By Aaron Jackson
Now that we through week 13 of the NFL regular season, it seems like a good time to do a second version of the power rankings. This ranking is based on one criteria: which team is most likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in my opinion. I last did this in week 6, and the rankings were as follows: Kansas City, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh, New England.
- New England Patriots: The offense is still capable of putting up plenty of points, and the defense has become serviceable at worst and dare I say even good at best. There are still flaws that I think will be exposed against decent competition, but therein lies the rub; there’s very little decent competition to be had in the AFC. It’s basically Pittsburgh or bust, and the Steelers have yet to prove they’re capable of beating a team as disciplined as New England.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Every team is allowed a couple of duds during the course of the season, and Sunday night it was the Eagles turn. Seattle dominated the game throughout, making Philadelphia’s offense look bad. There are reasons for concern, namely injuries to important players like Zach Ertz, but overall I still believe this is the most talented team in football. They’re young, and will be facing an equally young Los Angeles Rams team this coming Sunday. That game will go a long way towards determining how far Philly can go in the playoffs.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: If you want to make an argument that the Eagles aren’t the most talented team in the league then you’re likely going to point at Mike Tomlin and company as the correct answer, which makes sense. Pittsburgh has arguably the best receiver and running back in football, with a quarterback that is still capable of having big games. Their defense seems to be much better than its parts would suggest as well, ranking near the top of the league in most categories. I leave them here at 3rd just because they tend to make every game a struggle, but you’d be wrong if you said they weren’t a Super Bowl contender.
- Minnesota Vikings: The new top team in the NFC and it’s pretty clear now the Vikings are for real. Case Keenum has learned the art of not losing his team a game, and the defense is quite possibly the best in football. Jerrick McKinnon and Latvius Murray are a great one-two punch, and Adam Thielen is a major playmaker once you put the ball in his hands. They’re a team predicated on not turning the ball over, which leaves me a little concerned that when they get to the playoffs that will be their Achilles heel, but right now they’ve played a pretty tough schedule, so sitting at 10-2 is impressive.
- Los Angeles Rams: Coming off the beat down the Vikings gave them just a couple weeks ago, it would’ve been easy for the Rams to revert back to what they’ve always been: a 500 team that couldn’t win big games. They didn’t do that though, handing the red hot Saints their first loss in 8 games at the end of November. This team is clearly the real deal, and if they should beat the Eagles this coming Sunday they’d have to be considered a true title contender.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.