NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Topsy Turvy Week 16

New year, who dis? As we head into 2021, we are also heading into Week 17 in the NFL. The rich keep getting richer as the top teams in the league are finally starting to take shape and separate themselves from the pretenders.

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. Below is the aggregate results of those rankings.

Biggest Risers: After pulling their traditional Sunday routine and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs on a missed last second field goal, the Atlanta Falcons somehow rise up six spots in our rankings.

Biggest Fallers: The New York Football Giants were beaten by the resurgent Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, thus dropping the G-MEEEEEEENNNN six 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:2ndPreviously:1st
Highest Rank:1stLowest Rank:2ndPreviously:2nd
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:4thPreviously:3rd
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:5thPreviously:4th

Austin: NOBODY CIRCLES THE WAGONS LIKE THE BUFFALO BILLS (S/O to Chris Berman).

Seriously, though. The Bills are legit. They are playing the best football in the AFC at the moment. If Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes weren’t actual people, Josh Allen would be your MVP. The Bills are doing everything well. Stefon Diggs is a top-three WR in the league, they can run the ball and the defense is stout. The expectations are high for Buffalo, so are they the ones that can dethrone Kansas City?

Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:6thPreviously:8th

Justin G: The Buccaneers rise three spots into the top five of our rankings after dismantling a hurting and hampered Detroit Lions squad 47-7 on Saturday. This team seems to be rounding into form and getting healthy on offense at just the right time. Tom Brady is connecting with all of his weapons, new and old, and the defensive line is stout.

Although they don’t have a shot at the division, they’ve clinched a playoff berth and will most likely play the NFC East winner in the first round of the playoffs, and we all know what Brady can do in the postseason. Maybe we should think of this team as a darkhorse contender to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl…

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

Wes: With the AFC South division crown and a fourth seed in the playoffs within reach, the Titans head to Houston for an afternoon game with the division rival Texans. After an up and down season with many highs and lows, a postseason birth and chance to secure the division title for the first time in 12 years will be great accomplishments.

That said, it’s won’t be their ultimate goal, a Super Bowl championship. Can the high-powered offense carry the team to glory? Will the disappointing defense hold them back from the franchise’s first championship? Either option is very realistic.

Let’s not look too far ahead by overlooking Houston. The Texans will be trying to play spoiler and get some payback for losing their first meeting earlier in the season, which saw the Titans pull it out late in an overtime thriller. Get ready for another shootout that “should” see the Titans getting the W…

Highest Rank:9thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:9th
Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:10th

Justin Melo: What is up with the Rams offense? I expected more of a bounce back performance coming off their embarrassing loss to the New York Jets. Goff barely threw for 200 yards in that game and Cam Akers had very little success. Putting up just 20 points against the Jets is unacceptable.

Fast forward a week later and the Rams managed just 9 points and failed to score a touchdown against a mediocre Seahawks defense. Ouch.

Sean McVay has been labeled an offensive genius, but his offense is averaging just 14.5 points a game over the last two weeks in must-win situations. I’m of the opinion that Goff is holding this team back. They now enter Week 17 in a “Win and In” scenario. They’ll be starting their backup QB John Wolford. Woof.

Highest Rank:11thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:13th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:16thPreviously:16th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:15th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:14th

Josh: Kliff Kingsbury is not it. Despite this crucial game to clinch the playoffs, the Cardinals came out completely flat against a division rival in San Francisco — committing careless penalties and lacking for energy overall. Kingsbury also failed to have any sort of plan to offset the 49ers blitz packages, eventually resulting in Kyler Murray getting injured.

It was clear that Kingsbury was completely out-coached in this game by Kyle Shanahan, despite the Niners starting their third-string QB. The Cardinals still have a shot at the playoffs next week with a win over the Rams, but they will need a much better game plan and effort all around.

Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:17th
Highest Rank:16thLowest Rank:19thPreviously:20th

Robert: It feels like the 49ers are an offseason away from being great again. Getting healthy across the board will help, but what really would move the needle is an upgrade at the QB position.

Jimmy Garoppolo is decent. This 49ers team has proven that they could go to the Super Bowl with him, but I’m not sure that he’s a guy you can win a Super Bowl with. I think an argument could be made that he might not be much better than the Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard’s of the world.

Getting an upgrade at QB could look like Matt Stafford, or it could look like an aggressive offer to Dak Prescott. It could also look like a draftee. No matter what they do, I have full confidence in Kyle Shanahan to turn things around in short order.

Highest Rank:17thLowest Rank:21stPreviously:18th

Zach: I think it’s time we all finally admit one thing: Mike Zimmer is not a good head coach. He has stifled this team over the last few years because he is too much of an old school, stubborn defensive-minded coach.

He doesn’t grasp time management. He has no clue how to manage personalities and utilize players. He went and hired his friends instead of moving forward with new and unique offensive perspectives. It’s a mess.

The good news for the Vikings is that with the right coaching hire, this team can rebound very quickly with Kirk Cousins under center.

Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:22ndPreviously:26th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:24thPreviously:24th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:24thPreviously:23rd
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:25thPreviously:28th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:26thPreviously:21st
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:26thPreviously:19th
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:27thPreviously:22nd
Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:30th
Highest Rank:26thLowest Rank:29thPreviously:25th

Wes: The Houston Texans go into Week 17 looking to spoil the Tennessee Titans’ playoff hopes. The first matchup saw the Texans fall short in a 42-36 OT thriller. Based off both teams’ recent performances, it’s a good bet we will see another high scoring game on Sunday.

Even though Deshaun Watson recently lost two of his top receivers in Kenny Stills and Will Fuller, Watson has still managed to throw over 300+ yards in 5 of his last 6 games with six different players leading the team in receiving yards in their last seven games.

Unfortunately, the Texans haven’t capitalized on Watson’s solid performances, tallying four straight losses. It has been a rough season overall having only won four games, and Houston will end the season with a ton of questions to answer with both their front office and player personnel. Miss you BOB!

Highest Rank:27thLowest Rank:29thPreviously:27th
Highest Rank:30thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:32nd

Zach: Could the New York Jets offense put up 30 points on the Tennessee Titans’ defense? Why yes they could. I just wanted to say that. Other than that, you can no longer name the Jets as the worst NFL team and that’s bittersweet. I will miss them at the bottom, but I do enjoy seeing the Jaguars at 32.

The good news is that the Jets are actually playing hard right now and that may mean we get one more year of Adam Gase in New York. That would be glorious.

Highest Rank:30thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:29th

Justin Melo: My God. What an abomination. Teams are supposed to show signs of life after firing their head coach but the Lions didn’t get the memo. Maybe because of all the assistant coaches missing due to COVID, they went out Saturday afternoon and lost 47-7 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs rounded up an astounding 588 yards of total offense.

Tom Brady nearly had as many touchdown passes (4) as he did incompletions (5). Even former Titans legend Blaine Gabbert got in on the action. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns. You know it’s bad when Gabbert is carving you up.

Somewhere in the distance, Matt Patricia smiles.

Highest Rank:32ndLowest Rank:32ndPreviously:31st

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

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