Now that Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season is in the books, it’s time for everyone’s favorite meaningful exercise: NFL Power Rankings! What differentiates these rankings from others is that they’re the only truly accurate ones in the entire universe. Let’s take a look at how all 32 teams stack up entering Week 16. Even more league-wide discussion in this week’s episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show.
BLG’S WEEK 16 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 1) - The Packers didn’t win as easily as they should’ve against a rather depleted Baltimore roster. But they’ll settle for a close victory that clinched the NFC North and leaves them as the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Aaron Rodgers has thrown just one pick in his last eight starts and he has a 115.8 passer rating in that stretch. Still pretty good.
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 5) - The Chiefs’ outlook didn’t look so hot after a blowout loss to Tennessee dropped them to 3-4. But they bounced back by rattling off seven straight wins. The presumptive AFC favorites control their own destiny for the No. 1 seed. Teams could easily regret letting them get back in control.
3 - Tampa Buccaneers (LW: 2) - Tom Brady’s MVP case took a hit with a shutout loss at home in primetime. Injuries to his skill players sure didn’t help him but that doesn’t totally forgive scoring zero points. The good news for the Bucs is they have a prime opportunity to get right before the playoffs. Their next three: at CAR, vs. NYJ, vs. CAR.
4 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 6) - The Rams are in a good position to be the top wild card spot at worst. They can still win the NFC West.
5 - New England Patriots (LW: 4) - The Pats’ winning streak was bound to end at some point. New England ultimately couldn’t overcome a slow start from Mac Jones. A frustrating loss for Bill Belichick might’ve cost the Pats their shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
6 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 8) - Since losing on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys have rattled off three straight wins. It helps that they played Taysom Hill, Taylor Heinicke, and Mike Glennon. The Dallas defense is playing well but the offense is still in a bit of a funk. For their standards, at least.
7 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 10) - Forget Offensive Player of the Year; Jonathan Taylor is the MVP. This Colts team wouldn’t be sniffing the playoffs without him. JT has 424 more rushing yards than the second place ball carrier (Joe Mixon) despite having just eight more carries. Think about that! Taylor’s big performance hid a real ugly game for Carson Wentz. Take away a short flip that was essentially a handoff but counted as a forward pass and Wentz was just 4/11 for 49 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, and a 13.1 passer rating against the Pats.
8 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 6) - Did the Titans peak too soon? They had a really impressive stretch for a bit there but they’re 1-3 in their last four games. Their grip on the AFC South is slipping.
9 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 3) - It’s not just that they lost to Detroit. It’s that they got BLOWN OUT. Kyler Murray has a 78.7 passer rating in his last four starts and his struggles may only continue with DeAndre Hopkins missing more time. Not unlike the Titans, the Cards may have peaked too soon. It once looked like they’d be the No. 1 seed. Now they’re in jeopardy of falling out of the NFC West lead.
10 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 12) - Does anybody buy them as true contenders? It’s hard to think Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t cap their ceiling. But they could be a tough out in the postseason. They’re in a decent position to at least get the No. 6 seed.
11 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 9) - Tyler Huntley has done a commendable job filling in for Lamar Jackson. But the Ravens can only do so much with all the injuries they’re dealing with. John Harbaugh is getting criticized for his wont to be aggressive, which is just uninteresting results-oriented evaluation. Harbaugh is a good coach and he’s a big reason the Ravens are fighting hard despite less than ideal circumstances.
12 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 11) - Not unlike Harbaugh, Brandon Staley is facing criticism for being too aggressive. If anything, Staley wasn’t aggressive ENOUGH against Kansas City. He passed on an opportunity to go for a two-point conversion that would’ve put the Bolts up nine points. Why don’t teams go for that more often? Get it and you’re up two possessions. Miss it and you’re still up seven and it’s likely a tie game if the other team scores a touchdown. Anyway, the Bolts have a winnable remaining slate with games against LVR, DEN, and HOU.
13 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 13) - The Bills are hardly “back” because they beat a bad Carolina team. It’ll be easier to buy them if they can pull off a win at Gillette.
14 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 15) - A big win for Joe Burrow and the Bengals has Cincy in first place in the AFC North. Can the Bengals hold on? It could be a wild ride in a division that’s still fairly open. Cincy has a big opportunity in front of them to sweep Baltimore. Easier said than done.
15 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 16) - Minny’s Monday night win wasn’t about them looking impressive as much as it was about Chicago melting down. The Vikes are currently the No. 7 seed but their remaining schedule isn’t exactly a cakewalk with games against LAR, GB, and CHI. Lots of pressure on Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins to deliver.
16 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 17) - Mike Tomlin’s Stillers simply aren’t going down without a fight. They’re truly a zombie team. Not easily killed off.
17 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 14) - The Browns’ COVID outbreak could end up costing them a playoff spot. A loss to Las Vegas decreased their odds by 22.9%, according to Football Outsiders. Disappointing step back after coming close to making an AFCCG appearance last season.
18 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 19) - Once upon a time, it looked like the Dolphins might finish with a top five pick … that would be sent to Philly. Now it looks like Miami might not even be picking in the top 10. They’ve overcome a 1-7 start to reach .500. They still need a good bit of help to make the playoffs but they’re not out of it just yet. Brian Flores has done a good job of digging his team out of a big hole. Do the Dolphins decide to pass on Deshaun Watson and commit to Tua Tagovailoa?
19 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 20) - It was a slow start for the Eagles after falling behind 10 to 0. But the Birds stormed back and ultimately dispatched an undermanned Washington squad. Philly continues to run all over their opponents and it was encouraging to see Jalen Hurts bounce back after having a really bad game in his last start. The Eagles have a reasonable path to earning the No. 7 seed.
20 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 24) - Shutting out Tom Brady in Tampa was pretty impressive. Dennis Allen apparently has his number. Two of Brady’s three worst passer ratings in 2020 came against Allen. Brady’s worst passer rating of 2021 thus far came against Allen. The Saints’ defensive coordinator should really get serious head coaching interest this offseason. Especially if his unit can carry Taysom Hill to the playoffs.
21 - Washington Football Team (LW: 18) - Washington’s playoff hopes took a big hit with their loss to Philly. They certainly weren’t helped by the COVID outbreak that forced them to start their fourth string quarterback, a guy they just signed to their roster last Friday.
22- Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 23) - I wouldn’t bet on the Raiders to make the playoffs but they’re still hanging around after beating Cleveland.
23 - Denver Broncos (LW: 21) - Good to see that Teddy Bridgewater is out of the hospital. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to play in a big game against Las Vegas this weekend. Lose that one and their playoff hopes are dead.
24 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 22) - Seattle needed to run the table just to maybe have a shot to make the postseason. They did not manage to do that. Russell Wilson might only have three more games left as a Seahawk.
26 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 25) - I repeat: how does this team have six wins? They stink!
27 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 26) - Cam Newton’s last three starts: 46.3% completion, 1 TD, 4 INT, and a 46.1 passer rating. He’s cooked.
28 - New York Giants (LW: 27) - The Giants shut Daniel Jones down for the season. Does he ever take a snap with the G-Men again? Or do they trade for Russell Wilson? We’ll see. In the meantime, the Giants will likely turn to Jake Fromm since Mike Glennon has been downright dreadful.
29 - Chicago Bears (LW: 28) - The Bears’ forever practice of never firing head coaches during the season might be the only reason Matt Nagy is still employed. He should’ve been canned after Chicago melted down on national television on Monday night. Embarrassing.
30 - Houston Texans (LW: 31) - Everyone thought the Texans would be THE worst team in the NFL this year. Wrong! They’re merely ONE of the very worst. They’re at least not as bad as the Jags, who they just swept this season. What an accomplishment.
31 - New York Jets (LW: 30) - Well, they showed some fight against Miami, so there’s that. They might be able to win this week with a home game against the only team below them in these rankings?!
32 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32) - The Jags are on track to own the No. 1 overall pick for the second straight year.