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NFL Power Rankings: Final 2016-17 Regular-Season Review and Standings

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 2, 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

An odd NFL regular season has come to a close.

For the first time since 2003, neither Super Bowl team from the previous season has made the playoffs. Two rookies, on the same team, are MVP candidates. Kickers missed kicks at a staggering rate. The team with the best defense (Denver Broncos) through 16 weeks, per Football Outsiders, missed the playoffs while the team with the worst defense (Detroit Lions) made it.

All in all, it was a strange but entertaining year, and the playoffs should be a lot of fun too.

Here are the final regular-season standings, a power ranking and a look back at a few on-field storylines that dominated this year.

     

Final 2016 NFL Standings
TeamRecordDiv. Record
AFC East  
New England Patriots *14-25-1
Miami Dolphins *10-64-2
Buffalo Bills7-91-5
New York Jets5-112-4
AFC North  
Pittsburgh Steelers *11-55-1
Baltimore Ravens8-84-2
Cincinnati Bengals6-9-13-3
Cleveland Browns1-150-6
AFC South  
Houston Texans *9-75-1
Tennessee Titans9-72-4
Indianapolis Colts8-83-3
Jacksonville Jaguars3-132-4
AFC West  
Kansas City Chiefs *12-46-0
Oakland Raiders *12-43-3
Denver Broncos9-72-4
San Diego Chargers5-111-5
NFC East  
Dallas Cowboys *13-33-3
New York Giants *11-54-2
Philadelphia Eagles8-7-13-3
Washington Redskins7-92-4
NFC North  
Green Bay Packers *10-65-1
Detroit Lions *9-73-3
Minnesota Vikings8-82-4
Chicago Bears3-132-4
NFC South  
Atlanta Falcons *11-55-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers9-74-2
New Orleans Saints7-92-4
Carolina Panthers6-101-5
NFC West  
Seattle Seahawks *10-5-13-2-1
Arizona Cardinals7-8-14-1-1
Los Angeles Rams4-122-4
San Francisco 49ers2-142-4

 *Denotes playoff team

     

Final Regular Season Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings
RankTeam
1New England Patriots
2Dallas Cowboys
3Pittsburgh Steelers
4Kansas City Chiefs
5Atlanta Falcons
6Green Bay Packers
7New York Giants
8Seattle Seahawks
9Oakland Raiders
10Detroit Lions
11Miami Dolphins
12Denver Broncos
13Houston Texans
14Tennessee Titans
15Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16Washington Redskins
17Indianapolis Colts
18Arizona Cardinals
19Minnesota Vikings
20Philadelphia Eagles
21Baltimore Ravens
22Buffalo Bills
23Cincinnati Bengals
24New Orleans Saints
25Carolina Panthers
26San Diego Chargers
27New York Jets
28Los Angeles Rams
29Chicago Bears
30Jacksonville Jaguars
31San Francisco 49ers
32Cleveland Browns

      

Regular-Season Review of Top On-Field Storylines

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18:  Dak Prescott #4 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Rookie Duo Dominates NFL

Has there ever been a time in NFL history when two rookies on the same team were strong MVP candidates?

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys ran roughshod over the NFL, scoring points at will. Zeke finished with 1,994 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns, while Dak finished with 23 passing touchdowns (to only four interceptions) and six rushing scores.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, rolled to their best record (13-3) since 2007, when Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and DeMarcus Ware were leading the team.

This storyline is not yet over, as Dak and Zeke have a chance to make history and give Dallas its first Super Bowl in 21 years.

It helps that they don't have to leave the state of Texas throughout the entire NFL postseason.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tom Brady Defies Aging Process, Patriots Dominate Again

Tom Brady, who will turn 40 years old this year, is an MVP candidate. That's a mind-boggling sentence to write.

Brady returned from his four-game Deflategate suspension and torched the NFL, throwing 28 touchdowns (to only two interceptions) to go along with 3,554 passing yards...in 12 games.

The Patriots went 11-1 in that span, defeating eight of 11 teams by double-digit scores. Overall, New England finished 14-2, marking the 14th straight season that they have won at least 10 games. They did all this even though their top weapon, Rob Gronkowski, played in only eight games.

Their run is simply remarkable.

     

Top 2015 Teams Disappoint

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16:  Brandin Cooks #10 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals failed to make the playoffs after each winning at least 12 games last season.

Injuries hurt the Panthers, and the loss of Josh Norman to free agency hurt a young secondary that struggled mightily at the beginning of the year.

Denver's offensive line and inconsistent—sometimes anemic—run game did it in despite the defense playing great football much more often than not.

Cincinnati couldn't find a way to close out tight games, losing six by single digits.

The Cards saw Carson Palmer regress and a wide receiver corps resemble a shell of its former self either because of injury or ineffectiveness.

Overall, the stark declines proved that the NFL truly is the "not for long" league.

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