It is official. For the first time since the 2003 Super Bowl that saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rise victorious over the Oakland Raiders, neither team from the last Super Bowl is returning to the playoffs. That means this January, there will be no dabbing, and Gary Kubiak will be in his rightful place… not on the football field.
Not much has changed in the AFC, but the rise of the Packers has certainly continued to shake up the NFC. The AFC Power Rankings were relatively easy this week with all six teams already locked in for the postseason. The NFC, however, still has some work to be done, with two playoff spots and a division winner still at large.
Remember, our Power Rankings break down the best five-ish 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: New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets are the worst team in the AFC. We don’t care what the Browns record says, the Jets have too much talent and money invested to be this train wreck.
Honorable Mention: Miami Dolphins (NR). Every time that we have put faith in the Miami Dolphins, they have let us down. Well, now they have a playoff spot locked down and Matt Moore looks like he should have been starting all year long.
No. 5. Houston Texans (Last week HM). The ugliest division winner in the NFL, but you can’t take it away from them. Consecutive AFC South titles and the No. 1 defense in football has this team in the top five.
No. 4 Oakland Raiders (Last week No. 2). There’s only one reason that the team with the second best record in the NFL is this low in the power rankings. Matt McGloin is not Derek Carr.
No. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week No. 3 ). Big Ben led an inspired comeback in the biggest game of their season. Le’Veon Bell is unstoppable and if they could just find some consistency in Eli Rodgers , AB becomes even more dangerous.
No. 2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week No. 4) . This team ended the run of the reigning champs in dominating fashion. Travis Kelce is a beast and Andy Reid has always done a good job of getting the most out of marginal talent. The defense is good enough to take them far.
No. 1 New England Patriots (Last week No. 1). Sure, it was the Jets, but the Patriots are in dismantle-mode. The defense is better than it has been in years and that just makes things worse for everyone else.
NFC Power Ranking:
Bottom Three: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears. Their record may be the best, but the Rams have lost six in a row and it has been pretty ugly for the most part.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Lions (Last Week: No. HM): Last night didn’t do much to help their cause, dropping their second consecutive game to NFC East playoff powers. Still, this team controls its own destiny and they have proven that you can’t rule them out until the last tick of the clock.
No. 5.New York Giants (Last Week: No. 3). That was Eli being Eli at its best. This team needed a big win and Eli throws three picks in a loss to the Eagles. Still, they are in the playoffs and despite an overrated quarterback and zero presence in the backfield, the improvements this defense has made is very impressive.
No. 4. Seattle Seahawks (Last week No. 4). A tie and now a loss to the Arizona Cardinals — a team that has been disappointing this season to say the least — puts a blemish on their record. Tyler Lockett and Kam Chancellor now join Earl Thomas as huge injuries to overcome. A Seahawks team in the playoffs is never one an opponent wants to play, however.
No. 3. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: No. 5). The Packers may very well be the best team in football right now, and they are being led by the hottest player and quite possible the MVP in Aaron Rodgers. Why aren’t they No. 1 then? They still don’t have a playoff spot nor their division locked up. Their playoffs begin this Sunday night.
No. 2. Atlanta Falcons (Last week No. 2). Matt Ryan, by all accounts, should be the MVP of the NFL. He likely won’t be, but this is the best Falcons team of the Matt Ryan era in our opinion. That says a lot, but ultimately, Vic Beasley is the difference maker.
No. 1. Dallas Cowboys (Last week No. 1). Imagine if the Cowboys didn’t have to play the Giants? It just seems that every time Dak Prescott has had a question to answer, he has risen to the occasion. This team is good enough that if he doesn’t, Zeke can still run amok and apparently Dez can chuck a TD.
So… did we get it right? Let us know and come back next Tuesday for our next power rankings of 2016.