NFL Power Rankings Week 14, 2016

alex-smith-kansas-cityLast weekend, the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs squared off in a classic case of offense vs. defense. The Chiefs’ defense wasn’t as dominant as it usually is, but they still prevailed 29-28.

See where Kansas City sits in our Week 14 NFL power rankings, and check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-1); beat Minnesota 17-15, same spot – Dallas struggled in this one, fumbling four times and losing two of them against a tough Vikings defense. But they also prevented Minnesota’s offense from doing much harm.

2. New England Patriots (10-2); beat LA 26-10, same spot – New England’s defense shut down the Rams, sacking Jared Goff four times and picking him off twice.

3. Oakland Raiders (10-2); beat Buffalo 38-24, same spot – With every win and big performance, Derek Carr continues inching up the MVP discussion.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3); beat Atlanta 29-28, same spot – The Chiefs keep pace with the Raiders in the AFC West with this hard-fought win.

earl-thomas-injury5. Seattle Seahawks (8-2-1); beat Carolina 40-7, same spot – This was a totally dominate victory for the Seahawks, but also a costly one since Earl Thomas broke his leg.

6. Denver Broncos (8-4); beat Jacksonville 20-10, up 2 spots – This win won’t go down as a season highlight for Denver, but it’s enough to keep them alive in the AFC West and Wild Card races.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5); beat NY Giants 24-14, up 2 spots – Ladarius Green came alive in this game, catching 6 balls for 110 yards and a touchdown.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-5); lost to Kansas City Chiefs 29-28, down 2 spots – The bad news for Atlanta is that they’re now tied with the Bucs for the division lead. The good news is that they close out the regular season against four straight sub .500 teams.

9. New York Giants (8-4); lost to Pittsburgh 24-14, down 2 spots – New York will have to raise their level of play over the last few weeks since they face Dallas, Detroit, Philly, and Washington.

10. Detroit Lions (8-4); beat New Orleans 28-13, same spot – Detroit’s defense really stepped up in this contest, shutting down a Saints offense that had been rolling up until this point.

aaron-rodgers-bet-211. Green Bay Packers (6-6); beat Houston 21-13, up 3 spots – Aaron Rodgers made the prediction that Green Bay would run the table when they were 4-6. They’re 2-0 since then.

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-5); beat Miami 38-6, up 3 spots – Baltimore jumped out in this game early and never looked back on their way to blowing out one of the league’s hottest teams.

13. Washington Redskins (6-5-1); lost to Arizona 31-23, down 2 spots – Coach Jay Gruden was angry after this game, ripping his players for their lack of urgency.

14. Miami Dolphins (7-5); lost to Baltimore 38-6, down 2 spots – Winners of 6 out of their last 8 games, Miami saw their momentum come to a screeching halt in this game. When they fall behind early, they don’t have the passing game to catch up.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5); beat San Diego 28-21, up 3 spots – This is Tampa Bay’s fourth-straight win, and they now share the AFC South lead with Atlanta.

16. Minnesota Vikings (6-6); lost to Detroit 17-15, down 3 spots – All bets are off on the Vikings making a comeback since they’ve now lost 6 of their last 7 contests.

tyrod-taylor-bills17. Buffalo Bills (6-6); lost to Oakland 38-24, down 1 spot – With Tyrod Taylor set to pick up $27 million next season, there are many questions surrounding if he’ll be back next season.

18. Indianapolis Colts (6-6); beat NY Jets 41-10, up 3 spots – Indianapolis blew out of the gate thanks to Andrew Luck’s four first-half TD passes. It could’ve been five if tight end Jack Doyle hadn’t fumbled in the end zone while stretching for the pylon.

19. Tennessee Titans (6-6); bye week, up 1 spot – Tennessee has two tough games coming up against Denver and the Chiefs, before closing out with Jacksonville and Houston.

20. Houston Texans (6-6); lost to Green Bay 21-13, down 1 spot – Brock Osweiler had a decent game with 202 yards and two TD passes. But this time, Houston wasn’t able to muster a run game.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7); lost to Cincinnati 32-14, down 4 spots – Following this blowout loss to a struggling team, Philly officially looks done in the playoff hunt.

22. Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1); beat Washington 31-23, up 2 spots – Carson Palmer had his best game of the season, throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1); beat Philadelphia 32-14, up 2 spots
 – Cincinnati’s defense took advantage of Carson Wentz’s struggles by picking him off 3 times.

24. San Diego Chargers (5-7); lost to Tampa Bay 28-21, down 2 spots – Now four games out of the AFC West lead, San Diego is all but eliminated from the division race.

25. New Orleans Saints (5-7); lost to Detroit 28-13, down 2 spots – While New Orleans is a couple games back in the AFC South, they still have a chance with two remaining contests against Tampa Bay and one against Atlanta.

26. Carolina Panthers (4-8); lost to Seattle 40-7, same spot – The final score of this game pretty much explains the disappointment that is the 2016 Panthers.

jordan-howard-bears27. Chicago Bears (3-9); beat San Francisco 26-6, up 2 spots – Chicago proved to be masters of their own domain, dominating in this snow-filled contest. Jordan Howard led the way with 3 touchdown runs.

28. LA Rams (4-8); lost to New England 26-10, same spot – With not much else to discuss regarding another bad Rams team, the focus is on whether or not coach Jeff Fisher will be fired.

29. New York Jets (3-9); lost to Indianapolis 41-10, down 2 spots – The Jets suffered from an emotional letdown after losing a close contest to division-rival New England. That…and they’re just a bad football team.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10); lost to Denver 20-10, same spot – It’s finally looking like Gus Bradley’s time in Jacksonville is running out after yet another miserable season.

31. San Francisco (1-11); lost to Chicago 26-6, same spot – Any talk of Colin Kaepernick turning the corner and regaining his old form died in this contest, as he went 1-of-5 before getting benched.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-12); bye week, same spot – Cleveland will take their last few shots at getting a win this season with RG III under center again.

Kam Chancellor Holdout with Seattle Seahawks could have Big Impact

kam-chancellor-seattle-1All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor has been a huge part of the Seattle Seahawks’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Unfortunately, after watching several of his teammates get paid this summer, Chancellor is now locked in a bitter contract dispute.

The 27-year-old is certainly not holding out due to principle, but rather just because he thinks he’s severely underpaid at $4.55 million a year. However, there are two huge problems at play here:

1) Seattle only has $4.9 million in cap space left.
2) The team normally only negotiates contracts with players who are in their final year. Doing so with Chancellor, who’s signed until 2017, would break that policy.

Another issue that the talented safety has to deal with is all the money that he’s losing by not reporting to camp. Here’s a look at how the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta describes the situation:

“[T]he team can fine [Chancellor] for $30,000 for every day missed, so up to $330,000 at this point, along with the ability to recoup up to 25 percent of his signing bonus for this season (which as $1 million) if he misses all of training camp. The way that rule works is the team can ask to recoup 15 percent of his bonus after the sixth day and then one percent a day up to 25 percent. So, Chancellor would be subject to fines of up to $530,000 as of today. But fines are at team discretion and often waived once a player reports.”

kam-chancellor-seattleThe loss of money might not end with what Chancellor is missing out on now. If he doesn’t get a deal done by the start of the regular season, then he risks incurring more penalties. Just missing the first regular season game would mean that Seattle could recover up to 25% of his salary. Following four missed weeks, the Seahawks could recover 1/17 of the prorated amount of Chancellor’s earnings for every subsequent game.

Obviously there’s some incentive for him to report, given all the cash he’s losing. However, Seattle also has some incentive to reconsider because their other starting safety, Earl Thomas, is slowly recovering from an injury. If the Chancellor situation doesn’t get resolved soon, the team would trot out DeShawn Shead and Steven Terrell as starters – not exactly anchors of the the “Legion of Boom” defense.

Chancellor is definitely one of the cogs of this defense, and somebody that Seattle would love to coax back onto the field as quickly as possible. He’s racked up 375 tackles over the past four seasons along with 8 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles. The past two years he’s helped lead Seattle to a Super Bowl victory (2013-14) and another Super Bowl appearance. The Seahawks have their core back for the 2015-16 season and are once again primed for another excellent season. But a large part of this will require either offering Chancellor a new deal or convincing him to suit up anyways.