NFL Power Rankings: Week 15 | Football | CBC Sports

NFL Power RankingsNFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | 10:15 AM

Back to accessibility links
49ers tight end Vernon Davis, front, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, front, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Beginning of Story Content

Once a week, CBCSports.ca's Tony Care breaks down the balance of power in the National Football League.

Once a week, CBCSports.ca's Tony Care breaks down the balance of power in the National Football League.

1. GREEN BAY PACKERS [unchanged]
Overall record: 13-1
Streak: Lost one
There was more concern from the injury front than losing a bid for an undefeated season. Offensive lineman continue to drop for the the Packers, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled without top wideout Greg Jennings in Kansas City. If the Packers don't fix their offensive line troubles, they could be in for a rude awakening come playoff time.
2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS [up from 3]
Overall record: 11-3
Streak: Won six
There is no hotter team in the NFL right now than the Saints, who look to be in Super Bowl form at the right time.
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS [up from 5]
Overall record: 11-3
Streak: Won six
Losses by Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Houston have put the Pats in great position to snagging the top seed in the AFC. Losing sack leader Andre Carter for the season will hurt, however.
4. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS [up from 7]
Overall record: 11-3
Streak: Won one
An impressive victory over the Steelers has the 49ers in good shape for a first-round bye, although they'll need to win their two remaining games - @Sea and @StL. The contest against the Seahawks will be especially tough.
5. BALTIMORE RAVENS [down from 2]
Overall record: 10-4
Streak: Lost one
Linebacker Terrell Suggs summed it up best after the Ravens were humiliated in San Diego. "It's a reality check," Suggs told reporters. "[If] you don't show up to play in a big game like this, you get your ass whipped." While Suggs is certainly correct on that point, the Ravens may be looking at losses to Jacksonville and Seattle as their undoing.
6. PITTSBURGH STEELERS [down from 4]
Overall record: 10-4
Streak: Lost one
At the risk of sounding like a Monday Morning quarterback - too late - I would have rested the hobbling Ben Roethlisberger. I understand coach Mike Tomlin's decision. His team was in position for the No. 1 seed in the AFC and needed his best player against a tough San Francisco side. But Roethlisberger is at his best when he's moving around and buying time to make big throws. Instead, Big Ben was a statue in the pocket, couldn't muster much weight on his left ankle and threw a pair of interceptions on the teams first two drives.
7. HOUSTON TEXANS [down from 6]
Overall record: 10-4
Streak: Lost one
You could feel this loss to the Panthers coming. The Texans were making too many mistakes to keep winning the close games.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS [unchanged]
Overall record: 9-5
Streak: Won two
As long as the Falcons make running the football a priority, they can make some noise in the playoffs. If it's all on quarterback Matt Ryan, they're in trouble.
9. DETROIT LIONS [up from 11]
Overall record: 9-5
Streak: Won two
Nice comeback by the Lions in Oakland. A home victory against the Chargers this Sunday and Detroit will celebrate a playoff berth for the first time in more than a decade.
10. DENVER BRONCOS [down from 9]
Overall record: 8-6
Streak: Lost one
You see what happens when Tim Tebow faces an opposing offence that can actually score more than 10 points a game, or a quarterback who knows how to dissect a defence.
11. N.Y. JETS [down from 10]
Overall record: 8-6
Streak: Lost one
After getting crushed in Philadelphia, the Jets' schedule doesn't get any easier. The Jets still control their playoff fate but a loss to the Giants would be devastating.
12. DALLAS COWBOYS [up from 13]
Overall record: 8-6
Streak: Won one
A win against the Eagles and a Giants' loss to the New York Jets will clinch the NFC East for the Cowboys. Of course, those are TWO big ifs.
13. N.Y. GIANTS [down from 12]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Lost one
Was the Giants' victory in Dallas so emotional that they forgot to show up against the Redskins? It was like watching two different teams within a span of the week.
14.CINCINNATI BENGALS [up from 16]
Overall record: 8-6
Streak: Won one
A.J. Green is everything the Bengals could've hoped for - and more. Green has already surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau, a difficult feat for any rookie receiver.
15. ARIZONA CARDINALS [up from 18]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Won four
The Cardinals threw at lot of money at quarterback Kevin Kolb before the season, but it's John Skelton who's 5-1. Now what, Ken Whisenhunt?
16. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS [up from 19]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Won three
In their most complete game of the season, the Chargers destroyed Baltimore, scoring on six of their first seven possessions. Too bad it probably comes a tad late.
17. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS [up from 20]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Won three
With little attention, the Seahawks' defence has quietly gone on about its business, rising to the No. 8 overall unit after 15 weeks.
18. TENNESSEE TITANS [down from 14]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Lost two
The Titans will probably be the only team to lose to the Colts this season. Not exactly a good way to have your playoffs hopes dashed.
19. OAKLAND RAIDERS [down from 15]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Lost three
After blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead to the Lions, including a clinching 98-yard TD drive, the Raiders seem destined to fall short of the post-season.
20. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS [up from 23]
Overall record: 6-8
Streak: Won one
Knocking off the previously undefeated and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers could be just the win that gets interim head coach Romeo Crennel the gig on the fulltime basis.
21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES [unchanged]
Overall record: 6-8
Streak: Won two
Like the Chargers and Chiefs, Philadelphia's playoff chances are slim, but you can bet the Eagles will be throwing everything at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Anytime Michael Vick is playing, things get interesting.
22.CHICAGO BEARS [down from 17]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Lost four
I don't think Jay Cutler will be criticized after this season is over. The Bears couldn't manage one victory during this four-game losing streak with their starting quarterback out. I can just envision the aloof Cutler telling all his detractors: 'How do you like me now?"
23. MIAMI DOLPHINS [up from 24]
Overall record: 5-9
Streak: Won one
Maybe RB Reggie Bush can be a featured back. Bush had a breakthrough game against the Buffalo Bills, rushing 25 times for a career-best 203 yards. He's only 27 yards from his first 1,000-yard rushing season.
24. CAROLINA PANTHERS [up from 25]
Overall record: 5-9
Streak: Won one
Wide receiver Steve Smith hasn't gotten the attention he deserves, mostly because he's playing for a losing team. But Smith (1,299 yards and 6 touchdowns) should get a lot of credit for the year rookie quarterback Cam Newton is having.
25. WASHINGTON REDSKINS [up from 27]
Overall record: 5-9
Streak: Won one
The Redskins totally dominated the Giants with an aggressive offensive game plan and constant pressure on QB Eli Manning that resulted in three interceptions.
26. BUFFALO BILLS [down from 22]
Overall record: 5-9
Streak: Lost seven
There was a report that assistant coach Dave Wannstedt was calling the defensive plays for the Bills instead of defensive co-ordinator Edwards, which head coach Chan Gailey denied. Personally, I wouldn't admit that I was calling the defensive plays if I were Wannstedt.
27. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS [down from 26]
Overall record: 4-10
Streak: Lost one
While he could've used a little more tact, Falcons CB Dunta Robinson was spot on when he said the Jaguars haven't had a decent receiver since Jimmy Smith, who retired in 2006.
28. CLEVELAND BROWNS [up from 29]
Overall record: 4-10
Streak: Lost four
I have never questioned this team's effort. There just isn't enough talent for the Browns to compete in the tough AFC North. Team president Mike Holmgren has a lot of difficult decision in the off-season, including the fate of his rookie head coach and whether he needs to search for another quarterback.
29. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS [down from 28]
Overall record: 4-10
Streak: Lost eight
The Bucs have simply given up and it could cost head coach Raheem Morris his job.
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-12
Streak: Lost six
If I were the Vikings' top brass - and trust me I'm not expecting my phone to ring any time soon - I'd trade the top-3 selection for a bundle of draft picks. Their selection will be highly coveted because of the quality of quarterbacks coming out of college, and the Vikings need help in a lot of areas.
31. ST. LOUIS RAMS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-12
Streak: Lost five
If Sam Bradford is going to be a top-level NFL quarterback he has to remain healthy moving forward. This was his problem at Oklahoma and the Rams have a lot of money ($50 million US guaranteed) riding on his right arm.
32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 1-13
Streak: Won one
Don't worry, Colts fans, your team will still have the No. 1 pick. Just enjoy the fact you won't be joining the dubious company of the 2008 Detroit Lions

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.