NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys scrambles with the ball as safety Darren Sharper #42 of the New Orleans Saints looks to tackle him at the Louisiana Superdome on December 19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

This past weekend featured a number of upsets and last-minute victories, leaving us with eight teams battling for the final two playoff spots in the AFC.  It should be a fun last couple of weeks in the NFL.


1. (1) Indianapolis Colts (14-0)

Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis played sparingly, but the rest of the Colts starters played the entire game Thursday as Indy cleared its highest remaining hurdle along its journey to an undefeated regular season.

2. (6) San Diego Chargers (11-3)

In their most impressive win of the season, the Chargers took down the Bengals on a 52-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding with three seconds left.  San Diego has scored in 26 of its last 27 quarters.

3. (2) New Orleans Saints (13-1)

The Saints had been overcoming early game deficits all season to remain perfect, but their luck ran out on Saturday night when they couldn't bounce back from a 14-0 first-quarter hole against the Cowboys.


4. (3) Minnesota Vikings (11-3)

Just when Brett Favre was starting to get back into America's good graces, the quarterback challenged his coach's authority on the sideline by refusing to be pulled from the game against the Panthers because he was getting hit hard and not playing well.


5. (11) Dallas Cowboys (9-5)

In one of the most impressive victories in the NFL this season, the Cowboys went on the road into the hostile Superdome and ended the Saints' pursuit of perfection, while also stopping their highly-publicized December swoon.

6. (8) Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)

With a five-game winning streak, the Eagles are the hottest team in the NFC.


7. (4) Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)

An impressive effort on the road by a team dealing with the loss of a teammate came up just short as the Bengals fell on a last-second field goal at San Diego.


8. (5) Green Bay Packers (9-5)

The trend continues. The Packers drop to 0-5 when giving up at least 30 points.  They are 9-0 when they don't.


9. (9) Arizona Cardinals (9-5)

The Cardinals held off a late rally from the Lions, but Arizona lost two more fumbles and now leads the league in that category with 15.

10. (7) Denver Broncos (8-6)

You know a team doesn't belong in the playoffs when it loses at home in December to an Oakland squad using its second, third, and fourth-string quarterbacks.


11. (10) New York Giants (8-6)

That was the Giants' first road win since Oct. 4.  They'll probably need another big one at Minneapolis in two weeks to make the playoffs.


12. (12) New England Patriots (9-5)

It took until Dec. 20, but the Patriots finally won their first true road game.


13. (13) Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Over the past two weeks, Joe Flacco is 34 of 49 for 464 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.


14. (18) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

It's always fun to have your fantasy quarterback throw for 503 yards and three touchdowns the week after he helps eliminate you from the playoffs with a no-touchdown, eight-sack performance.

15. (19) Tennessee Titans (7-7)

Chris Johnson's streak of eight straight games with at least 113 rushing yards was snapped, but his streak of nine straight games with at least 104 rushing yards is still in tact.


16. (14) Miami Dolphins (7-7)

Yet another overtime game lost by the team that won the coin toss.  There is nothing wrong with this system.


17. (15) Atlanta Falcons (7-7)

Matt Ryan returned to lead the Falcons to a win at the Jets, but it was too little too late as the Cowboys' victory over the Saints the night before eliminated Atlanta from playoff contention.


18. (16) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7)

The Colts didn't rest their starters, and now the Jags will almost definitely have to win their final two games—both on the road and one at New England —to get into the playoffs.  I don't like their chances.


19. (17) New York Jets (7-7)

With games against Indy and Cincy coming up, the Jets are another 7-7 AFC team without a good shot at the playoffs.


20. (20) Houston Texans (7-7)

Andre Johnson's 223-yard advantage on Reggie Wayne for the NFL receiving lead is a wider gap than the difference between Wayne and 17th place Marques Colston.


21. (23) Carolina Panthers (6-8)

Carolina has actually only lost to one losing team this season.

22. (28) Oakland Raiders (5-9)

For the third time this year, the Raiders failed to pass for 70 yards, yet they still managed to win at Denver.


23. (21) San Francisco 49ers (6-8)

The Niners have alternated wins and losses for the past seven weeks, and that streak should continue versus Detroit this Sunday.


24. (22) Buffalo Bills (5-9)

Is Terrell Owens still in the league?


25. (24) Chicago Bears (5-9)

The Bears haven't beaten a winning team all season.


26. (25) Seattle Seahawks (5-9)

Another team without a victory over a winning squad.


27. (29) Cleveland Browns (3-11)

Joshua Cribbs and Jerome Harrison, who were ranked 289th and 172nd, respectively, on Yahoo's preseason fantasy list, combined for 603 all-purpose yards on Sunday.  Then again, it was against the Chiefs.


28. (26) Kansas City Chiefs (3-11)

KC has given up more than 40 points in three of its past four games.


29. (27) Washington Redskins (4-10)

After five straight competitive games, the 'Skins laid a complete egg on Monday night against the Giants, summed up by the ridiculous swinging gate fake field goal heave to end the first half.


30. (32) Tampa Bay Bucs (2-12)

The secret to the Bucs' success is scoring 24 points.  They're 2-0 when they reach that mark.


31. (30) St. Louis Rams (1-13)

It makes sense that the Rams' quarterback is named Null.


32. (31) Detroit Lions (2-12)

The Lions will attempt to snap a 19-game road losing streak when they travel to San Francisco this weekend.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book "Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man" is available at , , and .

Jordan can be reached at


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