Written By: Greg Lehr
At this point of the NFL season, it’s pretty clear where most teams stand in comparison to one another. Playoff scenarios drive league-wide conversations as each fanbase tries to calculate the best case scenario for their beloved teams. In fact, 14/16 games in Week 16 have some degree of playoff implications. How each team looks the last two weeks of the season can really affect how good (or not) you may feel about them heading into the home stretch. Check out which teams are building (or losing) momentum after an eventful Week 15 with this week’s Power Rankings.
Week 16 Ranking: 2 (+2)
Similar to the win in Pittsburgh just a couple weeks ago, Philip Rivers led another furious second-half comeback on the road, completing a touchdown pass and two-point conversion to beat the Chiefs 29-28 in the final seconds at Arrowhead. Rivers continues forcing his name into the MVP conversation as the Chargers look to push for the top seed in the AFC down the stretch.
Week 16 Ranking: 9 (+4)
In a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the NFL coming into the weekend, the Colts gave the visiting Cowboys a thorough beat down, 23-0. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this game was the way in which Indianapolis dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Improving their record to 8-6 certainly puts them in good position for a playoff spot with two weeks to go, although the AFC Wild Card race remains very tight with the Chargers/Chiefs locking up the #5 seed already. If the defense, led by DROY front-runner Darius Leonard, continue showing up as they did against Dallas, Andrew Luck will be leading a dangerous Wild Card team in a couple weeks.
Week 16 Ranking: 7 (+3)
It’s crazy how much one week, and one big win, can change the perception of a team, especially this late in the season. After three straight losses, many were calling for significant changes for the Steelers, including Mike Tomlin’s job. But a home win against New England sure changed that tune, as the Steelers remain atop the AFC North and are in control of their own destiny. However, a road trip to New Orleans this week won’t make it easy to keep it that way.
Week 16 Ranking: 4 (-2)
Halfway through the regular season, the Rams looked unbeatable and it appeared that Sean McVay could do no wrong. All of a sudden, they’ve lost two straight games and it feels like the confidence in this team has wavered in unexpected fashion. Take a breath before you jump off the bandwagon though. They’re still 11-3 and have remaining games against the Cardinals and 49ers, giving them the opportunity to rebuild some positive momentum before the playoffs.
New England Patriots
Week 16 Ranking: 8 (-2)
After last week's devastating loss in Miami, the Patriots once again came up short on the road in Pittsburgh. This loss marked the first time since 2002 that New England has lost back-to-back December games. They should be able to get back on track this week when the Bills come to Foxboro, and a win would clinch the AFC East title and a playoff spot.
Week 16 Ranking: 12 (-3)
The Cowboys came crashing down to earth on Sunday after getting shut-out by the Colts. Dallas’ strong front seven on defense was surprisingly porous against the Colts’ rushing attack, as Marlon Mack gashed them for 140 yards and 2 TDs. The loss halts their five-game winning streak and postpones their chance to clinch the division at least another week. They host the Buccaneers in Cowboys Stadium this upcoming week.
Rankings: The Blitz Team
1 New Orleans Saints 2 Los Angeles Chargers 3 Kansas City Chiefs 4 Los Angeles Rams 5 Chicago Bears 6 Houston Texans 7 Pittsburgh Steelers 8 New England Patriots 9 Indianapolis Colts 10 Seattle Seahawks 12 Dallas Cowboys 11 Baltimore Ravens 13 Minnesota Vikings 14 Philadelphia Eagles 15 Tennessee Titans 16 Cleveland Browns 18 Carolina Panthers 17 Miami Dolphins 19 Denver Broncos 20 Green Bay Packers 21 Atlanta Falcons 22 Washington Redskins 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 New York Giants 24 Buffalo Bills 26 Detroit Lions 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 28 Cincinnati Bengals 29 San Francisco 49ers 30 New York Jets 31 Oakland Raiders 32 Arizona Cardinals