NFL power rankings Week 14: Several contenders clawing for No. 2 spot

NFL power rankings entering Week 14 of the 2023 season (previous rank in parentheses):

1. 49ers (2): Sunday's performance in Philadelphia was proof positive that San Francisco is undoubtedly the league's best team when all of its key parts are in the lineup. And if QB Brock Purdy isn't careful (116.1 QB rating), he's going to set a record as the most efficient quarterback in the bounds of a single season.

2. Ravens (4): Hope you're well rested, fellas. Sunday's game against the Rams, who are in eighth place overall in the NFC, is Baltimore's only remaining contest against an opponent not currently projected to reach postseason.

3. Eagles (1): So they head to Dallas, where they've lost five in a row, to face scalding QB Dak Prescott while hindered by the league's fourth-worst pass defense. Sounds like a good recipe to fall from the NFC's No. 1 seed to its fifth by next Monday … unless Philly's newly signed linebacker can make a heckuva instant difference here.

4. Cowboys (5): Beat the Eagles on Sunday, and that's 15 victories in a row at AT&T Stadium – not to mention first place in the NFC East. And, naturally, that's important because a division title guarantees at least one playoff game at home – where Dallas just became the third team in league annals to score at least 30 points in its first six games in its own yard to start a season. The Cowboys are also the fifth team to crack 40 points in four consecutive home games.

5. Chiefs (3): Concerning trends? The next loss will tie for their most in the regular season since QB Patrick Mahomes became the starter in 2018. This is the first time that the defense has outranked the offense since 2015. And Sunday was K.C.'s first loss with Taylor Swift in attendance. Panic. Button.

6. Dolphins (6): The NFL's No. 1 offense now also paces the league in choreographed celebrations – which could be key in focusing Miami before its next legit game, hosting Dallas on Christmas Eve.

7. Lions (7): Given his general lack of impact well into his second NFL season, it's easy to forget what a weapon WR Jameson Williams can be. Then he serves fresh notice Sunday.

8. Texans (9): With four INTs in the four games since he rejoined the lineup, CB Derek Stingley Jr. is serving a reminder for why he was drafted ahead of the Jets' Sauce Gardner in 2022.

9. Bills (11): From a football standpoint – which isn't the important one in this context – the likely loss of OLB Von Miller shouldn't hurt all that much given his utter lack of production (3 pressures, no sacks) coming off ACL reconstruction.

10. Jaguars (8): Their streak of four consecutive prime-time wins came to an end. So, too, potentially did their status as an AFC contender – depending on the severity of QB Trevor Lawrence's ankle injury.

11. Rams (12): The franchise's first 1,000-yard rookie receiver, Puka Nacua, is also only the sixth in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to crack that mark in his first 12 NFL games.

12. Broncos (13): Bad time for QB Russell Wilson (3 INTs in Sunday's loss) to revert to the 2022 version of himself. A date with the Chargers' conference-worst pass defense should get him back on track … if he can avoid OLB Khalil Mack.

13. Packers (16): Given HC Matt LaFleur has never lost a game in December – his 16-0 mark is the best in league history – Green Bay is sitting pretty, particularly with five games scheduled this month.

14. Browns (14): Among the AFC North's current QB1s, Joe Flacco might be the best one not named Lamar Jackson. That's where we are.

15. Colts (15): How to best explain QB Gardner Minshew II's first four-game winning streak in the NFL? Probably Indy's nine takeaways during that run, extending its league-best streak of games generating at least one turnover to 17.

16. Steelers (10): Bad news regarding their sputtering playoff push. QB2 Mitchell Trubisky has shown little proficiency moving this team since coming to Pittsburgh last year. But he'll need to hold the line for as long as it takes Kenny Pickett (ankle surgery) to get back onto the field. At least the Steelers are on a two-game streak outgaining their opponents and draw New England's non-existent offense next.

17. Vikings (18): Bad news regarding their belated playoff push. Minnesota (6-6) is 5-2 since WR Justin Jefferson's hamstring injury … unfortunately, he's set to rejoin the lineup. Rimshot.

18. Falcons (20): With Tampa Bay and Carolina on tap the next two weeks, Atlanta can just about put the NFC South away by running its divisional record to 5-0.

19. Seahawks (17): Per Next Gen Stats, WR DK Metcalf hit 22.23 mph last Thursday on his 73-yard TD sprint at Dallas – the fastest time recorded since RB Raheem Mostert topped that figure twice in 2020. Injured RB Kenneth Walker III has the eighth-fastest time in 2023 (21.56 mph), he and Metcalf bracketing six Miami players.

20. Buccaneers (23): Pro Bowler Mike Evans just became the first player to start a career with 10 consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Do it again in 2024, and he matches GOAT WR Jerry Rice for the longest streak at any point in league history.

21. Bengals (26): Their win at Jacksonville was their first Monday night road victory since 1990, snapping a string of nine consecutive defeats in that context. More importantly, QB2 Jake Browning's sterling performance restores a glimmer of hope … even if realists think this is still a lost campaign.

22. Titans (19): If you saw Sunday's game, their first loss in Nashville this season, little surprise that special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman got sacked Monday.

23. Chargers (21): Mack leads the league with a personal-best 15 sacks and is a half-sack shy of the century mark for his career. WR Keenan Allen leads the league with 102 receptions and needs five more to set a new career high. Amazing the Bolts have just five wins.

24. Raiders (22): A team that's been trying to rally saw CB Marcus Peters waived for financial reasons during the bye week. Welp. Let's see what Jack Jones can do.

25. Saints (24): RB Alvin Kamara needs two more TD receptions to join Christian McCaffrey and Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Lenny Moore as the only ones with 50 career rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving. Question now is, who's throwing the ball to him in New Orleans?

26. Cardinals (29): Hope you got TE Trey McBride on the fantasy waiver wire when he was still sitting there. Over the past six games, he has 41 catches for 440 yards. No wonder Zach Ertz's desire to play elsewhere was obliged.

27. Bears (25): Four of their final five games are against teams currently holding playoff spots – almost certainly QB Justin Fields' most important audition for Chicago … or the team that's going to wind up acquiring him in a few months.

28. Jets (27): Shouldn't they be reluctant to start QB Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick of the 2021 draft, Sunday given how poorly he'd compare in an on-field matchup with Houston QB C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 pick of the 2023 draft?

29. Giants (28): Christmas has arrived early, Big Blue set for a fifth prime-time game Monday night against Green Bay. And when Christmas actually rolls around, the G-Men will be back in an exclusive late-afternoon window to get steamrolled by Philadelphia. Rejoice.

30. Commanders (30): Isn't the suggestion Sam Howell has solved Washington's years-long QB quandary just a bit premature? After all, he's up to a league-leading 14 interceptions, including a pick-six in each of the past three games.

31. Patriots (31): They became the first team in 85 years to lose three consecutive games despite not allowing more than 10 points in any of them. Do it again Thursday night at Pittsburgh, and the Pats will match the 1938 Chicago Cardinals' run of ineptitude.

32. Panthers (32): They can't claim to be first in many areas but continue to lead the league in losses (11) and, on Sunday, Carolina became the initial team officially eliminated from postseason contention … not especially easy when you live in the NFC South.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL power rankings: Cowboys, Eagles among teams clawing for No. 2 spot