Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season is here, and there has been yet another shakeup in the league’s power structure. Last week seemed like it was going to form until the late Sunday afternoon window and the night game arrived to turn things upside-down in a hurry.
With only two more games left for every team, there’s room for several more changes before the regular season ends and the playoffs begin. The latest upsets shook things up at the top and created more of a muddled middle.
Without further ado, here’s how all the teams stack up from No. 1 through No. 32 in the eyes of Sporting News.
NFL power rankings
1. Baltimore Ravens, 12-2 (previous ranking: 1)
The Ravens crushed the Jets in their latest dominant victory. They are looking like the clear Super Bowl favorites and can cement that status with the AFC’s top seed in Week 16 by avenging one of their only two losses.
2. Green Bay Packers, 11-3 (3)
The Packers have been flexing their muscle with Aaron Jones and the running game plus big-play defense all season. Somehow quietly, they are a mighty contender with Aaron Rodgers, who you know will deliver as a bigger factor in the playoffs.
3. Kansas City Chiefs, 10-4 (6)
The Chiefs are back to health offensively and showing just how improved they are defensively. Patrick Mahomes is back in a groove, and they are peaking as a complete team at the ideal team. They are better than last year’s version of themselves.
4. Seattle Seahawks, 11-3 (5)
The Seahawks won big and then lost big, so they went back to playing their close games with their escape in Carolina. They don’t get a lot of style points, but the defense keeps getting key takeaways. When Chris Carson’s running sets up Russell Wilson’s downfield passing so well, they are hard to beat.
5. San Francisco 49ers, 11-3 (2)
The 49ers went into a bit of an offensive slump and got caught by the Falcons in a trap game. With key pieces missing on every level, their defense isn’t capable of shutting down opponents. They are still dangerous, though, because they can win in any way.
6. New Orleans Saints, 10-3 (4)
The Saints should like Sunday’s results, because they hold the tiebreaker over the Seahawks and not the 49ers. With their division wrapped up, they can keep focusing on upgrading their playoff seeding. They will need to keep overcoming key injuries in their defensive front seven to do it.
7. New England Patriots, 11-3 (7)
The Patriots were slow out of the gate in Cincinnati like they are in most games, and their passing still failed to light it up. But New England got rolling with its running game, big-play defense and special teams in a much-needed win game before the key rematch with the red-hot Bills.
8. Buffalo Bills, 10-4 (9)
The Bills threw down their most impressive victory of their breakout season with their defensive dominance of the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They are showing they can do all the little and big things to win games in the playoffs, too.
9. Minnesota Vikings, 10-4 (8)
The Vikings could have fallen into a trap against the Chargers, but their defense finally made enough plays to lift the offense in a tough matchup. Minnesota suffered a tough break in losing Dalvin Cook, but it’s talented enough to take the division away from Green Bay.
10. Houston Texans, 9-5 (13)
The Texans’ defense finally helped the offense, which allowed the team to control more action with Carlos Hyde and the running game. When Deshaun Watson is asked to do it all, there are limitations. They restored their confidence with a well-rounded win over the Titans.
11. Dallas Cowboys, 7-7 (16)
The Cowboys were going through the motions before the Rams game, but their defense rallied with sound covering and tackling to allow their offense to operate at its balanced, explosive best with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combining to play the closer role.
12. Tennessee Titans, 8-6 (10)
The Titans made just enough mistakes to lose to the Texans and put a damper on their recent momentum with Ryan Tannehill. The defense is springing enough leaks for one to think their second-half surge will end short of the playoffs.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-6 (12)
The Steelers have survived on defense, a timely effective running game and a few big plays in the passing game. But they play with fire every week with their limited firepower from a depleted offense. They have to dig deep to score enough to avoid a late-season crash after all the hard work they did to get back in contention.
14. Los Angeles Rams, 8-6 (11)
The Rams continue to be an enigma. Just when you thought they had figured things out offensively and had a chance to close with nasty defense, everything fell apart in Dallas. Sean McVay has done his best to find answers, but there are not enough of them with this overpriced personnel.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-7 (18)
How about Jameis Winston? Can we stop looking at the interceptions and look at his mental and physical toughness and resilience? He has the make-up to be a winner, and the Bucs are finally on the cusp of winning big with him (let’s hope so now) in 2020.
16. Philadelphia Eagles, 7-7 (20)
The Eagles somehow found a way to score the required points late to beat the Giants and the Redskins in the same week. To their credit, they are grinding and squeaking things out with a slow offense and an overmatched defense.
17. Chicago Bears, 7-7 (14)
The Bears got Mitchell Trubisky and the offense to wake up in the second half against the Packers, but there still was plenty left on the table. There might be a Year 3 together for Matt Nagy and Trubisky, but this team no longer can lean on its defense to win.
18. Indianapolis Colts, 6-7 (19)
The Colts have had a trying season of injuries, and those, not Andrew Luck’s retirement, are the real reasons they’re not competing for the AFC South crown. Frank Reich’s team still has an outside shot at a closing surge, but one more loss and it’s better luck next year.
19. Cleveland Browns, 6-8 (15)
What was that? The Browns traveled to the desert to play a bad defense, and their offense once again deserted them with dysfunction everywhere when they weren’t handing the ball to Nick Chubb. Freddie Kitchens might be getting a reprieve for this season, but we’re not sure why.
20. Oakland Raiders, 6-8 (17)
What was that? The Raiders had a comfortable, 16-3 at halftime and were playing inspired in the final game in front of the Black Hole faithful. Then they found a way to wear down against the long road-tripping Jaguars. Remember those good Year 2 vibes with Jon Gruden early in the season? Neither do we.
21. Atlanta Falcons, 5-9 (25)
Dan Quinn has proved why the Falcons needed to keep him. He is an underrated midseason adjustor and obviously a good motivator of players in a season that wasn’t going their way. You can bet it was sweet for him to beat former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s team on the road.
22. Denver Broncos, 5-9 (21)
Drew Lock has given the Broncos some excitement to finish the season, but the rookie had a reality check on the road in Kansas City. The Broncos’ defense is doing its best to hold up, and Vic Fangio looks like he is certain to get another year as coach.
23. Los Angeles Chargers, 5-9 (22)
The Chargers went from blowing out the Jaguars on the road to being routed by the Vikings at home. That’s their typical roller-coaster of a season in a nutshell. Anthony Lynn should survive as coach, but they will have a tough call to make on Philip Rivers, who has become a turnover machine.
24. New York Jets, 5-9 (23)
The Jets were grounded and pounded by the Ravens to reflect their awful road play this season. Their tough stretch continues to close the season with the Steelers and Bills back-to-back. Adam Gase’s first year isn’t exactly a disaster, but it has been messy.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-9 (26)
The Jaguars rediscovered their fight from earlier in the season after a temporary free-fall. Instead of being totally sucked into the Black Hole in Oakland, Gardner Minshew provided a spark in what still is likely the end of the Doug Marrone era.
26. Carolina Panthers, 5-9 (24)
Christian McCaffrey stamped his special season by reaching 2,000 yards from scrimmage. There are other Panthers standouts offensively, namely D.J. Moore, but unfortunately, the QB situation and defense disarray have taken away from the bright spots.
27. Arizona Cardinals, 4-9-1 (27)
Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury have given the team plenty of promise going forward, with an assist from new feature running back Kenyan Drake. The offseason priority will be fixing the defense.
28. Detroit Lions, 3-10-1 (28)
The Lions have become an offensive shell of themselves without Matthew Stafford and with a revolving door at running back. But Matt Patricia’s defense has been the biggest disappointment.
29. New York Giants, 3-11 (31)
The Giants did right by Eli Manning one more time at home to get a much-needed win that may not save Pat Shurmur. Given the right defensive upgrades, they have promise for a big turnaround in 2020.
30. Washington Redskins, 3-11 (30)
The Redskins have fought hard with Bill Callahan and spry Adrian Peterson leading the way over the past several weeks, with Dwayne Haskins also showing good development. Their next coach could turn things around in a hurry with the right help from upstairs, which is the bigger question mark.
31. Miami Dolphins, 3-11 (29)
The Dolphins have done their best with limited talent because of fiery leaders Brian Flores and Ryan Fitzpatrick. But you can’t do much when you can’t run the ball well or play good defense.
32. Cincinnati Bengals, 1-13 (32)
The Bengals have played better defense and used Joe Mixon well to take some positives out of Zac Taylor’s rookie season. The good news is that another Joe (Burrow) is on his way.