Week 16 Power Rankings
By Conor Perrett
What a weekend of NFL football!
It kept on getting better and better during Week 15 of the season which included the biggest comeback in league history, two comebacks of 17 points and probably the dumbest last play we’ve ever seen in the NFL.
So without further ado, let’s get ranking everyone.
- Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)
Last Week – 1st
Just when you think Philly will have an easy path to the No. 1 seed with Dallas’ loss, a bit of drama struck at the end with QB and MVP frontrunner, Jalen Hurts expected to miss the next two weeks with a shoulder sprain in his throwing arm.
The Eagles should be fine in the meantime and still hold their own fate, but it’s always a worry to see your quarterback go down with an injury to his throwing shoulder. It’s the most prized possession of any QB and when issues start popping up, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Gardener Minshew has a chance to play a hero, similar to Nick Foles back during Philadelphia’s last Super Bowl run.
Up next: at Dallas, Saturday 9:25 p.m. GMT
2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
Last Week – 2nd
The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes still own the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but it got a bit shaky when they went to overtime with the Texans. Mahomes completed 36 of 41 pass attempts, good for the best completion percentage of his career at 87.7%. He started and finished the game, yet it got to squeaky bum time by the end, against the worst team in the league.
Why was that? Their 24th ranked defensive DVOA is why!
Kansas City has never had an amazing defence, but this season has been worse than normal. They’re currently on pace to have the worst defence in the playoffs, as Mahomes and the offence tries to carry this team further.
Up next: vs. Seattle, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
3. Buffalo Bills (11-3)
Last Week – 3rd
Whether Josh Allen is 100% or not, it will never stop him going to the lengths of superman diving over the goal line in the snow to win for his team. Allen is the second-ranked quarterback in EPA per drop-back behind just Mahomes.
This Bills team still doesn’t quite feel like its normal self with injuries stacking up, especially on defence, but they still boast the shortest odds of winning the Super Bowl.
Up next: at Chicago, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
Tied 4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)
Last Week – 4th
We have our first tied rankings of the season, with the Bengals and 49ers being too close to split in my opinion. In all honesty this could have been a triple tie along with the Cowboys, if they didn’t throw away a late lead.
We knew just how good this Bengals team could be when we saw them get to the Super Bowl last year. Since then, their young players have progressed and are starting to look even better. They had no easy path towards the end of this season to progress to the postseason after a slow start, but they’ve stepped up to the plate and now look like a serious Super Bowl contenders.
Up next: at New England, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
Tied 4. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
Last Week – 5th
The Niners moved up half a spot his week, with me having them tied with Cincinnati.
If I was a betting man, part of me thinks this team could make it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. Their defence is the best in the league with the aggression they come at offences with and they’ve done it before. There will always be question marks at the QB position, especially when the last pick of this past draft is starting, but Kyle Shanahan may be the offensive genius in the league. Not to mention San Fran are peaking at the right time and are currently on a seven-game winning streak.
Up next: vs. Washington, Saturday 9:05 p.m. GMT
6. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
Last Week – 6th
The recent Jalen Hurts injury news might be worse to hear from a Dallas fan than it actually is for Eagles fans. Philadelphia has maintained a two-win gap from the Cowboys for the majority of the year, but with the Cowboys collapse on Sunday to Jacksonville, that now grew to three with three games to play.
With the Eagles missing the engine to their machine and them playing each other on Christmas Eve, Dallas had a chance to cut the lead down to one and claim the top spot in the NFC. Now they are staring down the 5th seed and face many playoff games on the road, if they keep progressing to the Big Show.
Up next: vs. Philadelphia, Saturday 9:25 p.m. GMT
7. Miami Dolphins (8-6)
Last Week – 7th
“They look the business right now and we’ll find out how real they are in the next few weeks when they travel to San Francisco, LA for the Chargers and to Buffalo.”
That quote is from my rankings three weeks ago about the Dolphins.
Back then they were ranked third and we found out how real they were, losing every one of those games. That was a really difficult set of fixtures and I still view them at the bottom of the contenders, but a blueprint on how to slow down this offence was created by San Fran, and showed the rest of the league how to do it.
The difficult run doesn’t end here, with their last three games still against teams in the playoff hunt. Two of which are divisional rivals in the AFC as well.
Up next: vs. Green Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
8. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)
Last Week – 9th
Just when you think the Vikings have run out of luck and can’t keep coming back with these ridiculous comebacks, they prove you wrong and one up themselves. Being down 33-0 at halftime, Minnesota triumphed back and managed to get the win in overtime. It was the biggest comeback in NFL history, as the Vikings totaled for five second-half touchdowns.
Minnesota has been involved in 10 one-score games and has managed to win all 10 of them. It does speak to volume that the Vikings have only managed to win one game by more than one score, but if that’s how they want to get to the second best record in the league, then we cant really complain.
Up next: vs. New York Giants, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
9. Detroit Lions (7-7)
Last Week – 11th
After starting the season 1-6 and holding the worst record in the league, the Lions have restored their roar and won six games in their last seven matches. That could have very easily been seven wins out of seven if it wasn’t for a Josh Allen wonder-throw, but Detroit are in full swing right now. Since Week 11, via DVOA, they rank the Lions as the 4th best team in that span, with Dan Campbell turning things around.
Their win in New York this past Sunday wasn’t any means of a classic, with a missed field-goal to tie the game by from the Jets. But they are showing they can win in a multitude of ways. Their offence has shown to be high powered and capable of scoring 30 points in a shootout manner, while Sunday’s win showed another side of them, winning a low scoring, sluggish affair on the road.
Up next: at Carolina, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
10. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
Last Week – 8th
Lamar Jackson is reportedly likely to return this week after a two-game absence from a knee injury. That’s good, because Baltimore managed just three points against the 26th-ranked DVOA Browns’ defence, with Tyler Huntley at the helm. If Jackson was healthy this team would be ranked higher, as the defence has improved over the second half of the season.
The offence does have question marks at the skill positions, with a lacklustre of talent. So keeping Jackson in the off-season will be ever so more important.
Up next: vs. Atlanta, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
11. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
Last Week – 13th
The Chargers’ two-game winning streak gives them a 79.3% chance to make the playoffs, per Football Outsiders. It was starting to get a bit worrying for Brandon Staley and that coaching staff and with a closing schedule that looks relatively easy, they’ve pulled off some impressive wins of late.
The most impressive turnaround is on defence. We knew this defence under Staley could be great and they have, ranking 3rd in defensive DVOA over the last two weeks.
Up next: at Indianapolis, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT
12. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8)
Last Week – 17th
Trevor Lawrence has finally hit the NFL and he’s single-handedly helping Jacksonville have a legit shot at winning the AFC South. Since Week 9, Lawrence has been the 3rd ranked QB in EPA per dropback and developing into what we saw of him in college.
The are level with Tennessee in the AFC South and have their Week 18 rematch with the Titans in Jacksonville still to come. It seems destined that the winner gets into the playoffs.
Up next: at New York Jets, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT
13. New York Jets (7-7)
Last Week – 12th
The Jets playoff chances dropped -15.4% in their defeat on Sunday, as the offence still struggles under Zach Wilson. Their defence is for real, keeping Detroit’s offence quiet all day apart from a sneaky 4th & 1 which caught them off guard. With how that unit is playing it would feel disrespectful for them to miss out, but there’s a reason why the QB position is the most important in football and it’s showing in New York.
Up next: vs. Jacksonville, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT
14. New York Giants (8-5-1)
Last Week – 19th
With their huge win in Washington, the Giants playoff chances jumped up a whopping 39.4% to 89.6%. They now hold a one-game lead over the Commanders and a 1.5-game lead on Detroit and Seattle. Their matchup this week to Minnesota could be a potentially Wild-Card preview in a few weeks time, as Brain Daboll and company have pulled off a miracle in New York’s first season under the new regime.
Up next: at Minnesota, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
15. Washington Commanders (7-6-1)
Last Week – 10th
Washington still remains in the No. 7 seed in the NFC, but a tricky last three games could see them slip out. Their game against the Giants couldn’t have been any bigger for both teams to make it into the postseason, as it felt the loser of that game was always going to have a tough time keeping that dream alive.
Officiating calls will always be talked about, but in a must win game to score 12 points at home, is criminal in itself.
Up next: at San Francisco, Saturday 9:05 p.m. GMT
16. Green Bay Packers (6-8)
Last Week – 20th
If Green Bay can do the unlikely thing of winning out in their last three games, it would seem very likely they then sneak into the playoffs. The only thing stopping them, is those next three opponents all rank in the top-9 of these power rankings. With Miami next, who rank 4th in offensive DVOA, the Packers are 0-3 to teams in the top-10 of that statistic.
It won’t be an easy task and maybe will be one last effort from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Up next: at Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
17. Tennessee Titans (7-7)
Last Week – 14th
Things are really not going well for the Titans, with them losing four games on the bounce. With Jacksonville fast approaching behind them, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is slated to miss the end of the season with an ankle injury. It means they will have to fall back on rookie QB Malik Willis, who underwhelmed in his previous starts early in the season.
With a rookie QB at the helm and not scoring more than 22 points in any of the last four games, Tennessee still has everything to play for in these last three games.
Up next: vs. Houston, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
18. New England Patriots (7-7)
Last Week – 15th
It’s probably best we don’t speak about the dumbest last play ever, I mentioned in the intro for the sake of New England fans who might have only just started getting over it.
For the few that havent seen it, just watching it will explain everything.
Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Saturday 1 p.m. GMT
19. Tampa Buccaneers (6-8)
Last Week – 18th
Despite the underwhelming record, Tampa still leads the worst division in recent memory. They have three favourable games to finish the year, but it’s all still up in the air in the NFC South. One game separates the four of them, as maybe no one won in the long term of things in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick divorce.
Except for the Super Bowl of course.
Up next: at Arizona, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT
20. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
Last Week – 16th
After a promising start to the season, the playoffs might be getting out of Seattle’s reach now with one win in their last five games. With the Chiefs next and wide-receiver Tyler Lockett needing hand surgery, it was still a successful season for the side.
Their roster looks young and promising and they might not have to draft a QB after all, with the emergence of 2022 Pro-Bowler Geno Smith. The Seahawks currently hold the third pick in the draft thanks to Denver, with them waiting to run up to the podium for a defensive beast if the situation remains.
Up next: at Kansas City, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)
Last Week – 22nd
The Steelers got an important win in Carolina to try and keep Mike Tomlin’s streak of a .500 season alive. It included an impressive 21-play touchdown drive to open the second half, which lasted nearly the entire third quarter. The season may be lost in terms of competing for things, but it wasn’t all failure as they transitioned away from the Ben Roethlisberger era.
Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT
22. Cleveland Browns (6-8)
Last Week – 23rd
The expectation of Deshaun Watson’s play was hard to predict with his return, but I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be this bad. With QB’s that have started three games, he ranks 39th out of 43 quarterbacks. This is a player the Browns traded three 1st-round picks for, gave $230 million and their entire dignity for. With a run defence that is still historically bad, I can probably speak for many that are smirking to see this move not pay off.
Up next: vs. New Orleans, Saturday 1 p.m. GMT
23. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)
Last Week – 24th
Entering Week 15, the Raiders were 0-4 in games when they led by double digits at the half and it should have dropped to 0-5 if it wasn’t for the Patriots embarrassing themselves. This keeps happening because Josh McDaniels is constantly getting out-coached with second-half adjustments. He has shown no ability to learn from it, as it’s no surprise a team trying to replicate the ‘Patriots Way’ is failing.
Up next: at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT
24. Denver Broncos (4-9)
Last Week – 28th
I was one of the first to be down on the Broncos after their horrific start, and I will now put my foot forward to be one of the first to say this team should be this high up. The defence has been elite all year, yet the offence has let them down every stretch of the way. But over the last two weeks I’ve seen the improvement we’ve all been crying out for which is scoring points.
After only scoring more than 17 points twice in their first 12 games, they’ve now scored 52 points over the last two games. Now, I don’t know if this improvement will keep Nathaniel Hackett his head coaching job at the end of the season, but it’s the improvement we needed to see at least.
Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT
25. New Orleans Saints (5-9)
Last Week – 27th
Believe it or not, these next three teams we are going to talk about in the bottom quarter of the rankings, all still have a shot at making the playoffs. Why do you ask? Because they all belong to the worst division in football, the NFC South.
This segment should be dedicated towards the changes the NFL should make to the playoff structure. The NBA found themselves in a similar situation a few years back and they scrapped the idea of divisional winners hosting and playing in the playoffs. It’s worse for everyone involved. One of these four teams will be unfit to compete, the fans have to pay and watch to see their team get battered and a worthy team is sat at home missing out.
Up next: at Cleveland, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
26. Carolina Panthers (5-9)
Last Week – 21st
To further prove my point on why the NFC South division sucks, there is a realistic world where all fours teams in the division can finish with a record of 6-11 record and one of them make the playoffs. So yes, change this immediately please!!!
Up next: vs. Detroit, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
27. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)
Last Week – 25th
How do you ask that a four way tie of 6-11 can come into play? Lemme set it out for you.
Buccaneers: Lose to Cardinals, Panthers and Falcons.
Saints: Lose to Browns, Eagles and beat Panthers.
Panthers: Lose to Lions, beat Buccaneers and lose to Saints.
Falcons: Lose to Ravens, Cardinals and beat Buccaneers.
So really apart from some 50/50 games against each other, if the Cardinals can revive their season late on, this could all come into play.
Up next: at Baltimore, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
28. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)
Last Week – 26th
Back to the normal chatter now. After Kyler Murray suffered a torn ACL in the previous week, there are now reports of a change coming to the front office less than a year after both general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury received extensions. The Cardinals seem destined for a top-4 pick in the draft and with a potential new regime in place, anything could be on the cards (if you pardon the pun).
Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT
29. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)
Last Week – 29th
Expectations came back down to reality for the Rams, after Baker Mayfield and the offence failed to capitalise on their momentum against the Packers on MNF. Now on Christmas Day, they host Denver. The game for most will be viewed as two bad teams against each other, but for the Seahawks and Lions it will be a must watch.
Seattle and Detroit both own the rights to Denver’s’ and Los Angeles’ first-round picks, which currently stand as the 3rd and 4th picks in this upcoming draft. For the team that loses, the chances of a top-3 selection comes every closer. For the unlucky winner, a higher draft pick.
Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT
30. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)
Last Week – 30th
Similar to New England, what the hell were Indy thinking in that second half. How does one lose a game when they’re up by 33 points? Apparently hire a coach with no coaching experience and play him against the Minnesota Vikings.
In all honesty the Colts were fortunate to be up by that much in the first place, with a lot of things going in their favour, but to then give up 36 points in a single half. Just scoring 30 points a game is an accomplishment for any team. In Indy’s last two fourth quarters, they have been outscored by 55 to 0. Safe to say Jeff Saturday most likely won’t be in-line for the permanent head coaching role now.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT
31. Chicago Bears (3-11)
Last Week – 31st
Chicago saw exactly what Justin Fields could be this past Sunday against Hurts and the Eagles. Both QB’s are very similar in playstyle, yet on one side you saw what happens when there is no talent to protect or pass to. Watching Fields, I still don’t know if he has a promising future as a passer, but if one thing is for sure, he may be one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen when scrambling. Week in week out he has a spectacular play which leaves your jaw dropped, but until this front office puts pieces around him on offence, there won’t be much success for the Bears.
Up next: vs. Buffalo, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT
32. Houston Texans (1-12-1)
Last Week – 32nd
Though the Texans managed to take the Chiefs to overtime in Week 15, they’re still far out from doing that on a consistent basis. The two-quarterback approach with Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel is innovative, but there’s no reason to take them seriously until they’re starting one good QB rather than two bad ones.
Up next: at Tennessee, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT