Now that Week 16 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 17. Even more league-wide discussion in this week’s episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show.
BLG’S WEEK 17 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 1) - Aaron Rodgers over the past five games: 70.6% completion, 16 TD, 0 INT, 125.3 passer rating. The Packers aren’t a well-rounded juggernaut but their quarterback is kind of unstoppable.
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2) - It looks like the Chiefs’ offense is back. They didn’t even have Travis Kelce but they still managed to put up 36 points. KC is averaging 39.3 points per game in their last three. They’re in a good position to finish as the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture yet again. Football Outsiders gives them a 70.9% chance to clinch home field advantage.
3 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 3) - The Bucs followed up a shutout loss with a get-right game against a team with three quarterbacks (read: no quarterbacks). They’re currently the fourth seed in the NFC playoff picture so they’re going to need some help to move ahead. Or they might just be content getting to play a struggling Arizona squad, assuming they stick at five.
4 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 4) - Matthew Stafford isn’t inspiring the most confidence lately with the same amount of touchdown passes as interceptions over his last two starts. Despite this, the Rams have won four straight and usurped the NFC West lead with two weeks to go.
5 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 6) - The Dallas defense has allowed just 17.3 points per game over the their last seven. They’ve been a force on that end; no team has accounted for more takeaways. In addition, Dak Prescott’s big game against Washington could bode well for him after a slump. The Cowboys are arguably the league’s most dangerous team entering the postseason. I still have that really bad feeling they’re going to win the Super Bowl.
6 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 7) - Carson Wentz has been inconsistent and he likely limits Indy’s ceiling. But he helped them pull off a win over Arizona. The Colts haven’t officially clinched a playoff berth just yet but they’re bound to do so. Stopping Jonathan Taylor in the postseason could prove challenging.
7 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 8) - It’s not easy to envision them making a deep run. But they’re a tough team. Feeding A.J. Brown the way they did against San Francisco (16 targets for 11 recs, 145 yards, 1 TD) seems like a good strategy for them.
8 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 13) - Really big win for Buffalo to avoid getting swept by the Pats. The Bills are back in control of the AFC East. With games against NYJ and ATL upcoming, they have one of the easiest schedules in the league to finish the year. No good reason for them to blow this.
9 - New England Patriots (LW: 5) - Mac Jones has a 57.4 passer rating over his last three starts, which include two Patriots losses. He’s hitting the rookie wall at an inconvenient time.
10 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 14) - Joe Burrow is a stud. Baltimore’s secondary is really banged up, sure, but he still took advantage of it in a huge way. Dude absolutely crushed it. Helps that he has Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase to work with. In a year that’s had something of a “house money” feel to it, the Bengals are in position to clinch the AFC North for the first time since 2015.
How rare was Joe Burrow's performance today?— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) December 27, 2021
500+ passing yards, 4+ TDs, 0 INTs had only happened three other times in NFL history.
The Bengals' offensive performance was the 3rd-best in a single game this season, in terms of EPA per play (@TruMediaSports).
11 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 9) - With Dallas and Seattle up next, it’s not inconceivable that the Cards could enter the playoffs on a five-game losing streak. Even if they beat Seattle, that’s still a 1-4 finish entering the postseason. Not exactly trending in the right direction! Kliff Kingsbury’s team might be choking down the stretch once again.
12 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 10) - Trey Lance time? It sounds like Jimmy Garoppolo could be out with a finger injury. Lance obviously offers more long-term potential but it’s possible he’s worse than Jimmy G in the short-term. The Niners think so, at least. Even so, San Fran could still make the playoffs with HOU and LAR up next. One win might be enough to make it.
13 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 11) - Their toughness can only take them so far when they’re down to their third-string quarterback and depleted elsewhere. It’s just not their year.
14 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 12) - Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to believe in you, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.
15 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 18) - The Dolphins made history on Monday night. With the win, they’re currently positioned as the No. 7 seed in the AFC. Crazy to think they’re here after the 1-7 start. Can they hang on to make the postseason?
Dolphins are now the first team in NFL history to have both a seven-game winning streak and a seven-game losing streak in the same season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2021
16 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 19) - The Eagles overcame a slow start against an NFC East rival in Week 15 and did the same in Week 16. On the bright side, the Birds have shown resiliency, Nick Sirianni is earning a place in the Coach of the Year discussion, the offense has an identity, and the defense is playing really well. There’s a good chance the Eagles are going to surpass expectations and make the playoffs. On the dark side, Jalen Hurts’ inconsistency as a passer is concerning, especially with Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard getting banged up. The Eagles have done a good job of beating up on lesser competition but they’ve yet to prove they can hang with the big boys.
17 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 15) - Justin Jefferson has the most receiving yards ever by a player in his first two seasons. That incredible accomplishment did not stop him from being unhappy after the game and airing his grievances (Happy belated Festivus). Mike Zimmer is probably a dead man walking.
18 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 16) - That the Steelers have been able to win 7.5 games with the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger starting at quarterback speaks to Mike Tomlin’s coaching ability. But there’s an obvious ceiling on this team. With games against Baltimore and Cleveland up next, it’s possible the 7-7-1 Steelers could have their first losing season since 2003. But they’ll probably go 1-1, right?
19 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 17) - Baker Mayfield ain’t it, man. He surely got hosed on his fourth interception but it’s kind of a problem when you throw three before that. The Browns should be in the market for a quarterback upgrade because that could be the missing piece for them.
20 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 22) - Doesn’t it feel like the Raiders’ season has been over? Well, it’s not. They still have a chance. Not the easiest sledding, though, with games against Indy and LAC. They’ll probably go 1-1 at best and be left on the outside looking in.
21 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 20) - Ian Book is going to have to find a way to turn the page on his first NFL start.
22 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 26) - I swear the Falcons are the worst team to ever win seven games. They have the league’s worst strength of victory by far.
23 - Washington Football Team (LW: 21) - Cute little four-game win streak you had there, WFT. Now your season is over after two straight losses to NFC East rivals. Allowing 56 points seems bad.
24 - Denver Broncos (LW: 23) - Will Vic Fangio be back in Denver? Maybe not. But, more than anything, the Broncos need a quarterback.
25 - Chicago Bears (LW: 29) - Nick Foles always delivers in the clutch. Meaningless win for Chicago’s long-term outlook but, hey, it didn’t damage their draft positioning since they don’t have a 2022 first-round pick! Ouch.
26 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 24) - Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson had a great run. Sad for Seattle fans to see it end with such a whimper.
27 - Houston Texans (LW: 30) - With wins over TEN and LAC, perhaps David Culley is doing enough to safe his job? The development of Davis Mills could also be working in his favor. Mills completed 77.8% of his attempts for a 130.6 passer rating in a big upset.
28 - Detroit Lions (LW: 25) - The Lions lost a road game by four points when they had to start their backup quarterback. Moral victory! But, seriously, it could’ve been a lot worse.
29 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 27) - Fans are calling for Matt Rhule’s job. All the while, he’s comparing himself to Jay-Z. OK. Things are looking bleak in Charlotte.
30 - New York Jets (LW: 31) - “At least we’re not the Jags!”
31 - New York Giants (LW: 28) - The Giants with Daniel Jones are merely pretty bad. The Giants with Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon are a complete abomination. It’s hilarious that New York is reportedly retaining Joe Judge and Jones. No team in the league is sad to see that news. There’s a reason this franchise is tied for the worst record in the league since 2017. Their incredible ineptitude starts at the top.
32 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32) - The Jags strengthened their spot at the bottom of these rankings and the top of the 2022 NFL Draft order with a loss to NYJ. At least they were competitive in Week 16? Their first one-score outcome in nearly a month.