NFL Power Rankings Week 16: DeSean Jackson Powers the Eagles, Who's No. 1?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 16: DeSean Jackson Powers the Eagles, Who's No. 1?

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    The NFL Power Rankings always bring a bit of controversy, but that's why they're so fun to do.

    All the top teams won, so now we have to determine which team comes out on top. There was a bit of shakeup at the bottom of the list, so that becomes interesting to see which team decided they needed to be ranked lower.

    Remember, this is a power ranking, not a look at the playoffs, although playoff teams obviously receive higher ranking consideration for obvious reasons. That being said, don't expect to find an NFC West team in the Top 10.

    So here's a look at how things stand going into Week 16.

The Bottom Two

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    32. Carolina Panthers: Despite the win, the Panthers still only beat the Arizona Cardinals and Jimmy Clausen still failed to look like he can develop into a good pro quarterback.

    31. Arizona Cardinals: There's nothing left in Arizona after making the Super Bowl two years ago. Rookie John Skelton wasn't effective against the Panthers, and the defense couldn't stop a high school team right now.

One Step Up From the Bottom

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    30. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals may have beat the Browns, but the Browns didn't exactly put up a fight.

    29. Washington Redskins: The Redskins got a great performance out of Rex Grossman, but this team still is in shambles, and Grossman won't surprise anyone again.

Playing Out the String

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    28. San Francisco 49ers: Surprisingly enough, the 49ers still have a shot at winning the NFC West. I'm looking for the punchline.

    27. Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow gave everyone a thrill, but Knowshon Moreno was injured again, and the Broncos defense still is on injured reserve.

Scrambling for Answers

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    26: Cleveland Browns: The Browns have lost two games to lousy teams two weeks in a row, they have no direction on offense and the defense has forgotten how to tackle. Eric Mangini may be looking for work in a few weeks.

    25. Buffalo Bills: The Bills may have found a solution at quarterback for the near future, but there still are a lot of questions for the rest of the team. A victory over the Dolphins didn't help their draft position, though.

Fighting Amongst Themselves

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    24. Houston Texans: So The Texans lose last week, and then start fights on the field with their own players. The Texans have gone from a playoff team to a complete wreck in two months.

    23. Seattle Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck got benched, but that didn't really help anything. The Seahawks remain in the NFC West title hunt, but that really doesn't mean much.

Showing Signs of Improvement

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    22. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings do look better under Leslie Frazier, but they are starting Joe Webb tonight, and there a lot of questions going into the offseason.

    21. Detroit Lions: The Lions continue to be a thorn in the side of everyone they play, and they set the Buccaneers' playoff hopes back significantly on Sunday.

20. St. Louis Rams

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    Last Week: 19

    The St. Louis Rams remain the favorite to win the NFC West despite their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday. That's because every other team in the NFC West lost as well.

    Thrilling division to watch, don't you think?

19. Tennessee Titans

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    Last Week: 26

    With the biggest jump in the rankings, the Titans showed a lot of life yesterday, considerably more than many of the teams ranked below them. The Titans were a Top 10 team at one point this season, so this ranking shows a little respect for that former glory.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Last Week: 17

    The Buccaneers fall a spot, but they can't fall much farther at this point; they're just better than all the teams below them. Still, they can't lose to the Lions and expect to make the playoffs.

17. Oakland Raiders

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    Last Week: 18

    With the win over the Broncos, the Raiders rise a spot in the rankings, but that's about all you can really say with a win over the Broncos this year. The Raiders still are mathematically in the playoff hunt, but most of that scenario is out of their hands.

16. Green Bay Packers

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    Last Week: 14

    The Packers lost to the Patriots, and Matt Flynn looked good for the first 59 minutes of the game, but the loss on Sunday night seriously dimmed the Packers' playoff chances. That's about all you can say at this point.

15. Miami Dolphins

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    Last Week: 15

    The Dolphins lose, but stay static in the rankings. The Dolphins are a solid middle-of-the-pack team, and they're just too inconsistent to be any better or worse.

14. Dallas Cowboys

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    Last Week: 16

    A win over the Redksins raises the Cowboys' rank a bit, but that's about it. It's a shame Jerry Jones didn't fire Wade Phillips sooner. With Jason Garrett at the helm, the Cowboys might be in the playoff hunt right now.

13. Chicago Bears

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    Last Week: 13

    Why are the Bears this low?!?!?!?!?!?

    Because, and I know this is painful for Bears fans, the Bears have a bunch of cheap wins against easy teams on their schedule, and they're complaining about playing in freezing cold weather in Minnesota.

    The Bears have a great defense, but Bill Belichick exposed it in a big way last week. The Bears offensive line has gone from laughably bad to just plain mediocre.

    The fact the Bears got beaten into the ground at home in "Chicago Weather" does not bode well for the team's postseason prospects.

    Bears fans, I plead with you not to get your hopes up for the postseason; this team is going to let you down.

12. San Diego Chargers

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    Last Week: 11

    The Chargers win, but Philip Rivers asks why they've dropped a spot. It's out of my hands. The computers do what they want, and that's why the BCS must go.

    Plus, the Chiefs won and that really put a hurt on the Chargers.

11. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Last Week: 12

    The Chiefs get it done against the Rams and move up a spot in the rankings. They also bolster their claim for the AFC West crown.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Last Week: 8

    The Jaguars lost a critical division battle with the Colts, but they're still in the playoff hunt and as dangerous as ever.

9. New York Giants

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    Last Week: 4

    The Giants took a major blow to their ranking with the meltdown loss to the Eagles. The question now is if they can recover for the last two weeks of the season.

8. New Orleans Saints

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    Last Week: 7

    The Saints lose to the Ravens, and there's no shame there. The Ravens are a great team, and there is the possibility that was a Super Bowl preview. It's a longshot, but it's possible.

7. New York Jets

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    Last Week: 9

    The Jets get a little respect back by holding off the Steelers in Pittsburgh this week. It wasn't pretty, but the job got done and the Jets keep their playoff hopes alive.

6. Indianapolis Colts

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    Last Week: 10

    The Colts jump back up in the rankings now that they once again control their own destiny. Peyton Manning has shaken off the funk he's gotten into and the Colts look like they can be successful in the playoffs again.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Last Week: 5

    The Steelers lose, but their ranking remains static because that was a tough game and the Steelers almost pulled it out.

    However, that defense did not look the same without Troy Polamalu, and Steeler Nation should be very worried if Polamalu can't be healthy in time for the playoffs.

4. Baltimore Ravens

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    Last Week: 6

    The Ravens may have lost to the Steelers a few weeks ago, but they're still a tough team. Combined with the Steelers' loss to the Jets and the Ravens' defeat of the defending Super Bowl champions, that gives the Ravens a slight edge this week.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Last Week: 3

    The Philadelphia Eagles had a comeback for the ages, DeSean Jackson had a highlight for the ages, and the Eagles now control their own future. The Eagles would be No. 1 if it weren't for the two teams ahead of them.

2. Atlanta Falcons

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    Last Week: 2

    The Falcons went out and spanked the Seahawks and keep their No. 2 ranking. They remain the most complete team in the NFC at the moment, and everyone should hope they meet up with the Eagles in the playoffs.

1. New England Patriots

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    Last Week: 1

    The New England Patriots proved again why they are the best team in the league at the moment. They got surprised by Matt Flynn's effectiveness and found themselves in a fight they didn't expect to get into.

    However, they rallied, pulled Dan Connolly out of the line, and just held off the Packers until the clock ran out.

    The Patriots are just playing the best football in the league at the moment.