Power Rankings: Week 17
With it being Christmas the Pro Football Focus staff were too filled up on food to get their Power Rankings in on time, but now they’ve awoken from their slumber and are ready to respond to what they saw in Week 16 of the NFL season.
So sit back and enjoy the penultimate edition of our Weekly Power Rankings.
1. Denver Broncos (1st last week)
No change at the top. The Broncos could find themselves with home field advantage. That should scare plenty of teams because with Manning, Miller and company they’re already the hottest team out there.
2. New England Patriots (2nd)
Back to winning ways, the Patriots weren’t always convincing, but they got momentum back on their side. They’ll need to pick things up when the postseason comes rolling around.
3. Green Bay Packers (4th)
They humiliated the Titans in a poor performance where you felt they still had more to give. There’s not a lot of chatter about these guys right now, but that should change pretty quickly.
4. San Francisco 49ers (3rd)
They really missed Justin Smith, but even then there’s no excuse for some of the plays they made against Seattle. It’s a real concern that they’ve been pushed around a couple of times this year.
5. Seattle Seahawks (7th)
The big concerns about this team heading into the year were how they would fare with a third round rookie starting, and if Sidney Rice could stay healthy. Consider those concerns now strengths and that defense suffocating. Watching them in the postseason promises to be fun.
6. Atlanta Falcons (6th)
The Falcons were extremely unconvincing when they were winning games earlier in the season. It allowed people to downplay them a tad, but now they’ve stepped their game up the past two weeks are they being undervalued?
7. Houston Texans (5th)
Unfortunately when your whole gameplan is based on getting an early lead you’re going to find yourself in trouble. They look incapable of chasing a game against a good defense.
8. Washington Redskins (8th)
They got their franchise quarterback back and picked up another win. A tremendous job to turn this team into a possible playoff outfit. What a transformation.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (11th)
The problem for the Bengals has long been their inability to beat the good teams when it really matters. Well in a physical and hard fought fight with the Steelers they overcame, making a real statement in the process.
10. Baltimore Ravens (13th)
The Ravens needed that win, getting them back on track and making teams fear them again. The question is can Joe Flacco keep it up? We’ve seen him save his best for the playoffs before and that could be the difference in how far Baltimore go.
11. Dallas Cowboys (10th)
They maintain their destiny in their own hands, but the reality is they blew a tremendous opportunity against the Saints.
12. Chicago Bears (12th)
It’s felt like a long time since the Bears were even remotely dangerous, but maybe beating on the Cardinals has kicked them out of their funk?
13. New York Giants (9th)
Have they left it too late? Do they have anything left to offer? The Giants are a prime example of how difficult it is to repeat.
14. Minnesota Vikings (16th)
It’s easy to write off the Minnesota Vikings. I mean Christian Ponder is their quarterback, but going to Houston and winning is an achievement and that running game and defense can strangle the life out of teams.
15. Indianapolis Colts (15th)
They just keep doing what they’re doing. Look unconvincing at points and that rally for a win regardless of how lowly the opposition is viewed. Can the return of Chuck Pagano inspire them to more consistency?
16. New Orleans Saints (17th)
Every so often this season the Saints have teased us with what they’re capable of. It’s just a shame for them that they’ve let off the field goings on prevent that from developing into winning streaks.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (14th)
Yep they blew it. Big time. Twice in two weeks they’ve thrown away games with costly late errors that means this team is heading back to the drawing board and thinking of 2013 with a lot of guys seemingly on the decline.
18. St Louis Rams (19th)
Amazingly the Rams find themselves one win away from a winning season. Quite the turnaround for a franchise that was heading nowhere fast last year. Still though they’ve got some big questions to answer this offseason.
19. Miami Dolphins (20th)
Better than expected, but not as good as some would have hoped. They’ve got the defense to compete but they need to make some serious moves on the offensive side of the ball to give Ryan Tannnehill the weapons he needs to succeed.
20. Carolina Panthers (21st)
Have the Panthers done enough to ensure Coach Rivera keeps his job? Or is it too little too late? Another one of these teams that can make you stand up and take notice one minute, and leave you a frustrated mess the next.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18th)
With each passing week they resemble the 2011 version of themselves a little bit more, and you become less convinced Josh Freeman is the guy to lead them to great things.
22. San Diego Chargers (24th)
Change is coming in San Diego and they’re merely playing out time to see where it leads them.
23. Cleveland Browns (22nd)
An interesting offseason awaits for the neutrals favorites that are the Browns. A team that isn’t a threat to challenge but yet always competes.
24. Buffalo Bills (23rd)
It’s hard to imagine they’ll underuse C.J. Spiller quite as much going forward, and it’s hard to see this team having sustained success with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading them. Will they make the necessary moves to rectify their disappointing 2012?
25. Detroit Lions (26th)
They move up somehow despite the fact they were poor for large parts against Atlanta. It makes you wonder about the long term security of their Head Coach, but he can’t take the entire blame. This team is too reliant on Calvin Johnson dominating the opposition.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (28th)
They made the Redskins work hard for a win. Amazing that it counts as one of the more positive performances of the year.
27. Tennessee Titans (25th)
You can’t say anything other than they embarrassed themselves in Week 16.
28. New York Jets (27th)
The circus keeps on entertaining even if the football on the field isn’t of a high quality, especially on offense. What next?
29. Arizona Cardinals (29th)
They’ll do extremely well to have a quarterback situation as bad as the one they have now next year.
30. Oakland Raiders (30th)
You’d have hoped for progress, but it’s clear that 2012 was just about tearing down the foundations of the old regime and building for a hopefully better future.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (31st)
They made life a lot harder for the Patriots than anyone expected. Something to smile about.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (32nd)
They need this year to end quickly because they’ve got a lot of work to do once it does.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled