Power Rankings: NFL Week 16 (Playoff Contenders Edition)

With two weeks left in the season, NFL playoff seeding remains a mystery. Six of the eight divisional leaders lost last week, leaving the door open on all four first-round byes. In the AFC Wild Card race, the Raven’s 61-yard game-winning field goal on Monday Night kept the Dolphins and Chargers at bay. Speaking of #MNF, #WhatTheFInHeezy happened to the Lions ?!? Since Detroit took sole possession of first place in the NFC North back in Week 10, the Lions have lost four of their last five. Now that Cutler is back, and Rodgers is on the verge of returning, expect Motown to ask the bankruptcy court to liquidate Matt Stafford’s contract #DetroitShockedCity

Think of PFPod’s Rankings as the half-breed love-child of traditional “Power Rankings” and the NFL playoff format: from Best to Worst, we rank the 8 Division Leaders and 2 Wild Card Contenders from each conference. Our Top 12 rankings give you all the fun of a college poll AND a meaningful outlook on the NFL playoff picture!

Top 4: Bye-week bound Divisional Leaders

1. Seattle Seahawks. (12-2). Seattle’s highly touted defense claimed their first shutout of the season against the Giants last Sunday. It was only the second shutout recorded this entire NFL season — the last one was Carolina’s shellacking of the woeful Giants in Week 3.

2. Denver Broncos. (11-3). Thursday’s terrible loss to San Diego became terrific as soon as Tom Brady’s team dropped their divisional match at Miami. The Broncos get to enjoy three extra days rest before heading to Houston, with their one-game lead for home-field advantage still intact.

3. New England Patriots. (10-4). New England nearly lost the #2 seed on Sunday, but the Bengals bungled their bid for a bye in a pathetic performance at Pittsburgh #ThankAndyDalton

4. Carolina Panthers. (10-4). Cam Newton has been sacked 28 times in 7 road games. Compare that number to the 10 sacks he’s suffered at home in 2013. Our takeaway? Don’t expect the Saints defense to drop Newton for another 5 sacks and 49 negative yards when these teams re-unite at Carolina on Sunday.

Best of the Rest: NFL Power Rankings 5-12

5. Kansas City Chiefs. (11-3). KC’s hopes for the AFC West Title were renewed when San Diego beat Denver last week. The Chargers may have something to say about that in Week 17, however, when San Diego hosts the Chiefs for the regular season finale.

6. San Francisco 49ers. (10-4). Don’t waste your time watching the Niners’ Monday Night matchup with Atlanta #FlexScheduling4MNF

7. New Orleans Saints. (10-4). The Saints have lost four of their last five on the road. If New Orleans can’t beat Carolina this weekend, Saints’ fans should prepare for another sad ending to their Wild Card Weekend.

8. Cincinnati Bengals. (9-5). Despite losing to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati remains in sole possession of first place in the AFC North. However, a loss to Baltimore in Week 17 could cost the Bengals the divisional lead they’ve held since Week 6. #SameOldBungles

9. Baltimore Ravens. (8-6). Nothing says “READY TO REPEAT” like six FGs #YeahRight

10. Philadelphia Eagles. (8-6). I’d like to say the Eagles’ Sunday Night matchup against the Bears matters, but I’m much more interested in watching the Cowboys implode against the Skins on Sunday– aren’t you?

11. Indianapolis Colts. (9-5). Look for an even matchup between Indy’s and KC’s quarterbacks: Andrew Luck’s passing numbers look a lot more like Alex Smith’s than Peyton Manning’s #NotACompliment

12. Chicago Bears. (8-6). If I were a Bears fan, my only fear is the Week 17 matchup with Green Bay. Does anyone believe Detroit can win both of its remaining games?

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