NFC West: 2013 NFL Week 14 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Cardinals' Power Ranking:

Preseason: 26 | Last Week: 9 | Power Ranking since 2002

Just as they climbed up the rankings after a win, the Arizona Cardinals dropped just as quickly after their most recent setback. After regressing, in the words of coach Bruce Arians, against the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s 24-21 loss, Arizona came in at No. 13 in this week’s Power Rankings. The offense in Week 13 looked like the offense from the first two months of the season. Quarterback Carson Palmer was underthrowing receivers, and the line couldn't protect him. The Cards again struggled on third down and hit one of two fourth downs.

While its stint in the top 10 was short-lived, 13th is the right place for Arizona. The teams above the Cardinals have been playing well and all but one are on pace to make the playoffs heading into Week 14. It’s a perfect indicator of where Arizona fits in the overall scheme of the league: The Cards are much better than they were, but not as good as they could be. Yet that can change with wins against St. Louis and Tennessee before finishing the season against Seattle and San Francisco.

Power Rankings: No. 1 Seattle Seahawks

December, 3, 2013
A weekly examination of the Seahawks' Power Ranking:

Preseason: 1 | Last Week: 1 | Power Ranking since 2002

Any other ranking for the Seattle Seahawks this week would have required an investigation of our voters' sanity.

Seattle showed everyone who's boss Monday night with a convincing 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints in a game that probably assured the Seahawks of home-field advantage in the playoffs.

And that's bad news for everyone else in the conference. The Seahawks have won a franchise record 14 consecutive home games at CenturyLink Field, and quarterback Russell Wilson never has lost there.

Monday night was a dominating performance on both sides of the ball against a quality Saints team. One of the most potent passing teams in the NFL was no match for the Seattle defense.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for only 147 yards, and all-world tight end Jimmy Graham had only three receptions on nine targets.

But Wilson and the Seattle passing game were superb. Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and nine different players caught a pass. Wilson also ran for 47 yards on eight carries.

Once again, Wilson excelled when the pressure was on in a big game, something that separates great quarterbacks from good ones.

Power Rankings: No. 20 St. Louis Rams

December, 3, 2013
A weekly examination of the Rams' Power Ranking:

Preseason: 15 | Last Week: 19 | Power Ranking since 2002

Win or lose, the St. Louis Rams' Power Ranking is forming a habit of not undergoing a dramatic shift in either direction. The Rams headed into their bye week at No. 20 after an impressive win against Indianapolis, which moved them up five spots. Since then, they sat a week for the bye, dominated Chicago and dropped a decisive decision to San Francisco. While their ranking has fluctuated through those weeks, they now find themselves back at the No. 20 spot they occupied after the win against the Colts.

Among the individual voters, the Rams continue to garner the most love from Mike Sando and Jamison Hensley, who rank them at No. 17 and No. 18, respectively. Kevin Seifert ranks them lower than the rest, placing the Rams at No. 23 on the list.

The hard part here is sorting through all the teams with records between 5-7 and 6-6, of which there are a whopping 10 as of Tuesday morning. Of those teams, the Rams rank behind Baltimore, Chicago, San Diego, Miami, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. They sit ahead of Tennessee, the Giants and the Jets. It's not unusual for some teams to rank ahead of teams with better overall records. While the 20th spot is about right for the Rams, a strong argument could be made that they should be ahead of the current incarnation of Chicago, but otherwise it's hard to argue much with their current rank.