NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Eagles, Bears, Playoff-Bound, Packers or Colts Next?

Bear HeiserFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Eagles, Bears, Playoff-Bound, Packers or Colts Next?

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The NFL playoff picture looks a bit clearer after the Week 16 slate of games. We now know that the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders won't be making an appearance in the postseason.

    The Bears, Eagles and Falcons are all playoff locks in the NFC, joining the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Ravens and Chiefs in the AFC.

    The only divisions still up for grabs are the NFC West and the AFC South.

    In a surprise move, NBC flexed the St. Louis Rams-Seattle Seahawks potential disaster to Sunday Night Football. I applaud the move because it's the only game where both teams are competing for the division crown. On the other hand, with two unpredictable teams, as the Rams and Seahawks are, four quarters of quality football is no guarantee. 

    The only other games where both teams face playoff implications are Chicago vs. Green Bay and Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans. 

    It will be interesting to see how the early game results will affect the game plan of the playoff hopefuls in the late games. 

    Nonetheless, it's been a fantastic NFL season, one that's been completely and utterly unpredictable.

    And now what you've all been waiting for: the greatest Week 17 Power Rankings in the history of the world. #YeahISaidIt

    Don't like my list? I want to hear from you! Share yours in the comments section below. Let's discuss people! Have any mock headlines? Share those too.

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32. Carolina Panthers 2-13

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 30

    Week 16: 27-3 loss at Pittsburgh

    Breaking News: The Carolina Panthers have secured the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. #suckstobejimmyclausen

    Next up: at Atlanta

31. Arizona Cardinals 5-10

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 31

    Week 16: 27-26 win over Dallas

    Jay Feely has got to be the team MVP.

    Next up: at San Francisco

30. Houston Texans 5-10

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 26

    Week 16: 24-23 loss at Denver

    The Texans are the gift that keeps on giving. #firegarykubiakyesterday

    Next up: Jacksonville

29. Denver Broncos 4-11

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 32

    Week 16: 24-23 win over Houston

    Tim Tebow deserves to be the Broncos' starting quarterback come 2011. Don't believe me? Check the box scores. 

    Next up: San Diego

28. San Francisco 49ers 5-10

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 25

    Week 16: 25-17 loss at St. Louis

    I think it's safe to say that the Niners won't have a Smith starting at quarterback next season.

    Next up: Arizona

    Wow, could I care any less?

27. Tennessee Titans 6-9

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 27

    Week 16: 34-14 loss at Kansas City

    There's no way Kerry Collins is the Titans' starting quarterback come the 2011 season, right?

    Next up: at Indianapolis

26. Washington Redskins 6-9

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 29

    Week 16: 20-17 OT win at Jacksonville

    Rex Ryan and the Jets should have to foot a few dinner bills for the Redskins.

    Next up: New York Giants

25. Cincinnati Bengals 4-11

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 28

    Week 16: 34-20 win over San Diego

    I love how Carson Palmer has his best game of the season with TO and Ochocinco on the sideline. #sadstateofaffairs

    Next up: at Baltimore

24. Buffalo Bills 4-11

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 20

    Week 16: 34-3 loss to New England

    Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to play better than his three-pick performance if he wants to be quarterbacking the Bills next season. 

    Next up: at New York Jets

23. Cleveland Browns 5-10

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 22

    Week 16: 20-10 loss to Baltimore

    Colt McCoy looked like a deer in headlights against Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense. It's pretty much guaranteed that Rob Ryan and Eric Mangini will both be gone next season. 

    Next up: Pittsburgh

22. Dallas Cowboys 5-10

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 17

    Week 16: 27-26 loss at Arizona

    Another game pissed down the drain by "America's Team." Way to go, boys!

    Next up: at Philadelphia

    Why bother? 

21. Minnesota Vikings 6-9

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 18

    Week 16: 24-14 win at Philadelphia

    Joe Webb left a few jock-straps on the field in Philadelphia. Kid's got moves.

    Next up: at Detroit

20. Seattle Seahawks 6-9

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 24

    Week 16: 38-15 loss at Tampa Bay

    For the first time this season the Seahawks can suck it up in prime time. Game fits right in with the crappy programming NBC offers. #thanksnbc

    Next up: St. Louis

19. Miami Dolphins 7-8

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 19

    Week 16: 34-27 loss to Detroit

    The Dolphins are 1-7 at home and 6-1 on the road. Quite possibly the most confusing team in football.

    Next up: at New England

18. Detroit Lions 5-10

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 21

    Week 16: 34-27 win at Miami

    Very happy for Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. He's done a wonderful job with subpar talent all season long. 

    Next up: Minnesota 

    Would love to see someone other than the Lions finish last in the NFC North.

17. San Diego Chargers 8-7

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    One fired, one soon to be fired.Harry How/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 9

    Week 16: 34-20 loss at Cincinnati

    I suspect Norv Turner will be joining Mike Singletary, Josh McDaniels, Brad Childress and Wade Phillips fairly soon.

    Next up: at Denver

16. Oakland Raiders 7-8

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 15

    Week 16: 31-26 loss to Indianapolis

    It was fun while it lasted. 

    Next up: at Kansas City

15. St. Louis Rams 7-8

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 23

    Week 16: 25-17 win over San Francisco

    It was just last week that I asked the question, has Sam Bradford hit the rookie wall? I think we have our answer. Sam completed 28 of 37 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown.

    Next up: at Seattle

14. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-7

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    MJD on the sidelineSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 13

    Week 16: 20-17 OT loss to Washington

    The awful loss to the Redskins may end up costing Jacksonville its Jaguars.

    Next up: at Houston

13. New York Giants 9-6

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 12

    Week 16: 45-17 loss at Green Bay

    If interceptions counted as touchdowns and touchdowns counted as interceptions, the Giants would be the best team in the league.

    Next up: at Washington

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-6

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 16

    Week 16: 38-15 win over Seattle

    If the '09 draft were today, I would take Josh Freeman over Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez. Five freaking touchdowns! #guysgettinggood

    Next up: at New Orleans

11. New York Jets 10-5

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 8

    Week 16: 38-34 loss at Chicago

    The Jets' defense isn't supposed to let down like this, especially not now. If Jay Cutler can pick 'em apart, imagine what Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Michael Vick would do. 

    I think a thank you card should be sent to the Redskins; their win over Jacksonville clinched a playoff berth for the Jets.

    *For a foot joke, see the Washington slide.

    Next up: Buffalo

10. Indianapolis Colts 9-6

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    Previously Ranked: 11

    Week 16: 31-26 win at Oakland

    I wonder how many people lost fantasy games because Peyton Manning went to the ground instead of making it into the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Not sure what I'm talking about? Watch the video.

    Next up: Tennessee

9. Kansas City Chiefs 10-5

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 14

    Week 16: 34-14 win over Tennessee

    Too bad Matt Cassel has to battle Michael Vick for the Most Improved Player and Most Valuable Player awards. If Vick gets MVP, Cassel should get Most Improved. 

    Through 15 games: 251-of-417 for 3,001 yards, 27 touchdowns and five interceptions.

    Next up: Oakland

8. Baltimore Ravens 11-4

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 5

    Week 16: 20-10 win at Cleveland

    The Ravens are not a team I'd want to face in the playoffs. Ray Lewis has his defensive unit firing on all cylinders. 

    Next up: Cincinnati

7. Green Bay Packers 9-6

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 9

    Week 16: 45-17 win over New York Giants

    The Packers won't go away. Just when you thought the injuries had caught up to them, they go and destroy the New York football Giants. 

    Next up: Chicago

6. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 4

    Week 16: 27-3 win over Carolina

    The Steelers are racking up wins at the same pace they are injuries. I wonder which is going to win out.

    Next up: at Cleveland

5. New Orleans Saints 11-4

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 6

    Week 16: 17-14 win at Atlanta

    The Saints are a different team with Pierre Thomas in the backfield. With that said, the Saints are approaching Super Bowl-caliber play. 

    Next up: Tampa Bay

4. Philadelphia Eagles 10-5

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 2

    Week 16: 24-14 loss to Minnesota

    Michael Vick looked shell-shocked against the Vikings. He's taking far too many hits at this point of the season. Now is when the team should be locking down the line and playing its best football of the year. Not exactly how things are going down though.

    Next up: Dallas

3. Atlanta Falcons 12-3

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 3

    Week 16: 17-14 loss to New Orleans

    It finally happened—the Falcons lost. All those who've been waiting for this moment can breathe easy. For the record, I'm breathing easy. I see the Falcons falling.

    Next up: Carolina

2. Chicago Bears 11-4

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 7

    Week 16: 38-34 win over New York Jets

    It's tough to get on the Bears' bandwagon only because they've had two mind-numbing losses, at the Giants and at home against the Patriots. Other than that, just aces.

    Next up: at Green Bay

1. New England Patriots 13-2

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 1

    Week 16: 34-3 win at Buffalo

    I can say with certainty that Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning.

    Next up: Miami