2016 NFL Week 15 Powre Rankings/Playoff Scenarios
The season’s almost over? Isn’t it amazing that people spend all spring and summer rushing the best weather of the year by to get to football season, and it flies by even more every year? Nevertheless, we are in the home stretch, and now the playoffs are taking form. We’ll have the playoff scenarios following the rankings below.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3).
There’s no one playing better and more clutch football in all three phases than the Chiefs right now.
2. New England Patriots (11-2).
Yeah, they won, but Baltimore beat themselves even worse than the turnovers the Ravens forced against them. Their defense still isn’t good, although Joe Flacco was determined to make it appear so.
3. Dallas Cowboys (11-2).
They have been exposed, and if Dak Prescott doesn’t look out, Jerry Jones will usurp Jason Garrett and put Tony Romo back into the lineup. Stay tuned. Jameis Winston and the Bucs are coming to town to hand Dallas another loss.
4. New York Football Giants (9-4).
The Giants would have clinched a playoff berth with their win on Sunday night vs. Dallas if they had not blown a two-score lead against a Washington team that lost several defensive players due to injury in Week 3. As it stands, they need a loss by the Redskins (as well as the Vikings and Packers, along with a win of their own) to clinch a playoff berth this weekend.
5. Oakland Raiders (10-3).
The Raiders need to win out to avoid having to play a cold weather game, because Derek Carr looked absolutely terrible dealing with that finger injury in Kansas City.
6. Detroit Lions (9-4).
The Lions hold their playoff fate in their own hands. Any combination of two wins or two losses by the Packers and Vikings will give them the division. They have the Giants, Dallas and Green Bay left on their slate. It won’t be easy.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5).
Weekly post: Jameis Winston is in 2013 Mode. Florida State Seminoles fans know what this means. The rest of the football population will be able to witness it on Sunday Night Football vs. Dallas in Week 15.
8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1).
That tie will prevent them from clinching homefield throughout the playoffs even if they win out, most likely, and with Earl Thomas’ injury and the way their offense does not travel at all, this is not good. A direct indictment on Darrell Bevell mostly (and, at least in Week 14, Russell Wilson specifically).
9. Denver Broncos (8-5).
Denver is in the thick of it, but there is something about their offense that we do not like, and it has shown in recent games.
10. Atlanta Falcons (8-5).
The Falcons have to keep winning just to avoid potentially falling from the division lead to completely out of the playoff hunt altogether if Green Bay and Washington can hang around.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5).
The Steelers defense may have looked decent the past two games, but they’re still not good enough to stop the best offenses in the AFC. Unless they’re at home.
12. Miami Dolphins (8-5).
The Fins are not necessarily done even if Ryan Tannehill may be for the rest of the regular season at the very least.
13. Houston Texans (7-6).
This team should be better than it has shown (mostly due to play calling and the play of Brock Osweiler), but as it is, they still maintain a share of first place in the AFC South.
14. Tennessee Titans (7-6).
Do the Titans have enough on the back end of their defense and out wide at receiver to compete if they were to make it to the playoffs?
15. Washington Redskins (7-5-1).
That tie might hurt them down the line, although it was against an AFC foe. They basically must win out, and that is with a Week 17 rematch with the Giants lurking.
16. Baltimore Ravens (7-6).
Joe Flacco is one maddening quarterback to watch. The Eli Manning of the AFC, but far worse when he’s bad.
17. Green Bay Packers (7-6).
They’re still not good.
18. Minnesota Vikings (7-6).
This team just does not have enough offense to make a run, even if their defense keeps every game close.
19. Buffalo Bills (6-7).
Rex’s midseason bluster is gone again. With the way these things tend to go when the owners speak out and the coaches on the hot seat play dumb, it may be a safe bet that Rex is gone after the conclusion of the regular season.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1).
The Bengals effectively took out the trash on Sunday, even though they are already practically eliminated from the playoffs.
21. Indianapolis Colts (6-7).
Andrew Luck continues to get a pass from his sycophants in the media.
22. Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1).
Carson Palmer needs to retire.
23. Carolina Panthers (5-8).
They won a game they should have won, even if the officials incorrectly took a 100-yard pick six by the Bolts off board, making what would have been a three point game a 10-point win for the Panthers.
24. San Diego Chargers (5-8).
Time to blow it all up, and it sounds as if the team is all but leaving San Diego after this season, as well.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (5-8).
Carson Wentz has somewhat of an excuse with one of the worst receiving corps in the league, but he’s also been figured out by defensive coordinators, and it shows.
26. New Orleans Saints (5-8).
Drew Brees’ stats are about as hollow as a post-meno… never mind.
27. New York Jets (4-9).
How did the Jets even manage to hang around — much less win — that game?
28. Los Angeles Rams (4-9).
What was so different about this season versus the previous five that led the Rams to finally cut the cord with Jeff Fisher?
29. Chicago Bears (3-10).
At least they’re doing a good job in tanking.
Just too bad they’re doing it in a year where none of the QBs entering the draft are franchise QBs. Maybe Matt Barkley can finally live up to the immense promise that preceded him when he entered the NFL four years ago.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11).
Jeff Fisher was a 4:1 shot to be the first domino to fall as far as coaches on the hot seat to be fired entering December (Gus Bradley, Rex Ryan), but now that he has been relieved of his duties, Bradley can’t be far behind. Although he has been hamstrung with the inexplicably regressed Blake Bortles, whose mechanics have gone to shit; joining his decision-making, which had been there since he entered the league.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-12).
There is going to be a major shake up within the power base of this team’s front office this offseason. A complete makeover at QB is lurking, and they could be getting a new general manager, head coach, and coaching staff, potentially. The only guys who may be left standing are the owner and DeForest Buckner.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-13).
How do you talk trash to someone when your team is winless and then come out to catch only one pass for three yards all game?
Playoff Scenarios Entering Week 15 in the NFL:
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
With a win (or tie, which is not far-fetched in 2016) in Denver in Week 15, the Patriots would clinch the AFC East and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Would potentially move into the 6th seed if New England defeats Denver and Miami defeats the New York Jets.
They have all but eliminated.
New York Jets:
Just End The Season
No one can clinch anything, although if the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, the Ravens would re-assume first place in the AFC North by virtue of the head-to-head win against the Steelers, for now.
Same as the North, no clinching scenarios in Week 15.
Can clinch a playoff berth with win vs. Tennessee.
Can clinch a playoff berth with win vs. San Diego.
Can maintain the 6th seed as a Wild Card with win vs. New England
They can clinch their future home in the coming weeks, but they’re done as far as the playoffs go.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
Can clinch the NFC East with a win vs. Tampa Bay and a loss by New York Giants vs. Detroit. Can clinch homefield throughout the playoffs with a tie in the aforementioned Detroit vs. New York Giants game.
New York Giants:
With a win vs. Detroit, a loss by Washington, and losses (or ties) by Minnesota and Green Bay, the Giants will clinch a playoff berth. They would remain alive for winning the NFC East with a Dallas loss vs. Tampa Bay (in which case Dallas would then need to lose one of or both of their remaining games thereafter — with the Giants winning out, or winning two of three if Dallas loses their remaining three games including Tampa Bay); in which case the Giants would win the NFC East.
The Redskins must win out to have a realistic chance to own any tiebreakers against the other playoff hopefuls (excluding Minnesota, who they defeated).
The Lions can clinch the NFC North with a win vs. New York Giants and a Green Bay loss to Chicago. They can also clinch the division with a combination of a tie with the New York Giants and a loss by Green Bay to Chicago, and a loss or tie by Minnesota to Indianapolis.
The Packers practically need to win out and hope that the Lions lose at least two of their remaining three games (including a Week 17 head-to-head tilt).
With the way their offense has gone, the scenarios won’t much matter, but for posterity’s sake, they are in the same boat as Green Bay (with a head-to-head in Week 16, which will serve as an elimination game).
On to 2017.
No clinching scenarios, as they share identical 8-5 records with Tampa Bay (with the tiebreaker, for now, after splitting the two head-to-head match ups). With a win vs. San Francisco and a Tampa Bay loss, they would have the inside track on winning the division.
With a win vs. Dallas, and a loss (somehow) by Atlanta at home vs. San Francisco, Tampa Bay would assume the NFC South lead with a 9-5 record.
The loss to Tampa Bay virtually eliminated the Saints from playoff contention.
The Panthers were dealt their death blow in Seattle with a humiliating 40-7 loss, but rebounded to beat San Diego in Week 14. Alas, they’re on to the 2017 NFL Draft, where several players who they need to fill specific holes will be available in large quantities.
A win or tie vs. Los Angeles clinches the NFC West for Seattle. If Arizona loses or ties New Orleans in Week 15, the Seahawks would win the division regardless of the outcome of their Thursday Night Football matchup with Los Angeles.
Their hopes are hanging by the slimmest of threads. They need Seattle to lose out while they win out themselves in order to win the NFC West. And in that scenario it would come down the sixth or seventh tiebreaker to determine the outcome.
They better hope Jared Goff is the answer, because they’ve mortgaged their future for the rest of this decade by acquiring him with the number of picks they traded to draft him #1 overall in 2016. They finally let go Jeff Fisher, but the team is going to have to spend every dime possible to re-enter the NFL offensively.
If they’re tanking, it is difficult to tell some weeks, but whether they are or aren’t, they’re succeeding in doing so.