NFL Power Rankings: 3 Teams Peaking at the Perfect Time

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IDecember 17, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: 3 Teams Peaking at the Perfect Time

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    Three NFC teams that are peaking at the right time have made big jumps in our Week 16 NFL power rankings. 

    The Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys have combined to win 11 straight games, and each team now controls its destiny for a playoff spot in the NFC. 

    The Seahawks can still win the NFC West, the Redskins are in the driver's seat in the NFC East and the Cowboys can win out and clinch a postseason bid. 

    In the following slides, we'll present our newest power rankings and break down the three teams that are peaking at the right time. 

Power Rankings 16-32

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    32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)

    31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

    30. Oakland Raiders (4-10)

    29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)

    28. Detroit Lions (4-10)

    27. Tennessee Titans (4-9)

    26. Buffalo Bills (5-9)

    25. Arizona Cardinals (5-9)

    24. San Diego Chargers (5-9)

    23. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

    22. Cleveland Browns (5-9)

    21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

    20. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)

    19. New York Jets (6-7)

    18. New Orleans Saints (6-8)

    17. Miami Dolphins (6-8)

    16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

Power Rankings 15-1

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    15. Chicago Bears (8-6)

    14. Minnesota Vikings (8-6)

    13. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

    12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

    11. Indianapolis Colts (9-5)

    10. New York Giants (8-6)

    9. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

    8. Washington Redskins (8-6)

    7.  Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

    6. Green Bay Packers (10-4)

    5. New England Patriots (10-4)

    4. Houston Texans (12-2)

    3. Denver Broncos (11-3)

    2. Atlanta Falcons (12-2)

    1. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1)

8. Washington Redskins (8-6)

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    While the New York Giants have suffered through a 2-4 stretch over the last six games, Washington has rescued what looked like a lost season early on. The Redskins have won five straight games after starting 3-6, and now sit atop the NFC East.

    Two wins to finish the season (at Philadelphia, vs. Dallas) guarantees a playoff spot for the Redskins. Washington figures to have Robert Griffin III (knee) back for the last stretch, too. 

7. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

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    The Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills are obviously not the cream of the crop in the NFL, but scoring 50 or more points in back-to-back games is a rare feat that highlights just how well Seattle is playing right now. 

    The Seahawks have outscored their last two opponents 108-17.

    But maybe the scariest part of playing the Seahawks right now is the recent play of Russell Wilson, who is probably the new front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Wilson has thrown exactly one interception over the last six games, while also scoring a total of 14 touchdowns and compiling a passer rating over 110.0. 

12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

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    When the Cowboys lost in Atlanta in Week 9 to drop to 3-5, most people wrote off this team as just another Dallas disappointment. A hyped team with no results to show for it, the Cowboys had earned that title. 

    Since then, however, Dallas has finally made good on some of the hype. 

    The Cowboys have won five of six games, including Sunday's 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, Dallas can win its last two games and lock itself into a playoff spot. 

    Games with New Orleans and at Washington will test that opportunity, but at least the Cowboys have given themselves a chance to be relevant in January.