NFL Week 17 Power Rankings
Happy Boxing Day everyone! I hope everyone’s holiday of choice was celebrated with joy, happiness, and a few adult beverages, of course. Brett Gleason is off galavanting around Europe, so this week the responsibilities of this post fall on to me. He told me he may or may not have his rankings in, and he did not, so we are down an author this week. I have to imagine he would have made time to get them in if his 49ers hadn’t been embarrassed by my Seahawks 42-13 (and it wasn’t even that close) on national television. Speaking of which, a new team joined the top three this week. I bet you can’t guess who!
The Top Three:
1) Broncos:The Broncos are on a 10-game winning streak, largely fueled by the likely MVP, Peyton Manning. The Broncos are the class of the AFC, perhaps the one team in the conference that could also hang with NFC elites. Their defense is scary, so you can’t allow Manning to come out and build a double digit lead early.
2) Seahawks: Over the past 11 weeks, Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson has led the NFL in QBR at 85.9, ahead of Peyton Manning (83.7), Aaron Rodgers (79.9), and Tom Brady (77.5). Marshawn Lynch has ran for for 352 yards on his last 47 carries, a staggering 7.5 YPC. The Seahawks are averaging 34.7 points per game while allowing only 15.8 over the last 8 games. The Seahawks are playing like the best team in the NFL right now, and are a team no one wants to face in the playoffs.
3) Patriots: Brady and the Patriots barely squeaked out a win this week, but improved to 11-4 in doing so. While they have their shortcomings, having Tom Brady means Patriots fans should still go into each game expecting, at worst, a coin flip’s chance of winning.
Below the jump you can find our entire rankings as well as some notes on the NFC West and the breakdown of how each individual writer voted this week.
Note: These moves are two week moves, since we missed power rankings last week.
Biggest Move Up: Following their 42-13 mollywhopping (Thanks to Mike Salk for that word) of the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, the Seahawks climbed four spots up to second place. They should know by tomorrow if they lose Richard Sherman to suspension, but should be able to beat the Rams without him. The Saints also moved up four spaces, but are boring and out of playoff contention.
Biggest Fall Down: The Giants, Steelers, and Bucs all tied for the biggest fall down, falling four spots. All three of these teams looked like they were going to make the playoffs, or challenge for a spot until the very end. The Steelers and Bucs are now eliminated, and the Giants are a long shot. These three teams are just derping their way to the finish line now.
*Δ, or Delta, indicates movement up or down from the week prior.
Ranking The NFC West:
Seahawks (2): The Seahawks have outscored their last three opponents 150-30, the third biggest margin of victory over three games in NFL History. If the Seahawks beat the Rams next week, they will have their best win total (11) since going 13-3 in 2006, when they made the Super Bowl
49ers (5): Since Justin Smith went down with an elbow injury, the 49ers have allowed 73 points in six quarters of football. He may play in the playoffs, but Coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t rule out offseason surgery. Still, I’d expect that defense to right the ship and still be dangerous in the playoffs.
Rams (18): The Rams are playing much better football of late, even with a mediocre QB like Sam Bradford. Fisher is building this team right, and they should be able to become a contender under his watch. Fisher’s always been good at winning despite not having stars at QB, so NFC West fans shouldn’t over look the Rams.
Cardinals (26): Fun fact! The Cardinals are the first team in NFL History to not have a quarterback on the active roster.
How They Voted:
Now that we know the rankings the formula spit out, how about we find out how each individual writer voted? We’re doing this for two reasons; 1) So you can spot potential writer biases and 2) so you know who to direct your hate-filled comments at.
Remember, this rankings system is essentially a standard average system, but not entirely. Read the opener to this post again for clarification.
As you can see, the NFC is clearly the dominant conference; the NFC’s four divisions make up four of the top five divisions in the League. The AFC’s only hope at a Super Bowl likely rests in Peyton Manning’s hands.
Since Brett Gleason isn’t doing these Rankings, I leave you with some great shots of the Seahawks’ victory. Enjoy wearing my Russell Wilson jersey next semester, Brett!