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NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Review and Reaction to 2016 League Standings

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18:  Kicker Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers hugs quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt after winning the game at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 30-27.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With just two weeks to go in the 2016 NFL season eight of the 12 playoff spots are still up for grabs. 

The Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders have already punched their tickets to the postseason. Nearly half the league is still alive for the final eight spots. 

Heading into Week 16, in which a number of teams will be fighting for their playoff lives, here's a look at how each team stacks up in the latest power rankings:  

NFL Power Rankings
RankTeamW-L
1Dallas Cowboys12-2
2New England Patriots12-2
3Oakland Raiders11-3
4Seattle Seahawks9-4-1
5New York Giants10-4
6Kansas City Chiefs10-4
7Pittsburgh Steelers9-5
8Tampa Bay Buccaneers8-6
9Tennessee Titans8-6
10Green Bay Packers8-6
11Atlanta Falcons9-5
12Miami Dolphins9-5
13Baltimore Ravens8-6
14Denver Broncos8-6
15Detroit Lions9-5
16Houston Texans8-6
17Carolina Panthers6-8
18Washington Redskins7-6-1
19Indianapolis Colts7-7
20Buffalo Bills7-7
21New Orleans Saints6-8
22Minnesota Vikings7-7
23Arizona Cardinals5-8-1
24Cincinnati Bengals5-8-1
25San Diego Chargers5-9
26Philadelphia Eagles5-9
27Chicago Bears3-11
28Los Angeles Rams4-10
29New York Jets4-10
30Jacksonville Jaguars2-12
31San Francisco 49ers1-13
32Cleveland Browns0-14

    

10. Green Bay Packers

When the Green Bay Packers dropped four straight games earlier this season much of the talk surrounding the Packers' struggles was about Aaron Rodgers and the offense. While Rodgers' play may have dipped, the more serious concern was actually the performance of the defense—especially against the pass. 

During the Packers' current four-game win streak, however, the defense has improved dramatically compared to their four-game skid:

Packers Defense, Last 8 Games
Pass Yds/GmTO ForcedAvg Total QBR
4-Gm Losing Streak300.8287.3
4-Gm Win Streak241.81255.8
ESPN.com

The Packers are still alive in the race for the NFC North title, but they'll need the defense to continue to keep up their current pace. 

Green Bay hosts Minnesota in Week 16, followed by a showdown with the Detroit Lions in Week 17, which could decide the division title. 

16. Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Tom Savage #3 of the Houston Texans rolls out to pass in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are making a quarterback change. And, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, that's nothing new for the Texans:

Tom Savage: Texans’ 9th starting QB since 2013, tied with Browns for most in that time. Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer have started for both.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 19, 2016

Despite the Texans' revolving door at quarterback, they're two games away from wrapping up their second consecutive AFC South title. 

Even with the Texans on the verge of another trip to the playoffs, it's tough to view them as a viable contender in January. 

Houston is 5-0 in their division, including a come-from-behind win on Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they're 3-6 outside of the struggling AFC South. 

The Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night in Week 16, followed by their regular-season finale in what could effectively be the AFC South division championship game against the Tennessee Titans. 

18. Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FedExField on December 19, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After a convincing Week 11 win over the Packers, the Washington Redskins looked like a virtual lock for the playoffs. But after Monday night's 26-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Redskins have now dropped three of their last four games and are in must-win mode entering the final two weeks of the regular season. 

There are lot of places to point fingers after Washington's most recent loss, but it has to start with the offensive coaching staff. Despite never trailing by more than two scores, Kirk Cousins attempted 47 passes while Redskins running backs carried the ball just 11 times.

The unbalanced game plan likely contributed to Cousins' 49.5 Total QBR, per ESPN. That was his worst output since Week 5 against the Ravens. 

Entering the game, Washington controlled its own destiny to clinch a playoff berth, but now it's in need of help, according to Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan:

#Redskins blow golden opportunity in one of their worst performances of the season. Now need 2 wins & losses by TB, GB to get into playoffs.

— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 20, 2016

The Redskins are 3.5-point favorites in their Week 16 game at the Chicago Bears, according to OddsShark. However, they have a tough task ahead in Week 17 when they host the New York Giants. 

They defeated the Giants 29-27 in Week 3, but since Eli Manning joined the Giants in 2004, the Redskins have swept the season series just once (2011). 

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