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My Week 15 NFL Power Rankings 2017 Edition

Updated on December 20, 2017

NFL Power Rankings

Playoff spots! Get your playoff spots here! Five of the sixteen spots for this season’s playoffs are already clinched and more teams can lock up their spot this coming weekend. It’s do or die time in the NFL. One more loss could spell the end to what was a season full of hopes and dreams. That is, unless you are the Cleveland Browns. Not sure they had playoff aspirations, but I’m sure they are hoping for just one win before all is said and done. Anyway, we will get to the rankings, because, for the fourth consecutive week, we have a new number one.

1. New England Patriots (11-3) ~ Like it or not, the Patriots are back on top. Brady’s bunch clinched their ninth consecutive AFC East during their thrilling win over the previously top-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers. Just how dominant have the Patriots been this millennium? 2008 is the only year since their magical run in 2001 that they have not won their division. That was the year Brady tore knee ligaments in the season opener. Bottom line, if Brady is out there, the Pats will win the AFC East. You can etch it in stone. (Last Week’s Ranking 2)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) ~ You can hate the rule. The rule that overturned what looked to be a go-ahead touchdown in the closing seconds of a game against the Patriots. You can hate it all you want, but the call was correct according to the rule. Whether or not the rule gets changed down the line, well, that is open for debate. But, I repeat, the call was correct. You can also hate the interception on a fake spike. I’d hate that more, because at the very least, Pittsburgh had a tying field goal in their back pocket. (LWR 1)

3. Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) ~ It’s next man up mentality in Philly, and that meant handing the reigns of the high-octane offense to Nick Foles. All he did was throw four touchdowns in a divisional road game as the Eagles clinched at least a first-round bye in the playoffs. Sure, the New York Giants secondary isn’t all that great, but four touchdowns is a damn good day no matter how you look at it. (LWR 3)

4. Minnesota Vikings (11-3) ~ In thrashing the Cincinnati Bengals the Vikings locked up the NFC North and kept within striking distance of the Eagles for the top seed in the NFC. While that is certainly a great accomplishment, what struck me about the game was seeing Teddy Bridgewater take the field for the first time since January 2015. Sure, he went 0-for-2 with a pick, but seeing the former leader of this team get into an NFL game after that horrific injury was quite the sight. (LWR 4)

5. Los Angeles Rams (10-4) ~ Todd Gurley did his best Beast Mode against Seattle amassing 180 total yards and four touchdowns as the Rams torched the Seahawks in what was supposed to be a heavyweight bout for the NFC West. Now it will take just one more Rams win or one more Seahawk loss to hand the division to L.A. (LWR 5)

6. New Orleans Saints (10-4) ~ It’s not every day that you see a team with a backfield as explosive as the Saints are currently enjoying. Both Mark Ingram AND Alvin Kamara have been named to the Pro Bowl. Having one back on a Pro Bowl roster is a great achievement. Having two and remembering that future Hall of Famer Drew Brees is in that same huddle? Well, that’s downright unfair. (LWR 6)

7. Carolina Panthers (10-4) ~ The team is going up for sale amidst allegations of harassment by owner Jerry Richardson. Star linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended for two games for a blindside hit on Green Bay receiver Davante Adams. It’s not all doom and gloom in Carolina, however, as Greg Olsen finally looked like Greg Olsen catching nine passes for 113 yards and a score in the win over Green Bay to help the Panthers keep pace in the NFC South. (LWR 7)

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) ~ The streak is over. When the Jaguars picked up their 10th win of the season, they officially clinched their first playoff appearance in 10 years. A lot has happened since the Jags were last in the playoffs. Barack Obama became the first African-American president. Michael Jackson died. I was still in college. Damn. (LWR 8)

9. Atlanta Falcons (9-5) ~ Playoff games start now for Atlanta. They are making a push to clinch their spot in the NFC, but have tough games against the Panthers and Saints upcoming. Both of those teams are also jockeying for playoff position and lead Atlanta in the NFC South. Even tougher, is that depending on how it all shakes out, they could play a REAL playoff game against the Saints or Falcons come opening week of the playoffs. Nobody said it would be easy to get back to the Super Bowl. (LWR 9)

10. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) ~ If there was ever a team that knows how to win with subpar quarterback play it is the Baltimore Ravens. Joe Flacco is having a bad year by all measures. This team can win with the ground game and defense. They’ve done it before (remember that 2000 Super Bowl team) and can do it again. They’re well coached and as I’ve mentioned before, close out the season with a cupcake schedule. (LWR 12)

11. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) ~ Just when I had given up, just when I was ready to count them out, the Chiefs wake up and pick up HUGE wins against the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers to retain their lead in the AFC West. Kareem Hunt has also re-emerged. At one point he looked like a shoe-in for the Rookie of the Year award, if he can keep up his resurgence, the Chiefs will be that much better off come playoffs. (LWR 15)

12. Seattle Seahawks (8-6) ~ Where has Jimmy Graham gone? The star tight end seemed to be clicking with Russell Wilson, but that has come to a screeching halt over the past two weeks. Graham has recorded just one catch for negative one yard in back-to-back losses to Jacksonville and Los Angeles. You and I have done better. (LWR 10)

13. Dallas Cowboys (8-6) ~ Guess who’s back. Back again. Zeke is back. Tell a friend. That’s right. The six-game suspension and national nightmare are over. Ezekiel Elliott will return to the Dallas backfield as the Cowboys look to secure a playoff berth. It won’t come easy as their remaining two games are against Seattle and Philadelphia. (LWR 16)

14. Detroit Lions (8-6) ~ Speaking of teams trying to secure a playoff berth, the Lions are still in the mix. They’ve won two straight and close out against Cincinnati and the Aaron-Rodgers less once again Green Bay Packers. Can they get to 10 wins and sneak into the postseason? They certainly have a less daunting road than Dallas. (LWR 14)

15. Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) ~ Hunter Henry has emerged as the go-to tight end for the Chargers with 45 catches for 579 yards and four scores. Those numbers easily dwarf Antonio Gates’ 20 for 189 yards and two scores. If L.A. fails to make the postseason, one has to wonder if we are seeing Mr. Gates’ swan song in the NFL. (LWR 11)

16. Buffalo Bills (8-6) ~ They’ve won three of four since the re-instatement of Tyrod Taylor and that lone loss was against New England. Up next on the schedule is a trip to Foxborough to face those same Patriots as the Bills look to snap the league’s longest playoff drought. A win in New England would go a long way in aiding that effort. (LWR 18)

17. Tennessee Titans (8-6) ~ I told you they couldn’t be trusted. Two straight losses on the west coast – to Arizona and San Francsico at that – have the Titans playoff hopes on life support. They’ve already lost the division and need to leapfrog a few teams to get in. It doesn’t get easier down the stretch as they play host to the Rams and Jaguars to close things out. (LWR 13)

18. Green Bay Packers (7-7) ~ Aaron Rodgers came back for a game and has since been placed on injured reserve effectively ending his season. I thought it was a little silly to bring him back so quickly after a broken collarbone, but I'm not a doctor. Considering the Pack fell to 7-7 with just two games left, it was a wise decision to sit down their franchise quarterback the rest of the way. (LWR 17)

19. Oakland Raiders (6-8) ~ They had a shot to beat Dallas and keep their playoff hopes alive. They really did. Then Derek Carr inexplicably fumbled out of bounds into the end zone resulting in a touchback. They were at least guaranteed a field goal in a game they ultimately lost by three. Better luck next year. (LWR 19)

20. Washington Redskins (6-8) ~ The defense is the issue here. Seven times this season the Redskins have given up at least 30 points in a game. That's 50% of their games. They gave up 29 in another. It's asking a lot of your offense to get you at least 30 every week. Until that is fixed, this will be a middling team. (LWR 21)

21. Arizona Cardinals (6-8) ~ The Blaine Gabbert era is over in Arizona. Say it ain't so. The Cards have decided to go back to Drew Stanton for the last two games of the year. I'm not sure if Carson Palmer will return in 2018, but the quarterback of Arizona's future is not currently on their roster. (LWR 20)

22. Miami Dolphins (6-8) ~ The good news for Miami in a season of disappointment? They beat the Patriots this year. The better news? They only have Jay Cutler as their quarterback for two more weeks. (LWR 22)

23. San Francisco 49ers (4-10) ~ Jimmy Garoppolo is now 3-0 as a starter for the 49ers. That means Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard were a combined 1-10 for the same team. San Fran has found their future quarterback. Now they just have to pay him. (LWR 27)

24. Denver Broncos (5-9) ~ Denver has had a hard time keeping their quarterback upright this year, no matter who is taking the snaps. Trevor Siemian is now done for the year and their starter this weekend will either be Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch. It really comes down to Lynch's health after he has been forced to miss time due to injury. (LWR 26)

25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) ~ A.J. Green is now the first receiver in NFL history to be voted in to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven career seasons. I feel his career has been underrated thus far, and a big reason why is that he plays in Cincinnati. (LWR 23)

26. New York Jets (5-9) ~ Losers of seven of their last nine, the Jets are right where we thought they'd be. At least they had a nice start to the year. Yours truly thought they'd be the worst team in the league before the season started. I may have been wrong about that. (LWR 25)

27. Houston Texans (4-10) ~ They're allowing a league-high 27.1 points per game and have topped 17 points just once since Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. They've been decimated by injuries, so I'll give them a pass. At least Houston has a World Series trophy to hang their cowboy hats on. (LWR 24)

28. Chicago Bears (4-10) ~ Somehow they've beaten Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Carolina who all seem to be playoff bound. They've also lost to Tampa Bay and San Francisco. If anything, this team has been unpredictable. (LWR 28)

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) ~ Mike Evans has yet to reach 100 yards receiving this season a year. Last season he topped 1,300 yards and found the end zone 12 times. It's been a big drop off for him, and the team as a whole. (LWR 28)

30. Indianapolis Colts (3-11) ~ Andrew Luck is back in Indianapolis and hopeful that he won't need any future surgeries. If he can come back next year and get a helpful piece with a high draft pick, this team could be the comeback story of 2018. (LWR 30)

31. New York Giants (2-12) ~ Eli Manning's consecutive start streak is back at one. I'm wondering if it won't extend beyond three with the Giants. (LWR 31)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-14) ~ They will win this week against the Bears. They will win this week against the Bears. They will win this week against the Bears. There. I've said it three times. That means it will happen. That's how it works. Right? (LWR 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.

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