BASN’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: December 21, 2007

NFL Power Rankings

PHILADELPHIA — As we enter week 16, teams are either living the dream of going to the playoffs or the nightmare that their season is over. With the Vikings win over the Bears on Monday Night five more teams (Panthers, Lions, Eagles, Cardinals, and Bears) joined the growing list of teams beefing up their scouting efforts for the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft.

The playoff picture is becoming clearer each week and the only division race left is in the AFC North where the Browns and Steelers are tied at 9-5 with two weeks left to sort out who will be the champ and the other a wild card team. Remember that the Steelers own the tiebreaker because they have beaten the Browns twice head to head.

Let’s talk about streaks. The biggest streak currently in the NFL — the Patriots undefeated streak of 14 games in case you forgot — continued in week 15 as America’s New Team plowed over the Jets and don’t expect it to end in week 16 as the happy to get a win Dolphins come to Foxborough. Speaking of the Dolphins they finally ended their excruciating winless streak last week and now they can try to help their 1972 brethren by beating the Patriots (yeah right).

Consecutive wins are important this time of the year as teams want to go into the playoffs “hot” including the Patriots (14), Colts (5), Vikings (5), and Chargers (4), while other teams will try to save their pride by ending their losing streaks before the end of the year – Ravens (8), Chiefs (7), Lions (6), Falcons (5), and Bears (3).

For the third week in a row, the NFL aired a Thursday Night game on the network no one can see – Thanks Cable Companies — the NFL Network with the Pittsburgh Steelers meeting the reeling St. Louis Rams. Also there will be a Saturday night game as well on NFL Network as the Dallas Cowboys try to maintain their NFC home field advantage lead against the Carolina Panthers.

Now on to the rankings for this week. Not including Thursday’s game.

1. Patriots (14-0) - Due to the weather Man-genius and the Jets got off easy from a spygate beat down. This week it is the Dolphins turn to get put in the corner by the Pats as the ’72 Dolphins nervously watch.

2. Colts (12-2) - Won the AFC South again in a sloppy win over the Raiders as more players have to battle through injuries. Host their division rival the upstart Texans in a game where they will rest several injured players.

3. Cowboys (12-2) - Maybe Tony Romo had Jessica Simpson on his mind as he played terrible in a winnable game against the Eagles. Look for Tone-Luv to rebound on Saturday Night in Carolina as the ‘Boys take on the playoff eliminated Panthers.

4. Packers (12-2) - Brett Favre passed Dan Marino’s yardage record and the Packers continued to put pressure on the Cowboys for home field advantage in a win over the hapless Rams. Face old-time black and blue division rival the Bears in Chicago.

5. Jaguars (10-4) - Everyone thought that a team from Florida could not win in the snow, well they were wrong as the physical Jags ran over the Steelers for a big win. Host the Raiders, who should be starting JaMarcus Russell since they have nothing left to play for in 2007.

6. Steelers (9-5) - This team may not be as big and tough as everyone thought as they men of steel looked like aluminum foil in their first won loss of the season to the Jaguars. Should get back to the right side of the ledger as they take on the Rams on Thursday Night football in St Louis.

7. Seahawks (9-5) - Behind rookie Matt Moore the Panthers showed that they still have some pride in a surprising win over the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck and the boys will look to tighten things up this week at home against the struggling Ravens.

8. Chargers (9-5) - Won their division as they sent the cowardly Lions to their sixth straight loss since the halfway point. With nothing else to play for they may rest some veterans when they host the Broncos on Monday Night Football.

9. Browns (9-5) - The snow was blowing every which way but loose as the Dawgs tamed the Bills in a winter wonderland. Will make the trip down state to face their hated rival the Bengals in a game they must win to keep their AFC North division hopes alive.

10. Buccaneers (9-5) - With Jeff Garcia back in full swing the Bucs destroyed the poor Falcons and they even finally got their first kick return for a touchdown by Michael Spurlock. Garcia returns to San Francisco as the no Pro Bowl Bucs take on an abysmal Niners team.

11. Vikings (8-6) - They did not look great committing four turnovers in a tougher than expected win over the Super Bowl hung-over Bears. NBC got it right by switching the entertaining match-up between the Redskins and the host Vikes to Saturday Night because this game will have huge playoff implications.

12. Giants (9-5) - The Redskins took the guns to the G-Men who are limping home again as the playoff approach. Will travel to wintry Buffalo to face the Bills in a game they must win if they have any intention of making the playoffs.

13. Titans (8-6) - Behind a solid effort by VY they pushed the Chiefs further off the plank. Host the Jets in a game that they will need to win to keep pace with the AFC North division loser for the last AFC playoff spot.

14. Saints (7-7) - Showed that maybe they are better off without enigmatic running back Reggie Bush (2-0 without him) as they ended the playoff hopes of the reeling Cardinals. Face the dangerous, but playoff eliminated Eagles in a game they direly need to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

15. Bills (7-7) - The Browns dominated the Bills in blizzard like conditions thus ending their playoff hopes and one of the better stories in the NFL this season. Host the Giants in a game where they can truly spoil the reeling G-Men’s season.

16. Texans (7-7) - Kubiak’s boys went back to Denver and kicked the mess out of their hosts on NFL Network Thursday Night Football. A big test awaits the Texans as they travel to Indy to take on the banged up champs.

17. Redskins (7-7) - Kept their playoff hopes alive as they beat the descending Giants in the Meadowlands. Travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings in a game that will have a playoff like atmosphere as the loser will leave the playoff picture.

18. Broncos (6-8) - It was an ugly family reunion as the Texans came to Denver and sent the Broncos back to the drawing board for this year. Finishing out the string they have to travel to sunny San Diego to face the AFC Division champion Chargers.

19. Eagles (6-8) - The inconsistent Birds got it right this week as they shut T.O and Donovan McNabb turned back the clock in a big win. With their playoff hopes dashed the Birds travel to New Orleans looking for revenge and trying to spoil the Saints playoff hopes.

20. Panthers (6-8) - I don’t think it was enough to save head coach John Fox’s job but the Panthers got it done in a big win over the playoff bound Seahawks. Host the Cowboys on Saturday Night in a game where they can make the Cow-pokes road to the Super Bowl go through the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

21. Cardinals (6-8) - The Saints sent the Cards packing for another year with an easier than expected win. The Cards have nothing left to play for other than stats and pride as they host the putrid Falcons in one of the uglier games on the NFL schedule.

22. Lions (6-8) - The Chargers showed no mercy in obliterating the Lions and sending them to their sixth straight defeat. I guess Jon Kitna’s prognostication skills are down the toilet, but maybe he can order up a win as the Lions host the Chiefs in a pride game.

23. Bengals (5-9) - Lost to the lowly Niners proving that this team is truly rudderless. Host the upstart Browns in a divisional rivalry game that might decide the fate of beleaguered coach Marvin Lewis.

24. Bears (5-9) - Even with Kyle Orton at the controls the Bears continued their Super Bowl hangover in a loss to the Vikings that ended their season. The Bears still can have some this week as they host their long-time rival the Packers in a game that means more to the Pack.

25. Raiders (4-10) - The Champion Colts secured another AFC South crown on Oakland’s turf despite having several key veterans injured. I believe it is time to see machine gun armed quarterback JaMarcus Russell at the helm against the host Jags as the Raiders have nothing to play for in 2007.

26. Chiefs (4-10) - The woeful Chiefs could not contain VY and the Titans as they continued to slide toward the end of the season with their seventh straight loss. Travel to Detroit to face the Lions in a game someone has to win – Right ??

27. Ravens (4-10) - The Ravens did the unthinkable as they lost to the previously winless Dolphins in overtime for their eighth straight defeat. Billick got a slight vote of confidence from ownership, but he needs to win one before the end of the season and maybe the nothing to play for before the playoff Seahawks will accommodate the Ravens. By the way why don’t you start Troy Smith, your season is over and you need to see if the Heisman winner can ball in the NFL.

28. 49ers (4-10) - The Niners won over the hapless Bengals, but did it prove anything other than the fact that the Patriots will be picking later in the first round of the draft. We will see if the Mike Nolan can save his job as the Niners play host to the ascending Bucs as Garcia comes back to San Francisco.

29. Jets (3-11) - The Jets were just glad to leave Foxborough with their pride intact as they Pats sent them home, but didn’t humiliate them as expected. The J-E-T-S travel to Tennessee this week to face the hungry Titans.

30. Rams (3-11) - The Rams played the Packers tough, but in the end it was the same old team in another home defeat. Host the Steelers on Thursday Night Football in a game where they can play the role of spoiler.

31. Falcons (3-11) - New coach Emmitt Thomas had a horrible debut as the Bucs ground the Dirty Birds into mincemeat. With Arthur Blank searching for a new GM and coach look for the Falcons to continue one of the NFL’s most disgraceful season as they travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals.

32. Dolphins (1-13) - They finally did the unthinkable and won a game over the Ravens in overtime as the Dolphins faithful went nuts. The ‘Phins big reward for finally winning a game is the inauspicious task of facing the perfect Dolphins, who may want to send a message to the ’72 team by spanking this year’s bunch.