2014 NFL power rankings

Bob Glauber

2014 Week 16 NFL power rankings

Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber brings order to the NFL with his weekly power rankings.
(Updates every Tuesday around lunch time during the season.)

Rank Change Team Record Comments
1. 1 Seahawks 11-4 Michael Bennett says the Legion of Boom defense is the best there ever was in the NFL. But when you consider Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense of the ‘70’s and the ’85 Bears, the Seattle defensive end may be a bit premature. The Seahawks, however, do have an historically good defense that is playing its best heading into the playoffs. Looking like this is the best chance for a Super Bowl repeat since the 2003-04 Patriots.
2. 1 Patriots 12-3 The AFC road to Phoenix goes through Foxboro, as the Patriots hold off a stubborn Jets team and clinch the No. 1 seed after Denver’s loss in Cincy. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady looking for a sixth trip to the Super Bowl.
3. 1 Packers 11-4 Aaron Rodgers fights off the flu and a calf strain to beat the Bucs and set up a Week 17 finale against the Lions that will be for the NFC North title...and perhaps much more. A win gives Green Bay a week off and at least one home playoff game. A loss, and it’s on the road for the postseason.
4. 1 Cowboys 11-4 Finally, a divisional title for the Cowboys, as Tony Romo puts an exclamation point on a terrific regular season run and gets into the MVP conversation.
5. 2 Broncos 11-4 Yes, it is fair to wonder if this might be the end for Peyton Manning. In a game the Broncos needed to stay in the race for the first overall seed, Peyton Manning throws four picks against the Bengals, including two pick-6’s. Manning has three TDs and six INTs in his last three games and just hasn’t looked in command the way he normally does. Still time to pull himself together for the playoffs, but this isn’t the way he wants to head into the postseason.
6. - Lions 11-4 What a terrific, if underappreciated job by first-year head coach Jim Caldwell, who has his Lions in the playoffs and one win away from unseating the Packers for the divisional title.
7. 5 Steelers 10-5 Steelers with a gritty home win over the Chiefs to secure a playoff spot. In a wide open AFC playoff field and with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell on their side, Steelers can’t be discounted in January.
8. 5 Bengals 10-4-1 Bengals with a terrific ball-hawking defense that produces four interceptions against Peyton Manning and gets Cincy back to the playoffs a fourth straight year. Now let’s see if the Bengals can win their first playoff game since 1990.
9. 2 Colts 10-5 Colts lost any hope of a first-round bye with a blowout loss in Dallas, putting them into the same spot as last year: a home playoff game on wild card weekend.
10. 1 Chargers 9-6 Philip Rivers with a magnificent comeback effort in a dramatic overtime win against the 49ers, as San Diego rallies from a 28-7 halftime deficit and keeps its playoff hopes alive.
11. 3 Cardinals 11-4 Bruce Arians has done a magnificent job keeping his team together despite myriad quarterback injuries, but this can’t last much longer with the likes of Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas. Cardinals have to hope Drew Stanton can make it back for the playoffs.
12. 3 Eagles 9-6 Eagles had fate in their own hands at 9-3 after a dominating Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys. Three losses later, and their playoff hopes are gone.
13. 3 Ravens 9-6 A no-show in Houston throws the Ravens’ playoff hopes into question. Good thing they’re playing the Browns at home with a win-and-in scenario on Sunday.
14. - Bills 8-7 Bills go gently into the night with a loss in Oakland.
15. - Chiefs 8-7 Andy Reid needs to get Jamaal Charles back in the mix. Only nine carries for his All Pro running back against the Steelers. Chiefs just about out of playoff hope.
16. 5 Dolphins 8-7 Joe Philbin gets a reprieve for next season, even though the Dolphins fail to reach the playoffs.
17. 7 Falcons 6-9 Atlanta with a dominating performance in the Superdome to beat the Saints and force a win-and-in season-ender against the Panthers.
18. 4 Panthers 6-8-1 Cam Newton returns from injuries he suffered in a car accident and puts the Panthers one win away from a divisional title.
19. - Texans 8-7 Arian Foster gets it done on the ground and through the air, as he throws Houston’s only touchdown pass in a shocker over the Ravens. Houston still alive for a playoff berth, albeit barely.
20. 4 49ers 7-8 The Jim Harbaugh era is going out with a whimper, as the 49ers blow another second-half lead at home.
21. 3 Vikings 6-9 Mike Zimmer not getting the final results he wants, but he is getting his rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, lots of experience that will benefit him down the road.
22. 3 Giants 6-9 Giants with a late-season surge that will probably save Tom Coughlin’s job. Rookie wideout Odell Beckham stars once more with 148 yards and two TDs.
23. 6 Saints 6-9 More disappointment for a Saints team that had a Super Bowl run in mind at the start of the season. Big changes coming now that they’re out of the playoffs.
24. 4 Rams 6-9 A Rams’ defense that had played so well through most of the season largely disappeared in a 37-27 home loss to the Giants.
25. 2 Browns 7-8 Quarterback problems go from bad to worse, as Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer suffer injuries against the Panthers. No interest from Rex Grossman about mop-up duty for the regular season finale.
26. 2 Washington 4-11 Some hope for Robert Griffin III with a nice performance against the Eagles. Looks like he and Jay Gruden will be back in 2015 to give it another try.
27. 1 Bears 5-10 The soap opera continues, as Marc Trestman is forced to go back to Jay Cutler. How in the world will the Bears fix their broken team next year?
28. 1 Jets 3-12 Rex Ryan comes close – again – to beating the Patriots, but loses in the end – again. That’s seven losses in his last eight tries against Bill Belichick, as Ryan prepares for what likely will be his last game on the Jets’ sidelines.
29. 2 Raiders 3-12 Raiders have won three of their last five, and some players are lobbying for Tony Sparano to stay on as head coach.
30. - Jaguars 3-12 Awful Jags beat an even worse Titans team at home. So there’s that.
31. 2 Buccaneers 2-13 Bucs with another stinker at home, but there’s at least a silver lining: Tampa is assured of having either the first or second draft pick next April. With only two franchise quarterbacks available, that figures to be good news for the future.
32. - Titans 2-13 Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston? One of them will likely be heading to Tennessee next year. Unless the Titans want to sell their soul for Jay Cutler.

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