Week 16 was full of upsets, as the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks all lost.
As a result, we go into the final week of the 2015 NFL season with several different playoff scenarios. In the AFC, a wild-card berth and the AFC South title are on the line in Week 17. The NFC playoff teams are set, but the seedings are far from decided.
Before we begin Week 17, let’s take a look at a fresh batch of NFL Power Rankings.
1. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 2): The Cardinals had a 31-0 lead on the Packers in the second quarter and put a ton of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. It was one of the most impressive performances by any team this season.
2. New England Patriots (Last week: 3): The Patriots didn’t play well against the Jets, but they’re still the AFC’s best team when as close to fully healthy as possible. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola should be ready for the playoffs.
3. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 1): Carolina’s bid for a perfect season ended with a defeat to the Falcons, but a loss should actually help the Panthers because now they don’t need to answer questions about going undefeated.
4. Denver Broncos (Last week: 7): The Broncos didn’t look great against the Bengals on Monday night and escaped with a 20-17 overtime win. Their defense still is playing at a high level, though.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 9): K.C. is the hottest team in the league with nine straight wins, but only one of those victories came against an opponent that’s currently in a playoff spot.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 5): A poor second half doomed the Bengals in Monday’s loss to the Broncos, but at least backup quarterback A.J. McCarron has looked better than expected after starter Andy Dalton went down with an injury.
7. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4): The Seahawks losing to the Rams was one of the major upsets of Week 16, but Seattle still is a team no NFC club wants to see in the Wild Card or Divisional rounds.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 6): The Steelers’ loss to the Ravens shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise despite Baltimore’s horrendous record — 11 of their last 14 meetings have been decided by three points or less.
9. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 11): The Vikings destroyed the Giants, who were without suspended wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., to clinch a playoff spot. Still, we need to see more consistency from Minnesota before declaring it a legit contender.
10. New York Jets (Last week: 10): The Jets just have to beat the Bills in Week 17 to clinch a playoff spot after a Week 16 overtime win against the Patriots.
11. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 8): The Packers are having trouble protecting Rodgers and his receivers rarely get open. Not a good combo.
12. Washington Redskins (Last week: 12): The Redskins clinched the NFC East title with an easy win over the Eagles. Washington has won four of its last five games. You like that?
13. Houston Texans (Last week: 13): A Week 17 win gives Houston the AFC South crown.
14. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 16): The Bills can’t make the playoffs, but they could spoil the Jets’ season by beating New York in Week 17.
15. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 19): If the Rams played the rest of the league like they do against the Seahawks, they’d probably be battling for a playoff spot right now.
16. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 18): The Falcons ended the Panthers’ perfect season, which probably means Mercury Morris of the ’72 Dolphins now is a huge Atlanta fan.
17. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 17): The Raiders won’t make the playoffs, but quarterback Derek Carr, rookie wideout Amari Cooper and linebacker Khalil Mack have laid an excellent foundation for future success.
18. Chicago Bears (Last week: 22): Four of the Bears’ last six losses were by three points or less. Chicago just hasn’t been able to close games.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 20): Jameis Winston playing well as a rookie and not getting into trouble off the field are huge wins for Tampa Bay.
20. Detroit Lions (Last week: 24): The Lions beat the 49ers on Sunday for their fifth win in the last seven games. It’s too little, too late, though. The 0-7 start ruined their playoff chances.
21. New York Giants (Last week: 14): Eli Manning played his worst game of the season Sunday night, throwing three interceptions.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 15): Chip Kelly’s team lost a chance at the playoffs by losing to the Redskins on Saturday night, but was it his last home game as Eagles head coach?
23. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21): The Colts saved their season, at least for now, by barely beating the Dolphins on the road to end a three-game skid. They need a win and a Texans loss — as well as a whole bunch of other stuff to happen — in Week 17 to clinch a playoff spot.
24. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 23): Dallas’ loss to Buffalo increased its chances of having a top-five draft pick, which is the goal for the Cowboys at this stage.
25. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 25): Could Week 17 be the Chargers’ last game as a San Diego franchise?
26. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 29): The Saints beat the Jaguars in one of Sunday’s most entertaining games, but their defense continued to struggle, giving up 27-plus points for the ninth time this season.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 26): Jacksonville took strides offensively this season and will be better equipped to challenge for the AFC South title next season. That’s not saying much, though.
28. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 27): Remember all of the fools who thought Miami would win the AFC East?
29. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 28): Ryan Mallett played pretty well against the Steelers on Sunday and it might give him a chance to win the backup quarterback job in Baltimore next season.
30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30): The 49ers are the lowest-scoring team in the league.
31. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 31): Johnny Manziel mistakenly throwing to one of his offensive lineman, who promptly took a knee to end the play, pretty much summed up Cleveland’s terrible season.
32. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 32): Now on the clock for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images