As the playoff picture becomes clearer each week, all teams will get two more chances to solidify their spots. Who’s rising and who’s falling in this week’s NFL Power Rankings?
1. New England Patriots (12-2; Last Ranking: 1)
The Patriots are going to be tough to beat, and they proved that further by stomping all over the Broncos in Denver. Pop quiz: who has the best scoring defense in the NFL? If you guessed the Patriots at 16.6 PPG, you were right!
2. Dallas Cowboys (12-2; Last Ranking: 2)
For the Cowboys, home field advantage is all but wrapped up. Obviously they have to win one of their last two games or the Giants have to lose one, but they should just make sure they are healthy for the playoffs.
3. Oakland Raiders (11-3; Last Ranking: 4)
The Raiders are back on top of the AFC West after only a one week hiatus. This team is in the driver’s seat for a bye in the playoffs assuming they can take care of business against Denver and Indy.
4. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1; Last Ranking: 5)
The Seahawks move up to four a week after getting smacked by the Packers. Maybe this was a reality check that they needed before the end of the season. They should get the two seed in the NFC.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5; Last Ranking: 7)
Who wants to play the Steelers right now? In their last five games, they have seven interceptions, nineteen sacks, haven’t given up 20 points in a game, and Ben, Bell, and Brown are clicking offensively.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4; Last Ranking: 3)
A week after a huge victory, they blew it against the Titans. With a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, you would expect Kansas City to be able to run out the clock and get after the quarterback. Instead they allowed three scoring drives.
7. New York Giants (10-4; Last Ranking: 8)
The Giants got a big win that all but sealed their playoff fate assuming they win one of their last two games. They would be wise to beat the Eagles and clinch this week.
8. Atlanta Falcons (9-5; Last Ranking: 11)
The Falcons, unlike last season, have avoided a major downfall. However, they will have to take care of business against their division rivals. If the Bucs and Falcons end with the same record, Tampa will go the the playoffs.
9. Detroit Lions (9-5; Last Ranking: 6)
The Lions are fine, but they are not a great team. They are now 1-4 against teams currently with winning records. So even if they make the playoffs, they are a first round exit candidate.
10. Green Bay Packers (8-6; Last Ranking: 12)
Don’t look now, but the Packers are red hot, and it is completely ridiculous that people aren’t talking about Aaron Rodgers in the MVP discussion. 32 touchdowns to just seven interceptions all with a multitude of injuries around him is nothing to laugh at.
11. Baltimore Ravens (8-6; Last Ranking: 15)
Another week and another nail biter for the Baltimore Ravens. It came down to the last play, but Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens were able to outlast rookie quarterback Carson Wentz on the final two point conversion attempt.
12. Denver Broncos (8-6; Last Ranking: 9)
The Broncos need to turn it around fast if they have any intentions of returning to the playoffs this season. The defense isn’t plying great, but they might be the worst offensive team in football right now.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6; Last Ranking: 10)
On a national stage, the Bucs faulted. They turned it over too much, Winston looked ok at best, Zeke and Dak ran all over the place, and they were completely dominated by time of possession. They are lucky they only lost by six.
14. Miami Dolphins (9-5; Last Ranking: 14)
Matt Moore is now 7-3 in his last ten starts and clearly looks like a proven veteran backup QB. Who knows, maybe the Dolphins will be fine without Ryan Tannehill.
15. Tennessee Titans (8-6; Last Ranking: 16)
The Titans are a significantly more impressive team than many people expected them to be. Marcus Mariota has clearly show he has franchise quarterback potential, and Dick LeBeau turned that defense around really quickly.
16. Washington Redskins (7-6-1; Last Ranking: 13)
The Redskins controlled their own destiny for the 6th seed in the NFC, but now they will need some help to make the playoffs.
17. Houston Texans (8-6; Last Ranking: 18)
The Texans nearly lost to the Jaguars which would have been crippling to their playoff chances. Instead they win, setting up a huge match with in Tennessee in week 17.
18. Indianapolis Colts (7-7; Last Ranking: 19)
Although the only rise one spot in the rankings, the Colts had a really nice win over the Vikings. Unfortunately for them, they have ground to make up for in the AFC South.
19. Buffalo Bills (7-7; Last Ranking: 20)
A week after being trampled by LeVeon Bell, Shady McCoy took over the game vs Cleveland. Buffalo is a long shot to make the playoffs even if they win out. Will Rex Ryan be back next year?
20. Minnesota Vikings (7-7; Last Ranking: 17)
After a 5-0 start, the Vikings’ 2-7 record since is better than only 49ers and Browns. Clearly this season isn’t representative of the kind of team the Vikings are, but you can’t lose to Indy at home by 30.
21. Carolina Panthers (6-8; Last Ranking: 23)
The Super Bowl hangover for the Panthers has clearly lasted into this season and impacted their play. Hopefully they won’t be hit hard by injuries next year, and everything starts to come back together for them.
22. New Orleans Saints (6-8; Last Ranking: 25)
The Saints don’t get a lot of credit for it, but they are a better football team than their record indicates. Their offense is seriously as good as it gets with two running backs and three legit wide receivers.
23. Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1; Last Ranking: 21)
The Cardinals might be the most disappointing team in the NFL. While injuries have hit them somewhat hard, they still had a fairly impeccable roster going into the season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1; Last Ranking: 22)
The Bengals entered the second half with an two possession lead and momentum on their side. However, they managed only four first downs in the second half and were outscored 15-0.
25. San Diego Chargers (5-9; Last Ranking: 24)
The Chargers continue to be a good team plagued by the 4th quarter. They are 5-9, yet they have only managed to play two games this year that ended up being more than a one possession game.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (5-9; Last Ranking: 26)
The Eagles did something risky, and it ended up not paying off. By going for two on the last play of the game, they assured themselves either a win or a loss on the last play. It is tough to win in Baltimore.
27. New York Jets (4-10; Last Ranking: 27)
The Jets are bad and there isn’t a way around it. Clearly Darrelle Revis is not the same player he has been for the last seven years or so. Step one would be figuring out the quarterback situation.
28. Chicago Bears (3-11; Last Ranking: 28)
The Bears did exactly what all of their fans wanted them to do: they played a good game for all 60 minutes, they found rhythm offensively, made Packers fans sweat, and still ended up losing (yeah draft stock!)
29. Los Angeles Rams (4-10; Last Ranking: 29)
The Rams had no chance to win in Seattle on Thursday night. They did the right thing by firing Fisher (even if the timing was terrible) and it will help them get a jump on the head coaching search.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12; Last Ranking: 30)
The Jaguars had a really good chance to win the game in Houston, but they completely blew it. People need to start wondering if Blake Bortles is the long term answer.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-13; Last Ranking: 31)
Thirteen straight losses for the 49ers has officially set the record for longest losing streak in franchise history. The real question is whether or not there will be a new coach next season.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-14; Last Ranking: 32)
The Browns had another tough week and now they only have two more chance to avoid going 0-16. They wrap up the season playing San Diego and Pittsburgh at home.