Power Rankings: Week 16
Just when you think the New England Patriots were the top team out there, they go and find some stiff resistance in the form of the San Francisco 49ers. Just when you think we can write off the Atlanta Falcons, they go and shut out the New York Giants. Just when you think our power rankings were going to be made easy, everything changes.
So what would they say this week as we deliver our Week 16 Power Rankings.
Rank Khaled Neil Sam Ben Nathan 1 DEN DEN HST DEN DEN 2 NE GB NE SF NE 3 SF NE DEN NE SF 4 GB SF SF GB SEA 5 ATL ATL ATL HST GB 6 HST HST GB ATL HST 7 SEA SEA SEA SEA WAS 8 NYG NYG WAS NYG ATL 9 WAS DAL NYG WAS CIN 10 CIN WAS DAL DAL CHI 11 DAL CHI IND BLT NYG 12 PIT PIT CIN PIT CAR 13 IND CIN BLT CIN DAL 14 BLT NO MIN CHI MIN 15 MIN BLT CHI IND NO 16 CHI TB MIA MIN BLT 17 NO IND SL TB TB 18 TB MIN PIT SL MIA 19 SL MIA NO CLV PIT 20 CAR SL TB NO IND 21 MIA CAR CAR MIA SL 22 CLV CLV DET TEN BUF 23 BUF TEN NYJ CAR CLV 24 SD BUF TEN SD SD 25 ARZ DET BUF PHI PHI 26 DET SD SD BUF ARZ 27 TEN NYJ CLV DET DET 28 NYJ PHI ARZ NYJ TEN 29 PHI OAK PHI JAX NYJ 30 JAX ARZ OAK OAK OAK 31 OAK JAX JAX ARZ KC 32 KC KC KC KC JAX
And now for the overall rankings.
1. Denver Broncos (2nd)
They made beating the Baltimore Ravens look very easy. The scary part? It was the running game and defense that took a hold of that game. This team is the complete package and seem to get better with every game.
2. New England Patriots (1st)
Losing is never fun, and it sees more questions asked of a Patriots team who really failed to build on their beatdown of the Texans. Testing times ahead.
3. San Francisco 49ers (3rd)
That win could prove huge, meaning they just need a win over Arizona to ensure a first-round bye. You get the feeling that their season is destined to come down to a moment of magic or madness from Colin Kaepernick.
4. Green Bay Packers (4th)
Don’t sleep on the Packers. While others are getting more air time, the Packers are quietly going about their business, ensuring another divisional crown in the process.
5. Houston Texans (4th)
They put the Colts in their place and got back to winning ways. Still, what will they do against the top teams? That’s a question they’ll need to answer in the postseason.
6. Atlanta Falcons (7th)
They jump a spot after they confused and baffled a Giants team that was made to look inferior at every level. Is that the real Falcons? Suddenly their postseason prospects seem a lot healthier.
7. Seattle Seahawks (8th)
With a rookie quarterback playing like a veteran, a running game that can pound out the tough yards, and a suffocating and playmaking defense — how dangerous are these Seahawks?
8. Washington Redskins (10th)
When you can win with your backup rookie quarterback you’re doing something right. All of a sudden the Redskins have put themselves in prime position to make the playoffs. Who saw that coming?
9. New York Giants (6th)
After getting shutout it’s not hard to see why our team are getting tired of having faith in the Giants turning it around. The defensive line isn’t playing well enough, and Eli Manning isn’t the miracle worker he was last year. Crunch time ahead.
10. Dallas Cowboys (12th)
They’re not always convincing, but they’re winning games and Tony Romo is stepping his game up. A season that looked to be heading nowhere now has some possible January outings on the cards.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (14th)
So it comes down to this. With a win over Philadelphia, Cincinnati now has two AFC North showdowns to prove themselves. Can they do it? Our team is a lot more confident in them now than they were earlier this year.
12. Chicago Bears (9th)
That sound? Well, that’s the sound of us souring on the Bears. Their problems against good teams means their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.
13. Baltimore Ravens (10th)
Is any team heading into the playoffs with less momentum? Teams are wearing them down on defense, and Joe Flacco just isn’t getting it done.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (13th)
A tough loss for Pittsburgh. Big Ben coming back was meant to secure their playoff future, but despite his play the team just hasn’t been getting the job done. Two games to salvage their season.
15. Indianapolis Colts (15th)
We’re not winning any friends with our assessment of the Colts, but despite their record they remain a team who look short on talent compared to others. That’s not so much a criticism as a reminder that they still have a ways to go in their rebuild.
16. Minnesota Vikings (18th)
With two wins on the bounce the Vikings somehow find themselves back in playoff contention. Not bad for a team we were writing-off weeks ago, but such is the power of Adrian Peterson and a stingy enough defense.
17. New Orleans Saints (19th)
It’s a shame (for New Orleans fans) that the Saints have been so inconsistent. On their day their offense is near unstoppable, but those have been too few and far between this year. There’s always 2013.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15th)
Remember when the Bucs were the comeback team of the year? With their no-nonsense head coach and a much improved team? Well, now they’re a team getting into shoving matches on the sideline and with anonymous reports coming out from players unhappy with the college style structure employed. How things change.
19. St Louis Rams (17th)
It was always a long shot the Rams would be in postseason contention, but the organization still deserves credit for the turn around. Still, the defeat to the Vikings was a disappointment.
20. Miami Dolphins (20th)
Back to winning ways and with their quarterback finding his swagger. Season 2012 can be seen as a success for a much improved Miami group who look good going forward.
21. Carolina Panthers (21st)
They’re finishing the season strong, which bodes well for the coaching staff. It’s just a shame they lost so many close games.
22. Cleveland Browns (23rd)
Back to losing ways, but the Browns can take heart from the massive improvement they’ve shown this year. Still, is Brandon Weeden the answer? He’s looked way off pace compared to some of the other rookies.
23. Buffalo Bills (24th)
Yep, these are your Bills. Embarrassed by Seattle in their Toronto game, changes have to be coming this offseason.
24. San Diego Chargers (25th)
They move up, but only because other teams were much worse. Not long now before the Norv Turner regime comes to an end.
25. Tennessee Titans (27th)
They were victorious, but the performance of Jake Locker was far from encouraging. They’ve got some components on defense, but you feel there’s plenty of work left to do.
26. Detroit Lions (22nd)
That wasn’t pretty. As bad as Matthew Stafford has looked in a long time, this Detroit team has taken a huge step back this year.
27. New York Jets (26th)
Well it seems like the Mark Sanchez Era is over. At least for now. He was pitiful again and the good work of the defense went to waste, not for the first time.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (28th)
2013 can’t come quick enough.
29. Arizona Cardinals (32nd)
That win was much needed with a defense that made life extremely difficult for Matthew Stafford. It could have been just enough to save some jobs.
30. Oakland Raiders (30th)
They hammered a hapless Chiefs team, but it’s little consolation given the year they’ve had.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (29th)
So just what exactly are they going to do at the quarterback spot?
32. Kansas City Chiefs (31st)
Back to being the worst team in football.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled