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NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Steelers surge into top five

Read as Nick Springer takes us through his weekly NFL Power Rankings, which are uploaded every Tuesday during the NFL season.

  1. New England Patriots (12-2)- Previous rank: 1- The Patriots have now won an unprecedented 8 consecutive AFC East titles. Their defense is turning it on at the right time. Good luck to rest of the AFC against New England.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (12-2)- Previous rank: 3- Dallas got back to their winning ways against Tampa Bay, but it wasn’t easy. The Bucs made a couple of turnovers which allowed Dallas to get ahead, and the Boys managed to squeak out another tight win.
  3. Oakland Raiders (11-3)- Previous rank: 4- The Raiders vaulted back into the top spot in the AFC West after the Chiefs failed to put away Tennessee. Let the good times roll as Oakland has secured an elusive playoff spot.
  4. New York Giants (10-4)- Previous rank: 5- The Giants are getting hot at the right time, and their expensive defense has paid major dividends in the second half of the season. They will be a very dangerous wild-card in the playoffs.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)- Previous rank: 7- The Steelers rallied to knock off Cincinnati and maintain their lead over Baltimore in the AFC North. Pittsburgh is starting to pull it together at the right time.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)- Previous rank: 10- Big shocker: Seattle thumped LA on Thursday night. Luckily, there was 15 other games to keep us interested in the NFL this week.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)- Previous rank: 2- Kansas City had another lethargic performance at home, and they ultimately fell short against Tennessee. On the bright side, the Chiefs should still be able to easily make the playoffs. On the bad side, they’ll most likely be a wild-card now with Oakland regaining the division lead.
  8. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)- Previous rank: 9- Atlanta’s offense feasted upon San Francisco, but Tampa Bay’s loss is more important for the Falcons.
  9. Detroit Lions (9-5)- Previous rank: 6- The Lions picked a bad time to hit a wall. They struggled mightily against New York, and Matt Stafford’s finger injury is obviously affecting him. The other problem for Detroit? They’re at Dallas this week before taking on the red-hot Packers to close out the season. 9-7 is not out of the realm of possibility at all.
  10. Green Bay Packers (8-6)- Previous rank: 12- Somehow, the Packers continue to win. Through all the controversy and discussion about potential rifts between Rodgers and McCarthy, this team is hot at the right time, and they are poised to make the playoffs.
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)- Previous rank: 8- Beating Dallas would’ve been incredible for the franchise, but even in a loss it’s clear this team has a nice future ahead of them. They responded very well to adversity, and nobody ever quit even when they were trailing 17-3 in the first half. We’ll have to see if the Bucs can squeeze their way into the playoffs with that final wild-card. It’s going to be close.
  12. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)- Previous rank: 14- Another much-needed win for Baltimore as they try to stay in the divisional race against Pittsburgh. With Denver imploding a wild-card is very much in the discussion for the Ravens as well.
  13. Tennessee Titans (8-6)- Previous rank: 15- The Titans continue to add to their impressive list of victories, with the latest one coming at Arrowhead. With the all the questions and controversy surrounding Houston, they can smell the postseason in Nashville.
  14. Miami Dolphins (9-5)- Previous rank: 13- Matt Moore played very well in relief of Ryan Tannehill. However, it was against the Jets, so we should take his performance with a grain of salt. Sorry Miami fans, but at best the ‘Fins will be knocked out in the first round.
  15. Washington Redskins (7-6-1)- Previous rank: 11- Losing to Carolina basically eliminates Washington from the wild-card discussion. They’ll compete next year though.
  16. Houston Texans (8-6)- Previous rank: 17- Things are getting pretty wild in Houston with Brock Osweiler getting benched for Tom Savage. The Texans managed to avoid disaster with their comeback victory over Jacksonville, but make no mistake: this team will lose in the first round if they get there.
  17. Buffalo Bills (7-7)- Previous rank: 18- Unfortunately for Rex Ryan, beating the Browns probably doesn’t help his case for keeping his job as head coach in Buffalo.
  18. Indianapolis Colts (7-7)- Previous rank: 19- The Colts took care of business, but so did Houston and Tennessee.
  19. Denver Broncos (8-6)- Previous rank: 16- The Broncos are falling apart, and there was a reported squabble between the offense and defense after their latest defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots. Now, Denver gets the Kansas City Chiefs for Christmas. Not exactly the gift Gary Kubiak probably wants to wake up to.
  20. Carolina Panthers (6-8)- Previous rank: 24- Too little, too late for the Panthers, but I think we’re seeing some glimpses of this team in the post-Josh Norman era over the past few weeks. That future doesn’t look as dull as previously thought.
  21. New Orleans Saints (6-8)- Previous rank: 25- Drew Brees got back to doing Drew Brees things which means the New Orleans Saints got back to winning. Unfortunately for the Saints, 6-8 is not good enough to make the playoffs.
  22. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)- Previous rank: 21- The sky looks bleak in Minnesota, especially after they were utterly dominated by Indy at home. It’s time for Minnesota to face their most burning question: What to do with Sam Bradford after the season.
  23. Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)- Previous rank: 20- This team could be dangerous next year.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1)- Previous rank: 23- At one point, the Bengals were leading Pittsburgh 20-6. They lost 24-20. That’s about all you need to know about this season for Cincinnati.
  25. Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1)- Previous rank: 22- This has been a very disappointing season for Arizona, as demonstrated by their loss to New Orleans. Sorry Cardinals, maybe next year.
  26. San Diego Chargers (5-9)- Previous rank: 26- The Chargers fought well, but ultimately failed to create more chaos in the AFC West.
  27. Chicago Bears (3-11)- Previous rank: 27- Barkley looks like he could be the guy. Maybe not the permanent guy, but at least the guy for now. Meanwhile, Jordan Howard continues to be very productive in the backfield for Chicago.
  28. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)- Previous rank: 30- No Jeff Fisher, same old result for Los Angeles. This organization isn’t as far down the drain as some think. They still have a solid defense. It all depends on who steps in as the head coach.
  29. New York Jets (4-10)- Previous rank: 29- All of a sudden it’s back to square one for a team that had such high expectations coming into the season. Fitzmagic got paid, but he’s been a flop in 2016.
  30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)- Previous rank: 28- Blowing a two-score lead on the road against Houston warranted the firing of Gus Bradley. With Bradley, it wasn’t a matter of if he was going to get fired, but when. Now seems like the appropriate time.
  31. San Francisco 49ers (1-13)- Previous rank: 31- Somehow there’s a team in the NFL worse than San Francisco. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Browns.
  32. Cleveland Browns (0-14)- Previous rank: 32- The faster this season gets over the better.

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