I fought Dunton for the past three weeks. He was whole-heartedly convinced that the Oakland Raiders were the best of the AFC. I continuously pled my case that the New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL, and they have no reason to not be in the top slot.
Last week, we finally moved the Raiders into the top spot. And, on cue, they lost a big matchup, becoming the biggest fallers of the week (don’t worry, it wasn’t that far).
Remember, our Power Rankings break down the best five teams per conference until the playoffs start, in which it becomes a comprehensive NFL Power Rankings.
Who made the cut this week?
AFC Power Rankings:
Bottom Three: Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets. Do we really need any explanation here?
Honorable Mention: Houston Texans (Last week: NR; Denver Broncos Last week: HM). Believe it or not, Dunton has been pushing for the Texans as Honorable Mention for several weeks now, and me, the Texans fan, has refused to put them here. They are one of the worst first place teams in the history of the NFL, 29th in red zone production, a mere 21 touchdowns and -45 point differential. But their defense is superb and we are in Week 14. Their win against the Colts locks up two big tie breakers in the division and that is big right now. The Broncos, they lost a big one this weekend, but as defending champs they continue to get love.
No. 5. Baltimore Ravens (Last week No. 4). They could have easily bagged it up last night in New England, but that defense proved why they are the best in the league. They turned the game around in a matter of seconds and put a scare into the Pats.
No. 4. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week No. 5 ). Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are so good that they can cover up for the struggling Big Ben and middle-of-the-road defense. Their offense is a powerhouse, and it could carry them far.
No. 3. Oakland Raiders (Last week No. 1). Derek Carr struggled mightily this week, but the Chiefs defense is for real. The AFC West is the toughest division in football, so the fact that they are top speaks volumes for their turnaround.
No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (Last week No. 3). To be the best, you need to beat the best, and the Chiefs did just that. As mentioned above, their defense may be becoming the best in the game and with Gronk on the shelf, Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the NFL, and he is changing games for the Chiefs.
No. 1 New England Patriots (Last week No. 2). Last night Tom Brady played the best defense (statistically speaking) in football. He threw for a season high 405 yards. Any other questions?
NFC Power Ranking:
Bottom Three: Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams. Most will tell you the train wreck that’s the 49ers is the worst team in the NFC, but Dunton and I agree that the Rams should be better than they are, and the last five weeks have been a display of some of the worst football we have seen all year.
Honorable Mention: Green Bay Packers. The Pack is back. Aaron Rodgers is looking like Rodgers again, and they seemed to have figured out how to make the offense go even with a depleted running game. Their Week 17 bout with the Lions is shaping up to be for the division.
No. 5 (tie) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week No. 5/ New York Giants (Last week Honorable Mention): The Giants defense, no matter how poorly Eli plays, has made the Big Blue serious contenders for the NFC. Disposing of the Cowboys twice this season is huge. The Bucs simply keep winning, and whether it is ugly or not, the defense is improving and Jameis Winston is proving to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks.
No. 4. Seattle Seahawks (Last week No. 2). The Seahawks have lost two ugly games in the past three weeks. This team is always in the hunt for the Super Bowl, but right now, they need to sort out their inconsistencies and figure out how to deal with the loss of Earl Thomas.
No. 3. Detroit Lions (Last week No. 4). They won again, barely. Right now, they are 9-4 and atop a suddenly competitive NFC North. Matthew Stafford’s hand injury is going to hurt and the lack of a running game has slowed them all year, but the defense continues to step up when needed, and Stafford finds ways to win.
No. 2. Atlanta Falcons (Last week No. 3). The Falcons should be considered 1B in our eyes. Throw away the defensive stats, they are saturated by poorly played weeks earlier in the season. Vic Beasley has become an absolute beast and the past few weeks have shown that the NFL’s best offense may have a defense after all.
No. 1. Dallas Cowboys (Last week No. 1). The Cowboys are 11-0 against the NFL and 0-2 against the New York Giants. They have lost both combined games by four combined points to a very improved and talented Giants defense. Throw away the Tony Romo talk that is sure to start this week. Dak has performed poorly against two solid defenses. One of his interceptions last night was because Dez Bryant fell. This offensive line will still make plenty of room for Dak and Zeke to perform. They have the top spot for now, but the Falcons are looking to take it.
So… did we get it right? Let us know and come back next Tuesday for our next power rankings of 2016.