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Week 16 power rankings


1. New England Patriots (last week No. 1; 12-3): The Patriots apparently will get a chance to go back to the scene of the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

2. Seattle Seahawks (No. 2; 11-4): They may not be the best defense of all time (yet), but the Seahawks are as balanced as any team we’ve seen since the ’94 49ers.

3. Dallas Cowboys (No. 6; 11-4): Welcome to Gloryhole.

4. Green Bay Packers (No. 5; 11-4): A win on Sunday could result in the first postseason visit from Dallas since the Ice Bowl.

5. Detroit Lions (No. 8; 11-4): The only way Dominic Raiola’s stomp was inadvertent is if he was aiming for Ego Ferguson’s crotch.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 11; 10-4-1): There’s hope for Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe.

7. Denver Broncos (No. 3; 11-4): Is anyone else starting to get the feeling that Peyton Manning will never get that second Super Bowl win?

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 9; 10-5): Todd Haley has figuratively put a fork in the Chiefs. He probably would have preferred to do it literally.

9. San Diego Chargers (No. 15; 9-6): Philip Rivers seems to play better when he’s hurt.

10. Arizona Cardinals (No. 4; 11-4): Kurt Warner should have unretired, after all.

11. Indianapolis Colts (No. 7; 10-5): Do they give out a trophy for being the best team on the NFL’s second tier?

12. Houston Texans (No. 17; 8-7): For the fourth straight year, the Texans remain a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender.

13. Baltimore Ravens (No. 12; 9-6): The only AFC team that could beat the Patriots in their own building may not get a chance to.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 10; 9-6): The only thing worse than a one-and-done postseason appearance is no postseason appearance at all.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 13; 8-7): Actually, blowing a huge lead in the playoffs is still worse than no postseason appearance. Which could make 2014 an upgrade for the Chiefs.

16. Carolina Panthers (No. 19; 6-8-1): Cam Newton’s new motto is “carpe diem.” If he can win a couple more games, the Panthers won’t have a case of “caveat emptor” when the time comes to sign him to a new deal.

17. Miami Dolphins (No. 20; 8-7): The devil you know always beats the devil you don’t know. But, you know, Rex Ryan would have been an intriguing devil the Dolphins know a little bit.

18. Atlanta Falcons (No. 25; 6-9): The worst team to ever make the playoffs still has a better chance to win the Super Bowl than the best team to ever miss them.

19. Buffalo Bills (No. 14; 8-7): The win over the Packers may have saved Doug Marrone’s job. The loss to the Raiders may have squandered it.

20. New York Giants (No. 24; 6-9): The build-'em-up-tear-'em-down cycle for Odell Beckham seems to be moving along faster than usual.

21. New Orleans Saints (No. 16; 6-9): Few great teams have fallen apart faster than the Saints.

22. San Francisco 49ers (No. 21; 7-8): If they win on Sunday, do they do the “who’s got it better than us?” thing one last time?

23. Minnesota Vikings (No. 22; 6-9): There’s reason for optimism, for the first time since Brett Favre’s first year with the team.

24. St. Louis Rams (No. 18; 6-9): The Rams get a chance to run Missouri’s record to 3-0 against the Seahawks this year.

25. Cleveland Browns (No. 23; 7-8): When Rex Grossman tells you “no thanks,” maybe it’s time to just fold the franchise.

26. Washington (No. 31; 4-11): It’s suddenly getting harder for the media to twist Jay Gruden’s words about Robert Griffin III.

27. Oakland Raiders (No. 28; 3-12): When Raiders players say they want Tony Sparano, are they actually saying they don’t want Jim Harbaugh?

28. Chicago Bears (No. 26; 5-10): Jay Cutler gets a chance to remind everyone why the Bears benched him.

29. New York Jets (No. 27; 3-12): Geno Smith thinks everyone would benefit from a coaching change. Everyone else thinks the Jets would benefit from a quarterback change, too.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 30; 3-12): Given the quality of the team, the Jaguars fans are by far the most loyal in the league.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 29; 2-13): Give this team a quarterback and an offensive coordinator, and the Bucs will be in position to win the NSFW South next year.

32. Tennessee Titans (No. 32; 2-13): That Week One win at Kansas City could be the thing that ultimately keeps them from having the top pick in the draft.