Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Week 16 NFL Power Rankings
Mike Mulholland – Getty Images

The Week 16 NFL Power Rankings are a mess. It’s kind of fun because we have a new No. 32 and a new No. 1 team this week. But, the middle of the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings are a total log jam. It was really difficult to sort through everything after the results came in this week. But, as always, we’re going to do our best to try to sort through this mess.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

Last week: 31

Last week, I lamented the fact that I couldn’t move this dumpster fire of a team down to No. 32. But, the week Urban Meyer gets fired the waters of the basement parted like the red sea. Now, I have every excuse to put this team where they belong in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. Let me know when you’re ready to talk about what you’ve done, Jaguars. Until then, you can stay in timeout.

31. New York Jets (3-11)

Last Week: 29

Zach Wilson running for a touchdown was kind of cool. And, hey, the Jets looked like they were going to bring the Miami Dolphins back down to earth there for a little while. But, this is a bad football team. It was really only a matter of a time until they showed their true colors. For that reason, I have to send them hurtling down in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings.

30. New York Giants (4-10)

Last Week: 28

What is going on out there in New Jersey? Seriously, both of those teams play football like they’ve just ingested some toxic water or something. I don’t know what to say about the Giants at this point. But, playing Mike Glennon at quarterback certainly isn’t going to make it better

29. Detroit Lions (2-11-1)

Last Week: 32

The Detroit Lions are 2-3-1 since their bye week. Somehow, they’ve almost become a .500 team after that god awful start. Is Dan Campbell the answer? He sure made Kliff Kingsbury look like a fool this week. Man, if the Lions keep winning they might get themselves out of the bottom five despite sitting at No. 32 most of the season.

28. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Last Week: 26

The memories of the Panthers’ 3-0 start seem like a distant memory. Now, they’re hanging out in the bottom five of the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. Sam Darnold was clearly the wrong choice. Cam Newton isn’t what he used to be. PJ Walker definitely isn’t the answer. At this point, might as well bunker down and embrace the tank because there’s nothing left to play for this year.

27. Chicago Bears (4-10)

Last Week: 27

Is Matt Nagy gone yet? This season had so much potential to build something special. But, it’s all looking like a waste. Hopefully Justin Fields can take a step forward next year. Right now, there’s not a lot to look forward to in Chicago.

26. Houston Texans (3-11)

Last Week: 30

Nobody expected this season to be worth much for the Houston Texans. They pretty much had to take a hard reset on the Watson/O’Brien era. Not just because of the drama, but also because there’s not much to build on. It might be a few years before this team is relevant again. But, at least they’re still chugging away and dominating true cellar dwellers like the Jaguars. Rest assured, Texans fans. It might never get THAT bad.

25. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)

Last Week: 24

The dream of making a miracle playoff run is close to dead at this point. The new seventh playoff seed means they’re still technically only a game behind in the standings. But, come on. They would have to beat a resurgent Lions team, the Bills, and the Saints to get there and even then they’d need a bit of help. I don’t see that happening. Better luck next year, Falcons.

24. Seattle Seahawks (5-9)

Last Week: 23

The Seahawks probably got screwed a little by a bad DPI call this week against the Rams. But, that fact doesn’t do much but disguise the fact that this Seahawks team has been dead in the water for a while. It felt like they might breathe new life when Russell Wilson came back to start over Geno Smith. But, I don’t think there’s any saving this football team. Enjoy the draft picks you’ll get for Russ in the offseason.

23. Washington Football Team (6-8)

Last Week: 20

Last week Washington let their slim chances of taking the division slip out of their grasp against the Cowboys. This week, they fell asleep against the Philadelphia Eagles. In a two week span, they went from one of the more exciting teams with momentum to a team that looks like they have no chance to make the playoffs. They’re plummeting in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings as a result.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)

Last Week: 25

The Steelers making the playoffs after the way this season has gone seems like a fool’s dream. But, somehow, they’re still alive. Insanely, winning the AFC North might be the path of least resistance versus winning a wild card seed. But, after pulling a win out of nowhere against the Titans I don’t think anything would surprise me at this point.

21. New Orleans Saints (7-7)

Last Week: 22

I wanted to give the Saints more of a boost in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings for knocking off the Bucs. Most of the time, that would be a huge statement that this team will not go quietly into the night. But, it seems pretty par for the course. No matter how bad the Saints are and how dominant the Bucs look, it seems like the Saints always have their number. Now, if they find a way to win out, I’ll be forced to sing a different tune.

20. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)

Last Week: 21

The Raiders are still alive in the playoff race. I gotta admit, every time I think they’re dead, they rise like a zombie. “Don’t count us out yet” they say. Beating the injury and COVID riddled Browns on a last second field goal might not be the most impressive way to win. But, it’s a win nonetheless and it keeps them only one game out of the playoff race with three games left to play.

19. Miami Dolphins (7-7)

Last Week: 19

Barely beating the Jets keeps the Dolphins’ slim hopes of making the playoffs alive. But, when I say slim I mean SLIM. An ugly win is a win nonetheless, but it didn’t inspire much confidence in the Dolphins’ ability to actually win out. 9-8 is unlikely to be enough to make the dance. So, the margin for error remains super tight. Hence, why I’m not moving them up in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. 

18. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)

Last Week: 18

I’m keeping the Vikings in the same spot in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings because I really wasn’t impressed with their win over the Bears. They’re back in control of the No. 7 seed right now. But, the way they’ve been playing I really have trouble believing they can win out against the Rams, Packers, and Bears again.

17. Denver Broncos (7-7)

Last Week: 16

The Broncos may have lost their best shot at making the playoffs this week in a 15-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have a great defense, but that Broncos offense is broken. With a three game stretch against the Raiders, Chargers, and Chiefs remaining, the razor thin hopes of bouncing back to steal a playoff spot seem virtually extinct.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Last Week: 17

Right now, the Eagles are tied for the No. 7 playoff spot. Not to mention, that tie is with the Minnesota Vikings, who almost definitely will not hold on to that spot. I’ve got them just on the edge of the playoff picture in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings because, honestly, they could be part of it next week. They beat the Washington Football Team by double digits this week and now only need to finish strong against other NFC East competition. Shouldn’t be too tough.

15. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Last Week: 15

Losing Lamar Jackson for a critical two-week stretch may have doomed the Ravens’ season. I know Tyler Huntley has been fine. But, with a tough matchup against the Bengals this week, the Ravens are in danger of failing to win a football game the entire month of december.

14. Cleveland Browns (7-7)

Last Week: 13

Losing the way the Browns lost this week has to sting if you’re a Browns fan. They had momentum and a chance to take control of the AFC North. But, the decimated state of their roster proved to be too much to overcome. And even then, still barely! They feel like a team that should be in the playoffs this year. Unfortunately, there is a strong possibility they won’t be if they don’t finish strong. That could be tough with the Packers, Steelers, and Bengals coming up.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

Last Week: 14

The Cincinnati Bengals are back in control of the AFC North after a hard-fought win over the Denver Broncos. But, they can’t get too comfortable with that win. A pivotal game against the Baltimore Ravens looms this week. The Bengals beat the hell out of the Ravens earlier this year in Baltimore. So, doing it again in Cincinnati shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Problem is the Bengals’ record at home hasn’t been quite as impressive as on the road this year.

12. Arizona Cardinals (10-4)

Last Week: 9

The Arizona Cardinals are cooling off at the exact wrong time. Are they in danger of being another one of those teams that gets off to a hot start only to look like minced meat by the time the playoffs start? Hopefully they’ll be getting a couple of guys back by the time the playoffs get here. But, they have to play the red-hot Colts next week and are only a tiebreaker ahead of the Los Angeles Rams. Their stranglehold on the NFC West now appears to be more of a light tug.

11. Tennessee Titans (9-5)

Last Week: 7

Speaking of teams barely holding onto their division, the Titans might be in some serious trouble. They’re only a game ahead of the Indianapolis Colts when we all thought they’d run away with the division weeks ago. They still hold a season sweep over the Colts, so it would take the epic collapse continuing for another couple of weeks to lose control of the division.

But, the way the Titans have been playing lately, does anyone think that’s out of the question? Hopefully the Titans aren’t dead in the water by the time King Henry comes back.

10. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

Last Week: 12

The Bills got back on track this week against the Panthers. Also, they got some help against the Colts. So, they could actually take back control of the AFC West with a win over the Patriots this week. Then again, they’ll need to put up more of a fight than they did when they let Mac Jones beat them by only throwing three passes and two completions.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

Last Week: 8

The poor Chargers had the division in front of them until the mean old Chiefs had to go spoil their fun. They’re in danger of falling out of the top 10 of the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings this week because of it. With a win over most of their wild card competition in their back pocket, they should be able to coast to a playoff berth. But, crazier things have happened. So, don’t get lazy.

8. San Francisco 49ers (8-6)

Last Week: 10

Wow. The team that started 2-4 is now in firm control after a playoff seed after winning six of their last eight games. Truly remarkable. The job isn’t done yet, though. They’re still only a game ahead in the Wild Card race and need to finish strong against the Titans, Texans, and Rams to get where they want to be.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4)

Last Week: 4

I don’t know what it is about the Saints, but the Bucs seem to rarely ever be able to knock off the Saints. You know, other than last year in the divisional round. But, still, it seems like the Saints are always there to deal a blow when the Bucs aren’t prepared. It’s not going to hurt their playoff chances too badly. But, it does hurt their quest for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Now, they slide all the way down to No. 3 and once again need some luck to get other teams out of their way.

6. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

Last Week: 11

The NFL season is a long season. So, the Colts turning around their season still seems unlikely to bring them a division championship, even though the Titans are floundering. I’m giving them the credit they can’t get from the standings in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings, though. Someone has to recognize this team deserves to be considered the best in the AFC South.

5. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Last Week: 6

Regardless of the Cowboys’ skid back in November, they’re reestablishing themselves in December. They’ve now won three in a row since their disappointing outing on Thanksgiving. Also, the win clinched the NFC East, which looked to be a bit in doubt there for a minute. The NFC East isn’t very good. But, they’re still one of only two teams to clinch their division as of the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. That deserves some credit.

4. Los Angeles Rams (10-4)

Last Week: 5

After getting some help from the Lions, the Rams are now back to being competitive for the NFC West. As of right now, they hold the same record as the Cardinals. Unfortunately, the Cardinals hold the tiebreaker due to their division record. The Rams still need a little bit of help. But, it seems likely they’ll get it. All they need to do is keep winning and they have a really good shot at the division crown.

3. New England Patriots (9-5)

Last Week: 1

The party had to come to an end at some point. The Patriots are still a dangerous team in the AFC right now. But, they might not be the best after losing to the Colts. In fact, they could end up not even being the best in their division if they fall to the Bills next week. After starting 2-4, the margin for error was always super thin. But, you gotta give them credit for that incredible run they went on.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

Last Week: 3

The Chiefs seem like an unstoppable force at this point. Their win over the Chargers solidified them as the dominant force we all feared they’d return to being eventually. One more win and they’ll probably clinch the division. They’re holding a slim lead for the AFC’s No. 1 seed right now. But, they seem like the most likely team to take it home.

1. Green Bay Packers (11-3)

Last Week: 2

The Green Bay Packers are back to being on top in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. It was looking rough there for a minute as they squandered a lead against the Baltimore Ravens. But, I think John Harbaugh made the decision he made because we all knew Aaron Rodgers was going to go win it in overtime. The Packers are now the team to beat in the entire NFL.

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