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2014 NFL Power Rankings After Week 16
Patriots strong play moves them back into top spot
1. New England Patriots (12-3) - The Patriots have gone 2-0 in their last two games with a big home win over the Dolphins, followed by a road win against the Jets. Tom Brady has done just enough to help the Patriots win the last couple of weeks as they try to wrap up home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Finishing up the season with a matchup against the division rival Bills in week 17 might be a game that does not have meaning for either team.
2. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - The Seahawks have continued their impressive run the last two weeks with wins against division rivals San Francisco and Arizona. After allowing just 13 points in the last two games, the Seattle offense does not have a ton of pressure to score points in order to win. This has not stopped them though, as they put up 35 points in their week 16 victory against the Cardinals. In week 17 the Seahawks return home to take on the Rams. With a win they wrap up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
3. Green Bay Packers (11-4) - The Packers slipped up a little when they dropped a road game against the Bills and their terrific defense, but they bounced back with a 17 point margin of victory against Tampa Bay in week 16. Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win the MVP right now, but the Packers need one more victory to solidify that status for him. In week 17 the Packers host the Detroit Lions in a matchup that will decide the NFC North division title and a first round bye in the playoffs.
4. Dallas Cowboys (11-4) - The Cowboys came up with two huge wins the past two weeks to earn the NFC East division title. A road win against the Eagles, and a home win against the Colts has the Cowboys headed back to the playoffs. Tony Romo's efforts in December have been nothing short of a clutch performance. The Cowboys finish up the regular season on the road against the Redskins as they prepare for their wildcard round matchup at home.
5. Detroit Lions (11-4) - The Lions have taken care of business the past two weeks to put their team in position to take the NFC North division title. Going 2-0 against the Vikings and Bears has Detroit playing good football as they clinched a playoff berth this week. A week 17 matchup in Green Bay against the Packers will decided the NFC North and a first round bye. If Seattle suffers a letdown, the winner could also clinch home field throughout the NFC playoffs.
6. Denver Broncos (11-4) - The Broncos were able to earn the division clinching win against the Chargers, but they were not able to stay on pace to gain home field advantage in the playoffs when they fell in week 16 against the Bengals. Peyton Manning is suffering from an injury and the Broncos really need the first round bye week to put together a strong playoff showing. The Broncos return home to play the Raiders in week 17, where they will look to clinch a first round bye in the AFC playoffs.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - The Steelers have won tough matchups each of the past two weeks to clinch a playoff spot. A win in Atlanta against the Falcons and a win at home against the Chiefs was enough to get it done. Antonio Brown became the all time single season leader in receiving yards in Steelers history with his performance on Sunday. The Steelers host the Bengals in week 17 with the AFC North division title on the line.
8. Arizona Cardinals (11-4) - The Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot, but their second loss to Seattle this season may have prevented them from taking the division title. The Cardinals quarterback situation is a mess now that both Palmer and Stanton have gone down, but Logan Thomas may be the answer for them as he gets the start this coming week. The Cardinals go on the road in week 17 to take on the 49ers, which has them facing a tough task even to get into position to earn the win total it will take to win the NFC West.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) - The Bengals earned a huge win at home against the Broncos to clinch a playoff berth, but they still have work to do in order to clinch the division. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are both playing good football for the Bengals as they head into the postseason. A week 17 matchup in Pittsburgh will decide the AFC North division title.
10. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) - The Colts beat the Texans at home to take the AFC South division title, but they followed that up with a stinker in Dallas. The Colts head into the playoffs playing bad football as they have struggled mightily in each of the past three weeks. Indianapolis is likely to win their week 17 matchup against the Titans, but something will have to change if they hope to make a deep run in the postseason.
11. San Diego Chargers (9-6) - The Chargers dropped a tough game against the Broncos to take away control of their own playoff destiny. A big comeback win and some good fortune in week 16 gave that right back to them though. The Chargers head on the road to take on the division rival Chiefs in week 17, with both teams still alive in the AFC wildcard chase.
12. Baltimore Ravens (9-6) - The Ravens have struggled lately as they were able to sneak past the Jaguars, but their poor play caught up with them in a loss to the Texans. Joe Flacco had a tough game against the Texans in an otherwise strong season for him. The Ravens are home against the Browns in week 17 as they will look to earn the victory and get the help necessary to get back into the playoffs.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) - A three game losing streak late in the season has the Eagles missing the playoffs after such a strong start to the season. The Nick Foles injury and lackluster secondary play ultimately caught up to the Eagles as the schedule got more difficult late in the season. A week 17 matchup on the road against the Giants is how the Eagles will finish the 2014 campaign.
14. Houston Texans (8-7) - The Texans are still alive in the wildcard race after a big win against the Ravens. J.J. Watt continued his MVP caliber effort, but without a playoff appearance it remains unlikely for him. The Texans finish up the season at home against the Jaguars, as they will hope for the help needed to qualify for the postseason.
15. Kansas City Chiefs (8-7) - Even though the Chiefs lost their road matchup with the Steelers in week 16, they go into week 17 still alive for a wildcard berth. Alex Smith is still looking for his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver this season, and the Chiefs may need that to happen for them to win in week 17. The Chiefs match up with the Chargers as they look to move ahead of them in the playoff chase. They will need more help than that though, in order to clinch.
16. Miami Dolphins (8-7) - The Dolphins came away with a wild victory over the Vikings in week 16, with a safety scored in overtime but it was not enough to keep their playoff hopes alive. Big efforts from Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill made the win possible. The Dolphins head into their week 17 matchup with the Jets as they will finish out what has been a disappointing season.
17. Atlanta Falcons (6-9) - The Falcons won their big matchup with the Saints to set up a showdown for the NFC South division title. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have played good football as of late, and it helps them to get Julio Jones back healthy. Week 17 should feature one of the more intense matchups of the season as two teams with losing records battle for a division title in Atlanta.
18. Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) - By beating the Browns in week 16, the Panthers earned themselves a play in game despite everything that has gone wrong for them this season. Cam Newton is back in the starting lineup after taking a week off to recover from his car accident. It is a game that could possibly feature a playoff atmosphere in Atlanta on Sunday as the NFC South champion will be crowned.
19. Buffalo Bills (8-7) - Like the Dolphins, the Bills were eliminated from AFC playoff contention this week due to their loss to the Raiders. Kyle Orton was able to help the Bills find some stability this season, but in the end his limitations proved to be their undoing. A week 17 matchup with the Patriots could drop the Bills to .500 for the 2014 season.
20. New York Giants (6-9) - The Giants have played good football the past two weeks after being eliminated from the playoff chase. Wins against Washington and St. Louis have featured the Odell Beckham show, as the rookie receiver has worked to establish himself among the game's elite at the position. In week 17, the Giants will look to feature Beckham again as they are at home taking on the Eagles to close out the 2014 season.
21. San Francisco 49ers (7-8) - Losses to the Seahawks and Chargers the last two weeks have only made a disappointing season worse for San Francisco. After struggling for weeks, Colin Kaepernick was able to play a strong game against the Chargers in week 16. A home matchup against the Cardinals in week 17 is how the 49ers close the season.
22. St. Louis Rams (6-9) - The Rams defense suffered a setback in New York in week 16, but they have made significant strides toward being a contender in the NFC West. The Rams will need to find their quarterback for next season to compete, but with all the young talent the future looks promising.
23. Minnesota Vikings (6-9) - The Vikings lost a tough game against the Dolphins a week after a tough loss to Detroit. The Vikings have been overmatched the past two games, but they have been able to compete at a high level behind significant growth from their young quarterback.
24. New Orleans Saints (6-9) - New Orleans disappointing season featured them losing home field advantage with multiple home losses in a row to finish out the season. After preseason expectations of being a title contender, this season had very few things go right for the Saints.
25. Cleveland Browns (7-8) - The Johnny Manziel era in Browns football is temporarily on pause as he is going to finish the season inactive due to a hamstring injury. Playing in parts of two games for the Browns, already showed that Manziel might not have what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL.
26. Chicago Bears (5-10) - Rumors of a Jay Cutler trade to Tennessee have been swirling as the Bears quarterback missed their week 16 game with an injury. Jimmy Clausen's strong performance in a loss may have given him the opportunity to earn a starting job with the Bears next season.
27. Washington Redskins (4-11) - Robert Griffin has looked solid the last two weeks for the Redskins, but will it be enough for Washington to pick up his expensive option? Coach Jay Gruden does not want to have to deal with RGIII as his starting quarterback next season.
28. New York Jets (3-12) - The Jets played the Patriots tough this season, but it still earned them two more losses by a combined total of three points. Geno Smith's future with the Jets is in doubt, and Rex Ryan may coach his final game for the Jets in week 17.
29. Oakland Raiders (3-12) - Another win for the Raiders may have hurt their draft status, but it has worked wonders in building the confidence of rookie quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders have holes to fill in the upcoming draft, but with their quarterback in place they are better positioned than some of teams at the bottom of the rankings.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) - A win over the Titans allowed the Jaguars to be in position to finish third in the AFC South this season. This is something for talented rookie quarterback Blake Bortles to build on, in what has been another tough season for the Jaguars.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) - The Buccaneers have never found any consistency this season, despite the fact that their defense has shown flashes of brilliance at times. Rookie receiver Mike Evans is among the league leaders in touchdowns even though he missed time due to injury in 2014.
32. Tennessee Titans (2-13) - The Titans are a mess right now, but they could shake things up by trading for veteran quarterback Jay Cutler. With weapons to work with on the offensive side of the ball, Tennessee could rebuild quickly by acquiring a veteran quarterback.