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NFL Power Rankings after Week 16

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Week 16 saw several teams either qualify for the postseason, or solidify their position, while others continued to lose their grip.

In the AFC, the Chargers punched a ticket to the playoffs with their win over the Colts on Monday night. It’s their first invitation since 2018. The Ravens also clinched a spot after beating Atlanta.

The Bengals, meanwhile, have won seven straight games.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Dolphins, losers of four straight, are keeping both the Patriots and Jets alive.

The Titans have also done a face-plant, and that’s allowed the Jaguars to jump ahead of them in the AFC South.

In the NFC, the Cowboys topped the Eagles in their showdown. The Niners have the best streak going overall, with eight straight wins while Tom Brady (Bucs) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers) still can’t be counted out.

So who sits at the top?

Here’s our Power Rankings heading into Week 17:

1. Bills (12-3): After a drought that lasted 24 seasons, the Bills have now captured the AFC East three straight seasons. And are primed for more.

2. Eagles (13-2): Gardner Minshew’s Christmas Eve shootout with Dak Prescott was fun. The four turnovers by the Eagles, though, didn’t do them any favors trying to win without Jalen Hurts.

3. Chiefs (12-3): Beating the Seahawks was not nearly as amusing as watching the team give head coach Andy Reid a gift-wrapped cheeseburger for a Christmas present.

4. Bengals (11-4): They came close to blowing a 22-0 lead to the Patriots. It might have been a case of boredom considering how easy it was in the first half. But they woke up in time to avoid the embarrassment.

5. 49ers (11-4): Eight straight wins. Three straight with Brock Purdy as the starter. And while the Niners defense rules, Purdy is doing his part, putting up 37 against the Commanders.

6. Cowboys (11-4): Not the best look facing an Eagles team without Jalen Hurts, then have the backup quarterback throw for 355 yards against the defense. Good thing Jerry’s boys won, or else there would be some explaining to do.

7. Vikings (12-3): You might say they’ve hit the one-score jackpot. The win over the Giants made them 11-0 in games decided by one possession this season, which stands as the most one-possession victories in a season all-time.

8. Chargers (9-6): It took three years, but Justin Herbert has finally led the Bolts to the playoffs.

9. Ravens (10-5): The offense continues to sputter without Lamar Jackson, scoring just two touchdowns in the three games he’s missed. But they still managed to secure a playoff spot in the process.

10. Jaguars (7-8): Tough for any defense to outdo the Jets defense. But the Jags managed to pull that off, with some help from Zach Wilson. And Trevor Lawrence continues to play lights out.

11. Dolphins (8-7): Tua Tagovailoa is crumbling. And by extension so are the Dolphins, who have lost four straight, and have to deal with Tua being in concussion protocol once again.

12. Giants (8-6-1): They lost a chance to lock up a playoff berth with their last-second loss to the Vikings. The good news? They can still accomplish the mission with the Colts on deck at the Meadowlands.

13. Lions (7-8): Allowing 320 yards rushing to the Panthers certainly took a little steam out of their recent surge.

14. Packers (7-8): They still have a pulse after three straight wins. It won’t be easy with the Vikings and Lions left. But considering they were as good as dead a month ago, Aaron Rodgers & Co. will take it.

15. Jets (7-8): Bad enough quarterback Zach Wilson was booed off the field in MetLife Stadium, but then he was replaced and upstaged by Chris Streveler, who had been elevated from the practice squad before the game. Now both take a seat with Mike White returning.

16. Commanders (7-7-1): Taylor Heinicke was benched late in the loss to the 49ers, and Carson Wentz looked good coming on in relief. Now what? Not exactly the time for a quarterback controversy.

17. Bucs (7-8): It wasn’t pretty most of the night, and it hasn’t been pretty most of the season, but Tom Brady in the two-minute offense is still magic.

18. Steelers (7-8):  The Men of Steel couldn’t get into the end zone or muster much of an offense for most of the game. But they weren’t about to lose on Franco Harris night. This was far from immaculate, but they’ll take the last-minute touchdown that put them over the top.

19. Seahawks (7-8): Their warts – front seven, offensive line – continue to be exposed down the stretch.

20. Patriots (7-8): The optimist will consider their comeback and near win against the Bengals as a positive. The pessimist will still cringe at the overall performance. The realist? There’s still trouble brewing under the Hoodie.

21. Panthers (6-9): Hard to believe they’re enjoying any kind of success without Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson. But it is what it is. After a 1-4 start, interim coach Steve Wilks is working wonders.

22: Titans (7-8): It’s now five straight losses, and Mike Vrabel can’t stop the bleeding, even against a one-win team.

23. Saints (6-9): They’ve won back-to-back games, and remain alive in the uninspiring NFC South. But there’s tough sledding ahead with the Eagles on deck.

24. Browns (6-9): Deshaun Watson didn’t prove to be the savior this season. It remains to be seen if he can bring the Browns back to the playoffs next year.

25. Raiders (6-9): Fourth-quarter collapse. Blown lead. Descriptions now synonymous with Raiders football. And, head coach Josh McDaniels by extension.

26. Rams (5-10): Just about everything that could go wrong went wrong for the defending Super Bowl champs, but for one game anyway, everything went right. They basically took a season’s worth of frustration out on the Broncos.

27. Falcons: (5-10): Desmond Ridder looked better and more confident in his second NFL start. It was a positive step in his development toward being the guy in 2023.

28. Cardinals (4-11): Third-string quarterback Chase McSorley got to overtime, but couldn’t finish the job against The GOAT.

29. Colts (4-10-1): It seemed more than a little suspect to go to Nick Foles, after dumping Matt Ryan for rookie Sam Ehlinger, then flipping back to Ryan, and now discarding him for Foles. Merry-go-rounds are only good at an amusement park.

30. Bears (3-12): Stop Justin Fields on the ground, and they’re cooked. Not much of a secret how to beat the Bears.

31. Texans (2-12-1): Whether their recent opponents, all contending teams, have taken the Texans lightly or not, Lovie Smith’s team continues to show some spunk. It paid off against the Titans.

32. Broncos (4-11): It was a Christmas Day massacre most Broncos fans won’t soon forget. It’s also one Nathanial Hackett won’t soon forget either. He was fired Monday in wake of the 51-14 loss.

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