AFC East

Week 18 NFL Power Rankings

Week 18 Power Rankings
Morry Gash/Associated Press

As Week 17 came to a close, the playoffs began to take shape. Almost all of the playoff spots have been accounted for.

However, the Raiders and Chargers will face off in a game where the winner will make it to the post season. The Colts also need a win in week 18 against the Jaguars to secure their playoff spot. Meanwhile in the NFC, the 49ers are in risk of losing their playoff spot if the Saints win next week against the Falcons.

That brings us to our final power rankings of the regular season. Where did your team end up? Find out below.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers are the best team in the NFC. They dominated an undermanned Vikings team to maintain the first seed in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers carved up the Minnesota defense all night. He finished with 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. Davante Adams was uncoverable, as he had 136 yards and 1 touchdown. AJ Dillion and Aaron Jones also dominated in the trenches combining for over 100 yards. Green Bay’s defense held the Vikings to 10 points. It looks like we’ll watch the Packers in yet another NFC Championship game.

Previous Rank: 1

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers overcame more than just a surprisingly strong Jets’ performance. Tom Brady led a fourth quarter comeback to secure the victory for Tampa Bay. Brady finished with 410 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Brady’s favorite target was once again Rob Gronkowski, who finished with 115 yards. Despite Brady’s strong performance, this game will be remembered for Antonio Brown’s puzzling exit from the game. Even without Brown, the Buccaneers are a dominant offense full of elite receivers. Tampa Bay will likely be a deep playoff threat once again.

Previous Rank: 2

3. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals proved on Sunday that they can beat any team in the league. Joe Burrow has shown us many times this year how elite he can be. He did it again against the Chiefs, finishing with 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. Equally impressive is Ja’Marr Chase’s big game. Chase finished with 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Bengals have arguably the best offense in the NFL right now. Burrow and Chase are true super stars. Joe Mixon is a great running back. However, Cincinnati’s defense may get them in trouble once the playoffs begin.

Previous Rank: 3

4. Kansas City Chiefs

The formula to beat the Chiefs is to keep the ball away from their offense. That’s exactly what Cincinnati did to win against Kansas City of Sunday. Still, the Chief’s offense made the game close. Patrick Mahomes ended the game with 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were unusually quiet this game, finishing with a combined 65 yards. Darrel Williams was the most dominant offensive weapon, finishing with 88 yards and 2 touchdowns. We know who the Chiefs are at this point. They’re a high flying offense that can outscore anyone in the league. Unfortunately for Kansas City, many teams around the league seem to have the formula to beating them.

Previous Rank: 5

5. Buffalo Bills

The Bills started shaky in the first half, but turned things around to beat the Falcons on Sunday. Josh Allen had an unusually bad game, finishing with 120 yards and 3 interceptions. His favorite target was Stefon Diggs, who finished with 52 yards. Devin Singletary picked up the slack for the struggling Buffalo offense, finishing with 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopefully this is just a one game slump for Buffalo, as they’re still competing with the Patriots for the AFC East.

Previous Rank: 3

6. Indianapolis Colts

After a heartbreaking loss to the Raiders on Sunday, the Colts playoff hopes took a hit. Carson Wentz struggled early in the game and that was enough for the Raiders to take an early league. Wentz did come alive later in the game, but finished with 148 yards and 1 touchdown. Jonathan Taylor finished with 108 yards and 1 touchdown. The Colts’ playoff hopes are still alive however. All Indianapolis needs to do is beat the Jaguars next week. If they do that, they make it to the post season. However, Carson Wentz need to play better than this if Indianapolis wants to be a real playoff threat.

Previous Rank: 2

7. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams once again overcame an ugly Matthew Stafford performance to stay ahead in a tight NFC playoff race. Stafford finished with 309 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. To no one’s surprise, Cooper Kupp was Stafford’s favorite target. Kupp finished with 95 yards and 1 touchdown. Sony Michel also had a solid game, finishing with 74 yards and 1 touchdown. Stafford’s performance the last few weeks has been troubling. If his quarterback play doesn’t improve, the Rams are likely to be an early elimination in the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 7

8. New England Patriots

The Patriots dominated the Jaguars to stay relevant in a tight AFC playoff race. Mac Jones had a dominant performance where he threw for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns. His favorite target was Kendrick Bourne, who finished with 76 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson had a big game as well, finishing with 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. J.C. Jackson and Kyle Dugger both ensured Trevor Lawrence would have a long game. The Patriots have been one of the most complete teams the last 8 weeks and are continuing to trend upward just before the playoffs. They’ll face tougher competition in January however, so New England’s true challenge lies ahead.

Previous Rank: 9

9. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals beat the Cowboys on Sunday to maintain their current playoff spot. Kyler Murray did enough to win. He finished with 263 yards and 2 touchdowns, but noticeably struggled without Deandre Hopkins. Christian Kirk and AJ Green were the leading receivers with Hopkins out, finishing with 79 and 74 yards. Arizona did enough to beat Dallas on Sunday, but don’t be surprised if they struggle in the playoffs without their elite wide receiver.

Previous Rank: 10

10. Dallas Cowboys

A lot of things can be taken away from the Cowboys’ loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, few of them good. Dak Prescott struggled in the game. His statistics look better than his performance, as he finished with 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott’s performance is barely worth mentioning. Dalton Schultz was the leading receiver with 54 yards. To put it simply, Mike McCarthy got out coached this game. McCarthy’s clock management has always been an issue and being unable to challenge a bad call due to not having any timeouts rests squarely on McCarthy’s shoulders. The Cowboys have already clinched their division, but Dallas will play against the best coaches in the league in the playoffs. McCarthy has to coach better than this.

Previous Rank: 6

11. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles won a close game on Sunday against Washington to clinch a playoff spot. Jalen Hurts was efficient moving the ball, finishing with 214 yards. Dallas Goedert was the top receiver, finishing with 71 yards. Boston Scott was the top scorer, as he had both of Philadelphia’s touchdowns during the game. The Eagles’ secondary ensured that Washington’s pass game wouldn’t be a threat. Recently, Philadelphia has been one of the scrappiest teams in the league. Their true test lays in the playoffs however, as they will face much tougher competition.

Previous Rank: 11

12. Tennessee Titans

The Titans won the AFC South to clinch a division spot on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill was efficient moving the ball, finishing with 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. D’Onta Foreman continued to fill in for Derrick Henry, finishing with 132 yards and 1 touchdown. Foreman has proved he’s a more than capable backup running back. Kyle Peko got pressured consistently to ensure that Tua Tagovailoa would struggle in the freezing rain. The Titans are trending in the right directions and will seemingly get a boost in the playoffs, with the return of Derrick Henry.

Previous Rank: 12

13. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers dominated the Broncos to stay alive in the AFC playoff race. Justin Herbert finished with 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mike Williams was the leading receiver with 63 yards and 1 touchdown. Austin Ekeler also contributed in the win, with 58 yards and 1 touchdown. Now, the Chargers face a win-and-in situation against the Raiders next Sunday. The Chargers’ offense thrives when Justin Herbert thrives. If Herbert can have a good game next Sunday, expect to see Los Angeles in the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 13

14. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were dominant in a win over the Texans to keep their playoff spot. Trey Lance got his second start of the year and looked good on the field. He finished with 249 yards and 2 touchdowns. A mistake did lead to an ugly interception, but other then that it was a good game for the rookie. Lance was helped by Elijah Mitchell’s good game. Mitchell finished with 119 yards. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk also gave Lance reliable targets to throw to the entire game. The 49ers have shown all season they’re capable of beating inferior teams. However, they face a tough challenge next week. If the Saints win and the 49ers lose to the Rams, San Francisco will miss the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 16

15. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread after a loss to the Rams on Sunday. Tyler Huntley struggled this game, throwing for 197 yards and 1 interception. Mark Andrews was the leading receiver with 89 yards. Devonta Freeman had a solid game, finishing with 76 yards. At this point, Baltimore’s chance of making the playoffs are slim. Maybe next season, if the Ravens’ key players can stay healthy, they’ll stand a chance at being a deep playoff threat.

Previous Rank: 15

16. Las Vegas Raiders

Despite all odds, the Raiders are somehow still alive in the AFC playoff race. They beat the Colts on Sunday to stay alive. Derek Carr did enough to get Las Vegas the win. He finished with 255 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. His favorite target was Zay Jones, who finished with 120 yards. Hunter Renfrow was again a difference maker as well, finishing with 76 yards and 1 touchdown. Las Vegas now faces a win-and-in situation against the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday. If Derek Carr has another game like this however, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll see the Raiders after January 9th.

Previous Rank: 18

17. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, in a game where they only scored 3 points. Tua Tagovailoa had one of his ugliest performances in a most win game. A lot of questions still remain about Miami’s future, including what will be done at the quarterback position.

Previous Rank: 14

18. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings’ season died with a whimper on Sunday night. Garrett Bradbury had the longest play of the night for the Vikings’ offense, after catching a deflected pass.

Previous Rank: 19

19. New Orleans Saints

The Saints’ defense deserves full credit for keeping the Saints relevant in the NFC playoff race. In a game where Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara were quiet, the New Orleans’ defense stepped up to shut down the Panthers’ offense. Cameron Jordan and David Onyemata got pressure consistently and constantly. The secondary ensured Sam Darnold wouldn’t have any targets down the field. With the win, the Saints are still alive in the playoff race. If the Saints can beat the Falcons next week and the 49ers loss to the Rams, the Saints are in.

Previous Rank: 23

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

With the win on Monday night over the Browns, the Steelers are still alive in a tight playoff race. They’ll need some help to get in, but some hope is better than no hope at all. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look great at his last home start at Hines Field. Najee Harris and TJ Watt were the breakout players. They both showed once again they are the future of Pittsburgh. Harris finished with 188 yards and 1 touchdown. TJ Watt recorded 4 sacks to reach 20 sacks in one season. Other then that, the Steelers’ offense struggled to move the ball and score points. The odds of Pittsburgh actually making the playoffs doesn’t look great.

Previous Rank: 21

21. Cleveland Browns

With the Browns‘ loss on Monday night to the Steelers, one thing is painfully clear; Baker Mayfield is not the future of Cleveland.

Previous Rank: 17

22. Seattle Seahawks

Ironically, Russell Wilson looked the best he has all season when it no longer mattered. The Seahawks beat the Lions in a game with zero playoff implications.

Previous Rank: 27

23. Denver Broncos

The Broncos have been eliminated from the playoffs and Vic Fangio’s job is in jeopardy. The Denver offense needs a lot of work before it’s functional again.

Previous Rank: 20

24. Washington Football Team

Washington has a lot of work to do if they want to be a contender in the 2022 season. They can start by improving their quarterback position. Taylor Heinicke had another ugly performance on Sunday.

Previous Rank: 22

25. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons will once again miss the playoffs. Matt Ryan struggled to move the ball. There are many glaring flaws that Atlanta needs to fix if they want to be a contender for next year.

Previous Rank: 24

26. Chicago Bears

The Bears had a meaningless win against the Giants on Sunday, but Robert Quinn did set the franchise record for most sacks in a season. Hopefully with a new coaching staff, Justin Fields and the offense will improve next season.

Previous Rank: 26

27. New York Jets

The Jets put up a good against the Buccaneers, but were undone by a 4th quarter comeback. There’s a lot to be optimistic about from this game though. Zach Wilson finished the game with 234 yards and 1 touchdown.

Previous Rank: 30

28. Houston Texans

The Texans have a long way to go before they ever see the playoffs.

Previous Rank: 25

29. Detroit Lions

The Lions lost. Detroit consistently finds ways to be one of the worst teams in the league.

Previous Rank: 28

30. New York Giants

The Giants scored 3 points against the Bears. It wasn’t pretty.

Previous Rank: 30

31. Carolina Panthers

If you watched this game, you know Sam Darnold isn’t a starting quarterback.

Previous Rank: 31

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are limping towards the off season as fast as they can.

Previous Rank: 32

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