It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Sure, the holiday season is upon us, but more importantly, the playoff push is officially on. The Pats, Falcons and Bears have all grabbed their post-season spots, but the rest of the field is still up in the air. Keep reading to see where your team landed heading into the final two weeks of the season. And as always, let me know what you think in the comments below.
NFL Power Rankings
Last Week: 1
New England Patriots (12-2)So they didn’t win by 35 points, which was a little out of character, but the Pats still won and stayed on track for homefield throughout the playoffs. As of now, they’re still the team to beat.
Last Week: 2
Atlanta Falcons (12-2)The Falcons are unbeatable at home – Matt Ryan is 19-1 at the Georgia Dome – but they’re not too shabby on the road, either. After ripping off three straight wins away from home, this is clearly the class of the NFC.
Last Week: 4
Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)Michael Vick might be the most dangerous weapon in the playoffs. After watching him run and pass all over the Meadowlands on Sunday, it’s safe to say whoever get the Eagles in the playoffs will have their hands full gameplanning for the multifaceted quarterback with 10 career 100-yard rushing games.
Last Week: 6
Baltimore Ravens (10-4)Where has that Ray Rice gameplan been all season? Rice went off for only his second 100-yard rushing game in Week 15 and the Ravens got their most impressive win of the season. If Rice gets rolling, this Ravens team will be tough to knock out of the playoffs.
Last Week: 11
New York Jets (10-4)Gang Green really needed that Pittsburgh win and the Jets played smart football to get it. New York had its first turnover-free game since early October and now the team sits on the brink of consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2002.
Last Week: 3
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)They still have the best rushing defense in the league, but I think they have too many injuries to overcome for a serious Super Bowl push. If safety Troy Polamalu can get back to 100 percent, they’ll be in much better shape.
Last Week: 7
San Diego Chargers (8-6)They are definitely a top ten team in the NFL, but thanks to another sluggish start, the Chargers might be on the outside looking in during the playoffs.
Last Week: 5
New Orleans Saints (10-4)The Saints have a hard time winning without a balanced offensive attack. In their four losses this year, New Orleans hasn’t topped 85 yards on the ground.
Last Week: 12
Chicago Bears (10-4)They’re the first team to clinch their division, but it’s hard to see them making any noise in the playoffs unless they fix up their offense. The Bears O ranks 25th or worse in both passing and rushing yards.
Last Week: 13
Indianapolis Colts (8-6)They’re back in control of their playoff destiny and with Peyton Manning calling the shots, you have to like their chances for a post-season run.
Last Week: 8
New York Giants (9-5)What an absolutely crushing defeat at the hands of the Eagles. But it’s only one loss. The Giants can still land in the playoffs if they can bounce back and prevail in back to back road contests to close out the season.
Last Week: 9
Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)No one would take these Jags for real until they finally knocked the Colts out of the playoffs. Well, they had their chance and failed. Now the Colts control both their destiny and the Jags destiny in the last two weeks of the season.
Last Week: 10
Green Bay Packers (8-6)This team is in a lot of trouble without Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully he’s healthy enough to play in Week 16 and can stay healthy until the end of the season. The defense is doing its part to keep these Packers in games, but this is not a real contender without a healthy Rodgers.
Last Week: 15
Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)The Chiefs are two home game wins away from the playoffs. Sure, they’ve had an easy schedule this season, but they also have the best rushing attack in the league, so they won’t be an easy out in the post-season.
Last Week: 17
Oakland Raiders (7-7)It’s too late for the playoffs this year, but the Raiders seem to have a solid foundation for the first time in a decade, starting with running back Darren McFadden, who had his first 1,000 yard season.
Last Week: 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)The crushing loss to the Lions probably ended the unexpected playoff run for this year’s scrappy Bucs. Still, Josh Freeman is the real deal and the defense plays really well as a unit.
Last Week: 14
Miami Dolphins (7-7)Another home game, another loss. That’s been the story of this bizarre season for the Dolphins, who only have one home win on the year.
Last Week: 18
St. Louis Rams (6-8)6-8 and still in contention for the division title. Such is life in the NFC West.
Last Week: 19
Dallas Cowboys (5-9)As good as the offense has been in the past couple weeks, the defense has been just as bad. America’s Team needs to patch up their defensive unit to be real contenders.
Last Week: 22
Buffalo Bills (4-10)The Bills have a win streak! I doubt it will reach three with the Pats coming to town, but it’s worth enjoying while it lasts.
Last Week: 21
San Francisco 49ers (5-9)5-9 and still in contention for the division title. Such is life in the NFC West.
Last Week: 23
Cleveland Browns (5-9)Colt McCoy looks recovered from his ankle injury…although he might want to reconsider with the hard-hitting Ravens and Steelers closing out the Browns schedule.
Last Week: 24
Seattle Seahawks (6-8)6-8 and still in contention for the division title. Such is life in the NFC West.
Last Week: 25
Detroit Lions (4-10)Congrats on the Lions getting their first road win since 2007.
Last Week: 26
Minnesota Vikings (5-8)If that vicious hit Brett Favre took on Monday night won’t send him into retirement, nothing will.
Last Week: 28
Washington Redskins (5-9)You have to take the good with the bad when Rex Grossman is your quarterback. Case in point: in his first start for the Redskins, Grossman threw four touchdown passes…but also had two interceptions and a fumble.
Last Week: 31
Cincinnati Bengals (3-11)The Bengals broke their ten game losing streak by getting back to running the football (they had a season-high 188 yards on the ground in Week 15). Unfortunately, it’s too little too late for this year’s team.
Last Week: 29
Tennessee Titans (6-8)They finally got a win but the real question for this franchise going forward is who will start at quarterback next year?
Last Week: 20
Houston Texans (5-9)Head coach Gary Kubiak is on a pretty hot seat right about now. After starting the year 4-2, the Texans have dropped seven of their last eight games.
Last Week: 32
Carolina Panthers (2-12)These Panthers just don’t have enough firepower to keep up with other teams in the NFL, as evidenced by their league-worst 13.1 points per game.
Last Week: 30
Denver Broncos (3-11)Tim Tebow looks like he can cause some match-up problems for opposing defenses with his running skills. It will be interesting to see what he can do in the final two weeks of the season.
Last Week: 27
Arizona Cardinals (4-10)You want to know how bad these Cardinals are? They’re not even in contention for the NFC West title.