giving up 48 points.

While New Orleans’ defensive performance in their shootout with San Francisco was less than encouraging, it was the product of two heavyweight teams throwing their biggest punches.

That’s not an excuse for the performance, but more of a reality when assessing this team’s quality.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Saints diced apart the NFC’s best defense in the loss. Drew Brees dazzled with 349 passing yards and five touchdowns while Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara combined for 116 total rushing yards.

Michael Thomas continued his record-breaking campaign, amassing 134 receiving yards and a touchdown on 11 catches.

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