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NFL power rankings - 12/20/13

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1. Seattle Seahawks - Seattle's defense carried them one step closer to the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.

2. Denver Broncos - There have been warning signs in recent weeks, but nothing could have prepared us for Thursday night's debacle.

3. New Orleans Saints - It's been a tough stretch for the Saints, and they were certainly not ready for the Rams on Sunday.

4. Carolina Panthers - The Panthers had trouble putting away the Jets, but maybe they were looking forward to next week's huge matchup against the Saints, one that will likely decide the division champ.

5. New England Patriots - The Patriots finally couldn't pull off another miracle comeback, though they came awfully close. It was only a matter of time before the Patriots lost one of these close games.

6. Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles had huge days in Oakland, but what happened to the defense?

7. San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers seem to be on a bit of a roll after pulling away for an impressive road win against a pesky Bucs squad.

8. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles fell flat on their face in Minnesota, but fortunately, Dallas was just as bad.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals looked nothing like a playoff team Sunday night in Pittsburgh, and now could still lose the division to the Ravens.

10. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals almost suffered a back-breaking loss, but managed to sneak out an overtime win to keep playoff hopes alive.

11. Baltimore Ravens - Here come the Ravens! Maybe. With the win in Detroit, Baltimore controls its own destiny in the AFC North.

12. Indianapolis Colts - For once, the Colts came out and dominated from the opening whistle, which is a good sign even if it's just the Texans.

13. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins came up with a huge win over the Patriots, but they can't afford a letdown in Buffalo next week.

14. Dallas Cowboys - I simply do not understand how you are up almost four touchdowns in the second half and averaging over seven yards a carry and keep throwing the ball. Only the Cowboys.

15. Detroit Lions - Detroit no longer controls its own destiny after Matthew Stafford laid an egg against the Ravens.

16. San Diego Chargers - The Chargers stunning win over Denver keeps them in the playoff hunt, but both Miami and Baltimore won games many expected them to lose.

17. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler got off to a rough start in his first game back, but eventually rebounded to lead the Bears to a win.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers showed that they still have plenty of pride in a surprising win over the Bengals.

19. Green Bay Packers - The Packers pulled out a second straight one-point win, this time in miraculous fashion, to keep their playoff hopes alive.

20. Tennessee Titans - Tennessee's slim playoff hopes died in their overtime loss to the Cardinals.

21. New York Giants - Eli Manning must be counting down the days until this season comes to an end.

22. St. Louis Rams - It's a shame that the Rams can't find a quarterback and a receiver. That defense can really give teams big problems.

23. New York Jets - The Jets actually performed better than I expected at Carolina, but their playoff hopes are finally finished.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs are certainly improving, but Sunday was another example of just how far they have to go.

25. Buffalo Bills - The Bills are back on the winning track and have a chance to spoil Miami's playoff hopes next week.

26. Cleveland Browns - The Browns hung tough, but the Bears just had way too much firepower on the outside.

27. Oakland Raiders - Matt McGloin put on a show in the second half, but that defense is just a disaster.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars finally lost a game, but it took injuries to Cecil Shorts and Maurice Jones-Drew for it to happen.

29. Minnesota Vikings - Even without Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, the Vikings were able to take down one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Quietly, Matt Cassel and Co. have been playing better of late.

30. Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons should feel very fortunate to pull out a win over Washington after Kirk Cousins lit up their secondary.

31. Washington Redskins - Was there any doubt that the Redskins would fail on the two-point conversion attempt that would have won them the game? That's just typical Redskins football.

32. Houston Texans - Well, the change at head coach certainly didn't make a difference.

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