Another NFL regular season is about to come to an end. The last rookie quarterback taken in the first round will end the season with the best starting record. The Browns could end the season with the same record as the Steelers!? In his first season as the starter, Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 48 touchdowns with a week left to play!? Aaron Donald currently leads the league in sacks, with 19.5. That is the most ever in a season for a DT, and only three away from tying the single-season record. This season has been a rollercoaster ride and the playoffs shouldn’t be much different. Let’s jump into the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings.
32.) Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 32) (3-12) 31.) Oakland Raiders (31) (4-11) 30.) San Francisco 49ers (30) (4-11) 29.) Jacksonville Jaguars (29) (5-10) 28.) New York Jets (28) (5-10) 27.) Buffalo Bills (27) (5-10) 26.) Detroit Lions (26) (5-10) 25.) New York Giants (25) (5-10) 24.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24) (5-10) 23.) Denver Broncos (18) (6-9) 22.) Cincinnati Bengals (22) (6-9) 21.) Carolina Panthers (19) (6-9) 20.) Atlanta Falcons (23) (6-9) 19.) Washington Redskins (20) (7-8) 18.) Green Bay Packers (21) (6-8-1) 17.) Miami Dolphins (16) (7-8) 16.) Cleveland Browns (17) (7-7-1) 15.) Pittsburgh Steelers (7) (8-6-1) 14.) Philadelphia Eagles (15) (8-7) 13.) Tennessee Titans (14) (9-6) 12.) Minnesota Vikings (13) (8-6-1) 11.) Indianapolis Colts (11) (9-6)
10.) Seattle Seahawks (12) (9-6)
Seattle out-dueled one of the best offenses in the league this past Sunday, while also clinching a playoff berth. Many counted Seattle out before the season when Pete Carroll virtually fired his entire coaching staff. Despite some questionable calls, cutting Richard Sherman and drafting a running back in the first round, Carroll has his team back in the playoffs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Seattle made a deep run in the playoffs.
9.) Dallas Cowboys (10) (9-6)
After starting the season off 3-5, the Cowboys have won six of their last seven, clinching the NFC East along the way. Dallas’ offense is averaging 20.2 points per game, while their defense is allowing 19.3 points per game. While they have had some offensive explosions in some games, Dallas doesn’t do well if they are behind in games. Barring a few different scenarios, Dallas is likely to match up with Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.
8.) Baltimore Ravens (9) (9-6)
Lamar Jackson is now 5-1 as the Ravens starting quarterback. Before Flacco went down with an injury Baltimore was sitting at 4-5 and rumor was that John Harbaugh was on the hot seat. After their current streak of wins the Ravens now sit atop the AFC North. All they have to do is win and they clinch the division. With a little help, they could even achieve a first-round bye.
7.) Houston Texans (6) (10-5)
Houston has cooled down a bit, losing two of their last three, after their impressive nine game winning streak. They fought their way back against the Eagles, but Jake Elliot sealed the win in the final seconds with a thirty-five yard field goal. Demaryius Thomas suffered an achilles injury and his season is over. Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins can give opposing defenses all they can handle, but Houston’s defense is what will hold them back in the playoffs.
6.) New England Patriots (8) (10-5)
New England hasn’t really looked like a team capable of winning the Super Bowl this season. When you have Brady and Bill, you can never count them out though. Josh Gordon has been suspended indefinitely. With the loss of Gordon and Gronk not being the Gronk he once was, other receivers will have to step up. New England has a plethora of running backs, but are lacking in the receiver department.
5.) Kansas City Chiefs (4) (11-4)
All four of the Chiefs losses this season have been in prime-time games. Kansas City initially thought that Kendall Fuller would be able to play against Seattle, but he wasn’t quite ready. The Chiefs have shown that their offense can compete with anyone, but their defense has been a huge liability this season. Their defense is allowing the 4thmost points this season, 27.9. Kansas City currently holds the number one seed in the AFC, but can fall all the way to the fifth seed.
4.) Los Angeles Chargers (3) (11-4)
Los Angeles was on the verge of taking the lead against the Ravens when the Ravens ran an Antonio Gates fumble back for a touchdown. The Ravens defense proved to be too much against the Chargers. Rivers was sacked four times and threw two costly interceptions. Los Angeles currently hold the five seed, but could clinch home field and the two seed with a victory and a Chiefs loss in week 17.
3.) Los Angeles Rams (5) (12-3)
No Gurley, no problem. Todd Gurley missed the Rams matchup against the Cardinals, but recently acquired CJ Anderson stepped in to rush for 167 yards. Los Angeles held the Cards to a scoreless second half and dominated the game from start to finish. David Johnson was held to just thirty-five yards rushing on the day. There is a chance the Rams rest Gurley this week so that he is as healthy as he can be for their playoff push. The Rams currently hold the second seed in the NFC.
2.) Chicago Bears (2) (11-4)
While it wasn’t pretty, the Bears came out victorious against the 49ers this past week. Chicago has won eight of their last nine games. The lone loss coming when Chase Daniel was under center. Eddie Jackson and Aaron Lynch were both out against San Francisco. It hasn’t been reported how serious the injuries are, but Chicago seems hopeful to have them back for the playoffs. Chicago has the three seed locked up for the playoffs.
1.) New Orleans Saints (1) (13-2)
Not only has New Orleans now clinched the NFC South in back-to-back seasons, but they have claimed the first overall seed in the NFC. The Saints offense was back on track this past week when they put up thirty-one points in their victory over the Steelers. The MVP will likely be between Brees and Mahomes this season. The last time the regular season MVP went on to take home the Lombardi trophy? Kurt Warner in 1999.