Week 16 has come and gone and we now know the six teams that will represent the NFC in the playoffs, though the Saints are the only team to know the seed they will finish with. In the AFC, the division winners are set, but both wildcards are up for grabs with the Ravens and Jets having the least confusing path; win and they’re in. Here are the power rankings heading into the final week of the regular season.
1. Indianapolis Colts (1): Having just one loss keeps them at the top, but don’t be fooled, the Chargers are possibly the best team in the league right now.
2. San Diego Chargers (3): The Bolts are my favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl right now. Everyone is clicking on all cylinders.
3. New Orleans Saints (2): Losing to the Cowboys – acceptable. Losing to the Bucs – cause for concern. New Orleans must get it together next week or else head into the playoffs on a three game skid.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4): One of the most explosive offenses in the league. One of five teams that can legitimately make a Super Bowl run in the NFC.
5. Dallas Cowboys (6): Solid win against division rival Washington. Not convinced this team can make much noise in the playoffs.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (7): Clinched the division title just days after WR Chris Henry’s funeral. If my team can’t win the Super Bowl, then I’m jumping on the Bengals bandwagon.
7. New England Patriots (9): Yup, Randy Moss is a quitter. He quit giving people reasons to doubt him.
8. Arizona Cardinals (8): Unless they have a legitimate chance to move up to the second seed next week, don’t expect them to play their starters against the Packers, as they do not want to give anything away against a potential playoff opponent.
9. Minnesota Vikings (5): Finally playing like I thought they would. This team is good in almost every area, but aren’t great in any.
10. Green Bay Packers (10): When they are on top of their game, they might be the best team in the NFL. That offense is scary good.
11. Baltimore Ravens (11): Penalties have cost this team multiple games. Good news is all they have to do is beat the Raiders and they’re in the playoffs. Bad news is, four playoff teams or contenders have already lost to Oakland.
12. Denver Broncos (13): From 6-0 to 8-7. They’ve already won more games than I thought they would, but even after 6-0 I wasn’t convinced they were a playoff team.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (18): The Steelers jump up quite a few spots with their win. They need help to get in as the six seed, but we all know what happened last time they were the six seed.
14. Houston Texans (17): Houston has hope for the playoffs but needs a lot of help. Either way, they could get their first winning season in franchise history. WR Andre Johnson has to be the best in the league.
15. New York Giants (12): Officially eliminated from the playoffs. At least they gave the fans a good performance in the final home game in Giant Stadium… Oh, wait.
16. New York Jets (20): Playoffs? Believe it or not (despite what Rex Ryan says), a win against the Bengals, and the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets are in.
17. Tennessee Titans (14): They came up just a bit short of the playoffs, but they showed a lot of heart after an 0-6 start.
18. Carolina Panthers (21): Two weeks in a row they have dominated with backup QB Matt Moore and backup RB Jonathan Stewart. Seems like Jake Delhomme’s days in Carolina may be over.
19. Atlanta Falcons (19): Injuries to Michael Turner and Matt Ryan really hurt this team. Expect them to make a run next season.
20. Miami Dolphins (16): Facing a 27-0 deficit was just too much to overcome for QB Chad Henne.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (15): Not the performance you expect from a team with playoff aspirations. This team needs some consistency from the wide receiver position.
22. San Francisco 49ers (22): Just imagine how good they could be with a good quarterback.
23. Oakland Raiders (23): It sounds funny, but just imagine how good THEY could be with a good quarterback. Heck, look how good they were with Bruce Gradkowski.
24. Chicago Bears (25): Now THAT’S why the Bears traded for Jay Cutler. They still need major help at the wide receiver position.
25. Washington Redskins (24): K Shaun Suisham made a 23-yard field goal from the right hash mark! A few weeks late in the minds of Redskins fans.
26. Buffalo Bills (26): QB Brian Brohm got his first NFL start. Unfortunately for Brohm, it didn’t go much differently than the games started by Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
27. Cleveland Browns (28): Three straight wins for the Browns! That’s three more wins than I thought they might win all season. Either way, it won’t be enough to save Eric Mangini’s job.
28. Seattle Seahawks (27): The only thing I think of when I think of Seahawks vs. Packers is “We want the ball and we’re gonna score.” That would be in reference to the playoff game between the two teams a few years back. This week’s 48-10 loss to Green Bay was probably just as tough to watch.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31): The Bucs have three wins all season, two of those against teams with a total of 23 wins. In comparison, the Seahawks have 5 wins against teams with a total of 18 wins. I’m not real sure what it means, but it’s food for thought.
30. Detroit Lions (29): Without QB Matthew Stafford, I’m not sure the Lions could be some college programs.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (30): Top to bottom, this team is a mess but at least they have found their running back of the future in Jamaal Charles.
32. St. Louis Rams (32): There is a reason many teams don’t even list a third-string quarterback on the roster; they stink. Fortunately for QB Keith Null, so do 50 or so other players on that team.