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Week 15 power rankings

Aaron Hernandez

With most playoff spots still undecided, there’s still only one semi-plausible way to draw lines among and between the league’s 32 teams.

Besides, we’ve been doing this for 14 weeks.

We can’t stop now.

1.  New England Patriots (No. 1; 12-2):  A close win against a team starting an untested backup may have been the best way for coach Bill Belichick to get the Patriots to stop believing what everyone is saying about them.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (No. 2; 12-2):  Stomachs in Georgia already are full of butterflies in anticipation of the possibility that Mike Vick will be returning for the playoffs.

3.  Philadelphia Eagles (No. 6; 10-4):  Could the first season after the McNabb era be the season when the Eagles finally win a Super Bowl?

4.  Baltimore Ravens (No. 5; 10-4):  The team most likely to upend the Pats in the postseason took a big step toward earning a bye.

5.  New Orleans Saints (No. 3; 10-4):  Whether or not the Saints had beaten the Ravens, the defending champs will most likely have to do it the hard way this year by playing postseason games away from the Superdome.

6.  New York Jets (No. 15; 10-4):  The Jets actually seem to play better when ensnared in a controversy.

7.  Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 4; 10-4):  Once again, Troy Polamalu proves his value through his absence.

8.  Chicago Bears (No. 11; 10-4):  In the end, the Bears have worn their desperation well; coach Lovie Smith has saved his job.

9.  New York Giants (No. 7; 9-5):  Even the worst lip reader knew that coach Tom Coughlin was reminding punter Matt Dodge of the mandate to kick it out of bounds.  The question is whether the intended audience was Dodge or the rest of the lip-reading world.

10.  San Diego Chargers (No. 12; 8-6):  The most dangerous team in the AFC may not have a chance to lose in the playoffs.

11.  Indianapolis Colts (No. 13; 8-6):  Nothing cures a case of Bitter Beer Face like a couple of division victories.

12.  Kansas City Chiefs (No. 16; 9-5):  For a change, the Governor’s Cup was full of something other than satisfaction.

13.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 8; 8-6):  After weeks of winning the games they should win and losing the games they should lose, the Bucs lost a game they should have won.

14.  Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 9; 8-6):  Well, at least they’re still selling out their home games.

15. Oakland Raiders (No. 17; 7-7):  The future may not be bright, but it’s suddenly not quite as dim.

16. Green Bay Packers (No. 14; 8-6):  The playoffs start on Sunday, for a team that was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender.

17.  Miami Dolphins (No. 10; 7-7):  For Tony Sparano, his career in Miami could end with the abruptness of a needle lifting off a Journey record.

18.  St. Louis Rams (No. 18; 6-8):  Though the Rams have a long way to go to become the Greatest Show on Turf again, they’re much better than last year, when they were the Greatest Turds on Show.

19. Dallas Cowboys (No. 22; 5-9):  Unfortunately, they don’t give trophies to the best team with a losing record.

20.  Detroit Lions (No. 25; 4-10):  Slowly but surely, the Millen stink is wearing off.

21.  Buffalo Bills (No. 26; 4-10):  The Bills have now won as many games this year in Miami as the Dolphins.

22. Cleveland Browns (No. 19; 5-9):  The Battle of Ohio isn’t truly over until someone beats the Buckeyes.

23.  San Francisco 49ers (No. 20; 5-9):  The 2010 Niners are harder to kill than an Alien.

24. Minnesota Vikings (No. 21; 5-9):  It’s pretty safe to say that, if the Vikings get a new stadium in Minnesota, it will have a roof.  And a really big furnace.

25.  Tennessee Titans (No. 29; 6-8):  After an impressive win featuring more than 30 points scored by the Titans, even “Woody” won’t have much to complain about this week.

26. Houston Texans (No. 23; 5-9):  Nine seasons plus no playoffs equals a very disappointing return by the NFL to Houston.

27.  Seattle Seahawks (No. 24; 6-8):  It’s fitting that, in his first year after leaving a level of football that prevents a team with a losing record from going to a bowl game, Pete Carroll could be playing in the postseason after losing more games than he won.

28.  Cincinnati Bengals (No. 31; 3-11):  In Cincinnati, Santa will be bringing the kids on the nice list two tickets to the December 26 game against the Chargers.  The kids on the naughty list get four.

29. Washington Redskins (No. 28; 5-9):  Mike Shanahan will eventually find out that Daniel Snyder isn’t nearly as patient as Pat Bowlen.

30. Arizona Cardinals (No. 27; 4-10):  “Hey, what’s the problem?  We’re only two games out of first place.”

31.  Carolina Panthers (No. 32; 2-12):  Only the Panthers could potentially screw up their otherwise clear shot at the first overall pick in the draft.

32.  Denver Broncos (No. 30; 3-11):  The Broncos are still searching for their sixth win since starting the 2009 season at 6-0.

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56 Responses to “Week 15 power rankings”
  1. redrew says: Dec 21, 2010 8:35 AM

    Patriots are 6-1 verses your top 11, with the only loss in week 2.

  2. cobrala says: Dec 21, 2010 8:42 AM

    I guess the top 10 were so easy you decided to throw a number of curveballs in the bottom 15?

  3. pastabelly says: Dec 21, 2010 8:45 AM

    In the words of Judge Smails,

    Well, we’re waiting.

  4. nokoolaidcowboy says: Dec 21, 2010 8:49 AM

    “19. Dallas Cowboys (No. 22; 5-9): Unfortunately, they don’t give trophies to the best team with a losing record.”

    Sorry man, but that doesn’t make any sense. Jerry has may have the best overpaid, overrated and overhyped team but not the best team.

    The best teams at this time are still playing for something other than inflating Garrett’s resume. Well, there is always next year!

  5. jimmysee says: Dec 21, 2010 8:49 AM

    Hope you are wrong about the Vikings stadium. All there was to say last night to the Vikes was, “welcome back to the NFL. We missed you.”

  6. thegreatwhitemidget says: Dec 21, 2010 8:49 AM

    For once I’m actually agreeing these are great rankings bucs are prolly a little high and packers are a little low but other then that the best one yet

  7. pastabelly says: Dec 21, 2010 8:51 AM

    Okay, now that we have it, please explain how Baltimore gets a bye. Pittsburgh would have to lose either at home against Carolina and Jimmy Clausen or on the road against Cleveland. That could happen. Just don’t count on it. That leaves Baltimore as the fifth seed and playing at Indy.

  8. redrew says: Dec 21, 2010 8:53 AM

    Sagarin ratings have the Patriots playing the 4th hardest schedule going 8-1 verses their top 16….Belichick plays chess while the frumpy clowns are playing Hooks and Ladders

  9. Mr Buckworth says: Dec 21, 2010 8:59 AM

    I call BS: if Rodgers had played the packers would have won in NE and they would have been ranked in Top 10.

    Instead, they’re behind TB JAX and OAK?

    bah

  10. somesome says: Dec 21, 2010 9:23 AM

    28. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 31; 3-11): In Cincinnati, Santa will be bringing the kids on the nice list two tickets to the December 26 game against the Chargers. The kids on the naughty list get four.

    … that is hilarious

  11. sharkskins says: Dec 21, 2010 9:24 AM

    Skins are ranked below the 3 win Bungals? After nearly pulling off a win against your 19th ranked team in their home (and beating them earlier in the year)? After beating the number 3 team at their house? After beating the number 8 team at their house? The number 25 team at their house? Etc. Too much stock being put in the McScab and Buttersworth benchings. This list is a joke outside of 1-3 and 32.

  12. nogoodell says: Dec 21, 2010 9:28 AM

    FYI- Philly destroyed Atlanta with Kolb

  13. brew67 says: Dec 21, 2010 9:47 AM

    your power rankings are so bad. You have the Titans well below the Cowboys, but you seem to forget, the Titans whooped the Cowboys, but, being who did it, not a surprise.

  14. coleton1 says: Dec 21, 2010 9:51 AM

    16. Green Bay Packers (No. 14; 8-6): The playoffs start on Sunday, for a team that was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender.

    Its not about how many players are on IR for the Packers. But who!!!

    Finley
    Grant
    Barnett
    3 other linebackers
    4 DE’s (One to Suspension though)
    Not to menton that various players including Rodgers, Driver and Jenkins missing games.

    This team will hands down win the north in 2011.

  15. macjacmccoy says: Dec 21, 2010 9:53 AM

    3. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 6; 10-4): Could the first season after the McNabb era be the season when the Eagles finally win a Super Bowl?

    That would be great and sad all at the same time.

  16. bucsballer says: Dec 21, 2010 9:55 AM

    Patriots suck

  17. beckzhere says: Dec 21, 2010 9:59 AM

    I wouldn’t say our stomachs are ” full of butterflies in anticipation of the possibility that Mike Vick will be returning for the playoffs”.

    I have been saving my Vick jerseys for some reason and now it’s coming to light. There will be a Vick Jersey bonfire at our tailgate, everyone is invited to discard the past and welcome the future.

  18. pastabelly says: Dec 21, 2010 10:00 AM

    Mr Buckworth says:
    Dec 21, 2010 8:59 AM
    I call BS: if Rodgers had played the packers would have won in NE and they would have been ranked in Top 10
    ================================

    How do you know that? Doubtful that they would have tried the onside kick to start the game and the game would have taken on a totally different shape. Of course, if Rodgers had played, it’s also possible that the Pats would not have come out flat. Your team lost and they have a knack of losing close games. That game was not lost by Flynn but by your team’s inexplicable inability to stop an offensive lineman from running 70 yards down the field with a kickoff return and by one of your defensive backs not being able to handle Aaron Hernandez.

  19. nflhof says: Dec 21, 2010 10:01 AM

    So right about the number ten team. Damm you Norv. Damm you.

  20. bendreith says: Dec 21, 2010 10:06 AM

    GB travels to New England to play the best/ hottest/most well-coached team with the greatest QB in the history of civilization while starting their own back-up QB, dominate the game (aside from a freak kickoff return) and DROP 2 spots in your esteemed rankings. Yeah….that makes sense.

    I’ll wager that if you caught Andy Reid, Mike Smith or Sean Payton in a weak moment, they’d admit to rather seeing the Bears or Giants across the field than the Packers. The nice part is that GB is still alive, and at home (having played 4 of their last 5 on the road).

  21. bradyisgod says: Dec 21, 2010 10:13 AM

    Do you guys even notice how many teams below six are better than the Jets. Chiefs, Chargers, Colts & Giants.

    Foolish list……whatever

  22. 8man says: Dec 21, 2010 10:15 AM

    While I am happy for the Patriots, this means nothing.

    A team they blew out with a lesser record and in their stadium has a division title. As of today, the Patriots do not. All that their heralded play to date has assured them is the #5 seed in the AFC playoffs. Yipee.

    And I think there is more than one team capable of beating the Patriots in the playoffs. Still a lot of work to do for the silver and nautical blue.

  23. philtration says: Dec 21, 2010 10:20 AM

    I would love to see the Bears play the Eagles again.
    Give Vick the same greeting that they gave the drama queen last night.

  24. rlsmit says: Dec 21, 2010 10:26 AM

    @nogoodell

    The Eagles are also 10-4 The Falcons are 12-2

    The eagles lost to GB Atlanta beat GB. Atlanta has 2 more wins than the Eagles, and are the better team. The eagels beat the falcons 9 weeks ago, get over it please.

  25. gallopingghost says: Dec 21, 2010 10:45 AM

    “Could the first season after the McNabb era be the season when the Eagles finally win a Super Bowl?”

    No.

  26. thegreatwhitemidget says: Dec 21, 2010 10:49 AM

    Bucs baller obviously doesn’t watch football cuz patriots constantly beat quality teams and should be a eagles patriots superbowl

  27. jfibertkc says: Dec 21, 2010 10:53 AM

    For once…i totally agree.

  28. drshakedown74 says: Dec 21, 2010 10:54 AM

    E A G L E S

  29. bobbyhoying says: Dec 21, 2010 10:56 AM

    To everyone who says “if only we had…. we’d be ranked higher.” What team can’t say that? Every team has key injuries. That’s why the whole team gets the ranking.

  30. pastabelly says: Dec 21, 2010 11:02 AM

    8man says:
    Dec 21, 2010 10:15 AM
    While I am happy for the Patriots, this means nothing.

    And I think there is more than one team capable of beating the Patriots in the playoffs. Still a lot of work to do for the silver and nautical blue.
    ==================================
    There are also teams with losing records capable of beating the Patriots and they are playing one this coming Sunday. What’s the big deal? This year’s team is much better than the mediocre product they put out on the field last year and will probably get a bye and the number one seed in the AFC. What more could you hope for from a team that starts several rookies and undrafted free agents? (Woodhead, Green-Ellis, Gronkowski, Spikes, McCourty, Cunningham, Mesko, etc).

  31. eddyjf says: Dec 21, 2010 11:08 AM

    Mr Buckworth says:
    Dec 21, 2010 8:59 AM
    I call BS: if Rodgers had played the packers would have won in NE and they would have been ranked in Top 10
    ——-
    You must be speaking to Rex where all that matters is your iddle chatter off the field. I prefer what happens on the field. The what ifs, to my understanding, don’t matter and are not reflected in the standings.

  32. goldensuneagle says: Dec 21, 2010 11:13 AM

    It’s interesting, I can’t name one major injury that the Falcons have had this year. Norwood? He’s not that good, Snelling is tons better. By what I’m seeing, the Falcons have been really lucky with the injury bug.

  33. jmack1979 says: Dec 21, 2010 11:13 AM

    Just curious how the Ravens have clinched a bye when they are still in second place in the AFC North….Are you just assuming they will win out and the Steelers will loose to either the Panthers or the Browns?

  34. molehillsmountains says: Dec 21, 2010 11:24 AM

    23. San Francisco 49ers (No. 20; 5-9): The 2010 Niners are harder to kill than an Alien.

    I’m a niners fan (painful though that is), and this is freaking hilarious. Nice job…

  35. eddyjf says: Dec 21, 2010 11:27 AM

    By the way, Mr. Buckworth, the Pats were missing a good percent of their defense, but the Pats haven’t been whining about that.

  36. packeranddarien says: Dec 21, 2010 11:53 AM

    The eagles lost to GB Atlanta beat GB. Atlanta has 2 more wins than the Eagles, and are the better team. The eagels beat the falcons 9 weeks ago, get over it please.

    Hey, slappy. I wouldn’t talk too much crap if I were you.

    The last time Atlanta won a playoff game, the starting QB is now on Philadelphia.

    I’d let those lips touch right now.

    And they waxed your ass “9 weeks ago” with the backup that didn’t finish the game vs Green Bay as the starter.

    Awful lippy for a fan of a team that hasn’t proved jack in the playoffs in 6 yrs.

  37. packeranddarien says: Dec 21, 2010 12:07 PM

    Want irony?

    2004 ATL vs PHI NFC title game in Philadelphia, Vick starts for ATL, loses, Philadelphia goes on to lose SB

    2010 PHI VS ATL NFC Title game in Atlanta, Vick starts for PHI, wins, Philadelphia goes on and wins SB

    Common thread? Atlanta loses both NFC title games.

  38. patriotinvasion says: Dec 21, 2010 12:19 PM

    @bucsballer

    Haha…the fact that “patriots suck” is all you have to say just proves how badly we are IN YOUR HEADS!

    As a native Bostonian, I hate to admit that it’s kind of like the Yankees over the past 10+ years…although the Patriots can’t spend more money than all of your crap teams!…LOL

    The Dynasty continues…(and may for awhile with 6, yes SIX, of the first 96 picks in the Draft this April!…including 3 of the first 33 players!)

  39. hoobsher says: Dec 21, 2010 1:13 PM

    oh, it takes a miracle for you to finally realize that the eagles are that good?

    and again, WE BEAT THE FALCONS WITH OUR BACKUP QB. falcons should be below the eagles.

  40. redwingxix says: Dec 21, 2010 1:58 PM

    Sweet honeydew of Kalamazoo, I never thought I’d see the day when the Lions were out of the thirties.

    Eagles can annihilate any team any place right now. Should be some great playoffs this year.

  41. eddyjf says: Dec 21, 2010 2:10 PM

    bucsballer says:
    Patriots suck
    ——

    Bucsballer, you are a deep thinker. I like the way you backed up your idiotic comment with white space. What makes you feel this? Is it their 12-2 record (tied for best in NFL) or is it their recent wins over the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Bears?

  42. rlsmit says: Dec 21, 2010 2:23 PM

    @packer

    All you’ve shown is that Vick can’t win in the playoffs. So Sad. Just enjoy being 10-4 I’ll enjoy 12-2 and first place in the NFC, BIATCH!!!

  43. phillyeagles10 says: Dec 21, 2010 3:48 PM

    @rlsmit

    First of all, Vick has won games in the playoffs, more then your Matt Ryan has. Also, you can’t even compare the Mike Vick with the Falcons and the Mike Vick with the Eagles. Not even close to the same player.

    Here’s the deal, we whopped the falcons with our backup quarterback. When, if, we see your falcons in the playoffs here is what to expect:

    Eagles will shutdown Michael Turner again making the Falcons one dimensional. Matt Ryan will not be able to put up enough offense to beat the eagles alone. Falcons defense will have no answers for the high powered offense of the Eagles. You guys think Kolb gave you fits? Wait til Vick 2.0 gets at you.

    Result: Eagles win

    So you enjoy being 12-2 and dealing with the coming disappointment of being the #1 seed and getting knocked out of the playoffs by your former quarterback…BIATCH!!

  44. rlsmit says: Dec 21, 2010 5:39 PM

    OK Eagles Fans I’m going to say this one more time.

    Kolb was not brought to Philly to Back up Vick
    He was brought to back up McNabb and become the starter. So please stop saying ” WE BEAT YOU WITH OUR BACK UP QB”

    That shows me two things
    1. You are VERY ignorant to NFL Football
    2. You don’t know a good QB if one was standing there in front of you.

    Kolb is as good as Vick he just brings a different playing style, on most other teams he would be starting. So Calm down on your ignorance please.

    Good game nine weeks ago, A broken clock is right at least twice a day. The eagles got lucky.
    Eagles are better than the Falcons because you beat us? Well I guess Arizona is better than the Saints, no wait Cleveland is better than the Patriots? Simps!! just like Arizona and the Browns, the eagles just got lucky. Just face it Turner is a better runner, Ryan is a better passer, and we have a better defense, your only wildcard is Special teams. Hold on to it tightly!!

    translation, 12-2 BITACHES!!

  45. adipaola says: Dec 21, 2010 6:22 PM

    7. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 4; 10-4): Once again, Troy Polamalu proves his value through his absence.

    How does that loss get directly influenced to Troy? 170 passing yards from Sanchez, only 13 points against their D?. I dont get it, did you not watch the game? Their D gives them a TOP 5 Ranking, but their O is well behind TOP 10, their 10-4 record reflects their lack of offensive power. Great talent with the worst offensive coordinator is why they lost sunday. Get rid of Arians and this team would easily be 11-3, even 12-2. Their D was good last week, it’s their O that is constantly unbearable to watch. PLEASE FIRE ARIANS. HOW AM I THE ONLY PERSON THAT SEES THIS GUY IS AWFUL AT CALLING PLAYS!

  46. dookiesr says: Dec 21, 2010 7:46 PM

    To the Falcon fans that want to spout off about how impressive their team is and how the Eagles got lucky…maybe you want to look a little closer at your team…

    Steelers you lost
    Beat Arizona with a losing record
    Beat the Saints, but barley won
    Beat 49’s another losing record
    Beat the browns again another losing record
    Lost to the Eagles winning record
    Beat the Bengals another losing record
    Beat the Buc’s another losing record
    Beat the Ravens one game with credibility
    Beat the Rams another losing record
    Beat the Packers game with “some, not much, but some” credibility
    Beat the Buc’s again another losing record
    Beat the Panthers…umm, ok
    Beat the Seahawks…umm, ok

    So if you look at whom you’ve played against and their records it’s not something to brag about…
    When push comes to shove and the playoffs start there will no longer be teams like the browns and panthers to walk all over so do your talking now because it’ll be your last opportunity to do so!!!

  47. skurdzzz says: Dec 21, 2010 8:21 PM

    pates cannot be 1 after nerely losing to the 4th string packers. the falcons, eagles, and saints would all destroy the patelets.

  48. phillyeagles10 says: Dec 21, 2010 8:23 PM

    @rlsmit

    I was hoping for a good comeback but instead you gave me dribble. Lets attack each of your points shall we:

    “Kolb is as good as Vick. ” Are you serious?! Poke your head out of your Mom’s basement once and awhile to get a clue. Kolb was supposed to be the man. He was given the PR treatment and everything. Vick was clearly better when they decided to put him in as the starter. He had to be significantly better in order for Reid to decide to go against everything the Eagles had been telling everyone that Kolb was ready. Vick is in MVP contention. You think Kolb would be there or had been even close to pulling off that comeback against the giants? You are the one who doesn’t know his quarterbacks my ignorant friend.

    Now to finish you off:

    I got these stats from NFL.com since my points are backed by fact not some simpletons opinion.

    Eagles defense is ranked 13th while your Falcons are ranked 15th. Eagles offense ranked #1-Falcons ranked 12th :-( I loved this one, Matt Ryan vs. Michael Vick. Vick QB rating 103.6 Ryan QB rating 90.5.

    So basically every point you made was wrong. Now gett off the post BIATCH, men are talking.

  49. skurdzzz says: Dec 21, 2010 9:50 PM

    the pates have hardly played a brutal sked too. not a real easy one, but look at who they havent played and you begin to wonder.

  50. failcopter says: Dec 21, 2010 10:42 PM

    @ dookiesr :

    Steelers you lost
    Beat Arizona with a losing record
    Beat the Saints, but barley won
    Beat 49’s another losing record
    Beat the browns again another losing record
    Lost to the Eagles winning record
    Beat the Bengals another losing record
    Beat the Buc’s another losing record
    Beat the Ravens one game with credibility
    Beat the Rams another losing record
    Beat the Packers game with “some, not much, but some” credibility
    Beat the Buc’s again another losing record
    Beat the Panthers…umm, ok
    Beat the Seahawks…umm, ok

    ——————————-

    Last time I checked the Bucs had a winning record.
    Last time I checked the packers took the patriots down to the wire with a backup QB….

  51. gamustangdude says: Dec 22, 2010 1:02 AM

    @phillyeagles10
    You left out two stats that matter

    1. Falcons are 12-2 eagles are 10-4
    2. Falcons will have home field advantage i.e. First place
    Falcons are the better team. Enjoy the rest of the season IF Vick makes it to ATL he’ll leave in the same manner as before. BTW thanks for bringing up stats that don’t matter I’m pretty sure our record speaks for itself. Cross your fingers and hope you make the playlets. If you do, then you can talk sh&t. Until then enjoy stat number three
    3. Falcons clinched playoff berth the eagles have not. Eat that apple!

  52. gamustangdude says: Dec 22, 2010 1:04 AM

    ^playoffs not playlets

  53. bucsballer says: Dec 22, 2010 9:16 AM

    Y does that greatwhitmidget dude just shut up Must be hard to be a bandwagon fan

  54. wtf2812 says: Dec 22, 2010 10:42 AM

    Yeah, keep telling yourselves the Ravens will get a bye. Like the Steelers will lose to either the Panthers or the Browns.

    Uh-huh.

  55. gerryb323 says: Dec 22, 2010 12:34 PM

    For the Eagles to play the Falcons, the Falcons will need to beat the Saints first. Not gonna happen.

  56. weakafceast says: Dec 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    The only team the Bolts would have a problem with is BALTIMORE. The AFC EAST is a bunch of posers, as is the South

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