It was certainly an interesting week of football in Week 15 with some wild plays and great endings. Among my top 10 teams from last week, the plummeting Jets righted themselves against my third-ranked Steelers, but the Falcons and Patriots continued to roll as the top two teams in the NFL.
Before I get to my new power rankings for Week 16, I'd like to say that I'm taking the Steelers over the Panthers this Thursday night in one of the lamest, most lopsided prime time match-ups this season. It's going to be ugly.
Now onto the rankings:
The Top 10
1. Atlanta Falcons (12-2; First) — The Falcons had no problems traveling across the country and defeating the inferior Seahawks, and there really isn't a team in the NFL they can't beat when they're at their best.
2. New England Patriots (12-2; Second) — The Patriots probably should have beaten an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team a little more than they did, but they came out with the W and are still the top team in the AFC.
3. Baltimore Ravens (10-4; Fourth) — The Ravens made a statement with a big win over the potent Saints and are neck-and-neck with the Steelers in the AFC North.
4. New Orleans Saints (10-4; Fifth) — There is no rule that says a team has to drop in the rankings when they lose, especially when they lose a close game on the road to a team ranked higher than them before that week anyway.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4; Third) — The Steelers hit a speed bump with a loss to the underachieving Jets, but time should tell that this was more of a fluke than anything else.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4; Sixth) — They came out of the game against the Giants with a win, but there just isn't any room for them to move up right now.
7. Chicago Bears (10-4; Ninth) — A week after dropping two spots, the Bears move right back up two spots with a decisive win over the Vikings in the elements.
8. New York Jets (10-4; 10th) — After weeks of unimpressive wins and a few losses, the Jets finally earned a victory over a worthy opponent in Pittsburgh. If I'm ranking teams on current performance and the prettiness of the head coach's wife's feet, the Jets probably crack the top five.
9. New York Giants (9-5; Seventh) — The Giants came out dominating the Eagles early last week, but let them get back into it and ended up losing on a accidental punt to DeSean Jackson by Matt Dodge. This is still a good team, but that choke job drops them a bit.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5; 13th) — The Chiefs' return to the top 10 coincides with Matt Cassel's return from his appendectomy. The offense has rolled this year with Cassel at the helm, and it should be an interesting battle with San Diego for the division.
The Other 22
11. San Diego Chargers (8-6; 14th)
12. Indianapolis Colts (8-6; 16th)
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6; Eighth)
14. Green Bay Packers (8-5; 11th)
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6; 12th)
16. Oakland Raiders (7-7; 19th)
17. Dallas Cowboys (5-9; 21st)
18. St. Louis Rams (7-7; 17th)
19. Miami Dolphins (7-7; 15th)
20. Cleveland Browns (5-9; 18th)
21. Tennessee Titans (6-8; 22nd)
22. Buffalo Bills (4-10; 26th)
23. Houston Texans (5-9; 20th)
24. Minnesota Vikings (5-9; 23rd)
25. San Francisco 49ers (5-9; 24th)
26. Washington Redskins (5-9; 25th)
27. Detroit Lions (4-10; 29th)
28. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11; 31st)
29. Seattle Seahawks (6-8; 27th)
30. Denver Broncos (3-11; 30th)
31. Arizona Cardinals (4-10; 28th)
32. Carolina Panthers (2-12; 32nd)
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.