Home / frontnfl / 2017 NFL Week 15 Power Rankings
Evan Siegle - Green Bay Packers

2017 NFL Week 15 Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots (10-3) | Last week: 1

You know, I thought people would have learned by now. After a subpar performance on Monday night in a loss to the Dolphins, the hot-take artists (though it’s probably an insult to artists to call them that) have been out in full force about Tom Brady. “He’s 40 years old. He’s done,” they say, while ignoring Brady’s unmatched commitment and methods that’ll keep him playing for a few more years if he wants. And Brady was 7-8 at Miami entering the Monday night loss—he’s struggled there historically, so let’s take a step back for a moment. For everyone that’s biased against the Patriots and can’t stand to see them win: I wouldn’t get your hopes up.


2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) | Last week: 4 (+2)

If you’ve listened to Mike Tomlin recently, you would think the Steelers are playing their Super Bowl this Sunday against the Patriots. A Pittsburgh win would almost certainly give them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which would be huge, and looking ahead hasn’t affected them so far, as they sit atop the AFC at 11-2. But it’s possible the Steelers are worried so much about beating the Patriots, who have beaten them 10 out of 12 times with Tom Brady at quarterback, that they’ll be pressing and not play a great game. The playoffs are when it’ll really matter, but I’ve said I don’t see the Steelers beating the Patriots. We’ll get a look at the matchup this Sunday.


3. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) | Last week: 2 (-1)

There aren’t many bigger losses this season than Philadelphia’s loss of Carson Wentz to an ACL tear. He had a spectacular breakout second year in the NFL, as he was clearly a top-three MVP candidate in my opinion. Nick Foles will be thrust into the starting role, and I think he’s good enough to get the Eagles far in the playoffs. The team—from the supporting cast on offense to the defense—is very strong, and Foles showed great poise when entering the game last Sunday against the Rams. Foles’ one year with the Rams was less than ideal, as he didn’t have strong support around him, but he looked excellent last year with the Chiefs in his limited action. The Eagles shouldn’t be counted out yet.


4. Minnesota Vikings (10-3) | Last week: 3 (-1)

Minnesota’s eight-game winning streak was probably going to end at some point, but I like the fight the Vikings showed in Carolina over the weekend. Down by 11 entering the fourth quarter, it didn’t look good for the Vikings; but they fought and scored 11 fourth-quarter points, with the defense making some key stops and the offense scoring points. They didn’t have quite enough to get the win, but the Vikings have a lot to like about them.


5. Atlanta Falcons (8-5) | Last week: 9 (+4)

Last Thursday’s win against the Saints wasn’t pretty on the offensive side of the ball, but Matt Ryan’s three interceptions weren’t all that bad. One was on a play where Julio Jones was probably held by cornerback Marcus Lattimore. The next one went off Austin Hooper’s hands. And the third was on a jump ball to Jones that Ryan simply didn’t throw with enough air under it. In the end, Deion Jones came up with a huge play to seal the game for the Falcons and put them in a position to possibly win the NFC South down the stretch.


6. Los Angeles Rams (9-4) | Last week: 5 (-1)

Sunday was a weird game for the Rams, as they ran a season-low 45 plays in the loss to the Eagles. They gave up 43 points so it might sound crazy (and six points were on a fumble recovery for a touchdown on the final play), but they didn’t play that bad defensively. They had a couple of stupid penalties, and Carson Wentz made some pinpoint throws into tight coverage. This Sunday at Seattle will be a big test after they couldn’t get much going offensively in their first matchup in Week 5.


7. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) | Last week: 12 (+5)

The Jaguars uncharacteristically gave up some big plays after busted coverages against the Seahawks, but they still picked off Russell Wilson three times and improved to 9-4 on the year. The run game got going against the formidable Seattle front seven, as Leonard Fournette ran for 101 yards and a touchdown. And Blake Bortles has been playing excellent over the last two weeks, tossing a couple of touchdowns in each game, with no interceptions. Defensively, the Jags will look to get back on track verus the Texans this Sunday.


8. New Orleans Saints (9-4) | Last week: 6 (-2)

Drew Brees played a very good game in the Week 14 loss to the Falcons, with his only mistake coming on the final play for New Orleans with the interception thrown in the end zone. If Sean Payton did indeed give Falcons running back Devonta Freeman the “choke” sign, that’s not something a head coach should be doing, and Freeman and Atlanta will probably keep it in mind when they play again in a couple weeks. This week, the Saints need to take care of business against the Jets, or they could suddenly find themselves in a position where they need to win to remain in playoff position in the NFC.


9. Carolina Panthers (9-4) | Last week: 10 (+1)

Carolina down all the way at #9 displays the depth of the NFC this season. The Panthers took down the Vikings with a strong running game led by Jonathan Stewart, who surprisingly rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns versus Minnesota’s stingy defense. While Cam Newton might not be putting up impressive passing numbers (he’s had under 200 passing yards in five of the last six games), he’s getting enough done on the ground in a balanced offensive attack.


10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5) | Last week: 7 (-3)

Michael Bennett is the Seahawks’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee, but he took a very dirty cheap shot at Jaguars center Brandon Linder when Jacksonville was kneeling to end the game. It caused a fight at the end of the game, and it eventually led to Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson getting ejected, arguing with fans, and nearly climbing into the stands after a beer was thrown at him. Seattle did something similar at the end of their Super Bowl XLIX loss to New England, and it’s frankly a disgrace. I don’t like where the Seahawks are at right now, and player-friendly coach Pete Carroll will hopefully let his guys know their behavior won’t be tolerated.


11. Green Bay Packers (7-6) | Last week: 16 (+5)

He’s baaaaaaaaaack. The return of Aaron Rodgers instantly gives Green Bay a ton of hope heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. They’ll need some help, but if the Packers can win out they’ll have a good shot at making the playoffs—from there, anything can happen. It won’t be easy, as they’ll play at Carolina, vs. Minnesota, and at Detroit, but getting Rodgers back in the lineup gives the Packers a big boost. And Brett Hundley, Mike McCarthy, and everyone that stepped up deserves a lot of credit for doing so. Hundley showed exactly why the Packers weren’t going to go out and sign someone to start in Rodgers’ absence.


12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) | Last week: 13 (+1)

The Chiefs might be back too, as this makes two-straight weeks of very good offense from them. Kareem Hunt got into the end zone for the first time since Week 3, and he went over 100 yards rushing for the first time since Week 4. It was overdue, but Hunt getting going on the ground is a major positive for Kansas City. On defense, getting back to shutting down Derek Carr and the Raiders like they have quite a bit over the last few seasons indicates the defense might also be on the upswing.


13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) | Last week: 14 (+1)

If not for a stacked NFC that has several legitimate Super Bowl contenders, the Chargers would be firmly in the top ten of the power rankings. They’re 7-2 in their last nine games, playing with great balance on offense while giving up 9.7 points per game over the last three games. This Saturday night against the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West should be a blast to watch. The Chargers at #13 doesn’t mean I don’t think very highly of them, and they’ll probably shoot up the rankings with a win this week.


14. Tennessee Titans (8-5) | Last week: 8 (-6)

Entering the season, I thought the Titans would be the third-best team in the AFC behind New England and Kansas City. But right now, quarterback Marcus Mariota is clearly not healthy, and a lot of the rest of the team hasn’t been either. Still, the Titans sit at 8-5 in solid playoff position—I just can’t have them in the top ten while the formerly-explosive offense is playing like this. Dick LeBeau’s defense is thankfully keeping the Titans afloat while the offense works through its issues.


15. Baltimore Ravens (7-6) | Last week: 11 (-4)

Sunday night’s loss to the Steelers was simply crushing for the Ravens. It wasn’t quite as bad as last year’s Christmas day loss last season, but it still had to hurt for Baltimore. The good news is Joe Flacco, Alex Collins, and the offense have strung together a couple of really good games, and the final three games (at Cleveland, vs. Indianapolis, and vs. Cincinnati) look good on paper. The Ravens need to get the defense going as they approach a potential playoff run.


16. Dallas Cowboys (7-6) | Last week: 15 (-1)

All the talk about Dak Prescott not being able to play well without Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup sure has quieted down over the last two weeks, as he’s tossed five touchdowns and no picks against the division-rival Redskins and Cowboys. Now Dallas will play on Sunday night in Oakland in their final game without Elliott, who’s suspension has already run five games, but Alfred Morris has played well and Rod Smith (three touchdowns, 100 yards receiving) had an Elliott-type game in last week’s win over the Giants.


17. Buffalo Bills (7-6) | Last week: 17

There were some really good games in Week 14, but the game between the Bills and Colts in snowy Buffalo might’ve been the best one to watch. There wasn’t much passing in the game, but it still looked like a ton of fun. Tyrod Taylor is expected to return from his knee injury this week, and they’ll need him against a Dolphins team that’s been playing some elite defense over the last two weeks.


18. Miami Dolphins (6-7) | Last week: 20 (+2)

Miami defended their home field and didn’t allow the Patriots to convert on third down (0-for-11) in a game for the first time since 1991. Throw in Week 13’s win against the Broncos, and the Dolphins have allowed one third-down conversion (1-for-24) over the last two games. That is wildly impressive, and it’s a credit to the coaching staff for making adjustments. And man, have cornerback Xavien Howard and running back Kenyan Drake—two second-year players—been impressive recently. Don’t count out the Dolphins.


19. Detroit Lions (7-6) | Last week: 19

It was a little dicey there in the fourth quarter, but the Lions survived against the Buccaneers to improve to 7-6 with a shot at the playoffs. Matthew Stafford has completed over 81% of his passes in each of the last two games, but he’s also tossed three interceptions compared to two touchdowns in that span. Detroit’s playoff hopes hinge on winning these next couple of games to set up a potential win-and-in scenario in Week 17 against the Packers, but Green Bay would be the favorites in that game.


20. Arizona Cardinals (6-7) | Last week: 22 (+2)

The Cardinals continue to compete, and they’re still in contention for a winning record this season despite losing major contributors early in the year. Head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator James Bettcher were fired up after their Week 14 win against the Titans, and the coaching staff has a good opportunity to build some momentum heading into the offseason.


21. Oakland Raiders (6-7) | Last week: 18 (-3)

The couple of seven-point wins against the struggling Broncos and Giants might’ve inspired confidence in some people, but it’s clear the Raiders just don’t have it right now. When I see players like Marshawn Lynch just having fun and smiling on the sideline while they’re getting beat down by the Chiefs with first place in the division on the line, it’s just not a good sign.


22. Washington Redskins (5-8) | Last week: 21 (-1)

Talk is now ramping up about the Redskins firing Jay Gruden, but I think that would be a terrible idea. It’s difficult to like how they played against the Chargers last week, but Los Angeles has been beating everyone in their path recently. The offensive line is in shambles, the receiving corps has been unimpressive—the team was playing well earlier this season, but things seem to have caught up to them.


23. New York Jets (5-8) | Last week: 23

An emotional Josh McCown, who’s now out for the season with a broken hand, tells you all you need to know about the Jets right now.



If head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t doing a good job with the team, McCown might not be as emotional about it. The Jets are headed in the right direction.


24. San Francisco 49ers (3-10) | Last week: 28 (+4)

The Niners are only 3-10 this season, but they’re 2-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. First-round rookie linebacker Reuben Foster is helping solidify the defense, as they’ve given up 14 and 16 points over the last two weeks. Though some players, like wide receiver Pierre Garcon, have gotten hurt this season, the 49ers added a lot of talent compared to 2016.


25. Chicago Bears (4-9) | Last week: 29 (+4)

Second-year grinder Jordan Howard showed what he can do to defenses late in the season when the weather gets colder, rushing 23 times for 147 yards and a couple of scores in Chicago’s blowout win over the Bengals. The strong running game helped Mitchell Trubisky throw for 271 yards while completing 78.1% of his passes, and it’s a formula that should work for the Bears moving forward.


26. Houston Texans (4-9) | Last week: 25 (-1)

Like with Jay Gruden in Washington, there’s talk that Bill O’Brien should be fired in Houston. But owner Bob McNair has said he is not going to fire O’Brien—and he shouldn’t. The team won two-straight division titles under O’Brien before third injury-plagued 2017, and you don’t just get rid of a coach after one bad year.


27. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) | Last week: 24 (-3)

The Bengals were playing well until the second half of their Week 13 loss to the Steelers, and now things could get ugly over the final three games of the season. Cincinnati plays the Vikings coming off a loss (and it’s in Minnesota) before facing the Lions and Ravens. Hopefully the team will at least play some good football after their poor showing against the Bears.


28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) | Last week: 26 (-2)

Things could also get ugly in Tampa Bay, as the team has lost three-straight games and will now have to face the 8-5 Falcons, 9-4 Panthers, and 9-4 Saints to end the season. Six in a row to end the year wouldn’t bode well for head coach Dirk Koetter after the team attempted to add talent this offseason to take the next step, but he did just help lead the team to a 9-7 record last season.


29. Indianapolis Colts (3-10) | Last week: 27 (-2)

At least the Colts were able to play in a snow game, which might not happen again for many of the guys on the team. Adam Vinatieri had a clutch extra point to send the game to overtime, but I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch to place it atop his highlight reel, as some have suggested. This Thursday, the Colts return home to their comfortable Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Broncos.


30. Denver Broncos (4-9) | Last week: 31 (+1)

Perhaps the Dolphins beating the Broncos down in Week 13 woke the team up a bit, as Denver’s 23-0 win against the Jets was their best since Week 2 against the Cowboys. I have to admit, this Thursday night matchup against the Colts is not one I’m too excited for, but we’ll see if the team keeps it going while Vance Joseph attempts to last more than one year as the head coach.


31. New York Giants (2-11) | Last week: 30 (-1)

Eli Manning’s return wasn’t as triumphant as many were hoping when he was named the team’s starter during the week, which isn’t a surprise. The team is decimated right now, especially at wide receiver and defense. Rookie running back Wayne Gallman getting 19 touches was probably the doing of interim head coach Steve Spaguolo, who probably thinks Gallman is an all-around guy that could be a big part of the future for the Giants.


32. Cleveland Browns (0-13) | Last week: 32

Hue Jackson won the power struggle, and the Browns added accomplished GM John Dorsey to fill the role left by Sashi Brown, who lasted not even two seasons with the team. Despite getting fired, Brown set the franchise up in a good position. They have a lot more talent than people think, they have a ton of draft capital, and they have a ton of cap space. Dorsey is now free to mold the team to his liking, making his job among the most appealing in the NFL.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *