NFL Power Rankings: Examining the League's Hottest Teams
It might be the most important thing for a team to have as it enters the postseason.
Clicking on offense and defense at the right time can lead a club to their respective conference championship game and, sometimes, to the Super Bowl, even if those teams started off the year slow.
Look at the Green Bay Packers last year.
Right now, we've got a few clubs on a tear that are looking to stay hot before we reach the games in January.
New Orleans Saints
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The Saints are winners of six straight. And, over the last five games, quarterback Drew Brees has thrown for at least 322 yards in every match-up and has totaled 16 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Think he's in a groove?
The defense is doing enough to turn the ball back over to their high-octane offense, which may be just as hard to defend as the Packers' unit.
Don't forget about the running game, either.
New Orleans picks up nearly 126 yards on the ground per game, good for 8th in the league.
If they can get the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and host a second-round game, look out.
No team is more energized indoors than New Orleans.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
About two months ago, the Seahawks were an afterthought—just another team in NFC West that would get trampled by competition en route to the playoffs.
Seattle, behind the bowl-you-over running style of Marshawn Lynch, have won five of their last six and are an even 7-7 on the season.
The defense has flexed it's muscles, too.
They're 13th in passing yards allowed and 11th in rushing yards allowed.
Tarvaris Jackson isn't making the Pro Bowl, but he's throw six touchdowns to only three interceptions over the last five games and has been doing a great job at managing football games.
The wild card is a long shot, but they have most certainly returned to respectability.
And, the Arizona Cardinals, their NFC West rivals, have won four straight games.
Maybe that division isn't so bad, after all.
New England Patriots
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Precisely when we were thinking the Patriots' decade-long run of success was through, mainly because of the defense, Tom Brady started playing his best and most efficient football of the season.
Last year's unanimous MVP has tossed 15 touchdowns with only one interception during the team's six-game winning streak, and Brady has made it look easy in road games against the Jets, Eagles and Broncos over that span.
If it wasn't for Brady, the Patriots are in a battle for one of the wild card spots in the AFC.
He's definitely deserving of some MVP consideration.
The defense has improved, but it took a major blow this past week when it lost Andre Carter to injury.
San Diego Chargers
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Just another December for the Chargers.
After their beat-down of the Ravens on Sunday night, they moved to an insane 20-2 all-time in December under Norv Turner.
Philip Rivers, as usual, has seemingly saved his best football for this month, as he's thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his team's last three games, which were all wins.
Running back Ryan Mathews has exploded, as well.
Matthews followed up two consecutive 100-yard rushing games with a 99 total yard effort that included two touchdowns against Baltimore.
It won't be easy with both remaining games on the road—against Detroit and Oakland. But, it's hard not to believe in a late-season surge from San Diego.
Week 16 Power Rankings
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|1. Green Bay Packers (13-1)||17. Arizona Cardinals (7-7)
|2. New Orleans Saints (11-3)||18. Oakland Raiders (7-7)|
|3. New England Patriots (11-3)||
19. Chicago Bears (7-7)
|4. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)||20. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)|
|5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)||21. Tennessee Titans (7-7)
|6. Baltimore Ravens (10-4)||22. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8)
|7. Houston Texans (10-4)||23. Miami Dolphins (5-9)
|8. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)||24. Washington Redskins (5-9)|
|9. Detroit Lions (9-5)||25. Carolina Panthers (5-9)|
|10. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)||26. Buffalo Bills (5-9)|
|11. Denver Broncos (8-6)||27. Cleveland Browns (4-10)|
|12. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)||28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)|
|13. New York Jets (8-6)||29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)|
|14. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)||30. Minnesota Vikings (2-12)|
|15. San Diego Chargers (7-7)||31. St. Louis Rams (2-12)|
|16. New York Giants (7-7)||
32. Indianapolis Colts (1-13)