2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

Updated: December 23, 2014, 12:34 PM ET

ESPN.com

Week:

 

Patriots or Seahawks? ESPN’s Power Panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) was somewhat torn.

 New England ended up holding serve at No. 1, but an unconvincing victory over the lowly Jets (No. 29) clearly affected its appeal. An overwhelming choice last week, Tom Brady & Co. received only 10 more first-place votes than the surging Seahawks, who earned plenty of style points in a rout of Arizona.

 The Packers moved up one spot to No. 3, as the Cowboys and Broncos round out the top five. The Bengals’ dramatic Monday night win was good for a three-spot gain to No. 8.

 So whom should we expect to reign supreme next week, which will be our final 2014 edition? Week 17 pits the Patriots against the Bills and Seahawks against the Rams. If both powers prevail, it could come down to which one looks more impressive in the process.

 • SN: Rank ‘Em | Vegas Rankings Insider | Team Power Rankings charts since 2002

 

2014 Power Rankings: Week 17
RANK TEAM / RECORD TRENDING COMMENTS
1

Last Week: 1

Tom Brady’s 3.9 yards-per-dropback average Sunday was his third game under 4.0 in the past five seasons. But the road to Glendale still goes through Foxborough.
2
 

1
Last Week: 3

Richard Sherman’s interception Sunday night was the 24th of his career, most of any player since he entered the league in 2011. Seattle is heating up at the right time.
3
Packers
11-4
 

1
Last Week: 4

Aaron Rodgers was a combined 20-of-23 for 244 yards and a touchdown targeting Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson on Sunday, his highest completion percentage this season targeting the duo (87.0 percent).
4
Cowboys
11-4
 

2
Last Week: 6

Tony Romo is Dallas’ all-time leader in passing yards and has the best Total QBR in the league. Is this the Cowboys’ year? Or are they in prime position for heartbreak?
5
Broncos
11-4
 

3
Last Week: 2

Peyton Manning threw three fourth-quarter interceptions for the second time in his career (Week 6 of 2000 against Patriots). Manning’s 24.1 Total QBR was his second-lowest in a Denver jersey.
6
Lions
11-4
 

2
Last Week: 8

Detroit won despite Matthew Stafford’s best efforts to blow it. Stafford had two red zone interceptions Sunday after throwing two in his previous 32 games combined.
7
 

3
Last Week: 10

Pittsburgh is in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Steelers can take it a step further and win the AFC North by beating Cincinnati in Week 17.
8
Bengals
10-4-1
 

3
Last Week: 11

Jeremy Hill rushed for 147 yards Monday, the most the Broncos have allowed to a player this season, including 103 yards after contact (second most by anyone this season).
9
 

4
Last Week: 5

Add 44 more passes to Ryan Lindley’s career total, and he still hasn’t thrown a touchdown. Elias says Lindley’s 225 career passes are the most without a score in NFL history.
10
Colts
10-5
 

3
Last Week: 7

Sunday was the worst game of Andrew Luck’s career, by both traditional measures (career-low 109 passing yards) and Total QBR (career-worst 11.2). Can Indy be successful limping into the playoffs?
11
 

3
Last Week: 14

Philip Rivers had two picks and two completions on passes more than 5 yards downfield in the first half Saturday, but he was 5-for-5 with two touchdowns to Antonio Gates after halftime.
12
Ravens
9-6

Last Week: 12

Joe Flacco completed 35.9 percent of his throws past the line of scrimmage Sunday, the fifth-worst completion percentage of his career. Not a good time to underwhelm.
13
Eagles
9-6
 

4
Last Week: 9

Thirteen accepted penalties Saturday, most by Philly since 2010. Two missed field goals in a three-point loss. Season-high four drops. Just a brutal game from the Eagles when it mattered most.
14
Chiefs
8-7
 

1
Last Week: 13

Alex Smith was 15-of-20 for 181 yards targeting wide receivers Sunday, doubling his season average (five) for first downs in a game to wideouts (10). Still no touchdowns, though.
15
Texans
8-7
 

3
Last Week: 18

J.J. Watt recorded his 54th sack Sunday, breaking Mario Williams’ franchise record in 19 fewer games. Chances are high he’s got a few more in him.
16

Last Week: 16

Just when you think you’re out, he drags you back in. Ryan Tannehill set career highs in completions, yards and touchdowns against four or fewer rushers in Sunday’s win.
17
Bills
8-7
 

2
Last Week: 15

Blitz! When Buffalo blitzed Derek Carr on Sunday, he was 2-of-12 for 12 yards and a sack (with a touchdown). When they didn’t, he was 15-of-22 for 202 yards and a touchdown.
18
49ers
7-8
 

1
Last Week: 17

Frank Gore had 158 rushing yards Saturday night, and San Francisco’s 243 yards inside the tackles were its most in the past five seasons. How did the 49ers lose?
19
Panthers
6-8-1
 

3
Last Week: 22

Jonathan Stewart’s rushing didn’t just help the Panthers, it also helped Cam Newton on Sunday. Newton was 12-of-17 for 113 yards and a touchdown on play-action passes (6-of-14 on non-play-action passes).
20
 

4
Last Week: 24

Matt Ryan was 7-of-8 for 107 yards targeting Julio Jones Sunday. Ryan averaged twice as many yards per attempt to Jones than every other Falcon combined.
21
Browns
7-8

Last Week: 21

Johnny Manziel didn’t play very long (10 action plays) Sunday, but his first two games have gone worse (1.8 QBR) than any other quarterback’s first two in the past nine years.
22
Giants
6-9
 

3
Last Week: 25

Only Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas have more catches and yards since Week 5 than Odell Beckham, who has had at least one 25-yard play in his last eight games.
23

Last Week: 23

Teddy Bridgewater threw for 259 yards with two touchdowns as Minnesota put up 35 points on Miami (sixth in QBR allowed this year). The offense looks close to stabilized.
24
Saints
6-9
 

5
Last Week: 19

There’s still one more game in an underwhelming season in the bayou. Would a dominant performance against the 2-13 Buccaneers help or hurt the mood of Saints fans?
25
Rams
6-9
 

5
Last Week: 20

The pass rush has been built, with 3.6 sacks per game since Week 7 (second-best in the NFL), but Eli Manning completed six passes at least 15 yards downfield Sunday.
26
Bears
5-10

Last Week: 26

Losers of four straight games, the Bears will face some tough decisions after this week. Before 2014, the Bears hadn’t lost 10 games since Lovie Smith’s first season.
27
 

1
Last Week: 28

Something to build on in Washington? Robert Griffin III was 2-of-3 on throws at least 30 yards downfield to DeSean Jackson. Griffin was 2-of-10 deep all year before Saturday.
28
Raiders
3-12
 

3
Last Week: 31

Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers against Buffalo’s four-man rush: 50.0 completion percentage, 6.1 yards per attempt, three interceptions. Derek Carr: 68.2 completion percentage, 9.2 yards per attempt, touchdown, no picks.
29
Jets
3-12
 

2
Last Week: 27

If Rex Ryan is gone, no one will be happier than Tom Brady. New York equaled Brady’s season high for sacks in a game (four) before halftime.
30
Jaguars
3-12

Last Week: 30

One of the (many) areas for improvement is the secondary. Jacksonville’s defense has five interceptions this season in 506 pass attempts, the second-lowest percentage in the league.
31
 

2
Last Week: 29

Tampa Bay has reached 20 points in one of its past 10 games, a 27-7 win over the Redskins that featured a pick-six by Johnthan Banks. That’s a bad offense.
32
Titans
2-13

Last Week: 32

With strength of schedules so close, the race for the top draft pick is too close to call. Via a pick or free agency, the quarterback situation needs addressing somehow.
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2 Responses to “2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17”

  1. andrea says:

    Looks like the 96 million dollar man is number 5 in the rankings and sinking.

    Do I hear the sound of someone choking in the near future?

    I’ve heard and seen the choking sound so many times before – the last time was last years Super Bowl.

  2. Shaztah says:

    He sure choked in his last game. We all know that he is a good regular season QB but is bad when it matters most.Hope Denver fans have enjoyed their regular season success because many of them abandoned Tim and turned against him.

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