Week 17 NFL Power Rankings


  1. Arizona Cardinals 13-2: For a football team to lose a player like Tyrann Mathieu and still look as good as the Arizona Cardinals look is pretty impressive. Without question, this team has as good a chance as anyone to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
  2. Carolina Panthers 14-1: The Carolina Panthers haven’t been as dominant of late, and they finally lost their first game of the season on Sunday. It’s going to take a lot more than that for us to overreact and send them plummeting down the list.
  3. New England Patriots 12-3: You can never count out the New England Patriots, but make no mistake, this team is in trouble with the issues on the offensive line, and they know it.
  4. Seattle Seahawks 9-6: Before you ask how we rank the Seattle Seahawks ahead of the 10 and even 11-win teams, take a look at which team is the only one to play in February each of the last two years and get back to us. Once again the Seahawks are playing their best football heading into the playoffs, and the rest of the league is scared to death, whether they’ll admit it or not.
  5. Denver Broncos 11-4: The Denver Broncos pulled one out of their rear ends on Sunday to clinch a playoff spot, but you know they can’t feel super confident about Brock Osweiler leading them to a Super Bowl championship.
  6. Cincinnati Bengals 11-4: On Monday night, the Cincinnati Bengals started the game by showing why so many people believe they have the most talented roster in football. Then, they ended the game by showing why so many of those same people still believe they won’t win a Super Bowl any time soon.
  7. Green Bay Packers 10-5: The Green Bay Packers have a lot to figure out on their offensive line. The best thing you can say about the Packers’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals is that somehow, Aaron Rodgers was able to get out of the game alive.
  8. Kansas City Chiefs 10-5: You just can’t say enough about the turnaround the Kansas City Chiefs have made this season. To be 1-5 and without Jamaal Charles and roll off nine straight victories is nothing short of remarkable.
  9. New York Jets 10-5: Nobody was in the Christmas spirit like the New York Jets this weekend. Sure, they say giving is better than receiving, but Jets fans might disagree after receiving gifts from Bill Belichick and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
  10. Minnesota Vikings 10-5: The Minnesota Vikings have a chance to win the NFC North heading into the season’s final week. Even those who were high on Minnesota entering the season didn’t believe the Vikings would challenge Green Bay for the division crown.
  11. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-6: You had one job, and it was to beat a Ryan Mallett led Baltimore Ravens team. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in grave danger of missing the playoffs, and after dropping Sunday’s game to a Ravens team that has looked like they couldn’t wait to go home for weeks, they deserve it.
  12. Houston Texans 8-7: The Houston Texans played about as complete a football game as they’ve had this season Sunday. It’s always good to be doing that heading into the playoffs.
  13. Washington Redskins 8-7: Admit it. You thought the Washington Redskins were going to stink this year. It’s okay, so did we. Kirk Cousins is starting to look like a heck of a young quarterback, and the Redskins are starting to look like a decent football team. Who saw that coming?
  14. Buffalo Bills 7-8: Another year, another Buffalo Bills team on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. At least they get to keep their football team, and that wasn’t always a given in Buffalo.
  15. Atlanta Falcons 8-7: The Atlanta Falcons aren’t quite where they want to be, but they’re starting to play better football again after a really rough stretch. Overall, Dan Quinn has done a nice job starting the turnaround in Atlanta this season.
  16. St. Louis Rams 7-8: Being a St. Louis Rams fan has to be as frustrating as being a fan of any team in sports. You don’t even know if you’re rooting for a team that will be in town next season, and they’ve been on the cusp of something for what seems like forever.
  17. Indianapolis Colts 7-8: There’s actually a scenario where the Indianapolis Colts can make the playoffs, but we don’t have enough room to write it out, and you don’t have enough time to read it. It’s that convoluted.
  18. Oakland Raiders 7-8: The Oakland Raiders kept hopes of a .500 season alive Thursday night with an overtime victory over the Chargers. While it would typically be a pretty meaningless win, going 8-8 would be good for the confidence of a young ascending football team.
  19. Philadelphia Eagles 6-9: After a pair of winning seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles will finish at least two games below .500 after Chip Kelly pushed his weight around and demanded full control of the roster. Way to go, Chip.
  20. New York Giants 6-9: The only guy who wanted to play football for the New York Giants Sunday night was suspended for acting like a jerk the previous Sunday. It’s always hard to say this about a two-time Super Bowl winning head coach, but Tom Coughlin’s time might be up in New York. With the lack of talent and depth on the Giants, GM Jerry Reese could see the door as well.
  21. Chicago Bears 6-9: The Chicago Bears broke a three-game losing streak on Sunday, but the Buccaneers lost the game every bit as much as the Bears won it.
  22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-9: Unless the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the 14-1 Panthers in Carolina Sunday, they’ll finish the season with four consecutive losses after a 6-6 start had them in playoff contention.
  23. Detroit Lions 6-9: The Detroit Lions beat up on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but there’s a good chance the Lions look back at this season as a year of what ifs and what could have been.
  24. New Orleans Saints 6-9: The New Orleans Saints can still get it done offensively. Defensively is a whole different conversation.
  25. Miami Dolphins 5-10: The only thing worse than how this season has turned out for the Miami Dolphins is Miko Grimes’ mouth. Just come play football and leave your loudmouth spouses at the door.
  26. Baltimore Ravens 5-10: When you absolutely stink, ruining a division opponent’s playoff chances is about as good as it gets, and the Baltimore Ravens may have done that by upsetting the Steelers on Sunday.
  27. Dallas Cowboys 4-11: At this point, Dallas Cowboys fans are likely just taking their medicine and hoping the team loses each week so they can improve what is a pretty talented roster with another strong draft. The problem is Dallas will likely get stuck in quarterback purgatory, because there’s no chance Tony Romo plays another 16 game season in his career. Mark it down.
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-10: Every time you want to pick the Jacksonville Jaguars they go and lay an egg. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 15 times, you’re probably the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags will be that team we keep picking to be much better every year, and once we finally all give up on them, they’ll break through.
  29. Cleveland Browns 3-12: Can a kid just go drink some Four Loko and sing with his friends without it being a controversy for crying out loud? Leave Johnny Manziel alone already.
  30. San Diego Chargers 4-11: For the San Diego Chargers, this season has been as ugly as one of Philip Rivers’ Bolo ties, and the team looks like it’s as ready to go home as the rest of us are when we walk into the kind of establishment where dudes wear Bolo ties.
  31. San Francisco 49ers 4-11: The San Francisco 49ers are terrible, and it’s disappointing for those of us who just want more Jim Tomsula. So basically, everyone.
  32. Tennessee Titans 3-12: The Tennessee Titans may have found their quarterback of the future (assuming Marcus Mariota can stay healthy), but that might be the only good thing you can think of to say about their season. It’s hard to believe in the kind of decision makers who fire a head coach on a team with a rookie quarterback.

About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.