NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Raiders pass 49ers in No. 1 pick race
32. Arizona (3-11)
Previous rank: 30
Head coach Steve Wilks took full responsibility for the Cardinals’ latest loss. He’s a part of this franchise’s problem, but does he deserve to get canned after one season? That seems a bit rash, even while pairing highly-drafted quarterbacks with young offensive coaches is all the rage these days.
31. Raiders (3-11)
Previous rank: 28
The Raiders fired a GM, got sued by a city they’re leaving and got drawn into controversy by a star they recently traded all in the same week. It seems only fitting that stretch would end with Sunday’s dud in Cincinnati.
30. Jacksonville (4-10)
Previous rank: 27
The once proud (okay, arrogant) Jaguars defense got beat by Josh Johnson. Let that sink in.
29. N.Y. Jets (4-10)
Previous rank: 25
The Jets moved up to the No. 3 slot in next year’s NFL draft and should stay there or move up. That’ll put them in great position to take the best non-QB available. In Sam Darnold they trust.
28. Detroit (5-9)
Previous rank: 23
Matt Patricia was eliminated from playoff contention in his first year with Detroit, and then dropped an f-bomb on live radio. After a season like his, might as well let the expletives fly.
27. 49ers (4-10)
Previous rank: 29
The 49ers snapped an 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks with Sunday’s overtime win. With the Bears and Rams upcoming, it may be this season’s last cause for celebration.
26. Buffalo (5-9)
Previous rank: 26
The Bills won a game with their top four running backs on the shelf. Apparently that Josh Allen can sling it a bit, just like he said he would.
25. Atlanta (5-9)
Previous rank: 31
The Falcons offense played like it should and their defense held up strong. Even Bruce Irvin made an impact in this one, which must frustrate Falcons fans wondering where this team was all season.
24. Cincinnati (5-9)
Previous rank: 32
Joe Mixon’s the real deal. Jeff Driskel is not. He averaged just 3.6 yards per pass, with a 55 passer rating, and still won. The quarterback should buy Mixon a meal.
23. Tampa Bay (5-9)
Previous rank: 22
CBS Sports reports that head coach Dirk Koetter is expected to be fired after the season. That isn’t a surprise to anyone, including Koetter.
22. Washington (7-7)
Previous rank: 24
Jay Gruden got Josh Johnson ready to manage and then win a football game. The head coach deserves a medal.
21. N.Y. Giants (5-9)
Previous rank: 21
The Giants reverted back to old habits with Odell Beckham not in the lineup. Eli was a turnover machine. Even Saquon couldn’t get going. This was a giant step back.
20. Green Bay (5-8-1)
Previous rank: 20
NFC North rivalries are fierce. The Packers are 1-3-1 against their direct competition, and let the Bears earn a division title against them. Oh, how the mighty have fallen on hard times.
19. Carolina (6-7)
Previous rank: 18
Panthers have lost five straight. They have to salvage their season against the Saints. Good freaking luck.
18. Denver (6-8)
Previous rank: 17
The season, and maybe his job was on the line, and Vance Joseph played it safe. He took the field goal and let the Browns rally back. John Elway’s not gonna like that.
17. Dolphins (7-7)
Previous rank: 16
Minnesota 41, Dolphins 17. Ahh, that’s the inept Dolphins squad we all know and understand should start firing everyone as soon as possible. That includes the quarterback.
16. Philadelphia (7-7)
Previous rank: 19
Nick Foles is back in the starting QB spot, ready to make miracles happen.
15. Cleveland (6-7-1)
Previous rank: 15
Greg Williams is 4-2 since taking over as interim head coach. Finishing the season too strong will make it harder to go out and get the right guy.
14. Tennessee (8-6)
Previous rank: 15
This is how Derrick Henry was supposed to run all the time. The Alabama alum is coming into his own, and keeping the Titans in the hunt.
13. Minnesota (7-5-1)
Previous rank: 13
The Vikings fired offensive coordinator Jon DeFilippo, promoted Ken Stefanski and suddenly took off. Can they sustain this offensive uptick? Jury’s still out.
12. Seattle (8-6)
Previous rank: 9
Bad time to lose to a division rival. The Seahawks had a chance to clinch a playoff spot and blew it. They have more chances, and should still get the job done.
11. Baltimore (8-6)
Previous rank: 11
The Ravens are gonna tell Joe Flacco he ain’t coming back next year. He made tons of money, got a Super Bowl ring and is now giving way to a young guy in Lamar Jackson who has invigorated the franchise.
10. Pittsburgh (8-5-1)
Previous rank: 12
A huge victory over the Patriots kept the Steelers in pole position in the AFC North. They got a win they simply had to have. Clutch. And expected from this franchise.
9. Dallas (8-6)
Previous rank: 8
This Cowboys’ surge slammed to a halt in Indianapolis. They didn’t just get beat. They got shut out. How they respond will define the season.
8. Indianapolis (8-6)
Previous rank: 10
The Colts used to be Andrew Luck and not much else. Now they have a defense and a running game. They can beat most anybody heading down the stretch.
7. New England (9-5)
Previous rank: 6
The Patriots have lost five games now and Boston press is wondering if the dynasty’s crumbling. Give me a break. They may not be invincible, but they’ll still be scary in the postseason.
6. Houston (10-4)
Previous rank: 7
Texans got back on track after a hiccup against Indy, and are now in the AFC’s No. 3 spot. Think of how far they’ve come since they started 0-3.
5. Chicago (10-4)
Previous rank: 5
The Bears clinched the NFC North on Sunday against Green Bay. Started from the bottom now they ‘here.
4. L.A. Chargers (11-3)
Previous rank: 4
Take recency bias from Thursday night’s comeback out of it. The Bolts are a smidge less dynamic than those above them. They’ve beaten the Chiefs once, but lost to them and the Rams. Still, underestimate them at your own peril. The Chargers can play, and be pretty dangerous as a No. 5 seed if they can’t catch K.C.
3. L.A. Rams (11-3)
Previous rank: 3
Sean McVay lost two in a row for the first time in his tenure as head coach. His offense suddenly seems mortal. Rams have lost their air of invincibility.
2. Kansas City (11-3)
Previous rank: 2
Chiefs have done so well this year, but the Bolts have kept the pressure. Mess up once more and they could end up a wild-card team.
1. New Orleans (11-2)
Previous rank: 1
Saints have a chance to take control of the NFC this week, going up a game with two to go for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.