There’s one more week of regular season football left in the NFL, and playoff spots are on the line. Here are our Power Rankings going into Week 17.
1. New England Patriots (13-2; Last Ranking: 1)
The Patriots are the best team in football, period. However, that isn’t to say they aren’t vulnerable. Their defense is fairly average this season, and their numbers have inflated recently as they have played SF, LA, DEN, BAL, and NYJ two times (not exactly world beaters on offense).
2. Dallas Cowboys (13-2; Last Ranking: 2)
The Cowboys clinched home field advantage on Thursday Night without having to step on a football field. Looking forward, this defense has to concern Cowboys fans. How will they hold up against a Packers or Falcons team that can easily put up well over 30 points?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5; Last Ranking: 5)
The Steelers are the team nobody wants to play right now. They have won six straight, and (assuming Oakland wins) have a direct path to the AFC Championship game. Their improvements on both sides of the ball throughout the season make them a tough out.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4; Last Ranking: 6)
The Chiefs are a solid team that has a chance to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs if Oakland loses. Regardless, they are one of two legitimate threats to the Patriots in the AFC with their mistake free football, elite pass rush, and solid coaching staff.
5. Atlanta Falcons (10-5; Last Ranking: 8)
Who would’ve predicted that entering week 17, the Falcons would be in line for a bye? Matt Ryan has played at an MVP level this season and deserves to win the award. Home field in the first round could mean an NFC Championship berth.
6. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1; Last Ranking: 4)
A mishap against the Cardinals means that the Seahawks will need help to enjoy a bye in the first round of the playoffs. With Earl Thomas gone, it is clear that this team is different. Russell Wilson needs to play at an MVP level for this team to get back to a Super Bowl.
7. Oakland Raiders (12-3; Last Ranking: 3)
Bad things happen to good people sometimes, and this couldn’t be more true when talking about Derek Carr. Their Super Bowl hopes were dashed when he broke his leg – unless Matt McGloin plays like an MVP.
8. Green Bay Packers (9-6; Last Ranking: 10)
Don’t look now, but Green Bay has elevated themselves to the point where no one wants to play them. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception in over a month (knock on wood), the defense has turned it around, and they are riding a five-game win streak. They’ll play for the division, and maybe a spot in the playoffs, on Sunday night.
9. New York Giants (10-5; Last Ranking: 7)
The Giants are a team whose record would lead you to believe that they are a better team than they actually are. Even though they have defeated the Cowboys twice, they are incredibly limited offensively (besides OBJ, obviously).
10. Detroit Lions (9-6; Last Ranking: 9)
The Lions, according to ESPN FPI, are the 24th best team in football. While there is an argument to made that clutch quarterback play makes up for this, the Lions have gone 1-5 against teams above .500.
11. Miami Dolphins (10-5; Last Ranking: 14)
Miami’s Head Coach Adam Gase is a quarterback whisperer. Getting a Matt Moore-led offense to score 34 points is extremely impressive, even with 200+ yards rushing. Making the playoffs is a great first step for this team.
12. Washington Redskins (8-6-1; Last Ranking: 16)
As long as Washington wins and the Lions vs. Packers game doesn’t end in a tie, they will make the playoffs. Frankly, they deserve to far more than the Lions. This team has wins over the Packers, Ravens, and Giants this season.
13. Houston Texans (9-6; Last Ranking: 17)
Houston only moves up to 13 because they made the playoffs. Do not be fooled – this team is pretty bad. Defensively, they have some talent and a good scheme. However, this is arguably the worst offensive team in football, with no quarterback solution in sight.
14. Baltimore Ravens (8-7; Last Ranking: 11)
The Ravens were a good team, but certainly not good enough. Their lack of running game ultimately hurt them. While they went 6-1 against teams below .500, they went 2-6 vs. teams above .500.
15. Denver Broncos (8-7; Last Ranking: 12)
A season after hoisting the Lombardi trophy, the Denver Broncos will be watching the playoffs from home in 2017. Letting Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan go clearly hurt this team, especially on run defense.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7; Last Ranking: 13)
Tamp Bay is an exciting team moving forward, even if their chances of making the playoffs now sit at 1 in 60,000. They have a lot of great young pieces in Winston, Evans, LaVonte David, and Gerald McCoy. They have a foundation but need to fill holes on the offensive line and in the secondary.
17. Tennessee Titans (8-7; Last Ranking: 15)
Even if Mariota didn’t break his leg, it is more likely than not that they would have lost that game and been eliminated from playoff contention. However, the future is bright and this season can be considered a huge success.
18. New Orleans Saints (7-8; Last Ranking: 22)
The Saints are a confusing team. They have a lot of good pieces on defense, but for years have been one of the worst defensive teams in football. They have wasted Drew Brees’ career in recent memory by not surrounding him with a better team.
19. Indianapolis Colts (7-8; Last Ranking: 18)
The Colts have some really serious flaws in their team that must be made up for. The offensive line is miserable, the defense is arguably the worst in the league, and they have no running back. Sorry you’re stuck there, Mr. Luck.
20. Buffalo Bills (7-8; Last Ranking: 19)
The Bills should have never hired Rob Ryan to be their defensive coordinator. Say what you’d like about Rex, but Rob has a proven track record of being a terrible defensive coordinator. Rex should have never brought him along, and the Bills will miss the playoffs yet again because of that decision.
21. Minnesota Vikings (7-8; Last Ranking: 20)
After a red hot 5-0 start, the Vikings have gone on to lose eight of their past ten games. It is clear that the injuries caught up to this team and next season will be a different story. The big questions remain: how much does AP have left in the tank?
22. Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1; Last Ranking: 23)
Arizona may have been the most disappointing team in football this season. They have woefully underperformed both on offense and on defense for the entire season. Could it possibly be time to move on from Carson Palmer?
23. Philadelphia Eagles (6-9; Last Ranking: 26)
The Eagles had a great win on Thursday Night Football last week, and it should serve as a confidence boost for a miserable fan base. Wentz is clearly a solid quarterback that needs time to develop while they round out the roster.
24. Carolina Panthers (6-9; Last Ranking: 21)
From 15-1 to 6-9. That is not something you want to see, and in fact it is one of the worst turnarounds in NFL history. If the Panthers lose next week, they will finish the season a full nine games worse than they did last season.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1; Last Ranking: 24)
The Bengals severely underperformed this season, and in the eyes of many experts, it should cost Marvin Lewis his job. He is the second-longest tenured head coaching the NFL and has yet to win a playoff game.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12; Last Ranking: 30)
Even though they only have three wins, the Jaguars get bumped up because it is clear that they have been hampered by their coaching for the last several years. In reality, they would have been smart to hire Adam Gase last offseason. Their scheme in a win last weekend looked, frankly, impressive.
27. San Diego Chargers (5-10; Last Ranking: 25)
The Chargers lost to the Browns. Let us all allow that to sink in for a second. On the road or at home, losing to a team that bad is simply inexcusable. In fact, that loss may lead the Chargers towards a new head coach.
28. New York Jets (4-11; Last Ranking: 27)
The Jets were simply not very good this year. Darrelle Revis has clearly lost a step making the secondary a major question mark. The quarterback situation is a mess (as always), the offensive line needs some work, and a new running back wouldn’t hurt either.
29. Chicago Bears (3-12; Last Ranking: 28)
Daaaaaa Bears have suffered through a miserable season, but it might be worth it based on the draft pick they receive. That being said, they may want to wait until the second round to take a quarterback in this draft class.
30. Los Angeles Rams (4-11; Last Ranking: 29)
Who wants to be the Rams’ head coach?! Based on all the reports, it seems like there are a lot of names in the running. However, that person is going to have their work cut out for them, starting with a complete offensive rebuild. The Goff pick is looking worse and worse by the week.
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-13; Last Ranking: 31)
The 49ers are bad, but at least they can beat the Rams! They have outscored them 50-21 in the two games they played, and Kaepernick looked sharp last week, going 28/38 for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
32. Cleveland Browns (1-14; Last Ranking: 32)
For the first time in a year, we get to talk about the Browns winning a game! As a fan of football, it was truly exciting to watch how excited the Browns fans were. Quite the Christmas present for them!