Power Rankings: Week 16

Denver's gamble on the health of Peyton Manning continues to reap rewards. He has repaid their faith by piloting the Broncos to the summit of the PFF Power Rankings.

| 5 years ago

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.



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





  • bravehoptoad

    How do 4 of 5 voters rank NE over SF after that game?

    • Neil Hornsby

      I can’t speak for the others but I felt after watching the game New England wins 6 or 7 times out of 10. It’s always possible for the better overall team to lose and while the 49ers are a very good side I still feel the Patriots are better.

    • Erich Borjas

      Ever heard of east coast biased? And denver while playing in a
      division that hosts the 3 of the 4 worst teams in the NFL are #1.. and then they go and put mikell and rhodes in their probowl over goldson and thomas.. LMAO!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/colin.weaver Colin William Weaver

        As a lifelong 49er fan, I wonder what’s more likely: that I have a bias, or that the independent commentators on this website, who spend hours analyzing all the games (and are British! some of them at least) have a bias.

        Then I’ll wonder something else: when a team recovers 7/8 fumbles in a game, as we did on Sunday, is that more likely due to luck, or more likely due to skill?

        I love our niners and I thought overall we played very well against the pats, but it’s not clear to me we’d win more than 5/10 against them… especially if they had Gronkowski (and even if we also had Hunter and Williams).

  • Johnson

    “That win could prove huge, meaning they just need a win over Arizona to ensure a first-round bye” — Wrong. If they lose to Seattle and beat ARI, and GB wins out, then GB gets the bye and 49ers are 3rd seed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/colin.weaver Colin William Weaver

      Correct. We only need a win over AZ to win the division. Winning out clinches a bye; so does one win and an unlikely Packers non-win.

  • Johnson

    Also, don’t bring up fumble stats and act like they were fortunate to recover them. Fumbled snaps are almost always recovered by the offense.

    • http://twitter.com/PFF_NateJahnke Nathan Jahnke

      According to Football Perspective, aborted quarterback snaps are recovered by the defense 24.4% of the time. If you were to tell me that San Francisco would have 4 aborted snap fumbles, a fumble on a reception and a fumble on a muffed punt, while New England would have one on a run and on a catch, I would expect New England to recover 3 of those and San Francisco to recover 5 just based on the probabilities that the offense/defense recovers them in those situations.

      Had the Patriots recovered 2 more of those fumbles, I think they would have won. I agree with Colin that if these two teams played each other a lot of times, more often then not the Patriots would win. It would be a close game most of the time because they are both very good, but I would give the Patriots the edge.

      • Pretzel

        One of those fumbles resulted in a loss of downs and Akers missed a field goal. Normally they would execute those plays. There were a lot of miscues from the 49ers in 1st half, and if we are playing the “what if” I would still think the 49ers would come out on top.

        • Doug

          This ^^

        • http://twitter.com/PFF_NateJahnke Nathan Jahnke

           If I were the Patriots, I would rather have recovered the fumble that resulted in the loss of downs and another fumble and have the FG end up good. I also believe the point of Power Rankings is playing a what if game. The best team in a game isn’t always the team that ends up winning, and I think this is one of those cases. While you think if the teams were to play again, the 49ers would win, I disagree. Both teams are very good, so their are valid arguments for each team being better, but I still think more often then not the Patriots would beat the 49ers. If you want it just based on what teams have won, then just look at the standings.

      • russell’s dad

        i don’t necessarily disagree, NE may be a better team in the long run. but i’m also concerned by a trend i see on this site, in which, sometimes, the results of the games are minimized. if they played a lot and if this happened or if that didn’t, etc.,

        but they do play, and they did;

        and NE lost;

        yet that didn’t affect the opinions of the analysts. that’s a little disconcerting.

        • Neil Hornsby

          The results of games do matter and affect our view but we just try to provide a little more perspective than the analysts who don’t actually watch all the games and rely solely on the results. After week three, when I had Arizona as the 24th ranked team despite them being 3-0 and having beaten the Patriots in Foxboro, was I wrong? I’m not trying to compare the 49ers to Arizona, they are a fantastic team and a consistent QB away from being unstoppable, but if we don’t try and give our honest opinion based on what we see, why exist? I’m sure people can find the results of games to rank teams by elsewhere.

  • Jetsroxsox

    patriots over 49ers. im dissapointed

    • Doug

      Patriots over 49ers kind of proves these guys don’t know what they are doing when it comes to power rankings.  The 49ers beat the Patriots ON THE ROAD.  There is no logical argument the Pats should be ranked higher than the 49ers.

      • http://twitter.com/PFF_NateJahnke Nathan Jahnke

         So since the Rams tied the 49ers in San Francisco, and beat the 49ers in St. Louis, should we have the Rams ahead of the 49ers?

        • Doug

          If they had similar records and the Rams beat the Niners in SF then, yes, that would be fair.  But, that isn’t the case and that didn’t happen so the premise isn’t a realistic comparison.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/colin.weaver Colin William Weaver

            Exactly.  So when AZ beat NE in Foxborough in Week 2, and AZ had a better record until Week 7 (after which they were both 4-3), the only fair thing to do was rank AZ higher.  In fact, AZ should have still been higher after Week 8, since their 4-4 was similar to NE’s 5-3.

  • herbydicot

    Same has DET twice with no CAR.  PFF let me know if you need an editor.