AFC East

Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Week 17 Power Rankings
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Playoffs are finally starting to take shape. While most of the NFC spots have been claimed, the AFC still has 6 spots available. Many teams on the verge were hoping to make a statement in week 16. The Eagles, Colts, Packers, and Bengals all proved they are legitimate contenders.

Meanwhile, the Vikings, 49ers, Steelers, and Browns all suffered losses. With that, their playoff hopes took a significant hit. The next 2 games mean a lot to teams who are still hoping to make the playoffs.

Where does your team stand heading into week 17? Find out below.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers prove every year that they are a top contender in the NFC. That is again the case this year. The Packers escaped with a Christmas day win against the Browns to hang on to the top seed in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers strengthened his case for another MVP award, with 202 yards and 3 touchdowns. Davante Adams was favorite target. Adams finished with 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Packers are likely to maintain the top spot, with their next 2 games against the Vikings and Lions. Rodgers will likely see the NFC Championship game again.

Previous Rank: 1

2. Indianapolis Colts

The entire Colts team played well to win on Christmas day. Carson Wentz lit up the fourth quarter to secure the win for the Colts. He finished with 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Pittman was Wentz’s favorite target, finishing with 82 yards. Jonathan Taylor continued elite play, finishing with 108 yards. Considering the Colts headed into the Cardinals’ game stacked with injuries, this game was a real test. The Colts proved they are a dominant team in the AFC.

Previous Rank: 2

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers got a get right win against the Panthers. Tom Brady was efficient leading the offense, finishing with 232 yards and 1 touchdown. Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn were efficient splitting runs. Vita Vea caused havoc for the Carolina offense, recording a sack and four pressures. With the victory, the Buccaneers clinched the top spot in the NFC South. With 2 easy games ahead of them, Mike Evans has time to get healthy for the post season.

Previous Rank: 3

4. Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ offense was dominant in a win over the Patriots. Josh Allen led the way, finishing with 314 yards and 3 touchdowns. His favorite target this week was Isaiah McKenzie, who finished with 125 yards and 1 touchdown. Stefon Diggs also finished with 85 yards and 1 touchdown. The Buffalo offense seems to be rounding into shape, right before the playoffs. They moved into the 4th seed with the win. Considering their last 2 games are against the Falcons and Jets, they might move higher then that.

Previous Rank: 6

5. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ offense had their second dominant game in a row to prove they’re rounding into shape for the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes finished with 258 yards and 3 touchdowns. What’s more important is that Mahomes looked explosive without Travis Kelce and with Tyreek Hill being used in a limited role for much of the game. Mahomes’ favorite receiver was Byron Pringle, who finished with 75 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kansas City’s defense is also worth mentioning, holding the Steelers to only 10 points. This Chiefs team is beginning to look more and more like the Chiefs of 2019.

Previous Rank: 8

6. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys decimated Washington on Sunday to win the NFC East. Dak Prescott threw for 330 yards and 4 touchdowns in a game where Dallas would score 56 points. Amari Cooper, Dalton Schultz, and Malik Turner all had over 80 yards in the game. They also all caught a touchdown. This is the game we needed to see from Dallas. They now have some breathing room heading into the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 9

7. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals proved on Sunday who the dominant team in the AFC North is. Considering Joe Burrow’s performance, the Bengals might be the best in the AFC North for years to come. Burrow finished the game with a jaw dropping 525 yards and 4 touchdowns. JaMarr Chase finished with 125 yards, but Tee Higgins was the true standout in this game. He finished with 194 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joe Mixon also had a day with 135 total yards and 1 touchdown. On Sunday, the Bengals were the most dominant offense in the NFL. That’s a good sign, right before the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 13

8. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams overcame a disastrous performance by Matthew Stafford to beat the Vikings. Stafford threw 3 interceptions, but it should have been 5. The offense ran through Sony Michel, who finished with 131 yards and a touchdown. Despite Stafford’s horrible play, Cooper Kupp still finished with 131 yards. Odell Beckham found the end zone in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for Minnesota. The Rams have already clinched a playoff spot, but Stafford’s streaky play has the chance to get Los Angeles in trouble in the post season.

Previous Rank: 7

9. New England Patriots

Trouble is brewing for the Patriots. After a 7 game win streak, New England has now lost 2 in a row. In Sunday’s loss to the Bills, Mac Jones had one of the worst performances of his rookie season. He finished with 145 yards and 2 interceptions. Damien Harris scored all 3 of New England’s touchdowns, finishing with 103 yards. The Patriots are a team capable of beating inferior opponents. Considering their next 2 games, they’ll likely make the playoffs. However, after what we’ve seen the past 2 weeks, the Patriots will be lucky to make it out of the wild card round.

Previous Rank: 4

10. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are in a tough spot after their Christmas day loss to the Colts. Just before the playoffs, the offense is struggling to find big plays. Kyler Murray finished with 245 yards and 1 touchdown. Chase Edmonds was Murray’s favorite target, finishing with 71 yards. The Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot, but will need to find a way to get big plays without Deandre Hopkins. If the last 2 games are anything to learn from, that may be a problem for them moving forward.

Previous Rank: 5

11. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles turned on the jets in the second half to torch the Giants. The Eagles started slow, only scoring 3 points in the first half. After half time, they put up 31 points. Jalen Hurts finished with 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. DeVonta Smith was his favorite target, finishing with 80 yards and 1 touchdown. The Eagles’ defense stepped up to suffocate the Giants. Josh Sweat consistently got pressure. T.J. Edwards ensured the run game wasn’t a threat, while Darius Slay took care of the passing game. The Eagles are surging in the right direction and currently hold onto the 7th spot in the NFC playoff race.

Previous Rank: 14

12. Tennessee Titans

The Titans finally showed signs of life in a tight AFC South race, with a win over the 49ers. Ryan Tannehill struggled early in the game, until he started to target AJ Brown. Brown was the star of the game and proved he’s a great wide receiver when used correctly. Brown finished with 145 yards and 1 touchdown. The Titan’s have winnable games against the Texans and Dolphins to finish out the season. If AJ Brown plays this way again, the Titans will likely win the AFC South.

Previous Rank: 15

13. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers seemed to have an easy game against the Texans. Instead, Los Angeles got an ugly loss with one of Justin Herbert’s worst performances this season. Herbert threw for 336 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Justin Jackson was Herbert’s favorite target, finishing with 98 yards. The run game took a hit without Austin Ekeler. The Chargers currently hold the 8th spot in the playoff race. If this down streak continues, the Chargers run the risk of missing the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 10

14. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins moved into a playoff spot with their win on Monday night against the Saints. Miami’s defense deserves most of the credit for the Monday victory. Christian Wilkins and Emmanuel Ogbah made sure Ian Book didn’t have time to throw the ball. Jerome Baker also had 2 sacks. As for the offense, they left much to be desired. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 198 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Having a good defense will only get you so far in the playoffs. Eventually, Miami’s offense will have to step up.

Previous Rank: 17

15. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are gasping for air in a tight AFC playoff race. With Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, Baltimore lost their playoff spot. Josh Johnson filled in well for Tyler Huntley, throwing for 304 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Mark Andrews was his favorite target, finishing with 125 yards and 1 touchdown. The injuries have finally caught up to the Ravens. Considering their next 2 games against the Rams and Steelers, the Ravens might miss the playoffs entirely this year.

Previous Rank: 11

16. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers biggest flaw reared it’s ugly head in a loss to the Titans on Thursday night. Jimmy Garopplo proved once again that he’s not a viable starting quarterback. Garopplo finished the day with 2 ugly interceptions that cost the 49ers the game. Deebo Samuel again proved he’s one of the best in the league, with 159 receiving yards and 32 rushing yards. The 49ers still hang onto a playoff spot, but have a tough week 18 game against the Rams. If Garopplo continues to play this way, making the playoffs won’t matter for San Francisco.

Previous Rank: 12

17. Cleveland Browns

There’s absolutely no doubt to why the Browns lost on Christmas day to the Packers. Baker’s Mayfield’s 4 interceptions guaranteed they would loss. The Browns were in the game, all the way to the final play when Mayfield threw one last interception to seal the game. Nick Chubb was the reason the Browns were in the game so late, finishing with 184 scrimmage yards and 1 touchdown. The Browns are still in the playoff race, but are currently in the 12th spot. The bigger question is what Cleveland will do with their starting quarterback in the offseason.

Previous Rank: 18

18. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders stayed alive in a tight playoff race with a win over the Broncos. Las Vegas didn’t make it look easy though. Derek Carr didn’t make it look easy. He finished with 201 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Against a tough Denver defense, the Raiders rallied on their run game. Josh Jacobs finished with 129 yards, but also had 1 fumble. The Raiders have a tough last 2 weeks, with games against the Colts and Chargers. Their odds at making through those 2 games don’t look great.

Previous Rank: 20

19. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings showed who they really are in a loss to the Rams. The Minnesota defense recorded 3 interceptions, but the offense failed to turn them into points. Kirk Cousins finished with 315 yards, but only 1 touchdown. Justin Jefferson finished with 116 yards, but didn’t find the end zone. The Vikings consistently settled for 3 points and went 2-12 on third down. The offense couldn’t score and often times looked out of place. Big changes are overdue for the leadership of the Vikings.

Previous Rank: 16

20. Denver Broncos

The Broncos still technically have a chance at the playoffs, but their chances are slim. With a loss to the Raiders on Sunday, Denver moved to the 13th spot. One thing is for sure though. Drew Lock is not the quarterback to lead the Broncos to long term success. Lock finished with 153 yards. Jerry Jeudy was his favorite target, with 60 yards. The run game wasn’t a factor. A complete rebuild seems inevitable for the Broncos in the offseason.

Previous Rank: 21

21. Pittsburgh Steelers

If there was any doubt about the Steelers being a true playoff contender, it was laid to rest on Sunday. Pittsburgh proved they’re not worthy of the playoffs in an ugly loss to the Chiefs. Ben Roethlisberger continued his abysmal play this season, finishing with 159 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. One bright spot was rookie running back Najee Harris, who finished with 93 yards. How does this Steelers team rebuild to be a threat next year? There’s no clear answer as there were many glaring holes on Sunday.

Previous Rank: 19

22. Washington Football Team

Washington’s performance on Sunday was horrible. Their defense let the Cowboys put up 56 points. Taylor Heinicke threw for 121 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. They stand little chance of making the playoffs. This team has a lot of work to do in the offseason.

Previous Rank: 23

23. New Orleans Saints

The Saints stand little chance of making the playoffs after an awful Monday night performance. Ian Book looked out of place on a NFL field. This team has some rebuilding to do in the off season.

Previous Rank: 24

24. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons clinged to life in a tight NFC playoff race. They beat the Lions to keep their playoff hopes alive. Matt Ryan was effective but not stellar, finishing with 215 yards and 1 touchdown. Kyle Pitts was his favorite target, finishing with 102 yards. The Falcons struggled to beat the Lions to just barely hang onto slim playoff chances. The odds don’t look great for the Falcons to be a real playoff threat.

Previous Rank: 25

25. Houston Texans

The Texans beat the Chargers. Considering Houston has already been eliminated from the playoffs, the win doesn’t mean a lot. David Mills was impressive in the game, throwing for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. The rookie might have some potential, if the Texans can coach him up.

Previous Rank: 27

26. Chicago Bears

Did anyone even remember Nick Foles was still on the Bears? He led Chicago to victory in a meaningless win against the Seahawks.

Previous Rank: 31

27. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks won’t make the playoffs this year. They were eliminated by the Bears. It’s time to reexamine Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson’s jobs in Seattle.

Previous Rank: 22

28. Detroit Lions

2021 hasn’t been kind to the Lions. Maybe 2022 will be better.

Previous Rank: 27

29. New York Giants

The Giants were awful on Sunday and somehow Joe Judge has more job security than half the coaches in the league.

Previous Rank: 28

30. New York Jets

At least the Jets can say they’re better than the Jaguars.

Previous Rank: 30

31. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers look like they’re on the verge of another total rebuild.

Previous Rank: 29

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars can’t even beat the Jets.

Previous Rank: 32

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