Holiday games made the playoff race even more insane heading into the final two weeks. The Def Pen Sports team has analyzed the Week 16 games and made the needed adjustments for Week 17 of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings. The contributors to this week’s rankings are Dylan Hargis and Xavier Santos. Team names will be followed by their record and the number of spots they moved up or down from last week’s rankings.
2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17
1. Green Bay Packers 12-3 (-)
The Packers live to fight another day. It wasn’t an impressive win but with Covid running rampant throughout the league, a win is a win.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (-)
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Cheifs are fully back and poised to compete in the AFC playoff race in a few weeks. The biggest question will continue to be the defense when it comes to winning playoff games.
3. Dallas Cowboys 11-4 (-)
Dallas finally looked like the team we’ve been waiting for the past two months. Unfortunately, it appears the Washington Football Team has quit and it’s hard to distinguish whether Dallas clicked on offense or the defense mailed it in. If they look like the team we saw in the first half next week against the Cardinals, the Cowboys may be peaking at the perfect time.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-4 (-)
Antonio Brown looked like Antonio Brown and the rest of the team took care of business against a team in disarray. If Matt Rhule wants to see another year, priority one will be fixing the quarterback position.
5. Los Angeles Rams 11-4 (-)
Odell Beckham has helped fill the void left by Robert Woods. Everything in Los Angeles appears to be hanging on by a thread but if they can manage to keep things together, they have the top-end talent to beat anyone.
6. Tennessee Titans 10-5 (+2)
The Titans may just win enough games without Derrick Henry to win the division and make the playoffs. This team could make a deep run if they get their star running back healthy in time for a wildcard round matchup.
7. Arizona Cardinals 10-5 (-1)
The Cardinals got their behind handed to them by the Colts. They were outclassed, outplayed, and out-coached. This Cardinals team needs to get their act together, quickly. Kliff Kingsbury, in particular, has been especially awful in key situations. It’s possible he may be holding back a talented roster. Arizona continues to fall on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
8. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 (+2)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals took advantage of a beat-up Ravens team to take the lead in the division. This team could be very dangerous come playoff time if everything clicks at the right time.
9. Buffalo Bills 9-6 (+2)
The Bills abused the Patriots and rookie quarterback Mac Jones. With the win, the team once again controls their own destiny and can win the division as long as they win out heading into the Playoffs.
10. Indianapolis Colts 9-6 (+2)
Jonathan Taylor should at least be in the MVP conversation after the way he’s turned this offense around. Carson Wentz and the defense have also played well enough to win games. This team should easily be a wildcard team leaving the regular season.
11. New England Patriots 9-6 (-4)
Rookie quarterbacks struggle this time of year and Mac Jones is no exception. This team is probably not headed back to the Super Bowl this year at least.
12. Los Angeles Chargers 8-7 (-3)
This team is an enigma and losing to the Texans is a baffling loss. Sure Austin Ekeler was out, but this team had more than enough talent to walk away with that game. Games like this show us why this team isn’t ready.
13. Las Vegas Raiders 8-7 (+5)
The Raiders got a solid win that kept them just on the edge of the playoffs but still very much in the hunt. This team had every reason to fall apart but has managed to continue fighting late in the season.
14. San Francisco 49ers 8-7 (-1)
Jimmy Garoppolo has a sprained thumb. Is it Trey Lance time? The 49ers need a spark to climb up the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
15. Philadelphia Eagles 8-7 (+4)
Jalen Hurts can be awe-inspiring on one play and infuriating to watch on the next. He is clearly talented as a runner but his ability to throw from the pocket will be what makes or breaks the team’s season.
16. Baltimore Ravens 8-7 (-2)
The Ravens are barely clinging on to hope that they can make the playoffs at this point. Injuries and COVID-19 have devastated the team at this point. Health will make or break the team in the last two weeks.
17. Cleveland Browns 7-8 (-2)
Baker Mayfield probably had his worst game ever as an NFL quarterback and that’s no easy feat. This team probably needs to move on from him this offseason and find someone that can play with the team’s talent.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1 (-2)
That was just sad to watch and the Steelers should be ashamed of themselves after that game. This entire team needs a reality check. The Steelers continue to fall on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
19. Denver Broncos 7-8 (-2)
The Broncos are clearly a quarterback away from being a seriously good contending team in the AFC West. This team has young talent all across the field and they need to address who plays under center this offseason.
20. Miami Dolphins 8-7 (+1)
The Dolphins are a winning football team now with a chance at making the playoffs. That is surprising news, but to make it they face a tall order in their last two games against the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots.
21. Atlanta Falcons 7-8 (+3)
The Falcons have a path to the playoffs. While fans and team officials would love to see that happen, they would be sacrificing their future in exchange for the right to get trounced in the first round.
22. Minnesota Vikings 7-8 (-)
The Vikings should move on from Kirk Cousins. They will, however, move on from Mike Zimmer. He has cost them games and spots on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
23. New Orleans Saints 7-8 (-)
It may be safe to say that Ian Book is not a capable NFL starting quarterback. Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers may have actually given the team a chance, but they decided to stay retired. The Saints may need to finish 7-10 for the sake of their NFL Draft order.
24. Washington Football Team 6-9 (-4)
Teammate on teammate violence aside, that was one of the more pitiful performances by any team this season. Everyone in the organization should be embarrassed after what they put on tape.
25. Chicago Bears 5-10 (+3)
This team managed to win a game, but at this point that hurts them more than it helps them. Matt Nagy still needs to be fired the day after the regular season ends.
26. Seattle Seahawks 5-10 (-1)
If I’m Russell Wilson, I use injury as an excuse to sit out the remaining games. There’s no reason for him to continue to put his health at risk for a team going nowhere.
27. Carolina Panthers 5-10 (-1)
It’s impossible to judge this team until they get a quarterback. They will probably be competing with the Dolphins for the services of one DeShaun Watson this offseason.
28. Houston Texans 4-11 (+1)
This team surprised everyone on Sunday by beating a Chargers team that needs to win to make the playoffs. We didn’t see that one coming.
29. New York Jets 4-11 (+1)
They beat the Jaguars, so we aren’t impressed with them this week. That being said they still move up the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
30. New York Giants 4-11 (-3)
The Giants recently announced that both Daniel Jones and Joe Judge will be returning. With no franchise quarterback available through the draft, the decision makes sense. It also seems to signal that Dave Gettleman is all but gone.
31. Detroit Lions 2-12-1 (-)
An evergreen blurb. The Lions played hard in a closer than you would have thought.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-13 (-)
This team is barely an NFL team at this point. How do they even have two wins at this point?
* The biggest movers of the week were the Las Vegas Raiders (+5), the New England Patriots (-4), and the Washington Football Team (-4) *