The NFL continues to be confusing each week. I’m honestly not sure what teams are good and what teams are bad anymore. The Patriots suffered their first back-to-back losses since the 2009 season. A Nick Foles-led Eagles team went on the road and handed the Rams their first back-to-back loss of the McVay era. The last time the Falcons and Packers both missed the post-season, Favre and Vick were still under center. Joe Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore appears to be over, as he is now healthy, but Lamar Jackson is still their starter. There was a lot of movement in the rankings this week. Let’s dive into the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings.
32.) Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 31) (3-11) 31.) Oakland Raiders (30) (3-11) 30.) San Francisco 49ers (32) (4-10) 29.) Jacksonville Jaguars (28) (4-10) 28.) New York Jets (27) (4-10) 27.) Buffalo Bills (29) (5-9) 26.) Detroit Lions (25) (5-9) 25.) New York Giants (23) (5-9) 24.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22) (5-9) 23.) Atlanta Falcons (26) (5-9) 22.) Cincinnati Bengals (24) (6-8) 21.) Green Bay Packers (19) (5-8-1) 20.) Washington Redskins (21) (7-7) 19.) Carolina Panthers (18) (6-8) 18.) Denver Broncos (17) (6-8) 17.) Cleveland Browns (20) (6-7-1) 16.) Miami Dolphins (13) (7-7) 15.) Philadelphia Eagles (16) (7-7) 14.) Tennessee Titans (14) (8-6) 13.) Minnesota Vikings (15) (7-6-1) 12.) Seattle Seahawks (9) (8-6) 11.) Indianapolis Colts (12) (8-6)
10.) Dallas Cowboys (8) (8-6)
For the first time in fifteen years, the Cowboys were held scoreless. Marlon Mack ran all over them, rushing for 139 yards. Dallas had only allowed one other rusher over 100 yards on the season, in Week 2. Sean Lee did return this past week, but Zack Martin missed his first ever career game. Although the Cowboys haven’t locked up the division yet, they have the easiest remaining schedule in their division.
9.) Baltimore Ravens (11) (8-6)
Lamar Jackson became the starter due to Flacco’s injury and never looked back. Since becoming the starter, the Ravens have won four of their last five. That one loss came against the Chiefs, in which the Ravens almost came out victorious. It was reported that Baltimore will move on from Flacco after this season. Baltimore currently holds a wild card spot, but with their recent string of wins, they now have a shot at taking the division.
8.) New England Patriots (6) (9-5)
Usually when talking about the Patriots, it is in regards to Tom Brady breaking another record. But this week, it’s not. For the first time since 2009, the Pats have now lost back-to-back games. The lone touchdown they scored against Pittsburgh was on busted coverage, which left Chris Hogan wide open. Right now, this team doesn’t look like it can win make a deep run in the playoffs this year, but you can never count them out.
7.) Pittsburgh Steelers (10) (8-5-1)
The Steelers got a much-needed win this week. They were coming off a three-game losing streak and the Ravens are knocking on the door. Baltimore has won four of their last five games, giving them a shot at the division. Pittsburgh is on the road this week against the Saints, then face the Bengals at home in their final game of the season.
6.) Houston Texans (7) (10-4)
After losing for the first time since September, the Texans had a bit of a scare against the Jets. They did end up coming out on top, but it was a close matchup. Lamar Miller left the game early with an injury and never returned. Watson led the team in rushing, tallying twenty-six yards on the ground. If the season ended today, the Texans would have a first round bye and claim the number two seed in the AFC.
5.) Los Angeles Rams (4) (11-3)
The Rams suffered their first back-to-back losses of the McVay era. The team got a scare, as Todd Gurley left the game with a knee injury, but he was able to return. Jared Goff has had a rough last few weeks. In his last three games, he has a 1-7 TD-INT ratio, and is only completing 55% of his passes. The Rams have lost two of those three games. Gurley is a monster, but the offense can’t be successful if their starting quarterback isn’t getting the job done.
4.) Kansas City Chiefs (1) (11-3)
Eric Berry made his season debut on a limited basis in the Chiefs loss to the Chargers. The Chiefs top cornerback, Kendall Fuller, will require wrist surgery. Andy Reid did tell reporters that it is a short-term situation, and that there is a “good chance” he plays this week. Even with Fuller healthy, their secondary has been suspect. Despite the loss this week, Kansas City is in prime position to win the division if they can win out.
3.) Los Angeles Chargers (5) (11-3)
The Chargers overcame a fourteen-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game against Kansas City. Instead of risking overtime, Anthony Lynn went for two, icing the game. The Chargers left the door open for themselves to win the division, but the Chiefs have to lose a game and Los Angeles has to win out, as the Chiefs have the tie-breaker. Keenan Allen left the game early with a hip injury. They are hopeful to not only have Allen back, but Melvin Gordon as well this week.
2.) Chicago Bears (3) (10-4)
With their win over the Packers, the Bears clinched the division for the first time since 2010. The Bears sacked Rodgers five times on the day, while only limiting Green Bay to one sack. Rodgers also threw his first pick since week 4 of the season, which was only the second interception he has thrown this year. Eddie Jackson, the man that intercepted Rodgers, did suffer an ankle injury. The team is currently unsure how much time he may miss. The NFC as a whole has been underwhelming, as of late. Chicago has won 7 of their last 8, that loss coming without their starting quarterback.
1.) New Orleans Saints (2) (12-2)
While it wasn’t pretty, the Saints went on the road against a division rival and won. In their win over the Panthers, New Orleans scored their fewest points in a win since 1998. While they have already clinched the division, the Saints can now set their eyes on a first round bye. All they have to do is win their next two games, both being at home, then the NFC will run through New Orleans in the playoffs.
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