NFL Power Rankings Week 17
Week 16 gave us a more clear idea of who would be making the playoff cut and who would be sent home. One week to go and everything is now on the line.
Carolina came back to beat the Saints, New England slaughtered Baltimore, Dallas kept their playoff hopes alive by narrowing beating Washington, Arizona surprised Seattle at home, and Philly trounced the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football.
It’s all or nothing now folks! Here are the Power Rankings heading into Week 17.
1. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning broke the single season touchdown passing record as the Broncos rolled over the Texans to clinch the AFC West and a first round bye. Denver is hot and heavy for intense playoff action and they couldn’t be more ready to battle some of the more AFC elites.
2. New England Patriots
For the fifth straight season, the New England Patriots clinched the AFC East. After trouncing the Ravens on Sunday…New England looks to head back to the big game once again since last appearing in Super Bowl XLVI.
3. Seattle Seahawks
After 14 straight home victories, the Seattle Seahawks dropped the ball and looked sloppy for such a solid NFC force against the Arizona Cardinals. If Seattle wants to relevant in the playoffs this season, they will need to play much better football.
4. San Francisco 49ers
In the final game at Candlestick Park, the San Francisco 49ers managed to snag a playoff berth and with Navarro Bowman’s big interception to end the game, the Niners now look forward to another chance at Super Bowl glory.
5. Carolina Panthers
With a powerful defense and Cam Newton leading the offense, the Carolina Panthers were able to hold off the dominant Saints. The Panthers have clinched a playoff spot and look to be a surprise NFC threat going into the postseason. Carolina better be ready to pounce when the time is right.
6. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have had a stellar and unpredictable season thus far. At 10-5, they are still fighting for a playoff spot and look to squeak in if all the cards fall into place. After holding off the powerful Seahawks, most would agree that Arizona deserves a trip to the postseason.
7. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck and company are ready to take the playoff swirl by storm. The Colts kept the Kansas City Chiefs in check and looked ready to do battle with some the AFC’s more ferocious teams going forward. Who wouldn’t want to see a rematch of the Colts and Broncos?
8. Cincinnati Bengals
In a dominant performance from Andy Dalton, the Cincinnati Bengals rolled over the Minnesota Vikings. This game made a giant statement to the AFC teams going forward…”Watch out for the ‘Cats’ in the playoffs.”
9. Philadelphia Eagles
Talk about a stomping. Philly held no holds barred against the Chicago Bears, playing like their season was on the line. Now, Philly looks to storm into Dallas and steal the division next week and soar with their heads held high into the playoffs.
10. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have rarely looked sloppy this season, but on Sunday they just couldn’t hold their own against the Colts. Alex Smith struggled to move the offense while the defense was getting eaten alive. The Chiefs have fallen to a wild card spot and will need to prepare themselves going forward especially if they want to prove all the nay sayers wrong.
11. New Orleans Saints
This team is incredible playing at home, but are very questionable on the road. If the Saints can’t get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, it might be a tougher road to the Super Bowl than they previously thought.
12. San Diego Chargers
The Bolts are on the cusp of the playoffs and if they can sneak in, it might give the city of San Diego a little more hope moving forward. Hopefully the Chargers have lady luck on their side going into next week.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
Playing light out football in the second half of the season has paid off nicely. The Steelers managed to outlast the Packers this weekend, but need losses by the Chargers, Ravens, and Dolphins in order to get into the postseason. You never know, stranger things have happened.
14. Chicago Bears
With a chance to clinch the NFC North, the Chicago Bears looked completely unprepared for the raging Eagles on Sunday night. Now it’s winner take all next week as Chicago battles heated division rival Green Bay for a spot in the playoffs.
15. St. Louis Rams
Even with no playoff implications on the line, the Rams played like there was no tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Bucs. St. Louis has had it’s fair share of injuries and bad luck this year…maybe next season they’ll be able to bounce back and take the NFL by storm.
16. Miami Dolphins
This was just an utterly disastrous weekend for the Miami Dolphins…with playoff implications lingering on the line, the Dolphins failed to put up a single point against the Buffalo Bills. Miami now has to live on a hope and a prayer if they want to be playing football in January.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens looked flat and unprepared for the New England Patriots. At the moment, the Ravens hold a key wild card spot, but need a big victory next week in order to hold on to it. The Defending Champs are skating on very thin ice at the moment.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Playing like they had everything to lose, the Dallas Cowboys made a valiant comeback to beat the Washington Redskins by one. Now, Tony Romo and the Boys play their biggest division rival, Philly next week in a win or go home scenario.
19. Green Bay Packers
The Packers came within seconds of tying the Pittsburgh Steelers to force overtime, but just couldn’t get the job done in a wild and outlandish game. Nonetheless, the Packers will play the Bears next week for the division title and a playoff berth.
20. New York Jets
The Jets will miss the playoffs for the third straight year and now there is even talk of Rex Ryan’s job being on the line. We can only fathom what fate holds for Ryan and the Jets in the off-season.
21. New York Giants
The New York Giants played like they had nothing to lose against the Detroit Lions and even if they weren’t playing for anything…the Giants managed to derail the Lions hopes of going to the playoffs. The G-Men look forward to the off-season and will hopefully be fresh and ready for the 2014 campaign.
22. Detroit Lions
In a disappointing effort, the Detroit Lions opted to run out the clock and force overtime instead of trying to score with 30 seconds left. Much to the dismay of the angry Detroit crowd, the New York Giants kicked the game winner as the Lions were booed off the field and out of playoff contention.
23. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills severed many ties the Dolphins had at making the playoffs on Sunday and who knows maybe the Bills did just enough to keep their division rivals out of the postseason. Buffalo’s tumultuous year comes to an end next week and hopefully the Bills can get healthy in the off-season.
24. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are another team who have been plagued by injury this year, but a win is a win and even if it just was a morale booster, the Titans look to finish the 2013 season in style.
25. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings just looked shameful on Sunday. They stood no chance against the roaring Bengals and now look for a new game plan heading into 2014. Their first priority: getting Adrian Peterson healthy.
26. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons fought the good fight against the 49ers, but one costly decision decided the eventual outcome and it didn’t work out in their favor. The Falcons 2013 campaign was very unfavorable, but maybe next year, Atlanta can get back on track and make a name for themselves in 2014.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars had yet another disappointing season…though they showed signs of brief brilliance, there were too many times the Jags looked sluggish and unprepared. Jacksonville needs to consider some viable options at quarterback, running back, etc, etc, etc, for next year.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The drama surrounding this team likely buried them. Though for a time, Tampa Bay looked revived, yet only to stumble and fall in December. The swashbucklers can only hope they plunder and loot the NFL draft for some solid talent.
29. Oakland Raiders
Speaking of plundering and looting, the other pirate team on the west coast looks to do the same regarding the NFL draft. Tho, the Raiders have looked better than predicted this year and in no way has their record reflected any of that.
30. Cleveland Browns
Another losing record in the books for the Cleveland Browns. The Dog Pound has some serious issues to address during the off-season…though their defense has been a major highlight this year.
31. Washington Redskins
The NFL drama is now spotlighted on the Washington Redskins. One can only fathom how this team will be making headlines in the coming weeks and months.
32. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are looking to avoid 14 straight losses this season…their 2013 season is a very forgettable one. Next year is a new tabula rasa for this team.
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.