2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 17

von-miller-broncosThe Carolina Panthers’ quest for an undefeated season is now over after a 20-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. But will this lone loss knock the Panthers from the top spot in our Week 17 power rankings? See below, and check out last week’s power rankings here.

1. Arizona Cardinals (12-2); beat Green Bay, up 1 spot – Arizona is riding a nine-game winning streak heading into their meeting with Seattle, which had a five-game win streak snapped.

2. Carolina Panthers (14-1); lost to Atlanta Falcons 20-13, down 1 spot – There’s no incentive for the Panthers to rest because a loss could allow the Cardinals to claim the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

3. New England Patriots (12-3); lost to NY Jets 26-20 (OT), same spot – This is the third loss in five games for the Pats. Are their injuries too much to overcome for a title shot?

4. Denver Broncos (11-4); beat Cincinnati 20-17 (OT), up 4 spots – After not scoring a second-half point in three straight games, the Broncos got 17 in the second half/OT to claim this contest.

aj-mccarron-bengals5. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4); lost to Denver 20-17 (OT), down 1 spot – The Bengals are only scoring on 30% of their possessions with AJ McCarron; they scored 43% of the time with Andy Dalton.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-5); beat Cleveland 17-13, up 3 spots – Along with the 1986 Jets, Kansas City is the only other team to win 10 games and have a five-game losing streak in the same season.

7. Seattle Seahawks (9-6); lost to St. Louis 23-17, down 2 spots – Seattle couldn’t overcome their bleak 3-point first half to beat the Rams.

8. New York Jets (10-5); beat New England 26-20 (OT), up 2 spots – The Jets got a huge victory over the Pats, but they must still win on Sunday to guarantee themselves a playoff spot.

9. Green Bay Packers (10-5); lost to Arizona 38-8, down 3 spots – This is the second time in the past four games that Green Bay has been shut out in the first half.

10. Minnesota Vikings (10-5); beat NY Giants 49-17, up 1 spot – While Minnesota’s offense has struggled at times, the 49 points here is their most since 1998.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6); lost to Baltimore 20-17, down 4 spots  – While Pittsburgh may no longer control their own playoff destiny, they at least face the 3-12 Browns in Week 17.

brandon-weeden-texans12. Houston Texans (8-7); beat Tennessee 34-6, same spot – The way Brandon Weeden played last week has to make the Cowboys wonder if they made the right move by cutting him.

13. Washington Redskins (8-7); beat Philadelphia 38-24, same spot – In the last nine games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 20 TD’s, 3 INT’s and completed 72% of his passes.

14. Atlanta Falcons (8-7); beat Carolina 20-13, same spot – Atlanta lost their way after a 6-0 start, but this huge victory helps make up for missing the playoffs.

15. Buffalo Bills (7-8); beat Dallas 16-6, same spot – If Buffalo beats the Jets, they’ll have strung together non-losing seasons for the first time since 1999-2000.

16. Oakland Raiders (7-8); beat San Diego 23-20 (OT), same spot – If Derek Carr gets three more passing TD’s in the final week, he’ll tie Daryle Lamonica’s franchise record of 34 TD’s.

17. Indianapolis Colts (7-8); beat Miami 18-12, up 2 spots – Indianapolis can still win the AFC South, but they need Houston and multiple other teams to lose to do so.

todd-gurley-rams18. St. Louis Rams (7-8); beat Seattle 23-17, up 2 spots – Todd Gurley is the first Rams running back to top 1,000 yards and score 10 TD’s since Eric Dickerson in 1983.

19. New York Giants (7-8); lost to Minnesota 49-17, down 2 spots – Eli Manning sure missed Odell Beckham since he completed just 5-of-14 passes to wideouts and had 3 interceptions.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (6-9); lost to Washington 38-24, down 2 spots  – The Chip Kelly era comes to a tumultuous end after he was fired yesterday.

21. New Orleans Saints (6-9); beat Jacksonville 38-27, up 3 spots – Drew Brees has been his old self the past three games, tossing 8 TD’s and zero interceptions while averaging 355 passing yards.

22. Chicago Bears (6-9); beat Tampa Bay 26-21, up 3 spots – Will Matt Forte be back next year? Jeremy Langford has equaled or out-snapped him three weeks straight.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9); lost to Chicago 26-21, down 2 spots – The Bucs were .500 three weeks ago; since then, they’ve allowed an 89.8 Total QBR to opponents and lost three straight.

24. Detroit Lions (6-9); beat San Francisco 32-17, up 1 spot – The Lions have committed just 4 turnovers in the last seven games, going 5-2 in this span.

allen-robinson25. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10); lost to New Orleans 38-27, down 3 spots – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are the first Jaguars receivers to top 1,000 yards since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell in 2001.

26. Baltimore Ravens (5-10); beat Pittsburgh 20-17 (OT), up 4 spots – Baltimore swept the Steelers for just the second time in franchise history.

27. Miami Dolphins (5-10); lost to Indianapolis 18-12, down 1 spot – Miami is 2-7 in this last nine games, losing by a combined 102 points.

28. San Diego Chargers (4-11); lost to Oakland 23-20 (OT), down 1 spot – San Diego lost eight times by eight points or fewer this season.

29. Dallas Cowboys (4-11); lost to Buffalo 16-6, down 1 spot – Dez Bryant has predictably been shut down for the season and will undergo foot surgery.

30. San Francisco 49ers (4-11); lost to Detroit 32-17, down 1 spot – DuJuan Harris led the rushing effort last week; he was working as a car salesman in 2012.

31. Tennessee Titans (3-12); lost to Houston 34-6, same spot – Tennessee has committed 32 turnovers this season, which leads the league.

32. Cleveland Browns (3-12); lost to Kansas City 17-13, same spot – Johnny Manziel is being evaluated for a concussion and might not play Sunday.

Adrian Peterson eyes Rushing Record in Unfathomable Season

Almost one year ago today, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore several ligaments in his knee during a Week 16 game. The injury was so bad that many people questioned how effective he’d be coming into this season. The answer: he’s been the best running back in 2012…..and perhaps history, depending upon what happens over the next two weeks.

Earlier today, the man they call “All Day” obliterated the St. Louis Rams while dashing their playoff hopes in the process. He rushed for 212 yards on just 24 caries (8.8 YPC) and scored on an 82-yard touchdown run. Following this game, he’s now rushed for over 100 yards in the past eight games with six of these contests seeing AP go over 150 yards.

Thanks to his improbable streak against some of the league’s best defenses, Peterson is now eyeing one of the most coveted records in NFL history.

294 Yards to History

As of now, Adrian Peterson has powered his way to 1,812 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 289 carries. If the season stopped today, he’d have 433 yards more than the next closest running back in 2012, Marshawn Lynch. He’d also have the 19th best rushing season in NFL history. However, the season’s not over yet; in fact, there are still two games remaining.

Based on the pace that Peterson has been going at, he’s got a very realistic chance to beat Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 yards. This total, which happened in 1984, has stood for 28 years. So can Peterson break it based on his remaining schedule?

Favorable Schedule

The past two weeks will see Minnesota play on the road against the Houston Texans and at home against the Green Bay Packers. On paper, the Texans aren’t exactly the most favorable team to play since they’re fifth in the league against the run and allow only 93.2 RYPG.

However, they’ve been lit up over the past two games after allowing 127 rushing yards to the New England Patriots and 124 rushing yards to the run-challenged Indianapolis Colts.

As for the Packers, they are a more favorable defense having allowed 114.3 RYPG this year. They’re fresh off giving up 212 yards to Peterson in Week 13, so we can reasonably expect some pretty outstanding results from All Day in the regular season’s final week.

What if the Record doesn’t fall?

While it’s no slam dunk for Adrian Peterson to reach 2,106 rushing yards this year, we think that he has a very good shot. But even if the 27-year-old doesn’t grab the single season record, he may have already completed the most impressive season among running backs in history.

As alluded to in the beginning, he’s coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, which should have made 2012 even tougher. Instead, Peterson is enjoying a career season and proving that he’s truly a freak of nature.

One more thing that we should mention involves what else is surrounding AP…..or at least the lack of what’s surrounding him. Second-year quarterback Christian Ponder showed flashes of brilliance early on in the season, but has thrown for 200 yards just once in the past six games.

WR Percy Harvin was definitely a nice weapon for the Vikings early on after racking up 677 receiving yards on 62 catches midway through the season. However, he was forced out of action (ankle) in Week 10 and won’t play the rest of the year.

Taking all of this into account, opposing defenses know what’s coming when they face Minnesota – Adrian Peterson and a whole lot more Adrian Peterson. But they still haven’t been able to slow down him down. So with defenses throwing everything at him, and AP being less than a year removed from knee surgery, he’s already proven his place in history. The single season rushing record would just cementer this place even further.