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NFL Power Rankings Week 14 – 1-32 poll, plus the players and coaches with the most at stake – ESPN

Finally, the NFL Power Rankings don’t have to deal with any more byes, as every team has had its scheduled bye week. That makes this the perfect time to figure out which NFL players and coaches have the most at stake during the season’s final month.

From players who are trying to stake a long-term claim to a position and coaches trying to keep their jobs to players and coaches auditioning for future opportunities, our NFL Nation writers identify the league personnel who would like to have a December to remember.

How we rank in our Power Rankings: 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

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Week 13 ranking: 2

Person with most at stake: Head coach Andy Reid

Despite winning the Super Bowl last season, Reid isn’t yet guaranteed to be an eventual Hall of Fame selection. Winning back-to-back championships would appear to be enough to put Reid over the top. Of the six coaches who have done it, four are in the Hall, and one who isn’t, Bill Belichick, is a lock once his career is finished. — Adam Teicher


Week 13 ranking: 1

Person with most at stake: Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner

There’s something of a power struggle between Fichtner and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. When the plays go well and the offense runs smoothly, Fichtner downplays Roethlisberger’s ability to effectively run a no-huddle offense and draw plays up in the dirt. But when there was a breakdown in the red zone against Baltimore, Fichtner said that Roethlisberger was running a no-huddle offense and calling the plays. Fichtner and Roethlisberger have worked together for a long time and need to get on the same page down the stretch for the Steelers to make a deep playoff run. — Brooke Pryor

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Stephania Bell breaks down why there could be a chance Drew Brees returns next week, but that it still feels too early.

Week 13 ranking: 3

Person with most at stake: QB Taysom Hill

Hill probably won’t get four weeks. We don’t even know for sure yet that he’ll get another start, depending on when Drew Brees can return from his broken ribs and punctured lung. But every audition will count for Hill as he tries to prove that he can become Brees’ successor. Hill has exceeded some expectations as a pocket passer during his 3-0 stint as the Saints’ starting QB, but he also has shown some inconsistency and inexperience in the role. — Mike Triplett


Week 13 ranking: 4

Person with most at stake: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

Is the Packers’ defense rounding into form or did it just feast on two struggling quarterbacks/offenses in the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky and the Eagles’ Carson Wentz? How the Packers hold up on defense will determine how far they can go in the playoffs and even whether coach Matt LaFleur sticks with Pettine or ponders a change. — Rob Demovsky


Week 13 ranking: 5

Person with most at stake: TE Dawson Knox

The Bills’ second-year tight end has underwhelmed in 2020. Part of that is due to injuries and COVID-19, but he hasn’t done much to build on an inspiring rookie season. With John Brown out at least the next two weeks, there are more targets to go around in Buffalo’s offense — and Knox will have an opportunity to show the front office it doesn’t need to look for other options at the position this upcoming offseason. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

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Brady Henderson breaks down Chris Carson’s lingering injury to his foot and how that will impact his fantasy value going forward.

Week 13 ranking: 6

Person with most at stake: RB Chris Carson

Carson is playing for a new contract as he finishes the final year of his rookie deal. His quest for a nice payday was going well until he sprained his foot in Week 7, sidelining him for four games. He has been back for the past two contests but still isn’t 100 percent, according to coach Pete Carroll. Carson can do it all: run over defenders, make them miss and catch the ball out of the backfield. But he has missed 19 of a possible 60 regular-season games. A strong finish won’t eliminate the durability concerns, but it would remind prospective suitors that he is an elite running back when healthy. — Brady Henderson


Week 13 ranking: 10

Person with most at stake: LT Joe Noteboom

The Rams selected Noteboom with a third-round pick in 2018 with the expectation that he would learn under veteran lineman Andrew Whitworth and eventually take over at left tackle. But Whitworth played the duration of his three-year contract he signed in 2017, then inked a new three-year extension over the offseason, leaving Noteboom’s future — at least at left tackle — uncertain. With Whitworth on injured reserve because of a knee injury, Noteboom has the chance over the final four games to prove he can play left tackle in the NFL, whether that be with the Rams or elsewhere, as his contract expires after the 2021 season. — Lindsey Thiry

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Stephen A. Smith still doesn’t expect Baker Mayfield to consistently play like he did in the Browns’ win against the Titans.

Week 13 ranking: 12

Person with most at stake: QB Baker Mayfield

Mayfield has the chance to do what no quarterback in Cleveland has done in 18 years: lead the Browns to the playoffs. After a rough start to the campaign, Mayfield has been spectacular in recent weeks. As a result, Cleveland is in position to snap the NFL’s longest playoff drought. Beyond that, though, Mayfield can solidify his standing as Cleveland’s franchise quarterback in the coming weeks, which most certainly would prompt the Browns to pick up his fifth-year option — and, potentially, strongly consider giving him a lucrative extension in the offseason. — Jake Trotter


Week 13 ranking: 8

Person with most at stake: Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich

The entire Buccaneers coaching staff fits here, but this especially holds true for Leftwich. With a six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Tom Brady and one of the most talented groups of offensive weapons on paper, the pressure is on to take this 7-5 squad and not only make the playoffs (that’s still not a given, and realistically, the Bucs probably need to win three of their last four), but turn it into a legitimate Super Bowl contender. — Jenna Laine


Week 13 ranking: 7

Person with most at stake: WR Corey Davis

Davis is in the final year of his contract. After not having his fifth-year option picked up, Davis kept his head down and put in extensive work during the offseason. His chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill improved drastically, and now Davis is on pace for his first 1,000-yard receiving season. The timing is perfect, since he is playing for a new deal. A strong finish over the next four games could mean a handsome free-agent deal for the fourth-year wideout. — Turron Davenport

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Field Yates and Stephania Bell agree that Corey Davis’ stock has risen in recent weeks and that Davis is a viable WR option for the rest of the season.

Week 13 ranking: 9

Person with most at stake: WR T.Y. Hilton

Hilton appeared likely to be headed out the door via free agency during the upcoming offseason because of the slow start to his ninth NFL season. But the 31-year-old Hilton has shown some positive signs over the past two weeks. He followed up an 81-yard receiving game against Tennessee in Week 12 by adding 110 yards — his first 100-yard game since December 2018 — and a touchdown against Houston on Sunday. The final four games are not only big for the Colts to possibly make the playoffs but for Hilton’s future in Indianapolis. — Mike Wells


Week 13 ranking: 11

Person with most at stake: OLB Yannick Ngakoue

Ngakoue needs to start making impact plays again to warrant either a long-term extension or another franchise tag. Since being acquired in a trade from the Vikings, Ngakoue has disappeared, totaling five tackles and one sack in five games. He hasn’t proved to be an every-down player, averaging 34 snaps per game. Ngakoue has been projected to be one of the top free agents in the NFL this offseason, but Baltimore will be faced with a difficult decision if he remains a nonfactor. — Jamison Hensley


Week 13 ranking: 14

Person with most at stake: DE Emmanuel Ogbah

Ogbah has been one of the best value signings of 2020 free agency, turning in the best year of his career after signing a two-year, $15 million deal. He is in the top 10 among all defenders in sacks, QB hits and QB pressures, quickly establishing himself as one of the Dolphins’ best players. Ogbah has said he would love to have a long-term home in Miami, and with no guaranteed money left on his deal after 2020, he is a perfect candidate for a contract extension, as long as he stays healthy and finishes the season strong. — Cameron Wolfe


Week 13 ranking: 13

Person with most at stake: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury

While Kingsbury’s job isn’t in jeopardy at the moment, a bad finish won’t sit well with ownership, which hired him to win and win now — and that was expected when it paired Kyler Murray with him and then brought in DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. The tools are there, and they’ve worked at times. The Cardinals started 5-2, but they are 1-4 in their past five games. If the Cards finish with only a win or two in their final nine contests, Kingsbury will enter the 2021 season on the hot seat despite finishing with more victories than he had in 2019. — Josh Weinfuss


Week 13 ranking: 15

Person with most at stake: Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther

When the best ability is availability, and safety Johnathan Abram misses practices and now games, cornerback Damon Arnette keeps knocking himself out of games early and neither Cory Littleton nor Maliek Collins have been the game-changers hoped for thus far, this is what you get. Still, it is up to Guenther to dial up something positive for a defense that ranks 22nd overall, 23rd against the pass, 19th against the run, 28th in points allowed, 19th in takeaways and 30th in sacks. Especially with a playoff shot within Las Vegas’ grasp. Buckle up. — Paul Gutierrez

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Field Yates marvels over Cam Newton’s performance in a 45-0 shutout of the Chargers in Week 13.

Week 13 ranking: 17

Person with most at stake: QB Cam Newton

Playing on a modest one-year contract in a campaign he said was more about respect than money, Newton has a chance to shape his football future with a strong finish. The Patriots’ passing game is one of the NFL’s least productive, but Newton (11 rushing TDs) remains a threat with his legs, and the team’s future QB plans (and whether Newton is part of them) have been a hot-button topic. — Mike Reiss


Week 13 ranking: 18

Person with most at stake: QB Kirk Cousins

This might seem like a weird answer given that Cousins’ contract absolutely makes him the starter in 2021. Cousins had the best passer rating (123.4) in November and orchestrated game-winning drives in Weeks 12 and 13 to keep the Vikings in the playoff hunt. Coming off their bye at 1-5 after Cousins threw 10 interceptions, the Vikings decided to run the offense through Dalvin Cook. That strategy got them to .500, but Cook is more banged up now than he was a month ago. Over the next four weeks, Cousins has an opportunity to prove he can win important games against top NFC talent (Buccaneers, Saints) without having to rely heavily on his running back. — Courtney Cronin


Week 13 ranking: 16

Person with most at stake: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The 49ers remain in the NFC playoff mix, and although Garoppolo is still working his way back from a high ankle sprain, the opportunity to return and lead the Niners back to the postseason would be a big one. Coach Kyle Shanahan has said he expects Garoppolo to be his starter in 2021 but that no decisions have been made on anyone’s future. Garoppolo’s injury history and price tag could lead the Niners to seek other options to replace him or join him in San Francisco. A healthy finishing flourish would help Garoppolo’s case to remain the starter beyond this season. — Nick Wagoner


Week 13 ranking: 20

Person with most at stake: QB Teddy Bridgewater

If he really is the “franchise quarterback” that OC Joe Brady called him, Bridgewater needs to prove he can win big games. Otherwise, with a top-10 pick, at minimum, Carolina likely will be in position to draft a franchise QB in the first round to continue its youth movement. The team can’t move on from Bridgewater in 2021 based on the way his contract is structured; there would be $27 million in dead money. But if you spend a top-10 pick on a QB, the handwriting is on the wall for 2022. — David Newton


Week 13 ranking: 26

Person with most at stake: S Jabrill Peppers

Peppers has been playing the best football of his career in recent weeks. If he continues to play at this level over the final four games, it should lead to a big payday. The Giants will have money to spend, and using it on an ascending 25-year-old makes a ton of sense. Peppers is currently in the final year of his rookie deal and has the fifth-year option looming. — Jordan Raanan


Week 13 ranking: 19

Person with most at stake: Head coach Matt Nagy

Nagy — named NFL Coach of Year just two short seasons ago — is fighting for his job with four games left to play. The Bears, losers of six straight, have plummeted out of the NFC playoff picture after beginning the year 5-1. Chicago’s offense performed better in last Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to the Lions, but overall, it has again proved to be a major disappointment. Nagy’s inability to develop Mitchell Trubisky into a franchise quarterback — coupled with the mediocre play of veteran Nick Foles (Nagy’s preferred QB) — puts the 42-year-old coach squarely on the hot seat, along with general manager Ryan Pace. — Jeff Dickerson


Week 13 ranking: 21

Person with most at stake: Interim head coach Raheem Morris

A strong finish to the regular season could help Morris get Atlanta’s permanent head-coaching position. After this Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the schedule gets demanding, with two games versus the Bucs and one against the Chiefs. A 4-0 conclusion to the regular season would make a strong statement that he’s the right guy. — Adam Teicher


Week 13 ranking: 22

Person with most at stake: QB Drew Lock

And it’s not close. Lock has four games to help his own cause when it comes to what the team does for 2021. If he ramps up his play by improving some basic, in-the-moment decision-making, the Broncos could get the two or so wins it would take to push them out of the draft’s top 10 and lessen outside pressure to select a quarterback. But Lock has to close the season as he did in 2019 and reduce his turnovers. He has the arm strength, the mobility and the ability to bounce back from mistakes. However, his penchant for risky decisions that result in turnovers is a red flag. — Jeff Legwold

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Sarah Barshop breaks down how Duke Johnson’s fantasy value is impacted by David Johnson’s return from injury.

Week 13 ranking: 25

Person with most at stake: RB David Johnson

With a $9 million cap hit next season, it would make sense for whoever takes over Houston’s football operations to move on from Johnson. In nine games this season, Johnson has 452 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 113 carries. He missed three games with a concussion. But while Johnson might not be back in Houston, he is certainly playing for his next contract. Backup running back Duke Johnson also could be on this list. With a cap hit of $5.1 million in 2021 and one year left on his contract, the new front office/coaching staff could part ways with Duke Johnson as well, and start from scratch at the position next season. — Sarah Barshop


Week 13 ranking: 27

Person with most at stake: Interim head coach Darrell Bevell

The true answer here is everyone: With a potential regime change coming, the coaches are performing for new jobs or to retain theirs, and the players are doing the same. But Bevell might have the most to gain or lose here. Bevell has been waiting for years for his chance to become a head coach, and if he can manage Detroit well down the stretch, that could help his candidacy with the Lions (at this point unlikely) or elsewhere, either this offseason or in the future. — Michael Rothstein


Week 13 ranking: 28

Person with most at stake: QB Alex Smith

Smith already has proved quite a bit in just returning to the field after his gruesome leg injury. But is he just a good story for 2020? His numbers (four touchdowns, five interceptions) are fairly modest. But he is managing the game well, and the team is 3-1 with him as the starter. But can he direct wins versus good teams? (Monday’s outing was a good start.) Can he be productive for a long period of time? Is he capable of starting in the future and grooming another young quarterback? If Smith wants to continue, his future role will depend in part on how well he plays down the stretch. — John Keim

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Dan Orlovsky explains the harm the Eagles have done to Carson Wentz, as well as why Philadelphia has to start Jalen Hurts next week.

Week 13 ranking: 23

Person with most at stake: Head coach Doug Pederson

It’s hard to believe that after delivering the city its first Super Bowl in 2017 and making the playoffs three years straight, Pederson’s job could be in jeopardy, but that shows you just how brutal things have gotten in Philadelphia this year. Carson Wentz — the team’s franchise quarterback and Pederson’s No. 1 responsibility — is broken. The offense has turned stale and sloppy. And now there’s a full-blown quarterback controversy. Pederson needs to string together some wins and get either Wentz or Jalen Hurts playing at a high level down the stretch to cool off his seat. — Tim McManus


Week 13 ranking: 24

Person with most at stake: Head coach Anthony Lynn

Lynn has been on the hot seat for the past few weeks, with questions about clock and game management. Sunday’s 45-0 loss to New England, which was filled with penalties and special-teams miscues, didn’t help. He is a really nice man, and the players love him (at least outwardly), but ownership has to be getting fed up with all the losses … by one score or otherwise. — Shelley Smith


Week 13 ranking: 29

Person with most at stake: QB Andy Dalton

Dalton came to the Cowboys to reset his career and potentially become a starter in 2021. The Cowboys never imagined him playing so much, but Dak Prescott was lost for the year to injury in Week 5. Dalton has a chance in the final month of the season to show he can be a starter for the next phase of his career if he plays well. The problem? There aren’t a lot of openings, and the best spots might be where he would just be a bridge starter until a team hands the keys over to a high draft pick. — Todd Archer


Week 13 ranking: 30

Person with most at stake: Head coach Zac Taylor

At this point, Taylor needs wins to instill some confidence and show that things are moving in the right direction. So far, the Bengals have four wins since Taylor became coach in 2019, and they need one victory to avoid their second straight two-win season. Whether it’s doing enough to keep his job or building momentum for 2021, Taylor could use a few wins to close his second year. — Ben Baby


Week 13 ranking: 31

Person with most at stake: LT Cam Robinson

The easy answer is head coach Doug Marrone, but he is unlikely to return with a new GM coming. Robinson is in a contract year, though, and while he has been a good run-blocker, he has struggled in pass protection. His pass block win rate of 80.9% ranks 59th among offensive tackles. The new regime is going to have to decide whether to pay him — 20 offensive tackles made $10 million or more in 2020 — or let him walk. Robinson needs a strong performance over the next four games (Tennessee, Baltimore, Chicago and Indianapolis). — Mike DiRocco


Week 13 ranking: 32

Person with most at stake: QB Sam Darnold

No, it’s not head coach Adam Gase, because his ouster is thought to be a foregone conclusion. Darnold’s future, however, is uncertain. He has four games to convince the front office he should be the 2021 starter, but that decision likely will be determined by draft position. If the Jets get the No. 1 pick, they almost certainly will take Trevor Lawrence, regardless of how Darnold plays. That said, Darnold could be playing to be another team’s starter in 2021. — Rich Cimini

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