Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.
#1) Seattle Seahawks ( 1)
The Seahawks reclaim the top spot in Week 16 after a dominate performance that will likely cost some of the Giants’ coaching staff their jobs. Seattle is just one win or a Saints loss away from locking up home-field advantage in the NFC. They finish out the season at home against ARI and STL, so one win is clearly doable.
#2) Denver Broncos ( 1)
Denver really dropped the ball on Thursday against the Chargers. Thankfully for them, Patriots also came away with a disappointing loss to the Dolphins, which means they can still lock up home-field advantage in the AFC with wins over the lowly Texans and Raiders to finish out the season.
#3) San Francisco 49ers ( 1)
The 49ers look like a team poised to do damage in the playoffs. Vernon Davis is now in the discussion for the best tight end in the league and it really helps to have Michael Crabtree back with a few weeks to spare before the postseason is underway. SF will likely travel to whoever wins the NFC North in round one, unless Dallas is capable winning the NFC East.
#4) Carolina Panthers ( 3)
While the Panthers did come away with a road win on Sunday, moving up three spots really has more to do with the Saints and Patriots losing this past weekend. All wins are important, especially at this time of the year, but it would have been shocking to see the Jets beat the Panthers excellent defense. I’m not sure why I’m talking about the Jets when Week 16 includes a rematch with the Saints. A win on Sunday would leave Carolina as the No. 2 seed. Can’t wait for this game!
#5) New Orleans Saints ( 2)
To see the Saints down to the Rams 27-3 last weekend was just shocking to say the least. Jeff Fisher really had his players ready to play and I’m sure that Rob Ryan spurning them for the Saints factored in as well. New Orleans has really struggled on the road which includes all four of their losses and things don’t get any easier as they travel to Charlotte to play the Panthers this weekend with the No. 2 seed on the line.
#6) New England Patriots ( 1)
This is the type of game where we just expect the Patriots to pull it out, but this team is no longer putting teams away or winning convincingly. In their past five games, the Pats haven’t beaten a team by more than three points. They have a three point win over the Texans and a one point win over the Browns that should have been a loss. New England is in bad shape and they travel to BAL in Week 16.
#7) Kansas City Chiefs ( 1)
I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the fact that Alex Smith threw five touchdowns passes traveled a combined 13 yards downfield. How is that possible? Clearly, Jamaal Charles is amazing and the Raiders defense is among the worst units in the league. They get the Colts in Week 16, but if the Broncos somehow lost to the Texans and they won, KC would be the No. 1 seed in the AFC for whatever that’s worth.
#8) Philadelphia Eagles ( 1)
The Eagles move up one spot this week after they just got hammered by the Adrian-Peterson-less Vikings. Oh by the way, MIN was playing their backup QB, backup TE, and didn’t have their top-three CBs. I have no idea how the Eagles move up in the rankings after that horrendous performance, but they did. They have a big Sunday Night matchup against the Bears with a lot on the line.
#9) Arizona Cardinals ( 1)
The Cardinals pulled out a tight one against the Titans this past weekend and are easily one of my favorite teams this season. A win over the Seahawks and Panthers loss would be enough for them to be in the No. 5 seed. I know that’s asking a lot, but I wouldn’t completely rule out the Cardinals chances of hanging around against SEA. I’m at least hopeful.
#10) Cincinnati Bengals ( 4)
Cincinnati got hammered by the Steelers in more ways than just losing the game. The Bengals were supposed to get things all but wrapped up against a Steelers team that is all but out of the playoffs and yet they looked awful. I’m not sure if this is just a bad game from them or if they are going to eventually get stopped like this in the playoffs. A win over MIN and a BAL win would get them into the No. 2 seed, despite how bad things went on Sunday.
#11) Chicago Bears
The Bears got some much needed help last night from Justin Tucker and his ridiculous 61-yard field goal. They now control their own destiny from here on, but they have two pretty tough matchups in the Eagles and Packers remaining on their schedule. It will be interesting to see if the results are better for the Marc Trestman-led Bears as opposed to the Lovie Smith version.
#12) Baltimore Ravens ( 1)
What a performance from Justin Tucker! Although he officially eliminated me from the fantasy playoffs. Anyways, the Ravens now control their destiny, but still have tough games against the Patriots and Bengals ahead of them. Even with the tough competition, BAL has to like their chances against these two teams given that both of them have some obvious flaws. If they win out and the Patriots lose to the Bills, they would be the N0. 2 seed.
#13) Indianapolis Colts ( 3)
I’m not a fan of this Colts team. I’m just not. Even after a convincing win over the Texans, it’s hard to forget about how bad they’ve played in the past few weeks. Beating the team who has all but locked up the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft isn’t much to get excited about. They struggle to do a lot of things well and it looks like they will have to play to the Chiefs in round one of the playoffs. I would be shocked to see them playing in the second-round.
#14) Green Bay Packers
I have no idea how Mike McCarthy did not go to Scott Tolzien in the second-half, but that’s just another reason why I’m not an NFL coach. Matt Flynn deserves some credit, but so too does Eddie Lacy, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams. The Packers still had to make some incredible plays to pull this off and I still can’t believe they actually did it. They now control their own destiny, which is more than they could have asked for. We’ll have to see where Aaron Rodgers is as of Wednesday.
#15) Miami Dolphins ( 2)
Great win for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins. The fact that Miami has managed to fight through the some of their locker room issues and get in a position to make a postseason run is really astounding. The Dolphins do control their playoff destiny and have winnable games against the Bills and Jets to close out the regular season. I’m honestly rooting for them to make it.
#16) San Diego Chargers ( 3)
So much happened in the past two days that you almost forget that the Chargers walked into Denver and beat the Broncos. Clearly a great win over HC Mike McCoy and the ever entertaining Phillip Rivers. However, their chances of making the postseason are not looking too good. They need both the Ravens and Dolphins to lose their remaining games while they win out to get the No. 6 seed. The odds really aren’t in their favor.
#17) Detroit Lions ( 5)
The Lions continue to be an undisciplined team that struggles to take care of the ball. It’s as though Matthew Stafford is playing for style points or something? Jim Schwartz is done if they don’t get into the playoffs, which is increasingly unlikely now that they are behind the Bears and Packers in the NFC North. Lions fans deserve a lot better than that.
#18) Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh really took it to the Bengals on Sunday and are now playing some great football. Although, it’s too late to have any realistic chance of making the playoffs. An offseason full of big decisions lies ahead of them, which likely include some notable players moving on. I expect to be covering them a great deal in the coming months.
#19) Dallas Cowboys ( 4)
Burn it down. That was beyond inexcusable. It’s just incredible to see that much incompetency at the highest level of a pretty sophisticated sport like the NFL. Somehow the Cowboys still control their destiny and will need to beat the Redskins and Eagles to secure an undeserved home playoff game.
#20) St. Louis Rams ( 1)
While the Rams are not going to be playing in the postseason, they have managed to play much better than I ever would have expected with Kellen Clemens as their starting quarterback. St. Louis already has a wealth of young talent, but are likely to get a top-three pick in May thanks to the Redskins awful season. The future is bright for the Rams.
#21) New York Jets ( 1)
The Ravens win on Monday effectively eliminated the Jets from the playoffs, so we can now begin to speculate whether Rex Ryan will be brought back for another season. Earlier this year, I said the Jets should re-sign Ryan to an extension. I still think he’s a great coach, but maybe it’s best for both sides to start fresh. The Jets are still years away from competing for championships and I’m sure Rex would find interest from prospective teams.
#22) Tennessee Titans (2)
The Titans have been a much better team than anyone expected all season long. Their schedule didn’t do them any favors and it’s never easy to overcome losing your starting quarterback for the season. We’ll have to see if they go after Jay Cutler this offseason as some reports have indicated they could.
#23) Minnesota Vikings ( 3)
I really have no idea how Matt Cassel is winning games without Adrian Peterson and other Vikings’ starters, but he has clearly made himself some money this offseason. Backup quarterbacks have never been worth more than they currently are and there is talk that the Vikings intend to keep Cassel and cut Christina Ponder and allow Josh Freeman to walk. We’ll see.
#24) New York Giants ( 1)
The Giants just got shutout at home and only dropped one spot? Granted, they did lose to the No. 1 team in the league and our rankings, but they didn’t even produce a single point! Eli Manning is now Mark Sanchez and OC Kevin Gilbride has no answers whatsoever. They should probably take the next two games off.
#25) Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( 1)
Just when it was looking like Greg Schinao had done enough to save his job, the Bucs are back to losing and are still in contention for a top-five pick. They finish up the season on the road against the Rams and Saints.
#26) Buffalo Bills ( 1)
Buffalo managed to win their just their second game in the past seven contests on Sunday and still managed to drop in the rankings. They actually have more wins than the Buccaneers and yet we still aren’t buying them. Buffalo will need another solid draft class this offseason if they are going to become true contenders in the AFC East.
#27) Jacksonville Jaguars ( 1)
Jacksonville just lost the Bills in a tight game. I was actually hoping they would come away with a win because I’m tired of looking at the Jaguars as a losing franchise. If the season ended today, they would have the No. 4 overall pick.
#28) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons appeared to have won a game that neither team was all that interested in winning. Although, the Redskins did go for two in an attempt to win the game, but it was really just a call to end this contest. Atlanta will be better next season if they can add some help to their offensive and defensive lines and find a replacement to Tony Gonzalez.
#29) Cleveland Browns (1)
I think the Browns have proved more than enough this season and should probably just shut it down for draft purposes. I know that calls into question the integrity of the game to some degree, but there are no moral wins when Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are under center.
#30) Oakland Raiders (3)
Oakland has reemerged as one of the worst teams in the league after they were 3-4 earlier this season. It appears as though they are done with the idea of Terrelle Pryor playing quarterback for them and want to see more from Matt McGloin who will be their starting quarterback for the rest of the season. They currently have the No. 3 overall pick.
#31) Washington Redskins
I would just like to thank Mike Shanahan for attempting to convert a two-point play instead of taking that game into overtime against the Falcons. We all need less of this Redskins team in our lives.
#32) Houston Texans
Good job Wade! Things are only getting worse with Gary Kubiak out of the picture, which means the Texans are just a few losses from the No. 1 pick!