NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Patriots, Bears, Falcons and Steelers Playoff Bound

Bear HeiserFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Patriots, Bears, Falcons and Steelers Playoff Bound

0 of 32

    Elsa/Getty Images

    Four teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs. The Bears, Patriots, Steelers and Falcons can rest easier now that their fates are sealed. All that's left to play for is playoff seeding to see who gets home-field advantage. 

    You won't see many changes this week as there weren't many surprises. Hopefully, the parity we've come to love and expect will return in Week 16.

    Without further delay, my always-funny NFL power rankings: Week 16 edition.

    Follow @BearConsults on Twitter for updates.

32. Denver Broncos 3-11

1 of 32

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 32

    Week 15: 39-23 loss at Oakland

    Tim Tebow accounted for 216 of the Broncos 235 yards in his first career start. What happens if the Broncos end up with the top pick? They draft ANOTHER quarterback?

    Next up: Houston

31. Arizona Cardinals 4-10

2 of 32

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 28

    Week 15: 19-12 loss at Carolina

    I think the only way Larry Fitzgerald stays in AZ next season is if they can somehow secure the top pick in the draft. #needsomeluck

    Next up: Dallas on Saturday on the NFL Network 

30. Carolina Panthers 2-12

3 of 32

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 31

    Week 15: 19-12 win over Arizona

    Nice to see the Panthers win what will end up being John Fox's last home game. He had a great run in Carolina.

    Next up: at Pittsburgh on Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network

    I wonder if Jimmy Clausen likes the taste of dirt. 

29. Washington Redskins 5-9

4 of 32

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 26

    Week 15: 33-30 loss at Dallas

    Sexy Rexy Grossman threw for 322 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in his first start as a Redskin. Who needs Donovan McNabb? 

    Next up: at Jacksonville

    'Skins can only play spolier at this point. 

28. Cincinnati Bengals 3-11

5 of 32

    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 29

    Week 15: 19-17 win over Cleveland

    Coincidence that Terrell Owens is suddenly out for the season just a few days after his outburst? I think not. The Bengals may have just played their way out of the top pick in the draft. #niceworkmarvin

    Next up: San Diego

27. Tennessee Titans 6-8

6 of 32

    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 30

    Week 15: 31-17 win over Houston

    Finally a sign of life!

    Next up: at Kansas City

    Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles= Awesomeness

26. Houston Texans 5-9

7 of 32

    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 22

    Week 15: 31-17 win at Tennessee

    The Texans' D is the worst I've ever seen. 

    Next up: at Denver

    Gary Kubiak should get used to being in Denver because I'm getting the feeling that he'll be there full-time next year. 

25. San Francisco 49ers 5-9

8 of 32

    Harry How/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 24

    Week 15: 34-7 loss at San Diego

    The Niners lackluster performance on Thursday Night football has them in a pretty deep hole with the playoffs approaching. Not good news for Jed York's playoff guarantee. 

    Next up: at St. Louis

24. Seattle Seahawks 6-8

9 of 32

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 23

    Week 15: 34-18 loss to Atlanta

    Sick to think the Seahawks can host a home playoff game if they can close out the division.  

    Next up: at Tampa Bay

23. St. Louis Rams 6-8

10 of 32

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 17

    Week 15: 27-13 loss to Kansas City

    Sam Bradford has hit the wall. In the past three games he's thrown zero touchdowns and five interceptions. 

    For more on Sam Bradford: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/547773-nfl-week-15-has-st-louis-rams-qb-sam-bradford-hit-the-rookie-wall

    Next up: San Francisco

    I cannot believe this game actually matters. What a joke the NFC West has become. 

22. Cleveland Browns 5-9

11 of 32

    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 18

    Week 15: 19-17 loss at Cincinnati

    “Last year Eric Mangini saved his job with four wins in December.  After back to back losses to the Bills and Bengals, this December appears to be the thing that will lose him his job.”

    -Matt Loede from www.NFLGridironGab.com

    Next up: Baltimore

21. Detroit Lions 4-10

12 of 32

    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 27

    Week 15: 23-20 OT win at Tampa Bay

    Drew Stanton was 23-for-37 for 252 yards with one touchdown and a 91.3 QB rating. The Lions have three different quarterbacks put up solid numbers this season. Jim Schwartz is really doing a great job. 

    Next up: Miami

20. Buffalo Bills 4-10

13 of 32

    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 25

    Week 15: 17-14 win at Miami

    I'll say it now for anyone who wants to listen. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be the Bills' starting quarterback next season. He's earned it.

    Next up: New England

    Playing for pride.

19. Miami Dolphins 7-7

14 of 32

    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 20

    Week 15: 17-14 loss to Buffalo

    The league's best road team is also the worst home team. Figure that out. #icant

    Next up: Detroit

    The game is in Miami, of course they're going to lose. 

18. Minnesota Vikings 5-9

15 of 32

    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 19

    Week 15: 40-14 loss to Chicago

    This is what I said to a buddy when I found out Favre was playing: "Telling you this right now. This is Favre's ride off into the sunset. He'll go down with an injury after getting pounded to the hard ground then leave the game on his high horse with hero treatment."

    Next up: at Philadelphia

    Need a big game from Mike Vick in my fantasy finals. Come on Vikes! Mail in it!

17. Dallas Cowboys 5-9

16 of 32

    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 16

    Week 15: 33-30 win over Washington

    Jason Garrett has done everything he can to secure the Cowboys job for at least another season. On a side note, the defense needs to be better. 

    Next up: at Arizona on Saturday Night football on the NFL Network

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-6

17 of 32

    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 15

    Week 15: 23-20 OT loss to Detroit

    Tampa's season went down the tubes thanks to Sunday's loss to the Lions. It's over! For the record, LeGarrette Blount is a beast. 

    Next up: Seattle

    The Bucs should be in the thick of the playoff race, not Seattle. 

15. Oakland Raiders 7-7

18 of 32

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 21

    Week 15: 39-23 win over Denver

    Darren McFadden with another game over 100 yards. He's gotta win the NFL's "Most Improved player" award, if there is such a thing. 

    Next up: Indianapolis 

    If the Raiders keep winning there's still hope for the playoffs. If they don't, well you know. 

14. Kansas City Chiefs 9-5

19 of 32

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 14

    Week 15: 27-13 win at St. Louis

    Matt Cassel is one tough dude. Played through a lot of pain in a must-win for the Chiefs. 

    Next up: Tennessee

13. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-6

20 of 32

    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 11

    Week 15: 34-24 loss at Indianapolis

    Maurice Jones-Drew finally came back down to earth after going over 100 yards in six straight. He's better than the 46 yards he accrued against the Colts.

    Next up: Washington

12. New York Giants 9-5

21 of 32

    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 8

    Week 15: 38-31 loss to Philadelphia

    Oh man, what can I even say? I was kind of hoping for a Dennis Green-like tirade from Tom Coughlin.

    "Desean Jackson is who we thought he was!"

    Next up: at Green Bay

    The season could be lost with a loss.

11. Indianapolis Colts 8-6

22 of 32

    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 13

    Week 15: 34-24 win over Jacksonville

    Austin Collie is really good........at getting concussed. Sunday's concussion is his third of the season. I have no idea how the NFL ever lets him back on the field. #poorguy

    Next up: at Oakland

    The Colts will have problems with Darren McFadden, I guarantee it.

10. Green Bay Packers 8-6

23 of 32

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 7

    Week 15: 31-27 loss to New England

    Matt Flynn played well considering the circumstances. Too bad that isn't going to get them into the playoffs.

    Next up: New York Giants

    Postseason hopes on the line in this contest.

9. San Diego Chargers 8-6

24 of 32

    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 12

    Week 15: 34-7 win over San Francisco

    Vincent Jackson re-introduced himself to the world on Thursday night finding the end zone three times. He said he isn't against re-signing with the Bolts in the offseason, but will they even want him?

    Next up: at Cincinnati

8. New York Jets 10-4

25 of 32

    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 10

    Week 15: 22-17 win at Pittsburgh

    Am I the only one who thinks the Jets are overrated?

    Next up: at Chicago

    Very big game for the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

7. Chicago Bears 10-4

26 of 32

    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 6

    Week 15: 40-14 win at Minnesota

    Huge win for the Bears! Clinched a playoff spot, plus, Devin Hester broke the career record for most run-backs for a touchdown; all around a great night for the Bears.

    Next up: New York Jets

6. New Orleans Saints 10-4

27 of 32

    Larry French/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 5

    Week 15: 30-24 loss at Baltimore

    To contrary belief, Joe Flacco is NOT a franchise quarterback; and the fact that Ray Rice and Co. ran for over 200 yards is a sign that problems exist in the front four.

    And while we're on the topic of non-franchise players, how about Reggie Bush. What a bust! Guy avoids contact more than Monk.

    Next up: at Atlanta on Monday Night Football

    Might end up being the best game of the year.

5. Baltimore Ravens 10-4

28 of 32

    Larry French/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 9

    Week 15: 30-24 win over New Orleans

    The win over the defending champs is easily their most impressive this season. New Orleans had been red-hot heading into the Week 15 matchup.

    Next up: at Cleveland

4. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4

29 of 32

    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 4

    Week 15: 22-17 loss to New York Jets

    The Steelers need to get healthy immediately. Defense is a shell of itself without Troy Polamalu.

    Next up: Carolina on Thursday Night Football

3. Atlanta Falcons 12-2

30 of 32

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 2

    Week 15: 34-18 win at Seattle

    In Matt Ryan I trust. 

    Next up: New Orleans on Monday Night Football

    Can't afford to let one slip by, home-field advantage is a necessity.

2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-4

31 of 32

    Previously Ranked: 3

    Week 15: 38-31 win at New York Giants

    Tom Brady is great and all, but Michael Vick should win the MVP. #justsayin

    Next up: Minnesota on Sunday Night Football

1. New England Patriots 12-2

32 of 32

    Elsa/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 1

    Week 15: 31-27 win over Green Bay

    Devin McCourty is my defensive Rookie of the Year.  

    Next up: at Buffalo

    The Brady Bunch should take it easy the next two weeks. #buttheywont