NFL Power Rankings - Week 16
New England Patriots (12-2) – Not too many will argue with me on this one, the Patriots are clearly the team to beat in the NFL. Brady and company are playing at a high level and do not look to be stopped any time soon. With home field locked up throughout the playoffs, a team will have to go on the road and win in Foxborough to continue on. Patriots will be on cruise control until the playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys (12-2) – The Cowboys got their statement win over the Buccaneers to silence the critics after their week 14 loss to the Giants. Prescott looked better than he has any other week this season, posting the second highest completion percentage in NFL history with 30 or more attempts in a game. The Cowboys look to lock up the number one seed throughout the playoffs this week against the Lions.
New York Giants (10-4) – The Giants are red-hot right now. They are one game away from clinching a playoff berth and need to beat the Eagles in order to secure that spot. Can Manning get this offense going at the right time? Only time will tell, in the meantime, that defense will continue to win them games.
Oakland Raiders (11-3) – The Raiders were able to lock up a playoff spot this week with the Chiefs slipping up against the Titans. These Raiders have been the model of consistency this season as they continue to take care of lesser opponents. They control their own destiny and if they win out, they will have the conference’s number two spot on lock down.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) – The scariest team in the AFC are the Steelers. They can compete and beat anyone in the NFL on the right week. Their offense puts fear into the hearts of defenses with so many weapons at their disposal. If the Steelers can grab a win against Baltimore this week, they lock up the division and book their ticket to the post season.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) – The Chiefs lost a close one this past week to the surging Titans. That was a huge dent to their division title hopes. With a win the week before over the Raiders, everyone had these Chiefs winning the division and with the number two spot in the conference. Now, they will be a matchup nightmare for any division winner in the wild card week.
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) – The Falcons have been able to stay consistent enough to take their division (or so it seems) and control their own destiny heading into the postseason. With one of the best offenses in the NFL, this team will be a tough matchup. Look for them to grab a couple of wins to get some momentum heading into the playoffs.
Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1) – I was a believer in these Seahawks at the beginning of the season, as well as a couple of weeks ago, but with their recent play, I am not sure that this team will be able to duplicate the success that they have had in previous seasons. Russell Wilson has not been himself this season, battling injuries and consistency with his passing. The Seahawks can usually rely on their home field in the playoffs, but this year they look to be traveling after wild card week.
Detroit Lions (9-5) – The Lions have been impressive this season, and they owe it all to Matthew Stafford. He has been absolutely fantastic, earning him recognition and votes for MVP. He IS the Lions MVP and should definitely be in the top 5 finalists for the league award. In a year where the NFC north was having an off year, they took full advantage and were able to build a small lead in the division. They have to hold off the Packers in the closing weeks in order to ensure playoff hopes.
Green Bay Packers (8-6) – The Packers have been one of the hottest teams in football as of late, rattling off win after win. This is a team that you do not want to play right now. Rodgers has simply been fantastic throwing the ball lately and has guided his team back into the division title race and an outside shot at a wild card spot. With the Lions facing a tough Cowboys team this week, the Packers have another chance to close the gap a little more.
Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – After the Ravens took down the Steelers, everyone had them running away with the division, but with the Steelers closing the gap and taking the lead, the Ravens need to win badly this week against a red-hot Pittsburgh team. I just don’t see it happening, and this Ravens team will probably miss the post season because of it. Flacco sure hasn’t done much since winning the Super Bowl. But honestly, that earns him a free pass for life I guess. Those are kind of hard to come by.
Denver Broncos (8-6) – The Broncos are not the 2015 Broncos by any means. Last year, they would have seized control of this division and done away with the Chiefs and Raiders. Instead, they have surrendered the division to those teams and are on the outside looking in on the AFC wild card race. They have to win out to make it in the post season, and that is not looking likely with one of those games coming up against Kansas City.
Miami Dolphins (9-5) – The Dolphins were also one of the hottest teams in the NFL recently, crawling their way back to relevancy from a huge hole at the beginning of the season, but it might just be a little too late. With the Patriots locking up the division, and with the huge loss of Tannehill, the Dolphins may not even do much even if they do make it into the postseason. Matt Moore played fantastic in the absence of Tannehill, but I’m still not sure it will be enough. This should be an interesting storyline going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) – The Buccaneers suffered a huge blow this week in their loss to the Cowboys, with the division title in sights, they needed to keep things rolling against Dallas. But, they ran into a wall, that is, the Dallas offensive line which dominated the game. The Bucaneers need to win out for a chance at a wild card spot with the Giants most likely to be taking the other spot and Green Bay competing for it as well. Should be an interesting finish.
Houston Texans (8-6) – The benching of Osweiller showed a lot for Texans fans and NFL fans alike, this team wants to win. They don’t care how much a player makes, and Mr. Brock makes A LOT. They benched him because he was sucking and it paid off huge. They came back and won that game. The Texans need to keep pace with the Titans for the division title and if they win out, they should control their own destiny.
Tennessee Titans (8-6) – The Titans are one of the scariest teams in the NFL right now, with impressive wins over the Broncos and Chiefs recently (both possible playoff teams) the Titans might make a splash if they make it to the postseason. I am pulling for this team, and hoping they can make it.
Washington Redskins (7-6-1) – The Redskins were handed possibly their most disappointing loss so far this season by the Panthers on Monday night. The Redskins were holding on to one of the wild card spots and looked to lock it up with a strong finish, but now it seems that they will be on the outside looking in as they were dealt a huge blow and now sit behind other teams in line. Disappointing finish for this talented team.
Buffalo Bills (7-7) – The Bills finally got a break last week from their rough schedule as they were able to man-handle the winless Browns. Rex Ryan’s job security is diminishing by the week, and it should be interesting to see where his story ends up. The Bills have too good of a team not to be playing in the post season.
Minnesota Vikings (7-7) – The Vikings were one of the most impressive teams starting the season, but they have been absolutely ravaged by injuries this years and have suffered the consequences of that, a .500 record and elimination from playoffs. This team will be back next year and bet they will invest more in the offensive line.
Indianapolis Colts (7-7) – The Colts are right there in the division and need some help to make it to the post season. There are so many teams that are right on the cusp, but it is going to take A LOT for this team to punch their ticket. The Colts have a good offense, and a very sub-par defense. Much work to do in the offseason for this franchise.
New Orleans Saints (6-8) – The Saints have had yet another unimpressive year. They have had some very positive and great moments, and some bad ones. But they must play better on the defensive side of the ball in order to win more games. Expect some big free-agency moves for them in the offseason.
Carolina Panthers (6-8) – The Panthers are beginning to show some of the swag from 2015 which has eluded them for much of this season. With a good win over Washington on Monday night, they move closer to .500 and could get there by season’s end. They are looking toward 2017 and new beginnings.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1) – Speaking of new beginnings, the Bengals have had a horrible year by any standards. Yes, they have had injuries, but they have so much talent on their team, and some injuries really should not have had such an impact like it did. This team is young and very talented, and should be a force again in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) – The biggest disappointment this season has to be the Cardinals. They have played horrible and look nothing like the 2015 version of themselves. They have some big questions to answer this offseason as they try to mend what has been broken.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-9) – The Eagles started with much promise. Even being featured in the top ten for a few weeks at the beginning of the season in my power rankings. But that is a distant memory now as they have struggled their way to a 5-9 record. They have two divisional games left against the Giants and the Cowboys, wins against both these teams (or just one) would be a huge boost for this team.
San Diego Chargers (5-9) – The Chargers are in a year of uncertainty. They have talent, but have been unable to do much with it. They look likely to move to LA this offseason, and should “clean house” and re-brand for the transition. Should be an interesting move for them.
Los Angeles Rams (4-10) – Speaking of a move, the Rams have failed miserably in their inaugural season back in Los Angeles. They fired their coach after signing him to a new contract, and are sitting at the number six position for the draft this offseason. Should be interesting to see what they do to turn things around after this season.
New York Jets (4-10) – The Jets have also failed this season. Failed to do many things such as Win, sign Fitzpatrick, find another QB, and did I say Win? They stink, flat out. And they have so much talent, especially on defense. There is no excuse for this team playing this way and they have to look at it from the top down on how they should approach things going forward. This team needs some work, and they might do well to re-assess how they do business with their quarterbacks in the future so they don’t end up like they did this year.
Chicago Bears (3-11) – The Bears have been bad this season, and I would say it mostly has to do with injuries and morale. Once you start losing, its hard to stop, just ask the Browns. Jordan Howard has been a bright spot for this team this year as he has emerged as the team’s best overall player at the RB position, Matt Forte who?
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) – The Jaguars have been another huge disappointment this season as they have sputtered to their 2-12 record. A season ago, their offense was the talk of the league, Blake Bortles was a top 10 quarterback, and they had an “Okay” defense. This year it has flipped. Their defense has been great so far, but their offense can’t move the ball against anyone. Now that they are without a coach, this is one of the most intriguing landing spots for a veteran coach looking for a project. I expect a big name to land here.
San Francisco 49ers (1-13) – The 49ers have been bad, and Kaepernick is blaming it on the losing culture in the locker room. While what he says is true to an extent, he also needs to face reality and that is that he is not a good quarterback, and their team severely lacks talent. They need to makes some moves and hit it big in this draft coming up.
Cleveland Browns (0-14) – The Browns have been horrible this year and I didn’t expect that they would be good given the lack of talent that they have. Fortunately for them, they have two picks in the top ten this draft. I expect some good things from this team next year. Things will get better Cleveland, just be patient.