NFL Power Rankings: Week 16 | Football | CBC Sports

NFLNFL Power Rankings: Week 16

Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | 06:14 PM

Back to accessibility links
If Saturday's 18-for-31, 154-yard, two-touchdown performance by quarterback Andy Dalton, left, wasn't enough to get Bengals fans to fill the seats, then securing the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with a win this Sunday over Baltimore should. (Darron Cummings/Associated Press) If Saturday's 18-for-31, 154-yard, two-touchdown performance by quarterback Andy Dalton, left, wasn't enough to get Bengals fans to fill the seats, then securing the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with a win this Sunday over Baltimore should. (Darron Cummings/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: 14-1
Streak: Won one
The Packers locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC but still have some issues to deal with. Particularly concerning is a porous run defence and a lack of pass rush when linebacker Clay Matthews is blocked.
2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 12-3
Streak: Won seven
Drew Brees, who broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old season-passing mark (5,087 yards), and the Saints' passing game is lethal indoors. However, let's see how they do should the NFC championship game take place at frigid Lambeau Field.
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 12-3
Streak: Won seven
The Patriots were down 17-0 at halftime against the Miami Dolphins, but a profane-laden speech by head coach Bill Belichick apparently spurred on the guys for an important victory. It's a pretty simple scenario for the Pats now: Beat Buffalo and the top seed in the AFC is theirs.
4. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS [unchanged]
Overall record: 12-3
Streak: Won two
The defence has been this team's bread and butter for the whole season. For the 49ers to make a post-season run, their opportunistic defence must continue to make plays.
5. BALTIMORE RAVENS [unchanged]
Overall record: 11-4
Streak: Won one
The biggest problem facing the Ravens is it's too reliant on RB Ray Rice. The defence isn't the lights out unit of years past, and QB Joe Flacco simply isn't getting it done in the passing game.
6. PITTSBURGH STEELERS [unchanged]
Overall record: 11-4
Streak: Won one
I don't' care if the Steelers can win the AFC North, and earn a first-round bye if they beat the Browns and Baltimore falls to the Bengals. I still wouldn't risk QB Ben Roethlisberger's health against the Browns. There is no team better equipped for a playoff run on the road. Rest Ben's ankle and take your chances with Charlie Batch, Mike Tomlin.
7. DETROIT LIONS [up from 9]
Overall record: 10-5
Streak: Won three
Now that the Lions clinched their first playoff berth in 12 years, we can officially call them one of the most dangerous teams of the post-season. Composure will be key, however.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS [unchanged]
Overall record: 9-6
Streak: Lost one
There will be plenty of questions regarding Matt Ryan's ability to lead a team should he lose a third straight playoff game.
9. HOUSTON TEXANS [down from 7]
Overall record: 10-5
Streak: Lost two
Considering that ugly loss to Indianapolis last Thursday night, can you really see this team making a playoff run? I can't.
10.CINCINNATI BENGALS [up from 14]
Overall record: 9-6
Streak: Won two
I just don't get Bengals fans. It's the last game of the year, and a victory over the Ravens, who have plenty to play for, secures the team the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Yet ticket sales remain slow and there's a possibility the game could be blacked out. In fact, the Bengals have only sold out one home date - against the Steelers - this season. Baffling.
11. N.Y. GIANTS [up from 13]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Won one
I thought Julius Peppers was the most athletically gifted pass rusher I've ever seen. That is, until the emergence of Giants phenom Jason-Pierre Paul this season. He's fast, strong and has the wingspan of an Albatross. The scary thing about Paul is he doesn't even know all the nuances to the position yet.
12. DALLAS COWBOYS [unchanged]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Lost one
Despite a bruised right hand, Tony Romo will play in the winner-take-all game against the Giants at the MetLife Stadium. These are the kind of games that will define Romo, not gaudy stats.
13. DENVER BRONCOS [down from 10]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Lost two
It's still all there for the Broncos. All they need to do is defeat Kansas City at home and they win the AFC West. Of course, the delicious circumstances surrounding the game are that they'll have to go through quarterback Kyle Orton, who they cut, to do it.
14. OAKLAND RAIDERS [up from 19]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Won one
Defensive lineman Richard Seymour really came through for the Raiders in a key AFC battle after blocking a pair of Kansas City field goal attempts. The last one in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter allowed the Raiders to walk away with an overtime victory.
15. TENNESSEE TITANS [up from 18]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Won one
When it's all said and done the Titans will look back at the loss to the previously winless Colts as the game that cost them a playoff berth.
16. N.Y. JETS [down from 11]
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Lost two
Head coach Rex Ryan won't have much of a future in New York if the organization continues to pin its hopes on quarterback Mark Sanchez. After watching his brutal display against the Giants and suffering through another maddeningly inconsistent season, Sanchez is not the answer at QB.
17. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES [up from 21]
Overall record: 7-8
Streak: Won three
This may anger Philly fans but I wouldn't get rid of head coach Andy Reid. He definitely has a contending team and deserves another year at the helm to get this right.
18. ARIZONA CARDINALS [down from 15]
Overall record: 7-8
Streak: Lost one
The Cardinals did a nice job rallying from a 23-0 deficit but just fell a touchdown short against in Cincinnati. Considering the second-half surges by both the Cards and Seahawks, combined with the dominance of the 49ers, the NFC West should be a lot stronger next year.
19. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS [down from 17]
Overall record: 7-8
Streak: Lost one
Head coach Pete Carroll needs to address his quarterback situation in the off-season if the Seahawks are going to move forward. But fans should be encouraged by what they've seen out of their team in the second half.
20. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS [down from 16]
Overall record: 7-8
Streak: Lost one
Any talk of head coach Norv Turner saving his job ended with the Chargers' pathetic effort in Detroit. It's time for a change, and that includes getting rid of GM A.J. Smith.
21. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS [down from 20]
Overall record: 6-9
Streak: Lost one
It's a lost year in Kansas City but what better way to end the year than ruining the Broncos' playoff hopes with a win in Denver. And make no mistake, interim coach Romeo Crennel won't let his team roll over.
22.CHICAGO BEARS [unchanged]
Overall record: 7-8
Streak: Lost five
Knowing the way the Bears try to nickel-and-dime some of their players, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they use RB Kahil Bell's performance against the Packers as a way to get Matt Forte to come down on his asking price.
23. CAROLINA PANTHERS [up from 24]
Overall record: 6-9
Streak: Won two
Cam Newton set the single-season passing yardage record for a rookie - supplanting Peyton Manning - and the future certainly looks bright in Carolina. Once the defence gets sorted out, a priority in the off-season, this team should be a perennial playoff contender.
24. MIAMI DOLPHINS [down from 23]
Overall record: 5-10
Streak: Lost one
With a new regime likely in place shortly after the season, expect several veterans gone after Week 17 against the Jets, including long-time Dolphin great Jason Taylor and right tackle Marc Colombo.
25. BUFFALO BILLS [up from 26]
Overall record: 6-9
Streak: Won one
Bills fans shouldn't get crazy over a blowout victory against Tim Tebow and the Broncos. There are still plenty of holes - particularly on defence - to fill before the start of next season.
26. WASHINGTON REDSKINS [down from 25]
Overall record: 5-10
Streak: Lost one
In the month of December, Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs was 33-11 in his first stint, and 13-7 during his second time around. Hall of Fame coach George Allen was 13-6 while guiding the Redskins. Mike Shanahan, on the other hand, is currently 2-7 and won't last much longer if this trend continues.
27. CLEVELAND BROWNS [up from 28]
Overall record: 4-11
Streak: Lost five
It still amuses me how a defensive player - in this case rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor - knows the opposing quarterback (instert Ravens' Joe Flacco) is only trying to entice the defence to jump offside on a 4-and-2, yet that's exactly what Taylor does. I'd say it's those types of bonehead mistakes that give coaches heartburn, but rookie sideline boss Pat Shurmur may not last much longer.
28. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS [down from 27]
Overall record: 4-11
Streak: Lost two
There is only one reason to tune into Indianapolis-Jacksonville: to see what kind of effort the Jaguars put up against the Colts, who will get the first-pick overall with a loss. Should the Jags prevail, they could be seeing another potential once-in-a-generation quarterback (Andrew Luck) in their division for the next 10 years. I'm not suggesting the Jaguars will lie down, but it's an interesting scenario.
29. MINNESOTA VIKINGS [up from 30]
Overall record: 3-12
Streak: Won one
The season went from bad to devastating after running back Adrian Peterson tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee against the Redskins. He's expected to miss at least nine months and there's no guarantee he'll be ready for the start of next season, regardless of what the Vikings are saying.
30. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS [down from 29]
Overall record: 4-11
Streak: Lost nine
After another embarrassing loss, head coach Raheem Morris told reporters that his player are trying to do too much. I would've loved to have been there to see of Morris actually said that with a straight face.
31. ST. LOUIS RAMS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-13
Streak: Lost six
Memo to the Rams: if you somehow wind up with the No. 1 overall draft selection, trade it for a boatload impact picks. This first pick has never been more valuable and trading it is the best way of drastically improving an extremely thin roster.
32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-13
Streak: Won two
In 1997 Indianapolis lost its final game in Minnesota, allowing them to grab Peyton Manning with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft. Should the Colts fall in Jacksonville this Sunday, Indy will land the No. 1 pick again and will likely take Andrew Luck. This would be the equivalent of the Penguins landing Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.