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Four teams are soaring and causing mayhem in the playoffs according to the NFL Power Rankings for Week 14


Let the race begin among the Colts, Texans, Rams and Packers to see which team is first to turn to a famous Mark Twain quote as additional motivation.

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Twain supposedly said in 1897, 13 years before his actual death.

Written out of playoff contention earlier this season, the Colts, Texans, Rams and Packers can relate to reading about their own premature demise.

Each of those four teams is riding a hot streak back into the thick of the wild-card races: The Colts have the AFC’s longest active winning streak (four straight), the Texans have won four of their past five games, and the Rams and Packers both have won three straight.

The NFL has a total of 11 teams with 7-5 or 6-6 records, creating a logjam that was difficult to sort through here in The Post’s NFL power rankings for Week 14:

1. San Francisco 49ers 9-3 (3)

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Deebo Samuel has talked the most smack about the Eagles since losing last season’s NFC Championship game. He backed it up with three touchdowns in the rematch as the 49ers cruised to a 42-19 victory. Knocked out of last year’s game, Brock Purdy threw four touchdown passes. The 49ers improved to 33-1 (including playoffs) when leading by eight or more points under Kyle Shanahan.

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown with Charlie Woerner #89 and Aaron Banks #65 during the fourth quarter against the Eagles. Getty Images

2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-2 (1)

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Chief security officer Dom DiSandro showed fight when he separated 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw from DeVonta Smith, leading to a scuffle and DiSandro’s removal from the sideline. The rest of the Eagles? Not so much. Quarterback Jalen Hurts survived a concussion scare, but it was the worst defensive performance at home by a playoff-bound Eagles team since 2009, per NBC Sports.

3. Miami Dolphins 9-3 (4)

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Tua Tagovailoa threw touchdown passes of 60 and 78 yards to Tyreek Hill, who finished with 157 on five catches in a 45-10 rout of the Commanders. The Dolphins reached 9-3 for the first time since 2001. De’Von Achane, who missed five of the past six games with a knee injury, and Raheem Mostert combined for three rushing touchdowns.

Tyreek Hill catches and runs for a touchdown pass in front of cornerback Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Commanders. Getty Images

4. Baltimore Ravens 9-3 (5)

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Versatile second-year safety Kyle Hamilton is developing into the next dominant Ravens defensive cornerstone. Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell all are big contributors to the NFL’s No. 1-ranked rushing attack. The surprise question coming out of the bye is the accuracy of all-time great kicker Justin Tucker, who has an uncharacteristic five misses this season.

5. Detroit Lions 9-3 (6)

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Three offensive touchdowns in the first seven minutes — first NFL team to do it since 1986 — propelled the Lions to a 21-point lead and allowed them to hang on for a 33-28 win against the Saints. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta had nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown as the Lions reached 9-3 (or better) after 12 games for the first time since 1962.

6. Kansas City Chiefs 8-4 (2)

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Who said the Chiefs get every call from the officials? At least one — maybe two — missed pass-interference penalties went against the Chiefs in the final minute of a 27-19 loss to the Packers. Patrick Mahomes also threw a late interception. Isiah Pacheco (110 yards) was ejected for throwing a punch. Travis Kelce didn’t score for the fourth time in five games.

7. Dallas Cowboys 9-3 (8)

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MVP frontrunner Dak Prescott — you read that right — threw three touchdowns to topple the Seahawks, 41-35, for the Cowboys’ 14th straight home win. Brandon Aubrey made four field goals, extending his NFL record of 26 straight makes to start a career. The defense sandwiched two fourth-quarter, fourth-down stops around Jake Ferguson’s game-winning touchdown catch.

Packers defend on the last play of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

8. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-4 (7)

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The Jaguars’ first appearance on “Monday Night Football” since 2011 might be remembered for a long time in Jacksonville. Not because of a back-and-forth game that featured five ties. Not because of the Bengals’ walk-off overtime field goal to send the home team to a 34-31 loss. But because of Trevor Lawrence’s ankle injury and its potential to alter a special season.

9. Houston Texans 7-5 (12)

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The Texans lost rookie phenom Tank Dell to a season-ending injury but beat the Broncos, 22-17, on the strength of Nico Collins’ career-high 191 receiving yards and fourth-quarter touchdown. Jimmie Ward sealed the win with an end-zone interception with nine seconds remaining. Derek Stingley Jr. (two interceptions) and Will Anderson (two sacks) also came up big.

10. Denver Broncos 6-6 (10)

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Russell Wilson’s 329 career touchdown passes are the second-most ever through a player’s first 12 seasons, but his season-high three interceptions mattered most in the loss to the Texans — the Broncos’ first defeat since Oct. 12. Courtland Sutton made his seemingly weekly acrobatic touchdown catch. A five-sack defensive effort went for naught.

Texans wide receiver Nico Collins celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Broncos on Dec. 3, 2023.

Texans wide receiver Nico Collins celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Broncos on Dec. 3, 2023. Getty Images

11. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-5 (9)

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12. Indianapolis Colts 7-5 (15)

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13. Green Bay Packers 6-6 (17)

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14. Buffalo Bills 6-6 (13)

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15. Los Angeles Rams 6-6 (19)

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16. Cleveland Browns 7-5 (11)

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17. Seattle Seahawks 6-6 (14)

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18. Cincinnati Bengals 6-6 (18)

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19. Minnesota Vikings 6-6 (16)

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20. Atlanta Falcons 6-6 (20)

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21. Los Angeles Chargers 5-7 (23)

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22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-7 (24)

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23. New Orleans Saints 5-7 (21)

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24. Las Vegas Raiders 5-7 (22)

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25. Chicago Bears 4-8 (25)

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26. New York Jets 4-8 (26)

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Another game without a touchdown for the Jets, who changed quarterbacks yet again from Tim Boyle to Trevor Siemian but still lost, 13-8, to the Falcons. Make it five straight losses — three without finding the end zone. Undisciplined play — 11 penalties for 71 yards — continues. So does Breece Hall’s slump (13 carries for 16 yards).

27. Tennessee Titans 4-8 (27)

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28. New York Giants 4-8 (28)

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Tommy DeVito Madness is one of the best storylines in the NFL. The undrafted rookie quarterback won two straight starts before the bye by combining for four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has been complemented by a defense that has forced nine takeaways in the last two games. Will he keep the starting job over Tyrod Taylor?

29. Arizona Cardinals 3-10 (29)

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30. Washington Commanders 4-9 (30)

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31. New England Patriots 2-10 (31)

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32. Carolina Panthers 1-11 (32)

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Sources


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