NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Can Anyone Dethrone The Chiefs?
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
See where your team stands as we head into week 17 of the NFL season with our latest 2020 NFL Power Rankings.
By Mark Ross.
It’s here and to be honest I am not happy about it, the final week of the NFL Regular Season. It has been a season with a difference as we have had to deal with the added complications of a global pandemic. COVID played its part but we managed to get through the full regular season fairly unscathed. That being said there are plenty of teams who felt the impact that COVID brought and will be ready for the season to end.
Enough about the pandemic, the festive season brought plenty of excitement in the NFL and the weekend of matches helped paint the playoff picture. With one week to go we almost have the playoffs set but Week 17 has some big matches with some big implications. Let’s dive into the final rankings before the end of the season.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14)
Well, here they are, the worst team going into the final week of the regular season. A blowout loss to the Chicago Bears coupled with a win for the New York Jets has guaranteed that Jacksonville holds the number one spot in the 2021 NFL draft. A season to forget for Duval County but with Trevor Lawrence on the horizon maybe things are on the up. The New Year couldn’t look better for this struggling franchise.
31. New York Jets (2-13)
A win streak. Three words that New York Jets fans have erased from their lexicon. Not only a win streak but two wins against good football teams. In Week 16 the Cleveland Browns were next to be taken down a perch by the Jets. In successive weeks the Jets have hampered the playoff chances of two winning teams, and they have looked pretty good doing it. Sam Darnold looked like a man fighting for his career. Perhaps the last two weeks have been enough to save his Jets career.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)
Another down and out team that now has two wins on the bounce. First the Pittsburgh Steelers and now the Houston Texans. Granted it was a Texans team with nothing to play for but a win is a win. Getting wins without their star quarterback is a great morale boost for the 2021 season and could be just what the Bengals need if they have any hopes of keeping up with the rest of the AFC North.
29. Houston Texans (4-11)
I don’t think I can sum up the Houston Texans performance any better than star defensive end JJ Watt did in his post-game conference. If you haven’t seen it then check it out below. It says all you need to hear about this current Houston team.
28. Carolina Panthers (5-10)
Carolina gets a good win against a strong Washington defense but when the opposing QB is Dwayne Haskins it takes a bit of the shine away. You can basically count out the offense when he is the quarterback and Terry McLaurin is missing. This was the full Carolina team against the Washington defense and unsurprisingly they came out on top. One more game without Christian McCaffrey and then the countdown begins until his return.
27. Atlanta Falcons (4-11)
If Atlanta could have picked one player to have the ball in the dying seconds to force a game into overtime against the current Super Bowl champions it would have been Younghoe Koo. Atlanta’s best player for the entire season hadn’t missed a field goal in forever and just had to make one more 39-yarder to pull off a remarkable result. Instead, the curse of the Falcons finally found the only player it had missed and he shanked his kick right ruining any chance of an upset. Another close game ends in agonising fashion for this franchise.
26. Detroit Lions (5-10)
Barely any coaches, barely any desire and in the end barely any points. Detroit never showed against the Tampa Bay buccaneers and found themselves on the end of 34 unanswered points in the first half. In the end they managed seven points compared to Tampa’s 47 as they looked like a nursery team playing against an NFL team. Yet another bad season in Detroit, surely 2021 can only get better.
25. Denver Broncos (5-10)
Drew Lock loves a turnover. That is now eleven straight games where he has had a turnover. A feat that nobody wants but especially a young quarterback who is trying to prove that he can be the man to lead this team in the future. He will have to do something pretty spectacular in Week 17 to stop the head coach looking for someone new in the offseason.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)
Jalen Hurts shot out the blocks again in this one as he racked up 14 points in the first ten minutes against the Dallas Cowboys in a win or go home game. Unfortunately for the remaining fifty minutes he could only muster another three. A tough season for Philadelphia is finally over as they become the first team to be eliminated from the worst division in football. The only positive for Philadelphia is that they may have found a star quarterback who should be able to lead them back to the playoffs next year.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9)
Justin Herbert now has the record for most touchdown passes by a rookie ever. Surpassing Baker Mayfields previous total, Herbert has been a shining light in an otherwise dismal season for the Chargers franchise. A team that is loaded with talent has failed to make the impact they should have and could see head coach Anthony Lynn out of a job in the coming weeks. That being said, it should be a popular spot for head coaches as they are a team that has many of the key pieces in place to launch a challenge at the Kansas City Chiefs.
22. New England Patriots (6-9)
The final week of the season is usually the time that a Patriots team that has secured the number one seed. Instead, it goes into Miami and loses in scintillating fashion. 2020 has flipped the AFC East on its head and the Patriots find themselves thankful that there is only one week left and the Jets can’t catch them. Buffalo rolled into Foxborough and completed the sweep of the Patriots in resounding fashion. A 38-9 loss secured a losing season for the Patriots and marked the first time in 20 years that an AFC East team has swept New England. A tough and unusual offseason awaits for Bill Belichick and his empire.
21. San Francisco 49ers (6-9)
A season plagued with injuries is almost over for the 49ers and a chance to regroup and go again awaits. Robert Saleh and his defense have continued to exceed expectations as they shut down the high-flying Cardinals offense on Saturday night. Despite the fact that they themselves are out of playoff contention it must feel pretty good to damage the chances of a division rival. George Kittle made his return to action and looked good racking up almost 100 yards. Let's hope 2021 is kinder on the injury front.
20. Minnesota Vikings (6-9)
As Alvin Kamara ran through the Vikings defense at will, Minnesota were finally eliminated from playoff contention. Most points allowed to an opponent since 1963 and most yardage given up ever is a strong indicator that there is something up with this defense. On the plus side of things, the offense managed to rack up a few points of their own and with players like Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson they should continue to do so. Now the offseason awaits and a chance to sort that porous defense.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)
Well, the Raiders seem to have a thing about losing at the end of the regular season. Other than a miracle against the New York Jets, the Raiders have lost five of their last six games and are officially eliminated from playoff football. Yet again they somehow managed to snatch a late defeat when they were in prime position to win. With only 19 seconds left to play all they had to do was stop the Hail Mary pass and not give up any penalties. As it turned out, they did both of these things and handed the Miami Dolphins enough yardage to get into field goal range and win the game. More scrutiny awaits in Las Vegas.
18. New York Giants (5-10)
Despite being on a three-game losing streak the Giants can still win the NFC East with a win against the Cowboys and a Washington loss to the Eagles. The worst division in football could finish with a champion with only six wins. If New York wants to be that team then they need to get back to their winning ways and quickly. Daniel Jones has been unable to get back to his form after his ankle injury as his Giants offense has struggled to put up many points at all. In Week 16 the defense struggled mightily against the run game of the Baltimore Ravens as they gave up over 75 yards to three different players. If the Giants want to win the division firstly and have any hope of winning a playoff game, then both these problems need rectified.
17. Dallas Cowboys (6-9)
It would appear that Andy Dalton is still capable of airing the ball out and finding his receivers. It does help when you have a receiving triplet of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup at your disposal I suppose. In recent weeks, the Dallas offense has looked exactly how Jerry Jones dreamed off when Dalton took the reins. Dallas are finding form at just the right time and if the defense can limit teams to only three points in fifty minutes like they did against Philadelphia then maybe the Cowboys can still be dangerous.
16. Washington Football Team (6-9)
Well time has officially run out for the former 15th pick in the draft, Dwayne Haskins. After being spotted ignoring COVID rules he got the start against the Carolina Panthers and followed up his midweek blunder by throwing the ball to the opposing team on numerous occasions and not putting up many points of his own. All that coupled with the fact that Ron Rivera clearly isn't a fan meant that Haskins was officially released this week. A big game awaits Washington in Week 17 where they can win their division, thankfully Alex Smith should be back for their most important game of the season.
15. Arizona Cardinals (8-7)
Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Cardinals in Week 16. Firstly, they lost to an already eliminated team playing their third string quarterback and lost control of their own fate in the playoff hunt. Then in the dying seconds of the game their best player, Kyler Murray, went out with a leg injury and may miss their game in Week 17. Could Josh Rosen be the man to get the Cardinals to the playoffs? Week 17 gets more and more interesting.
14. Chicago Bears (8-7)
After starting the season 5-1 the Chicago Bears looked destined for the playoffs, then they lost six straight and the season looked over. Since then, Mitchell Trubisky has come back and the offense looks exciting again. A huge win against the Jacksonville Jaguars now has the Bears at a four-game streak whilst scoring more than thirty points per game. This team could be dangerous come January, and it is now in their control. Who would have thought it?
13. Cleveland Browns (10-5)
The Cleveland Browns lost to the New York Jets and ruined their chances at an unprecedented AFC North division title. It was the Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns of old as sloppy mistakes cost them dearly against a team they should have dismantled. Cleveland now needs to beat Pittsburgh in Week 17 to have any shot at the playoffs. Mason Rudolph revenge game awaits.
12. Miami Dolphins (10-5)
Ryan Fitzpatrick has done it again. Coming into the game late on and in need of a bit of magic “Fitzmagic” produced the best no look pass ever as he found Mack Hollins on the sideline. Not only did he find him, he did it whilst having his facemask ripped back and was looking at his own end zone. The completion coupled with the facemask penalty gave Miami enough yardage to make the game winning field goal. A win against the Bills in Week 17 and Miami will have made it to the playoffs. Coach of the Year award seems destined for Brian Flores.
11. Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
Jared Goff continues to be an up and down player in this team and unfortunately it is more down than up. He could do nothing against a weak Seattle defense and then ended up fracturing his thumb late on. With the loss they surrendered any chance at the division and now have to win in Week 17 against the Cardinals to get into the playoffs. A team with this many stars should have already punched their ticket and now they need to do it in Week 17 without a starting quarterback. Luckily for the Rams, Arizona may also have a back-up quarterback at the helm. Aaron Donald is going to need to have a big game.
10. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
Indianapolis rolled into Pittsburgh as one of the form teams in the league going up against a team that was in the middle of a funk and had no form whatsoever. At the half this game was going completely to script. Indianapolis was up 21-7 and marching towards their eleventh win of the season. By the end of the second half, they found themselves down 28-24 as Ben Roethlisberger finally managed to get his offense going.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers have finally made it to 12 wins. In doing so they also secured the AFC North crown. After three losses in a row Week 16 had a familiar feel to it when the Steelers found themselves down 21-7 at the half and absolutely no offense to speak of. Their only touchdown came from a fumble recovery at the Colts’ goal line. Then in the second half Ben Roethlisberger came out the locker room and threw caution to the wind and started launching the ball down the field. That coupled with the defense finding their form again meant the Steelers went on to win 28-24 and get a bit of their mojo back before the playoffs. Still not the Pittsburgh we are used to seeing but one that can still cause a few problems in the playoffs.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)
Another comprehensive win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. Granted it was against a Detroit Lions team that was missing most of their coaches but still, you can only beat the team in front of you. The offense of the Buccaneers looks scary good when they are all clicking, and they certainly were in this one. 34 unanswered points in the first half had them well on their way to a 47-7 drubbing. Tom Brady is playing some of his best football in recent years and we all know what he is capable of come January/February.
7. Tennessee Titans (10-5)
I blame the snow and the icy conditions for this result. Tennessee never settled and didn’t look comfortable. That being said the inability to get to the opposing quarterback is proving to be an issue. Aaron Rodgers was given all day to find receivers and complete passes and the Titans defense could do nothing about it. Tennessee is capable of beating anyone on their day but if they want to do anything in the playoffs then the defense needs to step up and match what their offense is capable of.
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
Lamar Jackson is back to his best after his COVID scare. Another win and Baltimore now controls their own fate when it comes to getting into the playoffs. A win in Week 17 will get the Ravens back to the postseason and give Lamar another chance to show that he is capable of winning the big games.
5. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
The defense is starting to look better, and the offense can still pull big plays whenever they want. Seattle aren't racking up the big points that they were earlier in the season, but they are stopping other teams doing it to them. Their secondary has stepped up and stopped the constant big plays against them. That is the best thing that could have happened for this Seattle team. A win against the Rams gave the Seahawks the crown for the NFC West and the opportunity to rest some players before the playoffs begin.
4. New Orleans Saints (11-4)
Drew Brees might not be capable of making the big plays anymore but who cares when he has Alvin Kamara at his disposal. The elusive running back ran in six touchdowns as he single-handedly beat the Vikings and won fantasy leagues all over the world in the process. Another trip to the postseason awaits the Saints franchise who will be hoping for another shot at the ultimate prize.
3. Green Bay Packers (12-3)
Lambeau Field covered in snow; is there any better sight in Football? Green Bay took full advantage of the weather conditions as they completely outplayed one of the AFC’s best teams. Derrick Henry was held relatively in check by the Packers defense and their offense did what they wanted for the entirety of the game. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have a connection like no other as the MVP frontrunner found his wide receiver for three scores. MVP in waiting, Offensive Player of the Year in waiting and perhaps Super Bowl Champions in waiting.
2. Buffalo Bills (12-3)
For the first time in 20 years the New England Patriots have been swept by a divisional rival. A 38-9 victory for the Bills showed just how far this organisation has come in recent years. New England had no answer for Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs as they handed Bill Belichick his second largest defeat as Patriots head coach. This could be the team that dethrones the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)
Another close game and another win for the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was held in check for the majority of the game but was then allowed to complete two passes in the end zone late on to give the Chiefs a rare lead. A win is a win, and this team continues to rack them up. The first-round bye is now theirs again and the road to the Super Bowl goes through them. That being said there is definitely something more human about this team this year.