By Bryan Dietzler
Well folks, additional playoff spots were secured in Week 15 as we saw the Vikings, Patriots, and Jaguars earn playoff spots. There are spots up for grabs still and things are going to be exciting heading down the stretch. It’s sad that the season is about to end but the most exciting part of it is about to begin.
The top of the poll has changed as the New England Patriots get into the top spot by virtue of their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers drop down to third while the Eagles remain in the second spot. There has been a little movement in the middle of this poll but the bottom remains the same. Will Cleveland be able to get a win this week over the stumbling Chicago Bears? This might be their last chance to earn a victory in 2017.
There are only two more regular season power polls left until we get to the playoff power polls.
So take a look at this the sometimes late but always consistent NFL power poll for Week 16. Where does your team rank?
- New England Patriots-(LW 3, 11-3) The Patriots secured a playoff spot with their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now let’s see if they can get home field advantage. A return trip to the Super Bowl is not out of the question for these guys.
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LW 2, 12-2) The Eagles can still win with Nick Foles at quarterback although it was a close one against the Giants. Just how well will they do in the playoffs? Look for them to be one of the more exciting teams to watch in the postseason.
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LW 1, 11-3) The Steelers had the Patriots where they wanted them but couldn’t seal the victory. Pittsburgh is a great team and might just meet the Patriots, again, in the AFC championship, if it works out.
- Minnesota Vikings-(LW 4, 11-3) The Vikings sealed the NFC North title and appear poised to do some damage in the playoffs? Will they be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium?
- Los Angeles Rams-(LW 5, 10-4) The Rams put the screws to Seattle in a big way and beat them soundly. Folks, it looks like this is your NFC West champion. Let’s see how they do these last two weeks.
- Atlanta Falcons-(LW 6, 9-5) The Falcons are still in the mix for the top spot in the NFC South but they need to get past the Saints and the Panthers to earn it. Will they be able to get back to the big game or will they miss out?
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LW 7, 10-4) With their more than solid defense, the Jaguars secured a playoff spot. This team may surprise a lot of people in the playoffs.
- New Orleans Saints-(LW 8, 10-4) The Saints got the best of the Jets this Sunday and appear poised to earn a playoff spot. It’s going to be interesting to see how things shake out in the NFC South over the next two games. Can New Orleans win the division?
- Carolina Panthers-(LW 9, 10-4) The Panthers have a lot going on at the top right now but on the field, they are playing decent football. Will they be yet another playoff-bound team in the NFC South?
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LW 13, 8-6) Kansas City looks like they are about to secure a playoff spot and win their division. Their win over Los Angeles was convincing. Can they carry that momentum forward?
- Dallas Cowboys-(LW 12, 8-6) Dallas is about to get Ezekiel Elliot back. Will they play better with him in the lineup? Will he finish the year strong?
- Seattle Seahawks-(LW 10, 8-6) Getting pounded by the Los Angeles Rams was something that we didn’t expect Sunday. Seattle may miss the playoffs as a result of this while the Rams are close to securing a playoff spot. What has happened to the Seahawks?
- Baltimore Ravens-(LW 15, 8-6) The Ravens are poised to make the playoffs but need to finish strong. They could even be a dark horse in the postseason. That is hard to believe after such a poor start but this team is talented and resilient.
- Detroit Lions-(LW 17, 8-6) The Lions still have a shot at making the playoffs although it seems like that may not happen. This is a team that needs some help and with that help, could be better next season. Hopefully, they are able to fill their holes and get on a winning track.
- Los Angeles Chargers-(LW 11, 7-7) Their loss to the Chiefs pretty much takes them out of the playoff picture. What a tough loss. This team is much better than they played on Saturday. Maybe next season they will be even more improved.
- Buffalo Bills-(LW 18, 8-6) This team is still in the hunt for a playoff spot and could win one with a couple victories to close out the season. They have come a long ways since last year and appear to be headed in the right direction. Let’s see if they can build on 2017 and have a strong 2018 campaign.
- Tennessee Titans-(LW 14, 8-6) The Titans are still in the playoff hunt but unless something big happens, don’t look for them to make it. They will fall just short. They should be able to figure out what they need to do better for next year though and end up winning more games.
- Green Bay Packers-(LW 16, 7-7) The Packers playoff hopes are dashed so they shut down Aaron Rodgers. Look for them to struggle at the close and call it a season.
- Washington Redskins-(LW 22, 6-8) The Redskins won but are out of the playoff picture. Perhaps they can get to .500 and call this a mediocre season. Too many injuries took them down this year. Too bad.
- Oakland Raiders-(LW 19, 6-8) There will be no playoff repeat for this team. They have some work to do and need to get some things done for 2018. Will they be able to recover and bounce back next season?
- Arizona Cardinals-(LW 20, 6-8) The question here is, is Bruce Arians’ job in jeopardy? Will he walk or get fired at the end of the season?
- Miami Dolphins-(LW 21, 6-8) Bigger and better things are ahead for this team depending on what happens at quarterback. Will Ryan Tannehill come back fully healthy or will they go with Jay Cutler should he decide to play again?
- New York Jets-(LW 23, 5-9) This team won more games than this writer thought they would. With some more help, they should win even more in 2018.
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LW 5-9) It’s official, Marvin Lewis is not coming back as the Bengals’ head coach. Was it his decision or upper management’s? We may never know.
- Denver Broncos-(LW 28, 5-9) Denver has had a little bit of a resurgence these days and appears to be doing a little better. Will they be able to get back on track in 2018 and play better? John Elway has some work to do as the general manager but should be able to get it done.
- Houston Texans-(LW 26, 4-10) There is talk about the Texans’ head coach getting fired at the end of this season but that shouldn’t happen. Injuries took down this team not the head coach. It will be interesting to see what happens here when black Monday rolls around.
- San Francisco 49ers-(LW 29, 4-10) The San Francisco 49ers are much better now that they have Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. Look for them to be a much better team in 2018.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LW 27, 4-10) The Bucs lost a close one to the Falcons on Monday night proving that they still have a ways to go to get to winning. They need help and need to work on both sides of the ball this offseason to fix some major issues. Let’s see how they bounce back in 2018.
- Chicago Bears-(LW 25, 4-10) This team has a lot of work to do. It looks like they will have a coaching change soon and will need to find someone that can work well with Mitchell Trubisky. Will they be able to climb out of the NFC North basement in 2018?
- Indianapolis Colts-(LW 30, 3-11) This team is tough to watch. Without Andrew Luck, there isn’t much going on here.
- New York Giants-(LW 31, 2-12) The Giants are pretty much on cruise control waiting to get to next season and better things. 2017 was a disaster and they will want to forget it.
- Cleveland Browns-(LW 32, 0-14) The Browns have a shot at earning a win this weekend against Chicago. Can they pull it off or will they continue their march towards bad history?