NFL Power Rankings for Week 16 (Dec 18, 2014)

tom-brady1. New England Patriots (11-3); beat Miami 41-13, moves up one spot – The Patriots avenged their Week 1 loss to the Dolphins in convincing fashion and appear headed for a first-round playoff bye.

2. Denver Broncos (11-3); beat San Diego 22-10, moves up one spot – Peyton Manning battled the flu and a thigh injury to throw for 223 yards and a touchdown while leading the Broncos to a tough road win.

3. Seattle Seahawks (10-4); beat San Francisco 17-7, moves up one spot – After struggling out of the gate, the Seahawks look to be back to their dominant 2013 form.

4. Green Bay Packers (10-4); lost to Buffalo 21-13, drops three spots – Aaron Rodgers had an uncharacteristically bad game with 185 yards passing. But he can’t help the fact that his receivers dropped seven passes in Buffalo.

andrew-luck-playoffs5. Indianapolis Colts (10-4); beat Houston 17-10, retains same ranking – For the second straight week, Andrew Luck threw a pick-6. And for the second straight week, it sparked a turnaround in his play.

6. Arizona Cardinals (11-3); beat St. Louis 12-6, moves up one spot – Despite injuries at key positions (QB, RB), the Cardinals pulled off a difficult road win and clinched a playoff spot.

7. Detroit Lions (10-4); beat Minnesota 16-14, moves up one spot – Imagine how good the Lions’ record would be if they made field goals. This was the first time all season that they had a better kicking percentage than their opponent.

8. Dallas Cowboys (10-4); beat Philadelphia 38-27, moves up one spot – Dez Bryant really shined in this one, racking up 114 receiving yards and three TD’s.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (9-5); lost to Dallas 38-27, drops three spots – Two weeks ago, the Eagles looked destined to win the NFC East and host a home playoff game. Now they have to beat the Giants and Redskins, and – even at 11 wins – hope for some help.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5); beat Atlanta 27-20, retains same ranking – Hey Big Ben: just keep throwing to Antonio Brown! Roethlisberger was 10-of-10 with 123 yards on throws to Brown.

aj-green-football11. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1); beat Cleveland 30-0, retains same ranking – This is Cincinnati’s first shutout since they beat Cleveland by a score of 14-0 in 2008.

12. Baltimore Ravens (9-5); beat Jacksonville 20-12, retains same ranking – As long as Baltimore can beat Houston and Cleveland, they’re guaranteed a playoff spot.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6); beat Oakland 31-13, moves up four spots – KC keeps their slim postseason hopes alive by beating up on the AFC West doormat.

14. Buffalo Bills (8-6); beat Green Bay 21-13, moves up four spots – Buffalo took advantage of a punt-return touchdown and two interceptions of Aaron Rodgers to pull off the upset.

15. San Diego Chargers (8-6); lost to Denver 22-10, drops two spots – For the first time since 2006, Philip Rivers failed to complete a first-quarter pass (0-for-3).

16. San Francisco 49ers (7-7); lost to Seattle 17-7, drops two spots – San Francisco is already having a disappointing season. And it could get even uglier with the playoff-hungry Chargers (8-6) and Cardinals (11-3) still left.

ryan-tannehill17. Miami Dolphins (7-7); lost to New England 41-13, drops two spots – Ryan Tannehill tallied 346 passing yards, but the Patriots played a perfect bend-but-don’t-break defense.

18. Houston Texans (7-7); beat Indianapolis 17-10, drops one spot – Houston has a talented team, but injuries and unrest at the quarterback position kept them from a real postseason shot.

19. New Orleans Saints (6-8); beat Chicago 31-15, NR – The Saints are reversing their former selves, winning on the road now and carrying a four-game Superdome losing streak.

20. Cleveland Browns (7-7); lost to Cincinnati 30-0, drops two spots – The Johnny Manziel era started with a huge thud (1.0 QBR), but at least it can’t get any worse.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 7 (Oct. 16, 2014)

demarco-murrayWhile the Dallas Cowboys have definitely exceeded expectations, few people thought they’d go out on the road and knock off defending Super Bowl champion Seattle. But that’s exactly what the Cowboys did on the strength of DeMarco Murray’s sixth-straight 100-yard rushing game, which is why they climb in our rankings yet again.

1. Denver Broncos (4-1); beat New York Jets 31-17, retains same ranking – Denver went out on the road against a desperate Jets team and grabbed another win behind Julius Thomas’ two touchdown catches.

2. San Diego Chargers (5-1); beat Oakland 31-28, moves up one spot – The Raiders made this more of a contest than most expected; but still, the Chargers are off to a 5-1 start for the first time since 2002.

3. San Francisco 49ers (4-2); beat St. Louis 31-17, moves up one spot – NFL coaches recently voted Colin Kaepernick over Peyton Manning as the QB they least like to face. Kaepernick gets a chance to prove why this week in Denver.

lesean-mccoy4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1); beat New York Giants 27-0, moves up one spot – Philadelphia finally played some defense to go along with the offense while LeSean McCoy rushed for a season-high 149 yards.

5. Seattle Seahawks (3-2); lost to Dallas 30-23, drops three spots – Russell Wilson completed less than half of his passes at home, and Seattle heads out on the road for two games. Neither offers anything to cheer about right now.

6. Arizona Cardinals (4-1); beat Washington 30-20, retains same ranking – With Carson Palmer back from a shoulder injury, Arizona has a real shot at keeping their top spot in the dominating NFC West.

7. Indianapolis Colts (4-2); beat Houston 33-28, retains same ranking – Indianapolis welcomes a tough Bengals team that’s coming off a loss and a tie. This will definitely make for an interesting matchup.

tom-brady8. New England Patriots (3-2); beat Buffalo Bills 37-22, retains same ranking – Even with New England traveling to Buffalo, they never seemed threatened. Of course, Tom Brady’s 92% career-win rate against the Bills instills plenty of confidence.

9. Dallas Cowboys (5-1); beat Seattle 0-23, moves up two spots – Few would have predicted that the Cowboys would become a power running team this season. But with the way that Murray and the offensive line are playing, it makes sense.

10. Green Bay Packers (4-2); beat Miami 27-24, retains same ranking – Aaron Rodgers’ trick play towards the end even got plastered across mainstream news sites. What wasn’t in the headlines, though, is incredible his 15:1 TD-to-INT ratio.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1); tied Carolina 37-37, drops two spots – What happened to the outstanding defense that we saw the first three weeks? Traveling to Indianapolis doesn’t seem like a very good place for the defense to find themselves again.

12. Detroit Lions (4-2); beat Minnesota 17-3, retains same ranking – Detroit beat a toothless Vikings squad on the road, but problems remain. Matthew Stafford can’t seem to play without Calvin Johnson and the Lions’ kickers have missed 10 field goals.

joe-flacco13. Baltimore Ravens (4-2); beat Tampa Bay 48-17, retains same ranking – Baltimore scored the most road points in franchise history while the team’s offense reappeared.

14. Chicago Bears (3-3); beat Atlanta 27-13, moves up two spots – Jay Cutler may have a little tunnel vision after targeting only five players against Atlanta. But as his 381 passing yards and 100-yard games by both Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall suggest, it worked!

15. Carolina Panthers (3-2-1); tied Cincinnati 37-37, drops one spot – Coming off of the first tie in franchise history, Carolina rolls into difficult matchups against Green Bay, Seattle, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

16. New Orleans Saints (2-3); bye week, drops one spot – New Orleans looks for their first road win of the season in Detroit this week.

17. Cleveland Browns (3-2); beat Pittsburgh 31-10, moves up five spots – After mounting a huge comeback only to fall short in Week 1, Cleveland hammered the Steelers at home.

18. Miami Dolphins (2-3); lost to Green Bay 27-24, moves up one spot – Miami might have lost, but at least they looked better than just about everybody else who lost this past week.

19. Buffalo Bills (3-3); lost to New England 37-22, drops one spot – The Bills have a good opportunity to bounce back at home against Minnesota this week.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3); bye week, retains same ranking – Kansas City faces a near-impossible situation in San Diego this Sunday.