Week 15 NFL Power Rankings (From an Amateur)
by Jennifer Jordan
Blizzards, wind storms, and a Dolphin victory. The only thing that didn’t happen this week was a Patriot’s loss.
1. New England Patriots (14-0) (Previous rank: 1): It might not have been a dominating performance against the New York Jets, but nonetheless, victory was obtained. The 1972 Dolphins have got to be nervous.
2. Indianapolis Colts (12-2) (Previous rank: 3): They didn’t have the most formidable opponent in the Oakland Raiders, but the Colts still kept it close. In the end, Peyton Manning, as he usually does, found a way to win.
3. Green Bay Packers (12-2) (Previous rank: 4): How many records will Brett Favre own once his career is over? After an easy victory over St. Louis, the Pack is the team to beat in the NFC. They have Super Bowl on their mind.
4. Dallas Cowboys (12-2) (Previous rank: 2): Forget this hoopla about Jessica Simpson being a distraction, the Cowboys just didn’t have it against the Eagles. As they go into the playoffs, this team has got to be concerned about Tony Romo…and his thumb.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) (Previous rank: 6): They might have let the Steelers crawl their way back, but the Jaguars eventually found the kill shot. Their running game is starting to come to life. They are still the sleeper team of the AFC.
6. San Diego (9-5) (Previous rank: 9): And suddenly, the AFC West is a wrap. The Chargers just didn’t beat the Lions, they decimated them. It seems that even their ball boy had over a hundred yards. They are going to have some tough games in the playoffs, but if they can run the ball, they might just run to victory.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) (Previous rank: 6): There was no excuse to lose to Jacksonville. The Steelers were at home, the Steelers needed to win. Their failure to do so proves they are a good AFC team, but not a great one.
8. Tampa Bay (9-5) (Previous rank: 10): Their defense suffocated the Falcons and they finally returned a kick off for a touchdown. At 9-5, this team is a surprise, but one that continues to impress.
9. Cleveland Browns (9-5) (Previous rank: 11): This game could really have gone either way, thanks to the winter wonderland. But, the Browns eked out a victory against the Bills. Jamal Lewis was the sole force behind their victory.
10. Seattle Seahawks (9-5) (Previous rank: 7): Losing to Carolina has got to hurt, but not quite as much as what has happened to the Seahawks running game. When they can’t throw, they won’t win. They need to win their remaining games to have some momentum going into the playoffs.
11. Minnesota Vikings (8-6) (Previous rank: 12): They got the victory against the Bears, but they still need to be concerned about their passing game. If their running game is shut down, they will struggle in the playoffs.
12. New York Giants (9-5) (Previous rank: 9): This loss hurt them bad; they really didn’t seem like they wanted to win. The Redskins defense played well but the Giants helped them out by dropping pass after pass.
13. Tennessee Titans (8-6) (Previous rank: 13): This was a big road win against the Chiefs to keep the Titans alive. Vince Young played well, something he must do if they are going to go anywhere in the playoffs.
14. New Orleans Saints (7-7) (Previous rank: 15): Drew Brees has quietly had a heck of a season. He threw for over 300 yards against the Cardinals and threw his team into the thick of the Wild Card race. They need a little help to get in, but if they do, watch out.
15. Houston Texans (7-7) (Previous rank: 17): The Texans defense totally shut down Denver’s offense and doing that always results in victory. Gary Kubiak out coached his mentor.
16. Buffalo Bills (7-7) (Previous rank: 14): It’s hard to play in conditions like this, but play you must. They just couldn’t get enough breaks to get a victory. Cleveland was able to score where the Bills weren’t. This hurt their wild card chances.
17. Washington Redskins (7-7) (Previous rank: 19): They needed a win and they got one. Todd Collins did just enough and the Redskins defense got to the heart of the Giants offense. Washington deserved this win.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) (Previous rank: 21): Their defense was spectacular against the Cowboys, shutting them down almost completely. On offense, Brian Westbrook continued to make big plays. Downing it at the one instead of taking the score was a brilliant move.
19. Carolina Panthers (6-8) (Previous rank: 24): Sure, the wind was the MVP of this game, but give Carolina some credit: they completely shut down Seattle’s run game. After a horrible start, they have a chance to finish at .500.
20. Denver Broncos (6-8) (Previous rank: 16): And just like that, the season’s over. In a must win game against the Texans, Denver failed to even keep it close. This was a horrible year for this team. They need to come back next season with a new defensive scheme.
21. Arizona Cardinals (6-8) (Previous rank: 18): They needed this win, but the Saints were the ones who got it. Kurt Warner continues to impress at the ripe old age of 80, but their defense gives up too many yards, and too many points.
22. Detroit Lions (6-8) (Previous rank: 20): Ouch….this was a completely awful performance against the Chargers. John Kitna threw it to San Diego more than he threw it to his own players. This team has fallen so far from what they once were.
23. Chicago Bears (5-9) (Previous rank: 22): On defense, the Bears played well, causing the Vikings to turn it over at the most ideal times. On offense, the Bears continue to be bad: Kyle Orton is Rex Grossman with a mustache.
24. San Francisco (4-10) (Previous rank: 31): It’s too bad this team couldn’t play like this all season. Shaun Hill (yeah….who?) was the feel good story of the night. The 49ers took away the Bengals ability to score and gave their fans something they used to see all the time: victory.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) (Previous rank: 23): The Bengals looked horrible in this game. Their defense has always been bad, but now their offense too? They made the 49ers look like an early 1990’s version of themselves. Cincinnati has a lot of work to do in the off season.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (4-10) (Previous rank: 25): Kansas City just can’t dominate at Arrowhead anymore. They were able to gain yards on offense, but were unable to score. On defense, they gave up some late plays to the Titans, plays that cost them the game.
27. Oakland Raiders (4-10) (Previous rank: 26): By limiting the Colts to 21 points, the Raiders looked like the defense they are known for. Unfortunately, they also looked like the offense they are known for. The game was close, but Oakland just couldn’t score when they needed to.
28. Baltimore Ravens (4-10) (Previous rank: 27): Who would have thought their once stellar defense would fall so far? After losing the Dolphins, the Ravens find themselves among the worst teams in the NFL. Without their defense to lean on, the Ravens just can’t win.
29. New York Jets (3-11) (Previous rank: 28): They weren’t destroyed by the Patriots, but a loss is a loss. Like so many mediocre offenses, the Jets can move the ball down the field, but they can’t put it in the end zone.
30. St Louis Rams (3-11) (Previous rank: 29): Despite a loss to the Packers, the Rams played pretty well, a fact the score doesn’t reflect. Steven Jackson ran nicely and their defense limited Green Bay as best they could.
31. Atlanta Falcons (3-11) (Previous rank: 30): The Falcons were manhandled by the Bucs. Atlanta was just awful, awful, awful. They don’t really seem to care anymore and soon their fans won’t either.
32. Miami Dolphins (1-13) (Previous rank: 32): Winless no more. Just when it looked like Miami was going to lose by yet another field goal, Baltimore missed. Obviously the Dolphins season can’t be saved, but it’s nice to see this team get a win.