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Week 16 Power Rankings

Posted Dec 20, 2016

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

Do you agree or disagree with Neil?

1.       New England Patriots (Same) - It’s time to give some praise and love to a New England defense that shut down the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Patriots had so much faith in their D that they rarely got too aggressive on offense in Denver and still won with relative ease.

2.       Dallas Cowboys (Same) - Maybe Jerry Jones was just trying to push the buttons of his young quarterback last week. Whatever the reason for Jones raising the ghost of Tony Romo, it worked as Dak Prescott threw just 4 incompletions against Tampa Bay on Sunday evening.

3.       New York Giants (Up 5) - This is a Super Bowl-calibre defense which allows the Giants to stick around long enough to get just the right amount of big plays out of an offense that can still be dangerous at times. Oh and New York are not scared of the two teams above them on this list.

4.       Oakland Raiders (Same) - I continue to be amazed by how well Michael Crabtree is playing in Oakland. He was a total malcontent and a disappointment in San Francisco but is thriving across the Bay. Oakland’s defense also impressed me in San Diego this past weekend.

5.       Seattle Seahawks (Same) - This is now officially a Jekyll and Hyde team – almost impossible to beat at home but very shaky away from the Pacific north-west. Keeping Thomas Rawls healthy and involved in the offense is going to be key when the playoffs roll around.

6.       Kansas City Chiefs (Down 3) - I’m not hammering the Chiefs too much for their loss at home because they have been so consistently good in recent weeks. But they had the Titans rocking and couldn’t put them away. And it could end up costing Andy Reid’s men a first round bye.

7.       Atlanta Falcons (Same) - Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan needs to put this little statistic on his CV… the Falcons have not had Julio Jones at wide receiver for the past two weeks and have scored 42 and 41 points. He might need to include an asterisk pointing out it was against the Rams and 49ers

8.       Pittsburgh Steelers (Down 2) - Pumped up by the desecration of their Terrible Towel by Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, the Steelers fought back to keep their noses in front in the AFC North. And now they prepare for a Christmas Cracker against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

9.       Green Bay Packers (Up 2) - Aaron Rodgers was sensational down the stretch to lead the Packers to a much-needed win in Chicago. And their defensive backs also came up big early in the game. But it should come as a slight worry that Green Bay allowed a 27-10 lead to become a 27-27 tied game late on.

10.   Tennessee Titans (Up 3) - Mike Mularkey went for two and failed. Ryan Succop redeemed his head coach with a winning field goal as time expired. Those are the headlines for the Titans but both distract and detract from the real reason they won in KC on Sunday – the outstanding form of Dick LeBeau’s defense.

11.   Miami Dolphins (Up 5) - Adam Gase for Coach of the Year? It is not a bad shout and should be considered if he gets this team to 10 wins in 2016. Miami are getting big plays and production out of unheralded players every week and I think that relates to some very good coaching.

12.   Detroit Lions (Same) - There were no ill effects when it came to Matthew Stafford being able to grip the ball. But there were plenty of other worries on a day when the Lions slumped to a disappointing loss in NY. That should not, however, detract from what is still a good, playoff-chasing team.

13.   Baltimore Ravens (Up 2) - I do believe that Steve Smith Sr. might be the meanest, toughest and downright hardest wide receiver in the entire NFL. A few plays after being helped off the field, Smithy was back in the fight and racing past defensive backs to catch a Joe Flacco touchdown pass. Legend!

14.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Down 4) - The encouraging sign for Tampa in Dallas on Sunday night was the fact that Jameis Winston turned it over four times, they got off to a terribly slow start and they still came back and only lost by six. But the lack of a running game is becoming a bit of a problem for the Bucs.

15.   Denver Broncos (Down 6) - Gary Kubiak insists there is no offense vs. defense divide in Denver. I don’t say how there can be anything else – the defense held Tom Brady and Co to 16 points on Sunday but the Patriots still won with an alarming ease, even when not trying to score all that aggressively.

16.   Washington Redskins (Down 2) - The Redskins are just about alive in the NFC playoff race but that was a crushing loss to Carolina. The one-game wonders will now suggest Kirk Cousins is not worth a long-term contract in 2017 but I disagree. You could do a lot worse at quarterback than Mr Cousins!

17.   Houston Texans (Down 1) - As soon as the Christmas decorations go up, Brock Osweiler goes down… to the bench! For the second year in a row, poor play in December has seen Osweiler relegated. This time, he has to suffer the embarrassment of being replaced by the legend that is Tom Savage.

18.   Indianapolis Colts (Up 2) - Working behind his 35th offensive line combination of the season on Sunday – and with three of that Week 15 line-up being rookies – Andrew Luck enjoyed a rare comfortable day at the office. Of course, it’s easier to have a comfortable day at QB when you’re running the ball so well.

19.   Carolina Panthers (Up 3) - Every now and then this team flashes enough to remind us how they reached the Super Bowl last season. The problem has been consistency and putting it all together in the same game and then week in and week out.

20.   New Orleans Saints (Up 4) - They don’t seem capable of playing a great deal of defense, but the New Orleans Saints are certainly entertaining and can score points for fun. There are not many wide receivers around the NFL as devastating as Brandin Cooks and Drew Brees knows how to get him the football.

21.   Cincinnati Bengals (Same) - There is such an alarming lack of discipline on this team and it could end up costing Marvin Lewis his job. After scoring a touchdown against the Steelers on Sunday, Jeremy Hill stupidly started trying to rip up a Terrible Towel. After that? Six carries for minus one yard!

22.   Buffalo Bills (Down 1) - It seems to be a done deal that Rex Ryan is going to get fired by the Bills sooner rather than later. He is only in his second year with the Bills and they are 7-7 on the season. I’m surprised this move seems as nailed on as it currently does.

23.   Arizona Cardinals (Down 4) - It has been a trying year for the Cardinals and it got worse on Monday when star receiver Larry Fitzgerald hinted that he might opt to play for another team in 2017. This is a talent-laden team that can bounce back in the near future, but I would still want Larry Fitz around the building.

24.   San Diego Chargers (Up 1) - Another week and another heroic failure for the Chargers. This time, they fall just short against the Oakland Raiders. The move to Los Angeles seems inevitable for this franchise now, which explains why Sunday was clearly like an extra home game for the Raiders.

25.   Minnesota Vikings (Down 8) - The one thing I thought we could rely on was the form of Minnesota’s defense. But that was a shocker against the Colts last Sunday. There is a mathematical chance of making the post-season, but they’re done and injuries played a big role in de-railing the last undefeated team this year.

26.   Philadelphia Eagles (Same) - I maintain that the problems in Philadelphia often centre on the talent – or lack of it – around young quarterback Carson Wentz. Sunday’s loss to Baltimore showed me two things – there is some fire in Philadelphia’s belly at least, and there is some inconsistency creeping into Wentz.

27.   Chicago Bears (Up 1) - Could Matt Barkley be making a serious run at the Bears quarterback job? He doesn’t have the strongest of arms and you have to be careful about what kind of throws you ask him to make, but he at least has this talent-deficient team looking more competitive in recent weeks.

28.   New York Jets (Down 1) - The most damning indictment of head coach Todd Bowles is the fact that all too often it looks like this team is not trying. That was the case for large periods of time against Miami on Saturday night and the once-strong defense is a mess, particularly in the secondary.

29.   Los Angeles Rams (Same) - So Jeff Fisher hopes he gets the chance to coach against the Rams in the future and stick it to his former team. That would suggest that Fisher feels he was harshly treated by the Rams and this year’s failings were not his fault. Delusional.

30.   Jacksonville Jaguars (Same) - So long, Gus… we hardly knew you. Except, we did. Bradley was given more than enough time to succeed in Jacksonville and went 14-48. What next for this team? I think they are crying out for the experienced leadership and discipline that only Tom Coughlin could provide.

31.   San Francisco 49ers (Same) - Colin Kaepernick believes a change of culture would be beneficial in San Francisco. After watching him play like somebody who just won a competition to feature in an NFL game, a change at quarterback wouldn’t hurt, either. Silence can sometimes be golden, Colin.

32.   Cleveland Browns (Same) - Sunday’s loss at Buffalo convinced me that the Browns do not have their long-term quarterback answer in Robert Griffin III. In fact, if RGIII is the answer then I have no idea on God’s green earth what the question could possibly be. This rebuild requires putting a franchise QB in place.







Ask Neil Reynolds

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Submit your question now! Neil Reynolds answers your questions about American Football and the NFL, whether it’s about the strategies, schedules or the rules behind America’s most popular sports league. Neil has covered NFL since 1991 and is current co-host of Sky Sports’ American football coverage and the Inside the Huddle podcast.

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