Neil Reynolds' Power Rankings Week 16

The Green Bay Packers have held on to top spot in the Power Rankings and that's quite some feat given the turbulent nature of this season. Could it finally be the case that the good teams are settling into form at the right time of the year? If that is true, nobody told the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

1
Green Bay Packers
2021 · 11-3-0

Letting Baltimore back into that game last Sunday was a worry, especially as one touchdown was given up with 10 defenders on the field. But Aaron Rodgers remains in simply superb form.

2
3
Kansas City Chiefs
2021 · 10-4-0

As rough as things seemed in late September and October, the Chiefs end with winnable games against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Denver. If they are victorious, they will be 13-4 and top seeds in the AFC.


3
1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 10-4-0

Dear Santa… I’ve mostly been a good boy this year, although I am prone to the occasional tantrum. I would love a new tablet for Christmas as my one got broken recently. Thanks very much, Tommy from Tampa.

4
2
Los Angeles Rams
2021 · 10-4-0

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the impact that Sean McVay has had on the Los Angeles Rams. His side reached 10 wins on Tuesday night – that’s the fourth time in his five years in charge.

5
1
New England Patriots
2021 · 9-5-0

The Patriots had their seven-game winning streak snapped in Indianapolis in Week 15 but have no time to feel sorry for themselves. A Boxing Day meeting with Buffalo likely decides the AFC East.

6
1
Dallas Cowboys
2021 · 10-4-0

We always make such a fuss of the Cowboys’ offensive stars and they are worthy of our attention, of course. But how about a defense that has produced four takeaways in three straight games?

7
4
Arizona Cardinals
2021 · 10-4-0

The Cardinals have answered the doubters all season long, but we are right to ask if they are about to fall off a similar cliff to the one that ended their chances in 2020. That was a worrying loss in Detroit.

8
1
Indianapolis Colts
2021 · 8-6-0

I actually think the Colts are playing around quarterback Carson Wentz and there is little trust there, which is a long-term worry. But, for now, ride that Jonathan Taylor train as far as you possibly can.

9
1
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 8-6-0

The Bills are flaky as hell and even in Sunday’s comfortable-in-the-end 31-14 win over Carolina, it took them a while to get going. I love watching Buffalo play, but I’m not sure how much I trust them.

10
1
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 8-6-0

The Niners looked totally lost earlier in the year but have now won five of their last six and their formula is established and successful. They run the ball so well and avoid mistakes in an efficient passing game.

11
3
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 8-6-0

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley likes to take a bold approach with Justin Herbert at the helm, often eschewing kicks and punts in order to put the ball in the hands of his best playmaker. I’m okay with that.

12
Baltimore Ravens
2021 · 8-6-0

Twice in three weeks we have watched the Ravens attempt – and fail – a two-point conversion for the win when a kick would have sent games into overtime. I would love John Harbaugh’s bravery to be rewarded.

13
1
Cincinnati Bengals
2021 · 8-6-0

The Bengals remain an up and down weekly proposition and their inconsistency goes from unit to unit. One week the offense is good, the other it is the defense that steps up. But they are in the mix.


14
1
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 9-5-0

I like Ryan Tannehill when Derrick Henry is in the backfield and the passing game weapons are around him. But he is struggling to take care of the football right now and turnovers are hurting the Titans.


15
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 7-7-0

The Dolphins are now 7-7 after a 1-7 start but let’s not get carried away yet. They made hard work of beating the Jets on Sunday. Other victories have come against the Jets, Giants, Texans and Panthers.

16
1
Minnesota Vikings
2021 · 7-7-0

The Vikings have moved into the NFC playoff spots, but their path to the postseason remains treacherous. Minnesota ends with games against the Rams, Packers and Bears and likely need to win two of those.

17
1
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 7-7-0

It’s hard to hit the Browns too hard after Covid wiped out their team and they still almost won against the Raiders with third-string quarterback Nick Mullens at the helm. The Browns are in a division dogfight now.

18
5
New Orleans Saints
2021 · 7-7-0

If only the Saints could play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers every week! There are not many teams around the league willing to say that. Dennis Allen might have earned himself some head coaching interviews.

19
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 7-7-0

The Eagles rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries against Washington on Tuesday and that was no fluke. Philly have averaged 214 rushing yards per game since Week 8 – most in the NFL.

20
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
2021 · 7-6-1

There are some proud defenders on that Steelers team and it was very much that side of the ball which dragged Pittsburgh back into Sunday’s game against a Tennessee team constantly making mistakes.

21
3
Denver Broncos
2021 · 7-7-0

The Broncos are 7-7 and the epitome of today’s NFL. They look good one week and poor the next. I’m not banking on Drew Lock giving them much of a spark if he is called upon to sub for Teddy Bridgewater.

22
3
Las Vegas Raiders
2021 · 7-7-0

The Raiders benefited from playing the massively-undermanned Cleveland Browns on Monday and still needed a last second field goal to win. I’m not throwing a parade for this 7-7 team just yet.

23
3
Washington Football Team
2021 · 6-8-0

Washington are another team that is hard to judge after the past week. Garrett Gilbert was signed off the street to play quarterback while a private jet waited for test results from Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.


24
3
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 5-9-0

That’s the end of this season for the Seahawks as they fell to 5-9 with Tuesday’s loss to the Rams. But what about the long-term future? I still think Russell Wilson will look to engineer a move to a new team.

25
1
Atlanta Falcons
2021 · 6-8-0

The Falcons are almost cooked at 6-8. Looking forward, there is much to like in the offensive pairing of Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. But are we approaching the end of the line for veteran QB Matt Ryan?

26
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 5-9-0

There is not much to say about these Panthers the rest of the way. I expect them to be in the market for a veteran quarterback in the offseason. Then 2022 will be about the QB and a healthy Christian McCaffrey.

27
Chicago Bears
2021 · 4-10-0

The Bears have been a difficult watch on the offensive side of the ball this season and that could yet cost head coach Matt Nagy his job. But the normally-stout defense has also been a considerable problem.

28
New York Giants
2021 · 4-10-0

When Mike Glennon is tossing up interception after interception in relief of the injured Daniel Jones, you know it’s time to pull the plug on this 2021 season. Big changes could be coming in NY in the near future.

29
1
Detroit Lions
2021 · 2-11-1

There are not many feel-good stories in the lower reaches of these Power Rankings, but the Lions might be one of them. The players are fighting hard for Dan Campbell and fully deserved to beat the Cardinals.

30
1
Houston Texans
2021 · 3-11-0

Three wins is no reason to throw a party, especially given that two came against Jacksonville, but I have to admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by the Texans at times. Not always. But occasionally.

31
2
New York Jets
2021 · 3-11-0

The Jets were at least fun to watch against Miami last weekend, pulling a variety of trick plays out of their hat in a valiant losing cause. If you’re going to lose, at least lose with some fight like last Sunday.

32
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 2-12-0

Having been on the wrong end of a comprehensive victory for the Houston Texans, the Jags are confirmed as the worst team in football. They currently hold the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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