ESPN's NFL Football Power Index rankings for Dec. 15

The top three teams in ESPN’s NFL Football Power Index remained the same, but the difference in their FPI rating narrowed after Week 14.

The Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are first through third, respectively, heading to Week 15. The difference in FPI rating between first (plus-8.8) and third (plus-8.4) means that the three teams are projected to be equally strong were they to meet on a neutral field.

The previous week, the difference in FPI rating between the Cardinals and Seahawks was 1.6.

Looking back at Week 14, the Carolina Panthers had the second-best performance of any team this season, as measured by ESPN’s efficiency ratings, in their 38-0 win against the Falcons. The Panthers’ efficiency of 99.6 (on a 0-to-100 scale) trails the Cardinals’ 99.8 achieved in their 47-7 win versus the 49ers in Week 3.

The Panthers (13-0) rose one spot to fourth in the FPI rankings and gained 1.7 points in their rating.

The Baltimore Ravens, who used their third starting quarterback in four weeks Sunday, dropped 15 spots in the rankings to 31st, ahead of only the San Francisco 49ers.

Among Week 15’s games, the Panthers’ matchup at the Giants has the second-highest projected matchup quality (69), behind the Cardinals’ game at the Eagles (79).

The chart above shows the ESPN Football Power Index rankings for Dec. 15, after Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season. For a full explanation of how the FPI is put together, please read this explainer. For more background, you also can read this Q&A.