The Week 17 Power Rankings have shown a lot of changes as the power struggle at the top has gotten more intense. The result is that the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings have a few teams separating themselves from the pack, with the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants basically clinching the first two slot right through the playoffs. It all sets up an exciting outlook for the 2009 NFL playoffs.
Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Tennessee Titans (13-2) – By beating the Steelers badly, they clinched the #1 seed and home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs. Very impressive for the Titans, and though they have some injuries, Tennessee is looking good heading into the post-season.
2. New York Giants (12-3) – A very nice 34-28 win over the Panthers with a nice 4th quarter gives the Giants their division title and home-field advantage through the NFC Playoffs. Exactly what they wanted, and now they can rest a little in Week 17.
3. Indianapolis Colts (11-4) – The Colts are the hottest team in football, and won their 8th straight game on Sunday, clinching them a wild card spot in the playoffs. Peyton Manning will pass 4,000 yards and continue his impressive season as the Colts look like a tough opponent in the AFC Playoffs.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) – They have looked better, but it was a big knock to their momentum to get beaten so easily by Tennessee. They are one step from clinching a first round bye in the playoffs with a win Sunday.
5.Carolina Panthers (11-4) – The Panthers hung well with the defending Super Bowl Champs, but came up just short. They did look very strong though, and have clinched a playoff berth. If they win on Sunday, they clinch the second seed in the NFC and a first round bye.
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – The Ravens knocked of the Cowboys (33-24), and are now faced with a must-win game on Sunday to get in to the playoffs. One of the best defenses in football will need to impress their will on Jacksonville this week.
7.New England Patriots (10-5) – New England looked really good again, even in the snow, and are playing way above where people felt they would be without Brady. Now the Patriots clinch the AFC East title with a win over Buffalo and a New York Jets win over Miami.
8. Atlanta Falcons (10-5) – The Falcons have clinched at least a wild card spot in the NFC playoffs, and still have a chance to win the NFC South if Carolina falls and they win on Sunday. They are looking very good in these last few weeks of the season.
9. Miami Dolphins (10-5) – The Dolphins are still continuing their surprising turn-around from last season, and the Dolphins can now clinch the AFC East title with a win over the New York Jets this weekend.
10. Tampa Bay Bucs (9-6) – Tampa Bay picked the wrong time to start losing, and fell for the third straight time in week sixteen. Tampa needs to win on Sunday and then get some help after their sluggish December play if they want to make it into the playoffs.
11. Dallas Cowboys (9-6) – The Cowboys fell in a game that was basically a must-win, and find their playoff destiny at risk. There is some good news though, because the Cowboys can clinch a wild-card spot with a win over Philadelphia.
12. Minnesota Vikings (9-6) – All they needed to do was win and clinch the NFC North, but couldn’t do it on Sunday. They have another chance this week, and all they have to do is win, or have Chicago lose their game, and Peterson will have his shot at the post-season.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6-1) – A loss this week takes their playoff chances out of the Eagles hands, and now they have to win in week 17 and get a LOT of help. They are playing much better, and could surprise someone in the playoffs, but they need to get there first.
14. New York Jets (9-6) – The Seahawks shut down Brett Favre, and have the Jets on the cusp of not making the playoffs now. The Jets can still clinch the AFC East title though with a win over Miami and a New England loss.
15. Chicago Bears (9-6) – After their Monday night win, they are still alive, and can still win the AFC North if they can pull out a win and get a Vikings loss. If several other teams lose while the Bears win, there is also still a chance at a wild card berth.
16. New Orleans Saints (8-7) – Drew Brees was very impressive again, and many of the young Saints players look like they could really compete next season with a few free agents pick-ups. The Saints are out of the playoffs, but are still a scary team on offense.
17. San Diego Chargers (7-8) – With yet another win, the Chargers have put themselves into the driver’s seat for a playoff spot. Now if they win their last game, they clinch the AFC West and glide into the playoffs. What a story that would be.
18. Arizona Cardinals (8-7) – The Cardinals were flat out embarrassed this week, and are heading in to the playoffs looking like they don’t even belong. Winning the weak NFC West is becoming less and less impressive by the day, but they can make a statement by blowing out Seattle on Sunday.
19. Houston Texans (7-8) – They fell this week, but still have a chance to push their record back to .500 for the season if they can win on Sunday. This is definitely a team built for the future, and one that people should watch out for next season. The Texans have now arrived.
20. Denver Broncos (8-7) – Another loss, and the Broncos have played themselves into a must-win road game in San Diego on Sunday. The colossal collapse can be stopped if the Broncos can win in San Diego to clinch the AFC West.
21. Washington Redskins (8-7) – They won another game, to guarantee they finish at least .500 this season, but it’s too little too late. Now they just need to build on this last week as a stepping stone for next season.
22. Buffalo Bills (7-8) – Buffalo has been having a rough go of things, but with a win in week 17 (in a tough game) they can make their way back to .500, and give hope to fans for next year. The finish is a disappointment though, for many thought they would make it to the playoffs this year.
23. San Francisco 49ers (6-9) – The 49ers are a much different team than the one that was put on the field during the first few months of the season, and now have something to really build off of next year. Going out on a winning note would also be a big step for this growing franchise in week 17.
24. Green Bay Packers (5-10) – There are a number of people re-thinking their predictions about Green Bay making the playoffs, and this team now will have to go back to the drawing board with their quarterback of the future in Rogers.
25. Seattle Seahawks (4-11) – Coach Mike Holmgren just won the game of his life by taking down Brett Favre in his last game in Seattle. It’s a strong point to end a frustrating season, and hopefully something the franchise can build on next season with a new staff.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) – Another loss gives them 10 for the season, and shows that the Jaguars are really struggling to put points on the board. Now they will get a good draft choice, and maybe with a few key player additions over the next few seasons they can compete again.
27. Cleveland Browns (4-11) – Five losses in a row, and Cleveland has really disappointed its fans this season. Next year they could be a lot better with another high draft pick, a new running back, and a healthy quarterback to lead the charge. Expectations will probably have lowered as well, so it might be easier.
28. Oakland Raiders (4-11) – The Raiders picked such a bad time to finally win another game, and did look decent in doing so. There is still hope in the youth of this team if management can be altered.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11-1) – Two wins in a row, and the Bengals are playing themselves right in to a worse draft slot. With Carson Palmer back next season, the Bengals don’t have much reason to fret, and should get a good pick to accentuate that offense, or shore up the defense.
30. St. Louis Rams (2-13) – Nine straight loses, and the best thing you can say about this team is that at least they won two games this year. It’s time to completely re-build this franchise.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) – It’s time to blow up this team, trade Larry Johnson, and try to re-build through some youth. They have a long way to go, and need a lot of players to get there. If management can realize this, it will be an immense step in the right direction.
32. Detroit Lions (0-15) – Another bad loss puts the Lions one game from infamy. They are already being called the worst team in NFL history, but if they lose that 16th game, they will win the title without any discussion. Who doesn’t feel bad for Charles Johnson?