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NFL Power Rankings, End of Regular Season (Week 17): Bills charge into playoffs

After ranking all 32 teams in our End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings, we have a better idea of who the best and worst teams are in the NFL.

NFL Power Rankings, End of Regular Season (Week 17): Bills charge into playoffs
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 03: Isaiah McKenzie #19 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a touchdown with Josh Allen #17 and Ike Boettger #65 in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Bills Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Our End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings takes a look at the best teams, with plenty of movement around the league. This includes several playoff teams making a move up the board, the Buffalo Bills charging into the second seed in the AFC, the Green Bay Packers locking up the number one seed in the NFC, and more. How do all 32 NFL teams stack up? Let’s take a look following all of the action in Week 17.

NFL Power Rankings: End of Regular Season (Week 17)

As you read through these NFL Power Rankings, remember that they are not predictions. These are very simply a list of how good each team is right this minute. Here’s how all 32 teams rank in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings – including the best teams at the bottom of this page.

32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)

Mike Glennon got the start for Jacksonville, who had already had the first overall pick locked up. As they did earlier this year, the Jaguars played Indianapolis tough, but as usual, they failed to get the victory. There will be an awful lot of buzz around this franchise this offseason.

31) Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)

Brandon Allen got the start at quarterback and, despite losing the entire game, threw for only 48 yards and completed just six passes. The Bengals lost to Baltimore by 35 points to finish their season 4-11-1 as the Ravens rushed for 404 yards. Maybe next year will be much different with Joe Burrow back at the helm and another offseason worth of additions around him.

30) Detroit Lions (5-11)

Although they lost to Minnesota, this was a fun back and forth game with a lot of offensive output. Marvin Jones caught eight passes for 180 yards, and the Lions averaged 7.7 yards per play. But their defense also gave up 508 yards, and the Vikings held the ball for over 35 minutes. The Lions lost their last four regular season games and six of their last seven. There will be big changes in Detroit.

29) New York Jets (2-14)

The Jets – ranked 29th in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings – only won two games this year, but they certainly improved down the stretch. Sam Darnold threw two interceptions but did move the ball through the air, and New York held the ball for well over 33 minutes.

Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done here, and Darnold’s future remains very much up in the air with New York owning the second overall pick in next year’s draft.

28) Carolina Panthers (5-11)

The Panthers finished Matt Rhule’s first season 5-11 after getting destroyed by New Orleans. PJ Walker took over for Teddy Bridgewater in this game, and Carolina should be in the quarterback market this offseason. One positive was that both Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore put up over 100 receiving yards. There are some pieces here to work with for sure.

27) Houston Texans (4-12)

The Texans nearly pulled off the upset against Tennessee, and Deshaun Watson continued to show the world that he is one of the very best quarterbacks in football. No one threw for more yards this year than Watson. Brandin Cooks continued his excellent year, catching 11 passes for 164 yards, but this defense remained a huge problem as the Texans lost their 12th game of the year.

That 4-12 record earned Houston the third pick in the draft. However, that selection belongs to the Dolphins.

26) Philadelphia Eagles(4-10-1)

In a meaningless Sunday night game against Washington, the Eagles rested several starters but still played the Football Team very tough in a somewhat hard-to-watch game. The Eagles made a bizarre (and ridiculous) quarterback change from Jalen Hurts to Nate Sudfeld late in this game, and Sudfeld was a disaster.

The Eagles threw for 97 yards while averaging a horrendous 3.3 yards per play. Sunday night was not this franchise’s finest moment, and winning the game was not Doug Pederson’s top priority, which is shameful.

25) Denver Broncos (5-11)

In a very competitive game against Las Vegas, the Broncos fell just short, losing their third straight to finish the 2020 season at 5-11. Denver won the time of possession battle, and the Broncos defense created four turnovers. It remains to be seen if Drew Lock is the long-term answer, but what is clear is that Denver has plenty of young talented offensive weapons.

The Broncos come in 25th in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings.

24) Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

The Falcons battled back in Tampa but couldn’t keep up in the end. Atlanta’s defense was overmatched as the Bucs averaged 7.6 yards per play and accumulated 485 yards. The eyeball test week to week showed that this was better than a 4-12 team, but that is where Atlanta inevitably finished the 2020 season. The Falcons now own the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

23) New England Patriots (7-9)

The Patriots actually got a passing game going against New York, and Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes. New England’s running game was also strong, with Newton and Sony Michel both eclipsing 75 rushing yards. In the end, the Patriots finished the season 7-9 despite having one of the NFL’s worst rosters. Bill Belichick is a pretty good coach.

22) San Francisco 49ers (6-10)

The Niners’ defense has been playing very well, and that continued against Seattle. The Seahawks averaged a paltry 4.3 yards per play with just 159 passing yards. This was just a brutal season for San Francisco with injuries, but they should be next year’s hot pick for “worst to first” after finishing 6-10 the year after going to the Super Bowl.

21) Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

The Cowboys were down 20-9 at the half but made this heartbreaking game very close. In fact, they were one close call away from maybe pulling out a win over New York. The big thing that stood out in this loss was Dallas’ inability to give Andy Dalton time against the Giants’ pass-rush. The 6-10 Cowboys did improve from early in the year and won three of their last four games.

NFL Power Rankings, End of Regular Season (Week 17): Teams ranked 20-11

We kick off the top 20 of these End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings with the New York Giants. Let’s continue our march as we count down to the best teams in the NFL after the end of the regular season.

20) New York Giants (6-10)

New York did their part by beating the Cowboys. But the Eagles did more than their part to keep New York from the postseason. Sterling Shepard has come on strong for the Giants of late, and we saw more of that against Dallas. He finished the game with 112 receiving yards and an outstanding rushing touchdown.

Led by Leonard Williams, the Giants’ pass-rush dominated this day, sacking Andy Dalton six times. At 6-10, New York had no business in the playoffs anyway.

19) Washington Football Team (7-9)

On Sunday night, in a “win and you are in” situation against the Eagles, Washington was able to clinch the putrid NFC East in an unremarkable manner. This really wasn’t a particularly well-played game by either team. Alex Smith often looked uncomfortable as though he didn’t trust his lower body, but he did have a full complement of weapons against a very suspect Eagles secondary.

Washington’s defense was excellent, but this team will really have their hands full with the Buccaneers next week.

18) Minnesota Vikings (7-9)

The Vikings finished their roller-coaster season at 7-9 with a win in Detroit, where 72 points were scored. Kirk Cousins’ offense had more than 500 yards of offense and ran 74 plays without turning the ball over. Justin Jefferson’s 133 yards in this game makes him the most productive rookie wide receiver ever.

17) Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)

Las Vegas finished their season at .500 and 17th in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings with a very narrow win over the Broncos. This defense still needs an awful lot of work, and that showed again on Sunday. But Jon Gruden’s offense is very strong and averaged 7.3 yards per play.

It is rare to see a team win an NFL game despite losing the turnover battle by four, but that is exactly what Las Vegas pulled off to finish up their season.

16) Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)

Granted, it was against a shell of a Chiefs team, but Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense put on a fine and balanced display as they earned their seventh win of the year. Los Angeles held the ball for nearly 35 minutes, and Mike Williams played like a true number one receiver. The Chargers won four in a row to complete their year, and there is a lot to work with here going forward.

15) Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

Kyler Murray gutted it out and started this game, but quickly went to the locker room and was replaced by Chris Streveler. Murray returned early in the fourth quarter with the Cards trailing 18-7, and no more points were scored. Murray’s toughness and competitiveness should be commended, but he clearly wasn’t himself. Arizona’s offense struggled all day against a great Rams defense.

14) Miami Dolphins (10-6)

The Dolphins got whipped from the start and won’t be in the playoffs. Miami was down 28-6 at the half to the Bills in a game that the Dolphins needed to win. Ryan Fitzpatrick was on the reserve list, so this was the Tua Tagovailoa show from start to finish, throwing the ball 58 times. The Dolphins’ defense was great all year, but Buffalo scored 56 points with 455 yards of total offense.

It should be noted that Tua’s offense produced just one yard less than Buffalo’s offense and this team is in a great position to build around him this offseason.

13) Chicago Bears (8-8)

Even though they lost to Green Bay, the Bears are in the playoffs and travel to New Orleans next week. Chicago did some good things in Green Bay, including holding the ball for over 35 minutes. But, it is concerning that the Bears’ defense dwindled as the season went along. They rank 13th in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings

12) Cleveland Browns (11-5)

The Browns are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with a narrow victory over Pittsburgh. The Steelers rested most of their top players, but this is a huge accomplishment for Kevin Stefanski and this organization, nonetheless. But now the Browns head to Pittsburgh for back-to-back games against a team that has traditionally owned them.

11) Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

Jonathan Taylor had over 100 yards rushing in the first quarter as he just ran the ball down Jacksonville’s throats to the tune of 253 yards on the ground. Obviously, not much was needed from Philip Rivers, but the Colts defense hasn’t been as strong as many tend to think. The Colts travel to Buffalo next week.

Teams ranked 10-6

We’re getting closer to the top five best teams in the NFL after the end of the regular season (Week 17) but first, let’s take a look at who is ranked 10-6 in my Power Rankings. We begin with the Tennessee Titans.

10) Tennessee Titans (11-5)

The Titans won the AFC South with a last-second field goal over Houston. Ryan Tannehill connected deep with AJ Brown to get Tennessee in position to hit that game-winner. Brown finished this game with 151 receiving yards. Derrick Henry won his second straight rushing title and went over 2,000 rushing yards for the year.

The Titans’ defense is a real problem and very well could be the worst defense in the playoffs. Baltimore comes to town next week.

9) Los Angeles Rams (10-6)

John Wolford started this game, and his confidence and effectiveness grew as this game went along. Los Angeles possessed the football for nearly 38 minutes. Los Angeles had a safety, scored on defense, and blocked a field goal attempt. This might be the best defense in football and they are headed to Seattle next week. Will Wolford start that game as well?

8) Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

Russell Wilson hasn’t played great of late. That will need to change drastically if Seattle is to have postseason success. He was good enough to beat the 49ers in a very tight game to get Seattle to 12-4 for the season, and Seattle did win their final four games. They get the Rams in Seattle next week for their third meeting of the year. Seattle ranks eighth in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings.

7) Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Mason Rudolph got the start, and Pittsburgh sat a lot of their top players. Still, they nearly pulled off a win in Cleveland, who they will see next week at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh actually ran the ball a little on offense and featured Chase Claypool downfield in the passing game.

Even without their top guys, the Steelers sacked Baker Mayfield four times and, overall, contained the Cleveland offense well. Getting a semi-bye week could do the Steelers a lot of good.

6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)

Tampa Bay was up 23-10 at the half, and while the Falcons came back to make this close, the Buccaneers did pull away late in the game. Mike Evans’ leg injury is something to really monitor, but Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin combined for 271 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Tampa Bay finished their season on a four-game winning streak. This is a big win for the Bucs as they now travel to Washington, an excellent first round draw.

The top 5 NFL teams

We kick off the top five of these NFL End of Regular Season (Week 17) Power Rankings with the New Orleans Saints along with the other four best teams in the league.

5) New Orleans Saints (12-4)

The Saints didn’t have Alvin Kamara or Michael Thomas and still dropped 33 points on Carolina. The Saints made Ty Montgomery the feature back, and he rushed for over 100 yards. New Orleans intercepted the Panthers five times and continued to show that they have one of the league’s best defenses. The Saints host Chicago next week, a very comfortable draw.

4) Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

Led by 160 rushing yards from DK Dobbins, Baltimore ran for 404 yards in Cincinnati while scoring 38 points. The Ravens defense gave up just 48 passing yards while keeping Cincinnati to just three points. Baltimore possessed the football for 40:31 and finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak. They now head to Tennessee in round one of the NFL playoffs.

3) Green Bay Packers (13-3)

With their win over Chicago, the Packers locked up the top spot in the NFC playoff bracket…and no one will be excited about traveling to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers should have locked up the MVP award and added another four touchdown passes to his league-leading total. The Packers have won six in a row.

2) Buffalo Bills (13-3)

Josh Allen and the Bills jumped all over Miami and dominated their divisional foe. The defense turned Miami over four times, and although they allowed a lot of yardage at the end of the day, almost all of that came when the game wasn’t in jeopardy. The Bills should be a big favorite against Indianapolis next week, but they better stop the run.

1) Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)

With the top spot in the AFC playoffs locked up, Kansas City started Chad Henne at quarterback against the Chargers. There isn’t much to take away from this loss, but the Chiefs had no running game to speak of, and their defense showed some holes.

Kansas City still deserves to be the top team in any power ranking, though. That’s why they are the number one team in my End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings.

Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.

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