Week 17 power rankings

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1. Saints (13-2; last week No. 1): Home for the holidays, and well beyond.

2. Rams (12-3; No. 5): The fact that such a flawed franchise has climbed back to No. 2 illustrates how muddled the top of the stack currently is, other than at No. 1.

3. Bears (11-4; No. 4): Beating the Vikings could end up being the thing that brings down a special season, since Chicago could then end up being the next notch in Nick Foles‘ magic belt.

4. Patriots (10-5; No. 8): Please, keep writing them off.

5. Chiefs (11-4; No. 3): Even with the MVP on the roster, this team seems to be too flawed to get to the Super Bowl.

6. Chargers (11-4; No. 2): With a 6-0 record away from L.A., maybe they’re better off with the No. 5. seed.

7. Texans (10-5; No. 6): One more loss, and they’ll be hitting the road in the wild-card round.

8. Ravens (9-6; No. 9): Every AFC contender will be rooting for Baker Mayfield to knock out the most dangerous team in the conference.

9. Seahawks (9-6; No. 13): Rebuild this.

10. Colts (9-6; No. 10): Rebuild this.

11. Titans (9-6; No. 11): Blaine “Bad Penny” Gabbert actually could be starting a de facto playoff game.

12. Cowboys (9-6; No. 12): The clapping will continue into 2019.

13. Vikings (8-6-1; No. 14): The playoffs hinge on Kirk, not Kurt, showing up in Week 17.

14. Eagles (8-7; No. 15): Carson Wentz is a better quarterback, but with Nick Foles on the field the Eagles are a better team.

15. Steelers (8-6-1; No. 7): Mike Tomlin is the rare coach who has mastered the hard parts of the job, and yet continues to trip and fall over the easy stuff.

16. Browns (7-7-1; No. 16): If they’d fired Hue Jackson after the 2017 season, they’d be in the playoffs right now.

17. Packers (6-8-1; No. 21): Congratulations on getting that one road win this year.

18. Broncos (6-9; No. 17): First back-to-back losing seasons since 1971-72 means big changes are coming.

19. Washington (7-8; No. 18): D.J. Swearinger got the best Christmas gift ever.

20. Dolphins (7-8; No. 19): The question isn’t whether change is coming; it’s how dramatic the change will be.

21. Panthers (6-9; No. 20): Two coach of the year awards and a Super Bowl berth should get Ron Rivera at least another year.

22. Falcons (6-9; No. 28): So they’ll hire a new offensive coordinator, in the hope that he’ll perform well enough that someone else will hire him to be a head coach?

23. Giants (5-10; No. 22): The Eli Manning barometer is swinging back to the “gold watch and get out of here” range.

24. Raiders (4-11; No. 30): Goodbye Raiders, it’s been nice. Hope you find your paradise. And then move back here in about 20 years.

25. Jaguars (5-10; No. 31): Maybe they should bring back the two-tone helmets.

26. Bills (5-10; No. 23): Yes, it’s been a rough year. But there’s arguably more reason for hope now than there was a year ago.

27. Lions (5-10; No. 24): Coming from a team that had Gronk in his prime, you’d think Matt Patricia would have better ideas for how to cover a tight end.

28. Bengals (6-9; No. 25): Will this be the year Mike Brown makes a change? (Probably not.)

29. 49ers (4-11; No. 26): Kyle Shanahan would surely love to rob Sean McVay of his bye week.

30. Buccaneers (5-10; No. 27): When there are more people on the field than in the stands, yes, big changes are looming.

31. Jets (4-11; No. 29): Jim Harbaugh vs. the New York media would be far more compelling than the games.

32. Cardinals (3-12; No. 32): A quiet but lingering frugality could be holding the franchise back; it will be interesting to see how much they spend in the offseason on upgrading the coaching staff and front office.

74 responses to “Week 17 power rankings

  1. I hate to admit this but the Ravens are scary. They are peaking at the right time, their defense is stout, NFL best stout in fact, and in a league built to defend the pass their old school running attack is winning games and breaking records. Is it sustainable long term? Probably not – but I’m more worried about the right now – and right now they are wreaking havoc regardless of who and where they are playing.

  2. As a die hard Ravens fan I know my team isn’t man enough to beat the Patriots. I don’t think we are dangerous at all.

  3. 15. Steelers (8-6-1; No. 7): Mike Tomlin is the rare coach who has mastered the hard parts of the job, and yet continues to trip and fall over the easy stuff.

    ***
    I see what you did there.

  4. The listing seems to be closer to playoff seeding than who are the best teams right now. I’m no Steelers fan, but just because they likely will miss out on the playoffs does not mean there are 14 better teams. The Ravens are probably in the top 3 right now.

  5. bjwbrown2011 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 10:46 am
    Wait so the Steelers take the fight to the Saints in the Superdome and largely outplay them and drop from 7 to 15?

    ____________________

    They lost the game. They also lost to the Raiders and they aren’t making the playoffs.

  6. Steelers have really stumbled down the stretch, that win against New England isn’t looking that impressive considering the Patriots recent struggles.

  7. The raiders are not better than the Niners, we took your number 3 team to the brink and beat the Seahawks the week before. Also, we have 5 Golden Rings!!

  8. wib22 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 10:55 am

    As a die hard Ravens fan I know my team isn’t man enough to beat the Patriots. I don’t think we are dangerous at all.
    —————-
    If I were the Pats, Chiefs or Chargers, I wouldn’t want to face the Ravens or maybe even the Colts.

  9. Still think is a tendency to overrate the Patriots this year. One of the worst offensive performances against one of the worst teams in the league (thank you AFC East). They may get the FRB but it is largely by virtue of that division. They are not the #4 team in the NFL. I don’t even know if they are the 4th best in the AFC, where you essentially say this team – forget previous years – is the best team in the AFC. Chiefs (yes flawed as well), Texans, Chargers, Ravens I believe are better. Records aren’t everything.

  10. 12. Cowboys (9-6; No. 12): The clapping will continue into 2019.

    ————————-
    I understand the simplistic ‘analysis’- It’s easy to make fun of Garrett and therefore requires no skill. Given the way Dallas lost to the Colts and struggled with the offense even in wins, I don’t know that Garrett sacrificing Linehan upon Jerry’s altar will be enough if they lay another egg on O and get wiped out in the WC round. In short, the clapping may not continue.
    But 12 is probably about right rank wise. The D just cannot carry them the way Baltimore and Chicago can.

  11. Does anyone think the Vikings are beating the Bears? The answer is no. Be over at halftime. The Bears can rest starters in 2nd half.

    Eagles are a playoff team and will make some noise in playoffs.

  12. Marvin Lewis getting another year in Cincinnati (and probably an extension to boot) is proof that Bengals fans are ants and Mike Brown is a fat kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day!

  13. objectivefbfan says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:32 am
    Still think is a tendency to overrate the Patriots this year. One of the worst offensive performances against one of the worst teams in the league (thank you AFC East).
    ———————
    When a team wins ten straight division titles and however many straight playoff appearances, they are automatically in the top 5 until they have a losing record.

  14. dougrussell8071 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:50 am
    Does anyone think the Vikings are beating the Bears? The answer is no. Be over at halftime. The Bears can rest starters in 2nd half.

    Eagles are a playoff team and will make some noise in playoffs.
    —————-
    The only way the vikings get in is if the eagles lay an egg against the redskins.

  15. So all my Steeler buddies, who have been bashing my Browns players and front office for years, now are telling me how good we are and are rooting for us this week. Hell of a predicament but I hate the Ravens more than the Steelers. Go Browns!

  16. The Pats have played the 7th most difficult schedule in the NFL this year, based on aggregate records of opponents, despite the usual AFCE nonsense. They are going to end up either 4-1 or 5-0 against playoff teams they played, depending on Colts/Titans. They beat the Bears straight up in Chicago. The Bears have played the easiest schedule in the NFL, based on the same metric. If anyone is overrated, it’s the Bears. Not saying the Pats are gonna win the SBowl. It’s one of the worst teams I’ve seen in the Brady/Belichick era. But, outside of NOrleans, there’s no team I would say they can’t beat.

  17. Buccaneers (5-10; No. 27): When there are more people on the field than in the stands, yes, big changes are looming.

    If they hire ANOTHER low-hanging-fruit HC and keep that same troubled turnover machine for a Qb, next season will be more of the same…

    And that is likely how it will go!

  18. The Patriots are ranked too low. On a neutral field like the SB, I would favor the Patriots over the Saints, the Bears, and the Rams.

  19. I hate to admit this but the Ravens are scary…running almost 70% of the time, not only are they winning, but also shortening the games time wise. Noticed that the commercial breaks are longer in the Ravens games to get the ad revenue…last week’s game between the Ravens and Chargers was primed to end in 2:45…then the commercial breaks became longer.

  20. Not sure why people think the Vikings have zero chance against the Bears. 68 degrees and indoors at home. And the Vikes D playing very well. And the offense more balanced. No reason to believe this won’t come down to turnovers, or the Vikes with a slight advantage at home.

  21. Right about the LA Chargers. Too many empty seats during the Ravens game. Only a smattering of LA Charger fans in the end zone. The “relocation” is a disaster and Goodell and the NFL are ignoring it and not owning up to this massive “re-location” policy

  22. tedmurph says:
    December 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    The Pats have played the 7th most difficult schedule in the NFL this year, based on aggregate records of opponents, despite the usual AFCE nonsense. They are going to end up either 4-1 or 5-0 against playoff teams they played, depending on Colts/Titans. They beat the Bears straight up in Chicago. The Bears have played the easiest schedule in the NFL, based on the same metric. If anyone is overrated, it’s the Bears. Not saying the Pats are gonna win the SBowl. It’s one of the worst teams I’ve seen in the Brady/Belichick era. But, outside of NOrleans, there’s no team I would say they can’t beat.

    ———————————————-

    Your Pats are averaging a touchdown less per game (26 points down to 20 points) without Josh Gordon. I’d argue Gordon was the difference maker vs the Bears in doubling any other Pats receiver with 100 yards in that game. And vs the Chiefs Gordon led the Pats in catches. So there’s a solid argument there for a loss without Gordon too. As good teams have shown shutting down Sony Michel is now the key for Pats opponents.

    I’d say it’s 50-50 (depending on the draw) that the Pats go one and done in the AFC playoffs.

  23. dejc421 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

    If I were the Pats, Chiefs or Chargers, I wouldn’t want to face the Ravens or maybe even the Colts.
    —————
    If you were [a player on] the Pats, Chargers, Chiefs, Steelers, Titans, or any other team and you are worried about playing another team, perhaps it is time to think about life after football. If you were [a fan of] the Pats, Chargers, Chiefs, Steelers, Titans, or any other team and you are worried about your team playing another team, that is part of being a fan.

  24. ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:10 am

    GB needed OT to beat the Jets and move up 4 spots? Now that’s hilarious.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Your “dynasty” is in must-win mode and all you can do is obsess over the Packers? Now that’s… nothing new.

  25. objectivefbfan says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:32 am
    Still think is a tendency to overrate the Patriots this year. One of the worst offensive performances against one of the worst teams in the league (thank you AFC East). They may get the FRB but it is largely by virtue of that division. They are not the #4 team in the NFL. I don’t even know if they are the 4th best in the AFC, where you essentially say this team – forget previous years – is the best team in the AFC. Chiefs (yes flawed as well), Texans, Chargers, Ravens I believe are better. Records aren’t everything.

    They just put up over 400 yards and 28 points on the # 1 D in the NFL

    They have also beaten MORE teams with a winning record than ANY team in the league this season

    Beat
    Chiefs 11-4
    Texans 10-5
    Bears 11-4
    Colts 9-6
    Minnesota 8-6

    There SOV (strength of victory %) is 539%
    The second place team is the saints at 489%

  26. Gordon missed the 1rst 3 gms of the year because he wasn’t on the team. The Pats didn’t score much then because Edelman was suspended and Michel was hurt also. Pats will be favored whomever comes to Foxboro, where they are very tough to beat(Houston/Chargers/Ravens probably). Chances for 1 and done are more like 20/80

  27. Last week the Patriots were looking sluggish and very beatable and I thought “wow, they finally won’t have a playoff bye week.”

    Then I saw their schedule: at home against the Bills and rookie Josh Allen, then at home against the Jets and rookie Sam Darnold. And that’s when I knew they would finish 11-5 with a first round bye.

    The Patriots are a “good” team with aging talent, an average defense, and a complete statue at QB. The “Patriot Way” is playing in the AFC East. It’s a joke.

  28. In all my years watching the Bears since 08 I’ve never seen them ranked this high this late in the season, and above the Patriots no less. Talk about a Christmas miracle.

  29. 27. Lions

    Dear Santa,

    Please bring us a new head coach, an offensive and defensive coordinator, and a first round quarterback.

    Signed,

    Dying for a winner in Detroit

  30. Ever see that Mercedes commercial when the guy wakes up every Christmas to the empty driveway ? That’s the way I feel when I wake up every Sunday and Dak Prescott is still the QB

  31. If the Pats do open their playoffs against either the Texans, Chargers or Ravens, then I’d up that to 67-33 or 70-30 even that they go one and done. As two of those teams (Texans-Ravens) are very adept at stopping the run and Michel.

  32. SEA———HAWKS*~*!
    Seattle needs a path that starts in Dallas with a return trip to LA before flying back over to New Orleans.that is the yellow brick road for a possible Super Bowl playoff run.
    Merry Christmas everyone!

  33. I predict a 100% likelihood that there will be at least four teams one and done in the NFL playoffs this year.

    I feel so special making these percentage predictions.

  34. The “relocation” is a disaster and Goodell and the NFL are ignoring it and not owning up to this massive “re-location” policy

    ______
    Goodell had nothing to do with the Chargers relocation. The Bolts requested the move and the owners approved it by majority vote.

  35. Anyone that feels that it’s 67% or better that the Pats lose at home, where they’ll be favored against anyone and are 18-4 in the playoffs with Brady and Belichick, should call Vegas immediately. Not saying it can’t happen, but I bet they hook you up. Better to hope the Pats lose, like the usual hater crowd does.

  36. Pats can’t win a four game extended season. They need the win against the Jets to guarantee the bye. Look for their starters to play the entire first half and in all likelihood the whole game.

  37. Seahawks finally have an offensive line ranked higher than 32nd by PFF, they’re the best rushing team in the league, Wilson has a 158.3 passer rating with Lockett, Wagner is having his best season, and they are clicking on all cylinders at just the right time.

    I watched Sunday Night Football.

    Either the Seahawks are ranked too low, or Chiefs are ranked way too high.

  38. sigbouncer says:
    December 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    If the Pats do open their playoffs against either the Texans, Chargers or Ravens, then I’d up that to 67-33 or 70-30 even that they go one and done. As two of those teams (Texans-Ravens) are very adept at stopping the run and Michel.

    ================

    Well, the Pats already beat the Texans this season, and all that Houston & Baltimore are “adept” at stopping this year is mediocre teams. Houston’s played only one elite team this year (the Pats) and lost. Apart from the win against the Chargers, the Ravens schedule has been mundane, they’ve split their division games and, apart from the Chargers game, haven’t beaten a single playoff team.

    Two overrated teams.

  39. Dak Prescott has his team in the playoffs and won his division. Can’t say that about wentz, Matt ryan, rothlesburger, can newton, Stafford, Rodgers, cousins. Enjoy watching dak in the playoffs while those overpaid overrated qbs sit on the coach. America’s team the Cowboys and Dak have many haters. I’m not a Cowboys fan but I respect dak and what he’s done this year after a slow start on the first half of the season. Everyone thought they were finished at 3-5. Especially the haters. They were talking mad trash. Now look at them. Now they look very foolish, especially Eagles fans who think wentz is better than dak or foles. Dak is a winner, big heart and very confident and clutch in the fourth quarter. With a tough and fast defense, the Cowboys have a great shot at winning the superbowl. People suddenly forgot the Cowboys beat up the saints and made brees look like a backup qb. Saints are the worst team ever to have the number one seed. They’ll be one and done against the Cowboys again after they beat the seahawks at home. And the bears will destroy the rams again after they destroy the Eagles. Sorry vikings fans. Your team doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. From nfc championship game to no playoffs because your Gm made the dumbest move in vikings history by getting rid of keenum for a mediocre cousins that never did anything in his career, has no playoff wins, never been to the playoffs. He’s a below average qb and always had weapons around him. He shrinks in big games, chokes under pressure. It’s no secret. Everyone knows who cousins is as a qb. Everyone except the vikings front office who thought cousins was tom brady or drew brees. Vikings should be embarrassed with cousins the mediocre turnover machine that shrinks in big games. You don’t fix what isn’t broken and working good. It’s like letting a tweeker work on your car that was running fine and ends up ruining your car. That’s what happened with the vikings. They turned their lamborghini into a Ford Taurus. The gm ruined what was a great superbowl caliber team and turned it into a sub .500 no playoff team. Smart die hard vikings fans should be angry with their gm for the unnecessary and foolish changes at the most important position in football, the qb.

  40. “I’m not a Cowboys fan so let me write a crazy long post kissing the Cowboys butts”. Sure you aren’t. Dude. Just admit you’re a fanboy and have at it.

  41. kevpft says:
    December 25, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Well, the Pats already beat the Texans this season, and all that Houston & Baltimore are “adept” at stopping this year is mediocre teams. Houston’s played only one elite team this year (the Pats) and lost. Apart from the win against the Chargers, the Ravens schedule has been mundane, they’ve split their division games and, apart from the Chargers game, haven’t beaten a single playoff team.

    ———————————————-

    Just 3 weeks ago the Texans held Nick Chubb to 31 rushing yards, two weeks before that they held Philip Lindsay to 60 rushing yards, before that they held Zeke Elliott to 54 rushing yards in OT and they held the Titans (5th in the league rushing) in two games to 60 yards below their season rushing average.

    The Ravens lost by just 3 points to KC and by just 1 point to the Saints. The teams with the two best records in the NFL. They beat the Chargers and split with the Steelers as teams they’ve played with winning records. I wouldn’t call that mundane or try to misrepresent it as the Ravens being weak against playoff teams.

  42. The Pats have beaten KC, Houston, Minnesota, Chicago and the Colts this year. They’ve beaten the Texans 8 straight times, Chargers 4 straight times and the Ravens 3 straight times. Texans OL and 2ndary stinks, and they lost DThomas. Chargers OLine is horrendous and Rivers is 4-5 in the playoffs. The Ravens have a rookie QB, can’t score and probably have a lame duck coach. The Pats have Belichick, Brady and Gillette. 70/30 lol.

  43. I’m pleasantly surprised in how Indy is doing right now. Im worried we are out of depth at tight end, wr,and our o line is banged up. But we can stop any runner, we can get turnovers, and if we come out ready to play, we could go deep. But, we gotta beat Tennessee, and we need the browns to pull out a win.

  44. So Pittsburgh’s biggest issues are locker room distractions? What kind of distractions caused Ju-Ju and Ridley to have 4th quarter fumbles? Which distraction caused Boswell to slip on a game -tying FG attempt? Or Grimble’s fumble out of the end zone for a touchback? Maybe it was AB live-streaming the locker room over 12 months ago that caused a referee to completely miss a false start in the Charger game and call a bogus pass interference penalty on Haden in NO. Thanks Harrison for your lazy analysis, just because you have a microphone doesn’t mean you have to use it.

  45. Its gonna be great when the redskins 4th qb and AP sneak out a win in Philly cuz the eagles look at the game like its already won and get caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

  46. linemanguy74 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 6:12 pm
    Chiefs and Pats way to high,don’t see any AFC team beating any of the NFC playoff teams !

    ——-

    The Pats already beat the Bears….in their own stadium

  47. As a Chiefs fan, its frustrating to see a team with an offense that puts up record setting numbers, but a defense that also allows record setting numbers. Hopefully the Chiefs can find themselves defensively, or its gonna be 2003 all over again in the playoffs.

  48. sigbouncer says:
    December 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Just 3 weeks ago the Texans held Nick Chubb to 31 rushing yards, two weeks before that they held Philip Lindsay to 60 rushing yards, before that they held Zeke Elliott to 54 rushing yards in OT and they held the Titans (5th in the league rushing) in two games to 60 yards below their season rushing average.

    The Ravens lost by just 3 points to KC and by just 1 point to the Saints. The teams with the two best records in the NFL. They beat the Chargers and split with the Steelers as teams they’ve played with winning records. I wouldn’t call that mundane or try to misrepresent it as the Ravens being weak against playoff teams.

    =================

    Runners don’t exist in isolation, though. The teams you cite have or had weak passing games. Makes it a lot easier to zero in on the run. In most of Houston’s losses, they gave up over 100 yards rushing. The second half of their season has been full of poor opponents and losses to the only good teams they’ve played.

    As for the Ravens – losses are losses. The reality of 2-3 against decent teams is not misrepresenting. The win against Pittsburgh and close loss vs. the Saints were both with Flacco at QB. Jackson’s beaten exactly 1 team with a winning record (Chargers); all his other wins have been against the dregs of the league.

    Inflated records. Houston had the easiest SOS in the league, Ravens the 7th-easiest.

  49. objectivefbfan says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:32 am
    Still think is a tendency to overrate the Patriots this year. One of the worst offensive performances against one of the worst teams in the league (thank you AFC East). They may get the FRB but it is largely by virtue of that division. They are not the #4 team in the NFL. I don’t even know if they are the 4th best in the AFC, where you essentially say this team – forget previous years – is the best team in the AFC. Chiefs (yes flawed as well), Texans, Chargers, Ravens I believe are better. Records aren’t everything.
    ________________________________________
    Bills offense is awful but their defense is very very good. They only give up just under 300 yards per game. They’re middle of the pack in points allowed but that is on their offense b/c of turnovers in their own end.

  50. That one fan thought Seattle has no chance against the Cowboys or Rams. They beat the Cowboys this year and took the Rams to last possession 2 games all before hitting their stride. Feel much confident about my team going to Jerry’s World over Soldier Field in the elements.

    The task I think is Mount Everest going into NO and beating that team in the Super Dome.

  51. Ravens have losses to the Bengals, Browns and Panthers. Don’t act like they’ve only lost close games to great teams.

    They also have, what, 10% of their cap sitting on the bench as a healthy scratch? Gimmicks work great in spurts against middling foes. They won’t have it so easy once the playoffs begin, IF they even make it. Enough with the hype. They are such a mess that they needed to issue a statement that they aren’t cutting their coach. No AFC is afraid of them; in fact I’d wager they are all salivating at the prospect.

  52. dougrussell8071 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:50 am
    Does anyone think the Vikings are beating the Bears? The answer is no. Be over at halftime. The Bears can rest starters in 2nd half.

    Eagles are a playoff team and will make some noise in playoffs.
    —————————-
    Maybe the Eagles shoulda been better this season instead of hope HOPE Nagy bails out the arrogant Dougie P. And will the Vikings beat the Bears @ the Bank? Yup. And will they play the Bears in the Wildcard Round? Yup, again. And will the a Eagles blame everyone but themselves? Yup, numero 3.

  53. “Ever see that Mercedes commercial when the guy wakes up every Christmas to the empty driveway ? That’s the way I feel when I wake up every Sunday and Dak Prescott is still the QB”

    So, you’re hoping a Mercedes will show up to lead your team in the playoffs?

  54. wib22 says:
    December 25, 2018 at 10:55 am
    As a die hard Ravens fan I know my team isn’t man enough to beat the Patriots. I don’t think we are dangerous at all.
    ——————————————————————————————–
    Really? The Ravens are a team that can beat anyone, anywhere…and lose the same way. This is a year where a Dallas/Baltimore Super Bowl is not beyond feasibility.

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