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NFL power rankings Week 13: Panthers, Patriots in ugly contest for league's worst team

Nate Davis

NFL power rankings entering Week 13 of the 2023 season (previous rank in parentheses):

1. Eagles (1): Go ahead and slot them for Super Bowl 58. Now 10-1 for the sixth time in franchise history – and the fourth team ever to start that well in consecutive seasons – Philly’s previous iterations produced two titles (1949 NFL championship, Super Bowl 52 win) and three losses on Super Sunday. Beating San Francisco in Sunday's NFC championship game rematch won't clinch a second straight No. 1 seed for Philadelphia … but pretty darn close.

2. 49ers (3): They've won 10 in a row against NFC West foes during the regular season, pretty much putting the division on lockdown. If they can run their regular-season heater against NFC East teams to five this Sunday, then the race for the bye and home-field advantage in the conference gets a lot more interesting.

3. Chiefs (2): Momentous Sunday, Andy Reid overtaking Hank Stram as the franchise's all-time leader with 125 regular-season wins. Meanwhile, Travis Kelce became the fastest tight end in league history (154 games) to hit 11,000 career receiving yards. And Kansas City actually scored in the second half. Of the reigning AFC champs' six remaining opponents, only Buffalo is as good as .500.

4. Ravens (4): Sunday night's win against the Chargers is Baltimore's only game in a 23-day window as the AFC North leaders hit their off week. Better rest up, fellas. You're likely to fall out of the AFC's top spot during your break – and then it's onward and into a rough five-week sprint to the tape.

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5. Cowboys (5): Look who's overtaken Miami as the league's top scoring team at 31.5 points per game. Dallas has won a league-best 13 in a row at home and by an average of 29 points in this season's five games at AT&T Stadium. But if "America's Team" wants to play more than three more in North Texas, lot of work to do – starting with their next two guests, Seattle and Philadelphia.

6. Dolphins (7): WR Tyreek Hill's 1,324 receiving yards are the most through 11 games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, putting him on pace for a single-season record 2,046. And Miami's top-ranked passing offense might have to gear up in order to offset the loss of LB Jaelan Phillips to a torn Achilles.

7. Lions (6): They've surrendered nearly 100 points and more than 1,100 yards in the three games since their Week 9 bye. Hopefully Detroit's D found the necessary adjustments in the post-Thanksgiving mini-bye as the team prepares to hit the road four of the next five weeks.

8. Jaguars (9): Renewed signs Calvin Ridley might be a No. 1 receiver (12 catches for 192 yards and 3 TDs over last two weeks) for a Jacksonville squad that's now decidedly No. 1 in the AFC South. But the next three weeks will show how good the Jags would be in the AFC North with a trio of dates against that rugged division.

9. Texans (8): They were literally a few bad bounces from moving into first place. But they are No. 1 in one curious way, the NFL flexing their key Week 13 date with Denver to 1 p.m. ET – meaning all 17 of Houston's regular-season games are scheduled to occur in that time slot … though we'd love to see QB C.J. Stroud flexed into prime time once during his stellar rookie campaign.

10. Steelers (12): Sunday's offensive – can we call it a breakthrough? – included QB Kenny Pickett, who hadn't cracked 240 passing yards all season, putting up 278. Lesson learned? Never play Canadian-style football in Blitzburgh.

11. Bills (11): Before Bills Mafia gets apoplectic, let's remember Buffalo has lost at least six games in five of HC Sean McDermott's seven seasons. And despite Sunday's close shave at Philly, the offense is pretty much humming now – QB Josh Allen tying Hall of Famer Steve Young for the most career games (8) with at least 300 yards passing and 50 yards rushing.

12. Rams (13): Don't sleep on them. Despite a challenging schedule, they've been in every game this season save two, the ones where QB Matthew Stafford was hurt. He looked fully healthy Sunday, as did rejuvenated RB Kyren Williams. If LA, which is 4-1 in NFC West games, can get WRs Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua cranking again, this team could easily crack the playoff field.

13. Broncos (15): With two rushing TDs in Sunday's win over Cleveland, Denver tripled its season total. Now, the AFC's hottest team (5 straight wins) embarks on a three-game road trip to Houston, at the Chargers and Detroit – which could well be its defining stretch of the regular season.

14. Browns (10): They could be without several key players Sunday against the Rams and may have to start recently signed QB Joe Flacco. Remember, this team had QB Josh Dobbs on the roster in August.

15. Colts (16): Neither QB Anthony Richardson nor LB Shaquille Leonard are on the 53-man roster, but both were in Lucas Oil Stadium for Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. They watched Indianapolis climb into the projected playoff field, motivation for the rehabbing rookie and classy former All-Pro as Leonard looks to continue his career elsewhere – maybe in Dallas or Philadelphia.

16. Packers (25): How's Jordan Love doing? Through his first 11 games since taking over as QB1, he's gone 5-6 with 2,599 passing yards while being responsible for 21 TDs (pass/rush). Compare that to Aaron Rodgers' first 11 starts in 2008 after replacing Brett Favre … and the numbers are exactly the same. Wild. (Rodgers' 12th game was a loss to Carolina … but the Panthers were better then).

17. Seahawks (14): Despite what we've seen all month, here's a guarantee they're going to look awesome Thursday night at Dallas … because, throwbacks. Beyond that? No promises given the way this defense, in particular, is struggling.

18. Vikings (18): And you thought Dobbs couldn't replace Kirk Cousins. The "Passtronaut" made his "Monday Night Football" debut … and threw four INTs in a 12-10 loss to Chicago. Dobbs is now 0-4 in prime time. But it will be fine – Minnesota’s next three games are Sunday afternoon kickoffs.

19. Titans (23): They're unbeatable at home. Literally. Tennessee is now 4-0 this season at Nissan Stadium, though did lose a designated home game in London – meaning the Titans are 0-7 outside of Nashville in 2023.

20. Falcons (24): You can't count on much from this team week to week. But you know LT Jake Matthews will be in the lineup after he broke former QB Matt Ryan's team mark with his 155th consecutive start. Also, Younghoe Koo overtook Justin Tucker on Sunday as the most accurate field-goal kicker (90%) in NFL history. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you build a first-place outfit.

21. Chargers (17): Sunday night, OLB Khalil Mack joined late Hall of Famer Kevin Greene as the only players to record at least a dozen sacks in a season for three different teams.

22. Raiders (19): Would you have guessed RB Josh Jacobs is once again leading the league in touches with 255 through Sunday? He's averaging more than 1 yard fewer per compared to 2022 but has now eclipsed 1,000 yards from scrimmage – joining Marcus Allen as the only Raiders to do it in their first five NFL seasons.

23. Buccaneers (21): How can you not love Pro Bowl WR Mike Evans … especially if you're those two Tampa Bay fans who ventured into Lucas Oil Stadium and came out with souvenir TD footballs?

24. Saints (22): Just about time to ride or die, especially with their next three in the Superdome – though, oddly, New Orleans hasn't finished with a winning record at home since 2020.

25. Bears (28): Don't look now, y'all, but they're 4-4 over their past eight games and could be a legitimate playoff spoiler on the other side of their Week 13 bye. They didn't even need a touchdown to beat Minnesota on Monday night. (And congratulations to second-year HC Matt Eberflus, who finally notched his first NFC North victory.)

26. Bengals (26): They've lost 14 straight prime-time contests on the road – not including Super Bowl 56 and last season's AFC title game. Next up? They'll be under the lights at Jacksonville on Monday night.

27. Jets (27): We're really not going to give QB4 Trevor Siemian his shot? Seriously?

28. Giants (30): Seems like barely five minutes ago when they would barely let Tommy DeVito throw. All of a sudden, he's the first undrafted rookie in the common-draft era (since 1967) to have a passer rating of at least 100.0 in consecutive starts. Certainly didn't hurt that fellow frosh WR Jalin Hyatt got his most targets (6) of the season.

29. Cardinals (20): Didn't expect the Kyler Murray booster to wear off after only three weeks. May not be long before the Caleb Williams debate moves back to the front burner.

30. Commanders (31): That’s a league-high 55 sacks taken by QB Sam Howell – meaning he’s on pace for 78 over the course of a full season, which would be a single-season record. Seems like that's probably ousted DC Jack Del Rio's fault.

31. Patriots (29): The last time they drafted in the top five was 1994, that choice bringing USC LB Willie McGinest. Could they possibly be picking another Trojan up top next spring?

32. Panthers (32): Under new management, revamped Carolina starts a three-week round robin through the NFC South. Be interesting to see if QB Bryce Young can reset and stir a little playoff havoc among clubs in the divisional hunt.


Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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