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NFL power rankings, Week 13: 49ers slowly descend

Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season is finished, and the 49ers dropped to 3-8. But again, how far down should they go? We present Week 13 NFL power rankings.

Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season is officially a wrap following a wild Monday Night Football affair. It was not a pretty pairing, with the Cleveland Browns hosting the Baltimore Ravens, but boy was it entertaining. The Ravens led much of the game, but appeared to blow it late. A Matt Schaub interception set up a Browns field goal attempt. Only, the Ravens blocked the field goal and ran it back for a touchdown as time expired. Wow. The Ravens improve to 4-7, while the Browns drop to 2-9.

The 49ers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, in a close game they actually had a chance to win. The loss echoed much of what we saw in the pre-Jim Harbaugh days. A team that plays better than home, hangs with a good time, but can't quite get over the hump late. It will be interesting to see if the team reverts to its recent road struggles as they head off to face the Chicago Bears in Week 13.

I dropped the 49ers a spot, but really most of the bottom third of this power ranking is a jumbled mess. The Jacksonville Jaguars strike me as probably the worst of the 4-7 teams, but you could probably make an argument for the New Orleans Saints. I think the Saints can do enough on offense at home to be just dangerous enough, but it's not a big difference down in the bottom grouping.

On the other side of things, the Carolina Panthers are the new top dog. The New England Patriots lost a tough one in Denver, and the best news they got was that Rob Gronkowski's knee injury is not nearly as bad as it seemed when he went down. His agony at the time reminds me of when Joe Staley went down screaming that one time. He missed no time, and was fine. It sounds like Gronk might miss a week, but not much more than that.

But right now, the Panthers and Patriots are the top dogs, with the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, and Denver Broncos right behind them. Teams like the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are right near that group, but I'd say one notch below.

And with that, here my power rankings as we head into Week 13.

Rk Team LW
1 Carolina Panthers (11-0) 2
2 New England Patriots (10-1) 1
3 Arizona Cardinals (9-2) 3
4 Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) 4
5 Denver Broncos (9-2) 6
6 Green Bay Packers (7-4) 5
7 Minnesota Vikings (8-3) 7
8 Indianapolis Colts (6-5) 13
9 Seattle Seahawks (6-5) 14
10 Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) 15
11 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) 8
12 Houston Texans (6-5) 17
13 New York Jets (6-5) 18
14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) 11
15 Oakland Raiders (5-6) 16
16 Buffalo Bills (5-6) 9
17 Chicago Bears (5-6) 23
18 New York Giants (5-6) 10
19 Washington (5-6) 24
20 Detroit Lions (4-7) 27
21 Atlanta Falcons (6-5) 20
22 St. Louis Rams (4-7) 19
23 Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) 21
24 Miami Dolphins (4-7) 22
25 New Orleans Saints (4-7) 25
26 San Francisco 49ers (3-8) 26
27 Dallas Cowboys (3-8) 12
28 San Diego Chargers (3-8) 31
29 Baltimore Ravens (4-7) 30
30 Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) 28
31 Tennessee Titans (2-9) 29
32 Cleveland Browns (2-9) 32