CSN's NFL Power Rankings: Here come the Giants and Packers

CSN's NFL Power Rankings: Here come the Giants and Packers

Two weeks remain in the regular season and playoff races are as hot as ever.

With Week 16 upon us, here's a look at CSN's latest NFL power rankings, compiled by Derrick Gunn and John Boruk, ahead of all the big games.

1. New England (12-2)
Time to start giving the Patriots’ defense some props. The D allows only 16.6 points per game best in the league. - Gunn (1)

As far as I’m concerned, the Patriots have lost just one game — can’t count the loss to Buffalo in Week 4 with a third-string QB. - Boruk (1)

2. Dallas (12-2)
All you Cowboys fans screaming for Tony Romo, stop it! Dak Prescott went 32 of 36 vs. Tampa Bay. - Gunn (2)

Loved how Prescott responded (32 of 36, 279 yards) after two bad weeks. Still think he’s the team MVP. - Boruk (2)

3. Oakland (11-3)
The Raiders are back in the playoffs for first time since 2002, looking to make some noise. - Gunn (3)

WR Amari Cooper has under 30 yards in three of the past four weeks. Oakland needs to find a way to get him the ball. - Boruk (3)

4. Kansas City (10-4)
Losing to Tennessee was a real stunner. But a win this weekend over Denver and the Chiefs are postseason bound. - Gunn (4)

Some bad home losses to Tampa Bay and Tennessee by identical 19-17 scores. That’s how close the Chiefs are to 12-2 record. - Boruk (4)

5. Pittsburgh (9-5)
Look out, the Steelers are rolling with five wins in a row. Antonio Brown is second in the league with 11 TD receptions. - Gunn (5)

From 4:30-8 p.m. Christmas Day, the family is not to bother me with the AFC North title on the line. - Boruk (7)

5. N.Y. Giants (10-4)
The G-Men have won eight of their last nine and the defense is getting better. - Gunn (6)

Have won eight of their last nine coming to Philly. The injury to CB Janoris Jenkins could be a concern. - Boruk (6)

7. Seattle (9-4-1)
Rock solid at home but on shaky ground on the road. All four losses away from home. - Gunn (9)

Host the Cardinals this week — a rematch of the 6-6 tie in Arizona back in October. Somebody make a field goal! - Boruk (5)

8. Atlanta (9-5)
Matt Ryan has league-best QB rating of 114.8. - Gunn (7)

Atlanta has put up 40-plus points in back-to-back games without Julio Jones. A surprise team in the NFC. - Boruk (8)

9. Green Bay (8-6)
From losing four in a row to winning four in a row, and now the Pack control their own destiny. - Gunn (8)

Ty Montgomery just became the Packers’ leading rusher this season … with 390 yards. - Boruk (11)

10. Baltimore (8-6)
The Eagles gave the Ravens a gift win, now let’s see if Baltimore can cash in on it against Steelers this Sunday. - Gunn (10)

The Ravens have won the last three meetings against the Steelers in which they were underdogs. - Boruk (10)

11. Detroit (9-5)
Could this be the beginning of the end for the Lions? Their last two games are at Dallas and vs. Green Bay. - Gunn (12)

The Lions have given up 20 or fewer points in seven straight games in one season for the first time since 1961. - Boruk (9)

12. Miami (9-5)
QB Matt Moore starts for first time since January 2012 and the Dolphins don’t miss a beat. - Gunn (11)

I know it’s the Jets, but I like Moore as Miami’s QB more than Ryan Tannehill. - Boruk (14)

13. Denver (8-6)
Defending champs have lost two in a row and locker-room bickering doesn’t help. - Gunn (14)

Denver’s entire season rides on winning in Kansas City. The Chiefs beat the Broncos, 30-27, in Week 11. - Boruk (12)

13. Tampa Bay (8-6)
Despite loss at Dallas, the Bucs hold No. 6 seed in NFC but need to win out. - Gunn (13)

Where have you gone Mike Evans? One hundred thirty-nine yards receiving in his last three games combined. - Boruk (13)

15. Houston (8-6)
The $72 million man Brock Osweiler finally gets benched, but is Tom Savage truly the answer to the Texans’ QB woes? - Gunn (17)

Osweiler is finally where he belongs — on the bench. DeAndre Hopkins could put up big numbers now. – Boruk (15)

15. Washington (7-6-1)
Maybe the ‘Skins shouldn’t play at home on Monday nights. With loss to Panthers, Washington is 1-16 in last 17 games on its turf for Monday Night Football. - Gunn (15)

Just a bad, bad loss to the Panthers. The Redskins are now 1-16 on Monday night at FedEx Field. - Boruk (17)

15. Tennessee (8-6)
How many of you were willing to bet the Titans would be tied for AFC South lead at this point of the season? Be honest. - Gunn (16)

Has won four of five against the Packers, Broncos and Chiefs. That’s quality football. - Boruk (16)

18. Indianapolis (7-7)
Impressive beatdown of the Vikings, but might be too little, too late to save the Colts’ season. - Gunn (18)

First time this season Andrew Luck wasn’t sacked. The Colts gained franchise-record 21 first downs in first half. - Boruk (18)

19. Minnesota (7-7)
Not even the return of Adrian Peterson could jolt the Vikes. - Gunn (19)

Remember when the Vikings were 5-0, and there was all this foolish talk about the Super Bowl? Neither do I. - Boruk (21)

20. New Orleans (6-8)
Offense is No. 2 in points per game with 29.0, but defense is 30th, allowing 28.0. - Gunn (22)

Drew Brees on pace to win triple crown for QBs — first in yards, touchdown passes and completion percentage. - Boruk (20)  

21. Cincinnati (5-8-1)
The Bengals have scored only 11 fourth-quarter points in last six games. - Gunn (21)

Cincinnati needs a workhorse running back. Somehow, I see Leonard Fournette wearing Bengals stripes. - Boruk (23)

21. Carolina (6-8)
The Panthers that beat the ‘Skins on Monday night — where have they been all season? - Gunn (20)

Cam Newton’s QB rating has plummeted from 99.4 last season to 78.9 this season. An unbelievable drop. - Boruk (24)

21. Buffalo (7-7)
Last eight games, the Bills are 3-5. - Gunn (25)

LeSean McCoy closing in on 9,000 career yards rushing. Averaging 5.5 yards per carry this season. - Boruk (19)

24. Arizona (5-8-1)
Still can’t figure this team out. How does the Cards’ fourth-ranked defense give up 48 points to the Saints? - Gunn (23)

The Cards are officially eliminated from the postseason race. - Boruk (22)

25. San Diego (5-9)
Second straight losing season is getting to Philip Rivers. - Gunn (24)

Rivers completing just 61.5 percent of his passes, the lowest of his career since 2007. - Boruk (25)

26. Eagles (5-9)
The effort is there but the wins are not. Five losses in a row. - Gunn (26)

Have allowed no more than 15 points in their five wins, and no less than 23 points in their nine losses. - Boruk (26) 

27. N.Y. Jets (4-10)
Have spent a lot of money on players and have gotten little in return. - Gunn (28)

Good to see undrafted Temple rookie Robby Anderson get some targets in this Jets offense. - Boruk (28)

27. Los Angeles (4-10)
QB Jared Goff is a major project. Rams’ next head coach better have plenty of patience. - Gunn (29)

Todd Gurley hasn’t had a 100-yard game all season. Hosting San Francisco will present, by far, his best chance to do that. - Boruk (27)

27. Chicago (3-11)
The Bears’ last three losses have been by a total of 12 points. - Gunn (27)

The Eagles need a WR. Alshon Jeffery will be a free agent. He has size (6-foot-3) and speed to stretch an offense. - Boruk (29)

30. Jacksonville (2-12)
A .226 winning percentage will get you fired. Just ask Gus Bradley. - Gunn (30)

Bradley fired. Remember, he would have been the Eagles’ coach had Chip Kelly turned them down. - Boruk (30)

31. San Francisco (1-13)
Does anyone feel sorry for Kelly and the Niners? Uhhhhh no! - Gunn (31)

Allowing a league-worst 176 rushing yards per game — 21 more yards than the next worse team. - Boruk (31)

32. Cleveland (0-14)
The Browns are staying committed to RG3, who in last two starts has zero passing TDs and one INT. - Gunn (32)

Fourth team in NFL history to start the season 0-14. Only the 1980 Saints were able to win one of their final two games. - Boruk (32)

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

On a day that will be remembered most for a player the Eagles lost to an injury (see story), they did learn that they are getting another player back after a long injury rehab.

The Eagles are finally going to get a look this week at rookie second-round pick Sidney Jones at practice. Whether he actually gets into a football game this year is still in doubt.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that nine months after he blew out his Achilles and eight months after the Eagles drafted him, Jones has finally been medically cleared to practice and will participate to some extent Wednesday when the Eagles get back to work following their win over the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles.

“We're just to the point of just want to see him out there running around, doing football activities outside of the normal workouts that he's been doing,” Pederson said Monday. “Just really changing direction and doing more football work this week.”

Jones tore his left Achilles during his pro day workout on March 11 and has spent the entire season so far on the reserve-non football injury list, which is for players with preexisting conditions dating before the first day of practice.

The Eagles had a window running from Week 7 until this week to activate Jones for practice, and once he practices on Wednesday, they’ll have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the year.

The Eagles have the luxury of taking their time with Jones, thanks to the play of starting corners Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, slot corner Patrick Robinson and fourth corner Rasul Douglas.

Before his injury, Jones was projected as a first-round draft pick. The Eagles got him with the 43rd pick, but even if he doesn’t play until opening day next year, he will still be only 22 years old and under contract through 2020.

Jones had nine interceptions, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 8½ tackles for loss and 145 tackles in 40 career games for the University of Washington.

It remains to be seen where Jones will fit in next year, but Robinson, although he has played well, is due to become a free agent this offseason and turns 31 in September.

Douglas and Jones are signed through 2020, Mills through 2019 and Darby through 2018.

Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

USA Today Images

Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

Remember when the Eagles lost Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles and plenty of folks thought the season was over? 

Doug Pederson does. 

Sure, this isn't exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison. Losing a left tackle or a middle linebacker or a running back isn't the same thing as losing an MVP-level quarterback entering his prime. It would be unfair to suggest they're the same. 

But Pederson has seen his team hurdle over every obstacle this year. With the biggest one yet now in front of them, it's his job to convince his team they can do it again. 

On Monday, Pederson tried to convince fans who have prematurely canceled Christmas. 

"To the fans out there, you can't lose faith," Pederson said. "This has been a resilient football team all season long. If there's ever an opportunity for me as a head football coach to rally the troops, now might be the time. 

"We just came off a tremendous victory to win the NFC East. Guys are riding extremely high. It's a little bittersweet. But you know what? We've got the Giants this week and we've got an opportunity to ... if you win Sunday, you get a first-round bye. There's still a lot to play for. That's what's exciting about this season. We're still playing for the opportunity to hopefully be in that game."

Pederson, just after delivering news of a torn ACL, was adamant that his team can overcome the loss of Carson Wentz. 

"It sure can," he said. "Heck yeah." 

It won't be easy. Before leaving Sunday's game, Wentz threw his 33rd touchdown pass of the 2017 season, breaking the Eagles' franchise record that had stood since 1961. But more than touchdown passes, Wentz made special plays seemingly every week, plays that only a handful of quarterbacks in the world can make. 

Nick Foles is a pretty adequate backup, and he did a nice job when called upon against the Rams. But he ain't Carson Wentz. Everyone, including his teammates, knows that. 

It's just that they don't have time to wallow in the loss of their superstar leader. Next weekend might be huge. 

A win against the Giants would earn the Eagles a first-round bye. A win against the Giants, paired with a Vikings loss, would earn them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After another obstacle was dropped in front of them on Monday morning, the Eagles can still help themselves. 

Pederson's role in all this is vital. He has to be the guy to hold it all together.  

"It's huge," he said. "I think even the guys felt it after the game yesterday. We just rally and we support the next guy. From my standpoint, you don't waver, man. You don't let people see you sweat, you just put your head down and you go to work. You get everybody ready to play. It was evident yesterday when Carson was out of the game, you saw Nick come in and come back and lead us to victory in that game. That right there is a great step in the right direction."