NFL Sports

NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

Our voters for NFL Power Rankings: Week 17- Zac Stone, Joe DiTullio, Ben Hendricks, Michael Packard, Savannah Dean, Pranay Malempati

With the Cowboys clinching the NFC East, The NFC has pretty much taken shape. The road to the Super Bowl will go through New Orleans, while only the Vikings and Eagles have a chance at the sixth spot in the NFC.

The AFC is a bit more confusing, The Ravens, Colts, Titans and Steelers are all battling for the last two spots in the AFC. The Chargers will travel to Denver with a hope and a prayer that the Raiders can upset the Chiefs in Kansas City to earn them the home-field advantage in the AFC.

One week and three playoff spots up for grabs. If week 17 is anything like how the rest of the season has played out, we are in for a wild end of the season.

1. New Orleans Saints – 192 (High: 1. Low; 1. LW: 1)

The Saints had an eventful game against Pittsburgh, but were able to come away with the win. They will not have to play a game outdoors for a long time, which means a lot to Drew Brees and the passing game. New Orleans should be the favorite to win the Super Bowl as of right now.

-Joe DiTullio

2. Los Angeles Rams – 181 (High: 2. Low: 5. LW: T4)

With the Rams missing their best offensive weapon, the offense did not skip a beat. C.J. Anderson had 20 carries for 167 yards and a score. The defense made easy work of a weak Cardinals team allowing just a field goal and a touchdown for a 31-9 win. Although it was against the Cardinals, the Rams showed they can dominate on the road without Todd Gurley.

– Zac Stone

3. Kansas City Chiefs – 177 (High: 2. Low: 8. LW: 3)

The Chiefs allowed 38 points to Seattle in a loss and missed out on an opportunity to clinch the division title and number one seed. But because of the Chargers loss to Baltimore, all KC has to do is beat the Raiders and they keep home-field advantage in the AFC. The bigger problem is that this defense giving up a ton of points and long touchdown drives at the end of games. Without an improvement on that side of the ball, KC’s playoff hopes will end early yet again.

– Pranay Malempati

T4. Los Angeles Chargers – 169 (High: 2. Low: 9. LW: 2)

The Chargers offense got shut down by the Ravens on Saturday and essentially ended their hopes at winning the division and getting a first round bye. They still have a chance if they win next week and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders, but how likely is that second part? LA will most likely have to win three games on the road to make the Super Bowl. The bright side is that the Chargers haven’t lost outside of LA this year (their one road loss was at the LA Rams). So Rivers and the crew can still make a run.

– Pranay Malempati

T4. Chicago Bears – 169 (High: 3. Low: 8. LW: T4)

Despite only throwing for 246 yards, Mitchell Trubisky was near perfect, completing 25 of 29 passes with one touchdown and a fumble. The Bears did not bring it like we have come to expect from the surprising division winner, but they managed to leave San Francisco with a win. Chicago’s defense continues to carry this team to the next level.

– Zac Stone

6. New England Patriots – 163 (High: 4. Low: 7. LW: 7)

New England bounced back after their loss to the Steelers to beat the Bills. While this doesn’t look like one of the best Patriot teams we have seen, with Belichick and Brady, they should never be counted out. They should be able to beat the Jets this week to finish out the season on a strong note.

-Joe DiTullio

7. Baltimore Ravens – 151 (High: 6. Low: 11. LW: 10)

Lamar Jackson has turned this team around. Their run game has came out of the wood work and their defense is one of the best in the NFL. They took down the Chargers as an underdog and showed what they really can do. With the Steelers loss they are now first in their division. Now, they must beat the Browns Week 17 to secure the playoff spot.

– Savannah Dean

T8. Houston Texans – 149 (High: 6. Low: 12. LW: 6)

Despite coming back from down 13 points with five minutes left, the Houston Texans couldn’t hold onto their lead in their 32-30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Deshaun Watson did his best to get the Texans the lead, throwing two masterful touchdowns to D’Onta Foreman and Vyncint Smith, but there was just too much time for Nick Foles and the Eagles to get within field goal range. The Texans defense didn’t make it easy, but they allowed the Eagles to convert two third-and-10’s deep in their own territory that gave them momentum. The loss hurt the Texans as far as playoff seeding goes, as they are now the third seed in the AFC thanks to the New England Patriots owning the head-to head matchup. Houston takes on Jacksonville in the regular season finale.

– Michael Packard

T8. Seattle Seahawks – 149 (High: 7, Low: 10. LW: 11)

The Seahawks were running on all cylinders with an impressive win against the Chiefs to clinch a playoff spot. The defense looked iffy at times, but Patrick Mahomes has made every defense look that way. Russell Wilson and Chris Carson will look to make some noise in January with a team that has shown they can beat the best.

– Zac Stone

10. Indianapolis Colts – 144 (High: 5. Low: 11. LW: 8)

With their season on the line, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts came up big to steal a 28- 27 win against the New York Giants. It looked grim for the Colts, who didn’t score until four minutes were left in the second quarter and were down 17-7 at half. After the break, Andrew Luck put the team on his back and led back-to-back scoring drives to get the team within three points. After a Giants field goal and the two teams traded punts, the Colts drove down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 55 seconds left in the game. The Giants had an opportunity to drive down the field and get in range for a game-winning field goal, but Eli Manning overthrew Bennie Fowler and was picked off to seal the victory for the Colts. Indianapolis is currently a wild card team, but will need to beat the Tennessee Titans next week to secure a playoff berth for the first time in three years.

– Michael Packard

11. Dallas Cowboys – 126 (High: 9. Low: 15. LW: 13)

Well, Dallas managed to win the division. A division it seemed nobody really wanted to win. But with a narrow victory over a bad Buccaneers team, the Cowboys were able to shake off an ugly shutout loss suffered in Week 15. The aim of the game in Week 17 should be to iron out some play calling issues and overall strategies before the playoffs begin. Good luck to what is probably the worst division winner in the league.

– Ben Hendricks

12. Pittsburgh Steelers – 124 (High: 10. Low: 14. LW: 9)

One of the most thrilling games in Week 16. The Steelers kept up with the Saints throughout the whole game in the Superdome. A last minute touchdown by the Saints forced Big Ben to complete a game winning drive. JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled the ball costing the game. If they’re going to make the playoffs, they will need some help for the Browns next week.

– Savannah Dean

13. Tennessee Titans – 123 (High: 11. Low: 14. LW: 14)

A close game throughout, the Tennessee Titans scored twice in the final five minutes to seal their 25-16 win against the Washington Redskins. Down four with eight minutes left to go, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, playing for Marcus Mariota who was hurt earlier in the game, led a 75-yard drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt to put the Titans up by three. On the ensuing drive, the Titans’ defense forced an interception by Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson to get the ball back, but punted the ball back to Washington with 20 seconds left. The Titans picked off Johnson again, this time returning it for a touchdown as time expired. Tennessee still has a shot to make the playoffs, but needs to beat the Indianapolis Colts in their Week 17 rematch to secure a spot. The last time these two met, the Colts beat the Titans badly, winning 38-10 behind three Andrew Luck touchdowns.

– Michael Packard

14. Minnesota Vikings – 119 (High: 9. Low: 15. LW: 12)

The Vikings took care of business making easy work of the Lions in Detroit, but they face a difficult contest in week 17. If the Vikings can defeat the division champ Chicago Bears, they will clinch a playoff spot, but that has proved to be a difficult task in 2018. If they cannot clinch a playoff spot on their own they need the depleted Redskins to beat the Eagles in D.C.

– Zac Stone

15. Philadelphia Eagles – 114 (High: 11. Low: 15. LW: 15)

Philly kept its Super Bowl repeat hopes alive with a win over the Texans (prompting a friendly tweet from the New England Patriots for helping their seeding). With a win over the Redskins and a Minnesota loss, they will be back in the playoffs with another shot at the Lombardi Trophy. The win next week should be easy, and Nick Foles is on fire again. But Philadelphia still has a very banged up roster and some holes to fill, although they made it happen last year.

– Ben Hendricks

16. Cleveland Browns – 96 (High: 16. Low: 22. LW: 17)

The Browns swept the Bengals for the first time since 2002 and are looking stronger than ever. Makes you wonder where they would be if Baker started to begin with. Next season is something to look forward to. Gregg Williams could steal the vacant head coaching job and Baker could break Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown record in Week 17.

– Savannah Dean

17. Green Bay Packers – 91 (High: 17. Low: 21. LW: 21)

Aaron Rodgers once again proved why he is one of the best to ever play the game. Rodgers threw for 442 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for two fourth quarter touchdowns before connecting with Davante Adams in overtime to secure the win in the Meadowlands.

– Zac Stone

18. Miami Dolphins – 84 (High: 17. Low: 21. LW: 16)

The Dolphins should be proud of what they accomplished this year, but they are going to come up just short of the playoffs. They have some of the least amount of talent in the NFL and still already have seven wins. Losing to the Jaguars is frustrating, but if they can do this much now, with a few key pieces, they could make the playoffs next season.

-Joe DiTullio

19. Atlanta Falcons – 81 (High: 18. Low: 22. LW: 22)

Atlanta has won two in a row, but it is too little too late for them. There is talk of firing coordinators, which is warranted after this season. They’ll need to add a little more to their roster to get to the playoffs with the Panthers and Saints in the division.

-Joe DiTullio

20. Denver Broncos – 73 (High: 18. Low: 26. LW: 20)

Denver, who was eliminated last week and had nothing to play for, lost their third game in a row. After jumping back in the playoff race at 6-6, the Broncos have fell flat on their faces and lost to three straight non-playoff teams. This team has to decide if they want to stick with Case Keenum at QB and try to make the playoffs next year or draft a rookie QB and play him immediately. Head coach Vance Joseph is on the hot seat as well and may be gone after Week 17.

– Pranay Malempati

21. Carolina Panthers – 71 (High: 16. Low: 29. LW: 18)

The losing skid continues, but it is understandable with Taylor Heinecke under center. Carolina is preparing for next season and should let anyone who is important take it easy this last week if they are banged up. If Cam Newton doesn’t hurt his shoulder, this team could’ve made the playoffs, so there is hope for next year.

-Joe DiTullio

22. Washington Redskins – 70 (High: 17. Low: 27. LW: 19)

Another week, another ugly loss. Everyone knew the Redskins might have had to punt on their season when Alex Smith went down with a broken leg, but no one expected the defense to take a nose dive, as well. With hopes dashed, all they can hope to do is play spoiler to division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.

– Ben Hendricks

23. Detroit Lions – 59 (High: 20. Low: 27. LW: 23)

The Lions benched franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford for the first time since 2015. Stafford has never had much to work with outside of early retiree Calvin Johnson. With the team eyeing a top 10 pick in the upcoming draft will they choose to help Stafford or potentially move on from the 30-year old gunslinger. Detroit will have a huge decision to make in the offseason.

– Zac Stone

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 52 (High: 21. Low: 28. LW: T26)

Tampa Bay has lost three straight now, with the last one coming to the Cowboys. They need to change a lot before they can be competitive in the tough NFC South.

-Joe DiTullio

25. Cincinnati Bengals – 49 (High: 22. Low: 27. LW: 24)

With Dalton and Green out this team is not what they wanted to be. Driskel was able to pull out the win agains the Raiders but not the strong, up and coming Browns. In Week 17 they must travel back home to play the Steelers- a team on the verge of playoff elimination. It’s a tough road ahead.

– Savannah Dean

26. New York Giants – 46 (High: 23. Low: 27. LW: T26)

The New York Giants can’t even play spoiler to the NFC East champion Cowboys next week. Last week, however, was best case scenario for the Giants. They came close to beating a better team, but still lost, which will help their draft stock. So, that’s something at least. The offseason has basically already begun for Big Blue.

– Ben Hendricks

27. Jacksonville Jaguars – 40 (High: 24. Low: 28. LW: 29)

For only the second time in their past 11 games, the Jacksonville Jaguars notched a W in the win column with their 17-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins. It wasn’t pretty, but by this point a win is a win. Quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles, who made his first appearance since being benched in Week 12, combined for 118 passing yards and the run game combined for 132 yards and a Leonard Fournette touchdown, but the game was all about the Jaguars’ defense. The defense held the Dolphins’ offense to 183 total yards and the play of the game came on a poor throw by Ryan Tannehill that Telvin Smith returned for a pick-six to put the Jaguars up for good. The win knocks the Dolphins out of the playoff race, and the Jaguars have another chance to hurt another playoff team, divisional rival Houston Texans, for playoff seeding when they face off in Week 17.

– Michael Packard

28. Buffalo Bills – 35 (High: 24. Low: 31. LW: 25)

Buffalo can beat some teams at home, but the Patriots are too tough, especially on the road. There should be some exitement heading into the offseason about the play of Josh Allen. If they do their rebuild right, they should build around Allen these next couple of years. If Brady or Belichick every retire, they could compete.

-Joe DiTullio

29. San Francisco 49ers – 29 (High: 23. Low: 31. LW: 28)

If there is a bright spot to take away from the 49ers week 16 loss, it is that they were able to contain a talented Bears offense to just two scores. The 49ers disaster of a season is almost over. They will be able to upgrade their team with a top five pick in the 2019 draft, along with the return of Jimmy G. The biggest challenge for San Francisco will be trying to match the elite level of the Rams and the rising Seahawks.

– Zac Stone

30. New York Jets – 21 (High: 29. Low: 30. LW: 30)

Sam Darnold dueled with Aaron Rodgers well, but the Packers came out on top. The Jets will likely make a coaching change and have some new faces next year, but Darnold has had a decent start to his career, which is encouraging.

-Joe DiTullio

31. Oakland Raiders – 15 (High: 30. Low: 31. LW: 31)

If this really is the Raiders’ last game in Oakland, what a way to end the run. They dominated the Broncos from start to finish and not one seat was empty in the stadium as fans came out to see potentially the last stand of the “Oakland” Raiders. The win hurts their draft position but its worth providing their faithful fans with one last bittersweet memory.

– Pranay Malempati

32. Arizona Cardinals – 6 (High: 32. Low: 32. LW: 32)

Just one game in Seattle stands between the Cardinals and the first overall pick in 2019. If you are a Cardinals fan do you even want to win?

– Zac Stone

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