The top two teams in the AFC are the top two teams in this week’s NFL power rankings ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Heinz Field.
The Steelers take over the top spot and will play host to the Patriots on Sunday in a game that should decide homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Steelers have won eight straight, which is the longest active streak in the NFL after the Patriots and Vikings saw their respective eight-game win streaks end in Week 14. If the Steelers beat the Patriots at Heinz Field, then they would all but clinch homefield advantage. A Patriots win, however, help them with the coveted tiebreaker with two games to play.
The Eagles remain atop the NFC after beating the Rams in Los Angeles, though starting quarterback Carson Wentz has been lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Omnisport’s Week 15 NFL power rankings
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2): After squeaking by in four of their last five games, the Steelers will have to be at their best Sunday.
2. New England Patriots (10-3): The Patriots lost to the Dolphins on Monday, but are 40-11 following losses since 2001.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2): The Eagles currently are the top seed in the NFC and clinched the NFC East, but will go the rest of the way with Nick Foles at QB.
4. Carolina Panthers (9-4): Cam Newton and the Panthers' stout defense will make Carolina a dangerous team in the playoffs.
5. Minnesota Vikings (10-3): The Vikings can clinch the NFC North with just one more win.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4): Teams may not be used to getting beat by the Jags, but maybe they should be prepared for it.
7. Los Angeles Rams (9-4): The Rams can’t afford to linger on Sunday’s close loss to the Eagles with a trip to Seattle up next in a game that could decide the NFC West.
8. New Orleans Saints (9-4): The Saints stumbled in Atlanta but can get back on track this week with the Jets coming to town before facing the Falcons again on Christmas Eve.
9. Atlanta Falcons (8-5): With three NFC South opponents to close the season, the Falcons can win the division by winning out.
10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5): The Seahawks lost their composure in Jacksonville but are home this week and and will try to complete a season sweep of the Rams.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6): The Chargers are getting hot at the right time.
12. Tennessee Titans (8-5): The Titans needed to beat the short-handed Cardinals, but let the game — and possibly the AFC South — slip away.
13. Baltimore Ravens (7-6): The Ravens are still in the hunt for an AFC playoff spot and have a favorable schedule down the stretch.
14. Detroit Lions (7-6): Two of Detroit’s final three games are at home, beginning Saturday against the Bears.
15. Green Bay Packers (7-6): If the Packers get Aaron Rodgers back this week, Green Bay fans might relax.
16. Buffalo Bills (7-6): Bills fans probably like the idea of seeing Buffalo’s defense against the Dolphins offense twice over the next three weeks.
17. Dallas Cowboys (7-6): The Cowboys are clinging to playoff hopes and have just one more game without Ezekiel Elliott.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6): The Chiefs team that beat the Raiders on Sunday looked more like the Chiefs team over the first month of the season.
19. Oakland Raiders (6-7): Derek Carr put it best after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. They sucked.
20. Miami Dolphins (6-7): Jay Cutler is playing well, and the Dolphins have strung together two impressive wins.
21. Arizona Cardinals (6-7): The Cardinals aren’t out of the playoff picture yet, but another loss will doom them.
22. New York Jets (5-8): After getting whipped by the lowly Broncos and losing quarterback Josh McCown, it’s tough to see the Jets winning again this season.
23. Washington Redskins (5-8): The Redskins were beaten in every aspect by the Chargers and did not resemble a team fighting for its playoff life.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9): It’s official. A team that began the year with playoff aspirations will finish with a losing record.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8): After giving the Steelers all they could handle a week earlier, the Bengals were hammered by the Bears.
26. Houston Texans (4-9): What the reeling Texans didn’t need this week was another distraction, but here we are. T.J. Yates will start at quarterback Sunday against the Jaguars.
27. San Francisco 49ers (3-10): The 49ers might have something in Jimmy Garoppolo, who has won both of his starts.
28. Chicago Bears (4-9): The Bears have been eliminated from the postseason but played their best game of the season against the Bengals.
29. Denver Broncos (4-9): Their eight-game losing streak ended against the Jets, the Broncos will try to string together consecutive wins this week in Indianapolis.
30. Indianapolis Colts (3-10): Broncos-Colts on Thursday isn’t exactly a dream primetime matchup.
31. New York Giants (2-11): Eli Manning was back under center Sunday but also apologized for playing poorly in a blowout loss to the Cowboys.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-13): The Browns snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday.