NFL Week 17 Power Rankings and Playoff Predictions


Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 of the  NFL season left us with a pretty good idea of which teams are the best (Patriots and Seahawks) and worst (Titans and Buccaneers) among our field of 32, as if we didn’t already know.    With just one week left in the regular season, it’s time again to rank the 32 teams from top to bottom.  We’ll throw in playoff predictions again, though there isn’t much guesswork left at this point .  

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The rankings …

32. Tennessee Titans – Even on the road, an eight-point loss to the Jags is beyond ugly.

31.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sure, it was the Packers, but the 17-point home loss was embarrassing.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars – After a strong game against the Ravens, the Jaguars picked up win number 3 and took themselves out of the race for the top draft pick next spring.

29. Chicago Bears – Jimmy Clausen kept the Bears close for three quarters, but it was just another loss in the end.

28. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders played spoiler against the Bills, and the future may be brighter in the Bay.

27. New York Jets – If you squinted real hard, you might have thought the New England game was happening in 2010.

26.  Washington Redskins – The Redskins have been terrible, but they managed to stick a fork in the Eagles’ season.

25. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel is done for the year.  Dud alert!

24. New Orleans Saints – The Saints yo-yo’d their way right out of the playoffs: great against the Bears, flat (at home) against the Falcons.

23. St. Louis Rams – The Rams have looked like a pretty good team lately, but a late-season home loss to the Giants knocks them way back.

22. New York Giants – The Giants are turning into a decent team … too bad it doesn’t mean anything.

21. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons ended the Saints playoff hopes while keeping their own alive.

20. Carolina Panthers – After “thrashing” the Browns, the Panthers are now in the driver’s seat for the NFC South division crown.  Prediction: NFC South Champion

19. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings couldn’t quite pull out the shootout with the Dolphins.

18. San Francisco 49ers – The Chargers’ big offense just rubbed salt into the 49ers’ wounds.

17. Buffalo Bills – Who would have thought that the Raiders would end the Bills’ post-season dreams?

16. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs slipped out of the playoff race even as they helped the Steelers clinch their own spot.

15.  Philadelphia Eagles – In 2014, being eliminated by the Washington Redskins is bad news.

14. Miami Dolphins – Miami won’t make the playoffs, but they can still finish above .500.

13. Houston Texans – After playing the Colts hard, the Texans delivered a smash to the Ravens’ playoff hopes.

12. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are clinging to that last playoff spot, and it will all come down to the last weekend.

11. Baltimore Ravens –  After bombing in Texas, the Ravens will need help to get into the playoffs.  Prediction: AFC Wild Card

10. Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are finding it tough to win with quarterbacks pulled from the local playground. Prediction: NFC Wild Card

9. Cincinnati Bengals – Peyton Manning is not right, but the Bengals did almost everything right on Monday night. Prediction: AFC Wild Card

8. Pittsburgh Steelers – In a quirk of scheduling, the second-place Steelers were the first AFC North team to clinch a playoff spot. Prediction: AFC North Champion

7. Detroit Lions – The Lions are playing close games, but they’re winning.  Prediction: NFC Wild Card

6. Indianapolis Colts – Their performance against the Cowboys was reminiscent of the post-14-0 start in 2009; the Colts won’t do anything now until the playoffs start.  Prediction: AFC South Champion

5. Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning gave it a go, but no comeback was in the cards against the Bengals. Prediction: AFC West Champion

4. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys just dominated the Colts and look strong heading into the playoffs.  Prediction: NFC East Champion 

3. Green Bay Packers – The Packers can take the division crown next week, at home, against the Lions.  Prediction: NFC North Champion

2. Seattle Seahawks – Yep.  The Seahawks are good, and they may be the team to beat again. Prediction: NFC West Champion

1. New England Patriots – Tom Brady needed 17 points.  Tom Brady got 17 points.  Prediction: AFC East Champion