Week 17 NFL Power Rankings: Packers rise, Giants tumble

By WESLEY KAMINSKY
Staff Writer — wkaminsky@highhopesblog.com
_______

Tom Coughlin could be on the hot seat after the Giants collapsed against the Eagles then got torn apart by the Packers Sunday. (Courtesy NJ.com FILE)

We have some closure on the playoff picture, at least in the AFC. With the Chargers loss and Jaguarsloss, both the Chiefs and Jets clinched a playoff berth, and now week 17 is all about playoff positioning.

That’s not the case in the NFC however.

The NFC West will be decided on Sunday Night Football when Sam Bradford’s Rams travel to Seattleto play for the division. Do either of these teams even deserve to make the playoffs? I guess you could make the case that you should be rewarded for winning your division, but when it’s the NFC West, that’s not much of an accomplishment. I am really hoping the Rams beat the Seahawks, because I firmly believe the Seahawks are one of the three worst teams in football. The scary thing is they might make the playoffs. Playoffs? Are you kidding me?

1. New England Patriots (1): 13-2. Tom Brady set an NFL record with 319 passing attempts and no interceptions. In that span, he has also thrown 24 touchdowns. Wow.

2. Atlanta Falcons (2): 12-3. Mike Smith made a big mistake punting the ball back to the Saints with under three minutes to go and the Falcons never got the ball back. They’ll still get home field advantage, but this team is beatable.

3. New Orleans Saints (6): 11-4. Uh oh, the defending champions are back in the playoffs and are healthy. I wouldn’t want to face them in the playoffs.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4): 11-4. All the Steelers have to do to clinch the AFC North and a first round bye is beat the Browns on the road. I like their chances

5. Baltimore Ravens (5): 11-4. The Ravens need to win and pray the Steelers lose to the Browns to avoid likely traveling to Indianapolis in the playoffs.

6. Chicago Bears (8): 11-4. The Bears defense made the big plays when they needed to, and the Bears moved one step closer to a first round bye. To do that, they will have to beat the Packers in Lambeau who will be playing for a playoff berth.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3): 10-5. Similar to last season, the Eagles blew their chance to get the two seed and a first round bye. Who expected that performance against the Vikings?

8. Green Bay Packers (12): 9-6. Every team in the NFC is praying the Packers lose to the Bears this week. Nobody wants to see them in the playoffs.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (10): 10-5. The Chiefs will host a playoff game where they are 7-0 this season. Todd Haley has been a candidate for coach of the year.

10. New York Jets (7): 10-5. Although they lost, the Jets clinched a playoff berth thanks to the Jaguars loss. I thought that defense was supposed to be unstoppable? They got lit up by Jay Cutler on Sunday.

11. Indianapolis Colts (13): 9-6. The Colts are getting healthy at the right time and can clinch the division with a win or a Jaguars loss. I think both will happen.

12. New York Giants (9): 9-6. The Giants appear to be in full collapse mode after back to back losses to the Eagles and Packers. Tom Coughlin’s tenure in New York in is doubt.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16): 9-6. If only the Bucs had beaten the Lions in week 15 their playoff chances would be significantly greater. Now, they need a win in New Orleans and some help to make the playoffs.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (14): 8-7. The Jaguars blew their chance to win the AFC South, and now they need to win in Houston and hope the Titans win in Indianapolis. Good luck with that.

15. Oakland Raiders (15): 7-8. Even if the Raiders beat the Colts it wouldn’t have mattered as the Chiefs clinched the division with their win over the Titans. They will be thinking playoffs next season.

16. San Diego Chargers (11): 8-7. Another year, and another disappointing season for the Chargers.Norv Turner’s failure to win a big game will cost him his job.

17. Detroit Lions (25): 5-10. After failing to win a road game in two years, the Lions have won two straight. They can close the season on a four game winning streak by beating the Vikings this week.

18. Minnesota Vikings (20): 6-9. Nobody expected Joe Webb to go into Philly and outplay Michael Vick, I mean nobody.

19. Washington Redskins (22): 6-9. Redskins fans would love nothing more than to end the Giants season this week. Rex Grossman has been better than expected.

20. Miami Dolphins (18): 7-8. It’s becoming more and more clear that the Dolphins made a mistake not drafting Matt Ryan. Chad Henne is not the answer.

21. Cleveland Browns (23): 5-10. Colt McCoy struggled against the Ravens defense, and the Browns lost their third straight game. I don’t think Eric Mangini keeps his job.

22. St. Louis Rams (26): 7-8. Sam Bradford will be playing the biggest game of his career Sunday night in Seattle as the Rams battle for the NFC West crown.

23. Dallas Cowboys (17): 5-10. It looks like the Cowboys will have to search for a new kicker this off-season, along with a defense, and possibly a head coach.

24. Tennessee Titans (19): 6-9. On Sunday it was even more evident that the Titans have quit on Jeff Fisher, getting blown out in Kansas City, 34-14.

25. Houston Texans (21): 5-10. That was another close loss by the Texans in a game they should have won. I think that I could throw a few touchdowns against that defense, it’s that bad.

26. Arizona Cardinals (29): 5-10. Jay Feely has been the MVP for the Cardinals this season.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (30): 4-11. Suddenly, without Terrell Owens, the Bengals have won two straight games and Carson Palmer looks rejuvenated. Do I sense a trend??

28. Buffalo Bills (24): 4-11. Bills fans are probably started to wonder why they chose C.J. Spiller ninth overall when the team has so many other needs.

29. Seattle Seahawks (28): 6-9. Somehow, despite getting blown out their last three games, if the Seahawks win this week they are in the playoffs. This team has done nothing to deserve a playoff berth, but still may get in.

30. San Francisco 49ers (27): 5-10. A dysfunctional loss by the 49ers was topped off by Mike Singletary being fired. The disastrous season is almost over.

31. Denver Broncos (31): 4-11. Tim Tebow is making a case to be the starter next season for this team. Although this was against the worst defense in the NFL, 308 yards passing is very impressive in his second career start.

32. Carolina Panthers (32): 2-13. The Panthers got some good news this week: They assured the number one pick in the draft, now they must pray that Andrew Luck comes out.

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