Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Seattle Seahawks (192 pts): The Seahawks were dominant as always, embarrassing the Giants in Jersey. Seattle can now punch its own ticket to enjoy home games until a hopeful return to MetLife in February.
- Denver Broncos (183 pts): We can give this team a bit of a pass as they were without Wes Welker, playing on short rest and played against a Chargers team that executed a nearly flawless game plan. But…this defense is a major concern. They received a gift when the Patriots lost to Miami and now once again control their destiny for home field advantage if they can clean up against Houston and Oakland to wrap up the season.
- San Francisco 49ers (178 pts): The 49ers look to be peaking at exactly the right time as Colin Kaepernick finally has his full complement of weapons at his disposal. The big issue that still stands ahead of this team: the road to the Super Bowl will go through Seattle, a place where they have not been able to even come close to winning a game since the Seahawks’ resurgence.
- New Orleans Saints (170 pts): The Saints need to quickly fix their issues on the road or they are going to be playing outdoors on Wild Card weekend. After a brutal loss to the Rams, Drew Brees & Sean Payton now face a must win game in Carolina on Sunday to lock up a first round bye and a home playoff game.
- Carolina Panthers (169 pts): The Panthers bounced back from their Superdome loss to handle the Jets at home, thanks to some key plays in each phase of the game with a long D’Angelo Williams catch and TD run, a blocked punt to swing the game around and a pick-six to seal it. Arguably the biggest game in at least five years for Carolina is now on deck as the Saints come in for a visit with the division title and a playoff bye on the line.
- New England Patriots (162 pts): After bottling up his demons over the last few years, Tom Brady’s House of Horrors regained its torture chamber stature as the Dolphins sealed a huge win with a late game interception. The Pats blew a chance to lock down the AFC’s #1 seed and have to win out to at least ensure a bye. They face their arch nemesis Ravens in Baltimore this Sunday, so the route will not be easy for Belichick’s crew.
- Kansas City Chiefs (154 pts): Everyone has been waiting for a big Jamaal Charles performance and he did not disappoint as he single-handedly dismantled the Raiders on Sunday. Have the Chiefs survived the bumpy part of their campaign and righted the ship in time for the playoffs? Or was it a matter of (lack of) strength of competition? A week 16 tilt with the Colts should help shed some light on the issue. KC still has a chance for the #1 seed if everything breaks right.
- Cincinnati Bengals (138 pts): The Bengals’ road woes continued on Sunday night with a tough loss in Pittsburgh. With the Patriot loss earlier in the day, Cincy could have leapfrogged into the #2 seed, but they could not take advantage. However, their final two games are at home and are both winnable, so that first round bye may still be in play.
- Indianapolis Colts (136 pts): The Colts banked another win, but once again it came against a slumping team. If the Colts can knock off the Chiefs in Kansas City this weekend, it will go a long way in convincing the public they are a legit title contender. Otherwise, Andrew Luck may be one and done in Year Two.
- Baltimore Ravens (132 pts): Justin Tucker for Team MVP? He just may be. After booting a 61 yard game winner, the Ravens now control their own destiny in the AFC North and can land a huge blow to the Patriots’ playoff chances if they can knock off their long time rival at home on Sunday.
- Chicago Bears (127 pts): Just when it looked like the Bears made a terrible decision in choosing to return to Jay Cutler, things straightened out and Chicago was able to pick up a massive win in the Dawg Pound. Despite all the key injuries, the Bears have kept chugging along and playing hard. Combine that with their ridiculous talent on offense and an aggressive and forward thinking coach and you have a team that nobody wants to play come playoff time.
- Arizona Cardinals (127 pts): The Cardinals nearly gagged away a win that would have effectively ended their playoff hopes. Thanks to a big overtime interception, Arizona prevailed, keeping their January football hopes alive. The road will not be easy at all, but they have a chance. That is much more than anyone expected fourteen weeks ago.
- Philadelphia Eagles (126 pts): Just when they were flying high, the Eagles were shell-shocked in Minnesota, routed by an unheralded pair of Matts. With the Cowboys meltdown later in the day, the Eagles still control their own destiny with two more wins to close out the season. However, if the defense can’t get a stop, it won’t matter come round one.
- Miami Dolphins (119 pts): The Dolphins took a huge step towards the playoffs with a win over the Patriots at home on Sunday. With two winnable games left on the schedule, Miami needs a little bit of help, but is in good shape for a playoff berth. We have had a keen eye on Ryan Tannehill all season long and if he continues to make the big plays when needed, this team may be a sleeper in the AFC.
- Detroit Lions (111 pts): The Lions are in some serious trouble after blowing a game to the Ravens at home om Monday night. With Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson choking throughout, Detroit now has a very good chance of missing the playoffs and need help to have any hope. Jim Schwartz’s days are clearly numbered as this team continues to under-perform.
- San Diego Chargers (103 pts): The Chargers executed a fantastic game plan from whistle to whistle, dominating the ball and running through the Bronco defense at will. The playoff hopes are fleeting, but alive, in San Diego thanks to a fantastic year from Philip Rivers, a healthy season from Ryan Mathews and the breakout emergence of Keenan Allen.
- Green Bay Packers (100 pts): The Packers easily could have mailed it in once it was revealed that Aaron Rodgers was likely out for the rest of the season and fell behind early in Dallas. Instead, they played hard, never quit and came back to shock the Cowboys, keeping themselves alive in the NFC North mix. If Rodgers can make it back, this team can quickly become an unlikely dangerous entry in January.
- Dallas Cowboys (96 pts): There is not much to say here other than mediocrity reigns supreme. This team can not get out of their own way when they need to and managed to piss away another winnable game when it mattered the most.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (83 pts): The Steelers don’t have much left to play for other than pride and to spoil the chances of the rivals, which is exactly what they did on Sunday night. This has been a bit of a lost season in Pittsburgh, but they still have plenty of offensive talent and the right leadership in place to quickly turn the ship around next year.
- St. Louis Rams (70 pts): The Rams may be 2013’s ultimate “What If” team. Their defense is quite good, as is their coaching staff, but their offense was not consistent enough to make them a true contender. Still, they beat, and embarrassed, some high quality teams, showing that there is a potential winner buried in their somewhere. Oh, and they also happen to own Washington’s upcoming draft pick, which will be at the very top of the draft. They may be poised to be 2014’s breakout team.
- New York Jets (66 pts): The Jets played hard into the fourth quarter but two big mistakes cost them the game, which has been the story of their season. Geno Smith has had a roller coaster year, but this much is clear: it will be hard to evaluate his full potential unless he has some legitimate weapons in place around him. Rex Ryan has earned another season as his team has played hard for him, plus another hard reboot is the last thing this wayward franchise needs for 2014.
- Tennessee Titans (66 pts): Tennessee made things very interesting with an improbable comeback late, but they couldn’t seal the deal, ending their playoff hopes along the way. The franchise is in a weird spot right now, as they clearly have plenty of talent, but is the coach and QB worth keeping around for another go? We are not sure if they learned enough about either in 2013.
- Cleveland Browns (60 pts): For the second week in a row, the Browns booted a very winnable game against a superior opponent. But, is that such a bad thing? This team needs to land marquee players, so a higher draft pick is the way to go.
- Buffalo Bills (49 pts): The Bills beat the Jaguars. Nothing to rejoice about as EJ Manuel did not have a great game as his up and down rookie campaign continues. Another year gone by in upstate New York with another top ten draft pick on deck. Can they finally cash in?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (47 pts): The Tampa Bay resurgence has come to a crashing halt, but that was to be expected based on the competition. With the right coach in place, this team can quickly become a contender again in 2014, thanks to a developing QB, a returning star running back, a star wide receiver and a rock solid defense.
- Minnesota Vikings (43 pts): Where the hell has this offensive outburst been hiding all season? Behind Matt Cassel, Matt Asiata and a reborn Greg Jennings, the Vikings ran wild at home, routing the Eagles in the biggest upset in a day full of them. Despite the good showing here, this team still needs to find a long-term answer at QB.
- New York Giants (39 pts): The nightmare continues as Eli Manning tossed another five picks, this time coming with zero touchdowns and under 200 yards, tying a record held by Mark Sanchez, which is never a good thing. There will be a lot of off-season questions for Big Blue and it will be very interesting to see how they are addressed.
- Oakland Raiders (30 pts): The Raiders had a solid day on offense. They also were destroyed on defense. The QB audition carousel continues to spin with neither competitor proving much at this point.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (30 pts): The Jags returned to their losing ways, a place they should call home for the next two weeks. They need quality draft picks, not hollow victories.
- Atlanta Falcons (28 pts): The Falcons won a crazy shootout with the Redskins but still need tons of help on defensive as well as the OL if they want to return to the class of the league.
- Washington Redskins (16 pts): Kirk Cousins had a very nice day. Unfortunately, that now leads to more questions than answers in DC.
- Houston Texans (8 pts): Another week, another sad outing for the Texans.
Biggest Rise: Miami Dolphins (+3)
Biggest Fall: Detroit Lions (-4)
PTB Game to Watch: New Orleans @ Carolina, FOX, Sunday, 1:00PM
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