Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus who’s under fire in the final month

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus who’s under fire in the final month

The NFL Power Rankings looked at players, coaches and executives on the hot seat in the preseason. Now that we’re in the home stretch of the regular season, we figured we’d revisit this subject and see who was under fire going into the final month.

From players with rocky futures, coaches who might have to update their résumés or executives whose rosters are under scrutiny, our NFL Nation reporters took a look at the person (or persons, in the case of the Jaguars) on the teams they cover who truly need a big December. Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings: 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Week 13 ranking: 2

Who’s under fire: De’Anthony Thomas, PR/KR

It’s difficult to designate anyone on the hot seat for a team that’s won eight straight games and sits atop the AFC. But there is pressure at returner, especially since Baltimore has already cut one this season in Cyrus Jones. Thomas hasn’t been a difference-maker since joining the Ravens four games ago but has shown some progress as a punt returner. He has brought back two punts for more than 15 yards in each of the past two games. The Ravens, though, want more explosiveness and consistency out of that spot. — Jamison Hensley


Week 13 ranking: 3

Who’s under fire: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Garoppolo isn’t really under fire, but all eyes will be on him as the 49ers play in bigger and more meaningful games down the stretch. Garoppolo has been good for the most part this season, save for occasional trouble protecting the ball. He hasn’t been asked to carry the freight much for a team with a strong run game and stout defense, but has delivered productive outings more often than not. The stage is about to get a bit bigger and the lights a bit brighter, but Garoppolo will be the Niner who garners the most attention as the postseason inches closer. — Nick Wagoner

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0:49

Sedano: Brady is basically Trubisky

Jorge Sedano shares why he believes Tom Brady and the Patriots are headed for trouble if they don’t make offensive changes soon.

Week 13 ranking: 1

Who’s under fire: WRs not named Julian Edelman

The Patriots’ loss to the Texans stood out from the standpoint of Houston devoting extra resources to covering Edelman, essentially daring the team’s other pass-catchers to create separation and get open. The results were uneven. The Patriots will need more from Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers the rest of the way. — Mike Reiss


Week 13 ranking: 5

Who’s under fire: Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith, WRs

New Orleans’ biggest problem from late last season remains its biggest problem heading into this December — a lack of reliable wide receivers outside of Michael Thomas. Neither Ginn nor Smith has had more than two catches in a game since Week 3. The Saints badly need one or both to step up in the playoffs. Regardless, they’ll be looking for an upgrade this offseason. — Mike Triplett


Week 13 ranking: 4

Who’s under fire: Chris Carson, RB

More specifically, Carson’s ball security. That’s been his only shortcoming this season. Carson is headed toward a second consecutive 1,000-yard season and is on pace to double his reception total from 2018. But he’s fumbled seven times, most among non-quarterbacks. It hasn’t cost Carson his starting job — “Chris is our guy,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said last week after Carson’s latest fumble and Rashaad Penny‘s breakout game — but the 2018 first-round pick seems to be closing the gap at least a little. — Brady Henderson

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1:15

Riddick not counting out the Chiefs in the AFC

Louis Riddick isn’t counting out the Chiefs in the AFC playoff picture and thinks they can still make a run at a Super Bowl.

Week 13 ranking: 8

Who’s under fire: Andy Reid, head coach

Reid isn’t going to get fired for playoff failure, but the Chiefs have been waiting 50 years to get back to the Super Bowl. The AFC playoff field looks as though it will be filled with dangerous opponents in a one-and-done setting, but the Chiefs are talented enough to make a deep run. It’s Reid’s job to navigate them past the likes of the Texans, Patriots and Ravens. — Adam Teicher


Week 13 ranking: 6

Who’s under fire: Riley Reiff, LT

By all accounts, Reiff has been decent — not great, not terrible — which has been the standard since he signed as a free agent in 2017. He’s allowed four sacks and 15 total pressures on an offensive line that is improved but still a work in progress. Reiff is “under fire” because he’s at risk of being a salary-cap casualty with his $13.2 million hit in 2020. The Vikings have a lot of hard financial decisions to make this offseason, and overpaying for a left tackle you don’t view as a franchise player isn’t the smartest thing to do when Brian O’Neill might eventually move over to that side. — Courtney Cronin


Week 13 ranking: 7

Who’s under fire: Shawn Mennenga, special-teams coach

The Packers are on pace to set a dubious NFL record for fewest punt return yards in a season. They’re at minus-8 — yes, they’ve lost yardage — on punt returns through 12 games. The NFL record for fewest punt return yards in a season is 27 (by the Cardinals in 1965). The Packers had their longest punt return of the season on Sunday against the Giants: a 3-yard return by Tremon Smith. The next-worst team in punt return yardage this season is still 98 yards better than the Packers. The best thing you can say about the Packers’ special teams is that the unit hasn’t cost them a game — yet. — Rob Demovsky


Week 13 ranking: 9

Who’s under fire: Will Fuller, WR

Before the start of next season, the Texans are going to have to make a decision about Fuller, their first-round pick in 2016. Houston’s front office tends to extend its first-round picks before their fifth season, but given Fuller’s injury history, he might have to play on his fifth-year option instead of signing a big contract extension. Fuller changes the offense for the Texans, but he again missed time with an injury (four games after injuring his hamstring in Week 7), and Houston needs to make sure it can count on him to stay healthy before committing to him long term. — Sarah Barshop


Week 13 ranking: 10

Who’s under fire: Stephen Hauschka, K

The Bills are rolling, but Hauschka has struggled this season, connecting on a career-low 71% of his field goals. After missing two field goals in a three-point loss to the Browns in Week 10 and a field goal and an extra point last week, Hauschka’s margin for error is rapidly shrinking. — Marcel Louis-Jacques


Week 13 ranking: 12

Who’s under fire: Les Snead, GM

Snead signed a contract extension before the season that keeps him with the Rams through 2023, so there’s no danger of the general manager losing his job. There’s no reason he should after constructing a Super Bowl roster last season. However, the attention on him will undoubtedly grow, as he must find a way to rebuild the offensive line and fill a few key positions with very little cap space. The Rams also don’t have a first-round draft pick after Snead traded their 2020 first-rounder (and 2021 first- and fourth-round picks) to acquire cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who also is looking for a payday. — Lindsey Thiry


Week 13 ranking: 14

Who’s under fire: Rodger Saffold, LG

Bringing Saffold to the Titans was supposed to be the move that tightened up the offensive line. Much has been asked of the left guard, who signed a four-year, $44 million deal in March. Saffold admittedly got off to a rough start but said he’s hitting his stride after the Titans upset the Colts. — Turron Davenport

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1:02

Ryan: Eagles’ loss was the best game Garrett’s coached all year

Mike Greenberg, Rex Ryan and Dan Orlovsky agree that the Eagles losing to the Dolphins will help Jason Garrett keep his job with the Cowboys.

Week 13 ranking: 11

Who’s under fire: Jason Garrett, head coach/Jerry Jones, owner

There are other candidates, but Garrett has to be at the top of the list. He entered the season in a win-or-else situation because he was in the final year of his deal. He can still earn an extension but might have to do something that is not imaginable at the moment: get to the Super Bowl. Since Jones is responsible for the coaches and players on the roster he is also under fire, but since he owns the team, he isn’t going anywhere. Jones thought he put together a team to contend for a championship. That can still happen, but only if Garrett can rise to the occasion. — Todd Archer


Week 13 ranking: 16

Who’s under fire: Randy Fichtner, offensive coordinator

Managing the carousel of quarterbacks hasn’t been an easy job for Fichtner. Add in the rotating cast of skill players with injuries decimating the established playmakers, and the job has gotten monumentally harder in the past month. With the defense keeping the Steelers squarely in the playoff hunt, Fichtner is tasked with maintaining an offense that can put points on the board and not turn the ball over. That recipe would be enough to pull off a postseason berth — something that looked improbable after an 0-3 start. — Brooke Pryor


Week 13 ranking: 13

Who’s under fire: Special-teams unit and coaches

NFL News

via http://www.espn.com – NFL http://www.espn.com

December 3, 2019 at 04:13AM

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