NFL Power Rankings Week 17, 2016

tom-brady-deflate-gateBoth the AFC and NFC playoff pictures are much clearer now. But there are still things that need to be sorted out, including the final Wild Card team in the NFC, and seeding in the AFC.

Let’s discuss this along with where teams rank heading into the final week of the regular season. Also, take a look at last week’s power rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (13-2); beat Detroit 42-21, same spot – Even with the NFC’s No. 1 seed wrapped up, Dallas has no plans to rest starters Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.

2. New England Patriots (13-2); beat NY Jets 41-3, same spot – Despite being a game better than everybody else in the AFC, New England still needs a win or a Raiders loss to clinch the No. 1 seed.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5); beat Baltimore 31-27, up 1 spot – One of our Super Bowl favorites to start the year, Pittsburgh is playing like it now. A big reason why is Le’Veon Bell, who’s racked up almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage in just 13 games.

tyreek-hill-chiefs4. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4); beat Denver 33-10, up 2 spots – Receiver Tyreek Hill has emerged as a dangerous threat to catch or run the ball. He’s helped make the Chiefs more than just a defensive team.

5. Oakland Raiders (12-3); beat Indianapolis 33-25, down 2 spots – While the Raiders can still gain the AFC’s top seed with a win and a New England loss, their Super Bowl odds took a huge hit after losing Derek Carr.

6. New York Giants (10-5); lost to Philadelphia 24-19, down 1 spot – New York is in the playoffs, but they would’ve liked to make it with a victory over their rivals.

7. Atlanta Falcons (10-5); beat Carolina 33-16, same spot – Atlanta wraps up the NFC South with a win over Carolina and Tampa Bay’s loss. This will be a tough team in the playoffs.

8. Green Bay Packers (9-6); beat Minnesota 38-25, same spot – Aaron Rodgers has played amazing over the last several weeks, throwing for another 347 yards and four touchdowns in this game.

jay-ajayi-dolphins9. Miami Dolphins (10-5); beat Buffalo 34-31, up 3 spots – Some wondered if Miami would even make the playoffs when Ryan Tannehill got injured. They’ve since won two straight games and have wrapped up a Wild Card slot. An additional note is that Jay Ajayi had his third 200-yard rushing performance of the season.

10. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1); lost to Arizona 34-31, down 1 spot – Seattle secured the NFC West a while ago. But they struggled against rival Arizona this year, losing one game and tying another.

11. Washington Redskins (8-6-1); beat Chicago 41-21, up 4 spots – For Washington, the playoff picture is clear: beat the Giants and you’re in.

12. Detroit Lions (9-6); lost to Dallas 42-21, down 1 spot – Losing to the Cowboys puts Detroit in the difficult position of having to beat their division-rival Green Bay to win the NFC North and make the playoffs. Is anybody betting on the Lions here?

13. Houston Texans (9-6); beat Cincinnati 12-10, up 4 spots – Nobody sees Houston as the AFC favorites. But the Texans deserve some credit for winning the AFC South with subpar quarterback play.

14. Denver Broncos (8-7); lost to Kansas City 33-10, down 4 spots – Now out of the postseason hunt, the defending champions may give Paxton Lynch one more look.

15. Baltimore Ravens (8-7); lost to Pittsburgh 31-27, down 2 spots – No longer in the playoff race, Baltimore’s biggest story right now is whether Steve Smith will retire.

16. Tennessee Titans (8-7); lost to Jacksonville 38-17, down 2 spots – Despite the blowout loss to Jacksonville and Marcus Mariota getting injured, Tennessee can be proud of this season after winning just 3 games last year.

17. New Orleans Saints (7-8); beat Tampa Bay 31-24, up 5 spots – This season has to be considered an overall win for New Orleans, who weren’t expected to win this many games.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7); lost to New Orleans 31-24, down 2 spots – The loss to New Orleans all but eliminates Tampa Bay from making the playoffs. Their postseason odds are so long that they even need AFC teams to lose for strength-of-schedule purposes.

tyrod-taylor-bills19. Buffalo Bills (7-8); lost to Miami 34-31, down 1 spot – Many expected Rex Ryan to be fired, and he was. But we also find out that Tyrod Taylor will be benched for the finale. The reason why is because of a contract clause where he’s due $30.75 million if he gets injured.

20. Indianapolis Colts (7-8); lost to Oakland 33-25, down 1 spot – Will Chuck Pagano keep his job after this year? Everything is up for question heading into Indianapolis’ offseason.

21. Minnesota Vikings (7-8); lost to Green Bay 38-25, down 1 spot – A season that began with so much promise and an 5-0 record will end with a whimper, win or lose, against the Bears.

22. Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1); beat Seattle 34-31, up 3 spots – Arizona is the most-disappointing team from this season. We had them ranked No. 1 in our original power rankings, but they won’t even reach .500 this season. At least they got a victory over their division rivals last weekend.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (6-9); beat NY Giants 24-19, up 1 spot – The Eagles were able to snap a five-game losing streak with this victory.

24. Carolina Panthers (6-9); lost to Atlanta 33-16, down 3 spots – Carolina is right there with the Cardinals in terms of teams that expected much more from 2016.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1); lost to Houston 12-10, down 2 spots – Expected to fight with Pittsburgh and Baltimore for the AFC North crown, Cincinnati was nowhere close to the team everybody expected.

26. San Diego Chargers (5-10); lost to Cleveland 20-17, same spot – We know he’s good, but does Melvin Gordon’s injury have this much impact?

matt-barkley-bears27. Chicago Bears (3-12); lost to Washington 41-21, same spot – Any thought of giving Matt Barkley a longer look next season ended with his five interceptions in this contest.

28. New York Jets (4-11); lost to New England 41-3, same spot – This score was the total opposite of the competitive game between the Jets and Patriots a few weeks ago. Seems that New York has mailed it in already.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12); beat Tennessee 38-17, up 1 spot – Doug Marrone may actually be considered for the Jacksonville job if he can win again.

30. San Francisco (2-13); beat L.A. Rams 22-21, up 1 spot – San Francisco may only have two wins, but they both came against L.A., making them the superior team.

31. LA Rams (4-11); lost to Seattle 24-3, same spot – What an embarrassing first season in Los Angeles for the Rams.

32. Cleveland Browns (1-14); beat San Diego 20-17, same spot – Given that Cleveland has no chance of winning in Pittsburgh next week, it’s good that they got their lone victory at home against San Diego.

NFL Power Rankings Week 16, 2016

ezekiel-elliott-salvation-army-potWith division and playoff races heating up, most of the favored teams came through in last week’s action. The Colts, Dolphins, Giants, Seahawks, Steelers, and Titans all got important wins to remain in thick of the playoff hunt. See where they rank in our Week 16 power rankings, and look back at Week 15 rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (12-2); beat Tampa Bay 26-20, same spot – This was by no means an easy win over a surging Tampa Bay team. But Dallas made it feel easy, including when Ezekiel Elliott jumped into the Salvation Army pot after a touchdown.

2. New England Patriots (12-2); beat Denver 16-3, same spot – New England’s offense struggled against the tough Denver defense. Even still, they did enough to win in a hostile environment.

3. Oakland Raiders (11-3); beat San Diego 19-16, up 1 spot – Oakland has had a magical season after being a bad franchise for so long. This fact is highlighted by 7 Raiders being selected to the Pro Bowl – most in the NFL.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5); beat Cincinnati 24-20, up 1 spot – Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are fierce rivals, so it’s never easy for Pittsburgh to win in Bengal country. But they did so anyways, erasing a 20-6 Cincinnati lead.

odell-beckham-jr5. New York Giants (10-4); beat Detroit 17-6, up 1 spot – New York can clinch a playoff spot this weekend, but it feels like they already have a Wild Card slot wrapped up.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4); lost to Tennessee 19-17, down 3 spots – A big problem for KC in this loss was that their elite pass rush only got one sack.

7. Atlanta Falcons (9-5); beat San Francisco 41-13, same spot – Nothing special about this win over San Francisco, but it does put Atlanta a game ahead of Tampa Bay in the AFC South.

8. Green Bay Packers (8-6); beat Chicago 30-27, up 2 spots – Tim Montgomery was the big star here, piling up 162 rushing yards and two scores. Jordy Nelson also chipped in 124 receiving yards.

9. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1); beat L.A. 24-3, up 2 spots – Seattle got a confidence-booster, dominating a Rams team that had beaten them in three out of the last five meetings.

10. Denver Broncos (8-6); lost to New England 16-3, down 2 spots – Denver may not get a chance to defend their title in the playoffs with remaining games against KC and Oakland. It especially doesn’t look pretty after a locker room argument following last weekend’s loss.

11. Detroit Lions (9-5); lost to NY Giants 17-6, down 2 spots – The fact that Detroit has no run game finally caught up to them in this contest.

matt-moore-dolphins-vs-jets12. Miami Dolphins (9-5); beat NY Jets 34-13, up 1 spot – This was the perfect game for backup Matt Moore to step into, as he threw for 236 yards, 4 TDs, and just one interception.

13. Baltimore Ravens (8-6); beat Philadelphia 27-26, up 2 spots – Baltimore kept their playoff hopes alive with this win, and they’re still just a game behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North.

14. Tennessee Titans (8-6); beat KC 19-17, up 3 spots – Tennesee’s formula of running the ball and playing defense is paying big dividends right now.

15. Washington Redskins (7-6-1); lost to Carolina 26-15, down 3 spots – Losers of three of their last four games, Washington no longer controls their own playoff destiny.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6); lost to Dallas 26-20, down 2 spots – The difference in this game was that Tampa Bay gave up 189 yards on the ground to Dallas. Of course, they’re far from the first team to get burned by Dallas’ run game.

tom-savage-texans17. Houston Texans (8-6); beat Jacksonville 21-20, up 1 spot – After seeing Brock Osweiler start with two picks, Houston made a QB change. Tom Savage, who threw for 260 yards in relief of Osweiler, will start this week against the Bengals.

18. Buffalo Bills (7-7); beat Cleveland 33-13, up 1 spot – Even with Buffalo being mathematically alive for a playoff spot, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Rex Ryan will be fired.

19. Indianapolis Colts (7-7); beat Minnesota 34-6, up 1 spot – With their division/playoff chances on the line and three offensive lineman injured, Indianapolis delivered a huge performance on the road.

20. Minnesota Vikings (7-7); lost to Indianapolis 34-6, down 4 spots – That time when Minnesota was 5-0 and second in our power rankings seems like forever ago.

21. Carolina Panthers (6-8); beat Washington 26-15, up 3 spots – This season didn’t go how Carolina hoped. But they’ve still shown some pride lately, beating a tough Washington team on the road.

22. New Orleans Saints (6-8); beat Arizona 48-41, up 4 spots – Just another outstanding game in Drew Brees’ career, as he threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns.

vontaze-burfict-vs-steelers23. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1); lost to Pittsburgh 24-20, down 2 spots – In a lost season where head coach Marvin Lewis will likely be fired, the attention has shifted to linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s continued antics.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (5-9); lost to Baltimore 27-26, down 2 spots – Ryan Matthews had his best game of the season with 128 rushing yards and a touchdown. But it wasn’t enough as the Eagles lost again.

25. Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1); lost to New Orleans 48-41, down 2 spots – With almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns, David Johnson would be a serious MVP candidate if Arizona were actually good.

26. San Diego Chargers (5-9); lost to Oakland 19-16, down 1 spot – With Melvin Gordon out, San Diego had very little chance to win against an elite Oakland squad.

27. Chicago Bears (3-11); lost to Green Bay 30-27, down 1 spot – The Bears have played respectable with Matt Barkley under center. Will this be enough to give Barkely serious consideration for the starting Bears job in 2017?

Jets Cowboys Football28. New York Jets (4-10); lost to Miami 34-13, same spot – For the second straight game, Bilal Powell had a huge night. But Bryce Petty under center combined with a bad defense isn’t a winning combination.

29. LA Rams (4-10); lost to Seattle 24-3, same spot – Without Jeff Fisher, this team is just as bad – if not worse – as their anemic offensive effort showed.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12); lost to Houston 21-20, same spot – With Gus Bradley fired, speculation has begun about who’ll be the next head coach. Right now, Tom Coughlin is a favorite.

31. San Francisco (1-13); lost to Atlanta 41-13, same spot – It’s a shame that we won’t get to see the Niners and Browns play to see who’s officially worse.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-14); lost to Buffalo 33-13, same spot – This was another ugly game for the Browns, which is no surprise. But at least Robert Griffin III showed some spring in his legs, rushing for 48 yards and a TD on eight carries.

NFL Power Rankings Week 15, 2016

The Dallas Cowboys faced off in a division-rivalry game against the New York Giants. And New York won a 10-7 defensive struggle, snapping Dallas’ 11-game winning streak.

See if the Cowboys hang on to the top spot in our Week 15 NFL power rankings, and check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-2); lost to NY Giants 10-7, same spot – Dak Prescott hasn’t looked good over the last couple of weeks, and calls are already growing for Tony Romo. Even still, Dallas is the closest team to securing a first-round playoff bye. They’ll probably also get the NFC’s top seed.

2. New England Patriots (11-2); beat Baltimore 30-23, same spot – After jumping out to a 23-3 lead, it took Tom Brady’s heroics to keep from blowing this game. Nevertheless, a win over a hungry Baltimore team bodes well for New England, which lost Gronk and is still missing Danny Amendola.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3); beat Oakland 21-13, up 1 spot – The Chiefs used their brand of football (defense, conservative offense) to muscle past Oakland for the AFC West lead. KC is also in line for a first-round bye right now.

4. Oakland Raiders (10-3); lost to KC 21-13, down 1 spot – Derek Carr had a nightmare 17-for-41 game against the Chiefs. But he wasn’t helped by Seth Roberts (drops) and Amari Cooper (bad routes). Oakland should still be good as long as the weather is warmer than 0 degrees.

leveon-bell5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5); beat Buffalo 27-20, up 2 spots – Ben Roethlisberger’s road struggles continue, but that means little when Le’Veon Bell is racking up records.

6. New York Giants (9-4); beat Dallas 10-7, up 3 spots – The Giants complete a season sweep of the Cowboys, and they’re also the only team to beat Dallas this year.

7. Atlanta Falcons (8-5); beat L.A. 42-14, up 1 spot – No Julio Jones, no problem for the Falcons as they continued their strong season. The chances of them winning again are high as they face San Francisco this week.

8. Denver Broncos (8-5); lost to Tennessee 13-10, down 2 spots – Denver is missing ILB Brandon Marshall more than anybody knows after giving up 194 rushing yards to the Titans.

9. Detroit Lions (9-4); beat Chicago 20-17, up 1 spot – The Lions are masters of close games, winning yet another contest decided by a touchdown or less.

10. Green Bay Packers (7-6); beat Seattle 38-10, up 1 spot – Ever since Aaron Rodgers predicted that Green Bay would run the table, they’re 3-0. This blowout win over Seattle shows that his words have some merit.

11. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1); lost to Green Bay 38-10, down 6 spots – The Seahawks played terrible against Green Bay, but they’re still only 1 win from clinching the NFC West.

kirk-cousins-steelers12. Washington Redskins (7-5-1); beat Philadelphia 27-22, up 1 spot – Kirk Cousins may have thrown an interception to help Philly get back into this one. But then he came down and threw the game-winning score with the pressure on.

13. Miami Dolphins (8-5); beat Arizona 26-23, up 1 spot – Ryan Tannehill only sprained his ACL and MCL joints, rather than tearing his ACL as first suspected. But he’s still set to miss multiple games at a crucial juncture where Miami is fighting for a playoff spot.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5); beat New Orleans 16-11, up 1 spot – The improvement shown by Tampa Bay’s defense over the past few weeks has been remarkable.

15. Baltimore Ravens (7-6); lost to New England 30-23, down 3 spots – Baltimore made a valiant comeback effort. But they still lost, which puts them in a difficult situation as far as making the postseason.

16. Minnesota Vikings (7-6); beat Jacksonville 25-16, same spot – Minnesota’s offense finally got something going in this game.

demarco-murray-titans17. Tennessee Titans (7-6); beat Denver 13-10, up 2 spots – The Titans didn’t do much after the first half, but 13 points is all they needed in this one.

18. Houston Texans (7-6); beat Indianapolis 22-17, up 2 spots – Jadeveon Clowney had the biggest game of his career and helped Houston win a crucial game.

19. Buffalo Bills (6-7); lost to Pittsburgh 27-20, down 2 spots – Facing a second-straight season without a playoff berth, Rex Ryan now has to worry about his job status.

20. Indianapolis Colts (6-7); lost to Houston 22-17, down 2 spots – With this loss, Indianapolis now has two teams to chase in the AFC South race.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1); beat Cleveland 23-10, up 2 spots – Cincinnati has strung together a couple of wins, but it’s too little too late now.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (5-8); lost to Washington 27-22, down 1 spot – The Eagles looked like they might have a win here, but it slipped through their fingers in the final minutes.

bruce-arians-arizona23. Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1); lost to Miami 26-23, down 1 spot – Coach Bruce Arians has accused Miami of cheating, alleging that they mimicked Arizona’s snap count and caused Chandler Catanzaro to miss a field goal.

24. Carolina Panthers (5-8); beat San Diego 28-16, up 2 spots – Cam Newton was only 10-of-27 passing, but the Carolina defense picked Philip Rivers off three times.

25. San Diego Chargers (5-8); lost to Carolina 28-16, down 1 spot – Any slim postseason chances have disappeared for San Diego. The goal for next season will be staying healthy after losing Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead early on.

26. New Orleans Saints (5-8); lost to Tampa Bay 16-11, same spot – Any magic that Drew Brees and New Orleans had in the middle of the season is gone.

27. Chicago Bears (3-10); lost to Detroit 20-17, same spot – With little to cheer for regarding the Bears, the focus has switched to whether or not Matt Barkley has earned the starting QB role next season.

28. New York Jets (4-9); beat San Francisco 23-17, up 1 spot – Bilal Powell had a career game, rushing for 145 yards, adding 34 receiving yards, and scoring twice.

jeff-fisher-rams-fired-129. LA Rams (4-9); lost to Atlanta 42-14, down 1 spot – It seems an odd time to fire Jeff Fisher, given that L.A. has to quickly turn around and play Seattle on Thursday.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11); lost to Minnesota 25-16, same spot – The regression that this Jacksonville squad has shown in 2016 is terrible.

31. San Francisco (1-12); lost to NY Jets 23-17, same spot – The Niners are playing so bad that many accuse them of tanking to ensure that they get a top pick.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-13); lost to Cincinnati 23-10, same spot – Robert Griffin III’s first game back from a season-opening injury didn’t offer Cleveland any more hope than Josh McCown and Cody Kessler have.

NFL Power Rankings Week 14, 2016

alex-smith-kansas-cityLast weekend, the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs squared off in a classic case of offense vs. defense. The Chiefs’ defense wasn’t as dominant as it usually is, but they still prevailed 29-28.

See where Kansas City sits in our Week 14 NFL power rankings, and check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-1); beat Minnesota 17-15, same spot – Dallas struggled in this one, fumbling four times and losing two of them against a tough Vikings defense. But they also prevented Minnesota’s offense from doing much harm.

2. New England Patriots (10-2); beat LA 26-10, same spot – New England’s defense shut down the Rams, sacking Jared Goff four times and picking him off twice.

3. Oakland Raiders (10-2); beat Buffalo 38-24, same spot – With every win and big performance, Derek Carr continues inching up the MVP discussion.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3); beat Atlanta 29-28, same spot – The Chiefs keep pace with the Raiders in the AFC West with this hard-fought win.

earl-thomas-injury5. Seattle Seahawks (8-2-1); beat Carolina 40-7, same spot – This was a totally dominate victory for the Seahawks, but also a costly one since Earl Thomas broke his leg.

6. Denver Broncos (8-4); beat Jacksonville 20-10, up 2 spots – This win won’t go down as a season highlight for Denver, but it’s enough to keep them alive in the AFC West and Wild Card races.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5); beat NY Giants 24-14, up 2 spots – Ladarius Green came alive in this game, catching 6 balls for 110 yards and a touchdown.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-5); lost to Kansas City Chiefs 29-28, down 2 spots – The bad news for Atlanta is that they’re now tied with the Bucs for the division lead. The good news is that they close out the regular season against four straight sub .500 teams.

9. New York Giants (8-4); lost to Pittsburgh 24-14, down 2 spots – New York will have to raise their level of play over the last few weeks since they face Dallas, Detroit, Philly, and Washington.

10. Detroit Lions (8-4); beat New Orleans 28-13, same spot – Detroit’s defense really stepped up in this contest, shutting down a Saints offense that had been rolling up until this point.

aaron-rodgers-bet-211. Green Bay Packers (6-6); beat Houston 21-13, up 3 spots – Aaron Rodgers made the prediction that Green Bay would run the table when they were 4-6. They’re 2-0 since then.

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-5); beat Miami 38-6, up 3 spots – Baltimore jumped out in this game early and never looked back on their way to blowing out one of the league’s hottest teams.

13. Washington Redskins (6-5-1); lost to Arizona 31-23, down 2 spots – Coach Jay Gruden was angry after this game, ripping his players for their lack of urgency.

14. Miami Dolphins (7-5); lost to Baltimore 38-6, down 2 spots – Winners of 6 out of their last 8 games, Miami saw their momentum come to a screeching halt in this game. When they fall behind early, they don’t have the passing game to catch up.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5); beat San Diego 28-21, up 3 spots – This is Tampa Bay’s fourth-straight win, and they now share the AFC South lead with Atlanta.

16. Minnesota Vikings (6-6); lost to Detroit 17-15, down 3 spots – All bets are off on the Vikings making a comeback since they’ve now lost 6 of their last 7 contests.

tyrod-taylor-bills17. Buffalo Bills (6-6); lost to Oakland 38-24, down 1 spot – With Tyrod Taylor set to pick up $27 million next season, there are many questions surrounding if he’ll be back next season.

18. Indianapolis Colts (6-6); beat NY Jets 41-10, up 3 spots – Indianapolis blew out of the gate thanks to Andrew Luck’s four first-half TD passes. It could’ve been five if tight end Jack Doyle hadn’t fumbled in the end zone while stretching for the pylon.

19. Tennessee Titans (6-6); bye week, up 1 spot – Tennessee has two tough games coming up against Denver and the Chiefs, before closing out with Jacksonville and Houston.

20. Houston Texans (6-6); lost to Green Bay 21-13, down 1 spot – Brock Osweiler had a decent game with 202 yards and two TD passes. But this time, Houston wasn’t able to muster a run game.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7); lost to Cincinnati 32-14, down 4 spots – Following this blowout loss to a struggling team, Philly officially looks done in the playoff hunt.

22. Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1); beat Washington 31-23, up 2 spots – Carson Palmer had his best game of the season, throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1); beat Philadelphia 32-14, up 2 spots
 – Cincinnati’s defense took advantage of Carson Wentz’s struggles by picking him off 3 times.

24. San Diego Chargers (5-7); lost to Tampa Bay 28-21, down 2 spots – Now four games out of the AFC West lead, San Diego is all but eliminated from the division race.

25. New Orleans Saints (5-7); lost to Detroit 28-13, down 2 spots – While New Orleans is a couple games back in the AFC South, they still have a chance with two remaining contests against Tampa Bay and one against Atlanta.

26. Carolina Panthers (4-8); lost to Seattle 40-7, same spot – The final score of this game pretty much explains the disappointment that is the 2016 Panthers.

jordan-howard-bears27. Chicago Bears (3-9); beat San Francisco 26-6, up 2 spots – Chicago proved to be masters of their own domain, dominating in this snow-filled contest. Jordan Howard led the way with 3 touchdown runs.

28. LA Rams (4-8); lost to New England 26-10, same spot – With not much else to discuss regarding another bad Rams team, the focus is on whether or not coach Jeff Fisher will be fired.

29. New York Jets (3-9); lost to Indianapolis 41-10, down 2 spots – The Jets suffered from an emotional letdown after losing a close contest to division-rival New England. That…and they’re just a bad football team.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10); lost to Denver 20-10, same spot – It’s finally looking like Gus Bradley’s time in Jacksonville is running out after yet another miserable season.

31. San Francisco (1-11); lost to Chicago 26-6, same spot – Any talk of Colin Kaepernick turning the corner and regaining his old form died in this contest, as he went 1-of-5 before getting benched.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-12); bye week, same spot – Cleveland will take their last few shots at getting a win this season with RG III under center again.

NFL Power Rankings Week 13, 2016

chiefs-vs-broncosThe Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos faced off in a bitter division rivalry game that has playoff implications. The contest was every bit as exciting as one could hope for, with Kansas City pulling out a 30-27 overtime victory.

Find out where the Chiefs rise to in our Week 13 NFL power rankings, and take a look at last week’s rankings here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (10-1); beat Washington 31-26, same spot – Dallas survived a late flurry of Redskins’ touchdowns by scoring a couple of their own in the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott again had a solid game with two touchdowns – one rushing and one passing.

2. New England Patriots (9-2); beat NY Jets 22-17, up 1 spot – This wasn’t just any 3-8 team that New England was facing in a heated rivalry game. But the Patriots still came out on top thanks to a fourth-quarter TD.

3. Oakland Raiders (9-2); beat Carolina 35-32, up 1 spot – The Raiders went up early, then let the Panthers back in this one. Nevertheless, the result was a win and a firm lead in the AFC West.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3); beat Denver 30-27 (OT), down 2 spots – It looked like Kansas City could be out of this game at several points. But Alex Smith found Tyreek Hill with 12 seconds left, and they converted the two-point conversion to force overtime.

5. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1); lost to Tampa Bay 14-5, down 3 spots – Russell Wilson looked like he was playing against the 2015 Broncos defense, as he couldn’t get much going on the passing end and threw 2 interceptions.

6. Atlanta Falcons (7-4); beat Arizona 38-19, up 1 spot – Julio Jones might have been held in check by shutdown corner Patrick Peterson, but the rest of the Atlanta’s offense exploded.

7. New York Giants (8-3); beat Cleveland 27-13, up 1 spot – The Giants have an excellent shot at one of the NFC’s Wild Card spots. But they’re still two games behind league-leading Dallas.

8. Denver Broncos (7-4); bye week, down 3 spots – Denver steps out of the bye week and into an important division-rivalry game with Kansas City.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5); beat Indianapolis 28-7, same spot – Nothing like a game against the Scott Tolzien-led Colts to get an important win. Pittsburgh is keeping pace in the AFC North.

matt-prater-lions10. Detroit Lions (7-4); beat Minnesota 16-13, up 2 spots – Another Lions game, another nail-biter. In this week’s edition, Matt Prater kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.

11. Washington Redskins (6-4-1); lost to Dallas 31-26, down 1 spot – Give the Redskins credit for making a valiant comeback attempt. But it’s worth wondering if they could’ve won had they opened the offense up earlier.

12. Miami Dolphins (7-4); beat San Francisco 31-24, up 2 spots – Once sitting at 1-4, Miami has reeled off six straight games to become a serious playoff contender. Will the good times continue as they travel to Baltimore this weekend?

13. Minnesota Vikings (6-5); lost to Detroit 16-13, down 2 spots – Minnesota has an elite defense, but they’re held down by the offense, which is lacking weapons. It didn’t help that Stefon Diggs missed the game with an injury.

14. Green Bay Packers (5-6); beat Philadelphia 27-13, up 3 spots – Green Bay played a strong quarter to close this one out and end their four-game losing streak.

15. Baltimore Ravens (6-5); beat Cincinnati 19-14, up 4 spots – Justin Tucker kicked three field goals 50 yards or longer in the first half to keep Baltimore out in front.

lesean-mccoy-75-yard-run16. Buffalo Bills (6-5); beat Jacksonville 28-21, up 4 spots – LeSean McCoy had the longest touchdown run of his career at 75 yards, which got Buffalo off to an excellent start.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6); lost to Green Bay 27-13, down 2 spots – Philly hung close in the first half, but they couldn’t do anything in the second half and lost for the sixth time in eight games.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5); beat Seattle 14-5, up 4 spots – Jameis Winston threw two touchdowns and Tampa Bay’s defense did the rest, holding Seattle’s offense to just 3 points.

19. Houston Texans (6-5); lost to Chargers 21-13, down 3 spots – No matter what, the Texans just can’t seem to pull away in the AFC South. They’re now just a half game ahead of Tennessee.

20. Tennessee Titans (6-6); beat Chicago 27-21, up 3 spots – Tennessee had trouble ensuring that Matt Barkley didn’t lead a game-winning drive…but they eventually sealed the deal and are a serious threat for the AFC South crown.

21. Indianapolis Colts (5-6); lost to Pittsburgh 28-7, down 4 spots – With Andrew Luck missing last game, we got to see just how bad of a team Indianapolis is without their star quarterback.

philip-rivers22. San Diego Chargers (5-6); beat Houston 21-13, up 2 spots – It was vintage Philip Rivers as he threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns to lead this victory.

23. New Orleans Saints (5-6); beat LA 49-21, up 2 spots – Sean Payton was fired up for this game, facing his former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who got him suspended for a year due to Bountygate.

24. Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1); lost to Atlanta 38-19, down 11 spots – Arizona may be the league’s biggest disappointment. Coming into the year with Super Bowl aspirations, they probably won’t even make the playoffs in 2016.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1); lost to Baltimore 19-14, down 4 spots
 – Cincinnati is right there with the Cardinals in terms of most-disappointing teams. They’re all but eliminated in the AFC playoff race.

26. Carolina Panthers (4-7); lost to Oakland 35-32, down 1 spot – Now 3 games behind division leader Atlanta, the Panthers will likely miss the postseason following a Super Bowl trip.

27. New York Jets (3-8); lost to New England 22-17, up 1 spot – Todd Bowles isn’t ready to give up on this season yet, keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick in as the starter.

28. LA Rams (4-7); lost to New Orleans 49-21, down 1 spot – For Jeff Fisher, it’s not looking like an 8-8 season, but rather something much worse.

matt-barkley-bears29. Chicago Bears (2-9); lost to Tennessee 27-21, same spot – If Matt Barkley can keep playing decent like this, then maybe he’ll get a longer look even when Jay Cutler comes back from injury.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9); lost to Buffalo 28-21, same spot – The prospects of Jacksonville breaking out of their funk don’t look good as they face the Broncos this week.

31. San Francisco (1-10); lost to Miami 31-24, same spot – After suffering their 10th-consecutive loss, San Francisco has set a franchise record for most losses in a row.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-12); lost to NY Giants 27-13, same spot – Cleveland has very little to look forward to, but perhaps receiver Terrelle Pryor is someone to build on.

NFL Power Rankings Week 12, 2016

dak-prescottThe Dallas Cowboys continue rolling along, building on their league-best record with a 27-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Can anybody challenge them this season as we move closer to the playoffs?

See who the closest competitors are in our Week 12 NFL power rankings. Also, take a look at our power rankings from last week here.

1. Dallas Cowboys (9-1); beat Baltimore 27-17, same spot – Dallas moved into our number one spot last week and didn’t do anything to dissuade this notion. Dak Prescott turned in yet another good performance, throwing 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

2. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1); beat Philadelphia 26-15, same spot – Seattle is having trouble keeping their running backs healthy. But this isn’t as big of a concern when their defense dominates the way it has been.

3. New England Patriots (8-2); beat San Francisco 30-17, same spot – On the surface, things look good in New England. But this insider’s perspective casts some doubt based on the puzzling moves they’ve been making.

4. Oakland Raiders (8-2); beat Houston 27-20, up 1 spot – The Raiders were having a tough time on offense, until Derek Carr threw two fourth-quarter TDs to help win this game.

5. Denver Broncos (7-3); bye week, up 1 spot – Denver steps out of the bye week and into an important division-rivalry game with Kansas City.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3); lost to Tampa Bay 19-17, down 2 spots – Turnovers and missed chances haunted the Chiefs in this game.

matt-ryan-falcons7. Atlanta Falcons (6-4); bye week, up 1 spot – Atlanta will try to get their league-leading offense (32.0 PPG) back on track against Arizona after putting up just 15 points in Week 10.

8. New York Giants (7-3); beat Chicago 22-16, up 1 spot – Rashad Jennings bounced back after a few difficult weeks to gain 129 total yards from scrimmage.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5); beat Cleveland 24-9, up 1 spot – Le’Veon Bell proved why he’s every fantasy football owner’s dream by racking up 146 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards on 8 catches.

10. Washington Redskins (6-3-1); beat Green Bay 42-24, up 1 spot – Kirk Cousins took advantage of a depleted Packers secondary by throwing for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns.

11. Minnesota Vikings (6-4); beat Arizona 30-24, up 1 spot – Minnesota leaned heavily on cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown.

12. Detroit Lions (6-4); beat Jacksonville 26-19, up 1 spot – Andre Roberts’ punt-return TD proved to be the big difference-maker here.

13. Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1); lost to Minnesota 30-24, down 6 spots – It’s good to hear that Bruce Arians is doing alright after going to the hospital. But that still doesn’t get him out of the mess that this talented Cardinals team is in.

jay-ajayi-dolphins14. Miami Dolphins (6-4); beat LA 14-10, up 1 spot – This wasn’t exactly a textbook win by Miami. But the offense finally woke up in the fourth quarter to get a late touchdown drive.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5); lost to Seattle 26-15, down 1 spot – Carson Wentz had a couple of costly interceptions as Philadelphia lost for the fifth time in seven games.

16. Houston Texans (6-4); lost to Oakland 27-20, same spot – Brock Osweiler has had his struggles this season. And an Oakland fan shining a green laser in his eye didn’t help matters.

17. Indianapolis Colts (5-5); beat Tennessee 24-17, up 3 spots – The good news for Indy is that they won to move within a game of the AFC South lead. The bad news is that Andrew Luck will miss Thursday’s game with a concussion.

18. Green Bay Packers (4-6); lost to Washington 42-24, down 2 spots – Aaron Rodgers may be confident that Green Bay can run the table, but we’re not so sure that this is possible when looking at their schedule.

19. Baltimore Ravens (5-5); lost to Dallas 27-17, down 2 spots – Joe Flacco was extremely disappointed with this loss and felt that Baltimore could’ve won. But the end result is a .500 record.

20. Buffalo Bills (5-5); beat Cincinnati 16-12, up 1 spot – There wasn’t a lot of offense out of Buffalo, but they did enough to win this contest.

marvin-lewis21. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1); lost to NY Giants 21-20, down 7 spots – Four turnovers doomed Cincinnati in this game, and probably ensures that this will be a lost season. There’s a good chance that Marvin Lewis will be fired after this year.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5); beat Kansas City 19-17, up 3 spots – Jameis Winston had a solid game with 331 passing yards and a touchdown against one of the league’s best defenses.

23. Tennessee Titans (5-6); lost to Indianapolis 24-17, down 1 spot – The Titans were shredded by Andrew Luck in the first half and never recovered.

24. San Diego Chargers (4-6); bye week, down 1 spot – San Diego travels to Houston while trying to move closer to .500 and perhaps get in the wild card hunt.

25. Carolina Panthers (4-6); beat New Orleans 23-20, up 2 spots – Carolina looks far removed from their 15-1 mark last season. But they did get a win here to move in the right direction.

26. New Orleans Saints (4-6); lost to Carolina 23-20, down 2 spots – The Saints lost a golden opportunity to stay in the hunt for the AFC South lead.

27. LA Rams (4-6); lost to Miami 14-10, down 1 spot – Once again, the Rams defense turned in a strong performance. But they couldn’t hold the Dolphins at the end of the game.

28. New York Jets (3-7); bye week, same spot – New York isn’t heading to the playoffs, or even equaling their 10-6 record last season. So they’ll have to find ways to stay motivated.

jay-cutler-injury29. Chicago Bears (2-8); lost to NY Giants 22-16, same spot – Jay Cutler will be out for at least a few games, and Chicago will be forced to go with Matt Barkley as the starting QB.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8); lost to Houston 24-21, same spot – With yet another loss, it seems that the Gus Bradley era could be over in Jacksonville.

31. San Francisco (1-9); lost to New England 30-17, same spot – It seems almost inconceivable that anybody could be as bad as Cleveland. But San Francisco is still in the running for the No. 1 pick.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-11); lost to Pittsburgh 24-9, same spot – With Cody Kessler in concussion protocol, Cleveland will turn the reigns over to Josh McCown again as they hope to win at least one game.