December is the toughest month in the NFL. The best teams use it to pad their power for a playoff run. Those who are not worthy wilt with the weather and the late-season attrition.Only the strongest survive to advance into January, while others finish to build higher hopes for the rest of 2019. With four weeks left the season, this is how the power struggle for pre-Super Bowl supremacy looks. 6. Houston Texans 9-3 (last week: 7)The Texans keep adding to their winning streak and look more complete on offense, defense and special teams with each week. Don’t be surprised if they parlay that into a AFC playoff bye when it’s all done.7. Chicago Bears 8-4 (last week: 5)The Bears tried to win another one without Mitchell Trubisky, but the Giants didn’t let them, pulling out all the stops on offense. It’s easy to forget, even with that defense, Chicago is overachieving this season.8. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-4-1 (last week: 8)The Steelers could have made a statement at Heinz Field with the Patriots game just around the corner. Instead, how they blew the game and got whipped by the Chargers in the second half looks like same old, same old.9. Seattle Seahawks 7-5 (last week: 10)A lot of running, a lot timely defense from the front seven, a whole lot of Russell Wilson at the ideal time to finish off drives and opponents. No wonder the Seahawks are this good again; it’s a throwback to an old formula that keeps improving.10. Dallas Cowboys 7-5 (last week: 12)What they did to the Saints changed the narrative from heavy favorites in the NFC East to being able to actually make some noise in the playoffs. When Dak and the defense are both on, they are hard to beat. MORE: Updated NFL playoff pictureNFL power rankings1. Los Angeles Rams 11-1 (last week: 2)The Rams took care of the Chiefs and didn’t have too much rust against the Lions, taking advantage of the Saints losing in shocking indoor road fashion Thursday. Todd Gurley and the defense looked great after the break.2. New Orleans Saints 10-2 (last week: 1)What was that? The Saints’ offense completely lost its rhythm and flow in Dallas for the first time all season. They need to use a shot at Week 1 vengeance against the Bucs as a get-well soon game all-around.3. New England Patriots 9-3 (last week: 4)The Patriots went back to dominating at home with Tom Brady seeing things fully loaded around him for run and pass. But how about that defense coming through so big, too?4. Kansas City Chiefs 10-2 (last week: 3)Patrick Mahomes lit it up as expected against the Raiders, but the defense suddenly sprung more leaks against rivals on the road, and there was a little power and pop missing in the running game, causing this mild slide.5. Los Angeles Chargers 9-3 (last week: 6)The Chargers have to be taken seriously in their quest to potentially take down the Chiefs after their Week 1 loss to KC. Anthony Lynn and Philip Rivers form a coach-QB combination that should be getting a lot more attention. 16. Denver Broncos 6-6 (last week: 19)The Broncos are quietly hot with three consecutive victories to get to .500. With three winnable games before the Chargers game at home in Week 17, they might save Vance Joseph and then some, yet.17. Miami Dolphins 6-6 (last week: 22)The Dolphins keep finding ways to win ugly games at their own pace, with results often looking better than they should. Adam Gase needs a little more credit for his coaching to even have them in wild-card contention.18. Tennessee Titans 6-6 (last week: 16)The Titans still don’t have the prettiest QB play, but Marcus Mariota is showing off his familiar grit and fearlessness to make their offense a little more legitimate. They still are inconsistent on both sides, perfect for .500.19. Washington Redskins 6-6 (last week: 11)So much for the Redskins going into Monday night still looking good with many big-promise NFC teams starting to fall flat. A loss to the Eagles with Mark Sanchez pretty much means they’re done in the East.20. Green Bay Packers 4-7-1 (last week: 17)The Mike McCarthy era ended with a thud against the Cardinals at home. So many little things over a long period of time added up to his firing. Now it’s on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ players to break free and finish strong for Joe Philbin. You’ve got to hand it to Kyle Shanahan’s team; their spirit isn’t broken even with a third-string QB, third- and fourth-string wide receivers and now a fourth-string running back. The 49ers are the only team in the NFL that gets a complete free-pass this season.32. Oakland Raiders 2-10 (last week: 31)The Raiders are much healthier than the 49ers are in terms of actual NFL playing bodies. But they are either too old or too young at key positions, so it’s helpful they are all but guaranteed the No. 1 overall pick. 26. Detroit Lions 4-8 (last week: 24)The Lions had their chances against the Rams, but their talent limitations were evident against LA. There might be some big chances in store around Matthew Stafford.27. Buffalo Bills 4-8 (last week: 25)Josh Allen is a carnival ride you can’t miss, even if it leaves you confused with your head-spinning. He has proved to be a gifted runner; just wait until he can be developed as a passer.28. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-8 (last week: 28)It was good to see the old Jaguars defense show up for one game and save some face for Doug Marrone after the debacle in Buffalo. They can play bigger spoiler in the final four.29. Arizona Cardinals 3-9 (last week: 32)With the heat on Steve Wilks and just about everyone else in the desert, the Cardinals needed that shocking victory on the frozen tundra in the worst way.30. New York Jets 3-9 (last week: 29)Todd Bowles is grasping at everything to keep his job, including avoiding the opportunity to get a now-healthy Sam Darnold a few more chances to develop. Regardless of QB, defensive breakdowns have been bigger bugaboos for Bowles.AFTER FURTHER REVIEW:Biggest storylines of Week 13 in the NFL31. San Francisco 49ers 2-10 (last week: 30) 21. Cleveland Browns 4-7-1 (last week: 24)The Browns went into Houston with a lot of confidence, and Baker Mayfield wasn’t scared, but that’s not enough to avoid rookie mistakes in tougher matchups. It’s too late for Cleveland to creep back into AFC North or wild-card contention now, but a good finish would make them early division favorites in 2019.22. Cincinnati Bengals 5-7 (last week: 21)A.J. Green is set to join Andy Dalton on the season-ending shelf, as the injuries continue to deplete the offense and defense during the four-game losing streak. They might have only one more win in them, and that’s probably not enough to save Marvin Lewis’ job.23. New York Giants 4-8 (last week: 27)The Giants are showing how they can finish games and put together creative offensive game plans with Pat Shurmur late in the season. Imagine what that might do early in 2019 with more reliable quarterback play.24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-8 (last week: 26)Jameis Winston and Adam Humphries are doing everything they can to earn their contracts from the team next season. The young defense also is showing more fight despite plenty of holes. That all won’t save Dirk Koetter.25. Atlanta Falcons 4-8 (last week: 23)The Falcons had some fight earlier this season when they were ravaged by injuries, but the toll of defensive decline and offensive inconsistency has caught up to them. This season clearly deserves a mulligan for Dan Quinn. 11. Baltimore Ravens 7-5 (last week: 14)Lamar Jackson has given the Ravens an incredible spark for a three-game winning streak, and they’ll go in facing the Chiefs confident they can still pass the Steelers by Week 17.12. Minnesota Vikings 6-5-1 (last week: 9)The Vikings continue to lose tough marquee road games in the Mike Zimmer era. Kirk Cousins’ inconsistency is one thing; the breakdowns in defense are another that can ultimately hold Minnesota back.13. Carolina Panthers 6-6 (last week: 11)The Panthers are in a free-fall, and Ron Rivera is taking control of the defense as the team tries to deal itself back in the wild-card race. A sixth road loss would render their two Saints matchups useless.14. Philadelphia Eagles 6-6 (last week: 18)The Eagles saved their season by taking care of the Redskins at home as expected on Monday night. They still face a tough schedule ahead to either take back the NFC East or sneak in as the last wild card.15. Indianapolis Colts 6-6 (last week: 13)What was that? The Colts’ offense had done whatever it wanted with Andrew Luck, but then it showed a limited attack just as the Jaguars’ defense showed long-awaited life. That was a weird blow to their wild-card hopes.