J.J. McDermott, NFL Columnist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs
Welcome to a very special Christmas segment of Power Rankings! Week 17 in the NFL has finally arrived. Many teams have solidified their place heading into the playoffs, but there are several wild card slots still available. After this week, what teams will make it after all the dust settles?
Happy Holidays to all and enjoy Week 17’s Power Rankings!
32. Lions 0-15
This is it. This is for all the marbles. Week 17 has finally arrived—will the Lions go down as the worst team in NFL history?
31. Rams 2-13
They had it in the bag heading into the fourth quarter of Week 16’s game. The Rams flat out blew the game against the 49ers. Week 16’s woes just add to the many frustrations the Rams have faced this season. Better luck next year.
30. Chiefs 2-13
Another week, another hard-fought loss for the Chiefs. The future is looking bright with many talented young players on the team, but without longtime GM Carl Peterson, how much longer will Herm Edwards be able to coach in Kansas City heading into 2009?
29. Bengals 3-11-1
It has been a down season all year long for the Bengals, but Sunday’s win must be rather sweet for the 3-11-1 team. The Bengals still have many key players in line to help win games, and even Cedric Benson looks to have maybe found his place in Cincinnati.
28. Raiders 4-11
With last week’s win, the Raiders showed they do have what it takes to win games. Speaking of winning games, wouldn’t it be nice to knock former coach Jon Gruden out of the playoffs by beating his Buccaneer team in Week 17? Al Davis will be looking for revenge and work his voodoo magic to get back at his former coach to end the year.
27. Seahawks 4-11
The Seahawks head into Week 17 on a high note after beating the Jets, giving Mike Holmgren his final win at home as the Seahawks head coach. With Seneca Wallace’s excellent play this season and Matt Hasselbeck’s recent decline, who will be the main quarterback heading into training camp come 2009?
26. Browns 4-11
Another week, another injured quarterback for the depleted Cleveland Browns. Bruce Gradkowski will be the Browns' fourth quarterback of the season heading into Week 17’s matchup against the Steelers. The real question is, will Week 17’s game be Romeo Crennel’s final as head coach in Cleveland?
25. Jaguars 5-10
After their 2007 success, the Jaguars have fallen on hard times in 2008. From the look of things, it seems as though this offseason will be a rebuilding one for this 5-10 team.
24. Packers 5-10
Brett Favre is gone, Aaron Rodgers has played very well as a starter, and yet the Packers have gone 5-10 on the year, blowing many winnable games in the process. At least they will be able to take their frustrations out on a soon-to-be 0-16 Lions team!
23. 49ers 6-9
It was not easy, but the 49ers survived being Frank Gore-less and three Shaun Hill interceptions to win their sixth game of the season. Note to the 49ers organization: Do whatever it takes to keep Mike Singletary as head coach in San Francisco!
22. Texans 7-8
They are hot, they are not, they are hot, and they are not...The Texans have been all over the place this season, and in Week 16 they certainly were not hot. The Texans surrendered 375 yards to the Raiders en route to falling below .500 mark once again. Now the Texans must face a Bears team hungry to make the playoffs in Week 17.
21. Chargers 7-8
The Chargers have battled their way back into contention in the AFC West. Looking past all the hardships of 2008, the Chargers can make the playoffs by beating the rival Broncos in Week 17. Will the Chargers seize the opportunity or fall when the going gets tough?
20. Bills 7-8
From 5-1 to 7-8, the Bills have come a long way since the start of 2008. The Bills surprised the Broncos in Week 16, and now they take on their rival Patriots in hopes of climbing back to the .500 mark to finish the season.
19. Saints 8-7
Reggie Bush is on injured reserve, the defense is atrocious, and the team has no hope of making the playoffs this season. The Saints will be battling the Panthers in Week 17 to earn themselves a winning season, but Drew Brees will also be hunting for history in hopes of passing Dan Marino for the single-season yardage record.
18. Redskins 8-7
Let’s do the math here: A healthy Clinton Portis equals a tough Redskins team to beat. An injured, struggling Clinton Portis, means the team struggles as a whole. The Redskins pulled off a nail-biter against the Eagles in Week 16, but their efforts were too little too late as they are stuck at the bottom of the NFC East food chain.
17. Broncos 8-7
J.P. Losman and the formally 6-8 Buffalo Bills are no problem, right? Wrong. The Broncos blew Week 16’s game and now must face the Chargers in a winner-take-all for the AFC West title. Does Mike Shanahan’s squad have enough left in the tank to make the playoffs in 2008?
16. Cardinals 8-7
The Cardinals were grounded and embarrassed in Week 16’s game against the Patriots. The difference between the Cardinals and Patriots is, the Cardinals are lucky enough to be placed in a weak division while the Patriots may not even make the playoffs with an 11-5 record. The Cardinals will need to re-establish a running game and play better defense if they are to go deep into the playoffs
15. Eagles 8-6-1
Here we go again. Andy Reid and his ego when it comes to passing the football have put the Eagles in the position of failing to make the playoffs this season. The Eagles will have to get back to the running game if they are to have any chance against the Cowboys in a game loaded with playoff implications.
14. Jets 9-6
Not even Brett Favre’s well known luck could be found in Week 16’s embarrassing loss to the Seahawks. With the loss, the Jets must now face their former quarterback, Chad Pennington, in what looks to be the showdown for the AFC East Division title. Here is a more important question: Will Brett Favre be back in a Jets uniform come 2009?
13. Bears 9-6
The Bears kept their playoff hopes alive by beating their division rival, the Green Bay Packers, on Monday Night Football in Week 16. The Bears will have to beat a 7-8 Texans team and pray for a Vikings loss to clinch a playoff spot.
12. Vikings 9-6
Let us recap the Vikings embarrassing loss to the Falcons: The Vikings fumbled the football a total of seven times, losing four of them. Tarvaris Jackson’s Week 15 performance could not be replicated in Week 16’s loss. Now the Vikings will have to upset the 12-3 Giants in Week 17 to keep their playoff dreams alive.
11. Dolphins 10-5
Ok, they were blessed with easiest schedule for any NFL team, but going from 1-15 to 10-5 in the course of a year is impressive. Now, will Chad Pennington have his revenge on his former Jet team in Week 17 in hopes of clinching a division title?
10. Buccaneers 9-6
It has been a rough last stretch of the season for the Buccaneers after dropping their third straight game in Week 16. Do the Buccaneers have enough left in the tank to earn a playoff spot? Better yet, will the Buccaneers overcome losing defensive genius Monte Kiffin at the end of the season and go out with a bang?
9. Cowboys 9-6
Once again, the Cowboys blew a perfect chance to take the next step into the playoffs. The Ravens blew up the Cowboys' defense in the fourth quarter, leaving the Cowboys' last chance at making the playoffs a road game against division rival Philadelphia. Will Tony Romo and Company overcome their season frustrations or fade into the sunset?
8. Patriots 10-5
The Patriots put a hurting on the Cardinals in a snowy Week 16 game. After Week 16’s win, the Patriots now must pray for a Jets win to keep their playoff dreams alive. Who would have thought that through all the injuries, the Patriots would still be in the position they are now?
7. Ravens 10-5
This Ravens team is for real. The Ravens tore apart a Cowboys defense in the fourth quarter of their Week 16 game en route to their 10th win of the season. With the playoffs on the mind, who would have thought that a new head coach and a rookie quarterback could accomplish so much in so little time?
6. Falcons 10-5
Matt Ryan is the real deal in Atlanta and has silenced critics who have doubted him. But who would have seriously thought a new head coach and rookie quarterback could turn around a franchise like the Atlanta Falcons this quickly?
5. Colts 11-4
The Colts have gone on a roll, winning eight games in a row, and are still not done. Peyton Manning has gone from offseason knee surgery to MVP candidate in just a short few months.
4. Steelers 11-4
They have the AFC North locked up, but the Steelers blew a golden chance to make a huge statement in Week 16’s loss to the Titans. The Steelers surrendered five fumbles and four turnovers en route to a 31-14 loss.
3. Panthers 11-4
In what was quite possibly Week 16’s best game, the Panthers blew a late lead en route to an overtime loss to the Giants. DeAngelo Williams has been the Panthers' key player all season long, but not even his multiple touchdowns could solidify a Panthers win.
2. Giants 12-3
Forget not having Michael Strahan, Plaxico Burress, or even Osi Umenyiora. The Giants overcame all adversity to beat a red-hot Panthers team in Week 16. The Giants have shifted momentum back in their favor. See what a healthy Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward combo can do for your team?
1. Titans 13-2
Even without their top defensive weapons, Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Titans demolished the Steelers to stay atop our Power Rankings. Even with the best record in all of NFL, let us see what the Titans can do heading into the playoffs.
This is the way the rankings look for right now. Stay tuned next week to see how your team fares!