2016 NFL Week 17 Powre Rankings/Playoff Scenarios
1. New England Patriots (13-2).
They’re not good enough defensively for people to be putting them in the Super Bowl before the playoffs even begin.
2. Dallas Cowboys (13-2).
Same. And, like New England, get to play with the refs aiding them virtually every game.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4).
The Chiefs play too much in spurts offensively and it should not be. It could be their downfall come playoff time.
4. Oakland Raiders (12-3).
Do you trust Matt McGloin (!!!) with the Raiders’ playoff hopes?
5. New York Football Giants (10-5).
The Giants have been stuck in second gear all season offensively and, as such, should not be “resting starters” with so many offensive kinks to work out before they enter the playoffs. The way they’ve played offensively all year is not sustainable, and is conducive to a quick playoff exit.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5).
The Steelers got hot at the right time, going from 4-5 to winning six in a row and clinching the division vs. Baltimore in Week 16. With their #3 seed cemented, they will rest Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell during Week 17.
7. Atlanta Falcons (10-5).
Much is made about the Falcons’ offense, and justifiably so, but the right defense against it has stifled Matt Ryan and their passing game to their running backs (which is particularly destructive to opponents), but their defense comes up with timely plays often enough that they can win in the long run. You can’t depend on it, but they don’t have to be a Top 5 defense to win, either.
8. Miami Dolphins (10-5).
“The Miami Dolphins” (John Facenda Voice).
9. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1).
Between injuries, offensive line play and fireable play calling by Darrell Bevell, this team has a lot of issues at the worst possible time.
10. Detroit Lions (9-6).
The Lions got robbed in royal fashion in Dallas, all to set up a winner-take-all scenario in Week 17 vs. Green Bay.
11. Houston Texans (9-6).
The Texans have clinched the AFC South, not a major accomplishment, and not one to be enthralled with, as the consolation is LIKELY to be the Chiefs, Dolphins or Raiders (who can still beat them without Derek Carr).
12. Green Bay Packers (9-6).
Gotta love the way the refs have aided the Packers’ run ever since Aaron Rodgers said they could win out.
13. Washington Redskins (8-6-1).
They need a win and help to make the playoffs, and the Giants aren’t giving them that help.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7).
The Bucs were in prime position to make the playoffs heading into Week 15 and blew it with shoddy play (more so due to key injuries to important players) in back to back weeks.
15. Tennessee Titans (8-7).
They made strides this season, but they were always going to be at least one year away with their subpar receiving corps and secondary.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-7).
They have the same issues as Tennessee. Basically chased Steve Smith into retirement.
17. Denver Broncos (8-7).
How this team’s offense went into a complete shell just boggles the mind.
18. Indianapolis Colts (7-8).
19. New Orleans Saints (7-8).
Once again, the refs help the Saints to win another game at home.
20. Minnesota Vikings (7-8).
21. Philadelphia Eagles (6-9).
Easily some of the worst/slanted officiating seen in years in their game vs. New York Giants last week.
22. Buffalo Bills (7-8).
Rex Ryan has finally been put out of his misery.
23. Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1).
Where has that kind of performance been all season? At least more than one game at a time, that is?
24. Carolina Panthers (6-9).
The Panthers laid down for the Falcons.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12).
Naturally, once Gus Bradley is fired, the Jags open up offensively and Blake Bortles looks semi-competent as a quarterback again.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1).
Shutting down AJ Green is understandable, so is the decision to (ostensibly) keep Marvin Lewis. At least for one more season.
27. Chicago Bears (3-12).
John Fox is right, considering the plethora of major injuries to key players and how many close games they’ve played, most people don’t realize how close they are to being good. That said, you cannot depend on this team’s front office to make the proper personnel moves in the offseason. They haven’t in a long time, although the 2015 offseason’s grades are incomplete for now.
28. San Diego Chargers (5-10).
They shouldn’t even move this team, they should FOLD it.
29. San Francisco 49ers (2-13).
They finally won a game. They can’t even tank properly.
30. Los Angeles Rams (4-11).
It is baffling how bad this team is offensively.
31. New York Jets (4-11).
The Jets didn’t quit on Todd Bowles as much as they quit playing hard because Ryan Fitzpatrick threw away their season before it was even halfway over.
32. Cleveland Browns (1-14).
You know it’s an agenda-driven league when the refs were clearly instructed to do everything in their power to get the Browns off the schneid and a win against San Diego. Holy Mother the 4th quarter alone.
Week 17 Playoff Scenarios
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
New England Patriots.
Can clinch #1 seed in AFC playoffs with win. Can also clinch #1 seed with Raiders loss. With loss and Raiders win, New England will still have at minimum, a first-round bye and the #2 seed.
Miami needs a win vs. New England and a Kansas City loss to San Diego to clinch the #5 seed to face Houston in Houston. Any other scenario resigns the Fins to the #6 seed.
Officially eliminated during their game with Miami in Week 16.
New York Jets.
Yet again, Just End The Season.
Clinched AFC North with win vs. Baltimore in Week 16. Solidified #3 seed as a result of the remaining games in Week 16.
Officially eliminated following loss to Pittsburgh, and as a result of games on Saturday preceding their Sunday afternoon game in Pittsburgh.
Can clinch no worse than #2 seed in Week 17.
Texans clinched AFC South with Tennessee loss to Jacksonville and their own win vs. Cincinnati.
Officially eliminated as a result of loss and Houston win in Week 16.
Officially eliminated as a result of loss to Oakland.
They should be much better next year, but we’ve heard this for years. Maybe Tom Coughlin will spearhead that resurgence.
Raiders can clinch the AFC West with win in Denver in Week 17. Can clinch overall #1 seed with win and New England loss to Miami. Would be #5 seed with loss and Kansas City win vs. San Diego. Would be #2 seed and a much-needed first-round bye with win and New England win.
Kansas City Chiefs.
Can clinch AFC West with win and Oakland loss to Denver. Can clinch #2 seed as a result. Would slip to #5 seed with Oakland win, coupled with Kansas City loss and Miami loss. Chiefs would fall to #6 seed with loss and Miami win.
Officially eliminated with loss to Kansas City in Week 16.
San Diego Chargers.
They should fold this team.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
Clinched #1 seed and first-round playoff bye.
New York Football Giants.
Solidified #5 seed in NFC playoffs. Would play either Atlanta, Green Bay, Detroit or Seattle, depending on Week 17 outcomes; each scenario would land Giants on the road.
Need win vs. New York Giants and anything but a tie between Green Bay and Detroit in Week 17 to clinch playoff berth. If Washington ties New York, Green Bay and Tampa Bay must lose to Detroit and Carolina, respectively, or the Bucs must tie the Panthers in this scenario.
Can clinch NFC North with win in Week 17 vs. Green Bay. Can clinch #2 seed and first-round bye with win and losses by Seattle (vs. San Francisco) and Atlanta (vs. New Orleans). Would be #4 seed with win and wins by the aforementioned, while with a loss, the Lions would be the #6 seed with loss by Washington.
Green Bay Packers.
Clinch NFC North with win in Week 17 in Detroit. Scenarios are similar for Detroit, minus any ties.
Officially eliminated following loss to Green Bay.
On to the 2017 Draft.
Clinched NFC South with win and Tampa Bay loss in Week 16. Currently #2 seed, and would solidify that seeding and a first-round playoff bye with win and losses by Seattle and Green Bay. Would own strength of victory tiebreaker over Detroit with wins by both. Would be #4 seed with loss and wins by Green Bay and Seattle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay would be officially eliminated with loss in every possible scenario.
With win vs. Carolina, they would need wins by Detroit (Green Bay), Tennessee (Houston; resting starters), Indianapolis (Jacksonville), Dallas (Philadelphia), San Francisco (Seattle), and Washington (Giants) to tie in order to make the playoffs. Most of these are plausible. Washington and New York playing to a tie is the most implausible of them all.
New Orleans Saints.
Officially eliminated as a result of 1 pm games on Saturday.
Officially eliminated in Week 16.
After losing in Week 16, they must win vs. San Francisco and have a loss (or tie) by Atlanta in order to reclaim the #2 seed and a first-round playoff bye. If both Seattle and Atlanta win, Atlanta would own the head-to-head tiebreaker despite having one fewer win (one of the scenarios when a tie hampers you in the end) and Seattle would be the #3 seed and host the #6 seed in the Wild Card round.
Everyone else in the NFC West has been officially eliminated for weeks.