NFL Power Rankings headed into Week 17 and the last stand before the 2008 NFL Playoffs:
1: New York Giants (12-3) – Earned NFC Supremacy with a bruising win over upstart Carolina Panthers. Defending Super Bowl Champions own the top spot until another team takes the crown.
2: Carolina Panthers (11-4) – Surging club went North into hostile Meadowlands and were within one 50 yard kick that veered one foot outside of the left upright at the last moment from stealing victory at New York.
3: Indianapolis Colts (11-4) – 8 straight wins. Peyton Manning surging to the top of the MVP Race. This is the hottest team in the NFL that nobody wants to play in January. Not the same battered bunch that lost to Titans earlier this season in Prime Time.
4: Tennessee Titans (13-2) – Disrespect of the Terrible Towel at Nashville may come back to haunt the Titans. One Kerry Collins hit away from disaster.
5: New England Patriots (10-5) – Belichick does it again in his greatest coaching job ever. The Patriots’ steamrolling of opponents is a flash back to last year. Still, Pats may not even make 2008 NFL Playoffs.
6: Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) – Steelers finally showed signs of wear from their grueling schedule of weekly, physical showdowns by running out of steam down the stretch vs. the Titans.
7: Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – Ray Lewis and ball hawking Safety Ed Reed playing the best football of their already decorated careers. Offense is always the question. Can rookie quarterback maintain poise?
8: Atlanta Falcons (10-5) – The feel good story of the year. Matt Ryan for rookie of the year in leading the Falcon’s out of Michael Vick’s dog house.
9: Dallas Cowboys (9-6) – One win away from the playoffs. The ninth ranked team is the number one soap opera in professional sports. Too much talent not to make noise.
10: Miami Dolphins (10-5) – Chad Pennington has outplayed Favre and is a sleeper MVP pick. Looming Week 17 showdown versus the New York Jets to decide 2008 NFL Playoff Fate.
11: San Diego Chargers (7-8) – Scrappy, talented club is surging into AFC West ‘showdown’ of mediocrity with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West Title. Another page in the Rivers / Cutler rivalry. Remember that blown Ed Hochuli call that lost the game for the Chargers?
12: Chicago Bears (9-6) – Winners of three straight with Playoff spot on the line. Still, needed a game winning field goal to defeat the cheese heads to the North.
13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6) – Blowout loss at the Sombrero to the San Diego Chargers with huge playoff implications is unacceptable. Is the vaunted Tampa 2 defense getting old?
14: Minnesota Vikings (9-6) – Team built for cold weather and playoff football. Never mind that the Vikings play in a dome and top rusher Adrian Peterson seems to be coming down with a case of fumbleitis.
15: New York Jets (9-6) – The J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets would not be in the conversation if not for Week 15’s bonehead JP Losman call. Brett Favre is wearing down. Will the grizzled vet reclaim some of the magic, or is next week’s cold weather showdown versus a New York opponent going to be another replay of last year’s turnover riddled house of horrors at Lambeau?
16: Washington Redskins (8-7) – Treading water in the toughest division in football.
17: Philadelphia Eagles (8-6-1) – Still alive – albeit on life support. Donovan needs to learn the rulebook and begin playing like Kevin Kolb is ready to take his job at any moment.
18: Denver Broncos (8-7) – Loss to Buffalo at home proves the Mile High is not the same anymore. Or, maybe these guys just aren’t very good. The AFC West champ will be one-and-done in the AFC Playoffs.
19: New Orleans Saints (8-7) – The season is effectively finished. Brees will be gunning for Marino’s record this week. This should be fun.
20: Arizona Cardinals (8-7) – The feel good story of the year is dead. Warner benched in yet another blowout. They are who we thought they were. This is a return to Arizona Cardinal football. This does not look good.
21: Houston Texans (7-8) – The typical ‘up and comer’ that gets fans and the media excited coming into next season, only to be out of the Playoff hunt by Week 8. We are not buying. Example: 2008 Browns.
22: Buffalo Bills (7-8) – Fast start, inevitable collapse, and a few ‘moral’ victories towards the end of the season. Should Dick Jauron be fired? Does Canada even want these guys?
23: San Francisco 49’ers (6-9) – Singletary has the 49’ers competitive and playing to win after dropping his pants.
24: Seattle Seahawks (4-11) – Not exactly the Gipper – but the jolly Professor – Coach will take it: Hawks win one for Holmgren in his final home game.
25: Cleveland Browns (4-11) – Mistake by the Lake disappointment defined. Braylon Edwards has already dropped this report. Romeo is done.
26: Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) – High expectations coming off late season surge in 2007 were dashed by Mid Season. The team has quit on coach. Sound familiar? This is Cleveland – South.
27: Green Bay Packers (5-10) – Losers of 5 straight in this total collapse. Whatever happened to that Favre guy? Brett Favre – collectible coins. Brett Favre all-time passing leader. Brett Favre! Brett Favre!! Brett Favre!!!
28: Oakland Raiders (4-11) – Oakland is playing themselves right out of a top three draft pick. Is Al Davis still alive? Is Al Davis Montgomery Burns?
29: Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) – Losing will even get Chad Johnson, I mean “Ocho-Cinco” to be pipe down. Scoreboard. Like, every game.
30: Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) – Finding new ways to lose. Herman Edwards – play to win the game, buddy. Hello? Build on that.
31: St. Louis Rams (2-13) – Let’s just get this thing over with. Now.
32: Detroit Lions (0-15) – Fittingly, the worst team of the worst sports franchise ever, representing the most miserable city in America. Detroit needs a hug.
The 2008 NFL Playoff Race at Week 17.
Vick: Bankrupt and in Jail