Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks and Broncos flip flop; Chiefs eat their first fiftyburger

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

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Week 15 was a rough outing for much the leagues top teams, with half of the teams in my top ten taking a loss. This was good news for the Denver Broncos and especially the Kansas City Chiefs, who now just need the Broncos to drop one more game for them to be in position to seize homefield advantage and the division from their hated rival.

The Seattle Seahawks are looking like the most dominant team in the NFL now, especially with the Broncos defense looking lost out there since the benching of Wesley Woodyard and a plethora of injuries. This doesn't bode well for our hopes for a third Lombardi Trophy in Denver.

Beyond that, we have quite a few very interesting - if insignificant - playoff races. From the NFC North scrapping together 9 wins for the division to the NFC East hoping for 8 to win it, there is a lot at stake for a slew of teams heading into the final two weeks of the season. For me, the most interesting races exist in the NFC South and AFC West.

Let's see how things got blown up this week in my NFL Rankings. Check out last week's power rankings here.

RNK
TEAM
INSTANT ANALYSIS
CHG

1

Seattle Seahawks

Record: 12-2. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defense manhandled Eli Manning and the Giants on Sunday. A 23-0 drubbing on the road of any team, should be enough to dispel any remaining myths about this team having problems winning on the road. This is probably their only chance to win a Super Bowl because salary cap hell and they sure look like a complete team.

+1

2

Denver Broncos

Record: 11-3. I had a nagging feeling about the Broncos game on Thursday Night Football. My view has always been that Philip Rivers is far more dangerous to the Broncos defense than Alex Smith and with Peyton Manning just four days removed from throwing 60 passes against the Titans, I was very concerned. Also, who here thinks Paris Lenon is any kind of upgrade over Woodyard? I just don't see it. Fortunately for the Broncos, both the Patriots and the Bengals choked this week too, so homefield advantage is still the Broncos to take.

-1

3

Carolina Panthers

Record: 10-4. Cam Newton is rapidly becoming a legitimate franchise quarterback the Panthers hoped he would become when they drafted him number one overall. It helps that their defense is truly elite. I think this team wrestles control of the NFC South from the Saints this week and rolls into the playoffs with the number two seed. My biggest question mark is that this young, inexperienced team may be ready for playoff football. I could see a team like the 49ers or even the Saints bouncing them in the division round.

+1

4

San Francisco 49ers

Record: 10-4. That defense that has been hit or miss earlier in the season for the 49ers has finally begun to hit its stride. They will need it, because Colin Kaepernick has regressed this season. I think he'll improve and become an elite quarterback eventually, but this year he has definitely struggled in the pocket. The Panthers and 49ers, I think, are the only two teams that are built in a way that could beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

+1

5

Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 11-3. Not two days after I make a reference to Chiefs fans not being able to handle a fiftyburger, their team drops a fiftyburger. I guess I deserved that. Thanks to the Chargers, the Chiefs are now in position to capitalize off another Broncos blunder should there be one against the two remaining cupcakes on the Broncos schedule. How quickly things can change in a week... one week Broncos fans are looking firmly ahead towards homefield throughout, to looking back at the Chiefs like this the next week...

+3

6

New Orleans Saints

Record: 10-4. Yikes! After all the naysaying the media did for getting dominated on the road against the Seahawks, Drew Brees and the Saints come out and lay a stinker on the road against the St. Louis Rams. Total fail for a team that is supposed to be elite. My issue now is that I intended to take the Panthers in my Pick'em league this week, but now with this loss my gut is telling me that the Saints will be coming into that game angry and hungry. Uhg, can't we just keep things simple, people?

-3

7

New England Patriots

Record: 10-4. Tom Brady got intercepted in the end zone to end this game, which surprised me because usually that would be called defensive pass interference for the Patriots. Naturally, with this loss Broncos fans completely struck the Broncos loss to the Chargers from their minds. It's as if it never happened. We're still number 1!

-1

8

Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 9-5. Who picked the Steelers to win on Sunday Night Football? Oh yeah, that would be me! The Bengals are notorious for dropping division games, especially to the Ravens and Steelers. I got screwed in my Titans pick, so this game put me right back in the hunt for some winnings this week in my Pick'em League. The Bengals are still a top 8 team in my mind. All of the teams from 9-20 are actually fairly even. This is where the NFL likes to brag about parity. Just so you know.

-1

9

Indianapolis Colts

Record: 9-5. The Colts seem to have shaken free of their mid-season funk and are starting to play good football again. Andrew Luck is looking sharp and the defense especially is looking like that strong unit that took down Peyton Manning and the Broncos earlier in the season. They could be a dangerous team to face in the divisional round.

+3

10

Arizona Cardinals

Record 9-5. The Cardinals won, but deserve no love in a rankings bump for their sloppy overtime win over the Titans. Carson Palmer was efficient and has his team in position to capitalize off of any potential stumble from the 49ers, Saints or Panthers. However, its still a long shot for this football team either way.

--

11

Baltimore Ravens

Record 8-6. The Ravens did just enough to steal a win on the road, but the game wasn't much to write home about - other than six field goals. The last of which was an incredible 61 yard field goal to take the lead with just over 30 seconds left in the game. That is clutch right there and kickers around the league are saying, "Make fun of us know, suckers!"

--

12

Miami Dolphins

Record 8-6. Dear Ryan Tannehill, THANK YOU! The Dolphins took down their division nemesis and helped ensure the Broncos loss to the Chargers was no big deal. Beating the Patriots doesn't come easy for any team in the AFC East, so allow me to set off the fireworks again for you guys. You earned it!

+1

13

Chicago Bears

Record 8-6. With Jay Cutler getting the start, I was certain they would fall embarrassingly to the Browns this week. That is exactly what start to happen, then the Browns defense uncharacteristically faltered badly. With Cutler chucking the ball like this, there is no reason these kinds of touchdowns should be happening in an NFL game.

+1

14

Philadelphia Eagles

Record 8-6. The Eagles flopped against the Vikings this week in a classic trap game. I still think they are in the drivers seat for this division as I am convinced the Cowboys will fade hard down the stretch. Nick Foles is controlling this offense rather well and he should land a solid contract extension during the offseason.

-5

15

San Diego Chargers

Record 7-7. Philip Rivers finally go the best of Peyton Manning on Thursday Night Football. Like Ryan Leaf, he loves coming into Denver to play football. The Chargers pretty much made all of Broncos Country do this...

+2

16

Green Bay Packers

Record 7-6-1. Matt Flynn had no business beating the Cowboys this week, but he did and now the Packers are in perfect position to steal away the division from both the Lions and the Bears. When Aaron Rodgers comes back, this is going to be one dangerous team if they can find a way to sneak into the playoffs.

+2

17

Detroit Lions

Record 7-7. I said it last week and I'll say it again this week, Matthew Stafford is a turnover machine. This week it cost the Lions a win. This team has underachieved all season long and they have finally pissed away the last chance they had to make a push for their first division title in a very long time. Way to fail, Detroit!

-1

18

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record 6-8. Mike Tomlin deserves a ton of credit for getting the Steelers back to respectability after a disastrous 0-4 start this season. Fresh off a Sunday night beatdown of division leading Cincinnati is proof this team has what it takes to compete. The Bengals better get what they can now, because next year it won't be so easy.

+1

19

St. Louis Rams

Record 6-8. The Rams are terribly schizophrenic when it comes to consistency. One week they obliterate the Colts and Saints, the next they themselves get obliterated by much lesser teams. Somehow Jeff Fisher excels at getting his team up to play when its a good opponent, but not so much when their a lesser one. Zac Stacy is certainly looking like a solid running back, though.

+1

20

Dallas Cowboys

Record 7-7. Tony Romo and the Cowboys put on a huge choke job on Sunday. It was actually funny and predictable how it played out. With how the Cowboys defense is playing, I just don't see how they pull out the division title. Sure, all they have to do is beat the Eagles to get in, but I don't even think they can do that. This team is about as good as they could be with the kind of ownership they have.

-5

21

New York Jets

Record 6-8. I am still flabbergasted that the Jets have six wins. How? Geno Smith is like the worst quarterback in the league. Even worse than Tim Tebow! I put this terrible football team here only because of those six wins. I think they are closer to the bottom 5 than the top 15.

-1

22

Minnesota Vikings

Record 4-9-1. No Adrian Peterson? No problem! It's too bad all of America picked the Eagles to beat the Vikings. Who saw a 400 yard passing day from Matt Cassel? I sure as hell didn't! This team should be much closer to .500 than they are, so I took that into account when moving them up in rankings this week.

+3

23

Tennessee Titans

Record 5-9. Thank you Ryan Fitzpatrick for screwing the Titans out of a win over the Cardinals on Sunday. That was my upset pick of the week, but noooooo, you just had to throw a pick six late and then another pick in overtime to secure victory for the other team. I hate your face!

-1

24

Buffalo Bills

Record 5-9. Much my chagrin, the Bills are winning a few games. The coaching staff for this team has ruined C.J. Spiller and do not deserve to have such a back in their arsenal. Fred Jackson is a good running back, but for some reason the same plays they call for Jackson they also call for Spiller even though they have two completely different styles of running. Way to go geniuses!

+5

25

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record 4-10. The Buccaneers fought hard this year and were close to winning several games. It just wasn't their year to get things working. If Greg Schiano survives the cut this year, this team could be poised to take the next step in 2014. Having another high draft pick certainly gives them a chance to get an impact player for that run.

-1

26

New York Giants

Record 5-9. Shutout at home by the Seahawks isn't actually a marker of a horrible team, but it certainly shows you have no business in the mediocre realm of teams. Eli Manning and the Giants are not having a good year, but after starting 0-6, to be anywhere near six wins is impressive.

-3

27

Atlanta Falcons

Record: 4-10. The Falcons championship window is still open, so this team getting a draft pick near the Top 5 should be a huge concern for the NFC next year. This year though, there is no reason Mike Smith should keep his job after how this season has played out.

+1

28

Cleveland Browns

Record 4-10. The Browns just gift wrapped their game against the Bears to Jay Cutler. Josh Gordon is pretty much their only offensive weapon, but the defense should not have allowed the Bears to put up 38 points. This is a pick I feel I should have gotten right, but oh well - that's what I get for picking a team down here near the bottom.

-1

29

Jacksonville Jaguars

Record 4-10. The Jaguars had a brief surge there for a while, but this team has always been fairly limited. Near the bottom is where they belong, but at least they are not the laughing stocks of the NFL any more. That must have been pretty hard on morale to listen to every single week.

-3

30

Oakland Raiders

Record 4-10. The Raiders probably would have beaten the Chiefs on Sunday had they not turned the ball over SIX TIMES, mostly on short fields that the Chiefs turned into touchdowns. 56 points later and I'm thinking the Raiders will change leadership again next year. Such is life as a bottom feeder with horrible ownership. The fact that its the Raiders, pleases me greatly!

--

31

Washington Redskins

Record 3-11. Kirk Cousins showed far superior pocket awareness than Robert Griffin III, so I have a feeling this team might actually win at least one more game this season with him at the helm. The move probably means the Redskins will also have a new head coach next season, but wherever Cousins ends up I think he becomes a starting quarterback in this league somewhere.

--

32

Houston Texans

Record 2-12. The Texans have pretty much given up for the season. This pleases me greatly, because the Broncos are not playing their best defense right now and could use a little bit of a confidence builder against the worst team in the NFL this year. It's amazing that this team was a 12 win football team last year.

--

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