NFL Power Rankings Week Seventeen: The Looming End

Ab Stanley

1.  Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)
Last week #1
They’ve already clinched the number one seed in the NFC. What’s funny (or surprising) is nobody talks about how difficult it will be to go to Philadelphia and win a playoff game.

2.  New England Patriots (12-3)
Last week #2
Rob Gronkowski is the biggest mismatch in the NFL and is the scariest weapon in the playoffs. The team just signed James Harrison, most likely to debrief coach Bill Belichick on the Steelers’ playbook.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
Last week #3
They will have a first round bye when the playoffs start and an outside shot to clinch the number one seed in the AFC. On a much bigger note they can cap off Cleveland’s winless season by defeating the Browns this weekend.

4.  Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
Last week #4
They can lock up a first round bye with a win on Sunday, giving them one of the best chances ever to play a Superbowl at home. They are the league’s number one ranked defense going into week 17.

5.  Los Angeles Rams (11-4)
Last week #6
They have been the number one scoring offense for most of the season. They will host a playoff game for the first time since the 2003 season, when they were the St. Louis Rams.

6.  Carolina Panthers (11-4)
Last week #7
They’ll need to find a way to score more points if they want to win playoff games. Right now it looks like those will be road playoff games. A win versus Atlanta and a Saints’ loss would give them the division title.

7.  New Orleans Saints (11-4)
Last week #8
A win on Sunday would clinch the NFC South title. New Orleans will be a dangerous matchup for any of the teams in the playoffs, including the AFC side. The big plays on offense are hard to stop. The defense will need to tighten up on the yards they allow, as playoff teams will turn those into points.

8.  Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)
Last week #5
A great defense combined with a great running game makes for a tough opponent. A glaring hole in the passing game will be a problem. They have 11 turnovers in their five losses this season.

8.  Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)
Last week #11
The Chiefs are back! Big plays have led to a three game winning streak and an AFC West crown. Let’s see if their defense can stop anybody going forward. Rookie Pat Mahomes will make his first start this weekend with most of the starters probably sitting out.

9.  Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
Last week #15
A top ten defense that actually scores points. They are an opportunistic bunch, racking up the most interceptions and turnovers overall. They secure a playoff appearance with a win this week.

10.  Atlanta Falcons (9-6)
Last week #9
Atlanta would like to walk into the playoffs instead of backing in. A win over Carolina clinches a playoff berth. They can also get in with a Seattle loss. In any event, turnovers and penalties continue to be their downfall. Keep those down to a minimum and good things happen.

11.  Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
Last week #12
The Seahawks can get into the playoffs with a win on Sunday and a Falcons’ loss. Russell Wilson is a legitimate MVP candidate, leading his team in both passing and rushing. He has 4,312 yards from scrimmage and 35 combined touchdowns. He does everything for Seattle.

12.  Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
Last week #14
I’ve endorsed the Chargers in recent weeks and won’t back off. Even though they don’t control their own destiny, they would be a dangerous team to play in the playoffs. A Tennessee loss would give them a chance to make it in.

13.  Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
Last week #10
Jerry Jones got up and left Dallas’ last game versus Seattle after the performance he saw. The Cowboys are eliminated from playoff contention. They have a lot of questions, especially with wide receiver Dez Bryant.

14.  Buffalo Bills (8-7)
Last week #13
Buffalo has a slim chance to get into the playoffs. They have been up and down all season. I wouldn’t give them much of a shot at winning a game if they do get in.

15.  Detroit Lions (8-7)
Last week #17
They almost held on for a playoff spot at the end there. They will try to finish up the season on a bright note and a winning record.

16.  Tennessee Titans (8-7)
Last week #16
Tennessee has lost three straight games after notching their eighth win of the season. However, they still control their own destiny. A win over first place Jacksonville and they are in. They might be in luck, Jacksonville has already wrapped up the division and the number three seed.

17.  Washington Redskins (7-8)
Last week #23
Washington better break the bank for Kirk Cousins or else they will be at the top of the 2019 draft.

18.  Green Bay Packers (7-8)
Last week #18
The Packers had a lost season and could still avoid having a losing season. They have been a team that has had injury problems for about three seasons now. I wonder if that’s a coincidence?

20.  Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
Last week #21
The Cardinals have won three out of five, allowing just over 10 points a game in that span. They can avoid a losing season with a win on Sunday.

21.  Oakland Raiders (6-9)
Last week #19
Oakland has lost three straight games to knock them out of playoff contention. Hopefullythis off-season they will add players on defense and the offensive line, where they need much improvement.

22.  Miami Dolphins (6-9)
Last week #20
Jay Cutler has not decided if he wants to return for another season in Miami. My question is why is Miami entertaining the thought of bringing him back at all?

23.  Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)
Last week #26
Marvin Lewis will coach his final game in Cincinnati on Sunday. Will it also be Andy Dalton’s last game?

24.  Chicago Bears (5-10)
Last week #25
The Bears want to finish the season on a high note. They will be looking towards improving the roster in the off season. They will definitely be looking for wide receivers (or tight ends) that can catch.

25.  San Francisco 49ers (5-10)
Last week #28
The 49ers look like a playoff team with Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback. They should enjoy the upcoming offseason, as the future looks bright.

26.  New York Jets (5-10)
Last week #22
The Jets have lost three straight games scoring a combined 26 points. They would love to get revenge on the Patriots this Sunday for a controversial loss earlier in the season.

27.  Denver Broncos (5-10)
Last week #24
Denver’s defense has been great all season. The offense has made it tough sledding the whole way through. They are linked to a number of free agent and draftees at the quarterback position.

28.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
Last week #27
The Bucs have been relegated to spoiler team after a disappointing season. They are one of the two teams that has had to play 16 straight games and it showed. They’ve dealt with injuries to key players and a defense that never got on track. Dirk Koetter has become one of those coordinator turned head coaches that can’t coach the other side of the ball.

29.  Houston Texans (4-11)
Last week #29
Houston has all but ended their season. No other team is looking forward to next season more. With the injured stars they have and a high draft pick, next year should be very interesting.

30.  Indianapolis Colts (3-12)
Last week #30
I don’t know how head coach Chuck Pagano can survive this season. The Colts as a franchise have a whole heap of questions from head coach to quarterback.

31.  New York Giants (2-13)
Last week #31
More issues seem to arise every week with this team. Now it’s internal bickering amongst teammates. The roster will look very different next season as changes seem to be warranted everywhere in the organization.

32.  Cleveland Browns (0-15)
Last week #32
The Browns have clinched the first overall pick in the draft for the second consecutive season. Their last chance at a win comes against first place Pittsburgh. I wonder if the 2008 Detroit Lions drink champagne if Cleveland wins and they remain the only winless team in NFL history?

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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