NFL Power Rankings Week Sixteen: A Picture of the Playoffs

Ab Stanley

1.  Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)
Last week #2
The Eagles led by Nick Foles looked eerily similar to the Eagles led by injured starter Carson Wentz. Winning the NFC means beating the Eagles in Philadelphia, a feat no team has accomplished this season.

2.  New England Patriots (11-3)
Last week #3
Amidst controversy (it wasn’t a catch), the Patriots now control their own destiny for home field advantage through the AFC side of the playoffs. As long as Rob Gronkowski continues his Incredible Hulk act, the Patriots will continue to score touchdowns.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
Last week #1
Pittsburgh blew a chance to take the AFC reigns. They still have a chance to do so going forward, but now injuries might be a concern.

4.  Minnesota Vikings (11-3)
Last week #4
Minnesota has four wins in which they’ve held opponents to single digits. Winning nine out of ten games, they are hoping to lock up a first round bye. Their last two match ups are winnable games.

5.  Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)
Last week #5
The Jaguars will eliminate one of the AFC powerhouse teams, if given the chance come January. Blake Bortles has played really well for the last month or so.

6.  Los Angeles Rams (10-4)
Last week#6
Going to Seattle and winning is always a tough task. The Rams made it look easy. With the NFC playoff picture starting to materialize, who wants to travel to L.A. for a playoff game? Better question is, who thinks they are going to beat the Rams at home?

7.  Carolina Panthers (10-4)
Last week #7
Carolina seems to struggle early with teams and then pull away. Back to back 31-24 wins with seven combined turnovers. Still a top five defense in yards, the Panthers will have to play a full 60 minute game if they want to advance to/in the Playoffs.

8.  New Orleans Saints (10-4)
Last week #8
The Saints offensively are a top three team. They’ve scored over 30 seven times this season. New Orleans controls their own destiny to win the NFC south.

9.  Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
Last week #9
Let’s face facts, this year’s version of the Atlanta Falcons are a defensive team. They average just over 22 points per game and give up just over 20. Close games have been the norm this season. Scoring 20 points have guaranteed them a win so far this season.

10.  Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
Last week #12
After a three game losing streak where they failed to score double digits, Dallas has won three straight. Finding the running game recently has helped. The return of Ezekiel Elliot will help more.

11.  Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)
Last week #15
Kansas City has taken control of the AFC West with two straight wins. They have found the big plays recently, a trend that had eluded them in previous weeks.

12.  Seattle Seahawks (8-6)
Last week #10
The Seahawks are starting to look shaky, giving up 72 points and three turnovers in the previous two contests. If they can sneak into the playoffs they will play all road games, not a winning formula for them in recent years.

13.  Buffalo Bills (8-6)
Last week #16
Buffalo used to be a top ten defense, now they are just getting past teams in wins. They are surprisingly still in the playoff hunt with average play on both sides of the ball.

14.  Los Angeles Chargers (7-7)
Last week #11
The Chargers came all the way back from 0-4 to having a real chance at winning the division. Their defense is now third in points allowed. With two winnable games versus the Jets and Raiders, the Chargers can still make history by reaching the playoffs.

15.  Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Last week #12
The turnover machine Ravens are an opportunistic defense ranked in the top ten. In a crowded playoff hunt, the Ravens might be a team nobody wants to face if they manage to get in.

16.  Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Last week #14
Tennessee can stop the run pretty good. They are in the middle of the pack in almost every other category. When will Marcus Marriotta show us what he’s made of? Maybe he has already.

17.  Detroit Lions (8-6)
Last week #17
The Lions have key losses at the worst possible times. They are on the outside looking in at the postseason right now. Imagine a ten win season where you don’t make the playoffs.

18.  Green Bay Packers (7-7)
Last week #18
The Packers tried to rush (yes rush) Aaron Rodgers back from a shoulder injury. After losing on Sunday, their playoff hopes have all but dissipated. They are going to rush Rodgers right back to the inactive list until next season.

19.  Oakland Raiders (6-8)
Last week #19
The overrated Raiders aren’t particularly good in any category. Underachievers mixed in with top talent is the reason for an up and down season.

20.  Miami Dolphins (6-8)
Last week #20
The Jekyll and Hyde Dolphins can make Tom Brady look old one week, then follow it up with a dud the next. To say they struggle on offense is like saying Hurricanes are bad: just stating the obvious.

21.  Arizona Cardinals (6-8)
Last week #21
I might have to give the Cardinals a pass on the season. I know injuries play a part on every team, but come on. Every week it seems the headline is “Cardinals such and such done for the season”. Eight of their games have been against teams with a winning record.

22.  New York Jets (5-9)
Last week #22
The Jets are a scrappy bunch that have lost their edge in recent weeks. They play as hard as they can, but can’t string wins together. They will be looking for a talent upgrade in the draft, especially at quarterback.

23.  Washington Redskins (6-8)
Last week #23
Washington has talented players that somehow don’t translate into wins. In fact, they either win or get handled as they have almost no close games. In fourteen games this season, only two have ended with a margin of three points or less.

24.  Denver Broncos (5-9)
Last week #28
A long losing streak guarantees Denver a losing season. They are trying to finish the season strong however, winning their last two games. The offense gives up too many turnovers, which leads to bad situations for a good defense.

25.  Chicago Bears (4-10)
Last week #25
The Bears are way out of playoff contention. So letting young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky go through the growing pains now might be the best plan they can have going forward.

26.  Cincinnati Bengals
Last week #24
Head coach Marvin Lewis will part ways with the Bengals at season’s end. He’s 123 -112 -3 in 238 games as Bengals head coach. That includes seven playoff appearances with zero wins. I could say he had a great run considering previous coaching regimes in Cincinnati.

27.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)
Last week #26
Big play Jameis and company can let it fly. A team with such a big play capability should have way more wins. They have 90 penalties resulting in 708 yards lost on the season. Penalties kill drives, and three and outs rarely result in wins.

28.  San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
Last week #29
Things are looking up for San Francisco. They are currently riding a three game winning streak, their longest since the 2014 season. Jimmy Garoppolo is 3-0 as a starter with a 98.0 passer rating, 1,026 yards, and three touchdowns. What a trade that was.

29.  Houston Texans (4-10)
Last week #27
Houston lost their last four games and the last one was ugly. Houston is a team that can’t wait until the season is over.

30.  Indianapolis Colts (3-11)
Last week #30
The Colts are a team of no-names and used to be greats. Their offensive and defensive ranks are in the 30s. To put it in perspective, the Cleveland Browns would salivate at a chance to play the Colts right now.

31.  New York Giants (2-12)
Last week #31
The Giants season has just been bad. Even with a good outing from Eli Manning, they still lose. We all know changes are pending. Maybe they build a good offensive line for the next quarterback. A consistent run game wouldn’t hurt, either.

32.  Cleveland Browns (0-14)
Last week #32
I can’t wait to put “Browns win their first game” in this season’s power rankings. With two games left, it doesn’t look good for me getting that chance.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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