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Week 16 Power Rankings - Late Season Pushes
Chris Pokorny December 22, 2007
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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In our Week 16 NFL Power Rankings, several teams are trying to make a late-season push in the NFC to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints are still very much alive, and even the Carolina Panthers have a glimmer of hope. In the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars proved they were a top-five team after taking out the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road.

Top Riser: Carolina Panthers (No. 27 to No. 22).
Top Faller: Seattle Seahawks (No. 6 to No. 10). Power Rankings

Week 16 Power Rankings
Rank Last Wk. +/- Team Comment
1 1 - - It may have been Tom Brady's worst game of the season against the Jets, but the Patriots' perfect season still lives on comfortably. Would the team's historic season be ruined with a divisional playoffs elimination though?
2 2 - - For the first time all season, the Cowboys' offense was completely held in check. Tony Romo and company are supposed to be playing like the Packers are at this point of the season -- piling it on with confidence.
3 3 - - While the game against the Raiders was a little too close for comfort, the Colts have the freedom to rest their players if need be. Will Marvin Harrison make an appearance before the end of the regular season?
4 4 - - When the Cowboys lost to the Eagles last Sunday, all of Green Bay had to be feeling joyous. The opportunity to finish the season as the NFC's top seed is still  possibility now.
5 5 - - I picked the Jaguars to upset the Steelers last week because I felt Maurice-Jones Drew and Fred Taylor would be able to take down Pittsburgh's run defense.
6 7 +1 - It's not a coincidence: when LaDainian Tomlinson runs the ball, the Chargers start looking like the team everyone thought they were capable of being. It may not be because of Norv Turner, but the Chargers' late-season surge will make it a misery for whichever wildcard team has to face them.
7 10 +3
- I may question why Jeff Garcia was still in the fourth quarter of the Buccaneers' blowout victory over the Buccaneers, but besides that, you can't ask for a better combined effort from offense, defense, and special teams.
8 8 - - Things aren't going right for the Steelers, as they lost Willie Parker for the season on Thursday Night Football while their defense was ripped apart by the Rams. This doesn't look like a dominating football team right now, and they are the only division leaders that have yet to clinch.
9 9 - - The Browns only need one more win to clinch a playoff berth, but it'll have to come on the road against a Bengals team that always puts up points against them.
10 6 -4
- You had to believe that the Seahawks' inability to run the football would eventually come back to bite them, and it did against the Carolina Panthers last week. Unless Seattle establishes the ground attack in the final two weeks, they can't be taken as a serious postseason threat.
11 11 - - Tarvaris Jackson's three interception hiccup against the Bears could be looked at as a step backwards. However, since the team confirmed that they definitely can come together and win without him playing at his best, I was left even more impressed with the Vikings than I was heading into the week.
12 12 - - This week, the Giants take on the Buffalo Bills. In Week 17, they take on the New England Patriots. Don't rule the possibility out that the Giants won't make the postseason.
13 15 +2 - The Titans need to hope for the Browns to lose this week, but either way, winning has to remain a priority. If things go wrong with the Jaguars or the Steelers, their is still an outside chance that they can slip ahead of one of those teams.
14 18 +4
- If the Saints make the postseason, Drew Brees' amazing leadership of a team that seemed beat after an 0-4 start will be highly commended. With Aaron Stecker at running back now, the Saints, as fans have stated, have "simplified" things on offense. Funny how that can be more effective at times.
15 14 -1 - So you mean to tell me that after all of those games in which Jason Campbell played well except for the very end of a game, all Todd Collins had to do was come in, start off the game about 0-for-7 against the Giants, and pick up a victory? Even if the Redskins beat the Vikings this week, the downside is that they may only really be paving the way for the Saints to move into the sixth seed.
16 17 +1 - The emergence of Sage Rosenfels may actually be a negative heading into next season. The Texans need to have their sights set on a new running back more so than they do on who should start under center next season.
17 13 -4
- The Bills ran a screen play on fourth down without any timeouts against the Browns. That's the play they decided to run with their season on the line? Sheesh...
18 16 -2 - The Cardinals will look back at the opportunities they missed to make the postseason. This team needs to be polished; other than that, the Cardinals should be in good shape again heading into next season.
19 19 - - The Eagles may be out of the race, but Donovan McNabb knows he has a lot to play for. A strong finish to the season will either keep him in Philadelphia or earn him a starting role elsewhere.
20 20 - - It seems like decades ago that the Lions were contending for the playoffs. It's hard to believe they've lost six straight games after starting the year at 6-2. Overall though, Jon Kitna still should not receive any backlash from his 10-win prediction.
21 21 - - Who knows what to do with the Denver Broncos. Teams that play different every time they step on the field generally don't make the playoffs, and that's all that matters now.
22 27 +5
- The Panthers, somehow, are still alive in the NFC playoff race. Sure, that'll end with a loss to the Cowboys Saturday night, but at least they can have the mentality that they "still have something to play for" longer than most teams.
23 22 -1 - If losing has ruined the chemistry between T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Johnson, and Carson Palmer, then why not just cut Marvin Lewis out of the mix? Since he came to the Bengals, the team seems to have some of the worst player problems in the league, and he doesn't seem to be doing much about it.
24 23 -1 - Kyle Orton didn't disappoint against the Vikings on Monday Night. In fact, he played exactly the way he did when he won a bunch of games in his rookie season. The end result, a loss, only proves more that the Bears can't be carried by the defense this season.
25 24 -1 - The Rams' offense will be back an ready to go next season. As far as the defense goes though, I don't know if they'll ever be able to stop opposing teams from putting points on the board regularly.
26 31 +5
- Shaun Hill has provided the 49ers with renewed faith to close out the season. Unlike the Texans' situation, Hill could provide for a "good" quarterback competition with Alex Smith since Smith has yet to prove anything in the NFL.
27 28 +1 - "Josh McCown will start, but JaMarcus Russell will come off the bench." That's the quote that's getting old after about a month of hearing it. Fans don't want to see Russell for just a series or two. They want to see him for at least a half, and hopefully an entire game.
28 29 +1 - Chad Pennington isn't ruled out of the Jets' future as a starting quarterback. And, if the Jets decide to go with Kellen Clemons next season, Pennington should draw quite a bit of interest around the league.
29 25 -4
- Priority No. 1 for the Kansas City Chiefs: find a starting quarterback in the offseason. Sorry, but Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard aren't going to cut it.
30 26 -4
- When Troy Smith steps on the field for his first NFL start against the Seattle Seahawks, it'll be the first time I'll be interested in watching the Ravens play since the beginning of the season.
31 30 -1 - Even Tim Couch has to be glad that the Falcons didn't offer him a contract.
32 32 - - After the Dolphins' first win of the season, they still find themselves 13 games behind the Patriots. Hey, at least they didn't lose any ground for the first time this season, right?

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