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NFL Power Rankings Week 15: The Ascending

Can the Rams crack the top half of the league?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams grabbed the last spot on NFL Fetish Commander Peter King's Fine Fifteen in the MMQB this week. Can they crack the top half of the major power rankings?

As always, if there's a power ranking you think merits inclusion, let me know and I'll start putting it in.

Average ranking (# of rankings) 17.25 (8)
Average change from last week +3.00
Highest ranking (source) 11th (Fox Sports)
Lowest ranking (source) 20th (multiple sources)
Biggest positive change (source) +7 (Pro Football Talk)
Biggest negative change (source) 0 (Yahoo! Sports)

SB Nation: 17th (20th)

The Chiefs, Texans, Dolphins, Rams, Bills, 49ers and Browns all have somewhat similar identities. All these teams feature ball-control offenses and, with the exception of probably the Dolphins, feature either struggling or subpar quarterbacks, buoyed by tough, physical, punch-you-in-the-mouth defenses.

Having a good-to-great defense is often not enough, though. It's been a full year since a receiver on the Chiefs caught a touchdown. The Texans are again relying on veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick after a brief stint under Ryan Mallett was cut short by an injury. The Rams, Bills and Browns are also doing the veteran journeyman thing with Shaun Hill, Kyle Orton and Brian Hoyer, respectively, and we have all heard about Colin Kaepernick's struggles of late.

Until they can capture more consistency and effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball, these teams, all with 7-6 or 6-7 records, seem destined to remain in the middle of the pack. They all have strong, hardy defenses that could help them make some noise down the homestretch, though, so they are not the types of teams to overlook either..

ESPN: 20th (21st)

St. Louis posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1945 and back-to-back wins for the first time this season. It must have been the captains (or the seven sacks). 18th (20th)

Do you realize the Rams have won their last two games by the combined score of 76-0?! How does that even happen in today's world, what with every spot getting reviewed and 2-yard runs deciding games in the giant parity party that was Paul Tagliabue's grand vision? How do the Rams, of all teams, go back-to-back like that, jack?

Well, you can start with the pass rush. Been saying it all year, but Chris Long's absence and return were underreported. Did you see how the Rams got to the quarterback in Washington on Sunday? Colt McCoy did.

CBS Sports (Prisco): 20th (22nd)

They continue to play good football down the stretch. They will be tough for all comers the rest of the way because of the revived defense.

CBS Sports (Kirwan): 16th (20th)

I said it last week ‘no one wants to play the Rams right now.' That statement is more valid today with a second shutout in two weeks. Jeff Fisher and his young Rams are aiming for a winning season after a 2-5 start.

Yahoo! Sports: 20th (20th)

It was humorous and all, but what exactly was the point of them sending out the six players on the roster acquired in the RG3 trade for the coin toss? Bush-league stuff, really.

Pro Football Talk: 16th (23rd)

Los Angeles could be getting a pretty good team.

Fox Sports: 11th (16th)

Young offensive playmakers Tavon Austin and Tre Mason may not have it every game, but they don’t need to. The defensive line is consistently winning at the point of attack and opposing offenses are no longer scoring many points on them.