BASN’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: December 14, 2007

NFL Power RankingsPHILADELPHIA — This time of the year in the NFL brings the cold hard reality that you are either a “buyer” or “seller”. The buyers are buying into the fact that their teams are on the way to the big dance — Patriots, Colts, Cowboys, Packers, Seahawks, Chargers, Steelers Jaguars, Browns ???, Giants ???, Vikings ??? — while sellers are getting ready to pack their bags and sell the “dumps” that have become of their 2007 seasons (See any of a number of teams, but my distinct choices are the Eagles and Chiefs).

The separation of the have’s and have not’s continued in week 14 as the Patriots showed the Steelers that talk is cheap, the Cowboys grabbed their first NFC East division crown since 1998 with a last second victory over the reeling Lions, the Seahawks showed the exit to the Cardinals as they grabbed another NFC West crown, and teams like the Packers and Colts continued their winning ways as the Raiders, Niners, Falcons, Panthers, and other non-playoff teams started thinking about pulling the plug and moving on to next season.

Let’s talk about streaks. Every team wants to get hot down the stretch like the 2006 Eagles team (five straight wins into the playoffs). Some teams are streaking forward toward the playoffs by stringing consecutive wins together — Patriots (13), Cowboys (7), Seahawks (5), Colts (4), and Vikings (4) — while others have flushed their playoff hopes away with losing streaks – Dolphins (13), Ravens (7), Chiefs (6), Lions (5), Falcons (4), and Eagles (3).

Speaking of the Patriots, count me in as a believer in their quest for a perfect season after they dismantled the Steelers 34-13 last week. The Pats are now 13-0 and the 1972 Dolphins better hold their corks until the playoffs as I don’t see them losing another game in the regular season (maybe the playoffs too ??) especially in the next three weeks against the Jets and Dolphins — Deion Sanders said of the two hapless teams, “They could beat those guys on the same day” — followed by the Giants, who will probably have nothing to play for.

As for the Dolphins quest for imperfection, I think that the unthinkable of an 0-16 is also within sight as team leaders are griping and ready to bail. There last chance to win one maybe this week as they face the reeling Ravens (7 straight losses). The ‘Phins situation (Cam Cameron) and Bobby Petrino quitting on the Falcons before the end of the season shows that college coaches can not get it done in the pros.

For the third week in a row the NFL schedule for this week kicked off on Thursday night as the Texans defeated the Broncos 31-13 at Houston in a reunion game between Denver head coach Mike Shanahan and his former quarterbacks coach Gary Kubiak.

Now on to the rankings for this week (not including Thursday’s game).

1. Patriots (13-0) – They shut up the mouthy Steelers in a game that proved their dominance over the NFL. It will be “sweet” revenge time as the Patriots finally get to payback the Jets and Man-genius for blowing the whistle on them for spygate.

2. Cowboys (12-1) – The poor Lions had the lead at home and received a gift fumble by Witten at the goal line, but the ‘Boys found a way to win again as Romo continued his cake walk through the NFC. Host the Eagles in a rivalry game that lacks the usual juice as the Birds are limping home.

3. Colts (11-2) – Showed that they could return home again and in the process they sent the Ravens further into the abyss. The Champs are off to the Oakland to shed some light on the “black hole” in a game they need to clinch the AFC South.

4. Packers (11-2) – The Raiders never had a chance as the NFL’s newest secret weapon and second half phenom Ryan Grant ran wild. Brett Favre will try to fix his dome woes as the Packers face the reeling Rams.

5. Jaguars (9-4) – Bullied the lowly Panthers as they continued moving forward toward clinching an AFC wild card berth. Heinz Field will be a playoff type setting as the physical Jags come to town looking to make it to the playoffs.

6. Steelers (9-4) – Their bark was worse than their bite as the Patriots dismantled them to the delight of the usually reserved Tom Brady. Need to put the Patriots out of their mind as they host the tough Jaguars in a potential playoff battle.

7. Seahawks (9-4) – The NFC West belt is theirs for another year as Hasselbeck and company showed the Cardinals what it takes to be a divisional champion. They don’t have to win at Carolina to make the playoffs, but they will want to keep their winning streak going into the playoffs.

8. Chargers (8-5) – It took till overtime, but the Chargers behind LT showed the Titans that they are getting ready for the playoffs. They will try to put a nail in the Lions’ coffin as the coldest team in the NFC comes to town.

9. Giants (9-4) – Inched closer to securing a playoff spot by doing just enough to put away the reeling Eagles. Need to show me something in this important NFC East battle against the Redskins.

10. Browns (8-5) – Started slow, but the Dawgs put away the Jets in a dangerous road game. Host the Bills in a game of that will have huge playoff ramifications.

11. Buccaneers (8-5) – The Texans harassed backup quarterback Luke McCown on their way to a quality win and kept the Saints slight division hopes alive. The poor Falcons maybe the remedy that Jeff Garcia has been searching for his aching back.

12. Vikings (7-6) – Got over the .500 mark by dominating the Niners as they won their fourth straight. Host the Bears in a big MNF game for their playoff hopes and maybe the Vikes Adrian Peterson will hit 300 yards rushing this time.

13. Titans (7-6) – Had the lead against the Chargers, but couldn’t finish the job as overtime was LT time. Travel to Kansas City not for some barbecue, but for a much needed win if they want to make the playoffs.

14. Bills (7-6) – To the surprise of many the Dolphins never had a chance as the Bills were all business. Travel to Cleveland in a match-up of two teams that could easily be named the NFL’s biggest surprise of 2007.

15. Saints (6-7) – Maybe they are better without Reggie Bush??? Dismantled the dysfunctional Falcons on MNF keeping their playoff hopes alive. Host the Cardinals in anticipated quarterback shootout that will have playoff implications.

16. Broncos (6-7) – Won a big rivalry game over the reeling Chiefs in a game that kept alive their flickering playoff hopes. The Texans have several family ties with the Broncos, but this will not be a huggy-kissy family reunion this Thursday.

17. Cardinals (6-7) – Were outclassed by the Seahawks in a game they needed to win. It will be a playoff type atmosphere as the Cards travel to New Orleans for a huge game where the loser basically goes home.

18. Lions (6-7) – In a game that typified their season, they let the Cowboys come off the canvas and score a heartbreaking last second win. The road doesn’t get any easier for the faltering Leos as they travel out west to face the Chargers and LT.

19. Texans (6-7) – This young scrappy team knows how to fight as they out muscled the Buccaneers. Host the Broncos on NFL Network Thursday Night Football in a reunion game that they must win.

20. Redskins (6-7) – Despite losing their starting quarterback, the ‘Skins found a way to get a win over the Bears and stop their losing streak. The ‘Skins finally got some rest during a long game break and now they will be facing the Giants in a game that has major playoff implications.

21. Bengals (5-8) – Seem to be stringing wins together at the wrong time as they dismantled the Rams. Travel to the Bay to face the declining Niners, who maybe playing for Mike Nolan’s job.

22. Bears (5-8) – Pack up the bags as the Redskins pushed them pretty much out of the playoff picture. For Monday Night Football, Lovie Smith will turn to Kyle Orton of all people as the Bears look to spoil the Vikings playoff plans.

23. Eagles (5-8) – Could not muster up enough to beat the “overrated” Giants and now they are 2-5 at home with almost no chance of going to the postseason. Travel to Dallas to face T.O and the ‘Boys as they get a look at the new kings of the NFC East.

24. Panthers (5-8) – Head Coach John Fox maybe looking at the exit as the Panthers showed little again in a loss to the Jaguars. The Seahawks travel to Charlotte to face a reeling and banged up Panthers team.

25. Raiders (4-9) – The only thing left for the Raiders is to give JaMarcus Russell a shot after a dominating loss to the Packers. Al Davis’ team just cannot catch a break as they host the Champion Colts, who are looking to secure another AFC South crown.

26. Chiefs (4-9) – Herman Edwards better find a quarterback as his team once again struggled in the passing game this time in a loss to the Broncos. Can play spoiler as the Titans come to town in a game they must win to continue on.

27. Ravens (4-9) – Lost their seventh straight as they could not reclaim the pride of the Charm City from the home/away Colts. Two teams with extremely long losing streaks face off as the Ravens travel to Miami to face the winless ‘Phins.

28. Jets (3-10) – The Browns showed them that they are this year’s surprise team in a tough home loss. Mangini maybe sorry he ever called the NFL after week one as the Patriots have had this week’s game circled for some time.

29. Rams (3-10) – Time to start thinking about how to keep everyone healthy in ’08 as the lowly Bengals rolled over them. Brett Favre and the gang come to town as the Lambs are looking to not be embarrassed.

30. 49ers (3-10) – Were no match fort he Vikings running game and their opportunistic defense in a bad home loss. Host the Bengals on Saturday in a game that will only matter to the Patriots, who own their first round selection in ’08.

31. Falcons (3-10) – Great week for the Dirty Birds, NOT !!! First their former franchise quarterback is sentenced to 23 months then the Saints dismantle them on MNF and to take the cake their coach Bobby Petrino quits on them for the Arkansas job. With new coach Emmett Thomas at the helm, they have a tough assignment traveling to the Bucs who are trying to clinch the NFC South.

32. Dolphins (0-13) – The Bills showed that this dysfunctional group of players probably will not win a game. Their quest for imperfection continues as they host the Ravens in a game that could be their last chance to win in ’07.