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NFL Power Rankings Week 16

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 13-1  

The Chiefs held strong and finished the season at 8-0 on the road with a win in New Orleans. Mahomes threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns. It seemed like an underwhelming day for their offense; New Orleans was adamant about preventing any deep shots from Kansas City. The Chiefs took what was there as Mahomes was efficient and the ground attack of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell combined for 141 rushing yards. With a win next week, Kansas City will be one step closer to locking up home-field advantage.

Next: vs. ATL

  1. Green Bay Packers 11-3

After taking a commanding 21-3 lead at halftime, it looked like the Packers were gonna cruise to another easy victory. However, the offense only produced three second half points and it was the defense that bailed out the offense. Davante Adams was bottled up finishing with only 42 yards; Aaron Jones delivered in a huge way with 145 yards on the ground. The defense fully embraced their “bend, don’t break” philosophy relinquishing over 350 total yards, yet only allowing one touchdown in five redzone trips.

Next: vs. TENN

  1. Buffalo Bills 11-3

Going into this game, the Bills were in a tough spot. They were on a short week coming off going into mile high city off back-to-back primetime wins where Josh Allen looked spectacular. The Broncos have proven to be stingy defensively and Lock has incrementally shown glimpses that he is capable. None of that mattered as Buffalo dominated the entire way – Josh Allen finished with four total touchdowns and has 39 on the season. He came into the year with 0 career 300-yard passing games – after the Denver game, he now has seven in 2020. 

Next: @ NE

  1. New Orleans Saints 10-4

The game was not nearly as close as the score indicated. The Saints were outgained by nearly 130 yards and converted one third down. The Chiefs possessed the ball for over ⅔’s of the game. The Chiefs brought a ton of pressure and did a good job neutralizing Alvin Kamara. Brees didn’t have any answers as he was clearly battling through his rib injury. 

Next: vs. MIN

  1. Seattle Seahawks 10-4 +1

Despite a lackluster performance from the offense, the Seahawks escaped Washington with a victory and jumped LA for first place in the NFC West. Furthermore, the Seahawks clinched a playoff spot for the ninth time in Carroll’s eleven seasons in Seattle. And Pete Carroll got the ground game going in the process as Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson combined for 118 yards. The defense continues to improve but the decline of Russell Wilson is evident. He threw for a measly 114 yards and was used more as a game-manager/facilitator than the game-changer we saw in the first two months of the season. Next week essentially becomes an NFC West championship against Los Angeles.

Next: vs. LAR

  1. Los Angeles Rams 9-5 -1

The single most embarrassing loss of the 2020 season goes to the LA Rams. The Rams were pummeled in all three phases of the game as they fell to the lowly Jets. In their first five possessions, the Rams had three punts, a blocked punt, and an interception. The only people the Rams have to blame are themselves – penalties, turnovers, and play-calling were all paramount in this perplexing loss. Historically, Jared Goff is pretty sporadic but their defense can at least keep them in games. Not in this one – Goff was atrocious from the jump and their defense couldn’t get off the field when they needed to. A team that had built up a decent amount of momentum destroyed all of that with this all-around letdown.

Next: @ SEA

  1. Tennessee Titans 10-4 +1

What Arthur Smith and Ryan Tannehill have done to transform this offense over the last year is nothing short of remarkable. They aren’t as flashy as Kansas City, Green Bay or even Buffalo – but they certainly are nearly as effective:

Derrick Henry continues his reign to defend the rushing title crown with 1,679 yards on the season. Tennessee enters a crucial Sunday night showdown against Green Bay where two of the premier offenses will duel it out.

Next: @ GB

  1. Baltimore Ravens 9-5 +1

The Ravens did exactly what they needed to do by jumping all over a depleted 1-13 Jacksonville squad. They were up 26-0 at halftime and were in cruise control for most of the game. The Ravens are still outside the playoff picture at 9-5 but they’re playing their best football as of late. What was once a pedestrian offense has averaged over 40 points per game in the last three weeks. The rushing attack is potent and Lamar Jackson looks much closer to the 2019 version of himself than what we’ve seen for most of the 2020 season.

Next: vs. NYG

  1. Cleveland Browns 10-4 +1

This was a much bigger win than what may be perceived for Cleveland. Yes, it was a Giants team without starting QB Daniel Jones and star CB James Bradberry. But the Browns were in a tough spot – after a brutal loss on primetime to Baltimore, Cleveland had a tough Giants defense on deck. The run game has propelled this offense to new heights in 2020 but New York did everything in their power to take the ground attack away. Despite Chubb and Hunt only averaging 3.2 yards per carry, Baker Mayfield had one of his strongest games in 2020. He completed 27 of 32 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. He’s elevated his game to much more than a game manager as he’s helped the Browns close in on their first postseason appearance since 2002.

Next: @ NYJ

  1. Indianapolis Colts 10-4 +1

The Colts extended their winning streak to three with a 27-20 win over Houston. A near mirror image of the win from two weeks ago over Houston; the Texans fumbled on the 1 yard line to lose against Indy. DeForest Buckner kept up his exceptional play with a three-sack performance and the Colts remained tied with Tennessee for the top spot in the AFC South.

Next: @ PITT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-5 +1

A tale of two halves for the Bucs – they looked flat and downright abysmal for the first 30 minutes of this game. Down 17-0, Matt Ryan was looking like the 2016 version of himself and the Bucs offense consistently stalled and produced an anemic 60 yards. At the half, the Bucs woke up from the dead and generated 31 points in the last 25 minutes of the game. Tom Brady finished with 390 yards and two touchdowns. Eight different receivers finished with three or more catches in the afternoon for Tampa Bay.

Next: @ DET

  1. Miami Dolphins 9-5 +1

The Dolphins were severely undermanned going up against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. In a game that Miami had to have, they leaned on Salvon Ahmed and their ground game to get by New England. This win eliminated the Patriots from the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Miami continues to clench onto the 7 seed for another week. They’ll fly to Vegas for a primetime Saturday night showdown – it’ll be Tua’s biggest game of his young career.

Next: @ LV

  1. Arizona Cardinals 8-6 +1

The Cardinals remained steady in their playoff push as they are holding onto the 7 seed prevailing past Philly 33-26. Thanks to a safety and a blocked punt, Arizona jumped out to a really fast start up 16-0 in the first quarter. They had their hands full trying to contain Jalen Hurts but they held on past a pesky Eagles squad.

Next: vs. SF

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-3 -7

The Steelers had a perfect opportunity to bounce back against one of the worst teams in the league playing with their third string quarterback. The Steelers fell short losing 27-17; their offense looks broken. Their offensive line is a mess, their receivers continue to have drop issues, and Ben Roethlisberger is incredibly limited as a thrower. After starting 11-0, their losing streak has extended to three games and their division is back up for grabs.

Next: vs. IND

  1. Las Vegas Raiders 7-7

In his three seasons as Vegas’s coach, Gruden now falls to 4-11 in the months of November and December. It’s tough to attribute why these late-season collapses happen, but this marks two years in a row where the Raiders were in the thick of a playoff race only to falter to the finish line. The defense has glaring holes at all three levels and they find themselves in a tough spot moving forward for 2021. Gruden is still under contract for seven more years and all the draft capital that had been accumulated from the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades are gone. The only positive to get out of this one was Marcus Mariota:

Next: vs. MIA

  1. Washington Football Team 6-8

Dwayne Haskins was thrusted into the starting role for the first time since week 4. He was going against the worst pass defense in terms of yardage in Seattle – the potential for a breakthrough was there. However, inaccuracy and indecision held Haskins back greatly most of the game. He showed signs of life and played some of his best football in the fourth quarter in a valiant comeback attempt. Nevertheless, Haskins and the Football Team fell short and the need for a long term QB and weapons on offense is incredibly apparent.

Next: vs. CAR

  1. Chicago Bears 7-7 +5

Behind a career day from David Montgomery, the Bears escaped Minnesota with a win. Montgomery finished with 146 yards on 32 carries – a staple of the Chicago Bears franchise has been running the football at a high level. Under Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, that has escaped Chicago until this recent surge from Montgomery and the Bears offense. The biggest difference? OC Bill Lazor has assumed the play-calling duties and has made a huge difference maximizing Trubisky’s running ability along with creating an identity around running the football.

Next: @ JAX

  1. New England Patriots 6-8

For the first time in 12 seasons, the Patriots will not reach the postseason. At the moment, the biggest question looming over the Patriots franchise is how they handle their quarterback situation moving forward. Do they bring back Cam for another season? If not, do they bring in another veteran to compete with Stidham? Or do they start from scratch and draft someone? It’ll be interesting to monitor and it starts this week if Belichick elects to stick with Cam or see what he’s got in Stidham.

Next: vs. BUF

  1. Minnesota Vikings 6-8 -2

The Vikings have carved an identity built around defense and running the football. The Vikings have been top ten in yards allowed each year Zimmer has coached in Minnesota, but after losing six starters including Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr, the mountain was too steep to climb. It has caught up to Minnesota as their inability to get any penetration or pass rush from their DL is palpable. On the bright side, 2020 third rounder Cameron Dantzler has really flashed on defense:

Next: @ NO

  1. New York Giants 5-9 -1

The Giants knew they needed any edge they could get going into Sunday Night. Without starting QB Daniel Jones, points were never going to come by easily. Joe Judge turned down two chip shot field goals in the first quarter for the chance at getting into the endzone. These decisions backfired as the Giants left much needed points on the table. After winning four straight in the middle part of the season, the Giants have dropped their last two by a combined 46-13. They have the red-hot Ravens up next.

Next: @ BAL

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 4-9-1 +4

Jalen Hurts has been absolutely sensational in his first two starts: 

He has given this team new life and have been a much more competitive team since he was inserted as the starter. However, with their loss to Arizona, their playoff hopes are holding on by a thread.

Next: @ DAL

  1. San Francisco 49ers 5-9 -2

A year ago, the 49ers were in the process of locking up the 1 seed on their way to the Super Bowl. 2020 has been a completely different story as they guaranteed a losing season in their loss to the Cowboys. Nick Mullens committed three more turnovers in their losing effort – the lone bright spot on the offense has been rookie 1st rounder Brandon Aiyuk. After scoring in the first half versus Dallas, Aiyuk has either total 100+ yards or scored in nine of his last ten games. 

Next: @ ARI

  1. Denver Broncos 5-9 -2

The Broncos were absolutely destroyed against Josh Allen and Buffalo on Saturday evening. The 48 points Denver gave up was the most the Broncos have surrendered since Vic Fangio took over as head coach. This loss solidified the fourth straight losing season in Denver as there are still question marks surrounding 2019 2nd rounder Drew Lock.

Next: @ LAC

  1. Houston Texans 4-10

The Texans suffered from a near identical goal line that propelled their defeat against Indianapolis:

It has been a tough year in Houston that has suffered through severe roster and cap mismanagement. Houston is one of five teams looking for a new GM.  

Next: vs. CIN

  1. Los Angeles Chargers 5-9 +1

The Chargers played spoiler on Thursday Night as Los Angeles essentially diminished any playoff hopes Vegas had left with a narrow OT win. Justin Herbert made history as he tied Baker Mayfield for the most touchdown passes (27) as a rookie in NFL history. With two games remaining, Herbert will assume a new record and is the clear frontrunner for OROY.

Next: vs. DEN

  1. Detroit Lions 5-9 -3

The Lions were able to compete for most of this game. Despite a painful rib puncture, Stafford was picking apart this Titans defense for most of the game but turnovers and a porous defense kept this one out of reach. The biggest question soaring over Detroit will be who assumes the GM role. 

Next: vs. TB

  1. Dallas Cowboys 5-9 +2

Is Dallas’s defense showing some promise heading into 2021? After winning the turnover margin 4-0 against San Fran, Dallas has dominated in the turnover battle the last two weeks. It’s hard to get too excited facing QBs Brandon Allen and Nick Mullens the last two weeks. Nevertheless, Dallas was the only NFC East team to pick up a win this past week – they are still only one game out of the first place as they have Jalen Hurts and Philly on Sunday.

Next: vs. PHI

  1. Atlanta Falcons 4-10 -1

In not so stunning fashion, the Falcons blew a 17-point lead in the second half as they slowly crumbled against Tampa Bay. The talk of Raheem Morris becoming the head coach is long gone as Atlanta has seen some steady improvements but they’re still a mess. With two games remaining, the Falcons currently hold the fifth pick of the 2021 draft.

Next: @ KC

  1. Carolina Panthers 4-10 -1

The Panthers have no reason to hang their heads after their defeat to Green Bay. After falling behind 21-3, Carolina stifled and confused Aaron Rodgers. Derrick Brown, Brian Burns, and Jeremy Chinn made plays flying around on defense. Teddy Bridgewater has continuously left people wanting more:

It’ll be intriguing to monitor their QB situation going into 2021 without former GM Marty Hurney

Next: @ WAS

  1. Cincinnati Bengals 3-10-1 +1

If it wasn’t for the Jets, the Bengals would’ve picked up the biggest upset in week 15. The defense was a breath of fresh air bringing the physicality and violence to Pittsburgh:

Zac Taylor made himself a solid case to retain his head coaching position heading into 2021.

Next: @ HOU

  1. New York Jets 1-13 +1

Has a win ever been more disheartening for a fanbase? It’s good to see these players pick up a hard-fought win but they may have lost in terms of the big picture for their franchise. Assuming the Jets hold strong and remain in the second slot, the idea of bringing back Sam Darnold or trading back become real possibilities for New York. Still two weeks remain, but the heartbreak in New York is at an all-time high.

Next: vs. CLE

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-13 -2

The most compelling storyline of week 15 surrounded the 1-win Jacksonville Jaguars. They were down 26-0 at halftime and never competed against Baltimore. After losing 13 straight and the Jets prevailing past the Rams, the Jags have assumed the highly-esteemed first overall, or the Trevor Lawrence pick. With Lawrence, Jacksonville becomes an even more enticing landing spot for the next GM and head coach.

Next: vs. CHI

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