NFL Power Rankings: Complete Standings for All 32 Teams Entering Week 17

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NFL Power Rankings: Complete Standings for All 32 Teams Entering Week 17
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With Week 17 approaching, there are only 16 more regular-season games in the NFL before the playoffs officially begin.

Time flies when you're having fun, at least for some teams.

Currently, all four division titles have been clinched in the AFC, while none have been locked up in the NFC.  In total, there are four playoff spots remaining around the league, which means that there will still be some very exciting games to watch in the final week of the season.

Below is a complete list of power rankings for all 32 teams heading into Week 17, breaking them down and explaining why they're ranked where they are.

 

32. Houston Texans

At this point, no one should be surprised with the Houston Texans being ranked last.  After starting the year with two thrilling wins, the Texans have lost 13 straight games, and they will be looking at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

For the Texans, they will likely be taking a quarterback with the first pick, and if they can land a good one, then they could turn things around very quickly next season.

 

31. Washington

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This is a season that Washington fans are going to want to forget about.  All of the drama surrounding Robert Griffin III made this season a tough one to watch, especially since the team kept losing football games.

But the quarterback situation wasn't the big concern with Washington this year.  The team struggled to protect its franchise player, and on the other side of the ball Mike Shanahan's squad couldn't stop anyone defensively.

Washington may have gone to the playoffs in 2012, but it will need to fix a lot of things to have any chance at making a run in the NFC East next year.

 

30. Cleveland Browns

That inspired Cleveland Browns team that won three straight games after the Trent Richardson game is long gone.  The 24-13 loss to the New York Jets proved that, as it was their sixth straight loss and ninth in the last 10 games.

Still, the defense has looked decent this season, and with a reliable starting quarterback in 2014 throwing to Josh Gordon, this team could start improving very quickly.

 

29. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons were so close to pulling off the incredible upset against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football, but that late interception killed any hopes of that happening.

With healthy weapons next year, the offense will be in good shape.  But the defense is still very much a work in process, as it has allowed 385.8 yards and 28.1 points per game, ranking 28th and 29th in the league, respectively.

 

28. Oakland Raiders

A lot of fans wanted to believe that Matt McGloin would be the answer at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, but the past five games have shown that they need to find a quarterback in the draft this May.

The Raiders have exceeded expectations this season, at least from a talent perspective.  Several defensive players have emerged as long-term options, which means that they can start to build this team up once again if they can continue to find solid pieces on both sides of the ball.

 

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

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I have to give some credit to the Jacksonville Jaguars here.  Everyone thought they'd win two games at the most this season, but they've finished the year relatively strong, going 4-3 since their bye week.

However, the Jaguars did play themselves out of the No. 1 draft pick, and some fans are beginning to think that Chad Henne is an acceptable starting quarterback.  This shouldn't be the mentality in Jacksonville, as the Jaguars need to find a franchise quarterback before they focus on anything else.

 

26. Minnesota Vikings

The good news for the Minnesota Vikings is that they haven't lost two games in a row since Week 9, but the bad news is that they're still just 4-10-1 and have a lot of holes entering the offseason.

The clear need is at quarterback, but the defense needs a ton of help as well.  The Vikings rank dead last in pass and scoring defense, giving up 294.4 yards  and 31.1 points per game.  Even the best of quarterbacks will struggle to help the Vikings win if their team keeps allowing more than 30 points per game.

 

25. Tennessee Titans

The fact that the Tennessee Titans are second in the AFC South at 6-9 just shows that they're in the worst division in the league.  The fact that they struggled to pull out a win over the Jaguars pretty much says it all.

There's the potential for a lot of big changes for the Titans over the offseason.  The defense has some solid players to build around, but the offense is a big question mark, and there could be plenty of new faces on that side of the ball.

 

24. New York Giants

A late postseason push wasn't in the cards for the New York Giants, but that didn't keep them from showing up and pulling off a big upset this past week over the Detroit Lions, eliminating their opponents from the playoff race.

Eli Manning has received a ton of criticism this season for his league-high 26 interceptions, but it's not all his fault.  He has a very ugly offensive line that will need to get some help over the offseason in order to make Eli look like his old self.

 

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The change at quarterback a couple of months ago seems to have been the right move, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have appeared to find their long-term option at quarterback in Mike Glennon.  He's had a promising rookie season, completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,389 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

With a potential franchise quarterback in Glennon, the Buccaneers can focus on building around him.  This gives the team a great opportunity to start improving over the next couple of seasons, and they could become a playoff-caliber squad in the near future.

 

22. New York Jets

Although the New York Jets have gone 7-8 and exceeded expectations, it's unlikely that Rex Ryan will be the head coach year, and this team could be starting from scratch once again.

Geno Smith has seriously struggled in his rookie campaign with 21 interceptions and only 12 touchdowns, but he deserves at least some slack.  There are no weapons offensively for Smith to work with, and he's had to try to make plays on his own to keep the offense moving.

 

21. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions were looking like the favorite to win the NFC North title after their dominant 40-10 win on Thanksgiving, but this team has completely collapsed.  Not only have they lost three straight games, but they've also gone 1-5 to be eliminated from the playoffs with one week to go.

That's rough.

Looking at the rest of the league, the Lions are arguably one of the most talented teams out there.  But ugly penalties and a ton of drops aren't going to win football games, regardless of the level of talent.

 

20. Buffalo Bills

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While this season has been an incredibly successful one for the Buffalo Bills, there are a lot of things to be excited for as they continue rebuilding.

Despite the injuries, E.J. Manuel looks like a solid quarterback when healthy, and he has plenty of weapons to work with on offense.  The defense still has a bit of work to do, but the emergence of Kiko Alonso has been huge, and that 6-9 record should look a lot different around this time in 2014.

 

19. Green Bay Packers

By some minor miracle, the Green Bay Packers are still in the playoff hunt despite the fact that Aaron Rodgers hasn't played a snap since the first quarter of Week 9.  Including that game, the Packers have gone 2-5-1 over the past eight games, but if they can win in Week 17, then they'll be in the playoffs.

The status of Rodgers is still completely up in the air, which isn't the best news for Packers fans.  Still, all they have to do is win one game and they're in, even if there are a number of holes on this team, particularly defensively.

 

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

A critical win against the Packers has the Pittsburgh Steelers still in the playoff race, but they're going to need to win next week and hope for three other teams to lose in order to get in.

Considering the fact that the Steelers started the season at 0-4, that has to be considered a victory for this season.  Ben Roethlisberger has refused to give up on this team, and with some added pieces on the offensive line over the offseason, they could push the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC North title again.

 

17. St. Louis Rams

Without Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams have still looked like a solid football team.  They've gone 7-8 this year, yet they are still in last place in the NFC West, showing just how tough of a division the Rams play in.

With 18 sacks, Robert Quinn is making a very strong case for the Defensive Player of the Year award, and the Rams have an incredibly underrated front seven with him, including Chris Long and others.  The offense is adding some nice pieces as well with players like Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin, which means that this could be a very dangerous football team for the next few years.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys

With one more win, the Dallas Cowboys could be in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.  But they may have to do so without starting quarterback Tony Romo.  While there was talk that he could possibly be done for the season, the NFL: Around the League Twitter account is saying that the Cowboys are waiting to see if an epidural injection will help Romo:

Even if Romo is able to play, the Cowboys will struggle to stop the Philadelphia Eagles with how bad their defense has played this season.  They've allowed 418.6 yards and 27.2 points per game, and that could be a huge problem against an offense with as much firepower as the one the Eagles have.

 

15. Miami Dolphins

Issues with the offensive line re-emerged this past week, as Ryan Tannehill was sacked seven times in the loss to the Bills.  The Miami Dolphins are still in the playoff race, but that's a major concern with one game remaining.

Despite the lack of a quality offensive line, Tannehill has developed nicely in his second year, even without much help from the offensive line.  With some added protection in 2014, the Dolphins could be a favorite to grab a wild-card spot.

 

14. Baltimore Ravens

A 41-7 loss hurt the Baltimore Ravens' chances at a wild-card spot, as they now have to win a very tough game against the Bengals next week and hope for either a loss from the Dolphins or Bengals to play in the postseason.

Before giving up 41 points, the Ravens had been very solid defensively this season.  The big problem this year has been the offense, with Joe Flacco struggling and the running game averaging 3.1 yards per carry.

 

13. San Diego Chargers

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The San Diego Chargers are hot right now, winning three straight and four of their last five, including a very impressive 27-20 win over the Denver Broncos.  They're currently 8-7, and with some luck, they could be the third AFC West team in the playoffs.

With Philip Rivers throwing for 4,249 yards and 29 touchdowns, the offensive has been in great shape all year.  The defense may have struggled to start the year, but it hasn't allowed more than 20 points in five of the last six games.  If the Chargers can somehow get into the playoffs, they have a shot to pull off some big upsets.

 

12. Chicago Bears

With the NFC North title in sight, all the Chicago Bears had to do this past week was win and they would be in the playoffs.  Instead, they lost 54-11, giving up 514 total yards and 289 on the ground.

Even a healthy Jay Cutler can't keep the defense from giving up so many points and yards.  If the Bears can't get things together, then their season isn't going to last much longer.

 

11. Kansas City Chiefs

If you look at the Kansas City Chiefs' schedule this season, you'll notice that although they're 11-4, they've beaten just one team all year with a winning record.

The Chiefs are cooling down at the end of the season, and that's the exact opposite of what any playoff team wants to do.  The defense has been exposed since the bye week, giving up 27.8 points per game over the past six games.  

Jamaal Charles is having an MVP-caliber season, but the Chiefs have to prove that they can beat good teams once the playoffs begin if they want to have a shot at going to the Super Bowl.

 

10. Indianapolis Colts

It's been a wild season for the Indianapolis Colts, especially since losing Reggie Wayne, but two straight wins and another AFC South title have this team going in the right direction.

The big news recently has been the emergence of both Griff Whalen and Da'Rick Rogers.  With Wayne injured and Darrius Heyward-Bay incapable of consistently catching the football, Andrew Luck hasn't had a ton of reliable options to throw to.  But with Whalen and Rogers, they've helped get the offense going again, and they will be crucial to a deep playoff run for the Colts.

 

9. Philadelphia Eagles

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Any time you can score 54 points in a game, you're obviously doing something right, even against a bad defense like the one the Bears have.  Chip Kelly's offense has successfully made the transition to the NFL, with Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy fitting perfectly in the new scheme.

Thanks to a 6-1 run, the Eagles can win the NFC East with a win over the Cowboys.  The Eagles have done a terrific job of staying healthy all season, and that will be a big factor in their success if they go to the playoffs.

 

8. Arizona Cardinals

It's very impressive to see what Bruce Arians has done in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals.  A 10-5 record with a 7-1 run has given the Cardinals hope, but it will be very hard for them to make the playoffs, even if they do finish with 11 wins.

There's still a lot to be happy with this season.  The defense has been outstanding, even without Tyrann Mathieu, and the offense has made big plays with very little help from the offensive line.  Carson Palmer might not be the best quarterback, but he could be a lot better if he wasn't always throwing under pressure.

 

7. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have officially taken the AFC North title, and now they will be looking for a first-round bye with a win and some help from the New England Patriots.

Of course, this team's postseason success will depend on Andy Dalton, who has been so inconsistent this season.  But when he's hot, he's one of the best in the league, as he's completed 64.8 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in the team's 10 wins.  

As long as Dalton can find ways to get A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard involved, the Bengals could finally get another playoff win and maybe even more than one.

 

6. New England Patriots

Even without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots were able to go against a tough Ravens defense and torch it for 41 points.  With one more game to play, the Patriots have a good shot at clinching a first-round bye, focusing on getting healthy and trying to make another Super Bowl run.

The Patriots have been criticized for their offense all season, but this is Tom Brady we're talking about.  Even if he doesn't have all of his weapons, he will still find ways to put the Patriots in a position to win games.

 

5. San Francisco 49ers

They nearly lost their last game at Candlestick Park, but the 49ers found a way to pull off the win and clinch a playoff spot, which is all they were worried about entering Week 16.

The 49ers are getting healthy as the season ends, with Michael Crabtree back in action and helping make plays in the passing game.  With an improved passing game along with a reliable rushing attack and strong defense, the 49ers match up well against any team heading into the playoffs.

 

4. New Orleans Saints

A loss to the Carolina Panthers may have cost the New Orleans Saints the NFC South title, but you can't knock them too much for losing a game in the pouring rain against one of the best teams in football.

Still, potentially losing the division title means that the Saints will likely have to play all of their playoff games on the road.  The Saints are just 3-5 away from the Superdome, and while they have a great team, these struggles away from home are very concerning.

 

3. Seattle Seahawks

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The Seattle Seahawks lost their first regular-season home game since 2011.  While a loss to the Cardinals was a tough one to swallow, the good news for the Seahawks is that they still have one of the best teams in football along with a 12-3 record and a good chance of home-field advantage in the playoffs.

While their defense is the best in the league, the Seahawks offense struggled against the Cardinals, putting up just 192 total yards.  The NFC is filled with tough defenses, so this will be something to keep an eye on once the playoffs begin.

 

2. Carolina Panthers

I'm seriously tempted to put the Panthers at No. 1 in this week's power rankings, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  That's not to say that this isn't one of the best teams in the league, because they most certainly are, and even the Seahawks should be afraid of them coming out of the NFC.

With a top-tier defense and a star quarterback in Cam Newton, the Panthers do a lot of things right.  The only reason I have them at No. 2 is because their offense isn't as explosive as it could be, but imagine how scary this team will be if it adds some wide receivers in the NFL draft.

 

Which team is the best in the NFL right now?

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1. Denver Broncos

There's that old saying that defense wins championships, but it's certainly hard to stop a team with an offense that scores 38.1 points per game.

Peyton Manning is having arguably the most impressive season that any NFL quarterback has ever had, throwing for 5,211 yards and 51 touchdowns through 15 games.  With weapons like Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Eric Decker along with Knowshon Moreno in the backfield, this offense is truly deadly.

While the defense may not be where the Broncos would like it to be, it doesn't have to be perfect as long as Manning keeps tearing opponents apart in the passing game.

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