NFL Power Rankings Week 16: New Kings of the North

Ho, Ho, Ho… Happy Holidays to our readers. We are heading into Week 16, and we have a game on Christmas day! We also have a new King of the North Pole! The Cleveland Browns have cracked the top-10, and they’re the highest ranked team in the AFC North.

As will happen every Tuesday throughout the season, nine of our contributors — Zach Lyons, Mike HerndonJustin MeloJimmy MorrisRobert GreenlawWes WisleyAustin NelsonJosh Hong, and Justin Graver — have submitted their power rankings, 1 to 32 (except Josh and Jimmy did not get them in this week). Below is the aggregate results of those rankings that did get in.

Biggest Risers: The biggest riser of the week is the Jalen Hurts-led Philadelphia Eagles. The rookie signal-caller has his team moving up five spots as he continues to impress.

Biggest Fallers: The biggest faller, and rightfully so, is the L.A. Rams. After losing to the Jets, they drop five spots.

Here’s where we landed with our rankings as we head into Week 16 of the regular season…

To see the full list of everyone’s individual rankings click here.

Highest Rank:1stLowest Rank:1stPreviously:1st

Josh: Week after week, it really does seem like the Chiefs are in a tier of their own in the NFL. The offensive powerhouse of Patrick Mahomes plus Andy Reid can overcome any slow start or opponent lead. The Chiefs currently have the number two offense in yards and scoring (literally one yard and one point behind the Titans). They are also the only team to feature a quarterback with over 4,000 passing yards and two receivers with over 1,000 receiving yards in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

While the offense gets all the love (and rightfully so), the defense is no slouch either. The Chiefs’ defense are currently ranked eighth in scoring defense, only giving up 22.1 points per game.

With the Steelers dropping three games in a row now, the Chiefs are in sole possession of the first seed in the AFC, and they certainly look like the team to beat.

Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:3rdPreviously:2nd
Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:5thPreviously:3rd

Mike: I had the Saints the lowest out of this group simply based on what Drew Brees looked look like on Sunday. I’m not sure how healthy he’s going to be this year, and that lowers the ceiling for this team. Sure, the defense is very good and they have weapons on offense, but a banged-up Brees likely having to travel to Green Bay in January feels like a problem.

Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:5thPreviously:4th
Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:5thPreviously:6th

Justin G: The Titans have won two straight, three of their last four, and appear to be rounding into peak form just in time for the postseason. The offense continues to produce at a historic rate, now leading the league in total points, total yards, total touchdowns, and expected points added per play. Only two members of the league’s best offense made the Pro Bowl, but that’s neither here nor there.

The biggest test of the season awaits this struggling defense on Sunday night as the team travels to Green Bay for a possible Super Bowl preview (I said “possible,” not “likely”). The two teams with more touchdowns than any other might play to a total of 100 in this game (kidding, maybe). The Titans pass rush continues to get no push, which could be their downfall in the end, but as Mike wrote last week, offense is much more important than defense in this era of football.

Adoree Jackson made his 2020 debut last weekend, on the field for 41.5% of defensive snaps. It’ll be interesting to see how much more playing time he gets against arguably the best route-runner in the league, Davante Adams, and speedy downfield threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The Steelers suck (more on that from Zach below), but if they can beat Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, it would open the door for the Titans to lock up their first AFC South crown since 2008 on Sunday Night Football. With no real bye week for Tennessee this year, a week of rest for key players in Week 17 could prove to be a major advantage in the postseason.

Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:8thPreviously:7th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:10thPreviously:10th
Highest Rank:7thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:9th
Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:11th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:5th
Highest Rank:7thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:13th
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:8th

Zach: The Pittsburgh Steelers are horrendous on offense. Ben Roethlisberger at one point was in sweatpants on the sidelines. JuJu Smith-Schuster has more TikToks (95) than receiving yards (93) in any single game this season.

They cannot run the ball even though they have talent on the offensive line, Roethlisberger can’t throw beyond ten yards with any sort of accuracy, and the play calling is predictable. It’s just a mess all around. They basically have the Titans’ defense version of offense.

The Steelers theoretically could turn things around, but right now they look like the worst 11-3 team I have ever seen with my own two eyes.

Highest Rank:11thLowest Rank:14thPreviously:12th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:15thPreviously:14th
Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:17thPreviously:16th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:20th

Justin Melo: If you’re a Titans fan, there’s a good chance that watching Marcus Mariota enter the Raiders’ Week 15 contest brought out some emotions in you. In true Mariota fashion, the highs were high and the lows were low. It sure was fun to watch him back in action. There’s a solid chance he’s going to start in Week 16 against the Dolphins. The real story here is how bad this defense is, though. Despite sending a message by firing their defensive coordinator prior to the game, the Raiders responded by allowing 30 points and over 400 yards of offense. I guess signing Vic Beasley has a negative impact on your defense. Who woulda’ thought?

Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:17thPreviously:15th
Highest Rank:18thLowest Rank:19thPreviously:17th
Highest Rank:18thLowest Rank:22ndPreviously:21st
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:22ndPreviously:19th
Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:25thPreviously:18th

Justin Melo: How about Jalen Hurts? Doug Pederson finally made the decision to bench the struggling Carson Wentz in favor of Hurts, and the rookie signal caller has revived the offense. His first start saw the Eagles upset the Saints while totaling 413 yards of total offense. They lost in Week 15 to the Cardinals, but put up 26 points and surpassed 400 total yards for the second straight week. His dual-threat play has also had a massive impact on Miles Sanders’ outlook, something my fantasy team is very thankful for. Don’t look now, but Hurts has at least made the Eagles exciting again and in position to compete for the NFC East title.

Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:26thPreviously:27th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:26thPreviously:24th
Highest Rank:23rdLowest Rank:27thPreviously:22nd
Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:25th
Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:27thPreviously:26th
Highest Rank:22ndLowest Rank:30thPreviously:23rd
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:30thPreviously:29th
Highest Rank:28thLowest Rank:30thPreviously:28th
Highest Rank:28thLowest Rank:30thPreviously:31st
Highest Rank:31stLowest Rank:32ndPreviously:30th

Wes: Jacksonville stayed the course. They focused, saw the goal & executed. Lose out and land Trevor Lawrence. Thanks to the Jets’ upset win over the Rams, the Jaguars are in prime position to have the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With two games left on their schedule, Jacksonville will look to continue their losing ways. Their Sunday opponent is the surging Bears, who all of a sudden have an offense that has come alive with Mitchell Trubisky taking over as the starter and Bill Lazor as playcaller. Can Minshew Magic pull another trick by undoing his own disappearing act?

Jacksonville’s final game will be against divisional opponent Indianapolis, who are still in the hunt to win the AFC South, tied with the Titans at 10 wins. It would be the perfect start to the new year if the Jags somehow beat the Colts and lost out on Trevor Lawrence.

Highest Rank:31stLowest Rank:32ndPreviously:32nd

Who is too high? Who is too low? Drop a comment down below!

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