It's hard to believe there is only 1 week to go in the regular season. It should be an interesting Week 17 as well. The 49ers are looking to lock up a bye in the NFC while the Falcons and the Lions fight for playoff positioning, and the Giants and Cowboys have an NFC East showdown game (even if the Eagles are probably currently the best team in the division). In the AFC, there is a lot that can still happen. You have the AFC North and West titles on the line and the super confusing Raiders/Bengals/Jets/Titans wild card scenario.
The 49ers jumped back into the top 5 for cooling down the red hot Seahawks. They moved into #3, and pushed back the Saints to #4. The Texans, who all of the sudden seem to have injuries catching up to them, fell back to #8. The Packers, Patriots, and Ravens remained as #1, #2, and #5.
The Colts are out of #32!! Their 2nd win in a row moved them up to #30. Who needs Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck when you have Dan Orlovsky. Replacing the Colts at #32 is the worst team in the NFL. Not the Rams, not the Vikings. The Buccaneers. They've lost 9 in a row. In their 11 losses, they lose by an average score of 34-15. Yet somehow, they beat the Saints and Falcons this year. It's weird that they aren't on the absolute garbage list in the media this year, mostly because they've had their 4 wins for most of the season so haven't been in the talk about the #1 overall pick. Also, the media seems to love Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman, so I think that helps. The Bills big win over Denver moved them out of the bottom 5. Replacing them are the Redskins, who moved down to #29.
We had a shocking amount of movement in the ranks this week despite it being so late in the season. There are a lot of teams surging but are going to fall short of the playoffs and a lot of teams stumbling into the playoffs. The Eagles jumped an amazing 9 spots for beating the Cowboys all the way to #13, but they are mathematically eliminated with the Giants win, who moved up to #14 after jumping 7 spots. The Panthers have also been hot at the end of the season and moved up 6 spots. The biggest losers were the Jets, who dropped 6 spots and probably out of the playoffs, and the Broncos, who have a legit chance to now blow the AFC West.
As far as playoff projections go, all this surging and stumbling have really screwed them up, and we have a bunch of scenarios that are impossible. This is because recent success factors in heavily, and like any good power ranking, they are meant to show who is best now weighing recent success against the entire body of work. So below are the playoffs if the teams that are playing the best right now made it rather than what the scenarios are for this weekend:
1st Round Byes: #2 Patriots, #5 Ravens
#11 Bengals @ #8 Texans
#7 Steelers @ #15 Chargers
Top 5 Out: #17 Jets, #18 Titans, #20 Dolphins, #21 Broncos, #23 Bills
1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #3 49ers
#9 Seahawks @ #4 Saints
#6 Lions @ #13 Eagles
Top 5 Out: #10 Falcons, #12 Panthers, #14 Giants, #16 Cowboys, #19 Cardinals
Here are Playoffs if you use the power ranks to pick the winners of Week 17 games:
1st Round Byes: Patriots, Ravens
Jets @ Texans
Steelers @ Broncos
Based on: Patriots over Bills, Ravens over Bengals, Steelers over Browns, Texans over Titans, Broncos over Chiefs, Chargers over Raiders, Jets over Dolphins
1st Round Byes: Packers, 49ers
Lions @ Saints
Falcons @ Giants
Based on: Packers over Lions, 49ers over Rams, Saints over Panthers, Giants over Cowboys, Falcons over Buccaneers
Labels: NFL, power ranks, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers