NFL Power Rankings Week 14

First off, I apologize for my absence last week. I'd give you an excuse as to where I was, though you'd probably just look at me like Ms. Zeth in fourth grade when I told her ninjas stole my PowerPoint presentation. Instead, I'll just thank Anthony Brancato for valiantly filling in, sort of like Nigel Gruff minus the tobacco dependency and affinity for point spreads. And if you don't understand that reference, then you should watch better sports movies.

I also apologize for being late to the table, both literally and figuratively, but I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss my favorite holiday. Sure, the food and football is outstanding, though the real reason I love Thanksgiving is simple. It's everybody's holiday.

See, the father's side of my family is devout Catholic. You know, mass everyday, not just every Sunday type of people. Christmas is always huge, stuffing too many people in my Grandma's living room once a year, with my Grandma's best friend, a Priest and my pseudo-Grandfather, leading the festivities. I was raised Catholic, too, and while I can't say I'm as religious as my father or Grandma, Catholicism is still an important part of my life and Christmas is one of the best times of year.

However, the mother's side of my family is Jewish. They aren't Orthodox, but Bar Mitzvahs, Passover Seders, and begging for both Hanukah and Christmas presents were a big part of my childhood. In fact, I remember my Gam telling me Santa Claus wasn't real when I was too young to know Santa Claus wasn't real, which of course led me to ruining the surprise for my classmates as well. Because Christmas was reserved for my Grandma's house, we would always go to my Gam and Pop's in New Jersey for Thanksgiving.

Every year, unsure if he knew that he was repeating himself or not, my Pop would tell us the reason he loved Thanksgiving. It doesn't matter your beliefs, it doesn't matter your religion. All that matters is being around people you love and enjoying each other's company. And we certainly did, whether it was my Gam breaking down the football games better than we could ourselves while simultaneously drooling over Kurt Warner, or my Pop forgetting his filter at home and performing timeless coin tricks we still can't master.

Both of my mom's parents passed away over the last few years, and while we miss them every single day, we feel it a little more on Thanksgiving. So as we sit around the table, it's inevitable that somebody always lets us know why Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Because Thanksgiving is everybody's holiday.

Here are your Week 14 power rankings.

1. Los Angeles Rams (11-1) —The only explanation for Todd Gurley not scoring a touchdown at the end of the game was that Todd Gurley was playing against Todd Gurley in fantasy this week. He scored two plays later, so it was all for not. Even though the Rams didn't look dominant, they are still the NFC West champions, and if they keep winning, the NFC will go through Los Angeles.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2) — Another near-loss for a team at the top of the Power Rankings, against a much inferior foe. Beating the Raiders shouldn't just be easy; it should be aerobics on a recliner easy. We will see how much this team has to reinvent themselves with the whole situation going on in Kansas City. I want all of the available information before I give my opinion, but it's not looking too good for the former Chiefs running back.

3. New Orleans Saints (10-2) — Drew Brees and the offense were stifled against a Cowboys defense that was fired up to play This one could prove to be big for home field advantage if the Rams remain steady. Still, a loss here isn't going to open the floodgates. Maybe not the best phrase for this city.

4. New England Patriots (9-3) — Say hello to the December Patriots. The only thing scarier is the January Patriots. New England is getting healthy at the right time, and they completely dominated the Vikings at home on Sunday. Wicked good. Wicked freakin' good.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) — What a game for the Chargers on their first Sunday Night game in seemingly forever and without their best skill player. I find myself still wanting to call them the San Diego Chargers, and I doubt people in Los Angeles will mind. That's why this team is so scary: they are 9-3 and have played nothing but road games.

6. Houston Texans (9-3) — That's 9 straight for those counting at home. We've been hearing about the Chiefs all season. We know what the Patriots and Steelers can do. People are saying the Chargers are a dark horse to come out of the AFC. Can we give the Texans some love, please? This team is offensively unique with DeShaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, and is able to generate turnovers from every angle on defense whether it's up front or in their secondary. And did you see my man Ka'imi Fairbairn kickin' field goals like Ka ... don't do it, Bob.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers- (7-4-1) — A disastrous second half for the Steelers opens the door for the Ravens in the division. The Steelers couldn't stop the Phillip Rivers/Keenan Allen combination, and even worse, LeVeon Bell's replacement may need a replacement.

8. Chicago Bears (8-4) —I think Mitch Trubisky probably could have played, and the Bears just wanted to see if they could squeeze out a win while resting him another week. The Giants seemed on board with the plan, and tried their best to gift the game to Chicago. The Bears ultimately lost this overtime thriller, though it'd be unfair to make any absolute declarations about this team going forward until they have their full arsenal back.

9. Dallas Cowboys (7-5) — I don't understand why Stephen A. Smith is so perplexed. And loud. The Cowboys are a solid team with a strong ground game and an extremely underrated defense. They aren't better than the Saints, but they needed this win more than them, and were playing in Jerry's World. Cowboys' fans just anointed themselves Super Bowl champs, though the Saints win by double digits if they meet again in New Orleans.

10. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) — A rare RG3 appearance always perks up our ears, but the story of the last few weeks is still Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens are able to control the game and the clock with their rushing attack, both by Jackson and the rising Gus Edwards, that makes their already stout defense even better. That's the recipe for this team if they are looking for a one-way ticket to Flavortown. Just ask Adam Sandler; we all know a guy who knows a guy who says he knows Guy Fieri.

11. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) — Russell Wilson should be mentioned in MVP talks more often. All we heard at the start of the year in the division was that the Rams are on top (for good reason), the 49ers were next up (not yet), the Cardinals were primed to surprise (maybe if you're the Packers), and the Seahawks aren't what they used to be. The critics were right, the Seahawks aren't what they used to be, and they're still going to be a tough out in the playoffs.

12. Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) — The Minnesota Vikings were confident they could waltz into New England and leave with a victory. The lie detector test determined that was a lie. Adam Theilen going at it with Bill Belichick was the highlight of the weekend for me.

13. Indianapolis Colts (6-6) — The Colts didn't just put up a donut; they put up a chocolate-frosted, cream filled donut devoured in one bite by the cop pulling you over for driving five over the limit. The offensive line that has been key for Indianapolis' success thus far this year didn't come to play, and some missed throws and dropped balls told the story for the Colts. I got you on gas money tomorrow if anyone wants to give me a ride to Dunkin' right about now.

14. Tennessee Titans (6-6) — The Titans keep pace in the playoff race with a last second victory over the Jets, sealed with a Corey Davis touchdown and a Malcolm Butler interception. I'm fairly certain Mike Vrabel could still get 100 tackles if you stick him in a 4-3.

15. Denver Broncos (6-6) — The Broncos are quietly fighting their way back into the playoff picture, even if Sunday's win was uglier than Juwanna Mann in a dress. Remember when Royce Freeman was the rookie running back everybody was talking about in Denver?

16. Carolina Panthers (6-6) — What the hell has happened to the Panthers? A few weeks ago this team was primed to compete with New Orleans for the division, or at the least, snag a wild card spot. Now Cam Newton is throwing 4 picks to a Buccaneers defense that's easier to score on than Michelle Beadle in the Packers locker room.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) — The Eagles are gearing up to make one last push at the division. Next week against Dallas will be huge towards that.

18. Washington Redskins (6-6) — Are we watching the greatest running back of the generation? A.P. just does not quit. And it's always a treat when you get to watch Mark Sanchez on Monday Night, though he didn't look too bad.

19. Miami Dolphins (6-6) — Three passing touchdowns for the Dolphins in this win, and the receivers didn't even throw it to themselves. Kenny Stills caught one of them, Kenyon Drake grabbed another, and DeVante Parker got in on the fun, as well. When you watch Parker play, you always think he should put up better numbers than he does. We're still waiting for him to turn the corner. The Dolphins are knocking on the AFC playoff door. They'll be cheering for the Chiefs to take down Baltimore next weekend.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-7-1) — I guess the Packers can r-e-l-a-x now, because their season is officially over. We may never know the full story, though the Packers season may have been lost when Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 1. Or before that when they got rid of Rodgers' favorite target, Jordy Nelson. He's still been great; he just hasn't been Aaron Rodgers great. Who else is scared to open their e-mail inboxes tomorrow?

21. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) — Jeff Driskel looks and sounds like the "cool" math teacher, and played like a life-long backup. "You got Mr. Driskel for Algebra II? Sick, bro!" He actually wasn't terrible, but with A.J. Green going down and a rush defense that allowed over 200 yards on the ground, the Bengals didn't really have a chance. A strong start to the season for Cincinnati has turned into the annual "will they?" or "won't they?" with Marvin Lewis.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) — The Buccaneers may want to take a quick trip south to Miami to retrieve the turnover chain from the U. They picked off Cam Newton four times, with Andrew Adams hauling in three of them. Jameis Winston played mistake-free football, as well, and the Buccaneers are apparently surging. A week one rematch against the Saints next week is one New Orleans had circled since Tampa upset them back in September.

23. Detroit Lions (4-8) — The Lions probably needed some tigers and bears if they wanted to take down the mighty Rams, but they fought hard in a losing effort. We knew that chewing clock to slow down the Rams offense was the blueprint, and even in a loss, the Lions were the closest to executing that plan. The Lions always randomly play well against good teams. I don't care that they lost and that he fumbled in a key situation, Matt Stafford gets to take the beer bong out of the closet for a few go-arounds tonight. He's earned that much.

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-8) — Right when the Falcons got back to .500 and inspired hope, they lose four straight and remind us that maybe their Super Bowl appearance was an anomaly. The Falcons third-down struggles, fourth-down misses, and defensive penalties spelled out defeat for the plummeting Falcons.

25. Cleveland Browns (4-7-1) —Baker Mayfield's 350+ yard second half is a little less impressive when you remember he threw for 40 yards and 3 picks in the first half, as the Browns fell behind 23-0. The Browns were dominated in this one, and their defense looked like they went with the double roast beef at Arby's. I don't care, Hue Jackson is still fake.

26. New York Giants (4-8) — Even when the Giants win, the fans age in dog years. Who gives up onside kick recoveries anymore? That's so 2003. The Giants are playing themselves out of a top draft-pick, though it is encouraging to see this team's potential. You're looking at next year's Super Bowl champions. I can dream.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) — This is the defense we remember from last year. Cody Kessler is a baller, leading the Jaguars offense up and down the field to a massive six-point performance. Sarcasm is hard over the computer. I still don't understand why the clock wasn't stopped on that last play.

28. Buffalo Bills (4-8) — I'd be lying if I told you I knew who Jerry Hughes was before Sunday, but apparently he's a bitch. Google it if you didn't pay any attention to this game like the rest of the country. Josh Allen's athleticism is under-valued.

29 New York Jets (3-9) — The Jets were shot out of a cannon going up 16-0 in Tennessee, and then slowly crawled back into that cannon. I'm putting at least 85% of the blame on Josh McCown's hair.

30. Arizona Cardinals (3-9) — And in a single swoop, the Arizona Cardinals just put Mike McCarthy on the unemployment block. Losing to Arizona should be sacrilegious, like cursing God's name or church jerk sessions. Larry Fitzgerald loves making huge catches against Green Bay.

31. San Francisco 49ers (2-10) —What can you say about this team? The 49ers are spiraling like Snooki at the bar after a morning Ambien and abortion. Richard Sherman just texted Pete Carroll like "Good seeing you, bro. We should definitely hang out again sometime."

32. Oakland Raiders (2-10) — Sorry, Jon [Gruden], you can't challenge a play with less than two minutes in the half. A hard fought loss is actually encouraging for a team fumbling their way into the first overall pick in next year's draft.

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