Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots or 49ers?
It’s almost over, folks. The regular season is winding down. The playoff races are rocketing toward the finish line and Santa Claus is somehow going to shimmy down a chimney that I don’t currently have. For the most part, teams have settled into their proper places in the Power Rankings. With two weeks left, here’s how I see them:
1. New England Patriots (Last Week Rank: 1): The Patriots narrowly hold onto the top spot, but once again we see that a great defense is the way to beat the Pats.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2): Had they held the butt-spanking lead during Sunday Night’s game, they would have retaken the #1 spot. Instead, they hold steady for the second week.
3. Denver Broncos (3): The Broncos have won 10 straight. Peyton may be a double threat—MVP and Comeback Player.
4. Atlanta Falcons (7): Just when everyone had dismissed the Falcons as “pretenders,” they lay an impressive hurtin’ on the defending Champs. Do I think they have enough to win the Super Bowl? No. Am I little less sure of that now than I was a week ago? Absolutely.
5. Seattle Seahawks (5): The Seahawks have won five out of the last six by an average score of 33.67 to 14.17. They are undefeated at home (the 12th man is alive and well) and the final two games—against San Fran and St. Louis—are in the Pacific Northwest.
6. Houston Texans (4): Once the King of the Power Rankings, the Texans have fallen five spots in two weeks. Most likely, they will be the AFC’s #1 seed, but that really doesn’t mean much these days.
7. Green Bay Packers (8): The Pack have proven they are the best in the NFC North, but they have lost three games to other NFC hopefuls (NYG, SF and SEA).
8. New York Giants (6): The Giants’ offense has tallied 5,104 yards…that’s good. The Giants’ defense has given up 5,284 yards…that’s bad. Since winning four straight in October, the G-men have gone 2-4.
9. Washington Redskins (11): Riding a five game win streak, during which they beat their entire division, the ‘Skins are rolling toward the playoffs and control their own destiny for an NFC East crown.
10. Chicago Bears (9): The Bears were over-achieving earlier in the season; now they seem to have found where they belong on this list.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (12): The Bengals continue to hang in there. They are most likely going to win a wildcard berth and possibly the AFC North title.
12. Baltimore Ravens (10): The Ravens are struggling. They might be more panicked if they believed their division title was in serious jeopardy.
13. Dallas Cowboys (13): The ‘Boys are on a collision course with the Redskins in week 17. Recent history suggests they will not prevail.
14. Minnesota Vikings (15): The Vikings are currently sitting as the NFC’s 6th seed; however, games against Houston and Green Bay may open the door for someone else.
15. New Orleans Saints (19): Can the Saints make it to a respectable (but still disappointing) 8-8 record this season? They’ll have to lay one on the playoff hopeful Cowboys this week.
16. Carolina Panthers (23): The Panthers have scored 30 or more points in three of their last four games. They did that only once in the previous ten games.
17. St. Louis Rams (16): Sunday’s loss may have dashed the Rams’ playoff hopes, but give them credit for being in the hunt this late in the season.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14): Early on the Bucs lost three straight. Then they won four in a row. Now they are riding a four game losing skid. Talk about streaky.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (17): The AFC North is up for grabs, but the Steelers do not seem to be interested. Their wildcard hopes are next.
20. Miami Dolphins (25): If the Fins win out, and get some help from everyone in the AFC North (except the Bengals), they would find themselves as a surprise sixth seed. That would set-up a wildcard weekend match against the Patriots.
21. Indianapolis Colts (18): The Colts hold the NFL’s best turnaround from 2011. “Suck for Luck” actually worked. They may not be able to ride their emotions to playoff success, but 2012 cannot be seen as anything less than fantastic.
22. New York Jets (22): Remember over the Summer when all the New York newspapers were a-buzz about the potential impact of the Jets new QB. Finally, Greg McElroy will get his chance!
23. San Diego Chargers (20): Do you think that Norv Turner just calls the “hot seat” a “seat”?
24. Cleveland Browns (21): It’s simple: Keep Shurmur.
25. Arizona Cardinals (27): Got a brainteaser for you: The Cardinals gained just 196 yards of total offense on Sunday and scored 38 points. How did they do it?
26. Detroit Lions (24): The Lions were already the biggest disappointment of 2012; they didn’t need to lose to a horrible Cardinals team to prove it.
27. Buffalo Bills (26): In regards to the Bills defense, I paraphrase the movie Major League: “I thought you said there wasn’t any high-priced talent on this team?” “Don’t worry about the defense, they are just high-priced.”
28. Tennessee Titans (29): I admit that I did not watch the entire Monday Night game, but I watched until halfway through the 3rd quarter and I saw one good play from the Titans offense. By the way, nice run Chris Johnson.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (28): Who will be the Eagles head coach next season? Who cares? Right now, they stink…and have too much talent to be this bad.
30. Oakland Raiders (32): Three of the four Raiders’ wins this year have come against the Jags and Chiefs. Not good Oakland. Not good, at all.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (30): The Jags should look on the bright side: pretty soon they will be half-Londoners and they are not the Chiefs.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (31): Is anyone worse than the mighty Chiefs of Kansas City? No, I’m sorry. No one is worse.