The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers remain atop the NFL Sports Power Rankings, heading into the final week of the 2013 NFL season.
The Broncos can clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win at No. 30 Oakland on Sunday. The 49ers have clinched a playoff berth, but need to defeat No. 9 Arizona this week to have a shot at winning the NFC West, earning a first-round bye, and/or earning the home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
No new teams entered the top ten in the NFL Power Rankings, although Carolina and Seattle flip-flopped at No. 3 and No. 4; Cincinnati and New Orleans switched spots at No. 5 and No. 7; and No. 8 New England and Arizona swapped places.
The two most improved teams this week are San Diego, up four places to No. 11; and Philadelphia, which improved by seven slots to No. 12 after waxing the Chicago Bears 54-11 on Sunday Night Football.
The Bears subsequently fell four spots to No. 18. Baltimore took the biggest drop in the NFL Power Rankings, falling five spots to No. 21.
By using the NFL Power Rankings to project the results of the final regular season games on Sunday, December 29, here is the projected NFL playoff picture:
Denver — division winner, home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs
New England — division winner, first-round bye
Cincinnati — division-winner
Indianapolis — division winner
Kansas City — wild card
Miami — wild-card
projected Wild-Card Weekend playoff matchups: Miami @ Cincinnati, Kansas City @ Indianapolis
Seattle — division winner, home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs
Carolina — division winner, first-round bye
Philadelphia — division winner
Chicago — division-winner
San Francisco — wild-card
New Orleans — wild-card
projected Wild-Card Weekend playoff matchups: New Orleans @ Philadelphia, San Francisco @ Chicago.
Here are the complete NFL Sports Power Rankings, through games of December 23, 2013: