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NFL Week 17 Power Rankings

NFL Week 17 Power Rankings

NFL Week 17 Power RankingsWeek 16 clarified the playoff picture to a major extent. There are still some things left to be decided which led the NFL to cancel the Sunday night football game to not give anyone team an unfair advantage. All games will be played in the 1 pm and 4 pm windows this upcoming week and the hope is it will lead to better games. Let’s get into those ranks!

Minnesota Vikings

Power Rankings: 1

  • Record: 12-3
  • Previous Rank: 1
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Green Bay Packers, 16-0
  • Week 17: versus Chicago Bears

It’s debatable if the cold weather had any effect on quarterback Case Keenum, but he had a pretty poor game this past Saturday night. Even though the Vikings cruised to the victory with their defense pitching the shutout, they will see much better quarterbacks than Brett Hundley in the playoffs. Keenum deserves a ton of credit for playing well this season. It’s also pretty clear that he is the weakest link on this team. While Minnesota deserves to be this high in the ranks, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Vikings go out earlier than they should in the postseason due to poor play from the most important position on the field. Minnesota closes out their season against the Bears next week.

Los Angeles Rams

Power Ranking: 2

  • Record: 11-4
  • Previous Rank: 2
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Tennessee Titans, 27-23
  • Week 17: versus San Francisco 49ers

Contrary to what former coach Jeff Fisher thinks, the Rams success this season actually does not reflect well on him. Running back Todd Gurley is a legitimate MVP candidate this season and Fisher thought he should share passing down work with Benny Cunningham in 2016. Quarterback Jared Goff is night and day different than last season when many declared him a total bust. The best is probably still to come from the young QB and his coach, Sean McVay. The defense has good and bad days but they always have tackle Aaron Donald who just wrecks offensive game plans. Even the most optimistic analysts probably didn’t see the Rams winning the NFC West this season, but that’s exactly what happened. The Rams finish with what should be a shootout versus the San Francisco 49ers.

Philadelphia Eagles

Power Ranking: 3

  • Record: 12-3
  • Previous Rank: 3
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Oakland Raiders, 19-10
  • Week 17: versus Dallas Cowboys

If this is a preview of how Nick Foles is going to play in the postseason, the Eagles are in trouble. He was scattershot throughout the game on Monday night and while the Eagles still walked away with a win, it was on the back of the defense and not much else. There weren’t a lot of players that could say they played well aside from the defense. The offense was out of sync all night and spent most of the second half with under 30 offensive yards. Philly has time to get Foles more comfortable in the offense, but this was a bad sign.

New England Patriots

Power Ranking: 4

  • Record: 12-3
  • Previous Rank: 5
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Buffalo Bills, 37-16
  • Week 17: versus New York Jets

This game finished with a 21 point victory for the Patriots, who will likely be the number one seed in the AFC. It still would at least have been slightly interesting to see what happened if Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin had been ruled to catch that pass that could have been a touchdown. I won’t go full conspiracy like some, but the Patriots have come out on the right side of the catch rule no less than four times this season. That luck is going to swing back at some point. Dion Lewis looked excellent as he shredded the Bills defense at will. New England is a good squad, just like always. They also seem just a notch below invincible like they have in past seasons. It’s going to be a fun playoff in the AFC because it is wide open on that side of the bracket.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Power Ranking: 5

  • Record: 12-3
  • Previous Rank: 6
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Houston Texans, 34-6
  • Week 17: versus Cleveland Browns

No Antonio Brown, no problem for Pittsburgh on Christmas day. The offense just kept on clicking in Houston, but the biggest takeaway was that the defense looked a lot better with the return of corner Joe Haden. The obvious caveat is the Houston offense is just dreadful and that shouldn’t be discounted. Still, Haden is a large part of the defensive puzzle, especially with the loss of linebacker Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh has claimed a first-round bye which is crucial to get back a healthy Brown for a playoff run. This team desperately wants another shot at New England and it’s definitely possible that will happen in the ACF Championship game.

New Orleans Saints

Power Ranking: 6

  • Record: 11-4
  • Previous Rank: 8
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Atlanta Falcons, 23-13
  • Week 17: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The score looks a lot closer than this game really was. The Saints handled their business with absolutely no issue and clinched a playoff berth in the process. They are a complete football team and when they’re healthy, they are going to be a tough team to deal with. Quarterback Drew Brees has taken slightly more of a backseat but that has been to the benefit of the team. The defense is capable of big games and the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are difficult to stop. The NFC is very balanced and New Orleans has as much of a chance as anyone else to make it to the Super Bowl. They could win the NFC South next week when they travel to Tampa Bay.

Carolina Panthers

Power Ranking: 7

  • Record: 11-4
  • Previous Rank: 7
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 22-19
  • Week 17: at Atlanta Falcons

The Panthers walked away with a victory and a win is a win. However, this win was precisely why the Panthers haven’t gotten much attention this season. The offense is so hit or miss, it’s easy to see why they could fail in the postseason. Quarterback Cam Newton is scattershot as a passer and the weapons just don’t always seem to mesh. Guys like tight end Greg Olsen fluctuate from a massive 100-yard game last week to under 30 yards this week. Running back Christian McCaffrey was really nowhere to be found this week either. Credit to Carolina for pulling out a win. They will need to be a lot better in the postseason to make some noise.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Power Ranking: 8

  • Record: 10-5
  • Previous Rank: 4
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus San Francisco 49ers, 44-33
  • Week 17: at Tennessee Titans

The trend of me buying into the Jaguars and them going out and laying an egg continued this week. Maybe they just don’t have enough experience to make noise in the playoffs. This is a new feeling for a lot of the Jaguars and they didn’t handle it very well this past week. It’s one thing to lose, it’s another to get over 40 points hung on you when you’re the best defense in the league. Don’t let the stat line for quarterback Blake Bortles fool you because he was bad through a lot of this game. A significant chunk of his production came in garbage time. The Jaguars will look to lock up the number three seed in the AFC this week when they travel to Tennessee. They should undoubtedly be quite angry over what happened this past week.

Baltimore Ravens

Power Ranking: 9

  • Record: 9-6
  • Previous Rank: 12
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Indianapolis Colts, 23-16
  • Week 17: versus Cincinnati Bengals

It still doesn’t feel right to have the Baltimore Ravens this high in the ranks. The offense just doesn’t have a ton of weapons and it’s hard to figure out how they keep on winning games. They got lucky to pluck running back Alex Collins off of waivers. The defense isn’t nearly as good without cornerback Jimmy Smith. Baltimore will likely sneak get in as a Wild Card team this year, but the range of outcomes is pretty wide. Even if they beat a team in the first round, it’s hard to see them beating Pittsburgh or New England on the road.

Seattle Seahawks

Power Ranking: 10

  • Record: 9-6
  • Previous Rank: 15
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Dallas Cowboys, 21-12
  • Week 17: versus Arizona Cardinals

There isn’t a team in the NFL that thrives in the middle of drama like the Seahawks. They go into Dallas and get a big win, keeping their playoff hopes alive. The defense plays better and things seemingly are going smoothly until safety Earl Thomas runs after Dallas coach Jason Garrett to tell him that the Cowboys should sign him when Seattle releases him. Football is a business and it’s pretty reasonable for Thomas to think he could get cut this offseason. It’s still pretty poor optics for him to be so open about it when Seattle is trying to make a playoff run. It’s just a distraction that wasn’t needed. Still, if a team can block out the noise to make things work, it’s Seattle. They must beat division rival Arizona Cardinals this week.

Kansas City Chiefs

Power Ranking: 11

  • Record: 9-6
  • Previous Rank: 16
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Miami Dolphins, 29-13
  • Week 17: at Denver Broncos

Kansas City locked up the AFC West this week by beating the Dolphins handily. It’s really no coincidence that they have started to look like a better team when they went back to making running back Kareem Hunt a focal point of the offense. The duo of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce was more than the Dolphins could handle and either player can take over a game at a moments notice. Kansas City will likely welcome in the Ravens in the Wild Card round and should be favored in that matchup. They finish off their season at Denver this week.

Atlanta Falcons

Power Ranking: 12

  • Record: 9-6
  • Previous Rank: 9
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus New Orleans Saints, 23-13
  • Week 17: versus Carolina Panthers

The Atlanta offense picked a really bad game to go into the tank. They were only able to produce one garbage-time touchdown and the offense is the reason this season will probably be a disappointment. The loss of Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers really can’t be overstated at this point. There are simply too many talented players at their disposal to not look at coaching as part of the main reason the Falcons offense took a step back this year. Quarterback Matt Ryan especially has regressed from last season. They can still make the playoffs but it’s hard to have a ton of faith that they could advance. They face a must-win game in Carolina this week.

Los Angeles Chargers

Power Ranking: 13

  • Record: 8-7
  • Previous Rank: 13
  • Week 16 result: Win versus New York Jets, 14-7
  • Week 17: versus Oakland Raiders

The Chargers still have a shred of a chance at the postseason after grinding out a win in New York against the Jets. It was definitely an ugly win but Los Angeles will take it anyway it comes. This is a team that would be dangerous in the playoffs if they can find a way in. 2018 will be very interesting as the Chargers left themselves with so little margin for error after a 0-4 start. Quarterback Philip Rivers will be back and the offense will have plenty of weapons at their disposal, especially if rookie receiver Mike Williams can recover from his putrid campaign. The defense has three excellent playmakers to build around and the Chargers should be able to beat a Raiders team playing for nothing this week.

Buffalo Bills

Power Ranking: 14

  • Record:8-7
  • Previous Rank: 11
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus New England Patriots, 37-16
  • Week 17: at Miami Dolphins

The decision to start rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman in Los Angeles may prove to be the turning point of the season for Buffalo. If they had just let Tyrod Taylor start, they could have potentially beaten the Chargers and been in a much better spot right now for the postseason. They made this game against New England a little bit interesting but just lack the firepower to stick with the offense of the Patriots. It seemed like the Bills could never decide if they were aiming for the playoffs or entering a rebuild. The best thing they could do in the offseason is to pick a lane and stay in it. They’ll aim to finish above .500 when they head to Miami this week.

San Francisco 49ers

Power Ranking: 15

  • Record: 5-10
  • Previous Rank: 17
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Jacksonville Jaguars, 44-33
  • Week 17: at Los Angeles Rams

The fighting Jimmy Garoppolo are coming off destroying the best defense in the NFL and it was a full-blown destruction. The offense has totally transformed with Garoppolo under center and the 49ers have a totally different outlook on their rebuild than they did a month ago. Imagine the San Francisco offense with some real weapons. That’s no disrespect to Marquise Goodwin, who’s been playing very well as the number one wideout. It’s just to point out that the offense still has a lot of room for more pieces. The rivalry between the Rams and 49ers is shaping up to be very fun these next few seasons, and we get the next installment this week in LA.

Washington Redskins

Power Ranking: 16

  • Record: 7-8
  • Previous Rank: 20
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Denver Broncos, 27-11
  • Week 17: at New York Giants

It would be a mistake to blame the coaching staff for the disappointing season. The Redskins suffered so many injuries, it’s tough to tell how good this team could have been. The front office owes it to the players to give the main pieces of the roster another shot at it next season and that includes keeping quarterback Kirk Cousins. Washington strikes me as a team that could get right in a hurry. If they keep Cousins and go all in on offense, it could be fun in real short order. The Redskins cross the finish line in New York versus the Giants.

Dallas Cowboys

Power Ranking: 17

  • Record: 8-7
  • Previous Rank: 10
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Seattle Seahawks, 21-12
  • Week 17: at Philadelphia Eagles

What an absolute stinker from the Cowboys offense in this one. They got running back Ezekiel Elliott back from suspension and weren’t able to do anything on offense. Quarterback Dak Prescott took a fairly large step backward this season and there still appears to be little chemistry with receiver Dez Bryant. For his part, Bryant is either playing hurt or has dramatically fallen apart. He should consider going the route of Larry Fitzgerald and move into the slot basically full time. The Cowboys need to reload this offseason and continue to work on their defense. The offense is closer than they may appear, they just need explosiveness.

Detroit Lions

Power Ranking: 18

  • Record: 8-7
  • Previous Rank: 14
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Cincinnati Bengals, 26-17
  • Week 17: versus Green Bay Packers

Talk about a team that just totally ruined their entire season in the span of one game, no team should be more embarrassed than the Detroit Lions. The Bengals had been outscored by almost 50 points these past two weeks and the Lions got beat up by that team. Detroit is a tough team to figure out. Receiver Golden Tate disappeared down the stretch and their running game hasn’t been useful since Barry Sanders was there. The defense is just average and needs plenty of talent. They have a good quarterback but has plenty of holes around him.

Arizona Cardinals

Power Ranking: 19

  • Record: 7-8
  • Previous Rank: 21
  • Week 16 result: Win versus New York Giants, 23-0
  • Week 17: at Seattle Seahawks

It’s pretty funny that it’s been a disaster of a season for the Cardinals but they will finish with at least seven wins. They’ve overcome the losses of David Johnson and Carson Palmer. The defense has played really well and really poorly through stretches this year. The draft and offseason are massively important for this group. It stands to reason the Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and coach Bruce Arians could all walk away after the 2018 season. They’ll get one more run at glory next year and with some healthy players, they could get into the playoffs for sure.

Tennessee Titans

Power Ranking: 20

  • Record: 8-7
  • Previous Rank: 18
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Los Angeles Rams, 27-23
  • Week 17: versus Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee certainly has a case to be made that they are the worst potential playoff team. As things stand, they would be out if they lose this week versus the Jaguars. Even after Jacksonville played poorly in San Francisco, there’s not much reason to think the Titans can beat them. The offense has been flat out terrible all year and they need a receiver to step up in a big way next year. It would also help if they commit to running back Derrick Henry. There’s a lot to like in Tennessee(except maybe the coach) but many folks like me were at least one year ahead on the Titans dark horse prediction.

Cincinnati Bengals

Power Ranking: 21

  • Record: 6-9
  • Previous Rank: 24
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Detroit Lions, 26-17
  • Week 17: versus Baltimore Ravens

I guess the Bengals decided to play one more game before coach Marvin Lewis is finished. They looked totally and completely lifeless the past two weeks before they rose up and knocked the Lions out of the playoffs. Looking to next year, they need to find an offensive mind that can pull the most out of receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton. The offense was shockingly bad this season. There’s plenty of talent to work with if the next coach can reign them in.

Chicago Bears

Power Ranking: 22

  • Record: 5-10
  • Previous Rank: 23
  • Week 16 result: Win versus Cleveland Browns, 20-3
  • Week 17: at Minnesota Vikings

The Bears beat the Browns in a game that happened this past week. There’s really not much else to take from this game for the Bears. Give them a new coach and weapons for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and trust Jordan Howard. Something about terrible coaches and Benny Cunningham just don’t mix that well.

Green Bay Packers

Power Ranking: 23

  • Record: 7-8
  • Previous Rank: 19
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Minnesota Vikings, 16-0
  • Week 17: at Detroit Lions

Another team just playing out the string, they’ll have some questions at the receiver position headed into next season. Do they retain Davante Adams? If they don’t can Jordy Nelson still be a number one option? If the answer to these questions is no, the Packers have a lot of work to do. They also need to keep improving their porous defense. Aaron Rodgers can’t continue to be virtually a one-man team.

New York Jets

Power Ranking: 24

  • Record: 5-10
  • Previous Rank: 22
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Los Angeles Chargers, 14-7
  • Week 17: at New England Patriots

The season went surprisingly well for the Jets, regardless of what happens next week in New England. They were competitive in almost every game and somehow won at least five games. They are one of the many teams that will be looking for a new quarterback this upcoming offseason. There’s still a lot of work to do, but maybe the Jets aren’t quite as bad as everyone thought.

Oakland Raiders

Power Ranking: 25

  • Record: 6-9
  • Previous Rank: 23
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Philadelphia Eagles, 19-10
  • Week 17: versus Los Angeles Chargers

Even though it was a tough matchup, the Raiders offense continued to just look gross outside of a big 63-yard touchdown for Amari Cooper. There just seems to be no desire to try and stretch the field and they badly need a shift in offensive philosophy this offseason. Running back Marshawn Lynch proved to not make a difference at all and the defense didn’t take any type of step forward. Oakland’s coaching staff should survive even though it’s been a terribly disappointing season.

Denver Broncos

Power Ranking: 26

  • Record: 5-10
  • Previous Rank: 26
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Washington Redskins, 27-11
  • Week 17: versus Kansas City Chiefs

I don’t think many people saw the Broncos being this bad this season. The quarterback play has totally capped this team and John Elway better figure out a solution quickly before this version of the roster wastes away. Getting worked by a very beat up Redskin team is not a good look for Denver and it won’t get any easier when they face a Chiefs team looking to build momentum for the postseason.

Indianapolis Colts

Power Ranking: 27

  • Record: 3-12
  • Previous Rank: 27
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Baltimore Ravens, 23-16
  • Week 17: versus Houston Texans

Hurry back and be healthy Andrew Luck. This team is abjectly terrible without you. If it wasn’t for Luck, this team would likely be facing a total rebuild.

Miami Dolphins

Power Ranking: 28

  • Record: 6-9
  • Previous Rank: 28
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Kansas City Chiefs, 29-13
  • Week 17: versus Buffalo Bills

Miami faces a very uncertain future. They need an influx of talent in a major way and could see their best receiver Jarvis Landry walk away in free agency. They may not have a quarterback in place for 2018. Their best players on defense are aging. Other than that, things are great in Miami.

Houston Texans

Power Ranking: 29

  • Record: 4-11
  • Previous Rank: 28
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-6
  • Week 17: at Indianapolis Colts

DeAndre Hopkins has been the only reason to watch Texans football these past few weeks and he provided the only highlight this week with an insane touchdown catch. There is no receiver better at body control than Hopkins and I can’t wait for Deshaun Watson to get back.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Power Ranking: 30

  • Record: 4-11
  • Previous Rank: 31
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Carolina Panthers, 22-19
  • Week 17: versus New Orleans Saints

About the only good thing for the Bucs is that Jameis Winston put together another good game. There are rumors that Jon Gruden could be coming back to coach and it will be interesting to see if it happens. Gruden(or the next coach) has to figure out how to get Mike Evans back to be a dominant receiver again and keep up Winston’s growth.

New York Giants

Power Ranking: 31

  • Record: 2-13
  • Previous Rank: 30
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Arizona Cardinals, 23-0
  • Week 17: versus Washington Redskins

There won’t be much known about the 2018 Giants until they hire their new general manager and coach. It is rumored that they could be hiring ESPN analyst Louis Riddick for the GM position and from where I’m sitting, that would be a great hire.

Cleveland Browns

Power Ranking: 32

  • Record: 0-15
  • Previous Rank: 32
  • Week 16 result: Loss versus Chicago Bears, 20-3
  • Week 17: at Pittsburgh Steelers

The odds of the Browns going into Pittsburgh and winning their first game are not very good. The Steelers need to make sure they win just in case the Jets can pull off a massive upset in New England. Cleveland owns two picks in the top five of the 2018 draft and this can’t be stressed enough- they cannot miss with these picks.

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