There were some slight changes in this week’s power rankings. A few teams flip-flopped, one team got bounced, and we added the new feature: the honorable mention.
Remember, our Power Rankings break down the best five teams per conference until the playoffs start, in which it becomes a comprehensive NFL Power Rankings.
Who made the cut this week?
AFC Top Five:
Honorable Mention: Miami Dolphins (Last week NR). I have said for three years that Tannehill and the Dolphins were a mis-coached bunch and had too much talent to be as bad as they have been. The beginning of this season saw me turn on them, and declare them the worst team in the NFL at one point. Maybe they just needed time. Sure, it’s been a soft schedule, but a six-game winning streak in today’s NFL is impressive.
No. 5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week No. 5)/ Baltimore Ravens (Last week NR). Steelers can’t fall out of the rankings after a win, no matter if it was against a Luck-less Colts. The Ravens final play of their win against the Bengals merits them mention in the power rankings. These two will clearly duke it out for the AFC North.
No. 4. Denver Broncos (Last week: No. 3). A wild Sunday night game saw them drop a heartbreaker to the Chiefs in overtime. This defense is still solid, but they need more out of the offense. Not a lot more, but certainly more to be contenders again.
No. 3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week No. 4). They fell spot a last week losing to the Bucs at home, but that may have proved to be a tougher game then we had labeled it. This week they traveled to Denver and kept their composure and pulled off a huge win, giving them a one game advantage over the Broncos in the toughest division in the NFL.
No. 2. Oakland Raiders (Last week No. 2). Derek Carr continues to play solid football, even after having one of his fingers ripped off. Yes, the defense slipped up a bit, allowing Cam Newton to have a huge second half, but they shut him down in the first half. A few costly turnovers allowed the Panthers back in it, but other than that, this is a Super Bowl ready team. Besides, Sebastian Janikowski hasn’t missed an extra point this season, and that in itself is remarkable.
No. 1. New England Patriots (Last week No. 1). Dunton and I go back and forth every week on who the No. 1 team in the AFC is. Simply put, until the Pats lose, no matter how poorly they play a bad team, they are No. 1. They have postseason experience that is unmatched and there isn’t a single player in the NFL that you would rather go to war with than Tom Brady.
NFC Top Five:
Honorable Mention: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week NR): Jameis Winston may be the best young quarterback in football. Doug Martin is just getting his feet back. They’ve survived injuries and won two in a row against very formidable opponents in the Chiefs and the Seahawks. Let’s not forget they opened the season with a big win over the Falcons.
No. 5 New York Giants (Last week 4). The Giants are red hot, reeling off their sixth in a row. They didn’t play so hot against the Cleveland Browns, but hey they got the win. Rashad Jennings stumbled against a pretty weak rush defense. He needs to find his game, because the Giants much-improved defense could surely use the help of some time crunching.
No. 4. Detroit Lions (Last week No. 5). Matthew Stafford and the Lions just keep winning. Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes it takes to the very last second. They have also won three in a row, including the big Thanksgiving win over the Vikings to stand alone at the top of the North.
No. 3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week No. 2). The Buccaneers can no longer be taken lightly and that’s why this week’s loss to them didn’t drop them further. Their defense clamped down after two early scores, but that offensive line and running game couldn’t take any pressure of Russell Wilson.
No. 2. Atlanta Falcons (Last week No. 3). They came out of their bye exactly as they should… dominating. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman got the job done on the ground, and Taylor Gabriel may be an exciting piece to the offense to take some pressure off of the quiet Julio Jones. The defense has been impressive the past few weeks. The Falcons have their flaws, but they are contenders.
No. 1. Dallas Cowboys (Last week No. 1). Dunton and I have heard it all. Without that offensive line Dak Prescott and Zeke wouldn’t be the same. Look, does the O-line make it easier for them? Of course. They still have to go out there and deliver, and they have done that each and every week, at an improving rate nonetheless. Until they lose again, they hold the top spot.
So… did we get it right? Let us know and come back next Tuesday for our next power rankings of 2016.