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Week 15 Power Rankings

Posted Dec 15, 2016

Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds ranks the NFL teams from 1 to 32!

Do you agree or disagree with Neil?

1.       New England Patriots (Up 3)

I wasn’t going to fall for a knee-jerk reaction after Dallas’ loss on Sunday, but is any team out there as consistently good as the Patriots? They look every inch the class of the AFC and Tom Brady is still the front runner for the NFL MVP prize.

2.       Dallas Cowboys (Down 1)

Dak Prescott threw as many interceptions in New York on Sunday night (2) as he had done in the rest of the season. But was that really justification for Jerry Jones not putting out the QB controversy fires that began smouldering this week?

3.       Kansas City Chiefs (Up 2)

The Chiefs have stepped forward as the biggest challengers to New England’s anointed crown in the AFC. They play an aggressive and opportunistic style of defense and Tyreek Hill is an electrifying X-factor.

4.       Oakland Raiders (Down 2)

The Silver and Black have been one of the feel-good stories of 2016 but they were well and truly humbled by the Chiefs last week. Here’s hoping Derek Carr’s mangled finger is not going to de-rail one of the better quarterback and team performances of the season.

5.       Seattle Seahawks (Down 2)

This was my preseason pick to win it all and I would fancy them a lot more if they could play all their games at home. The Seahawks have criss-crossed America for much of the past two months and must be muttering under their breath about the NFL schedule-makers.

6.       Pittsburgh Steelers (Up 1)

Last week in snowy Buffalo illustrated the beauty of the Pittsburgh attack. Big Ben threw three interceptions and no touchdowns in miserable weather but the Steelers were able to ride the coat-tails of one of the league’s best backs in Antonio Brown.

7.       Atlanta Falcons (Up 1)

No Julio Jones and no Mohammed Sanu… no problem in Los Angeles last week. But it could, of course, become a factor if either is sidelined for a lengthier period of time. On the other side of the ball, Vic Beasley is becoming an every week factor.

8.       New York Giants (Up 3)

That was a seriously good defensive effort against Dallas last weekend. And now comes another test in the form of Detroit’s comeback king, Matthew Stafford. His battle with the likes of Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins is going to be fascinating to watch.

9.       Denver Broncos (Down 3)

This might be as high as the Broncos get in these power rankings for the remainder of the season. Their final three games come against the 11-2 Patriots, 10-3 Chiefs and 10-3 Raiders. That is a brutal run-in for a team that has never quite hit the heights of 2015.

10.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Same)

The Buccaneers are riding the crest of a five-game winning streak as the hottest team in the NFL. In recent weeks, the defense has dominated Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. Win at Dallas and the Buccaneers will scream from the rooftops for the rest of the NFL to pay attention.

11.   Green Bay Packers (Down 3)

The pin-point accuracy of Aaron Rodgers is one of the prettiest sights in the NFL and he is clearly the best thrower of the football in the entire league. How will he fare on one leg with calf and hamstring injuries? He will be his outstanding normal self, of course.

12.   Detroit Lions (Same)

Can you believe the Lions are the current number two seed in the NFL? With that in mind, I am doing them a major injustice here at number 12. But this is not the complete team yet and while they are fun to watch, I don’t fully trust them at all times. That said, Stafford is a beast!

13.   Tennessee Titans (Up 2)

I was very impressed with each side of the ball for the Titans during last week’s win over Denver. The offense controlled the game and the clock in the first half and when the Titans were up against it late, the defense came up big time and again. Find consistency and the division is yours.

14.   Washington Redskins (Down 1)

Kirk Cousins continues to enjoy a career year in Washington and is playing his way to a big pay day. A couple of his touchdown passes last week were things of beauty. Of course, he also tossed up a pick six which probably gave his bosses a split second’s pause for thought.

15.   Baltimore Ravens (Down 6)

The Ravens always seem to play with a tough and competitive edge but they lack the consistent firepower needed to be an elite team for now. They are very much alive in the AFC North with a Christmas Day division decider with Pittsburgh looming large.

16.   Miami Dolphins (Same)

Over to you, Matt Moore. The Dolphins don’t know quite how long they will be without injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill but it could still be for the remainder of the year, even though his knee ligaments are intact. Either way, Adam Gase will have his team believing and playing hard.

17.   Minnesota Vikings (Up 3)

The Vikings have been disappointed with themselves after falling away following a 5-0 start. But the playoffs remain in their own hands – they have winnable games at home to Indianapolis in Week 15 and Chicago in Week 17, which makes a Christmas Eve trip to Green Bay their Everest!

18.   Houston Texans (Up 4)

If this team makes the playoffs this year, it will be in spite of Brock Osweiler and rarely because of their $72 million quarterback. Houston could muster just one offensive touchdown in Indy but were able to get the win behind a stout defensive display, halting a three-game losing slide.

19.   Arizona Cardinals (Down 1)

That downpour-ridden loss in Miami last week summed up the Cardinals’ season – sloppy! They made big plays and displayed some on-field excellence that belies their talent, but they also suffered some major let-downs and were, ultimately, disappointing.

20.   Indianapolis Colts (Down 3)

If ever one play could encapsulate a season it came on a third and goal against Houston with the Colts threatening to take a second half lead in a huge game. Andrew Luck was sacked from behind by Jadeveon Clowney and lost the football. Please protect your franchise, Indianapolis!

21.   Cincinnati Bengals (Up 3)

Marvin Lewis is apparently on the hot seat in Cincinnati and his team still only has five wins on the season. But at least his backside didn’t turn positively volcanic with a loss at Cleveland. And can you imagine this offense with Tyler Eifert in the line-up for the entire season?

22.   Carolina Panthers (Up 4)

There have been times in 2016 where Cam Newton has played really well, the running game has gotten going and the defense has recorded sacks and turnovers. But I’d bet we can count on one hand the times when all of those positive things have come together in the same game.

23.   Buffalo Bills (Down 4)

I can see how Rex Ryan hypes up the fans beyond belief and then the disappointment of another year out of the playoffs hurts worse than ever – but the Bills need to know that firing Ryan is going to lead to another do-over and possibly a few more years looking in on the post-season party.

24.   New Orleans Saints (Down 1)

What is happening to Drew Brees? He was on pace for an MVP-challenging season but has gone ice cold in the past two weeks, throwing no touchdowns and six interceptions. The last time he failed to throw a touchdown in back to back games was Weeks 3 and 4… of 2009 !

25.   San Diego Chargers (Down 4)

Somebody somewhere is sticking far too many pins into a San Diego Chargers voodoo doll. A team that had already sent 15 players to injured reserve this season (most in the NFL) lost key running back Melvin Gordon to a nasty hip injury as he was three yards shy of 1,000 yards.

26.   Philadelphia Eagles  (Down 1)

The numbers did not look too bad last week but there were a lot of times when Carson Wentz looked like an inexperienced rookie. That said, he is operating behind a revolving door policy on the Philadelphia offensive line and that is a major reason this team is struggling of late.

27.   New York Jets (Same)

Will the real Jets please stand up? A week after looking like they had flat out given up against the Colts, New York rose from the ashes after a slow start to win in overtime against the 49ers. That showed me something because I thought this lot had thrown in the towel.

28.   Chicago Bears (Same)

I’ll say this about John Fox, his cupboard may be pretty bare but he is getting his team to play hard each and every week. Will that be enough to save his job? I cannot answer that definitively but I think he should be given more time with this team.

29.   Los Angeles Rams (Same)

The one thing the Rams could not afford on their return to Los Angeles this season was to become irrelevant – but those empty seats at the Coliseum on Sunday suggests that is the case. And that is one of the primary reasons Jeff Fisher was fired this week.

30.   Jacksonville Jaguars (Same)

Gus Bradley was speaking on American radio this week about how close his team is and how they just have to finish games. It is the same topic I have discussed with Jags players and coaches in each of the last two summers. And nothing has changed.

31.   San Francisco 49ers (Same)

For those out there wondering if the 49ers ownership will want to fire Chip Kelly and then be on the financial hook with him, Jim Tomsula and whoever they hire as a new head coach… can they really afford not to given the amount of empty seats in Santa Clara last week?

32.   Cleveland Browns (Same)

The problem with the London-bound Browns has been an inability (over decades) to find a franchise QB. They have been through six of them this season and Sunday reminded us all that Robert Griffin III is not the long-term answer.


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