NFL Power Rankings 2016: Week 16 Standings
Week 15 of the 2016 NFL schedule is over. Now it’s time to see how all 32 teams stack up. Let’s dive right in to this week’s edition of NFL Power Rankings. For reference purposes, here’s a link to last week’s order.
1 – New England Patriots 12-2 (Last Week: 1) – The Patriots got revenge for their loss to the Broncos in the 2016 AFC Championship Game. It’s not just Tom Brady getting the job done; New England’s defense has played well in recent weeks.
2 – Dallas Cowboys 12-2 (LW: 3) – Dak Prescott turned in a good performance against the Buccaneers after struggling in his previous two starts. Dallas is still on top of the NFC.
3 – Oakland Raiders 11-3 (LW: 4) – Oakland is back on top of the AFC West after taking down the Chargers. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is a strong Coach of the Year candidate while Reggie McKenzie could earn Executive of the Year.
4 – Atlanta Falcons 9-5 (LW: 7) – It’s pretty amazing that the Falcons are scoring 33.5 points per game. The next closest team, the Saints, has scored 60 less total points than Atlanta. The Falcons’ offense is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
5 – Kansas City Chiefs 10-4 (LW: 2) – The Chiefs choked away their division lead by losing to the Titans at home. Now Kansas City ranks as the fifth seed in the AFC playoff picture with two games to go. For as good of a coach Andy Reid still is, he isn’t without his faults.
6 – Pittsburgh Steelers 9-5 (LW: 8) – The Steelers almost lost their AFC North lead by getting down big to the Bengals. Then Pittsburgh reminded everyone they’re a dangerous team even if things don’t start out their way. Their offense can put up points very quickly.
7 – New York Giants 10-4 (LW: 12) – New York has a winning model. Their defense makes up for the fact their offense isn’t very good. The Giants can get away with relying on Odell Beckham Jr. to make a big play or two in order to help them win games. It’s not pretty, but it’s been effective for the G-Men.
8 – Detroit Lions 9-5 (LW: 5) – Matthew Stafford finished with a 71.8 passer rating in his first game since injuring his finger. If Stafford’s injury limits his effectiveness, the Lions are in big trouble.
9 – Green Bay Packers 8-6 (LW: 10) – Make it four straight wins for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is still really good. It’s also clear how much having Jordy Nelson back this season can make a difference for Green Bay. The Packers are currently seventh in the NFC playoff picture, so they’re right on the cusp.
10 – Seattle Seahawks 9-4-1 (LW: 11) – There’s no question that the Seahawks are really good at home. Seattle really needs to hang on to their No. 2 seed because they might not last very long playing on the road in the playoffs.
11 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-6 (LW: 6) – Give the Buccaneers credit for fighting hard in Dallas. They’ve become one of the truly good teams in the NFC. Tampa Bay currently ranks projects as the sixth seed in the NFC. The Bucs could be a tough playoff team to deal with.
12 – Miami Dolphins 9-5 (LW: 15) – No Ryan Tannehill, no problem. The Dolphins still blew out the Jets despite starting Matt Moore. The Dolphins still might be able to make the playoffs.
13 – Tennessee Titans 8-6 (LW: 17) – The Titans are surprisingly good after being the NFL’s worst team in 2015. Beating the Chiefs in Kansas City is a big win for the Titans. Mike Mularkey’s team still has a chance to win the AFC South if they can finish strong and beat the Texans at home in the season finale.
14 – Baltimore Ravens 8-6 (LW: 13) – Baltimore moves down in the rankings despite winning because they easily could have lost to the Eagles. The Ravens have a big game this week against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. It’s do-or-die time.
15 – Denver Broncos 8-6 (LW: 9) – If the season ended today, the Broncos wouldn’t be in the playoffs. The defending Super Bowl champions rank ninth in the AFC playoff picture. Denver has two very big division games coming up (@ Chiefs, vs. Raiders) to end the season.
16 – Indianapolis Colts 7-7 (LW: 22) – Kudos to the Colts for kicking the crap out of the Vikings on the road. Indy is still very much alive in the AFC South race due to their head-to-head tie-breaker over the Titans.
17 – Buffalo Bills 7-7 (LW: 19) – Amidst the talk that Rex Ryan might be fired, the Bills picked up a free win over the lowly Browns.
18 – Houston Texans 8-6 (LW: 20) – Houston admitted paying Brock Osweiler a ton of money was a big mistake by benching him in favor of Tom Savage. Savage is now the starter moving forward. He’s probably not any good but it’s possible he might not be as bad as Osweiler. That might be good enough for the Texans to retain their division lead.
19 – Carolina Panthers 6-8 (LW: 23) – The Panthers are 5-3 in their last eight games. This season hasn’t gone the way the reigning NFC Champions wanted, but they’re doing their best to end it on a high note.
20 – Washington Redskins 7-6-1 (LW: 14) – Washington might make Kirk Cousins the highest paid player in the NFL this offseason despite the fact he can’t beat good teams.
Kirk Cousins’ starting record = 18-20-1
Cousins’ record against teams with 9+ wins = 1-10
Teams with 8+ wins = 4-10
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 20, 2016
21 – New Orleans Saints 6-8 (LW: 26) – There were concerns about Drew Brees after he threw six interceptions to zero touchdowns in the previous two weeks. Brees turned things around by throwing four touchdowns to no interceptions in a win over the Cardinals.
22 – Minnesota Vikings 7-7 (LW: 16) – Adrian Peterson’s return to the field did Minnesota no good. The Vikings got flat out embarrassed at home to a less than stellar Colts team. Minny likely won’t make the playoffs. Their decision to give up a 2017 first-round pick (AND a 2018 fourth-round pick) for Sam Bradford isn’t looking so awesome.
23 – Arizona Cardinals 5-8-1 (LW: 18) – Arizona’s defense isn’t what it once was. The Cardinals are giving up an average of 33 points in their last five games.
24 – Cincinnati Bengals 5-8-1 (LW: 21) – Just when it looked like the Bengals might play spoiler to the Steelers, Cincinnati blew it. At least Marvin Lewis is doing enough to keep his job, probably.
25 – San Diego Chargers 5-9 (LW: 24) – The Chargers have been in close games all year and just haven’t been able to win. (Sound familiar, Eagles fans?)
26 – Philadelphia Eagles 5-9 (LW: 25) – The Eagles are 2-9 since starting out 3-0. The Eagles just couldn’t win on the road this year; they went 1-7 in away games. Philadelphia almost stole a win in Baltimore thanks to a gutsy call from Doug Pederson to go for two at the end of the game. The call didn’t work out, but the Eagles made the right decision. Carson Wentz turned in an ugly performance but the fact he led the team on a scoring drive in a clutch situation can be viewed as a positive sign for the future.
27 – Chicago Bears 3-11 (LW: 27) – Another loss for the Bears, but Chicago has shown some good fight in recent weeks. They made the Packers beat them in the final seconds at Lambeau Field. Matt Barkley continues to look not as terrible as expected.
28 – New York Jets 4-10 (LW: 28) – The Jets are having a ton of quarterback woes and second-round pick Christian Hackenberg still can’t get on the field. That’s not really a surprise since he looked bad in college and in the preseason this year, but it’s just a reminder of how bad a pick the Jets made.
29 – Los Angeles Rams 4-10 (LW: 29) – The Rams paid tribute to Jeff Fisher by losing their first game without him. Ah, the memories. Jared Goff is not looking very good, especially for having been the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft.
30 – Jacksonville Jaguars 2-12 (LW: 30) – The Jaguars FINALLY fired Gus Bradley. He finished with a 14-48 record. Too bad they didn’t let him get to the 50-loss mark.
31 – San Francisco 49ers 1-13 (LW: 31) – If not for an odd blowout win over the Rams in Week 1, the 49ers would be winless. Is Chip Kelly really going to be back in 2017?
32 – Cleveland Browns 0-14 (LW: 32) – The Browns are two losses away from going 0-16. They play the Chargers next and then Steelers in Week 17.