Final NFL Power Rankings

nfl power rankings
Chris Unger, Getty Images

These are the final NFL Power Rankings of the 2021 regular season. As we head into the playoffs, the season is officially over for over half the league. 14 teams still have some work to do to sort themselves through postseason football. But, the other 18 teams are all now locked in place until the first NFL Power Rankings of next season. Let’s see what the damage is.

32. New York Giants (4-13)

Last Week: 31

There were a lot of bad, pathetic losses across the NFL this week. But, I think the most pathetic loss belongs to the New York Giants. They were already treading the bottom of the NFL Power Rankings after a rough, drama filled finish to the 2021 season. But, after watching Jake Fromm take over for Mike Glennon and show the world how valuable Daniel Jones somehow is, I had no choice. John Mara, this is what you get for the taunting emphasis. Now, the whole NFL is teabagging your franchise. I feel absolutely no sympathy for you.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)

Last week: 32

I don’t know how, but the Jaguars absolutely OWN the Colts in Duval. They’re now 7-0 against their division “rivals” at home since the Jags absolutely plastered the Colts 51-16 in Week 14 of the 2015 season. They’re also 4-1 in December and January since 2017. They’ve got the No. 1 overall pick in 2022. But, you could probably argue that’s an advantage for whomever gets the Jaguars’ head coaching job this offseason.

30. Carolina Panthers (5-12)

Last Week: 28

It sounds like Matt Rhule is sticking around in Carolina. Personally, I think that’s the right move. He had this team looking solid until the quarterback situation imploded. If he can’t figure something out next year we can talk seriously about moving on. Still, I can’t get that 24-point desolation by the Bucs out of my head. They looked like they quit.

29. New York Jets (4-13)

Last Week: 29

I’ll give the Jets some credit for keeping it close with Buffalo until the fourth quarter. But, the Jets just don’t have the firepower to keep up with an offense like that forever. I still feel like Robert Salah has put some foundational pieces together they can build on going forward. But, there’s still a lot of work to do.

28. Detroit Lions (3-13-1)

Last Week: 30

The Lions have something with Dan Campbell. I know the Packers had nothing left to play for and Jordan Love played the second half of the game. But, the Lions were beating Aaron Rodgers at halftime. They have a ton of work to do to get to a truly competitive level. But, I think Lions fans should feel like there’s a spark in this franchise for the first time in a while.

27. Washington Football Team (6-11)

Last Week: 27

Good job ending the season with a win over the worst team in football. How long is it going to be until people start wondering if Ron Rivera is the right coach for this team? I know they went to the playoffs last year. But, this year was a major disappointment. I’m not saying the conversation should be happening now. But, this team doesn’t appear to be on the path to being a contender any time soon.

26. Houston Texans (4-13)

Last Week: 26

I was all ready to give the Texans a huge boost in the final NFL Power Rankings. Unfortunately, they couldn’t complete the comeback over the Tennessee Titans. I have to say though. I really think there’s something to that Davis Mills kid. If the Texans can create some stability going forward, this could work.

25. Chicago Bears (6-11)

Last Week: 22

Part of the reason I’m dropping the Bears in the final NFL Power Rankings is because they fired their coach. It just seems like the next logical step. If you don’t have a head coach, you’re clearly not in a good spot. I have to admit though, the Bears would have been worse off to keep trying to force the Nagy situation to bear fruit. Hopefully the coaching change doesn’t stunt Justin Fields’ growth.

24. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Last Week: 22

Cordarelle Patterson really believes in what Arthur Smith is building in Atlanta. I’m not sure I do, based on the fact that their tendency to choke continued to be a problem with this coaching staff. But, it’s not fair to judge them on the results of one season. They made a three game improvement over last season and were on the bitter outskirts of the playoff race until the final few weeks. That’s definitely progress.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-10)

Last Week: 25

You may have very well seen the last game Russell Wilson will ever play in a Seahawks uniform. If that is the case, he went out a winner. That deserves respect from me. The win didn’t make much of a difference and, if anything, it probably just hurt their draft positioning. But, I’ll give them a boost in the final NFL Power Rankings purely out of respect.

22. Denver Broncos (7-10)

Last Week: 19

I wonder what it’s like to be a Broncos fan dealing with Drew Lock. He’s clearly talented enough to elevate the Broncos’ ability to compete. But, he’s also very limited in other areas that really hold the Broncos back from the potential that defense gives them. What do you even do with that?

21. Minnesota Vikings (8-9)

Last Week: 21

Welp. The Vikings beat the Bears pretty decisively. I was going to give them a boost in the final NFL Power Rankings. Then they fired Mike Zimmer. I get it. He got eight years and more than half of them the Vikings hovered right around .500. They made the playoffs a few times and even advanced twice. But, at some point you want to see more. Still, I think it’s a step back for the Vikings, so I’m not moving them.

20. Baltimore Ravens (8-9)

Last Week: 17

Of all the teams left in contention before Week 18, the Ravens had the lowest chance to make the playoffs. Those odds probably also took into consideration the fact that they’re just not very good. I get injuries are a factor. But, still, to go from 8-3 to 8-9 is how you get an entire fanbase screaming “COACH OF THE YEAR!” to wondering “Is Harbaugh the right guy?”

19. Cleveland Browns (8-9)

Last Week: 20

Credit to the Browns. They clearly wanted to end the season on the most positive note they could. So, they took advantage of a Bengals team that was resting almost every starter and finished the year with a win. Now, you have to figure out what to do with Baker Mayfield. I think you have to keep him unless you can get Rodgers or Wilson. But, I’m not sure they can.

18. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Last Week: 13

WOW! Remember when I had this team as the fifth best team in the NFL a couple of weeks ago? Now they’re not even going to make the playoffs! That slow start the Colts had came back to bite them after all. You know it’s bad when you’re playing the biggest game of your season against fans dressed like clowns and you still can’t make it happen.

17. Miami Dolphins (9-8)

Last Week: 18

I might be in the vast minority on this one. But, I think the Dolphins moving on from Brian Flores was the right move. Tua is a talented guy with plenty of upside but Flores refused to develop him. He also had a tendency to be extremely fickle with his players. I know his record in Miami has been impressive considering the circumstances. But, I think he’s as responsible for the circumstances as anyone this year.

16. New Orleans Saints (9-8)

Last Week: 16

The Saints took care of the business they needed to take care of this week. So, they could have been in the playoffs. That’s pretty impressive for a team with such a chaotic QB situation this year. But, they put themselves in the position of needing help to get in and didn’t get that help. I’m not forgetting about the rest of the season in the final NFL Power Rankings just because they won a key game.

15. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)

Last Week: 11

Brandon Staley, what are you thinking? I get analytics and putting your team in the best position to succeed on each play. But, there’s this thing called situational awareness. I fully believe if he hadn’t taken that timeout, the Raiders wouldn’t have been as aggressive trying to win the game. There are very few situations where playing for the tie is the right move. But, I think this is one of those times. As brilliant of a young football mind as he is, he’s going to have to prove he can learn from this mistake to win back the trust of Chargers fans.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

Last Week: 23

Before the Steelers get obliterated by the Chiefs in the Wild Card round, I have to admit something that makes me sick. Mike Tomlin deserves nothing but respect for the coaching job he did this year. He dragged this Steelers roster kicking and screaming into the postseason. Most other coaches would have gone 4-13 with this roster. As long as Mike Tomlin is in Pittsburgh, you can never truly count them out.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

Last Week: 14

I don’t know how much the Eagles are capable of doing in the playoffs this year. But, the fact that they got there at all is a testament to Nick Siriani. Despite how ugly things went this offseason with Doug Pederson and Siriani failing to endear himself to anyone, he made it work. I think the Eagles are right on the verge of being truly competitive. I doubt they do anything impressive in the playoffs this year. But, they have back to back picks in the top 16 this year in addition to their own first round pick depending on where they finish. The future looks much brighter than we all thought.

12. Arizona Cardinals (11-6)

Last Week: 12

I feel like the Cardinals deserve to drop in the final NFL Power Rankings after losing to the Seahawks and failing to take the NFC West. The opportunity was there, but they couldn’t get it done. The Cardinals seem like they peaked at the wrong time and now they have to play a high powered Rams team they, most recently, lost to.

11. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)

Last Week: 15

I’m so damn proud of the Raiders, and I’m not even a Raiders fan. To go through what they’ve gone through this year and to still end up in the playoffs is truly impressive. The Raiders are the first team since, from what I can tell, 1957 to change head coaches mid-season and make it to the postseason. Would you believe the last team to do it was the national champion Detroit Lions?

10. New England Patriots (10-7)

Last Week: 8

Losing to the eliminated Dolphins, who fired their head coach the next day, is not the way you want to head into the postseason. It wasn’t too long ago I thought this was the most dangerous team in the AFC. Now, I wonder how far they can even make it.

9. San Francisco 49ers (10-7)

Last Week: 10

The 49ers took care of business this week in a must-win game that punched their ticket to the playoffs. You have to give them credit. After starting 3-5 people were starting to question Kyle Shanahan’s job. And, unlike the Eagles and Dolphins, they turned their season around against impressive competition. They swept the Rams, beat the Bengals, and took down a Vikings team that was looking really dangerous at the time.

8. Tennessee Titans (12-5)

Last Week: 9

I am fascinated by the season the Titans have had. Despite losing Derrick Henry against the Colts in Week 8, they found a way to win. They’re now the No. 1 seed in the AFC despite looking pretty rough down the stretch at times. They almost messed it up against the Texans. But, credit where credit is due. That said, their run of form lately still has me a bit worried about their ability to string wins against other playoff teams together. Luckily, they have a bye week to try to get healthier.

7. Los Angeles Rams (12-5)

Last Week: 4

I was going to destroy the Rams in the final NFL Power Rankings for losing to the 49ers with the division on the line. Luckily for them, the Cardinals might be even more unreliable than they are. The crazy thing is this team has a ton of firepower and are damn near unstoppable when they are on. But, can they keep up that consistency for four games in a row? I doubt it.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)

Last Week: 7

How do you put the stench of almost losing to the Jets and watching AB end his career in the middle of a game behind you? Beat the shit out of the Panthers for the second time in three weeks. There are a few worrying trends with the Buccaneers over the last six weeks or so. But, they’re still worthy division champions and should handle business against an Eagles team they’ve already beaten this week.

5. Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Last Week: 6

The Bills’ slow start against the Jets in their season finale was a tad worrisome. But, they really turned on the jets (no pun intended) in the fourth quarter. They’ve now won four straight and ended up winning the AFC East despite some struggles in the middle of the year. This Bills team is as dangerous as anyone in the playoffs and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them make a deep run.

4. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Last Week: 5

I don’t know about the decision to play Dak and Zeke for a full game in Week 18 despite having the division wrapped up and no shot at the No. 1 seed. To be fair, Dak took full advantage of one last opportunity to wrap up his case for any postseason awards he’s after. But, there would be a ton of criticism if he had aggravated an injury this week. It seemed like an unnecessary risk to me. But, they still showed why they are one of the favorites in the NFC and why the rival Eagles are not.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)

Last Week: 3

The Bengals rested almost all of their starters this week against a Browns team that was resting way fewer starters than expected. And yet, they still came within an onside kick of coming away with a victory this week. With the seeding race working out to the Bengals drawing the Raiders instead of the Patriots in the Wild Card round, it almost felt like a win.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

Last Week: 2

How good of a pickup was Mark Ingram for the Chiefs? The Broncos played the Chiefs tough this week, as they always do. But, the Chiefs proved to be a little too much to overcome, even when they aren’t playing at their best. Patrick Mahomes is a weapon. As long as he’s on the field, you have to consider them the favorite in the conference.

1. Green Bay Packers (13-4)

Last Week: 1

It feels weird to keep at team at the top of the final NFL Power Rankings after losing to the Lions. But, it was nothing but an exhibition game for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers rested after halftime. They locked up the NFC’s No. 1 seed last week, so why bother putting everything out there this week? And now Za’Darius Smith is coming back? Yeah. I have no reason to move them.

Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Jay Biggerstaff – USA Today Sports

The Week 17 NFL Power Rankings are still showing signs of craziness, considering some of the movement we’re seeing from last week. But, ultimately the playoff picture is starting to solidify. We’re starting to see teams that should make their marks in January start to separate themselves from the pack. And, we’re starting to see teams that will fall apart down the stretch start to show us why.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13)

Last week: 32

The Jacksonville Jaguars proved they belong in the basement of the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings this week by losing to the next worst team in the NFL. It was briefly a back-and-forth affair in the first quarter. But, the Jags were unable to take advantage of the Jets’ numerous mistakes. I don’t think interim coach Darrell Bevell is endearing himself much to the front office right now.

31. New York Jets (4-11)

Last Week: 31

On the flip side, the Jets proved they’re NOT the worst team in the NFL this week by outlasting the despondent Jaguars. The Jets took their first lead of the game on a 52-yard touchdown run by Zach Wilson that was really cool. But, they had to struggle for that win and never really felt like they had firm control.

30. New York Giants (4-11)

Last Week: 30

Someone go console the football fans in Jersey. The Jets are… the Jets, and the Giants appear totally rudderless. It was kind of cool to see Jake Fromm get his first NFL start. But, he turned out to be just as much of a disaster as Mike Glennon as he finnished with a 19.5 passer rating. Yikes. Mike Glennon ended up playing the savior role and, honestly, didn’t look much better. As bad as Daniel Jones was, this is a new level of Hell.

29. Detroit Lions (2-12-1)

Last Week: 29

The Detroit Lions came OH SO CLOSE to a winning streak in 2021! It feels unfair that we were forced to watch Tim Boyle ruin it with a goalline interception at the death. I won’t kill the Lions too badly in the Week 17 Power Rankings, though. It feels like Jared Goff would have won this game, and there’s no accounting for COVID.

28. Carolina Panthers (5-10)

Last Week: 28

The Carolina Panthers look broken. Luckily for them, everyone else in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings bottom 5 looks more broken than them. Cam Newton was bad again. But, Sam Darnold returned to the field and looked serviceable. Fifth year option serviceable? No. But, Cam has looked completely washed since he’s settled in with the Panthers. So, might as well start Darnold the rest of the season to see if he can give you any reason to trust him for another year.

27. Seattle Seahawks (5-10)

Last Week: 24

What the hell happened to the Seahawks man? Russell Wilson was unspectacular, but efficient. Plus, the Seahawks running game absolutely sliced through the Bears this week! But, their defense fell apart when it mattered and the offense kept shooting itself in the foot on the final drive. I can’t do anything but lay into them in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings for that.

26. Chicago Bears (5-10)

Last Week: 27

Barely beating a lost Seahawks team to improve to 5-10 isn’t exactly the most inspiring storyline of all time. But, they did win. I can’t imagine there’s anything the Bears can do at this point to save Matt Nagy’s job. But, perhaps they can string a few wins together at the end of the year to give the next regime something to build off of?

25. Washington Football Team (6-9)

Last Week: 23

Remember that brief time a few weeks ago when Washington looked as hot as anyone and might somehow find a way to wrestle the division away from Dallas? Yeah…. All that nonsense seems like a really abstract joke now. Washington continues their freefall in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings after giving up the largest point total of any team this season. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)

Last Week: 22

Somehow, despite a new 17 game schedule, the Pittsburgh Steelers feel like they’re well on their way to a .500 season. That said, I feel like tying the Lions should take at least .001 points off that record. .499 seems like a more accurate representation of their season this year. They certainly didn’t look like a dead average team this week against the Chiefs. Their offense is broken and their defense is exploitable.

23. Houston Texans (4-11)

Last Week: 26

Who knew that Davis Mills was the right choice for the Texans all along! For that matter, David Culley might actually be a pretty decent coach. This Texans team entered the 2021 season looking like a fully castrated organization considering the Watson drama and all the fallout of the Bill O’Brien era. But, they’re showing signs of life down the stretch. Who knows. Maybe the complete overhaul will yield a competitive team in a few years?

22. New Orleans Saints (7-8)

Last Week: 21

As bad as Taysom Hill has looked at points, Ian Book looked that much worse against the Dolphins. This game had all the simulated pressures of a playoff game. Both teams needed this one to stay on track to have a realistic shot to make the playoffs. There is still hope for the Saints to turn things around and sneak into that No. 7 spot. But, they’ll need to show some sign of life to win out against the Panthers and Falcons.

21. Atlanta Falcons (7-8)

Last Week: 25

I know barely beating the Lions despite flirting with another classic Falcons choke job isn’t exactly the most impressive win of all time. But, it’s still a win. If the Falcons can find some way to beat the Bills this week, their unlikely playoff dreams could stay alive. Is it likely? No. But, I’ve seen crazier comebacks.

20. Minnesota Vikings (7-8)

Last Week: 18

At a certain point, does giving the Vikings credit for keeping things close against a quality opponent matter? What really matters is finding a way to win those games, and the Vikings simply do not do that. They technically have a tiebreaker advantage over the Falcons and Saints for the top spot in the NFC playoff hunt. But, they’ll need to pull off another massive upset against the Packers in Lambeau to have a realistic chance to regain control of a playoff spot.

19. Denver Broncos (7-8)

Last Week: 17

It’s kind of sad, really. The Broncos got off to such a hot start in 2021. We all thought for sure they’d be in contention by the end of the year. But, as things currently stand, they’re one loss away from being eliminated from playoff contention. But, you’re never going to get where you want to go if you base your whole offensive identity on running the ball then gain 18 yards in a gotta have it game.

18. Cleveland Browns (7-8)

Last Week: 14

The Browns arguably don’t deserve to fall this far in the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings. After all, they fought hard and nearly found a way to win against a Packers team nobody gave them a chance against. For me, the reason they’re falling so far is because Baker Mayfield’s arm looks completely useless at this point. We all respect guys who can tough it out and play through the pain. But, sometimes it’s about making smart decisions, and the Browns did not make a smart one with Baker in 2021. Oddly enough, they still have a pretty realistic shot to win the AFC North. But, I don’t see how they beat the Bengals in Week 18 if his arm is this dead.

17. Baltimore Ravens (8-7)

Last Week: 15

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In the Ravens’ defense, they can’t help the historically terrible luck they’ve had lately with injuries and COVID. But, it doesn’t change the fact that they look completely done. Lamar Jackson wasn’t playing up to his standards before the ankle injury. So, I’m struggling to see how they bounce back. If they don’t find some way to take down a hot Rams team this week, they’ll be eliminated from playoff contention. So, I have no choice but to continue dropping them drastically in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings.

16. Las Vegas Raiders (8-7)

Last Week: 20

Like Rocky, the Raiders didn’t hear no bell. At any point this season. Not after the slew of dramatic circumstances derailed their season. Not after losing five of six games in the middle of the season. Not even after getting absolutely demolished by the Chiefs twice in a span of five weeks. The Raiders still need a lot of help to squeak into the playoffs. But, they took care of what they could take care of this week by completing a season sweep of the Broncos.

15. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

Last Week: 12

Speaking of mighty teams falling, the Cardinals were a mainstay at No. 1 this year. But, certainly not in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings! There’s no shame in losing to a Colts team that is as hot as anyone right now. But, for the Cardinals, it’s their third loss in a row. They haven’t won a game since the first week of December. They haven’t looked dominant since the first week of November and have now lost control of the AFC West.

14. Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Last Week: 19

The Miami Dolphins are officially a playoff favorite, everyone! They still have a pretty tough schedule to get through with the Titans and Patriots up the next two weeks. But, they’ve battled back from an abysmal start and would be in the playoffs if they started today. Granted, those wins came against a slew of the worst teams in the NFL. It’s not hard to bounce back from 1-7 when you’re playing teams like the Jets, Texans, Panthers, and Giants every week. But, give them credit for knocking off a Ravens team that hadn’t started collapsing yet. Also, a Saints team that was also desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

Last Week: 16

Yeah, it’s just the Giants. But, I thought the Eagles taking the Giants behind the woodshed was a good way for them to announce their presence. Jalen Hurts is playing efficient football and it has this Eagles team looking like a team ready to make some noise. There’s always that one team that sneaks into the playoffs and randomly becomes a tough out every year. Why not Philly?

12. Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)

Last Week: 9

The only reason the Chargers are ranked this high in the Week 17 Power Rankings is out of respect for what they’re capable of. But, getting blown out by the Texans in the middle of the playoff race? That’s hard to look past. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now because I think they’re better than the Broncos and Raiders. But, if they lose either of the next two weeks, things could get hairy quick.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

Last Week: 13

For most of 2021, whether or not the Bengals are talented has not been a question. Their problem has been consistency. Basically, the ability to STAY good. If they could find a way to string results together, we might be talking about this team as a top-5 unit. But, that’s not who they’ve been this year. They have a chance to completely re-write the narrative this week with the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town. But, they haven’t won three games in a row all season. Hence, why I’m hesitant to give them too much credit for their historic blowout win in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings.

10. San Francisco 49ers (8-7)

Last Week: 8

You could make the argument the 49ers don’t deserve to be this high in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings. After all, their season as a whole certainly isn’t ridiculously inspiring. But, they’ve won six of their last nine games and played the contending Titans close. I’m not going to knock them down too far for losing a close game against a good team.

9. Tennessee Titans (10-5)

Last Week: 11

For all the setbacks the Tennessee Titans have experienced in the last month and a half, they’re still good enough to win against good teams. Granted, the 49ers are the first good team they’ve beaten since Week 9 when they took down the LA Rams. But, they’ve shown some moxie lately and set themselves up extremely well early this season. They’ll coast into the playoffs. If Derrick Henry is able to return to the same level of play he left at, this Titans team will be tough to stop.

8. New England Patriots (9-6)

Last Week: 3

A big fall in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings for the former No. 1 team. Mac Jones looked awful when asked to throw more than three passes against the Bills this week. The Patriots’ slow start in 2021 meant they needed to dominante the whole rest of the way if they wanted to stay among the top echelon of NFL teams. Now, they’re back to the Wild Card race unless the Bills slip up.

7. Buffalo Bills (9-6)

Last Week: 10

The Bills caught their fall against the Patriots this week. They took that embarrassing loss a few weeks ago personally and are now back to looking like a team that can beat anyone. With two games remaining against the Falcons and Jets, it feels like the Bills being crowned AFC East champions this year is inevitable.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4)

Last Week: 7

You know what would have been worse than losing to an identity-crisis riddled Saints team? Following that loss up with another loss to the moribund Panthers. Tom Brady and the Bucs put that Saints loss in the past and returned to their winning ways this week by completely annihilating a Panthers team that just wasn’t ready. With the Jets and a rematch against the Panthers filling out their remaining schedule, I doubt we’ll be analyzing a loss for them again this regular season.

5. Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

Last Week: 6

It’s a shame the Colts took so long to get going this year while the Titans got off to a blazing hot start. They have basically no chance to win the AFC South at this point because the Titans hold a season sweep over them. But, the late-bloomer Colts are clearly the best team in the AFC South right now. Without a doubt, they’re one of the best teams in the AFC after taking down the Cardinals.

4. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

Last Week: 5

No team has scored 56 points in a single game in 2021. Wasn’t that Washington defense supposed to be really good this year? Well, first of all they haven’t quite lived up to that expectation. Also, not if Dak Prescott has anything to say about it. Dak followed up a rough few games with a career performance against Washington to prove once and for all that the Cowboys are a legit contender this year.

3. Los Angeles Rams (11-4)

Last Week: 5

When the Rams can win important games despite Matthew Stafford playing poorly, you know there’s something special going on. This is why Stafford wanted to leave Detroit. He wanted to go to a team where he can have the occasional off day and the entire thing wouldn’t fall apart. The Rams are made of championship caliber material. So Stafford is playing poorly? Big whoop. We’ll just get 131 yards out of Sony Michel and still drop 30 points.

2. Green Bay Packers (12-3)

Last Week: 1

Taking the Packers out of the top spot in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings was a tough call. Yes, they won. Yes, Aaron Rodgers played extremely well. Yes, they put up over 100 yards rushing on the day. Yes, they pulled in four interceptions and racked up five sacks. And yet, they still barely held on to beat a floundering Browns team. The Packers are nursing a slim lead for the No. 1 seed in the NFC despite lucking their way into wins against every AFC North team this year.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

Last Week: 2

No team in the NFL looks more deserving of the top spot in the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings right now than the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Packers struggled to put away a destitute Browns squad, the Chiefs mopped the floor with a Steelers team the Packers also struggled to put away. I hesitated to buy into the “Chiefs are washed” narrative earlier this year. Why? Because they were always capable of randomly turning back into this. The defense is clicking and the offense, while a bit inconsistent, is getting the job done. Watch out.

Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

The Week 15 NFL Power Rankings saw the chaos subside a bit. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of chaos and movement this week. It’s just that all the movement happens to be concentrated in the middle of the pack this week, rather than in the top and bottom of the list. So, we’re going to dive in this week and just try to enjoy the fact that things aren’t quite as weird.

32. Detroit Lions (1-11-1)

Last Week: 32

Back to losing, Lions fans. Sorry. They didn’t really stand much of a chance against the Broncos this week. The Lions were mediocre in the first half and kept things relatively close. But, they imploded in the second half. They kicked things off with a fumble three plays into the third quarter and ended things with an interception on the second to last drive.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)

Last week: 31

Jacksonville arguably put up the most pathetic performance this week as Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions. The defense also gave up over 100 yards rushing to a Titans team that does not have Derrick Henry. With more drama surrounding Urban Meyer this week, I really want to knock them down to 32 in the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings. Unfortunately, until the Lions catch up, I just can’t.

30. Houston Texans (2-11)

Last Week: 30

This was another one of those weeks where all the bad teams play badly. Therefore, you’re not going to see much movement in this section of the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings. Brandin Cooks and Davis Mills both had pretty decent games this week. Unfortunately, that wasn’t anywhere close to enough in the second half. The Texans played a pretty clean game, but are clearly a step-below talent wise.

29. New York Jets (3-10)

Last Week: 29

Speaking of hopeless looking situations, Zach Wilson looks incompetent. He didn’t make any major mistakes to kill the Jets this week, other than the 23 incomplete passes he threw. Some quarterbacks don’t even throw it that many times in a game. But, Wilson threw the ball 42 times and only completed it 19 times. At least he was the Jets’ leading rusher this week, right?

28. New York Giants (4-9)

Last Week: 27

I’m just not sure who the Giants even are at this point. Are they Saquon Barkley’s team? Are they a cavalcade of mediocre quarterbacks? They definitely seem like they’re bad defensively. Then again, Justin Herbert has a tendency to make a lot of people look bad. There weren’t a lot of expectations this week, but it feels like the Giants fell short of even that.

27. Chicago Bears (4-9)

Last Week: 26

I’m sorry, Bears fans. Aaron Rodgers STILL owns you. Justin Fields couldn’t even come close to keeping up this week. He did pretty well running the ball. But, you hope for more from your young quarterback than that. Perhaps you can take some solace in knowing you had a lead at halftime. But, no moral victories.

26. Carolina Panthers (5-8)

Last Week: 23

Remember when Cam Newton being back felt like it was precipitating a massive resurgence in Carolina? Yeah. Those good feelings are over. Cam was a disaster this week with a pick six in the first half and a goofy fumble in the second. He ended up being benched for PJ Walker in the middle of the fourth quarter. Just like that, the opportunity for Cam’s legendary return feels completely gone.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)

Last Week: 22

I will give credit to the Steelers for clawing their way back in that game. Ben Roethlisberger made some vintage throws that reminded everyone of the old days. It just felt like one of those games the Steelers always win, you know? Well, not so much. At the end of the game, the defense couldn’t keep the Vikings from scoring during the miracle comeback.

24. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)

Last Week: 28

Believe it or not, the Atlanta Falcons are actually currently tied for the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, a cascade of tiebreakers have them sitting as the No. 11 team in the NFC. Believe it or not, a solid push in the final four weeks could have this team in the playoffs. Then again, the way they’ve gotten that 6-7 record makes them feel a lot farther off than that.

23. Seattle Seahawks (5-8)

Last Week: 24

For the first time this year, the Seattle Seahawks are on a winning streak! To be fair, beating the Texans wasn’t nearly as impressive as beating the 49ers. But, if they somehow win out, 9-8 looks a lot better than what we were all expecting. That’s not impossible either. Their final four games come against two division opponents, the Bears, and the Lions.

22. New Orleans Saints (6-7)

Last Week: 25

The Jets aren’t exactly the most inspiring opponent to get a dominating victory against. But, a dominating victory against anyone in the NFL is impressive. The biggest part of this game, though, was probably Taysom Hill. He showed why the Saints believed in him enough to hand him that contract extension. Not so much as a passer, but he got the job done and that’s why they move up in the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings.

21. Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)

Last Week: 16

Ouch. Derek Carr threw the ball 45 times and only put up 263 yards and a touchdown. The running game put up a respectable 3.7 yards per carry, but the Raiders only ran the ball 12 times so I don’t think anyone is singing their praises. This game looked like an absolute confirmation that the Raiders do not have what it takes to be a playoff team in 2021. Pack it up, get ready for next year boys.

20. Washington Football Team (6-7)

Last Week: 14

Washington’s slim chance to challenge the Cowboys for control of the NFC East slipped out of their grasp on Sunday. They’re still holding onto the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs. But, I’m having trouble believing they’re going to hold onto that spot with the way their season has gone. The momentum appears to have been sucked out of the air in Washington after fumbling the comeback away.

19. Miami Dolphins (6-7)

Last Week: 19

The playoffs are probably still a pipe dream in Miami. But, they got some help this week with some major shakeups at the bottom of the AFC playoff race. Tua has been playing really well lately and Miami’s fortunes have improved with his play. At the very least, the Dolphins can enjoy some hope for next year if they continue turning things around the way they have been lately.

18. Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

Last Week: 20

I still don’t trust the Vikings. I don’t know if I can at this point. They won, but they BARELY won against Ben Roethlisberger’s shambling corpse despite a 29-0 lead well into the third quarter. I’ll give the Vikings a boost in the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings for inching their way back to .500 with the win. But, I still don’t trust them. I don’t see them as a playoff team. I’d be shocked if they made it at this point.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Last Week: 17

The dream of miraculously winning the NFC East died a few weeks ago in Philly. So, I think it was better for them that Washington lost and got them closer to a wild card spot. With two games left to play against the No. 7 seeded Washington Football Team, the Eagles still have everything in front of them. But, they’ll need to execute starting this week.

16. Denver Broncos (7-6)

Last Week: 21

The Broncos have been slowly turning their season back around in the second half. Now, they’re one of many 7-6 AFC teams tied in a log-jam for a Wild Card spot. They’ll have an opportunity to get one over one of those teams they’re tied with in the floundering Bengals this week. Their boost in the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings is because of that. It’s not because they pounded an inferior Lions team in a game that reminded me a lot of their fake ass 3-0 start.

15. Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

Last Week: 12

The Ravens have gotten so lucky that the Bengals lost the last two weeks, because the Ravens have been imploding. Now, Lamar Jackson is hurt. It sounds like the Ravens are optimistic he won’t be out very long, if any time at all. But, even if he is back the Ravens are still an extremely injured football team and it seems to be starting to affect their ability to put together a basic gameplan.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)

Last Week: 10

The Cincinnati Bengals are starting to enter Minnesota Vikings territory. Can we trust them? Are they good? They sure haven’t looked particularly good the last two weeks, save for impressive comebacks. But, the Bengals keep digging themselves into these really tough holes. If they are to be a playoff team this year, they’ll need to reel that in if they want to have any hope of breaking their infamous playoff drought.

13. Cleveland Browns (7-6)

Last Week: 18

The Browns came out of their bye week looking pretty similar to what they looked like before their bye week. The difference is the AFC North has basically collapsed around them. The Browns’ week off was seriously rejuvenating. They now sit at 7-6, still on the outside of the playoff picture. But, in a much better spot than they were two weeks ago.

12. Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Last Week: 11

Things are starting to get dire in Buffalo. The evil empire is back, and Tom Brady still owns the Bills. Suddenly, they’re 7-6 along with five other AFC teams and are barely holding onto that No. 7 seed. Remember when we all thought they were the class of the AFC? My how times have changed.

11. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

Last Week: 13

The Colts have really turned things around this season. They are winners of six of their last eight games, and those two losses were close ones against some of the best teams in the NFL. They’re currently in control of the No. 6 seed in the AFC and don’t look like they’ll be giving it up anytime soon. The one roadblock? Back to back games against New England and Arizona after the bye.

10. San Francisco 49ers (7-6)

Last Week: 15

Speaking of teams that have turned things around, the 49ers might be inconsistent but they’re really talented. Jimmy Garoppolo might be trying to give the ball away in key situations. But, the 49ers appear to be well positioned to overcome those hiccups and allow him to contribute throughout most of the game as a master of efficiency. From near the basement to the top 10 of the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings, the 49ers are getting hot at the right time.

9. Arizona Cardinals (10-3)

Last Week: 3

The Arizona Cardinals have gotten to 10-3 this season mostly by beating a bunch of bad teams. You could make the argument that their most respectable win of the season came over the Los Angeles Rams back in Week 4. But, they’re taking a dive in the Week 15 Power Rankings because they can’t even hang their hat on that anymore. The Cardinals are 3-3 in their last six games and they still have tough games against the Colts and Cowboys coming up.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)

Last Week: 8

The Chargers are starting to get back on track after it was starting to look questionable there for a bit. I still don’t know if this team has what it takes to run through the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl. But, they’ve won three of their last four. Beating the Giants by 17 is just icing on the cake.

7. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Last Week: 7

The Titans got back on track against the Jaguars this week, as everyone seems to do. I still don’t know if they’re going to make much noise in January considering the state of their roster. But, they’re only two wins away from clinching the AFC South. Luckily they did most of the necessary work early this season.

6. Dallas Cowboys (9-4)

Last Week: 6

The Cowboys staved off a potential nightmare situation by holding off the Washington Football Team this week and are now one win away from clinching the NFC East. A win over the lowly Giants this coming week could do just that. I would be shocked to see them lose out at this point. So, holding on for that victory against Washington ends up feeling like a clinching moment.

5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

Last Week: 9

Like the Cardinals, the Rams haven’t been doing much winning against good teams lately. In fact, when they played the Titans, 49ers, and Packers they went on a three-game losing streak that they only came out of last week. Now, they have a quality win over a division rival. That division rival is now only a game ahead of them in the running for the NFC West. Winning that division seems very possible now.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)

Last Week: 5

It is just absurd to think about the fact that Tom Brady is 44 years old and still playing at this level. It’s a level the Buffalo Bills have been familiar with for his whole career. But, he now holds the record for most completions in NFL history. But, here’s the thing. Even if Brady doesn’t do well, Leonard Fournette appears to be approaching everything Jacksonville thought they were getting when they took him No. 4 overall.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

Last Week: 4

The Chiefs are officially back, everyone. Most of the AFC should take notice because they’re riding a six-game win streak and it hasn’t really been close for a while now. The biggest question now is… can the Chiefs’ offense play well against a team other than Las Vegas?

2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)

Last Week: 2

The Green Bay Packers are a force. Aaron Rodgers is a force. Davante Adams is a force. The Packers’ defense didn’t look quite as good this week as they have in weeks past. But, it doesn’t matter because the Packers came away with a dominating victory over their “rival.” A wacky first half aside, this result really should never have been in doubt.

1. New England Patriots (9-4)

Last Week: 1

Show of hands: who saw the Patriots sitting at 9-4 after the bye? I sure didn’t. Especially after they started 1-3. But, they’ve only lost one game since that start. That game was back in mid-October. Can anyone challenge this team? If the Colts don’t beat them this coming week, I don’t know if they will lose another game this season. For now, they stay at the top of the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings.

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings
Robert Ricks – USA Today

The Week 10 NFL Power Rankings show exactly why I love the NFL so much. It’s truly a week-to-week league, so you really don’t know who teams are until the games are played. Any team can win any given week. Also, teams that looked like power houses a few weeks ago can end up on the fringe of playoff contention this week. What will next week have in store? Who knows. But, let’s dive into what we learned from this week…

32. Detroit Lions (0-8)

Last Week: 32

The Detroit Lions come off the bye week still stuck in the basement of the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings. You really shouldn’t have expected anything else, to be fair. Everyone else has won a game, so it would have taken a special level of incompetence I don’t think we’ve seen in the NFL yet to displace this Lions team. Maybe they can take advantage of a Steelers team that has been super inconsistent this year? Hard to imagine, but they can’t go 0-17 can they?

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

Last Week: 31

The Texans won the turnover battle. But, they still turned the ball over four times themselves. Despite forcing five, they only managed to put nine points on the board. They couldn’t find the endzone once, despite being set up in or near Miami territory four times. In fact, they elected to take a field goal at the one-yard line despite being down 11 points in the fourth quarter. I guess the idea was to take the points so you’re only down by a touchdown and a two-point conversion? I don’t know. I’d have tried a quarterback sneak or something. Just seems cowardly.

30. Miami Dolphins (2-7)

Last Week: 30

The Dolphins… did it? They beat the Texans, I guess. Woo. The Dolphins turned the ball over five times, but somehow managed to hold onto a lead they built in the first half. They won’t win many more games playing like that, especially against the Ravens next week.

29. New York Jets (2-6)

Last Week: 26

There’s the Jets we know and love. It looked like Mike White was going to have another good day. But, he exited the game with a nerve contusion. He should be fine after 10 days of rest. But, now the question is, does he get another opportunity, or do the Jets bring back their No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson? It’s probably the only exciting Jets related talking point that exists right now, because they don’t have much else going on. That defense is still wretched. Frankly, they should be 1-7 right now. But, I’m sure they’ll find loss No. 7 next week in Buffalo.

28. Washington Football Team (2-6)

Last Week: 28

Washington went into their bye week on a four game losing streak after looking relatively competitive through the first four weeks. The division is completely out of reach at this point, and it’s tough to find many more winnable games on their remaining schedule. Maybe the Panthers? Maybe they can split with the Eagles? I don’t know. It’s a rough time in the nation’s capital these days.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)

Last week: 29

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so impressed and, simultaneously, not impressed by a win in my life. The Jaguars did knock off a team I’ve had at No. 1 in these power rankings before. But, they also didn’t score a single touchdown and had to finish the game without Trevor Lawrence. He should be fine, but the Jags aren’t going to hold opponents to six points every week.

26. New York Giants (3-6)

Last Week: 27

Two good games in a row against AFC West opponents, but this time the Giants actually pulled it off. I’m not ready to start buying into them yet. But, they do have the Bucs, Eagles, and Dolphins after the bye week. If they can come out of that stretch 2-3 I’ll probably take them out of the cellar.

25. Chicago Bears (3-6)

Last Week: 23

The Bears couldn’t overcome multiple obviously terrible calls by the zebras this week in a hard-to-watch game against the Steelers. I think there might have been more flags than actual game-changing plays. To be fair, some of them were deserved. The Bears played sloppy this week. At the end of the day, if you’re in position for the refs to beat you, you don’t deserve to win. The Bears don’t deserve much winning right now. The wheels are starting to fall off and I’m not sure how much longer Matt Nagy lasts.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)

Last Week: 22

Man, the Eagles had ‘em. They held a lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter and their defense was playing great. But, Justin Herbert did Justin Herbert things and took the lead back. The Eagles did manage to march back down the field and tie the game, but they couldn’t stop the chargers from taking the entire remaining six minutes of the game on the last drive to knock in what was essentially the game winning field goal. The Eagles’ desperation double lateral at the end of the game that only lost 14 yards perfectly highlighted the false hope and actual payoff this game felt like.

23. Carolina Panthers (4-5)

Last Week: 18

I didn’t give the Patriots a bump in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings this week for beating the Panthers. But, I’m definitely knocking the Panthers down for that loss. The Patriots took care of business in a game they were expected to win if they were for real. But, the Panthers fell flat in a game they desperately needed to win to maintain some semblance of competitiveness. Sam Darnold’s three interceptions reminded you of the ghosts he so famously saw against New England in the past.

22. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Last Week: 25

Woah! I thought for sure the Falcons were going to find a way to lose that game, and they almost did! Even after Cordarelle Patterson put them in easy field goal range with less than a minute remaining, Mike Davis almost fumbled the game away. Arthur Smith made a decision that looks cowardly, but is probably the smartest thing to do if you’re the Falcons. He took the gift, told Matt Ryan to kneel on the ball, and took the highest percentage chance of winning possible to squeeze out a win that almost wasn’t.

21. Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Last Week: 21

The Seahawks could get lucky next week if Aaron Rodgers is unable to pass COVID protocols. Russell Wilson should have no problem dispatching the team the 2021 version of the Chiefs overcame. But, if Rodgers does play, the Seahawks could find that Wilson couldn’t come back quick enough. They only managed to win one game with Geno Smith and now have an uphill battle with the Packers and Cardinals next on the schedule. 

20. San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

Last Week: 17

The 49ers had no answers for James Connor, Colt McCoy, and Christian Kirk. That’s not a great sign for a team that was looking to stay relevant in the playoff hunt. There’s still time to turn things around, but they still have a handful of tough games left on their schedule.

19. Denver Broncos (5-4)

Last Week: 24

Is that a sign of life I see from Denver? It might be false hope, because weird games happen in the NFL. But, after being one of the most promising teams through the first three weeks, the Broncos finally have a reason to feel like they could turn their season around. Weirdly enough, it came after they shipped Von Miller to Los Angeles. They have a bad Eagles team coming up next. If they find a way to come away with a win, they’ll be 6-4 at the bye. That would put them in great position to make something out of a mostly disappointing season.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

Last Week: 19

I can’t say I’m terribly impressed by the way Pittsburgh won this game. An absolutely terrible run of form by the referees killed any semblance of hope for the Bears. Yeah, the Steelers won, but did it make you believe in this team any more than you did last week? Not me. They play the Lions next week and I’m sure they’ll win that one too. That said, if they can pull off the upset over the Chargers in Week 11, I’ll put them in the top 14.

17. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

Last Week: 16

I’m pretty much done with the Vikings at this point. Yes, their record could be so much better than it is right now. I have been preaching that non-stop all season. But, this is what separates the good teams from the bad teams. The Ravens are the team that finds a way to come away with wins in these close games. The Vikings find a way to lose. It doesn’t always make perfect sense, but that’s the NFL baby.

16. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Last Week: 20

Although the AFC South division race is starting to look out of reach for the Colts, the playoffs are still a realistic possibility. The Colts get a boost in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings because they took care of business against a bad team, and they have a few more bad teams coming up. The Colts could realistically be 6-5 by Week 11 and possibly in control of a wild card spot. Quite the turnaround for a team that started 1-4.

15. New Orleans Saints (5-3)

Last Week: 14

Last week, I was asked why I didn’t have the Saints higher considering they beat Green Bay and Tampa Bay, two top-10 teams. Well, that’s why. Without Jameis Winston, I’m just not sure how competitive this Saints team can really be. This week, they lost to a Falcons team that is suddenly .500. You read that right. The Falcons got right against the Saints. Not a position you want to be in.

14. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)

Last Week: 13

There’s the Raiders team we were expecting to see. They overcame the Gruden distraction to play some of the best football they’d played all season. But, losing Henry Ruggs III seems to have been a bit more than they were prepared to overcome. The defense didn’t exactly play great, but Derek Carr threw two interceptions to only one touchdown. They had to rely on Daniel Carlson for their remaining 10 points, which just wasn’t going to get the job done against the good version of Daniel Jones. 

13. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Last Week: 10

Had the Bengals’ next opponent, after their upcoming bye week, not also lost in embarrassing fashion this week, I’d probably have them at 14 right now. Essentially, I’m saying I still consider them a playoff team, but barely. According to the standings, they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs right now when they held the AFC’s No. 1 seed just two weeks ago. This defense is a train wreck right now. The bye week couldn’t come at a more perfect time. They need to readjust and refocus if they want to be alive in January.

12. Cleveland Browns (5-4)

Last Week: 15

This just in: Odell Beckham Jr was the problem in Cleveland. I’ve been saying it all year, but there was no greater proof than the Browns nearly equalling their highest point total of the year without the alleged ‘star’ wide receiver. Baker Mayfield looked locked in and efficient, helping the Browns to 41 points against a sputtering Bengals defense. Interestingly enough, the only other time the Browns put up a comparable point total this year was against the Chargers. OBJ played, but he wasn’t exactly a major part of the game plan with only 3 targets.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)

Last Week: 12

I’m starting to think the Chiefs aren’t going to turn things around. They got a win against the Packers this week, but it wasn’t pretty. Patrick Mahomes didn’t make any major mistakes, which is huge. But, he also couldn’t get much done against a stout Packers defense either. The Chiefs were handed a golden opportunity to beat a top team with the Rodgers situation. To their credit, they came away with the win. But, it was an ugly win that didn’t inspire much confidence they can replicate the result going forward.

10. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

Last Week: 5

The Rams end their four game win streak with a loss to the newly minted Week 10 NFL Power Rankings No. 2 team. On the whole, the defense didn’t play too badly. They only allowed just over 200 yards of total offense, although they did allow three touchdowns. The fourth touchdown came with the absolute meltdown of the Rams’ offense. Matt Stafford reverted back to his Detroit form with two killer interceptions. Their running game generally did pretty well. But, with the game being out of control at halftime, they ended up throwing WAY more than running.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)

Last Week: 9

I was ready to knock the Chargers down a few spots for the run of form they’ve been on lately, especially after a loss to the lowly Eagles. But, LAB found a way to get it done on the road this week. It was a rough first half, but they found their stride against the Eagles in the second half and salted things away with a Dustin Hopkins field goal at the death. For now, they maintain their spot in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings.

8. New England Patriots (5-4)

Last Week: 8

Last week I gave the Patriots an 8 spot jump. I thought, perhaps, I might be being a little too generous. Yeah they massacred the Jets and beat a former top-5 team. Yeah they came close to beating the Cowboys. Their only bad losses this year were a Week 3 loss to the Saints and a weird Week 1 loss to the Dolphins. But are they really turning things around this quickly in New England? Oh yes. They wholloped the struggling Panthers this week. I didn’t give them a bump in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings. But, it confirmed to me that my faith was well placed.

7. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Last Week: 7

At a certain point, the ability to pull out miracles against opponents, no matter how cursed, is impressive. Throughout much of the season, the Ravens have reminded me of last year’s Steelers, who famously went 11-0 against bad teams and fell apart when the schedule got hard. The Ravens should be 5-3 because of the uncalled Delay of Game against the Lions, but that hardly matters now with the rest of the AFC North tearing itself apart.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Last Week: 6

Although it doesn’t affect their standing in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings, the Saints’ loss helps the Buccaneers out dramatically. With WFT, the Giants, Colts, and Falcons coming up the next four weeks, the Buccaneers should be able to capitalize on their lucky regaining of control of the NFC South this week.

5. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Last Week: 2

Bad games happen, so I still consider this Bills team to be a top 5 contender. But, games like that can’t happen often. It was the first time all season they failed to score a touchdown and the only time other than Week 1 when they scored under 20. So, Bills fans shouldn’t be ready to panic yet. Bounce back against the Jets last week and all will be forgiven.

4. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

Last Week: 3

The Cowboys probably deserve a deeper dive in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings than this. But, luckily for them, many other teams around them had worse losses, or were on bye. Dak Prescott was outplayed by Teddy Bridgewater and their defense allowed the Broncos to put up 30 points. It was their highest point total of the season, and they’ve only scored 20 points once since September.

3. Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Last Week: 1

I’m not going to knock the Green Bay Packersdown in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings too hard for losing without their starting QB. However, I am going to knock them down for showing how screwed they are without Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers plays that game, they probably crush a still sloppy looking Chiefs team. But, Jordan Love didn’t look ready to lead this team. Hopefully Rodgers comes back for Seattle.

2. Tennessee Titans (7-2)

Last Week: 11

Alright, so maybe the Titans will be fine without Derrick Henry. I famously pushed them down in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings due to losing the player I assumed their football team would live and die with. Well, they went out and dropped 28 points on the Rams before the Rams ever got their first touchdown. Derrick Henry? How about Adrian Peterson.

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1)

Last Week: 4

How do you counteract losing to a heavily undermanned Green Bay Packers team in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings? You go beat a team while being heavily undermanned yourself! The Cardinals handily took care of business this week without Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins. They still put up 31 points and bullied a 49ers team that is desperately trying to claw its way into the playoff race.

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings
Joe Scarnici – Getty Images

In the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, we’ve got a ton of movement! A bunch of last week’s top 10 teams had super rough weeks. Teams we dismissed a few weeks ago are starting to show signs of life. Hell, even the Jets are starting to look like they’re doing something right. The Week 9 NFL Power Rankings will probably look as ridiculous as any other week as early as next week. But, that’s part of the fun!

32. Detroit Lions (0-8)

Last Week: 32

Another week, another game where the Lions nearly get shut out in their own stadium. This time, instead of the upstart Cincinnati Bengals, it’s against the lowly Philadelphia Eagles. The wheels came off this train a long time ago. But, the walls are starting to come down now too. You have to imagine they’ll get a win eventually though… right? They can’t be the first 0-16 team AND the first 0-17 team can they?

31. Houston Texans (1-7)

Last Week: 31

A 22-point garbage time explosion doesn’t really do justice to how lopsided of a contest this was. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s missed 45-yard field goal as the second quarter expired was a perfect encapsulation of just how much of a disaster that first half was. The Texans are starting to show just how dysfunction their organization truly is. They couldn’t even move Deshaun Watson before the trade deadline. What a mess. 

30. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

Last Week: 30

It really feels like the Dolphins should be penalized in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings for another loss. But, it’s pretty difficult to fall much further than they already have. At least they were mildly more competitive in their blowout loss this week than the Texans and Lions. I’ll give them some credit for having the good sense not to trade for Watson though. You made your bed with Tua, now sleep in it.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)

Last week: 28

Many an NFL team have taken advantage of a Seattle Seahawks team featuring Geno Smith at quarterback this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars proved their ineptness by letting him blow them out. Yes, Seattle is one of the toughest stadiums to play in. But, man, the Jags weren’t even competitive until their second-to-last drive of the game. Even then the defense still couldn’t make a stop to make it remotely interesting. But hey, at least there’s teams worse than them.

28. Washington Football Team (2-6)

Last Week: 25

The Washington defense finally had a pretty decent game… against the Broncos. Washington joins the Jets, Giants, and Jags as the only teams in a bad enough spot this year to lose to the Broncos. Not exactly company you want to be mentioned with.

27. New York Giants (2-6)

Last Week: 27

I was going to give the Giants credit in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings for playing their hearts out against a vastly more talented opponent. That is, until Daniel Jones did the most Daniel Jones thing ever and fumbled the ball on the final drive. Billy Price recovered the fumble to save catastrophe. But, then, he ran for about a one-yard gain with 15 yards to go and slid to avoid contact. Like he does know that basically ends the game, right? Why did you bother recovering the fumble if you’re just going to turn the ball over on downs without even trying to advance the ball? Giants gonna Giant.

26. New York Jets (2-5)

Last Week: 29

What even is this team? They’ve been embarrassed virtually every week they’ve played this year. Except, when they play top-10 teams. The Jets started Mike White in place of the injured Zac Wilson this week and he didn’t miss a beat. In fact, his 405 yards and three touchdowns would be a career day for most quarterbacks in the NFL. So, it seems the Jets are in good hands while Wilson recovers. Are they out of purgatory though? Time will tell, but it only took them seven games to equal their win total from last year.

25. Atlanta Falcons (3-4)

Last Week: 27

Just when you start feeling good about the Falcons… they pull the rug right out from under you. Then again, I guess that’s what it means to be a Falcons fan, huh? The Falcons fought their way back to .500 last week only to basically not show up in their own stadium against the Panthers this week. Carolina comes out looking like the team that could possibly turn things around, and Atlanta looks ready to go back to the basement.

24. Denver Broncos (4-4)

Last Week: 24

The Broncos did it! They finally won a game after failing to do so for an entire month! So, why aren’t they moving up in the Week 9 Power Rankings, you ask? Well, they really just confirmed what we already knew about them. They’re good enough to beat the bad teams, but still haven’t shown they can compete with anyone else. And what was that offensive performance? They made a WFT defense that has been extremely disappointing all season look stifling. And now they’re trading Von Miller to the Rams? I almost want to drop them, actually.

23. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last Week: 20

That was an amazing run by Justin Fields! Seriously, I could see that play going down as one of those highlights that gets replayed endlessly on NFL Network every time this team is mentioned in a positive light. Problem is, all this game did was confirm that Justin Fields won’t save the Bears. Yes, he’s talented, but he’s in an awful position. The Bears take a slide in the Week 9 NFL Power rankings largely because of the way they completely collapsed in the fourth quarter.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

Last Week: 26

I know it’s just the Lions. But, still, winning 44-6 on the road is a hell of an accomplishment, regardless of the opponent. They weren’t able to complete the shutout when Jared Goff managed to get a garbage time touchdown in the fourth quarter. But, the Eagles wouldn’t be the first team to fall just short of a shutout in Detroit this year. It’s been a rough year for a rebuilding Eagles team, but at least we know they can still dominate bad teams.

21. Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Last Week: 22

The Seahawks beat the Jaguars handily in their own stadium. Yawn. Any win in the NFL is a good win, especially a dominating one like that. So, I’ll give the Seahawks credit with a boost in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings. But, until Russell Wilson comes back, I don’t see much potential for this team.

20. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

Last Week: 19

It was a good effort for the Colts this week. Unfortunately, the defense had no answer for AJ Brown. That said, the Colts probably could have won this game if Carson Wentz hadn’t melted down on the final four drives. Yes, he connected with Michael Pittman on a beautiful 38-yard pass that helped set up the game-tying touchdown. But, it could have been the game-winning touchdown if not for the pick six on the previous drive. Then, he threw the game away with an infuriating pick in Colts territory in overtime.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

Last Week: 21

The Steelers are now winners of three in a row, completely turning around what was looking like a lost season after losing three in a row. There are still some major question marks on that offense. But, Mike Tomlin is spinning straw into gold once again. Say his name. Rumpletomlin.

18. Carolina Panthers (4-4)

Last Week: 18

Alright! So, the Panthers beat the Falcons. Not exactly in the most photogenic way, mind you. Sam Darnold didn’t make any mistakes, but he also didn’t do much exciting either. He basically managed this game in an adequate way while Chubba Hubbard, Zane Gonzalez, and the defense buried the Falcons. I never really thought of Sam Darnold as the game manger type, but maybe it’s a role he should embrace? 

17. San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

Last Week: 17

Credit to the 49ers – they overcame a rough first half to put away a struggling Bears team in the second. Then again, this really felt like an instance of the Bears beating themselves rather than the 49ers doing anything spectacular. Jimmy Garoppolo managed the game well and found the endzone twice with his legs. But, it really felt like the 49ers were the much less exciting team to watch this week, even though they won.

16. Minnesota Vikings (3-4)

Last Week: 13

Just when I thought the Minnesota Vikings are going to make a jump in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, they turned everything upside down. The Vikings led the Cowboys through basically the whole game, save for a brief stretch early in the third quarter when it was tied. Then, they just had the absolute worst luck on the Cowboys’ final drive. What really felt like the Vikings’ opportunity to make a statement win turned into heartbreak. The Vikings are going to need to start finding a way to win these games before I take them seriously as playoff contenders.

15. Cleveland Browns (4-4)

Last Week: 11

What a fall from grace for the Browns. This team won three of their first four, but reversed course to lose three of their last four. To be fair, injuries have played a huge role in that decline. However, Baker Mayfield needs to be better. The Browns need more from their available receivers. This was a winnable game that the Browns appeared to be in control of until Jarvis Landry fumbled the ball away in Steelers territory in the fourth quarter. Next week they draw a pissed off Bengals team looking to bounce back in front of their home crowd. Yikes.

14. New Orleans Saints (5-2)

Last Week: 15

The up-and-down nature of the Saints’ season reared it’s ugly head again this week. The Saints beat the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and are now just half a game behind in the race for the top spot. But, they lost QB Jameis Winston for the year with a torn ACL in the process. Trevor Siemian played well enough in relief. But, it’s a bittersweet feeling for a Saints team that, otherwise, looked poised to make a run.  

13. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)

Last Week: 14

It was a good time to have a bye for the Raiders. After all the Gruden turmoil, they proved their team is stronger than any controversy by handily winning their next two games. Now, they’re alone for first place in the AFC West. Is it sustainable? Find out next week on DRAGON BA…. err… the ATB NFL Power rankings.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)

Last Week: 11

An ugly win is a win at the end of the day. I’m no stranger to knocking teams down even after a win. But, I’m only going to do that in the case of an injury meaning more than the win itself meant. I’ll criticize the Cheifs all day long for a crazy sloppy game against the New York Giants. Honestly, we got more questions than answers out of this one. But, they won, so I won’t knock them down in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.

11. Tennessee Titans (6-2)

Last Week: 9

Uh-oh. Alright, I know it looks weird when a team that just beat their only competition for the division crown falls in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings. But, hear me out. If Derrick Henry is out for the year, what even are the Titans anymore? Ryan Tannehill can sling it, but he won’t do that all the time. I’ll give the Titans credit for beating the Colts, which is why they don’t fall farther. But, ever heard of Pyrrhic victory? Supposedly there’s no bad wins in the NFL, but this might qualify.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

Last Week: 6

Ouch. Remember all those good feelings we had about the Bengals after they demolished the Ravens last week? Yeah those are mostly gone after losing to the Jets. I still think this is a top-10 team because they’re remarkably healthy. And, they’re currently undefeated in the AFC North. The only other team the Jets have beaten this year are the Titans, who would be the No. 10 team this week had Derrick Henry not gotten hurt. So, maybe it’s not time to hit the panic button. Weird games happen. Go beat the Browns next week and those good feelings start coming back.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)

Last Week: 8

Over the last few weeks, Justin Herbert has looked more like the player I expected to see in the NFL. I’ve already admitted I was wrong about him, but he got outplayed by a pedestrian looking Mac Jones this week. The Chargers looked like they were generally in control of this game until he threw his first interception. They managed to overcome it and hold onto the lead, but then he threw a pick six in the fourth quarter. That was pretty much it for their chances this week, save for a too little too late touchdown with 40 seconds left in the game.

8. New England Patriots (4-4)

Last Week: 16

Am I being too generous to the Patriots here? Probably. But, last week I said they’re inching closer and closer to relevancy. Like the Steelers, the Patriots have completely reversed course on their abysmal start to the season. The difference is they did it with an absolute demolition job last week and a victory over a Super Bowl contender this week. I don’t see them losing any momentum with the Panthers, Browns, and Falcons coming up. But, if they do, it’ll show their boost in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings was an overreaction. If not, they’ll be 7-4 in a few weeks.

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Last Week: 10

What a bye week for the Ravens! I haven’t forgotten they were blown out in their own stadium by the Cincinnati Bengals last week. But, the Bengals fell back down to earth against the Jets this week and gave the Ravens the half-game lead for the division race. Also, pretty much all the other AFC contenders stumbled this week, other than the Bills. I still can’t put them up as high as they were before last week. But, they benefited from the turmoil of their competitors in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Last Week: 2

It looked like Tom Brady was going to do typical Tom Brady things and lead his team back from the dead. The Bucs were staring at a 23-7 blowout midway through the third quarter. Brady turned it on after that and actually gave them the lead at one point. But, a pick-six with 1:24 left in the game sealed their fate. It was a wholly ugly game for the Bucs. They would have deserved plenty of criticism even if they won. But, they didn’t, so out of the top-3 they go.

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-1)

Last Week: 5

There’s not much to learn about the Rams in this one, other than that they’re a really good football team. But, you already knew that, and blasting the Texans probably didn’t change your mind. Matt Stafford looked near perfect with 305 yards and three touchdowns. They failed to cover their lofty Vegas expectations by letting the Texans rally in garbage time. But, the Rams weren’t going to let the Texans recover like four onside kicks in a row. So, there was never really any doubt.

4. Arizona Cardinals (7-1)

Last Week: 1

I figured it was coming eventually. I wasn’t the biggest fan of having the Cardinals as the best team in football. But it’s hard to argue against when they just kept winning. Perhaps a three spot fall in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings is a bit much. Especially when the Cardinals just BARELY lost their first game because AJ Green forgot what the play call was. But, I’ve been skeptical of them all season. Let’s see how they bounce back with a fairly difficult second half of the season.

3. Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

Last Week: 4

Another close one for the Dallas Cowboys, but the Minnesota Vikings are much better than their record indicates. I’m impressed by the Cowboys’ resilience to win without Dak Prescott. The Cowboys will play the struggling Broncos and Falcons the next couple of weeks while Dak is out. So, getting this win was huge. If the Cowboys can win out while they’re waiting for Dak to come back, I’m not sure what’s going to stop this Cowboys team.

2. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Last Week: 3

Beating the Miami Dolphins isn’t exactly the most impressive thing in the world. But, the Bills have looked as good as anyone throughout most of this season outside of a weird Week 1. Technically, the Tennessee Titans hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC right now due to head-to-head matchup. But, do you really think the Bills aren’t the best team in the AFC right now considering the Titans will be without King Henry?

1. Green Bay Packers (7-1)

Last Week: 7

What the Green Bay Packers have managed to accomplish this season is unbelievable. How Matt LaFleur isn’t the current unanimous front-runner for Coach of the Year is beyond me. Have you seen this team’s injury list? Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, Josh Meyers, Marquez Caldes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Kevin King have all missed significant time this year. Hell, they didn’t even have Davante Adams against the Cardinals. But, they came away with a win against the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Can you imagine what this team will look like when they get healthy? Look out. For now, they’re well represented at the top of the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.