NFL Power Rankings: Complete Standings Heading into Week 16

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NFL Power Rankings: Complete Standings Heading into Week 16
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The NFL regular season is nearly over, and with Week 16 starting up this Sunday, we're getting a very good idea of where all 32 teams stand heading into the playoffs.

What makes the NFL such a great league is the fact that any team can get hot, just like any team can quickly fall.  The team with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft has already clinched a playoff spot, while a number of playoff teams from last season are looking at top draft picks this May.

Below is a complete power rankings list for all 32 teams.  Rankings are based off the team's record, overall performance and whether or not it has been playing well recently.  

So, with Week 16 starting up, let's get into it.

 

32. Houston Texans (2-12)

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Houston Texans started the season off with two exciting wins?  That team is long gone, as the Texans have now lost 12 straight and have the worst record in football.

It's really hard to explain a collapse like this after how well the Texans played last season.  The good news is now they can focus on bringing in some top-tier talent for next year and hope to quickly turn things around.  Considering the fact that they're playing in the AFC South, that shouldn't be too hard to do.

 

31. Washington (3-11)

The fact that Washington benched Robert Griffin III pretty much sums up how this season has gone for the team.  But that's not the only thing these guys have had problems with this year.

Washington is a mess defensively.  Overall, it's allowing 362.7 yards and 31 points per game, with the latter being the worst mark in the league.  The news has been littered with talk about Mike Shanahan and Dan Snyder's potential disagreements, making this a season most Washington fans would like to forget.

 

30. Atlanta Falcons (4-10)

Three playoff teams from 2012 start this week's power rankings at the bottom of the list, and that's crazy to think about considering how well they all played.  The Atlanta Falcons have been especially disappointing, considering the fact that many liked them as a potential Super Bowl contender coming out of the NFC.

Instead, injuries have killed the season for the Falcons, with big names like Julio Jones and Kroy Biermann going on injured reserve while other guys have been banged up and missed significant time as well.  Matt Ryan has tried to carry the team, but considering the Falcons rank last in rushing offense with just 79.3 yards per game, it's really hard for them to get anything done offensively.

The good news is that the Falcons can look ahead to a fresh start next season, hopefully with a big defensive prospect like Jadeveon Clowney or Anthony Barr to help lift their defense.

 

29. Cleveland Browns (4-10)

The Cleveland Browns have slowly fallen down the rankings once again.  That inspiring three-game win streak they had after trading away Trent Richardson is long gone, with the team going 1-8 since and going through a number of quarterbacks.

There is hope for the future, however.  The defense is looking pretty solid, allowing just 328.9 total yards per game, and with a new quarterback in 2014, the Browns could try to take advantage of a weaker AFC North.

 

28. Oakland Raiders (4-10)

Matt McGloin is not the answer.  Neither is Terrelle Pryor.  If the Oakland Raiders want to have a winning season, they need to find a solid quarterback, even if there are other concerns with this football team.

The defense has been bad as well lately, allowing a total of 124 points over the past three games.  The Raiders' only win over the past seven weeks came against the Texans, and with inconsistent quarterback play and team play in general, Oakland has been a disappointment once again.

 

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)

It's time to give credit where credit is due.  The Jacksonville Jaguars refuse to give up on the season, going 4-2 over the past six weeks.  With the severe lack of talent on this team, the coaching staff deserves praise for helping lead it down the stretch.

Still, this great play may be taking the Jaguars out of the running for a top draft pick, potentially hurting their chances at grabbing a franchise quarterback.  With Marcus Mariota staying at Oregon and Teddy Bridgewater still waiting to make a decision, there may be few top-tier quarterbacks to choose from, and that could be bad news for the Jaguars.

 

26. New York Giants (5-9)

Looking back at it, that four-game win streak wasn't very impressive considering the teams the New York Giants played.  With the team already eliminated from the playoff hunt, the Giants will have to take a long look at what went wrong.

Eli Manning certainly deserves a lot of blame with 25 interceptions thrown this season, including five last week against the Seattle Seahawks.  But it's not all his fault, as his offensive line has failed to protect him, with Manning constantly being under pressure.  

Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has the Giants as the second-worst pass-blocking team in the league, and that will need to change if they want to turn things around next season.

 

25. Tennessee Titans (5-9)

Nothing is going well for the Tennessee Titans this season.  Jake Locker wasn't able to stay healthy, and the team as a whole is failing to get things done, going just 2-8 over the past 10 games.

On defense, however, some players are starting to emerge as real talents.  Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug have been impressive on the defensive line, while Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty have done a very nice job in the secondary.  These are the pieces this team will need to build around in order to make a push in the AFC South over the next couple of years.

 

24. Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1)

With a 3-2-1 record over the past six weeks, things aren't looking as bad as they were at the beginning of the season for the Minnesota Vikings.  But the quarterback situation still hasn't been resolved, and it will be interesting to see what they do over the offseason.

The other situation they will have to look at is regarding their defense.  Considering the fact that they're allowing 406.5 yards and 30.4 points per game, something is going to need to change if the Vikings want to become a playoff-caliber team once again.

 

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)

After starting 0-8, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone 4-2 since, and they've found a long-term option at quarterback in the process.

Mike Glennon has thrown for 2,231 yards, 17 touchdowns and just eight interceptions this season, and considering the fact that he came in with very low expectations, it's hard not to be impressed with what he's done so far.  If the organization can bring in some help on the offensive line and another weapon for Glennon to throw to, this could be a good team next year.

 

22. New York Jets (6-8)

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The New York Jets may have exceeded expectations this year, but that doesn't keep it from still being a very bad season.  They've gone just 1-4 since their bye week, and the offense is failing to get the job done.

Geno Smith has been very bad this year, throwing 21 interceptions while recording seven fumbles and completing just 55.3 percent of his passes.  But he is only a rookie, and he has no help around him.  The Jets still have a ways to go before they can challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC East, and this season has proved that.

 

21. Buffalo Bills (5-9)

Being a Buffalo Bills fan has to be tough.  It seems like they build up a lot of hype heading into every season, only to quickly crumble down the stretch, much like they have this season, going 3-7 over the past 10 games.

Still, there are a lot of young talents on offense.  EJ Manuel will hopefully be able to stay healthy next season, and with guys like C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson, the Bills could be fun to watch.

 

20. St. Louis Rams (6-8)

Even without Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams are finding ways to pull off big wins.  They've won three of their last five games, with big wins coming over the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

The front seven for the Rams looks like one of the best in football, and there are some weapons to like on offense.  With Bradford back next year and some likely draft picks spent on help in the secondary, the Rams could be a contender in the NFC West, which has arguably become the best division in the NFL.

 

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19. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)

Seriously, how do you blow a 23-point lead against a team that doesn't even have its starting quarterback?

Tony Romo may have thrown two interceptions late in the game, but the play-calling was the big issue in the second half.  Despite DeMarco Murray averaging 7.4 yards per carry in the game, the Dallas Cowboys decided to almost completely abandon the running game, with Romo throwing 48 times.

Jason Garrett may think his job is safe, but it shouldn't be after a game like that one.

 

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)

That 30-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals was a big one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as it seemed like almost everything went right for them.  While Ben Roethlisberger is making some big plays in the passing game, there are still some big concerns elsewhere.

The Steelers rank 31st in rushing offense, averaging just 79.4 yards per game on the ground, and the defense just doesn't look the same.  This team will need to add some more young talent on that side of the ball if they want to keep their reputation as being a tough, physical football team.

 

17. Detroit Lions (7-7)

The Detroit Lions have done a fantastic job of shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalties and plenty of drops, even from Calvin Johnson.  You can have all of the talent in the world (and the Lions certainly do), but you can't win football games with sloppy play, and their recent 1-5 streak accurately shows that.

Matthew Stafford will need to stop making bad decisions with the football, and the wide receivers will need to stop dropping the ball if the Lions want to have any shot of making the playoffs this year.  The Lions are more talented than 90 percent of the teams in the league; they just need to prove it with more wins.

 

16. Green Bay Packers (7-6-1)

Somehow, even without Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are still in the hunt for the NFC North title.  If they can win their final two games, they will be in the playoffs, but that's no guarantee considering whom they're playing.

The Packers will be without Rodgers once again this week, according to Bob McGinn from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  According to McGinn, Mike McCarthy had this to say about Rodgers in his press conference on Friday:

A lot of conversation. Everybody involved. But, as an organization, we feel that we are not ready for him to play. He's not medically cleared.

We've got two different circumstances here. We've got Aaron Rodgers' health, and obviously where we are as a football team.

With just two games remaining, the Packers will be hoping that Matt Flynn can lead them to victory at least for one more week.

 

15. San Diego Chargers (7-7)

I really have no idea what to think about the San Diego Chargers.  They've played so well over the season, but at the same time they have some very ugly losses.

The offense has carried this team and made it very fun to watch.  Philip Rivers has thrown 28 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, but the defense needs to help the offense out more often.

If the Chargers didn't play in the AFC West, they'd probably be in the playoff race, but they could be a serious threat in the next year or two if they can get some help on defense.

 

14. Indianapolis Colts (9-5)

Although the Indianapolis Colts might have been the first team to lock up its division title, they have a lot of things to be worried about heading into the playoffs.

Without Reggie Wayne, this offense has seriously struggled, and Andrew Luck has had to look at new weapons to throw to.  Recently, however, two young receivers have emerged in Griff Whalen and Da'Rick Rogers.  The two may be overhyped at this point, but fans are rooting for them because they have to.  If those two don't start making plays, then who will?

They've had some tough losses recently, but the Colts proved at the beginning of the year that they were capable of beating top-tier teams.  Can they start doing that again in time for the playoffs?  We will just have to wait and see.

 

13. Miami Dolphins (8-6)

It might seem crazy, but it looks like the whole situation regarding Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito has actually strengthened this team and brought it together, as it has now won four of its last five games, including a big one over the Patriots.

It's been a very good year for Ryan Tannehill, as he's started to develop quite nicely as a quarterback in just his second season.  He's completed 62.4 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, posting a passer rating of 86.6.

Pass protection will be a hot topic this offseason, but overall the Miami Dolphins are still playing well enough to be in the playoff hunt.

 

12. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Don't look now, but the Baltimore Ravens have suddenly won four straight and five of their last six games.  It hasn't been as pretty as last season, but the team is finally meshing well, and the Ravens are getting hot at exactly the right time.

For as much attention as the defense got over the offseason, it has been very good this year, allowing just 19.8 points per game.  The offense still might not be where the team wants, but if Joe Flacco and Ray Rice can start turning it on over the next two games, this is a team that's capable of making a deep playoff run once again.

 

11. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)

With an opportunity to put things away in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles messed up with a 48-30 loss to the Vikings.  The defense has been gashed, and considering the fact it's giving up 402.4 yards per game, something is going to need to change, and fast.

Chip Kelly's offense will keep the Eagles in it, however.  The Eagles have the best rushing attack in the league, averaging 152.9 yards per game, and Nick Foles is still red-hot.  Week 17 will be the big one, as the Eagles and Cowboys will be playing for what could very well be the division title.

 

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10. Chicago Bears (8-6)

Jay Cutler is back, and you can bet that he really wants the NFC North title.  He may have been rusty to start the game against the Cleveland Browns, but he still finished with 265 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, this offense is going to be very scary in the playoffs.  But the run defense is a huge weakness for the Bears, and it could be their downfall as the season winds down.

 

9. Arizona Cardinals (9-5)

Think about how well the Arizona Cardinals have played this season.  Now imagine how much better they would be if they could actually protect the quarterback.  Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has the Cardinals as the worst pass-blocking team in the league, and that's a big reason why they haven't reached their full potential.

The injury to Tryrann Mathieu was a huge blow to the defense, and now they will need others to step up.  Fortunately, their defense has played very well this year, and others like Jerraud Powers and Patrick Peterson should keep things in check for the secondary.

 

8. New England Patriots (10-4)

Things have not looked good recently for the Patriots, and things were clearly much worse without Rob Gronkowski this past week, which isn't good news as the playoffs near.  They've gone 3-2 over the past two games, winning those three games by a total of just seven points.

Tom Brady is going to have to find others to get the ball, but he's already had to do this a number of times this season.  This may not be his best season, but he's still one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and could turn things around for the Patriots in a hurry.

 

7. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)

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While the Cincinnati Bengals have been a very good team for most of the season, they really need to find a way to be consistent.  More specifically, Andy Dalton is going to need to figure out how to be a consistent quarterback.

In wins, Dalton has completed 64 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, giving him a 103.0 passer rating.  But in losses, that passer rating is just 67.7 with six touchdowns and nine picks.

This is a very strong team with few glaring weaknesses, but if Dalton can't play well in time for the playoffs, the Bengals could be facing yet another early exit.

 

6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)

While the San Francisco 49ers haven't gotten as much love as they got last season, they're still a very good football team.  In fact, they've only had two bumps in the road this season, losing back-to-back games in both, but coming up with big win streaks after each.

The defense is solid, and the run game is doing well, but the big concern for the 49ers throughout most of the season has been the passing attack.  Fortunately for them, Michael Crabtree has finally returned, and with another weapon on offense, this is one of the scariest teams in football once again.

 

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

After going 0-3 after their bye week, the Kansas City Chiefs have turned things around a bit with two straight wins.  But those came against the Redskins and Raiders, and the competition is going to be much tougher in the playoffs.

Surprisingly, the offense has been the big story over the past few weeks instead of the defense.  It has scored 101 points over the past two games, with Jamaal Charles putting up 383 total yards and seven total touchdowns in the process.  But the defense is going to need to play like it was at the beginning of the season, because it is unlikely that the offense will keep up this pace heading into the postseason.

 

4. Carolina Panthers (10-4)

The eight-game win streak may have ended in Week 14, but the Carolina Panthers are still 9-1 over their past 10 games and are one of the hottest teams in football right now.

The Panthers are second in yards and points allowed, giving up just 296.3 yards and 14.9 points per game.  Meanwhile, Cam Newton leads an efficient offense that helps put his team in the position to pull out wins.  He doesn't have the best weapons, but with how well this team is playing, that doesn't seem to be a major problem, at least for now.

 

3. New Orleans Saints (10-4)

That wasn't the same New Orleans Saints team that we're used to seeing that lost to the Rams, and I don't expect that to happen again.

The Saints will be in good shape with Drew Brees throwing the ball to Jimmy Graham.  On the other side of the ball, Rob Ryan has turned the defense completely around this season, and that's what has been the big difference this year.  The Saints are a much more balanced team in 2013, and they're one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl out of the NFC.

 

2. Denver Broncos (11-3)

I'm not going to put too much into the loss against the San Diego Chargers.  Divisional rivals are always capable of grabbing a game and pulling off an upset.  The Denver Broncos are still one of the best teams in football, and they definitely have the best offense in the league.

Averaging 453.4 yards and 38.2 points per game, the Broncos blow out all other teams in the NFL in terms of offense.  With Peyton Manning under center, this team can do anything offensively, and he's just three touchdowns away from tying Tom Brady's record for passing touchdowns in a season.

While the defense isn't where the Broncos would like, that offense should be able to lead the Broncos to a deep playoff run in a relatively weak conference this year.

 

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-2)

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When it comes down to it, there simply isn't a more talented team in the NFL than the Seahawks, even with a "depleted" secondary that's without Brandon Browner or Walter Thurmond, who will be back in time for the playoffs.

The offense isn't the flashiest in the league, but Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch still lead one of the most efficient attacks out there.  Meanwhile, the defense ranks first in both major categories, allowing just 279.5 yards and 14.6 points per game.

If the Seahawks get home-field advantage in the playoffs, it will be almost impossible to stop them.  They've gone 14-0 at home over the past two seasons, and it will be hard for any team to take them down in front of the 12th man.

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