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.