Projecting the 12 teams most deserving of playoff berths, and then ranking them heading into Week 15.
1. Baltimore (11-2)
After facing — and beating — five quality opponents in six games, let’s see if the Ravens can keep their focus against weaker AFC foes to finish up.
This week: vs. Jets (5-8), Thursday. Last week’s ranking: 1.
2. San Francisco (11-2)
There has to be a lot of concern with the health of CB Richard Sherman, who keeps going in and out of games. He’s the heartbeat of that defense.
This week: vs. Atlanta (4-9). Last week’s ranking: 2.
3. New Orleans (10-3)
Sure, the Saints lost to the Niners, but the performance Drew Brees had (138.4 rating) should have other teams concerned. No one’s done that to the 49ers’ defense.
This week: vs. Indianapolis (6-7). Last week’s ranking: 3.
4. Seattle (10-3)
The biggest concern in the loss to the Rams was that the Seahawks didn’t sack Jared Goff once, and that line is bad.
This week: at Carolina (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 4.
5. Kansas City (9-4)
The Chiefs have won three straight, but Patrick Mahomes still isn’t right. He’s gun-shy in the pocket after his knee injury.
This week: vs. Broncos (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 9.
6. New England (10-3)
The offense was rough again, but the defense allowed a 3rd-and-19 conversion and a touchdown on 2nd-and-25. Can’t do that and beat the Chiefs.
This week: at Cincinnati (1-12). Last week’s ranking: 5.
7. Green Bay (10-3)
A five-point home win over the Redskins is not going to assuage anyone’s fear that this team isn’t as good as its record.
This week: vs. Chicago (7-6). Last week’s ranking: 7.
8. Minnesota (9-4)
Don’t get excited about all the pass rush the Vikings exerted on the Lions — QB David Blough’s indecisiveness was responsible for a lot of it.
This week: at Chargers (5-8). Last week’s ranking: 8.
9. Tennessee (8-5)
This team is for real, but if the wear-and-tear RB Derrick Henry showed late against the Raiders continues, the Titans will be in trouble.
This week: vs. Houston (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 11.
10. Houston (8-5)
Typical Texans. One week after Bill O’Brien’s biggest win over the Patriots, they get pushed around by the Broncos at home to drop into a division tie with the Titans.
This week: at Tennessee (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 6.
11. Buffalo (9-4)
A loss to the Steelers, with the Patriots looming next week, could kick the Bills out of the AFC playoff picture. A lot of pressure on Josh Allen.
This week: at Pittsburgh (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 10.
12. Dallas (6-7)
We officially have no clue who will take the mandated NFC East playoff spot. Cowboys look dead, but the Eagles don’t have much more of a pulse.
This week: vs. Rams (8-5). Last week’s ranking: 12.
Dropped out: None.
Knocking on the door: Pittsburgh (8-5), L.A. Rams (8-5), Philadelphia (6-7), Indianapolis (6-7).