NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 12 of the 2016 season.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Follow @walterfootball.

I’ve gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don’t see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don’t worry; the Browns and 49ers aren’t my top teams.

Updated: Nov. 22

  1. San Francisco 49ers (1-9) – Previously: 32.
    It’s sad that the 49ers pushing against the Patriots for the Supercontest line is one of the best things they’ve done all season. The good news for San Francisco fans is that they’ll be able to enjoy this flick sometime soon:

  2. Cleveland Browns (0-11) – Previously: 31.
    I considered dropping the Browns to No. 32, as Josh McCown will have to start the next few games, but I just can’t do it. Cleveland has been competitive in way too many games, so I’ll wait. Besides, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Browns will pull the upset against one of the Giants, Bengals or Bills.

    Anyway, let’s do an update for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, will accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:

    Terrelle Pryor’s Race for 1,800:

    Current Receiving Yards: 724
    Currently on Pace for: 1,053
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 215.2

    Can Pryor put together a string of five consecutive 215-yard performances (with one 216-yard game)? Can’t wait to find out!

  3. Chicago Bears (2-8) – Previously: 28.
    Underrated NFL Team: Excluding the Chargers and Bengals, the Bears have endured the most-difficult strength of schedule in the NFL this season. Now, that wouldn’t matter if they were awful, but they most definitely are not. Chicago’s defense is outstanding, and as a result, the team has been very competitive in most games this year. The Bears were missing several players on their stop unit earlier in the year – most got hurt in that blood bath of a game versus the Eagles on a Monday night – but they’re mostly back now, which would explain how the Bears have been able to thwart some opposing offenses they’ve battled recently.

    Never mind. The Bears lost Jay Cutler for the year in all likelihood, meaning Matt Barkley will have to start. I considered moving them to No. 32 because Barkley is so bad.

  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) – Previously: 30.
    I have to give Matvei a shout out for convincing me not to spend any of my hard-earned money on the Jaguars, who once again bungled away a victory with stupid mistakes.

    The Jaguars do have a purpose, however, and that is to amuse us. Someone on Twitter named @ColeFartley made this amazing video:

  5. New York Jets (3-7) – Previously: 29.
    There was a report during the week that Todd Bowles would have to start Ryan Fitzpatrick over Bryce Petty, or he’d lose the locker room. The reasoning was that the veterans felt as though Fitzpatrick gave them a better chance to win.

    Wow. Whoever these idiot players are, they should understand that New York needs to see what it has in Petty (or Christian Hackenberg) so that the front office can make the right decision this offseason. And who cares about wins now? Why ruin a chance to land Leonard Fournette, or even Myles Garrett? Besides, how does Fitzpatrick offer a substantial upgrade over Petty when it comes to winning? Fitzpatrick sucks!

  6. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) – Previously: 19.
    I posted Disaster Grades for the Bengals losing A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. R.I.P. 2016 Cincinnati Bengals.

  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) – Previously: 27.
    What a win at Kansas City! The Buccaneers, now 5-5, have a legitimate chance to win the division – the Falcons are just 6-4 – or perhaps claim a wild-card spot if the Redskins or Giants stumble. More importantly, if Tampa finishes 2-4 or better, I will win my over 6.5 wins bet that I placed in Las Vegas this summer. I’m sure all of you care so much about that!

    Can the Buccaneers get to seven victories? Here’s their remaining schedule: Seahawks (ugh), at Chargers (ugh), Saints (meh), at Cowboys (ugh), at Saints (ugh), Panthers (meh).

    Looks like I’m going to lose some money!

  8. Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) – Previously: 21.
    Bruce Arians was hospitalized with chest pains Monday, which was probably sparked by how furious he was at the officials throughout the Minnesota game. That’s how bad the refs have been this year. They’ve now sent two coaches to the hospital. Good job not employing officials full time, Roger Goodell. Soon enough, your entire workforce will be hospitalized.

    At any rate, it’s safe to say that the Cardinals are done. It was actually safe to say that back in August, when Carson Palmer looked like garbage in the preseason. He’s definitely washed up, and Arizona needs to begin thinking about long-term plans at the position. Perhaps Tony Romo will save the day.

  9. Houston Texans (6-4) – Previously: 25.
    I’ve had the Texans as overrated for weeks now, but considering that they’ve been hearing about how much they suck, I suppose I can’t list them as such anymore. Besides, they definitely could have beaten the Raiders. Scratch that. They should have beaten the Raiders, but were screwed over by horrible officiating and laser pointers. Freaking laser pointers! Afterward, Scott Van Pelt said that he didn’t know how to stop something like that. Here’s an idea: Announce to the crowd that anyone who correctly turns in someone who had a green laser pointer gets a billion pesos, though that probably translates to $7.16. Damn it, Van Pelt was right.

  10. Carolina Panthers (4-6) – Previously: 20.
    It’s crazy how the Panthers continue to be overvalued by the sportsbooks. They’ve gotten so much respect, as they’ve been favored by a field goal or more against teams that are better than them. I realize that the Saints needed a comeback to get within three, but some fluky turnovers caused New Orleans to be in a deficit in the first place.

    Oh, and here’s another reason why Carolina’s season is in the crapper:

    What the hell…? His shoes have their own tails! I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with this, but Newton’s taste in clothing is very strange, to say the least. It’s so bad, in fact, that I believe it could be a distraction. If you’re playing on the Panthers, how can you possibly concentrate on football when your quarterback shows up wearing shoes with tails!?

  11. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) – Previously: 26.
    Underrated NFL Team: I think the Colts are trending into underrated territory for the first time all year. I don’t normally like designating a team as underrated following a victory, but it doesn’t seem like the public understands what happened to Indianapolis. The Colts have gotten some of its better players back from injury. This includes Mike Adams, a stellar safety, and Jack Mewhort, the team’s best offensive lineman. Also, some of the Colts’ young players have been playing better than some of the veteran scrubs they replaced, which includes speedy linebacker Edwin Jackson and cornerback Rashaan Melvin. The Colts have been pretty impressive ever since their blowout home loss to the Chiefs, upsetting the Packers and handling business at home versus the Titans.

  12. Miami Dolphins (6-4) – Previously: 18.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Dolphins were once incredibly underrated. They were 1-4, but were getting all of their talented offensive linemen back from injury. Now, at 6-4, Miami is very overrated. Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey and Laremy Tunsil are now hurt again. That’s precisely why the Dolphins did absolutely nothing versus the Rams until very late when Los Angeles self-destructed with horrific personal-foul penalties. Miami won’t win very many games with a banged-up blocking unit.

  13. Los Angeles Rams (4-6) – Previously: 22.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Rams were the better team in their matchup against the Dolphins – until the final five minutes when they began self-destructing with stupid penalties. Earlier, most people may have missed the fact that the Rams were without two of their defensive studs, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers, against the Bills and Lions. Despite this, Los Angeles and Buffalo were tied at 16 late in the game when Case Keenum lofted a horrible pick-six. The same thing occurred against the Lions. Los Angeles was the better team against the Giants, but just killed itself with dumb mistakes. After that, the Rams outgained the Panthers in terms of yards per play, 5.1-3.9, but some blunders ended up costing them.

  14. New York Giants (7-3) – Previously: 24.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Giants might just be the worst 7-3 team of all time. I don’t understand how they keep lucking out like this. They would’ve lost to the Bears had Chicago not seen Josh Sitton, Zach Miller and Tracy Porter all get knocked out before the halfway point of the third quarter; Chicago was winning at halftime, but then the injuries happened. The Giants trailed for most of the second half against the Bengals at home. They were outgained by a whole yard per play against the Eagles, but were able to win because of Doug Pederson stupidity. They only won in London because the Rams wrecked themselves with dumb mistakes, and they probably wouldn’t have prevailed against Baltimore had the Ravens not lost Jimmy Smith and Terrell Suggs in the second half. Prior to that, the Giants were not competitive against the Vikings or Packers. It would make more sense to me if they were 3-7 or 4-6 right now, as they can’t block or run the ball.

  15. Detroit Lions (6-4) – Previously: 17.
    I still can’t get over the fact that the Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter of ever game this year. That’s a pretty dubious fact, and I’d be way down on the Lions if it weren’t for the fact that DeAndre Levy will be returning soon. It sounds like Levy will be back after Thanksgiving. I’ve tried to scour Twitter for any updates on the Levy injury, but all I could find is feedback for Levy calling Joe Paterno a dirtbag for failing to report Jerry Sandusky’s wrongdoings, even though Paterno… did… report… it… to… the… police… ugh, I’m not going to argue with people brainwashed by the media again, so just forget I said anything.

  16. Green Bay Packers (4-6) – Previously: 16.
    The Packers are a mess, and I learned that the hard way Sunday night when I saw five units go down the drain. You have to wonder what happened to make things so bad. Hmm… I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    *** Back in late February 2016… ***

    Ted Thompson: Hey, Mike, thanks for joining me for our pre-free agency meeting. We have lots to go over.

    Mike McCarthy: Hey Ted, I’m thinking about growing out my beard this season. I’m going to have a sexy gray beard.

    Ted Thompson: Oh OK, hey, Derek Anderson, what are you doing here?

    Derek Anderson: Heeyeye guguyysys I’mmm heheerree totoo heheellp I lvovoovee ffrree aggnennccyy eeveerr siiincnce I straartted pplalayyiinng Mmadddeenn frrananchise moodode hic! Trryry thiisis it’lll makkkee yoouu thtiinkkk bebeettter hic!

    Ted Thompson: That sounds good, Derek. I am parched, and I’m sure Mike is as well. What do you think, Mike?

    Mike McCarthy: Hey Derek, I’m thinking about growing out my beard this season. I’m going to have a sexy gray beard.

    *** Ten minutes later… ***

    Ted Thompson: Ookkkk MMiieiekkek fififirrssttt nananammee ooonn thrhee llisisist Ccasseyey HHaaaayyywaardd whwhwatat kkindndnd oofoff nnanamme isiiss Cassseeeyy sosounnnds gayayay lleett’s cucucut himmmm!

    Mike McCarthy: I”mmm thtiinkkiingng ababbout grorowiwingn oouutut bebeeardd gogognnna hahavevev seexxxyy ggrraayay bbeearrddd hic!

    Ted Thompson: Nnenexxtt nanammeme Trraammoon Wiilliiammss. Trammoinnn mmooree likkke coommee oonnnmaananna hahaha I cananan bbeee ooonn EEESSPSNNNNs!

    Mike McCarthy: I’mmmg ogognnnaa haavvavee a sseexxxyy grrayayay bebebardd affterr I groroeowow iititit ooouutt!

    Ted Thompson: Jjososhh Siititotonn whaaattt aaa llaazzyyz bummmm. Ssiiitt? Hiissis nanamme shshouldld beeee Sttaannddoon. CUutut himmm noowowow hic! Mike McCarthy: Evveyyryroooneneng goonnana loovovoee mmmyyy ssexxxyy grraayay bbbeeaardd.

  17. Baltimore Ravens (5-5) – Previously: 23.
    The Ravens lost control of sole possession of the AFC North, but they did play well at Dallas. They actually outgained the Cowboys in terms of yards per play, 7.1-6.2. They dominated the trenches in the first half and utterly confused Dak Prescott. However, the Cowboys were able to grind them out, as they’ve been doing to everyone this year, and they even got the bulls*** covering field goal at the very end, to boot.

  18. Tennessee Titans (5-6) – Previously: 15.
    A major reason the Titans have been competitive this year has been their offensive line. That’s why Taylor Lewan’s knee injury could potentially be back-breaking for Tennessee’s playoff chances, as if the loss to Indianapolis wasn’t enough. Lewan will undergo an MRI on his knee – the results unknown as of this writing – so if he misses some action, the Titans won’t be nearly as potent as they’ve been in some recent games.

  19. New Orleans Saints (4-6) – Previously: 12.
    The Saints should have beaten the Broncos. Forget the fact that they lost on their game-winning touchdown and had to endure a poor call by the officials on the blocked extra-point return. They outgained the Broncos in yards per play by a margin of 7.3 to 4.1! The Saints also outgained the Panthers in terms of yards per play, 5.2-3.6, but sloppy turnovers once again did them in. If all of the offensive players could stop pulling a Jay Cutler and resist give-aways, they could get back on the right track.

  20. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) – Previously: 14.
    The Eagles wouldn’t have won in Seattle if Nelson Agholor wasn’t guilty of his multiple blunders, but it at least would’ve been a lot closer, as Agholor’s mistakes ended up costing the offense at least 100 yards and a touchdown. It’s ridiculous to me that the Eagles took this long to replace him with Paul Turner, who was awesome in the preseason. Turner should’ve been on the field over Agholor in Week 1.

    Speaking of Agholor, I enjoyed this tweet:

  21. Buffalo Bills (5-5) – Previously: 13.
    I’m not sure if Stephon Gilmore’s great performance against the Bengals was the result of A.J. Green being out of the lineup, or if it was him rounding back to previous, dominant form. The Bills will definitely be hoping it’s the latter, as they’ll need Gilmore playing on a high level down the stretch. Considering that they have to catch at least one 7-3 team to get a wild-card berth, they can only afford one loss, at most.

    Their remaining schedule looks like this: vs. Jaguars, at Raiders, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, vs. Dolphins, at Jets. That’s actually less daunting than it first appears to be, considering that the Raiders play poorly at home, while the Steelers aren’t at their best on the road.

  22. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) – Previously: 11.
    I found it odd that the narrative entering the Arizona game was that the Vikings were done. They were getting lots of defensive players back from injury, which the public ignored because none of them were on their fantasy team. Besides, if there was a team that was done in that matchup, it was Arizona. Minnesota will be competitive down the stretch, barring more injuries. It’ll also help if Sharrif Floyd ever comes back from injury, but at this point, it seems like his return date is going to be June 6, 2017.

    (Bonus points to anyone who understands the significance of that date.)

  23. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) – Previously: 10.
    Overrated NFL Team: Of all the overrated NFL teams, the Falcons are the least-egregious. However, I can’t get over how they were bullied in the trenches by a Philadelphia team that was stomped on by the Seahawks. Even Atlanta’s victory over Tampa wasn’t overly impressive, as the Buccaneers were up, 14-13, prior to losing their starting center. Prior to that, the Falcons beat the Packers in the final minute, but that’s looking so much less impressive in the wake of Green Bay’s struggles since that game.

  24. San Diego Chargers (4-6) – Previously: 9.
    Underrated NFL Team: In the wake of their latest loss to the Dolphins, I can go back to calling the Chargers underrated. They’ve endured some horrible luck this year and could easily be 7-3, 8-2 or even 9-1 right now. That misfortune continued at Denver a couple of weeks ago, where a couple of tipped passes and bad goal-line play-calling decided the game. The Miami contest was weird; the Chargers looked like they were going to win, but Philip Rivers uncharacteristically self-destructed in the fourth quarter. San Diego’s defense is much better now with Joey Bosa on the field, as he has been absolutely dominant.

  25. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) – Previously: 5.
    Kansas City losing to the Buccaneers was not a good look, but the team probably would’ve prevailed had Alex Smith not fired that ugly interception into the end zone. Then again, that’s like saying Rosie O’Donnell wouldn’t be 500 pounds overweight if she didn’t eat all of those cakes. Smith, as usual, will be Kansas City’s downfall, though I expect the Chiefs to rebound with Marcus Peters due back. Peters’ absence against the Buccaneers was huge, as the Chiefs didn’t have anyone to deal with Mike Evans otherwise.

  26. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) – Previously: 4.
    I listed the Steelers No. 4 in my power rankings last week, but that was before Cameron Heyward was ruled out for the year. I loved the Steelers as an underrated team – they are now 5-2 with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger – but Heyward’s absence will be felt against legitimate NFL competition (i.e. not the Browns), as he was Pittsburgh’s best defensive player.

  27. Denver Broncos (7-3) – Previously: 7.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Broncos became known as a great team because of two marquee victories to begin the season. The first was against the Panthers, who started 1-5. Graham Gano whiffed on a kick, which would’ve given Carolina the victory. The second was at Cincinnati, a team that has been a disappointment this year as well. Plus, the Bengals had to play in four days. Since then, the Broncos won at Tampa (everyone does that), beat the Texans in a game that was 14-9 late in the third quarter prior to a Houston fumble deep in Denver territory, avenged a loss to the Chargers with the help of numerous tipped interceptions and bad goal-line play-calling, and beat the Saints in a game in which they were dominated because of fluky Michael Thomas fumbles and a blocked extra point. The Broncos are a good team because of their defense, but they were never great.

  28. Washington Redskins (6-3-1) – Previously: 8.
    It’d be great if we could see an excellent game between the Cowboys and the Redskins, but unfortunately, Washington seems to be at a competitive disadvantage because of the scheduling. For some reason, the NFL thought it would be a good idea for the Redskins to play on a Sunday night and then travel to kick off an afternoon game just four days later. The Cowboys did this several years ago and were crushed by the Eagles on Thanksgiving. This sort of dynamic has actually occurred four times prior to this year, and teams having to travel in these conditions are 1-3 straight up and 1-2-1 against the spread. The lone victor was Miami over Dallas in 2003, in what was a 40-21 blowout.

  29. Oakland Raiders (8-2) – Previously: 6.
    Thank you, shady Mexican cartel, for allowing me to win one unit on Oakland! The Raiders played poorly for three quarters, yet somehow both won and covered because the same group that openly fixed the Gold Cup last summer made sure Oakland won by more than 6.5. More on the Raiders-Texans contest, check out the NFL Game Recaps page.

  30. New England Patriots (8-2) – Previously: 3.
    I thought I was hearing things when Greg Gumbel exclaimed, “That’s Tom Brady’s 200th-career touchdown!” following a passing score versus the 49ers. I had to rewind the game to make sure, and Gumbel did in fact say that.

    Umm… what? Doesn’t Brady get 200 passing touchdowns in the span of five seasons? He definitely has more than 200 career passing touchdowns. I don’t understand, Greg!

    By the way, the Patriots had a bit too much trouble separating from the 49ers. Even though they covered the closing spread, the game was a three-point margin in the third quarter. That was disappointing, even when factoring in Rob Gronkowski’s absence.

  31. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) – Previously: 2.
    The Cowboys were flat and outclassed by the Ravens in the first half, as Baltimore dominated the trenches … and yet, Dallas still won by double digits! That’s how good this team is, as Dak Prescott was unstoppable following halftime.

    Speaking of Prescott, many complimented Tony Romo’s speech. While everyone was showering Romo with praise, Jerry Jones was concocting new ways to have his beloved quarterback remain involved with the team:

    Good job using your Medulla Oblongata, Jerry!

  32. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) – Previously: 1.
    I’m ranking the Seahawks over the Cowboys, as there are two things that separate the two squads. The first is Seattle’s defense, which will be even better once Michael Bennett returns from injury. The second is experience. Dak Prescott has been amazing this season, but Russell Wilson is the more-seasoned version of Prescott. The Cowboys run the ball better, but the Seahawks have the personnel to limit Ezekiel Elliott.

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