2016 NFL Week 17 Power Rankings: Cardinals Cruising

With one week left in the regular season, here’s what we know: The six teams in have been decided, but not much else. The Panthers and Cardinals will receive a first round bye but both could still end up as the #1 seed The Packers, Vikings and Seahawks are all in and in no particular order will represent that #3, 5 and 6 seeds, while the Redskins are the only definitive at this point and they will finish as the #4 seed.

Over in the AFC, absolutely nothing is set in stone. Both the Colts and Steelers are still breathing, barely. The Patriots have locked up a first round bye but need a win to maintain the #1 seed. The Broncos are in, and could finish as high as #2 or as low as #6. The Chiefs are in and they too could finish in multiple slots. In other words, plenty is left to be decided in the season’s final week.

As for more important matters, it took 16 weeks but I finally reached the peak of Mount .500. For the first time all season I went undefeated and got all four games, bringing my season record to 28-25.  As we turn to Week 17, there are no primetime games other than the Sunday Nighter, which involves the Packers and my 0-6 record in picking Green Bay in prime time games has been well documented. I will take the Vikings to defeat the Packers. However that guarantees I will finish the year above .500 so I will pick three other random games just to keep things interesting. I will take Seattle to get revenge out in the desert over Arizona. I’ll take the Bills to beat the Jets (you know Rex is going to do everything he can to keep New York out of the playoffs). And in a game that means absolutely nothing, I’ll take Atlanta over New Orleans.

And with that, here are the 2016 NFL week 17 power rankings.

Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).

(1-4)

  • Arizona Cardinals (2): Whether Arizona’s win had more to do with how good they were or how poor Green Bay was is irrelevant. At 13-2, it’s time to give this team the credit they deserve.
  • Carolina Panthers (1): It’s only one loss but they have looked more beatable in recent weeks.
  • Kansas City Chiefs (9): Can anyone say with absolute certainty that the Chiefs aren’t the best team in the league right now?
  • Denver Broncos (7): All you have to do is get in, and Denver did just that. Their defense is good enough to carry them all the way.

(5-8)

  • Seattle Seahawks (4): Luckily for Seattle they won’t have to face the Rams in the playoffs.
  • New England Patriots (3): All of a sudden this team isn’t looking quite as super as they were a month ago.
  • New York Jets (10): The Jets may have the best chance of anyone of beating the Pats in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the rest of the AFC, there’s no guarantee the Jets will even be in the playoffs.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (5): Pittsburgh was looking like perhaps the AFC favorite and now they look like they may be watching from home.

(9-12)

  • Minnesota Vikings (11): They have a legitimate shot to win the NFC North in Week 17 and host a playoff game. This team has an awfully bright future.
  • Green Bay Packers (6): R-E-L-A-X. Relax. It’s something the Packers will get to do a lot of if in about two weeks if they don’t turn things around.
  • Cincinnati Bengals (8): You have to be somewhat impressed with AJ McCarron so far. He’s got one more week to try and get as much under his belt as he can for the playoff run.
  • Houston Texans (12): The way Houston is playing right now, even David Carr could probably get a win. And let’s face it, any more injuries and they may just have to give him a call.

(13-16)

  • Washington Redskins (13): Kirk Cousins is playing incredible football right now and they will not be a pushover come playoff time.
  • Buffalo Bills (14): Though the Bills didn’t accomplish what they wanted to this season, it does appear they have a bright future ahead of them.
  • Indianapolis Colts (15): The Colts need 10 things to go their way, and they can make the playoffs. No that’s not an exaggeration, they need 10 different games to go their way (there’s only 16 total games in a week folks).
  • Atlanta Falcons (18): Atlanta was officially eliminated with the win by Minnesota but ending Carolina’s perfect season had to feel good.

(17-20)

  • St. Louis Rams (20): The Rams would be a Super Bowl Contender if they could play all 16 games against the NFC West.
  • Oakland Raiders (19): An overtime win in perhaps the last home game in Oakland and in Charles Woodson’s final home game is a heck of a way to cap off a season at home.
  • New York Giants (16): The question (as it is so often) is will Tom Coughlin be back as head coach next season?
  • Philadelphia Eagles (17): Eagle fans are probably ready to have a change at coach but I for one hope they don’t. I’d love to see what Chip does this off-season.

(21-24)

  • Chicago Bears (22): The Bears have had a fairly respectable season and most people forget their top pick, a wide receiver, missed the entire season.
  • Detroit Lions (22): Calvin Johnson is definitely on the decline, and the Lions need to try to make one more playoff run before his tank hits empty.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21): The Bucs are one more playmaker away from being a serious threat on the offensive side of the football.
  • New Orleans Saints (26): Drew Brees can still put up silly numbers, but the Saints absolutely have to address the defense. Most passing touchdowns allowed in a single season in NFL history is not exactly a winning formula.

(25-28)

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (24): They didn’t quite finish the season how they wanted but there is definitely some reason for optimism in Jacksonville.
  • Miami Dolphins (25): A win in Week 17 against New England would make an otherwise forgettable season less miserable.
  • Baltimore Ravens (32): Beating the Steelers and severely damaging their playoff hopes feels almost as good as making the playoffs for Ravens fans.
  • San Diego Chargers (27): The Chargers are in line for a potential top five draft pick, the question will be should they focus on offense or defense?

(29-32)

  • San Francisco 49ers (28): Whispers around the league indicate Mike Holmgren has interest in coaching the 49ers. If that happens I give it two years until they are back to being legitimate contenders.
  • Dallas Cowboys (29): One more week until Dallas fans start saying “it was a catch” again.
  • Cleveland Browns (30): I believe I set the over/under at 2.5 weeks for another Johnny Manziel video to come out. It’s no surprise to me that the under ended up being the winner.
  • Tennessee Titans (31): Marcus Mariota needs help – it’s pretty simple.

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