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My Final NFL Power Rankings 2017 Edition

Updated on January 2, 2018

NFL Power Rankings


And there you have it. The 2017 NFL regular season is over. Done. Finished. Twelve teams still have games to play as they are the fortunate few who have advanced to the postseason. The other 20 teams will now look to next year to achieve their goal of winning the Super Bowl. If your team is amongst those still competing, good luck. I missed last week’s rankings because the end of the year simply left me no time to get them done. And now, I won’t have another for months. It’s kind of bittersweet.

1. New England Patriots (13-3) ~ This should be no surprise. They finish the season tied with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Minnesota for the best record in the league. They are the defending champs and look to be in a prime position to repeat. They went 5-2 in games against teams in this year’s playoffs with losses only to Kansas City and Carolina. If things break right, they could avoid both of them in the playoffs. Until they’re beaten, they have to be considered the favorite to win it all. (Last Ranking 1)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) ~ No Big Ben. No Antonio Brown. No Le’Veon Bell. No problem for the Pittsburgh backups against the now officially winless Cleveland Browns. The big names will get an extra week of rest as they head into the bye week for the playoffs. The Steelers seem to be the biggest threat to New England in the AFC. (LR 2)

3. Minnesota Vikings (13-3) ~ They’ve won 11 of their last 12 and come into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFC. Their defense gave up the fewest points in the league. They boast two top receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have done more than enough to replace Dalvin Cook. Could the Vikings become the first team to take part in the Super Bowl in their home stadium? (LR 4)

4. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) ~ The offense has not looked good since MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his ACL. This is absolutely true. And it has been well documented. What isn’t being said about the Eagles is how their defense has stepped up. After harassing Derek Carr during a Monday night contest, the Eagles put mostly backups on the field for the finale. Those backups held the Dallas starters to just six points. If the defense can keep up that high level of play in the postseason, maybe the offense won’t need to be as explosive as it was with Wentz taking the snaps. (LR 3)

5. Los Angeles Rams (11-5) ~ Last year the Rams had the worst offense in the league. The 2017 Rams offense was the best in the league putting up nearly 30 points per game. Talk about a turnaround. Todd Gurley, an MVP candidate, led the league with 19 total touchdowns in just 15 games. L.A. hosts Atlanta this Sunday in what I think will be the best game of the weekend. (LR 5)

6. New Orleans Saints (11-5) ~ The knock on New Orleans the past few seasons was their porous defense. That changed in 2017, and part of that was due to the emergence of Marson Lattimore who was selected with the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft. The corner paced the Saints with five interceptions while playing lockdown coverage on the opponent’s best receiving threat most of the year. (LR 6)

7. Carolina Panthers (11-5) ~ They drafted Christian McCaffrey with the 8th overall pick in last year’s draft. They had Jonathan Stewart still on the roster. Even so, it was Cam Newton who led the Panthers in rushing this season with 754 yards. That was the highest total for a quarterback this year and was actually good for 22nd in the league. It was a down year for the running back position as only nine players eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark. (LR 7)

8. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) ~ Atlanta is back in the playoffs a year after suffering the worst collapse in the history of the Super Bowl. The Falcons are one of three NFC South teams to reach the postseason, but there could be only one remaining after the opening weekend. Can they make it back to the big game? If they do, will Tom Brady and the Pats be there waiting? (LR 9)

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) ~ They’ve dropped two straight as the Jags prepare for the first playoff game since the 2007 season. They’ll play host this time around and word on the street is they will remove the tarp from some of their seats to accommodate fans. Real, live fans! At a Jaguars game! Imagine that! (LR 8)

10. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) ~ If there’s something to be said about the Chiefs, it is that they are streaky. They opened the season 5-0 and then promptly lost six of seven. Then they closed things out on a four-game winning streak. They’ll host the Tennessee Titans whom I believe are the worst team to qualify for the playoffs. I’m not saying K.C. will move on to the next round with ease. But I’m not not saying it. (LR 11)

11. Buffalo Bills (9-7) ~ If this isn’t the feel-good story of the NFL I don’t know what is. The drought is over. Buffalo is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Doug Flutie started that game. You may remember it as the Music City Miracle game. I know I’ll never forget that one. Cheers to you Bills. (LR 16)

12. Tennessee Titans (9-7) ~ Marcus Mariota had three games this season in which he threw for multiple touchdowns and zero games with more than two TD tosses. He had four such games with multiple interceptions including one outing in which he threw four picks. I’ve said it all year that I don’t trust the Titans. They can prove me wrong by advancing in the playoffs this Saturday. (LR 17)

13. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) ~ They just barely missed out on the playoffs and I’m sure teams in the AFC are glad about that. After starting the year 0-4 the Chargers closed with a 9-3 record. They led the league in passing and were third in points allowed. First year coach Anthony Lynn and his staff should have high expectations for the 2018 season. (LR 15)

14. Seattle Seahawks (9-7) ~ They lost three of four down the stretch including two games at home to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The defense was banged up all year, the running game was non-existent outside of Russell Wilson and the offensive line was inconsistent at best. There could be a lot of player personnel moves this offseason for the Seahawks. (LR 12)

15. Baltimore Ravens (9-7) ~ All they had to do was win and they were in. A home game against the sad sack Cincinnati Bengals was all that stood in their way of making the playoffs. Even if they lost, they could still sneak in depending on how other teams fared in the early games. When that didn’t go their way it was in their own hands. And they blew it. They blew it big time. (LR 10)

16. Dallas Cowboys (9-7) ~ I mentioned earlier that it was a down year for running backs with only nine reaching the 1,000 yard mark. Someone who fell just short of that? Ezekiel Elliott. He missed the mark by 17 yards despite playing in only 10 games. It’s safe to say that had he played a full season he would have hit that mark and possibly brought home the rushing title. It’s a year of what ifs for Dallas. (LR 13)

17. Detroit Lions (9-7) ~ Let’s be real here. The Lions don’t win anything. They don’t go to the playoffs. They don’t win championships. However you want to say it. So why did they fire their head coach Jim Caldwell who led the team to a winning record in three of his four years? Seems to be like the Lions are making a move here just to make a move. And it might not be for the better. (LR 14)

18. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) ~ A tale of two seasons. With Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm the 49ers went 5-0. Without him they went 1-10. Seems to me they’ve found their quarterback. This was a completely different team with him under center. Dare I say a good team. Not playoff bound yet, but at least respectable. (LR 23)

19. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) ~ Carson Palmer has officially called it a career as he announced his retirement earlier today. The 14-year vet missed most of the season with a broken arm and has been oft-injured. Could Larry Fitzgerald follow Palmer out the door? (LR 21)

20. Green Bay Packers (7-9) ~ Changes are happening in Green Bay's front office. Defensive coordinator Dam Capers has been fired after a nine year run with the club. General Manager Ted Thompson is also out. All he did was hire coach Mike McCarthy and draft Aaron Rodgers. (LR 18)

21. Washington Redskins (7-9) ~ The big question in Washington will be how they handle the Kirk Cousins contract situation. Will they really hit him with the franchise tag for a third consecutive year? How much money would he command if he were to hit the open market? (LR 20)

22. Oakland Raiders (6-10) ~ Last year Jack Del Rio coached the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since they lost the Super Bowl after the 2002 season. One year later he is out of a job. Whoever doubts that life isn't fair needs to take a good look at Del Rio's situation. (LR 19)

23. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) ~ It had been known that the Marvin Lewis era was coming to a close in Cincy. After two straight wins, one of which kept division-rival Baltimore out of the playoffs, Lewis was given a two-year extension. Did that really save his job? (LR 25)

24. Miami Dolphins (6-10) ~ The Jay Cutler era in Miami is over. I mean, it has to be. Right? With Ryan Tannehill due back from injury, and Cutler only signed to a one-year deal, it has to spell the end of what was a lackluster comeback from the qb who retired after 2016 only to be brought back for one more year. (LR 22)

25. Denver Broncos (5-11) ~ John Elway has a talented defense and some quality offensive players. What he doesn't have is a quarterback. A few years ago he took a flyer on Peyton Manning and got a Super Bowl championship out of it. Could he extend an offer to Peyton's younger brother Eli and get the same result? (LR 24)

26. New York Jets (5-11) ~ If things break right for the Jets they could possibly snag Saquon Barkley in the upcoming draft. The Jets need a lot of things, but if Barkley falls they have to take him. Don't they? How many years does Matt Forte have left? (LR 26)

27. Chicago Bears (5-11) ~ John Fox has been given the axe, but he did do something no Chicago coach had ever done before. He has three straight seasons with double digit losses. What? I never said it was a good thing. (LR 28)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) ~ Can they blame this season on the fact that they had to play sixteen weeks in a row? Remember their first game was postponed due to a hurricane. Let's blame it on that. (LR 29)

29. Houston Texans (4-12) ~ They went just 1-8 after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Every team has injuries to navigate each year, but I don't think anyone had it worse than Houston. If Watson comes back healthy, this team will be back in the playoff race right away. (LR 27)

30. Indianapolis Colts (4-12) ~ Speaking of AFC South teams who need their quarterback to come back healthy, the Colts are hoping that Andrew Luck will do just that in 2018. Originally it was thought Luck would be ready for the season opener. He didn't play one snap. (LR 30)

31. New York Giants (3-13) ~ The worst season in the history of the New York Giants franchise is over after they lost a club record 13 games. Now the question is whether or not the Giants will move on from Eli Manning. A big, big decision at that. (LR 31)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-16) ~ Move over Detroit. You've got company at the bottom. The Browns completed the winless season which is something I never thought I would see once, let alone twice in my lifetime. Brownies, you are officially on the clock. (LR 32)

That’s it. Shows over. Or at least the column is. Blog? That’s more accurate I suppose. Anyway, that’s all I have this week. Any questions or comments, as always, please leave them below. I'll respond as soon as I can. You can also follow/harass me on Twitter if that's your thing. Handle is in my profile. Until next time kids.

Comments

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    • Rich White profile imageAUTHOR

      Rich 

      8 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Niners are a completely different team with Jimmy GQ. I can't wait to see them next year.

    • Valeant profile image

      JOC 

      8 months ago from Syracuse, NY

      I would have had the Chargers and Lions a little higher, bold, but accurate placement for the Fighting Garrapolos.

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