CSN's Week 17 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Patriots coasting into playoffs

CSN's Week 17 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Patriots coasting into playoffs

We've reached Week 17 in the NFL with two clear powerhouses in the Patriots and Cowboys. With just one week remaining in the regular season, which teams will fill in the final playoff spots and which teams will be on the outside looking in?

After taking in all the action from this past week, here is CSN's NFL Power Rankings for Week 17, compiled by Derrick Gunn and John Boruk.

1. Patriots (13-2)
Tom Brady’s 25/2 TD/Int ratio is unreal. He’s my choice for MVP. -Boruk

The Pats have 14 takeaways and just one giveaway in the last five weeks. -Gunn

2. Cowboys (13-2)
If I was Jason Garrett, I’d rest Prescott and Elliott for the Eagles game. -Boruk

The Cowboys had nothing to play for Monday night and still demolished Detroit. -Gunn

3. Raiders (12-3)
Without Derek Carr, Oakland probably doesn’t win another game this season. -Boruk

With Derek Carr, the Raiders are a dangerous squad. Without him, the Raiders could be one and done in the playoffs. -Gunn

4. Chiefs (11-4)
Don’t quite understand the Dontari Poe TD pass at the end of the game. Not necessary. -Boruk

Andy Reid gets his 172nd career win and is tied with Bill Parcells for 12th place on the all time list. -Gunn

5. Steelers (10-5)
That 4th quarter may have been the most explosive we’ve seen the Steelers' offense this season. -Boruk

Survived a hard fought battle with Baltimore to win the AFC North. -Gunn

6. Falcons (10-5)
Highest-scoring team in the league scored their fewest points (15) in Philadelphia. -Boruk

Should Matt Ryan be mentioned in MVP chatter? He's 1st in QB rating (115.5) and 3rd in passing yards (4613), TD passes (34) and completions (69.5 percent). -Gunn

7. Seahawks (9-5-1)
Allow me to reiterate: The Hawks aren’t the same team without safety Earl Thomas. -Boruk

Were the only unbeaten squad at home before falling to Arizona. -Gunn

8. Giants (10-5)
In the last 10 weeks, the Giants have lost twice, both in the state of Pennsylvania. -Boruk

Playoff bound, but haven't scored more than 19 points in the last four weeks. -Gunn

9. Packers (9-6)
Aaron Rodgers is 5-1 in his last six games at Ford Field. Pack will win the NFC North. -Boruk

When Aaron Rodgers speaks, we have to listen. Five in a row and counting. -Gunn

10. Lions (9-6)
What a collapse it would be if the Lions failed to make the playoffs. Can still get in with a loss. -Boruk

The Lions are reeling and now a date with red-hot Green Bay for the NFC North title looms. -Gunn

11. Dolphins (10-5)
Adam Gase should be considered for coach of the year after rallying the Dolphins from a 1-4 start. -Boruk

Running back Jay Ajayi has been a pleasant surprise. 6th in rushing (1,213) and tied for 3rd in rushing touchdowns (10). -Gunn

12. Ravens (8-7)
Regardless of the outcome, Joe Flacco is still a clutch quarterback in crunch time. -Boruk

John Harbaugh is not used to missing the playoffs and is out for the second year in a row. -Gunn

13. Texans (9-6)
Somehow the Texans are a playoff team despite a -42 in point differential, 4th worst in the AFC. -Boruk

Won the last three games by a total of eight points. -Gunn

14. Buccaneers (8-7)
Losing tight end Cameron Brate is a big blow to a team that still has playoff aspirations. -Boruk

Bucs on a two-game slide. Slim playoff hopes, but need a lot of help. -Gunn

15. Broncos (8-7)
Broncos offense has managed just 23 points over their last three games. A 1-4 record in the AFC West. -Boruk

Falling behind early in games finally caught up to the Broncos in the end. -Gunn

16. Redskins (8-6-1)
Kirk Cousins needs 370 yards against the Giants to finish the season with 5,000 passing yards. -Boruk

The Skins can breathe a sigh of relief, no structural damage to Robert Kelley’s knee. -Gunn

17. Titans (8-7)
If Marcus Mariota can come back healthy and start quickly, the Titans are the team to watch in 2017. -Boruk

We can now only speculate what might have been had Mariota not broken his leg. -Gunn

18. Colts (7-8)
With 33 yards Sunday, Frank Gore can become the oldest RB with a 1,000-yard season since John Riggins in 1984. -Boruk

The Colts had five losses by eight points or less. All were winnable. -Gunn

19. Saints (7-8)
I know Sean Payton has won a Super Bowl, but that was 7 years ago. His job shouldn’t be secure heading into 2017. -Boruk

The Saints are still an offensive juggernaut, but the defense needs to be overhauled. -Gunn

20. Vikings (7-8)
A Vikings loss coupled with an Eagles win will actually help their first-round draft position. -Boruk

From 5-0 to 2-8 since Week 7. -Gunn

21. Bills (7-8)
If a new coach can fix the defense, this may be the most attractive job out there right now. -Boruk

Bills haven't been to the playoffs since 1999 and now Rex and Rob Ryan won’t be around to oversee the team's future. -Gunn

22. Cardinals (6-8-1)
David Johnson could become the first RB ever with 100 yards from scrimmage in all 16 games. -Boruk

RB David Johnson has 15 straight games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Can set a new all-time record this Sunday. -Gunn

23. Bengals (5-9-1)
Marvin Lewis will finish with his first losing season since 2010. -Boruk

The Marvin Lewis watch continues. -Gunn

24. Eagles (6-9)
Who’s the Eagles' MVP this season? Hard to say, but I’d lean towards Brandon Graham. -Boruk

Taking down the Giants showed this crew has not quit. -Gunn

25. Panthers (6-9)
How will Cam Newton, only 27, bounce back from arguably the worst season of his NFL career? -Boruk

From the penthouse to the outhouse. -Gunn

26. Chargers (5-10)
I would like to drop the Chargers to 31st after losing to the previously winless Browns. -Boruk

They must now live with the shame of losing to the Browns. -Gunn

27. Bears (3-12)
Some good young talent on offense (Cameron Meredith, Jordan Howard), they just need a QB to pull it all together. -Boruk

Matt Barkley threw five picks vs. the 'Skins, the most in a game by a Bears QB since 2009 (Jay Cutler). -Gunn

28. Jets (4-11)
The Jets once had a top-notch defense. They have allowed 145 points in their last 4 games. -Boruk

Their play Christmas Eve vs. the Patriots was like their season. Embarrassing. -Gunn

29. Rams (4-11)
L.A.’s new coach will soon realize Jared Goff is not a franchise quarterback. Goff now 0-6 to start his career. -Boruk

WR Kenny Britt became the first Rams receiver to go over 1000 yards since 2007. -Gunn

30. Jaguars (3-12)
Will be interesting to see what the Jaguars decide to do with QB Blake Bortles, the 3rd overall pick in 2014. -Boruk

Jags switch coaches and snap a nine game slide. Go figure! -Gunn

31. 49ers (2-13)
Chip Kelly’s great offensive mind has produced the worst passing attack in the NFL at 181.3 yards per game. -Boruk

RB Carlos Hyde was having his best pro season ever and tears his MCL. -Gunn

32. Browns (1-14)
Sorry 2008 Lions, you’re still the only member of the 0-16 club. -Boruk

Browns win!!! Browns win!!! It must be Christmas. -Gunn

LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

AP Images

LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

A big piece of the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl season is moving on. 

Running Back LeGarrette Blount has signed with the Detroit Lions. Blount's deal will be for one-year, $4.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport

Blount, 31, was scheduled to visit the Lions on Friday and he didn’t leave without a new deal. He’ll reunite with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was the defensive coordinator in New England when Blount was there; the familiarity probably helped. 

Last offseason, Blount took his time deciding where he’d land. He didn’t sign with the Eagles until May and his contract was worth around $1 million. He apparently showed enough during 2017 to get a bigger deal this time around. 

After beginning the season as the Eagles’ primary runner, he eventually saw his role diminish after the Birds added Jay Ajayi through a trade. Still, Blount played in all 16 games and rushed for 766 yards during the regular season. More importantly, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. Blount had a rushing touchdown in all three playoff games after having just two during the regular season. 

Perhaps more important than his contributions on the field, it was Blount’s unselfish nature that seemed to rub off on his teammates. When he and Alshon Jeffery were on board with that unselfish mindset, it seemed like the rest of the team followed. 

As recently as late February, Blount indicated he wanted to return to Philadelphia, where he really seemed to fit in the locker room and under running backs coach Duce Staley, whom Blount clearly respects. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there,” Blount said in February on NFL Network. “They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys.”

While Blount said he wanted to return to Philly, it was unlikely the Eagles could have (or would have) offered him the type of contract he’s getting from the Lions. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles still have Ajayi and Corey Clement under contract from last season. Kenjon Barner is a free agent. The running back position still seems up in the air, but the Eagles have a few months and a draft to figure it out. 

Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

USA Today Images/AP Images

Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

Back in early 2016, just after Howie Roseman had been reinstated to his post of power, he pulled out some moves from the classic Joe Banner playbook. 

He tried to find value in projection. 

Within a nine-day span in early 2016, the Eagles signed Vinny Curry, Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson to lucrative five-year extensions. Since then, Ertz and Johnson have grown into Pro Bowl players, rendering their contracts relative bargains. 

Curry simply remained a good player, which is why he was cut on Friday afternoon

While Curry finally became a starter in 2017, he had just three sacks and the team drafted Derek Barnett and traded for Michael Bennett who was cheaper and better. It’s certainly not really a knock on Curry, who had his best professional season during the Eagles’ Super Bowl year. 

When Curry signed his five-year, $47.25 million extension in February 2016, he was just two years removed from his nine-sack season and was seen as a much better fit in the 4-3 scheme Jim Schwartz was bringing to town. So the Eagles paid Curry like he was going to play at a Pro Bowl level and it never happened. In that first year, the Eagles tried to peg him in as a starter opposite of Connor Barwin, but Brandon Graham outplayed him. After Barwin was gone, Curry became a starter, but was just good; not great. 

Meanwhile, the two other big contracts handed to Ertz and Johnson have clearly worked out. Cutting Curry really speaks more to the nature of NFL contracts these days than it does to the level of his play. 

Sure, Curry never played to the level of his contract, but the deals for Ertz and Johnson look much better. And unlike Curry, both of them had one year left on their rookie deals when the Eagles tried to gain value in re-signing them early. It’s worked out. 

Ertz was the first of the three to sign his five-year extension. His was worth $42.5 million and as a Pro Bowler in 2017, he’s beginning to outplay it. He’s now the fifth-highest-paid tight end in the league and he’ll continue to drop on that list as he plays out the next four years of that deal. The best part of Ertz’s contract is it wasn’t heavily backloaded, which has allowed the Eagles to restructure with him the last two offseasons to create some cap room. 

The second of the three big five-year extensions based on projections went to Lane Johnson. His deal was worth $56.25 million. Of course, Johnson’s suspension in 2016 was tough, but he rebounded to have an incredible 2017. He’s the highest-paid right tackle in football, but he’s 10th among all offensive tackles, which is a good value. 

Twenty days after Curry signed his deal, Malcolm Jenkins also got a five-year deal, but at that point he had already been a Pro Bowler, so his deal was more based off of production than projection. 

During that entire offseason, every single time Roseman was asked about the moves he made that offseason, he continually said the most important ones were the moves they made to keep their own players. That obviously included the projection deals for Curry, Johnson and Ertz. 

Sure, only two of the three ended up being bargains with tenable contracts. But even Curry was useful during the two years he played of his extension before the Eagles took the out they built into the deal. That’s not a bad hit rate.