There were some major shakeups in the NFL this week, with many top teams losing close games. Here’s how things stack up with just three games left in the season.
1. New England Patriots (11-2; Last Ranking: 2)
The Patriots have been the best team in the NFL all season, we just felt required to put the Cowboys at the top. It is clear that Tom Brady and his Patriot compadres are the clear cut favorites to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-2; Last Ranking: 1)
The Cowboys probably weren’t going to go 15-1, but it is surprising to see them lose to the Giants twice now. They are still in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed in the NFC, and beating the Bucs would clinch that #1 seed.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3; Last Ranking: 5)
The Chiefs are a great team and they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Since Jamaal Charles tore his ACL in 2015, Kansas City has gone 21-5 in their last 26 games. They have a quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes, and arguably the best defense in the NFL.
4. Oakland Raiders (10-3; Last Ranking: 3)
The Raiders six-game win streak came to an end with a second straight loss to Kansas City. As good as Oakland is, the offense needs to play well for them to win. They have only allowed less than 20 points twice this season.
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1; Last Ranking: 4)
Seattle lost its streak of 80+ games without losing by double digits when they were smacked by the Pack in Green Bay. Losing Earl Thomas is going to hurt this team, but probably not as much as it did on Sunday.
6. Detroit Lions (9-4; Last Ranking: 7)
Detroit is certainly legitimate, but the question at this point is whether or not they are Super Bowl contenders. Their best win this season is either Minnesota (twice) or Washington. This weekend vs. the Giants will be a test.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5; Last Ranking: 8)
Once sitting at 4-5, the Steelers have ripped off four wins a row, sit atop the AFC North, and now control their own playoff destiny. The dominant performance by LeVeon Bell set a franchise record for most rushing yards in a game.
8. New York Giants (9-4; Last Ranking: 9)
While New York has two huge wins over Dallas, they seem to be pretenders. They are 6-0 against teams with losing records, 2-0 against the Cowboys, but 1-4 against teams with winning records that aren’t Dallas.
9. Denver Broncos (8-5; Last Ranking: 6)
A rough loss for the Broncos essentially takes them out of the running for the division title. That was a big game to lose, because they have a really tough schedule the last three weeks: New England, Oakland, and Kansas City.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5; Last Ranking: 11)
It would take serious courage to predict that the Bucs would be an 8-5 team sitting at #10 in the power rankings, but here we are. Baby Jameis is growing up right before our eyes, and clearly has the leadership qualities to take this team to the playoffs.
11. Atlanta Falcons (8-5; Last Ranking: 12)
On Tuesday, ESPNs FPI Rankings rated Atlanta as the 2nd best team in the NFL. They are a good team, but they are not that good. This Sunday was only the 3rd time they held a team under 22 points or less.
12. Green Bay Packers (7-6; Last Ranking: 15)
THE PACK IS BACK, proclaimed many after their trouncing of the Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers and Co. looked like the old Green Bay Packers and had very little issue ripping the Earl Thomas-less defense apart.
13. Washington Redskins (7-5-1; Last Ranking: 13)
This was a necessary win for the Redskins, considering what would have happened to their playoff chances with a loss. They have Carolina at home, go to Chicago in week 16, and finish up the season at home vs. the Giants.
14. Miami Dolphins (8-5; Last Ranking: 14)
Regardless of whether or not Tannehill comes back this season, it won’t have a huge impact on the ‘Phins. Adam Gase is a QB whisperer, Matt Moore is a good backup, they run it a lot, and Tannehill hasn’t been that great.
15. Baltimore Ravens (7-6; Last Ranking: 10)
The Ravens defense that looked so good for 13 weeks cracked under the pressure of Tom Brady. Considering the Patriots’ record against AFC opponents at home, it is not surprising to see a loss. They will need to win out, though, to ensure a playoff spot.
16. Tennessee Titans (7-6; Last Ranking: 22)
As bad as the AFC South is, the Titans leading the division is unexpected. Clearly Marcus Mariota has progressed quicker than some expected, and Dick LeBeau is bringing pieces of his Pittsburgh defenses to Tennessee.
17. Minnesota Vikings (7-6; Last Ranking: 16)
The Vikings had lost six of their past seven games going into their tilt with the Jags, but this game was thoroughly dominated by Minnesota, even if the score doesn’t reflect it. They will try to keep playoff hopes alive at home vs. Indy next Sunday.
18. Houston Texans (7-6; Last Ranking: 19)
Houston got a critical win in Indy, and now they sit at the top of the division with the Titans. As it is setting up right now, week 17 between Tennessee and Houston should decide who wins the AFC South.
19. Indianapolis Colts (6-7; Last Ranking: 17)
The Colts aren’t very good, but they have Andrew Luck which will keep them in a lot of games. Outside of quarterback and wide receiver, they could very well have the worst roster in the NFL. The offensive and defensive lines are really bad.
20. Buffalo Bills (6-7; Last Ranking: 18)
It was LeVeon Bell’s day, and the Bills just couldn’t stop him. In fact, Bell outgunned the Bills by himself (298-275)! If the Bills could have won that game, they would have had a real shot at 10-6 and a wild card.
21. Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1; Last Ranking: 20)
The Cardinals have to be among the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. Carson Palmer has shown a decline, the defense isn’t the same without Honey Badger on the field, and they only average 23 points per game.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1; Last Ranking: 24)
The Bengals had a victory over the Browns to (technically) keep their playoff hopes alive. In a season that was a sharp contrast the last several years, people are beginning to wonder whether or not Marvin Lewis will be coming back.
23. Carolina Panthers (5-8; Last Ranking: 26)
The Panthers actually have a winning record at home this year, coming in at 4-3 this year in Carolina. Their downfall this season has been on the road, where they have gone 1-5. They travel to D.C. next week.
24. San Diego Chargers (5-8; Last Ranking: 21)
While San Diego has proved to be a good team this year, they simply cannot finish games. This week was not another example of it, as this was the first loss for San Diego this season that was not a one possession game.
25. New Orleans Saints (5-8; Last Ranking: 23)
The Saints offense is elite and one of the best in the NFL, or so we thought. Drew Brees has gone two straight games throwing for multiple interceptions and zero touchdowns. This defense cannot carry the team like this.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (5-8; Last Ranking: 25)
The Eagles played the Redskins tough, but DeSean Jackson always seems to torch the Eagles. In a game where Carson Wentz looked more comfortable than he has for the last two months, Philly still couldn’t pull out a win.
27. New York Jets (4-9; Last Ranking: 29)
The Jets haven’t been good at winning this season, and on Sunday they weren’t very good at losing. For Jets fans, a loss against San Fran might have helped their draft stock by a few picks. Moral victories vs. draft stock.
28. Chicago Bears (3-10; Last Ranking: 28)
The Bears aren’t great, but maybe they like what they are seeing from Matt Barkley. For the second straight week, Barkley completed over 60% of his passes, had a QB rating over 90, and didn’t throw an interception.
29. Los Angeles Rams (4-9; Last Ranking: 27)
Jeff Fisher is out as head coach in LA, which isn’t surprising unless you think about timing. It was the right decision to get rid of him, but on a Monday, the week of a Thursday Night Game on the road in Seattle? Interesting choice.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11; Last Ranking: 30)
By far the most disappointing team in the NFL, the Jaguars have been absolutely awful all season. Minnesota came into Jacksonville losing six out of their last seven games, and the Jags could barely keep up with them.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-12; Last Ranking: 31)
Remember week one when the 49ers won in convincing fashion over the Rams? Well that is long gone and they haven’t won a game since. This team needs a front office face lift and complete roster overhaul.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-13; Last Ranking: 32)
Sunday’s are usually not fun days for Browns fans this season. They have officially gone a full calendar year without winning a football game as the last QB to win a start for the Browns was…Johnny Football…