Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Patriots rule the roost

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For the fourth straight week, the Dallas Cowboys maintain their handle on the No. 1 spot in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN's power panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) move the New England Patriots up to No. 2, bumping the Oakland Raiders down a peg to No. 3. Despite a Week 13 win at Jacksonville, the Denver Broncos fall out of the top five in favor of the surging Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon.

Methodology note: These rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn't guarantee a jump, and coming off a loss doesn't guarantee a fall.

Check out the rest of the league and where each team ranks.

Previous rankings: Week 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Preseason

ESPN Stats & Information contributed the following research.

1. Dallas Cowboys

2016 record: 11-1 | Week 13 ranking: 1

The Cowboys clinched a playoff berth in Week 13 and won their Thursday night game at Minnesota despite season lows in points, yards and third-down conversions. Dallas gets a chance to avenge its only loss this season when it takes on the Giants on Sunday night in Week 14.

2. New England Patriots

2016 record: 10-2 | Week 13 ranking: 3

Tom Brady is now the career wins leader among quarterbacks. But New England's defense continues to fall under the radar. The Patriots are tied for second-fewest points allowed this season. The team they are tied with? Their Week 14 opponent, the Ravens.

3. Oakland Raiders

2016 record: 10-2 | Week 13 ranking: 2

Derek Carr gets the Raiders the lead, and Khalil Mack keeps it that way. Mack has three strip-sacks in the fourth quarter in his past four games, and he recovered the fumble each time. No other player in the NFL has done that (sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery) in the fourth quarter in that time.

4. Seattle Seahawks

2016 record: 8-3-1 | Week 13 ranking: 4

The Seahawks' running game seems to be back following their 240-yard effort Sunday night in a win against Carolina. That's three straight games with 100 rush yards for the Seahawks after having two such games to start the season. They'll look to keep it going in Green Bay in Week 14.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 record: 7-5 | Week 13 ranking: 9

Ladarius Green is stepping up as yet another weapon at QB Ben Roethlisberger's disposal after setting a career high with 110 receiving yards against the Giants. The Bills are the next team that gets to figure out how to stop Green over the middle and Antonio Brown on the outside.

6. Baltimore Ravens

2016 record: 7-5 | Week 13 ranking: 13

Don't fall too hard for Joe Flacco's four-touchdown game Sunday. It was only the third time this season he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in a game, and he still has only four more touchdowns than picks this season. If he does it again against the Patriots, then that's a different story.

7. Kansas City Chiefs

2016 record: 9-3 | Week 13 ranking: 6

Some of the Chiefs' wins this season seem as unlikely as winning the lottery, and with a pick-six and a pick-two in Week 13, that comparison might not be that far off. The Chiefs can take control of the AFC West with a win over the Raiders on Thursday night.

8. Detroit Lions

2016 record: 8-4 | Week 13 ranking: 7

The streak is over. In Week 13 the Lions finally played a game in which they didn't trail in the fourth quarter. The heroics are fun, but the Lions are hoping to make it two straight without trailing in the fourth when they host the Bears in Week 14.

9. Denver Broncos

2016 record: 8-4 | Week 13 ranking: 5

Paxton Lynch got the Week 13 win against Jacksonville with 104 yards passing on 12 of 24 completions. That kind of effort can get the job done against the Jaguars, but Lynch (or Trevor Siemian) will likely need to step up his game at Tennessee this week.

10. Atlanta Falcons

2016 record: 7-5 | Week 13 ranking: 8

The Falcons' rivalry with the Saints went a little too far Sunday. The Saints lost on a defensive conversion in a tie game a few weeks ago, so the Falcons one-upped them by losing on a defensive conversion when they had the lead. The Falcons hope to erase that bad taste in Los Angeles this week.

11. Green Bay Packers

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 24

If James Starks doesn't get going, there's a real chance QB Aaron Rodgers could lead the Packers in rushing this season (59 yards shy of Eddie Lacy). He's using his legs to run and buy time, as he has 10 passing touchdowns from outside the pocket. He'll be running from the Seahawks' pass rush this Sunday.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 record: 7-5 | Week 13 ranking: 14

Since declaring he's not a "loser," QB Jameis Winston has led the Buccaneers to four straight victories, the team's first four-game win streak since 2012. Winston seeks the Bucs' first five-game win streak since 2002 this week against the Saints.

13. Washington Redskins

2016 record: 6-5-1 | Week 13 ranking: 11

The Redskins were generating some buzz, then they allowed 62 points with no takeaways in their past two losses. A loss this week against the Eagles would drop the Redskins to .500.

14. New York Giants

2016 record: 8-4 | Week 13 ranking: 10

The 24 points allowed by the Giants in Week 13 were their most allowed in two months. The defense will keep them in games, but QB Eli Manning and his team can't have so many empty possessions, especially against the 11-1 Cowboys on Sunday night.

15. Minnesota Vikings

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 18

There's no better cure for your ills than a game against the Jaguars, and that's exactly what the Vikings have this week. Since Week 7, Minnesota is averaging 16.3 points per game, which ranks third worst in the NFL.

16. Miami Dolphins

2016 record: 7-5 | Week 13 ranking: 12

Well that was a spectacular end to Miami's six-game winning streak. The Dolphins had more turnovers Sunday (3) than they did during the streak (2), and scored a season-low six points in the loss at Baltimore. Miami looks to get back on track against Arizona this week.

17. Arizona Cardinals

2016 record: 5-6-1 | Week 13 ranking: 23

If the Cardinals were any better overall, David Johnson might be receiving MVP buzz. He has had 100 scrimmage yards in every game this season, and has accounted for 39 percent of the team's yards from scrimmage. Johnson takes his talents to South Beach in Week 14.

18. Buffalo Bills

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 17

Tyrod Taylor and the running game haven't been bad, so how are the Bills 6-6? They've lost five games this season when scoring 24 or more points, most in the NFL. The defense will have its hands full again this week with the Steelers.

19. Tennessee Titans

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 19

The Titans leave their bye week tied for the division lead and are finally looking to get over the .500 hump. They are 0-5 this season when entering a game at .500, and the Broncos will not make it easy this Sunday.

20. Philadelphia Eagles

2016 record: 5-7 | Week 13 ranking: 20

The wheels have come off the Wentz Wagon. The Eagles are averaging 14 points per game during their three-game losing streak, and Carson Wentz has three more interceptions than touchdowns in that stretch. The Eagles look to stop the bleeding against Washington this week.

21. San Diego Chargers

2016 record: 5-7 | Week 13 ranking: 15

Philip Rivers has had three interceptions returned for touchdowns this season. All three gave the Chargers' opponents the lead. Those mistakes represent only a few of San Diego's league-leading 25 giveaways (tied with the Jaguars) this season, but they might be the biggest. The Chargers head to Carolina this week.

22. Houston Texans

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 16

After Week 9, the Texans were 5-3 and the Colts and Titans were each 4-5. After Week 13, all three teams are 6-6. The Texans head to Indianapolis this week, so if things weren't interesting enough in the division, they're about to get a whole lot more intriguing.

23. Carolina Panthers

2016 record: 4-8 | Week 13 ranking: 22

Cam Newton has failed to complete 50 percent of his passes in three straight games, attempting at least 20 passes in each game. Josh Freeman in 2013 was the last quarterback to do that, and he was released by the Bucs shortly after. Newton looks to end that streak against the Chargers this week.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

2016 record: 4-7-1 | Week 13 ranking: 28

The Bengals had lost three straight games while allowing 18.9 points per game, but a 32-point effort Sunday got Cincinnati back in the win column for the first time since Week 7. The Browns are next on the schedule for the visiting Bengals in Week 14.

25. Indianapolis Colts

2016 record: 6-6 | Week 13 ranking: 25

The Colts find themselves in the logjam that is the AFC South following their monster victory against the Jets on Monday night. Next up are the Texans, who the Colts are 23-6 against all-time. Houston has recorded the two most recent victories in the series, though.

26. New Orleans Saints

2016 record: 5-7 | Week 13 ranking: 21

The Saints just scored 13 points against a team that ranked 31st in defensive efficiency entering the week -- after scoring 49 points against a team that ranked 10th in defensive efficiency. Long story short: The Saints are weird. Who knows what's in store this week at Tampa?

27. Los Angeles Rams

2016 record: 4-8 | Week 13 ranking: 27

Jared Goff is 0-3 with 169.7 pass yards per game and a 31.9 Total QBR. It hasn't been smooth sailing for the rookie quarterback, and it might not get any smoother as he'll take on the Falcons and Seahawks the next two weeks.

28. Chicago Bears

2016 record: 3-9 | Week 13 ranking: 30

Rookie Jordan Howard has been a bright spot for an otherwise disappointing Bears team. Howard is averaging 4.9 yards per rush, same as Ezekiel Elliott, and is 117 yards shy of 1,000. This week the Bears play at Detroit, a team Howard rushed for 111 yards against earlier this season.

29. New York Jets

2016 record: 3-9 | Week 13 ranking: 26

The Jets' worst home loss since the "Butt Fumble" game officially eliminates them from playoff contention. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick now has the worst touchdown-interception ratio in the NFL, and second-year QB Bryce Petty will start the Jets' remaining four games.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 record: 2-10 | Week 13 ranking: 29

Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, has won exactly 10 games in his pro career. He has had 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns. Which will happen first: a Bortles win or another pick-six?

31. San Francisco 49ers

2016 record: 1-11 | Week 13 ranking: 31

If you have two hands, you can count the net passing yards for the 49ers in Week 13 (a total of six). If you have one finger, you can also count the 49ers' wins this season. Another potential barn burner against the Jets awaits in Week 14.

32. Cleveland Browns

2016 record: 0-12 | Week 13 ranking: 32

Our Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Browns a 30.6 percent chance of beating the Bengals at home this week, their best odds to win a game the rest of the season. FPI gives the 0-12 Browns a 38 percent chance of completing the imperfect season.