NFL Power Rankings Week 15

NFL Power Rankings

Power Rankings Week 15Power Rankings

Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs…is what is one everyone’s mind moving forward. This weekend, several teams cemented their spots in the postseason while other divisional races heated up just in time to give some NFL hopefuls a fighting chance to make their case for a shot at Super Bowl XLVII.

The Packers won the NFC North, earning a playoff berth, the Patriots rallied from 28 down to almost shock the Niners, the Falcons destroyed the G-Men and the NFC East playoff race opened up with wins by the Cowboys and Redskins respectively. Not to mention we witnessed three shutouts this weekend…kudos.

It was a heck of weekend for football. Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings heading into Week 16 of the 2012 season.

1. Atlanta FalconsAtlanta Falcons

Record: 12-2 Rank Last Week: 4

If there was ever was a sliver of doubt concerning this team for the past couple of weeks, those worries can be put to rest because a 34-0 stomping of the G-Men showed just how dominant the dirty birds are…if this team continues its current momentum, they will fly in style all the way to the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan has never looked better. Next Week @ Lions (Saturday Night Football)

2. Houston Texans

Record: 12-2 Rank Last Week: 2

Could this finally be the year the Houston Texans make a significant playoff run? These longhorns are stampeding their way towards America’s most coveted game and won’t likely be stopped if keep up their winning ways. J.J. Watt is making his case for defensive player of the year, while Gary Kubiak may have finally found his NFL mojo. Next Week vs. Vikings

3. Denver BroncosBroncos

Record: 11-3 Rank Last Week: 3

Mile High has never felt so refreshing. Peyton Manning has led the Broncos with finesse and has this team in a prime position to do some serious damage in the playoffs. John Elway is surely beaming with pride this season. Next Week vs. Browns

4. Green Bay PackersPackers

Record: 10-4 Rank Last Week: 6

An NFC North Title and a playoff berth all earned in the same day was the headline the Packers were hoping for, not to mention defeating their arch rival, Chicago, to snag the division crown for the second year in a row. Moving forward the Green and Gold will need to overcome a slew of injuries to make a splash in the playoffs. Mike McCarthy better have his boys prepped to battle some NFC elites in January. Next Week vs. Titans

5. San Francisco 49ers49er's

Record: 10-3-1 Rank Last Week: 7

The Gold Rush nearly avoided disaster by letting a 28 point lead fizzle away over the course of 2 quarters, allowing Tom Brady the chance to make one of the biggest comebacks in history, but thankfully Colin Kaepernick got his head on straight in time to give the Niners a much needed win to stay ahead of those pesky Seahawks in West. Jim Harbaugh’s facial expressions throughout Sunday’s game were priceless. Next Week @ Seahawks (Sunday Night Football)

6. New England PatriotsPatriots

Record: 10-4 Rank Last Week: 1

It was a valiant effort by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to give themselves a fighting chance in a game that was all but over by the middle of the third quarter, but sometimes you can let your emotions get the best of you in high pressure situations. Here’s to hoping this loss doesn’t affect the Pats playoff situation. I’m sure Bill Belicheck will make sure to focus on getting his players ready for first half action from now on. Next Week @ Jaguars

7. Seattle Seahawks

Record: 9-5 Rank Last Week: 8

For the second straight week, the Seattle Seahawks tacked up more than 50 points on their opponent. Russell Wilson is developing into the next superstar the West coast has been dying for…that is unless Colin Kaepernick can out duel Mr. Wilson next week in a game of epic proportions. Next Week vs. 49ers (Sunday Night Football)

8. Washington RedskinsRedskins

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 9

Forget about RGIII, the Redskins are in more than capable hands with Kirk Cousins at the helm. With this big win, the Skins now aim to take control of their destiny and maybe even the NFC East division. Next Week @ Eagles

9. Indianapolis ColtsColts

Record: 9-5 Rank Last Week: 5

Sometimes this squad just isn’t so lucky, then again they will need more than just “Luck” to help ease themselves into the playoffs. It has been an incredible turnaround this year for Indy and Andrew Luck is certainly making a solid case for Rookie of the Year… yet we all need to see this team put up more of a heroic effort against some of the NFL elites. Next Week @ Chiefs 

10. Dallas CowboysDallas Cowboys

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 13

Jerry Jones can smell the playoffs right under his nose and if his Boys play their cards right, they might just snag the division let alone a playoff berth. Tony Romo played lights out against the Steelers this weekend…while Rob Ryan certainly beefed up his defensive scheme. Hey, who knows maybe destiny calls in Dallas this year. Next Week vs. Saints

11. Cincinnati BengalsCincinnati Bengals

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 14

With the AFC North race heating up in time for the playoffs, the Bengals are in a prime position to catch the falling Ravens and might just be lucky enough to steal the division away from John Harbaugh’s boys. Is it possible that Andy Dalton could be taking his team to the playoffs yet again? Hopefully if they reach the postseason, the Bengals don’t conform to the “Bungles.” Marvin Lewis is again making his case to stay put in Cincy. Next Week @ Steelers

12. Minnesota VikingsVikings

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 18

Just when you thought the Vikings were kaput this year, they’ve rallied themselves into a wild card position, especially with the help of Adrian Peterson’s 212 rushing yards on the ground this weekend against the Rams. Is Minnesota for real? I guess we’ll see if they can stick around long enough to make a bid for the postseason. Here’s to AP staying healthy. Next Week @ Texans

13. New York Giants

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 10

The G-Men have let the NFC East slide out from under them…especially with their back and forth performances from week to week. Week 14 was an utter disaster for them, and now Eli Manning better shape his squad up, while Tom Coughlin better figure out how to get his team in line because if they don’t, they’ll be missing out on a return trip to the playoffs. Next Week @ Ravens

14. Baltimore RavensBaltimore Ravens

Record: 9-5 Rank Last Week: 11

Talk about a skid…the Ravens are beginning to lose steam especially after such a poor performance against the Broncos this weekend. With the playoffs looming in the distance, John Harbaugh better see stronger production from his squad if he hopes to clash wits with his brother in January. Next Week vs. Giants

15. Chicago BearsChicago Bears

Record: 8-6 Rank Last Week: 12

After a 7-1 start, the Bears have really dropped the ball and slid to 8-6, with hopes of a playoff berth diminishing each and every second. Jay Cutler and the offense had a rough go against the Packers D…while during the postgame interview, Brandon Marshall held the entire offense accountable for their actions on the field…maybe he can get his team fired up in time to make a run at the playoffs. Next Week @ Cardinals

16. Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh Steelers

Record: 7-7 Rank Last Week: 15

Even with Big Ben at the helm, the Steelers couldn’t muster up a much needed victory to keep the thoughts of the postseason on their minds. This injury riddled squad has seen better days, but now Mike Tomlin’s Black and Yellow need to push themselves even harder in the next 2 weeks to able to even have a shot at moving forward with their season. Is it possible the Steel Curtain is coming down early in 2012? Next Week vs. Bengals

17. Carolina PanthersCarolina Panthers

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 22

Too little too late, but Ron Rivera has the Carolina Panthers in a late turnaround this season. Cam Newton put up stellar numbers against the sinking Chargers…heck give this franchise a few years and they will certainly be playoff ready. Next Week vs. Raiders

18. New Orleans SaintsSaints

Record: 6-8 Rank Last Week: 25

This season for the Saints wasn’t the promising one Mardi Gras town had hoped for, but every win counts…especially a 41-0 stomping. Drew Brees has done everything he can for this franchise, but maybe some changes are in order…staring with bringing back Sean Payton. Next Week @ Cowboys

19. Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins

Record: 6-8 Rank Last Week: 26

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” should be the Miami Dolphins new slogan. A solid victory this weekend gave them a step up in the wild card hunt, but it may not be enough for them to get in. Ryan Tannehill has been a brilliant addition to this squad, while Joe Philbin has revitalized the Dolphins franchise…cheers to next season Fins fans. Next Week vs. Bills 

20. Cleveland BrownsCleveland Browns

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 16

The chance to end the season at a respectable .500 slithered away from the Brownies after failing to match points with the Redskins over the weekend. Not to worry though because Cleveland could be in for a pleasant surprise in the next few seasons to come after the promising talent that has been displayed there. Even with Mike Holmgren out the of the picture, the Cleveland Browns look to have a brighter future ahead of them. Next Week @ Broncos

21. St. Louis RamsRams

Record: 6-7-1 Rank Last Week: 17

Fortunately for Jeff Fischer he’s likely to stick around for years to come…unfortunately for the Rams, they may finally have been eliminated from the playoff hunt once and for all. It’s nice to see how this team managed to turn things around this season however. Lucky for the city of St. Louis that baseball season is right around the corner. Next Week @ Buccaneers

22. Arizona CardinalsArizona Cardinals

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 31

Larry Fitzgerald is breathing a sigh of relief after his Cardinals finally ended a 9 game losing skid, destroying the Lions in the process. Ken Whisenhunt may have saved his job for next season with this week’s win…maybe. Next Week vs. Bears

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buc's

Record: 6-8 Rank Last Week: 19

Waving the white flag might be a good idea for this band of pirates who were bombarded by the Saints on Sunday. After such a promising start to the season, the Bucs have let their season go to waste and now Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano are sinking with their ship. Next Week vs. Rams

24. Tennessee TitansTitans

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 27

It was ugly, but Jake Locker got the job done…mainly using his feet. Chris Johnson had a 94 yard touchdown run and that about sealed the deal as the Titans ended the Jets hopes of going to the postseason. Next Week @ Packers

25. New York JetsJets

Record: 6-8 Rank Last Week: 20

It was 5 turnovers that erased any chances of making the playoffs this year for the Jets. In a dud of a game, Mark Sanchez threw 4 interceptions, while the last play of the game, a botched snap cost New York a chance at a W. Rex Ryan is in for a long off-season. Next Week vs. Chargers

26. Buffalo BillsBuffalo Bills

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 21

At least this franchise will still have fans at the end of the season, unlike some other teams out there. Chan Gailey will need to make some major moves come the offseason…or maybe he’s the one that needs to be changed…line up those resumes potential head coaches…Buffalo could be calling. Next Week @ Dolphins

27. Oakland RaidersOakland Raiders

Record: 4-10 Rank Last Week: 29

At least the Raiders earned a shutout! This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Black and Silver faithful since well…forever. Thank goodness the Raiders have Darren McFadden healthy again. Next Week @ Panthers

28. San Diego ChargersChargers

Record: 5-9 Rank Last Week: 23

Norv Turner couldn’t teach a fish how to swim if he wanted to. The Chargers were eliminated from any playoff contention they may have had left this weekend and now the offseason will be the focus of this team who started fast and ended with a slow painful death. Next Week @ Jets

29. Philadelphia EaglesEagles

Record: 4-10 Rank Last Week: 24

Nothing left to do but enjoy a Philly cheesesteak and relish in the fact that there’s always next year. Andy Reid may not be sticking around, but Nick Foles might have a promising future in the city where the Liberty Bell rings. Next Week vs. Redskins

30. Detroit LionsDetroit Lions

Record: 4-10 Rank Last Week: 28

Well, this season was the last thing anyone expected from the Lions, not to mention getting slaughtered by one of the NFL’s worst over the weekend. The silver lining is however, the Lions have one of the most explosive offenses in the league…too bad they couldn’t utilize it at all. Sorry Matthew StaffordNext Week vs. Falcons (Saturday Night Football)

31. Kansas City ChiefsChiefs

Record: 2-12 Rank Last Week: 30

This franchise needs help…at this point they might as well play for NFL draft picks. Brady Quinn better watch his back come next season because the Chiefs really need an effective quarterback. Next Week vs. Colts

32. Jacksonville JaguarsJacksonville Jaguars

Record: 2-12 Rank Last Week: 32

Speaking of playing for the Draft…the Jaguars might want to think about who they may want to select first, unless they really want to do Kansas City a favor and give them the honor. I wonder when Maurice Jones-Drew will say enough is enough with this franchise. Next Week vs. Patriots


About the author

Chris Strong

Chris Strong is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan living in the heart of Chicago and though he gets many strange looks wearing his green and gold, he represents his team proudly in the windy city. By day, Chris is a supervisor at a Chicago Cubs merchandise store located across the way from Wrigley Field, not to mention an avid film and media writer. By night, Chris continues to pursue a sports writing career as he loves all things football, especially the NFL.

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