NFL Power Rankings: Nos. 10-1
L, 37-30 @ Seahawks
The Vikings did no favors to the 49ers, and they also hurt themselves in the NFC playoff picture by losing to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
Minnesota stays the No. 6 seed in the playoff picture, while the Packers hold the NFC North division lead. But this puts another game between the two, and the Vikings wind up falling in our NFL power rankings after the prime-time loss.
W, 28-22 vs. Patriots
Wow, quite the impressive win for the Texans over the visiting Patriots.
It’s an important victory for Houston, too, which now has to look at the Titans as a serious threat in the AFC South.
Oh, and the Texans have their two games against Tennessee still left on the schedule. Those should be a lot of fun in determining the division winner.
W, 26-15 @ Cowboys
For all non-Cowboys fans, it sure was great watching the Bills completely embarrass Dallas on Thanksgiving. And in doing so, Buffalo actually closes the gap with the Patriots down to just one game.
New England owns the current tiebreaker, yes. But the Pats are going through their own struggles, and the Bills will have a chance to enact some vengeance in a crucial Week 16 game against New England.
L, 28-22 @ Texans
Statistically, the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady looked just fine, offensively, during their loss to the Texans. After all, Brady tossed for well over 300 yards with three touchdowns against an interception.
That said, New England’s offense isn’t exactly clicking, and certainly not at the right time. And it’s so weird to see another AFC East team putting pressure on the Pats this late in the season.
Is it possible this is the year head coach Bill Belichick and Co. relinquish a hold on the division? Notable fall in our NFL power rankings.
W, 40-9 vs. Raiders
A short while ago, one could have looked at this AFC West bout between the Chiefs and Raiders as a must-win game for both squads.
Well, it sort of was. But Kansas City completely outclassed Oakland, looking much more like the offensive powerhouse we saw a season ago. And with no one else threatening in the division, this win all but ensures the Chiefs wind up division winners again, barring a complete meltdown down the stretch.
W, 31-13 @ Giants
The Packers sure bounced back from their one-sided loss to the 49ers the previous week, enjoying the snow and icy conditions at MetLife Stadium to wallop the Giants in easy fashion. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdown passes looks far more indicative than what he experienced back in Santa Clara in prime time.
Green Bay currently owns the tiebreaker over the Vikings, but both teams will play each other again in what could be a decisive Week 16 matchup to decide the NFC North.
L, 20-17 @ Ravens
It’s crazy to think the 49ers’ two losses on the season have both come against playoff-likely teams and on last-second, game-winning field goals.
That’s what happened in Baltimore amid the rainy conditions, as the 49ers lost a tough one against a red-hot Ravens squad. On the positive side, though, the Niners held quarterback Lamar Jackson in check through the air, and Baltimore’s offense, too. The Ravens were averaging 43 points per game over the previous four matchups before facing San Francisco’s elite defense, which will retain that status after a tough showing in Week 13.
No shame at all in the 49ers loss. This was an epic bout.
W, 37-30 vs. Vikings
The Seahawks now stand alone atop the NFC West over the 49ers, thanks to their previous win over the red and gold back in Week 10 and after beating the Vikings on Monday Night Football.
Seattle’s scoring differential this season isn’t huge. But it doesn’t matter. Quarterback Russell Wilson and Co. have had a knack of hanging around, taking late leads and winning in clutch situations. If anything, that’s indicative of how playoff teams perform, and the Seahawks have seemingly been doing that for years now.
W, 26-18 @ Falcons
Another beneficiary from the 49ers loss is the Saints, who managed to hold on for a win on Thursday Night Football over the Falcons and now find themselves the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
In doing so, New Orleans clinched the NFC South and will be tough to unseat from a first-round bye.
But quarterback Drew Brees and Co. will have their hands full this Week when the angry 49ers come to down looking to reassert themselves in the playoff picture.
W, 20-17 vs. 49ers
It might not have been the dominating efforts the Ravens showcased the previous four weeks, where Baltimore was averaging 43 points scored per game. But the Week 13 win over the 49ers had all the makings of a playoff bout, and Baltimore came out on top.
The rain and San Francisco’s stout pass defense held Jackson in check through the air, but he got his on the ground. And a number of those scrambles for big gains ultimately proved to be the difference.
So did kicker Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal.
A road bout with the Bills this week could be tough, but Baltimore’s remaining schedule is relatively easy, hosting the Jets and Steelers with a road game against the Browns. Not a bad way to enter the playoffs, and the Ravens remain the No. 1 team in Niner Noise’s NFL power rankings.