The kings of NFL power rankings proved themselves in a big way in Week 15 of the 2012 season. Looking ahead at their upcoming schedule, I’d say that they’re the favorites to finish out the campaign atop such lists. The worst team in the league was responsible for another “ugh” contest, while Seattle continued to look like a side capable of making a real run next month.
2012 Week 16 NFL power rankings
32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12): No surprise here. Look at it this way, KC fans: There’s no way it can get worse. It can continue to suck for two more weeks, sure, but it won’t get worse.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12): It’d be easy to argue that the Jags are, in fact, the worst team in pro football right now. The Jags and Chiefs could be 32a and 32b in any power rankings.
30. Detroit Lions (4-10): Don’t give me any “but Detroit is so better than (insert some random team listed higher in power rankings here).” The Lions side that lost to Arizona could lose to any team in the league. That includes KC.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10): Just when you thought the Eagles were ready to show some fight at the end of the campaign, they go and produce a stinker at home. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
28. Oakland Raiders (4-10): Beat who is on the schedule, right? Oakland is still pretty lousy, but a win is a win.
27. Buffalo Bills (5-9): Seattle is a good team that’s playing great right now, but that doesn’t make a 33-point defeat any less embarrassing. I suppose the Bills deserve a pat on the back for at least trying to make the game interesting.
26. Arizona Cardinals (5-9): Playing the Lions at home will cure all woes. Let’s see how they close out the season over the next two weeks before we get even a little excited about the Cards.
25. New York Jets (6-8): Cannot imagine a better way to summarize the 2012 Jets than what we saw on Monday night. Good luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Sanchez.
24. Tennessee Titans (5-9): Winning one of the ugliest MNF games in recent memory earns the Titans little praise. They did all they could to give that one away, but the Jets wanted none of any potential early Christmas gift.
23. Miami Dolphins (6-8): With a home game against Buffalo looming ahead, Miami’s dreams of finishing at 8-8 remain alive and well. Closing out the campaign at New England likely won’t be fun for them, but one game at a time.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8): The Saints were fired up for obvious reasons, but the Bucs didn’t even bother to show up. Losers of four straight, TB has lost any momentum they had one month ago.
21. San Diego Chargers (5-9): “2012 San Diego Chargers Season Highlight DVD: Remember When We Won in Pittsburgh?”
20. Cleveland Browns (5-9): Quite the fall from grace. Brandon Weeden continued to take steps back, the offensive play-calling in the second half was questionable at best, and the players in the team’s defense appeared to have never before witnessed a QB bootleg.
19. Carolina Panthers (5-9): Cam Newton and company are finishing 2012 strong. They should be able to use this to build for next fall.
18. Chicago Bears (8-6): The meltdown isn’t complete, but one has little reason to have faith in the Bears heading into Week 16. They’ve lost five of their last six, and Jay Cutler may be one interception away from falling to the field while kicking and screaming. No, seriously.
17. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1): A playoff team doesn’t get blown out at home when facing a must-win game, regardless of the opponent. The Rams, obviously, are not a playoff team this holiday season.
16. New Orleans Saints (6-8): An “I told you so” performance if I’ve ever seen one. It’s too little too late, but I’m sure that win still felt great.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7): Things haven’t been easy for Pittsburgh as of late, but they haven’t handled such setbacks well minus that win in Baltimore. Losing Big Ben for even a few weeks changed their season.
14. New York Giants (8-6): The Giants plummet in NFL power rankings after a nightmare in Atlanta. They will still make the playoffs if they win out, but that would include wins at Baltimore and at home against Philly. This Big Blue fan is nervous.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6): I’m not sure what critics want from the Bengals. They’ve won five of six, and they could still win the division. Not too shabby.
12. Baltimore Ravens (9-5): Your favorite team will again be in the playoffs, Baltimore fans. Always look on the bright side of life.
11. Minnesota Vikings (8-6): Can anybody stop Adrian Peterson? The answer to that question has been a thunderous “NO” since the middle of October.
10. Dallas Cowboys (8-6): The Cowboys have somewhat quietly won five of their last six, and they closed out a quality opponent in a very important game. Remember this win if Dallas goes on a significant run in January.
9. Washington Redskins (8-6): Kirk Cousins looked great against the Browns, but I’m sure the ‘Skins would prefer having RG3 out on the field when they’re at Philly next Sunday.
8. Indianapolis Colts (9-5): Indy gave Houston a better game than some expected, and thus they only fall a few spots in this week’s list. A trip to KC next weekend shouldn’t trouble them too much.
7. Seattle Seahawks (9-5): Any doubters left? I get that the Bills are, well, terrible and all, but I don’t think it’d be a stretch to suggest that nobody wants to play the Seahawks right now.
6. New England Patriots (10-4): Couldn’t survive all of their first half mistakes, but I was certain they were going to complete the comeback when they tied things up midway through the fourth. They showed during that 28-point run that they’ve got the goods to beat any opponent.
5. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1): Surrendering 28 unanswered points is admittedly not good, but the 49ers showed the fighting spirit of a Super Bowl winner in turning back New England’s rally and getting the desired result at Gillette Stadium. I cannot wait to watch Sunday night’s San Fran at Seattle contest.
4. Houston Texans (12-2): Houston withstood the test against Indy, but they’ve still got some work to do in order to secure home field advantage. Games against Minnesota and at the Colts could show us if the Texans are true contenders or merely paper champs.
3. Atlanta Falcons (12-2): That loss to Carolina doesn’t sting so badly after a 34-0 win over the defending champs. I’ve said it in prior power rankings and I’ll do so again here: Winning a single playoff game could be enough to give the Falcons the push they need to win it all.
2. Green Bay Packers (10-4): The win over Chicago came with a bit of controversy, but take nothing away from a Packers team that is looking very confident with two games left to go before the postseason begins.
1. Denver Broncos (11-3): Some criticized my having Denver atop NFL power rankings last week. The hottest team in football responded with their most impressive victory of the season. All signs indicate that Denver will roll through Cleveland and KC en route to the playoffs.