Welcome back to the penultimate edition of NFL Power Rankings for 2019! We’ve almost made it to the postseason!
Since we last met, 5 more teams clinched playoff births: New England, Buffalo, Green Bay, San Francisco, and Seattle. There are now just 4 playoff tickets left to be punched, but 9 teams are still in contention (some more than others). As you’ve seen in recent weeks, teams position in their respective conference will be listed, but I’ve noted if a team has clinched a playoff sport (* = clinched) or has been eliminated. If you see neither, that means that team could still clinch a trip to the playoffs, but has yet to do so. Good? Good.
Biggest rise: Atlanta Falcons (up 6 spots)
Biggest fall: Oakland Raiders (down 6 spots)
1. Baltimore Ravens (PR: 1)*
Record: 12-2 (1st in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Cleveland Browns (away)
Okay, the Ravens are having a great year, but TWELVE players making the Pro Bowl?? Might be a bit too many, but most were well-deserving.
2. San Francisco 49ers (PR: 2)*
Record: 11-3 (5th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Los Angeles Rams (away), TODAY
A tough loss, especially considering Kyle Shanahan used to work under Dan Quinn, but I still believe this is the most well-rounded team in the NFC. Week 17 will determine who wins the NFC West.
3. New Orleans Saints (PR: 5)*
Record: 11-3 (3rd in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Tennessee Titans (away)
The Saints will need to keep winning to get a bye week because their playoff history on the road under Brees and Payton is not good, but with the way Brees played on Monday, the team should be in good shape, but Tennessee will put up a fight.
4. Seattle Seahawks (PR: 3)*
Record: 11-3 (1st in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Arizona Cardinals (home)
Yet again Seattle won a close game, which has defined practically every win for them this year. They control their own destiny for home field advantage, something the team has not done since 2014.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (PR: 5)*
Record: 10-4 (3rd in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Chicago Bears (away)
For the second time this season the Chiefs stopped a Broncos winning streak right in its tracks, and they are looking more well-rounded as the weeks go by. If the Patriots slip up and they handle their business, they could get a playoff bye week.
6. New England Patriots (PR: 6)*
Record: 11-3 (2nd in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Buffalo Bills (home), TODAY
The defense and special teams were spectacular yet again, and there were some promising moments on offense, specifically in the form of N’Keal Harry. The Patriots need a bye week, but players like Julian Edelman need rest… if they win tomorrow and KC loses Sunday, maybe they can achieve both going into the playoffs.
7. Green Bay Packers (PR: 7)*
Record: 11-3 (2nd in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Minnesota Vikings (away)
I’m just going to get this out of the way: Aaron Rodgers has not been a Pro Bowl-level player this year. The Packers came very, very close to letting Chicago take them to overtime, but they were able to win. They’ve had a good year, but I don’t trust them to win in the playoffs against the likes of San Fran, Seattle and New Orleans.
8. Buffalo Bills (PR: 8)*
Record: 10-4 (5th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: New England Patriots (away), TODAY
Buffalo won in gritty fashion against a strong Steelers team, and clinched a playoff birth for the second time in three seasons. Sean McDermott’s squad goes to Foxborough tomorrow with a chance to pull an upset and put themselves in position to win the AFC East, but they’d need the Pats to lose to Miami in Week 17 too… Still, it has been a great season.
9. Houston Texans (PR: 9)
Record: 9-5 (4th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (away), TODAY
Houston was able to hold of Tennessee and maintain their division lead. A win tomorrow against the suddenly red-hot Bucs would clinch the division for the Texans… but a loss could set up a Week 17 game against Tennessee where the winner wins the division and the loser doesn’t make the playoffs.
10. Minnesota Vikings (PR: 10)
Record: 10-4 (6th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Green Bay Packers (home)
Losing Dalvin Cook to injury for any amount of time is tough, but this came at a really bad time. The Vikings are all but certain to make the playoffs, but a win and Green Bay and some help from Detroit next week could set them up to win the NFC North. Maybe health is more important at this point.
11. Tennessee Titans (PR: 11)
Record: 8-6 (7th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: New Orleans Saints (home)
Losing to Houston was tough, but Pittsburgh’s loss keeps Tennessee alive in the Wild Card hunt. The Titans won’t have an easy path the next 2 weeks, as they host New Orleans Sunday and head to Houston next week, but it’s not over yet.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (PR: 12)
Record: 8-6 (6th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: New York Jets (away)
The Steelers margin of error is extremely slim, but they still currently hold the 6th seed in the AFC. They should be fine against the Jets, but Week 17 in Baltimore could be another story… their best hope is the Ravens win tomorrow and rest their starters against them.
13. Los Angeles Rams (PR: 13)
Record: 8-6 (7th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: San Francisco 49ers (home), TODAY
Just when I had a belief the Rams might be turning things around, they lay an absolute goose egg against the Cowboys. Dallas had a lot at stake, but so did the Rams, who all but punted their season away. Oh well, they’ll be in their new stadium soon.
14. Chicago Bears (PR: 14) — eliminated
Record: 7-7 (8th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs (home)
Chicago almost pulled off a miracle to score a TD on the final play of the game against Green Bay, but they came up short. It’s been a downhill swing for the team since the loss to Philly last January.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PR: 16) — eliminated
Record: 7-7 (10th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Houston Texans (home), TODAY
The train is not stopping yet, and even with the playoffs out of reach, the team could play the role of spoiler against Houston today… I’m rooting for maximum chaos, and that’s what you always get with Jameis Winston.
16. Dallas Cowboys (PR: 20)
Record: 7-7 (4th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Philadelphia Eagles (away)
Holy shit, where did THAT come from. If Dallas played with this much urgency this season they would have clinched the division 3 weeks ago. We know what they can be when everything is clicking, and if they can perform like they did a week ago tomorrow, the NFC East will be theirs.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (PR: 21)
Record: 7-7 (9th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Dallas Cowboys (home)
Not as pretty as the Cowboys, but Philly was able to win last week to get back to .500. They’ll need to win tomorrow and against the Giants next week to win the division, which is easier said than done.
18. Atlanta Falcons (PR: 24) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (11th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars (home)
The Falcons winning in New Orleans and San Francisco this season is something no other team in the NFL can say they’ve done, which is quite impressive. Julio’s game-winning TD reception cost me a chance to go to the championship in fantasy football, so I’m a little angry… oh well, maybe Quinn keeps his job.
19. Cleveland Browns (PR: 15)
Record: 6-8 (8th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Baltimore Ravens (home)
What a depressing loss. Luckily for Cleveland, if they win out and Tennessee and Pittsburgh lose out, they COULD sneak into the playoffs, but who wants that? Doesn’t seem like half the guys there do.
20. Indianapolis Colts (PR: 18) — eliminated
Record: 6-8 (10th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Carolina Panthers (home)
The Colts were embarrassed by New Orleans on Monday, making it seem harder to believe they were once 5-2 and playing some of the best football in the AFC. It’s a long season, and Indy couldn’t maintain their early season success. As I said a week ago, the fact they even started that good is amazing, and they still have a solid future.
21. Denver Broncos (PR: 19) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (12th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Detroit Lions (home)
Denver couldn’t beat a hot Chiefs team in the snow, but KC has been their kryptonite all season long. Against everyone else they put up a good fight, and either win or lose in heart-breaking fashion. I still like the direction of this team moving forward.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (PR: 22) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (13th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Oakland Raiders (home)
Now that my fantasy football season is over, I’d like to personally thank Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen for all they did for me this season. Oh, and Melvin Gordon kind of helped too. Hopefully we’ll meet again.
23. Oakland Raiders (PR: 17)
Record: 6-8 (9th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Los Angeles Chargers (away)
I was speechless last week when they blew their 16-3 lead. The people of Oakland deserved better, but that’s been the case for over 15 years now. Nevertheless, farewell to one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL.
24. Carolina Panthers (PR: 23) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (12th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Indianapolis Colts (away)
I’d like to apologize to Cam Newton for hopping on the Kyle Allen train earlier this season. I was wrong. I know you can still be a good player in this league when healthy, but my GM glasses got the best of me. I hope the Panthers keep you.
25. New York Jets (PR: 25) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (14th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers (home)
For the sake of chaos, the Jets can yet again play the role of spoiler tomorrow if they beat the Steelers. Having already done so against the Cowboys and Raiders, I’m not putting it past them.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (PR: 27) — eliminated
Record: 5-9 (11th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Atlanta Falcons (away)
The news coming out of Jacksonville and the treatment of their players was disgusting, and Tom Coughlin should be the first of many to be fired as a result. On a football note, Minshew proved again why he never should have been benched for Nick Foles.
27. Arizona Cardinals (PR: 26) — eliminated
Record: 4-9-1 (13th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Seattle Seahawks (away)
The Cardinals were awesome in their victory against the Browns last Sunday, and as I’ve said before, they are in good hands with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury (still not sold on him, but he’s not the awful coach I thought he’d be).
28. Washington (PR: 29) — eliminated
Record: 3-11 (16th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: New York Giants (home)
Washington lost a close game they were in until the bitter end, but they have played much more competitively the second half of this season. Maybe it’s enough for Urban Meyer to be persuaded to coach the team…
29. Miami Dolphins (PR: 28) — eliminated
Record: 3-11 (15th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals (home)
No way Eli was losing, you knew that.
30. New York Giants (PR: 31) — eliminated
Record: 3-11 (15th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Washington (away)
As mediocre as Eli has been during his career, as a Patriots fan, I most acknowledge him as a Hall of Famer, for he has personally taken two Super Bowls from my team.
31. Detroit Lions (PR: 30) — eliminated
Record: 3-10-1 (14th in NFC) | Week 16 opponent: Denver Broncos (away)
Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn will keep their jobs next season, and sadly, Jeff Bezos will not buy the team… that’s all I got.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (PR: 32) — eliminated
Record: 1-13 (16th in AFC) | Week 16 opponent: Miami Dolphins (away)
Since I can’t be unbiased about my feelings about the Bengals, I’m not gonna say anything here.
Credit to photo above goes to Nhat V. Meyer of Bay Area News Group
Follow Nick on Twitter (@Nick_Collins14)