Week 15 NFL Power Rankings


  1. Carolina Panthers 13-0: Another week, another dominant Carolina Panthers victory. Had a football writer suggested that Carolina would be 13-0 this season in the weeks after Kelvin Benjamin’s injury, they may have been fired. The 2015 Panthers are a great example that the only thing we know in the NFL is that we don’t know anything.
  2. Arizona Cardinals 11-2: The Vikings gave Arizona all they could handle on Thursday night, but in the end the Cardinals did what good teams do, they won.
  3. New England Patriots 11-2: There’s no team in football that finds a way to adjust to their shortcomings like the New England Patriots. Injuries will make it tough for them to go all the way, but as long as Tom Brady and Belichick are breathing, they’re right in the mix.
  4. Denver Broncos 10-3: The Denver Broncos might have the best defense in football, but as long as the offense is as inconsistent as it’s been this year, they’re always at risk of losing to anyone.
  5. Green Bay Packers 9-4: The Green Bay Packers took care of business against a bad Dallas Cowboys team on Sunday, but there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned with the Packers heading into January.
  6. Seattle Seahawks 8-5: The Seattle Seahawks are going to be a wild card team, and they’ll be playing on the road in the first round of the playoffs, and will be favorites. Nobody wants to have to play the team that’s been to back to back Super Bowls.
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-5: Speaking of teams nobody wants to play right now, you can certainly stick the Pittsburgh Steelers near the top of that list. Ben Roethlisberger and his weapons are getting hot at the right time, and they make the Steelers very dangerous.
  8. Cincinnati Bengals 10-3: This drop is all about one loss, but it’s not Cincinnati’s loss to the Steelers, rather it’s about the Bengals loss of Andy Dalton. If he can’t return for the playoffs, the Bengals won’t have a shot.
  9. Minnesota Vikings 8-5: The Minnesota Vikings probably don’t want to hear about moral victories, but whether they’ll admit it out loud or not, hanging with the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night is a very good sign for this football team. If they can get healthy, they may just surprise someone in the playoffs.
  10. New York Jets 8-5: The New York Jets need to keep winning if they hope to get into the playoffs, and Sunday they looked like a team ready to do that. Their Week 16 match-up against the Patriots could determine whether the Jets make the tournament or not.
  11. Kansas City Chiefs 8-5: It wasn’t pretty, but the Chiefs were able to remain in control of their playoff future with a 10-3 victory over the Chargers Sunday. They’ll need to play better than that if they hope to run the table, even with their less than scary schedule.
  12. Washington Redskins 6-7: The NFC East may be terrible, but many people expected the Redskins to be the worst team in the division, and that’s clearly not the case entering the season’s final few weeks.
  13. Philadelphia Eagles 6-7:  After a pair of horrific losses to the Lions and Buccaneers, the Eagles have found a way to win two in a row, and they are right back in the hunt in the NFC East.
  14. New York Giants 6-7: The New York Giants are one of the three bad teams that might win the NFC East, but they’re also the most unlikely. But hey, how about that Odell Beckham, right?
  15. Buffalo Bills 6-7: The Buffalo Bills are just like every other 6-7 team in football. Sometimes they convince you they’re about to turn the corner, and other times they prove they’re not quite there yet.
  16. Houston Texans 6-7: The Houston Texans have to feel pretty good about their chances after seeing the way the Colts were slaughtered by Jacksonville, but they’re still a long way away from being a threat even if they win the division.
  17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-7: A week after an emotional home victory over the Falcons, the Buccaneers laid an egg at home against the Saints, all but ending their playoff hopes.
  18. Indianapolis Colts 6-7: It’s hard to imagine that so many picked this Colts team to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl when you look up and see them trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 51-16.
  19. Oakland Raiders 6-7: The Oakland Raiders picked up a nice little win on Sunday, but it’s too little too late when it comes to the playoffs.
  20. Chicago Bears 5-8: The Bears were almost able to play spoiler against the Redskins on Sunday, and at this point that’s what the Bears season has been reduced to, playing spoiler.
  21. Miami Dolphins 5-8: The Miami Dolphins are going to have to start over from scratch this offseason, and you’ll have to wonder how the new coach is going to feel about all the money the team dumped into Ndamukong Suh before the season.
  22. Atlanta Falcons 6-7: The Falcons are in an absolute tailspin, and it’s absolutely shocking that this is the same team that started the season 5-0.
  23. New Orleans Saints 5-8: The Saints are playing some better football of late, but they still have a lot of work to do this offseason. The rebuild has just begun.
  24. St. Louis Rams 5-8: Even if the Rams win out and finish at 8-8, this season has to be considered a failure. We’ve been saying this all season, but the Rams are too talented to be this inconsistent.
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-8: Don’t look now, but Gus Bradley’s Jaguars are just a game behind the flailing Colts and Texans.
  26. Detroit Lions 4-9: Speaking of teams that are too talented to be in their current situations, it’s likely that just about anyone in Detroit would toss the Lions into that conversation.
  27. Dallas Cowboys 4-9: The Cowboys still have the best offensive line in football, and just had a great draft. As frustrating as this season has been, the opportunity to be picking as high as they will in the next draft has to have them slightly optimistic about where the roster will be heading into 2016. The question will once again be if they can keep Tony Romo healthy, and that’s a big if.
  28. Baltimore Ravens 4-9: Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens looked like a team that was saying, “can somebody get us out of here,” and they were playing at home.
  29. Cleveland Browns 3-10: Wouldn’t it be fun to watch the Browns look pretty good with Johnny Manziel under center for the final few weeks of the season? Whatever, where’s your Christmas spirit?
  30. San Francisco 49ers 4-9: Losing to the Cleveland Browns is one thing, but losing to the Browns in a decisive manner is another thing. The Niners are bad.
  31. San Diego Chargers 3-10: This Chargers team is lacking an identity so much that I accidently typed San Diego Chiefs at first. Shut up, Philip Rivers would think it was funny. Seriously, have you seen his bolo ties?
  32. Tennessee Titans 3-10: Hey Tennessee, you’re back! Marcus Mariota is pretty good, but he and the Titans need a lot of help.

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.