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NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

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NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up; Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

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Week 16 in the NFL created a bit more separation. In the AFC, only the Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth as champions of the West, but five other teams are well behind them. The NFC has already had five hallmarked teams, with three division champions sung and only the last two wild cards available.

From Thursday evening through Sunday evening, the action at both conferences was intriguing, even thrilling in some cases. In others, there were absolutely unbalanced outcomes, expected or not.

Here’s how the league’s 32 teams stack up as we approach the New Year and the penultimate week of the 2021 regular season:

MORE: Updated NFL Rankings, Playoff Photo For Week 16

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NFL Power Ranking

1. Green Bay Packers 12-3 (previous ranking: 1)

The Packers needed a bit of work to fend off the desperate Browns, but they still won with solid offense and defense overall to continue their march towards the NFL’s best record and the No. 1 seed in the league. NFC. Aaron Rodgers is making a late run for MVP (again) to push them toward Super Bowl favorite status.

2. Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (2)

Speaking of late races to MVP, Patrick Mahomes has played as one again over the past two weeks. The defense ran into a problem against the Chargers, but rebounded to crush the Steelers in Week 16. The Chiefs look like a complete

3. Dallas Cowboys 11-4 (4)

The Cowboys crushed Washington on Sunday night to send a message to the rest of the NFC that they can hook up with the Packers, Buccaneers and Rams on playoff time. The defense was obvious, but succeeding at Dak Prescott was great to see.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-4 (3)

The Buccaneers reinvented themselves a bit for Tom Brady given the sudden exhaustion of the passing game, performing better even without Leonard Fournette. A sneaky storyline is how their defense looks like Super Bowl 55 shape, even if not everyone is healthy yet.

5. Los Angeles Rams 11-4 (6)

The Rams were sloppy with Matthew Stafford and the passing game, but a key development was continuing to handle the ball well with Sony Michel and playing solid defense against a good offense in Minnesota.

6. Tennessee Titans 10-5 (8)

The Titans needed this big win over the 49ers after falling to the Steelers. They are back on track as an AFC South powerhouse and they are hoping to buy time for Derrick Henry to return to have the same return impact as AJ Brown.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

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7. Arizona Cardinals 10-5 (5)

The Cardinals are fading away as true NFC title contenders, but just the top playoff spot with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray is a welcome breakthrough given the disappointing end of 2020. They are probably where they should be offensively. and defensively.

8. Indianapolis Colts 9-6 (9)

The Colts continue to do it simply for Frank Reich, running a lot of Jonathan Taylor and playing solid defense behind him. Carson Wentz gives them a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

9. Buffalo Bills 9-6 (11)

The Bills are in control of the AFC East again as Josh Allen has taken matters into his own hands like a true elite QB should. The defense is also bouncing back from the recent hiccups.

10. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 (13)

The Bengals have the real Joe Burrow back to lead their offense. Defense also feeds on this energy. They are back on track to win the AFC North after a mid-season crash.

11. New England Patriots 9-6 (7)

The Patriots have a rare losing streak with Bill Belichick and all the good vibes they got with Mac Jones and the defense has faded a bit. But they should still be happy to have a ticket for a generic seat.

12. Los Angeles Chargers 8-7 (10)

What was that? The Chargers have gone from Chiefs’ overtime to not even staying with the Texans in regulation. The offense did its best with the running game but the defense shouldn’t be so bad without Joey Bosa.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

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13. San Francisco 49ers 8-7 (12)

The 49ers ground as best they could in a tough tangle with the Titans, but they made too many mistakes (see Jimmy Garoppolo). They must recover quickly against the Texans who suddenly spoil themselves.

14. Baltimore Ravens 8-7 (14)

The Ravens are running out of gas with all of their injuries and COVID-19 developments. They can still save their playoff hopes, but it’s extremely difficult to do with the Rams afterwards and the Steelers are last now that the miraculous comebacks have subsided.

15. Philadelphia Eagles 8-7 (19)

The Eagles are in control of their playoff destiny now, as they figured things out with Nick Sirianni to get the most out of Jalen Hurts. Defense has been the backbone all season.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1 (15)

The Steelers’ offensive incompetence with Ben Roethlisberger took their toll against the Chiefs, but it was their defensive meltdown that was most shocking.

17. Miami Dolphins 7-7 (20)

The Dolphins will look for a seven-game winning streak on Monday night and get back into playoff contention, where they were a season ago before failing under the excellent guidance of Brian Flores.

18. New Orleans Saints 7-7 (17)

The Saints are set to enter Monday night’s massive Miami game with a COVID-depleted depth chart. Rookie QB Ian Book will either be a spark to their playoff hopes or a total drag.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

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19. Raiders of Las Vegas 8-7 (21)

The Raiders aren’t getting any style points for how they’ve won lately to avoid disappearing altogether. Derek Carr is still working and the team is trying their best away from Jon Gruden. They still feel like they are an afterthought compared to a true wildcard claim.

20. Cleveland Browns 7-8 (16)

The Browns didn’t beat the Packers, but looked more like a potential playoff team by pushing the NFC’s top team to the limit. They need Baker Mayfield to stay warm by the way, but clean up a few things to better support the racing game. Perhaps this is the kind of loss that can trigger them for one last breath.

21. Minnesota Vikings 7-8 (18)

The Vikings are expected to be much better than their record, but their close game failures have given way to wear and tear against the better opponents, the Rams knocked out their defense with both running and passing and the Packers can do even to finish them off in week 17.

22. Atlanta Falcons 7-8 (24)

The Falcons have a chance to finish close to .500 in a good transition season with Arthur Smith. They found a little more diversity offensively even without Calvin Ridley and the defense found a few more answers as well. These are good signs for a more competitive 2022.

23. Denver Broncos 7-8 (22)

The Broncos aren’t earning enough for Vic Fangio to remain their coach in 2022. They’ve been doing solid things defensively under him all season, but the attacking potential needs to be untapped with better training and a better QB situation.

24. Washington Football Team 6-9 (23)

Washington’s defense has been a big mess all season and while it fixed a few things, the plan and injuries have caught up with them. Time is running out for a big quarterback change in 2022.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

 | Breaking News Updates
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25. Chicago Bear 5-10 (27)

The Bears had a spark with Nick Foles giving longtime attacking coach Matt Nagy the Christmas stocking of an inspired upheaval in Seattle. They have some good offensive pieces to step up when they are healthy with a new coach.

26. Seattle Seahawks 5-10 (25)

The Seahawks won’t have a winning record or a playoff trip with Russell Wilson in the first regular season in which he missed games. He came back to trigger their offense and Rashaad Penny’s handling was inspiring, but that’s not enough given the lingering problems in the defense.

27. Carolina Panthers 5-10 (26)

The Panthers were booed off the field and coach Matt Rhule saw his seat get a lot hotter, which might not have seemed possible after recent previous results. But the Buccaneers have brought out even more malfunctions on both sides of the ball.

28. Houston Texans 4-11 (29)

The Texans have seen more than one Davis Mills game and they’ve also played an inspired defense and their best overall offense of the season against the Chargers. Houston fought as much as possible with David Culley with limited talent and experience.

29. New York Jets 4-11 (30)

The Jets saw the Zach Wilson they wanted against the Jaguars, coasting and using his arm and athleticism to do great runs and distribute the ball well. There is something to build on when all media is restored to a high standard.

30. New York Giants 4-11 (28)

The Giants became an injury riddled mess and while they had some big moments defending their offense entered the full tank with plenty of injuries and no Daniel Jones dragged the whole team down.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Bills, Eagles Go Up;  Patriots, Steelers and Browns fall for week 17

 | Breaking News Updates
(Getty Images)

31. Detroit Lions 2-12-1 (31)

The Lions ended their wins and came back to more disappointment on the road minus Jared Goff against a “good bad team” in Atlanta. Dan Campbell peaked for the first year.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-13 (32)

The Jaguars couldn’t understand the Jets in a wild game and Trevor Lawrence was outnumbered by Wilson in terms of needing to make enough plays to win a high scoring affair. They can’t find a new, competent head coach fast enough.


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