You thought you’d seen it all this season, right? Wrong.
Week 15 was highlighted by ‘The Miracle at the Meadowlands, Part II’. With the Eagles trailing 31-10 in the fourth quarter, they completed one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, capped off by a DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown as time expired. Michael Vick made another case for MVP and the Eagles seized control of the NFC East.
That wasn’t all that happened in Week 15, though. The Jets got back on track with a huge win in Pittsburgh, the Bears clinched the NFC North, and the Colts kept their season alive with a win over the Jaguars.
1. New England Patriots (1): 12-2. That game was probably a little closer than people expected it to be, but the Patriots were able to pull out the win. That’s now 21 touchdowns and zero interceptions for Tom Brady in his last seven weeks.
2. Atlanta Falcons (2): 12-2. The Falcons continue to take care of business each week, and can secure home field advantage with a win against the Saints on Monday Night Football.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (5): 10-4. There aren’t even words to describe that comeback in the Meadowlands. Michael Vick is a man on a mission.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3): 10-4. It has become so routine for Ben Roethlisberger to win games late for the Steelers, that Steelers fans expected him to do it against the Jets. I was proven wrong also.
5. Baltimore Ravens (6): 10-4. Their defense made the big plays when they needed to, and the Ravens are now tied up with the Steelers for the AFC North lead.
6. New Orleans Saints (4): 10-4. The Saints lost that game because they could not stop Ray Rice and the Ravens rushing attack. That must be fixed for the playoffs.
7. New York Jets (10): 10-4. The Jets may have turned their season around with that win in Pittsburgh. That was huge.
8. Chicago Bears (8): 10-4. Criticize the Bears all you want, but they locked up the NFC North in their dominating win in Minnesota. They won’t be an easy out in the playoffs.
9. New York Giants (7): 9-5. Everything was going the Giants way — for three quarters. Now, they need to beat the Packers this week to assure a playoff berth.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (15): 9-5. The Chiefs are two home wins away from an improbable AFC West crown.
11. San Diego Chargers (12): 8-6. That week 13 loss to the Raiders may cost the Chargers the AFC West. They need to win and hope the Chiefs lose one of their last two games.
12. Green Bay Packers (9): 8-6. Matt Flynn played better than anyone expected on Sunday Night, but it wasn’t enough. If the Packers lose to the Giants than their season is over.
13. Indianapolis Colts (14): 8-6. They saved their season with that win over the Jaguars and need to keep their foot on the gas as they travel to Oakland this week.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (11): 8-6. The Jaguars missed their opportunity to clinch the AFC South, but are still very much alive. I just don’t believe that they will win the division, but crazier things have happened.
15. Oakland Raiders (17): 7-7. The Raiders have a small chance to win the AFC West, but they need some help. Their season is on the line Sunday against the Colts.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13): 8-6. With that disappointing loss to the Lions, the Bucs can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. Still, they have been better than anyone expected.
17. Dallas Cowboys (18): 5-9. The Cowboys need to address their defensive concerns this off-season, Rex Grossman lit them up.
18. Miami Dolphins (16): 7-7. In what has been the theme of their season, the Dolphins lost another home game, and have been inconsistent all year long. It might be time for a coaching change, Sporano isn’t getting it done.
19. Tennessee Titans (24): 6-8. Kerry Collins played well, and the Titans controlled that game from start to finish against the Texans.
20. Minnesota Vikings (19): 5-9. It’s clear that Vikings punter Chris Kluwe did not learn from Matt Dodge. Why kick it to Devin Hester?
21. Houston Texans (20): 5-9. There is no way Gary Kubiak survives this in Houston, changes need to be made.
22. Washington Redskins (25): 5-9. I did not expect that performance out of Rex Grossman, he made Donovan McNabb look even worse. It’s too bad they couldn’t pull out the win.
23. Cleveland Browns (22): 5-9. Has Eric Mangini done enough to keep his job for one more year?
24. Buffalo Bills (28): 4-10. That’s two straight wins for the Bills, can they make it three in a row with the Patriots coming to town?
25. Detroit Lions (27): 4-10. It took two years, but the Lions finally won a road game and their second close game in a row. They have not been an easy out all year.
26. St. Louis Rams (21): 6-8. The Rams have a golden opportunity to seize control of the NFC West with a win against the 49ers this week. No team in this division deserves to make it, but I’d like to see the Rams get in.
27. San Francisco 49ers (23): 5-9. If the 49ers win this week in St.Louis and the Seahawks lose, the Niners will be in first place in the NFC West. Are you kidding me?
28. Seattle Seahawks (26): 6-8. Another week, and another blowout for the Seahawks, but they are still tied for first place in the NFC West.
29. Arizona Cardinals (29): 4-10. Out of every team in the league, the Cardinals are in most need of a quarterback.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (31): 3-11. The Bengals won that game because they got back to what made them successful last year: running the football.
31. Denver Broncos (30): 3-11. The good news: Tim Tebow played well in his first NFL start, scoring two touchdowns and committing zero turnovers. The bad news: The Broncos were outscored 89-37 against the Raiders in two games.
32. Carolina Panthers (32): 2-12. Everything went well for the Panthers on Sunday: They won, the Bengals won, and the Bills won, keeping the Panthers still in the driver’s seat for the number one pick.