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NFL Power Rankings Week 16: NFC Powers Rising

It was a really interesting week in the NFL. There were a few teams that proved they’re not ready for prime time (Tampa & Jacksonville) while a few others made major statements of intent (Philly & NYJ). Still other teams showed some resolve in defeat (New Orleans & Green Bay). Pittsburgh, Chicago & Atlanta all clinched a playoff spot this past week, with a few other poised to clinch this week. The postseason spots are starting to become scarce as we head into the second to last week of the NFL season.

Without further ado, here’s your full week 16 NFL power rankings.

(1) New England Patriots – Struggled to beat the Packers in Foxboro without Aaron Rodgers, which was a surprise. The Pats were 15.5 point favorites in that game and only won by four… Still a win is a win and the Pats still hold the AFC’s best record. (LW: 1)

(2) Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons won their 8th straight on Sunday and clinched a playoff spot. They’ve got one more big test this season and it’s next week when the Saints come to the Georgia Dome. Unfortunately, had the Saints not lost Sunday that game could have helped decide the NFC South. (LW: 2)

(3) Chicago Bears – Crushed Minny last night just liked they should have and really helped to shake off the embarrassment to New England. They clinched the NFC North and have the inside track on a first round bye. (LW: 5)

(4) Philadelphia Eagles – Pulled off one of the great comebacks in NFL history to beat the Giants and take a stranglehold on the NFC East. With home games against the Vikings and Cowboys left, the Eagles have a decent shot at a No. 2 seed. (LW: 5)

(5) Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens did what the Steelers could not this weekend, get a win at home against a quality opponent. They’ve now pulled even with Pittsburgh in the AFC North. (LW: 6)

(6) New York Jets– The criticism we’ve had with the Jets all year is that they’ve beaten bad teams and lost when they faced quality opponents… Not this past weekend. They went into Pittsburgh and got a huge win. (LW: 10)

(7) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Jets are a quality team, but that’s really no excuse for the Steelers to drop a home game at this point in the season. They were supposed to be the second best team in the AFC, they didn’t look like it. (LW: 3)

(8) New Orleans Saints – I can’t say as though there’s a lot of shame in losing to the Ravens on the road. That’s a tough, out of conference road game. It’s surprising how often teams lose in that spot. Unfortunately it probably cost them a shot at the NFC South. (LW: 4)

(9) Kansas City Chiefs – Got themselves a road win against the Rams, which sets them up very nicely to get a playoff game at home. (LW 11)

(10) Indianapolis Colts – Tough decision as to who was No. 10 this week, but the Colts really had a great win to beat the Jags and wrest control of the AFC South back. If they win out, they’re the division champs again. (LW: 15)

(11) New York Giants – How do the Giants come back from what happened to them Sunday? It doesn’t get easier either, they now head on the road to face the Packers in a game that will likely decide the final wild card spot. (LW: 8)

(12) San Diego Chargers – This is a team that no one in the AFC wants to see sneak into the playoffs. With their offensive firepower, they can beat anyone. (LW: 14)

(13) Green Bay Packers – They put up a real fight against the Pats and with Aaron Rodgers returning they still control their own playoff fate with the Giants coming to town next week. (LW: 12)

(14) Jacksonville Jaguars – Failed their test against Indy. If you want to be the best you gotta beat the best and they didn’t do it. Now they need Indy to lose if they want any shot at the AFC South (LW: 9)

(15) Oakland Raiders – I really like this Oakland team. I really think they’re as good as anyone in AFC outside of Pats/Steelers/Ravens. (LW: 19)

(16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – You’re going to lose at home to Detroit while in the thick of a playoff race? Really? Boo! (LW: 13)

(17) St. Louis Rams – People may have anointed Sam Bradford a little quick. He’s been terrible for a few weeks now. Might have hit that “rookie wall.” (LW: 17)

(18) Seattle Seahawks – I now actively hate the entire NFC West. (LW: 18)

(19) Miami Dolphins – Its almost impossible to understand how this team wins so much on the road and loses so much at home. (LW: 16)

(20) Dallas Cowboys – They beat the Redskins but allow four TD passes from Rex Grossman. Pyrrhic victory? (LW: 23)

(21) San Francisco 49ers – With nine losses, they’re still very much in the hunt for the NFC West crown. (LW: 20)

(22) Tennessee Titans – Hey look, a team whose offense looked great against the Texans! (LW: 25)

(23) Minnesota Vikings – Last night was just ugly for this team. They’ve got more problems than just at QB. (LW: 21)

(24) Detroit Lions – Two straight wins? Lions are on fire! (LW: 26)

(25) Houston Texans – Arguably the worst defense of all time. Not joking. (LW: 24)

(26) Cleveland Browns – After showing some fight in midseason, they appear to be just playing out the string. (LW: 22)

(27) Buffalo Bills – Went down to Miami and got a win. Not bad. Well, yeah they’re bad. (LW: 28).

(28) Washington Redskins – Rex Grossman threw some touchdowns and had some turnovers. In other words he played like Rex Grossman (LW: 27)

(29) Cincinnati Bengals – They lose Terrell Owens, but win a game. Hmmm. (LW: 31)

(30) Denver Broncos – Tebow saves souls, not football games. (LW: 27)

(31) Carolina Panthers – Beating Arizona for this team at this point in the season is like the Giants losing to the Eagles. Giants and Eagles are in a playoff race. Cards and Panthers are in a race for the No. 1 pick. (LW: 32)

(32) Arizona Cardinals – Lost the awful bowl to the Panthers last week, so here they are at the bottom. (LW: 29)