Our Week 16 NFL Power Rankings take a look at the best teams, with plenty of movement around the league. This includes several playoff contenders making a move up the board, the New York Jets making a slight move after the first win of the season, and the Baltimore Ravens getting hot at the right time. How do all 32 NFL teams stack up? Let’s take a look following all of the action in Week 15.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 16
As you read through these NFL Power Rankings, remember that they are not predictions. If a team projects to have an easy or difficult schedule ahead of them, that matters not for this exercise. These are very simply a list of how good each team is right this minute. Here’s how all 32 teams rank in my Week 16 NFL Power Rankings – including the best teams at the bottom – with just a few more weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13)
The Jaguars were thumped by Baltimore, their 13th consecutive loss. They played from behind the entire game, but Gardner Minshew again showed some qualities that make you think that he will have a long career in this league. It’s really tough to find much to say on the positive side for Jacksonville after this one.
Oh, the Jaguars now have the current rights to the first overall pick with the Jets loss.
31) New York Jets (1-13)
The Jets won! New York led the Rams 13-3 at the half and gave Los Angeles all they could handle. Sam Darnold played a very strong game as he auditions for the rest of the NFL. Quinnen Williams, one of the Jets’ best young players and a true building block for this organization, was dominant before leaving this game with an injury.
However, New York’s defense was still able to hold on and get this win while losing the first overall pick in the process.
30) Cincinnati Bengals (3-10-1)
The Bengals hosted Pittsburgh on Monday night and were the far superior team in the first half of play. The Steelers didn’t account for Ryan Finley as a runner and Finley made them pay. Cincinnati barely had to throw the ball once they had the lead and Finley attempted just 13 passes.
On defense, Carl Lawson was a total wrecking machine off the edge. Pittsburgh played terribly, but give the Bengals a lot of credit for this huge upset.
29) Detroit Lions (5-9)
Matthew Stafford got the start, but Kenny Golladay was inactive again, and Stafford didn’t finish the game once it got out of reach. Detroit’s defense put up very little resistance against Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. This is Detroit’s fourth loss in their last five games and not much has changed since they fired Matt Patricia. The Lions are now officially knocked out of the playoffs.
28) Denver Broncos (5-9)
The Broncos did some good things on Saturday at home against Buffalo, but they also made too many big mistakes against a superior opponent. Overall, this game was never really in doubt. Josh Allen carved up the Denver defense, and Buffalo averaged 8.2 yards per play while the Broncos and Drew Lock averaged just 4.0. The Bills finished the game with 534 yards of offense. Denver is now 5-9 after losing three of their last four.
27) San Francisco 49ers (5-9)
San Francisco is just really short on top guys right now to line up with. Deebo Samuel was inactive, and the 49ers lost Raheem Mostert in this game. Still, the Niners controlled the ball for about ten minutes longer than Dallas, but the obvious killer was San Francisco’s four turnovers. The 49ers have now lost three in a row and six of their last seven.
26) Atlanta Falcons (4-10)
Julio Jones was inactive again, but Atlanta jumped on top of the Buccaneers early. The Falcons couldn’t hold the lead, though, and let their division rival back into this contest. What a collapse this was by Atlanta, their third loss in a row. This was a big day from Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley, but the total inability to run the football prevents Atlanta from putting teams away. It has been a huge problem all year.
25) Carolina Panthers (4-10)
The third quarter and much of the second half belonged to Carolina, but Bridgewater’s early fumble on the goal line was a killer. The Panthers’ offense had big problems converting third downs but still won the time of possession battle and produced more total yardage and yards per play than the Packers.
The Panthers’ young developing defense deserves a lot of credit for this effort, and overall, their work on Saturday night was a positive for the Carolina organization. Still, the Panthers have lost eight of their last nine games, although most of those losses were one-score games.
24) Dallas Cowboys (5-9)
With Ezekiel Elliott inactive, Dallas has now won back-to-back games and is showing improvement on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys were plus-four in turnover differential, and that was their obvious clear path to victory. The Cowboys’ young weapons made some plays, but the offense could only hold onto the ball for just over 25 minutes.
23) Houston Texans (4-10)
All in all, this was an impressive performance for the Texans in Indianapolis. Deshaun Watson had another huge day. David Johnson was a big contributor as an outlet option for Watson catching 11 balls for over 100 yards. Losing the turnover battle was more than Houston could overcome, but otherwise, it was a pretty even game. This was Houston’s third loss in a row and a reason why they are ranked 23rd in my NFL Week 16 Power Rankings.
22) New York Giants (5-9)
Colt McCoy got the start on Sunday night against the Browns. New York moved the ball well on their first drive but finished it off by having a punter throw a pass to an offensive lineman in the end zone…which didn’t work very well. The Giants continued to leave points on the field, but even that aside, this wasn’t a very inspiring showing on either side of the ball.
The defense was without James Bradberry and really had a tough time slowing down Cleveland’s passing game. The Giants are now 5-9 and have lost two in a row. But to be fair, New York went through a really crazy week of preparation for this game.
21) New England Patriots (6-8)
The Patriots have been eliminated from the playoffs. Anyone could see that this contest against Miami would be tight and low scoring, and that is exactly what it delivered. JC Jackson got his eighth interception of the season in the end zone in what was a scoreless game. The Patriots did lose Stephon Gilmore in this game, unfortunately.
It wasn’t New England’s pass defense that did them in, though, as their run defense was really problematic. The Patriots only held the ball for 22:34 in this game.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: Teams ranked 20-11
We kick off the top 20 of these Week 16 NFL Power Rankings with the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s continue our march as we count down to the best teams in the NFL heading into Week 16.
20) Philadelphia Eagles (4-9-1)
In a game featuring the two most recent University of Oklahoma quarterbacks drafted into the NFL, there were a combined 46 points just in the first half. The fireworks slowed down in the second half, but Jalen Hurts certainly passed the second test of his young career. He finished this game with 338 passing yards and another 63 on the ground.
It wasn’t quite enough as Philadelphia dropped their ninth game of the year. But, things are looking up for the Eagles.
19) Minnesota Vikings (6-8)
The Vikings fell to 6-8 against Chicago, their second consecutive loss. Dalvin Cook had another big game, and the Vikings got more than enough from their passing game to win. It was a very bad outing for Minnesota’s defense that allowed the Bears to run for 199 yards.
18) Washington Football Team (6-8)
With Alex Smith out, Dwayne Haskins got the start for Washington against the Seahawks. He made some big throws but also some big mistakes. However, Haskins did bring his team back to make this one very interesting and finished the day with 295 yards with Logan Thomas as his favorite target.
As usual, Washington’s defense gave their opponent all kinds of problems and limited Russell Wilson to just 121 passing yards. But this is just Washington’s first loss in their last six tries, and they still have an excellent shot at the playoffs as the NFC East division leader.
17) Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
The Raiders lost Derek Carr early in the game on Thursday night, but Marcus Mariota came in and played a very strong game. Mariota’s passing was very much on point, and he made some big plays as a runner, usually off the read-option. Darren Waller put on a dominant display, and Josh Jacobs was a huge contributor as a runner and receiver.
Not to overreact to one game, but Jon Gruden should consider what his offense might look like next year with Mariota as his full-time starter. Las Vegas needed this game, but at 7-7, the postseason is now improbable after dropping four of their last five games with that lone victory coming barely over the Jets.
16) Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)
In Las Vegas on Thursday night, the Raiders and Chargers went back and forth in what turned out to be a very entertaining overtime game. Chris Harris’ late interception in regulation of Marcus Mariota looked like a backbreaker for Vegas, but Michael Badgley missed what could have been a long but probably game-winning field goal. It was Badgley’s second miss.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were severely limited, but Justin Herbert put on another impressive display of his amazing skill set, and other Chargers receivers stepped up. Herbert is going to be a star. Now at 5-9 and 16th in my NFL Week 16 Power Rankings, the Chargers get their first AFC West win since 2018.
15) Chicago Bears (7-7)
The Bears got an early lead in Minnesota and never relinquished it as they got back to .500 with their second consecutive victory. Mitchell Trubisky is getting more and more comfortable. He threw the ball well, but it was Chicago’s running game that carried the day as the Bears possessed the football for just under 33 minutes. The Bears defense isn’t what it was early in the year, though.
14) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
The Steelers were embarrassed in Cincinnati on Monday night and were incredibly bad on offense in the first half. Going into the locker room at halftime, Ben Roethlisberger was horrific in the first half – his stat line read 7 of 16 for 19 yards and an interception. At one point, the Steelers trailed 17-0 and were only able to register just two first downs, averaged 1.4 yards per play, and turned the ball over three times.
They improved in the second half, but the Steelers’ run defense failed them and Pittsburgh made far too many mistakes. After winning their first 11, Pittsburgh has now lost three in a row.
13) Arizona Cardinals (8-6)
After throwing for over 400 yards against Philadelphia, it is pretty apparent that Kyler Murray is over his shoulder injury. Looking back, he was clearly playing through that ailment for the past several weeks. Murray made plays as a runner and spread the ball around well, but as is often the case, DeAndre Hopkins really made a massive impact finishing the day with 169 receiving yards.
After a three-game losing streak, Arizona is back on track in the playoff hunt with their second straight win in a very entertaining football game.
12) Miami Dolphins (9-5)
Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, or Mike Gesicki to throw to. He only had six incompletions against New England but also only threw for 145 yards. Miami hasn’t run the ball well this year, but they dominated the time of possession while picking up 250 rushing yards on their way to knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs. Miami has won eight of their last ten games.
11) Cleveland Browns (10-4)
Cleveland came out throwing on Sunday night against the Giants. Baker Mayfield was really sharp once again and did some excellent work off of play-action. Wyatt Teller was unavailable for this game, and then his replacement, Chris Hubbard, was injured very early on. That is a situation to monitor, but it didn’t hold back the Browns’ efficient offense. Plus, the offensive line was outstanding.
Teams ranked 10-6
We’re getting closer to the top five best teams in the NFL heading into Week 16 but first, let’s take a look at who is ranked 10-6 in my Power Rankings. We begin with the Indianapolis Colts.
10) Indianapolis Colts (10-4)
The Colts got their 10th win of the year in a tight battle over Houston. They have now won three in a row and five of their last six. Deshaun Watson gave the Colts defense all kinds of problems, but Philip Rivers played a very efficient game by distributing the ball very well in what was a very balanced offensive attack.
9) Seattle Seahawks (10-4)
The Seahawks barely got out of Washington with a win. They were in control early on but allowed the Football Team to make this very interesting as they could only muster seven second-half points. In fact, Russell Wilson finished the day with just 121 passing yards. Fortunately, Seattle’s ground game and improved defense were enough to win this game.
8) Los Angeles Rams (9-5)
Los Angeles could only produce three points in the first half against the Jets and lost to the only winless team in football. Cam Akers had a decent game, and the Rams only turned the ball over once. However, New York was still able to possess the football for over 34 minutes, with Los Angeles only two of 11 on third downs. This was a stunning turn of events.
7) Tennessee Titans (10-4)
After dominating Detroit in Week 15, the Titans have now won four of their last five games. Derrick Henry had another monster day, as did Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee’s passing game. And how about the year Corey Davis is having? He ended this day with 110 yards and greatly helped Tennessee as they averaged seven yards per play.
The Titans were nine of 11 on third downs and perfect in the red zone. Tannehill is playing extremely well and a reason why the Titans are seventh in my Week 16 NFL Power Rankings.
6) Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
The Ravens are getting hot and dangerous at the exact right time. Beating the Jaguars isn’t the most impressive feat, but destroying any NFL team to the degree we saw in Jacksonville is impressive. The Ravens’ defense was without Calais Campbell, Jimmy Smith, and Marcus Peters. But wow! It did not matter at all.
Baltimore has won three in a row and finish with the Giants and Bengals. The Ravens, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, set up perfectly as the hot team that no one wants to play in the playoffs.
The top 5 NFL teams
We kick off the top five of these NFL Week 16 Power Rankings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with the other four best teams in the league.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5)
Tampa Bay scored 31 second-half points to come back from a big deficit against the Falcons. The game script had a lot to do with the Buccaneers not running the ball, but Tom Brady made up for it with a 390-yard passing day. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t nearly what it was to start the year, but they did make the Falcons extremely one dimensional. They get the Falcons once again in Week 17.
4) Green Bay Packers (11-3)
The Packers advanced to 11-3 with a win over Carolina on Saturday night, but it was a rather lackluster showing from Green Bay. Green Bay’s run game was excellent, but Aaron Rodgers rarely pushed the ball downfield. He finished the evening with just 143 passing yards as the Packers won their fourth game in a row.
3) New Orleans Saints (10-4)
Coming back from his rib injury, Drew Brees started extremely slow against the Chiefs and really didn’t look ready to go. Brees completed just 15 passes on 24 tries, and much of his production came very late in this game. The Saints were really depleted at the wide receiver position and barely had the ball.
When you give Patrick Mahomes the ball for over 41 minutes, the results are never going to go in your favor. That said, the Saints defense did hold up quite well under such adverse circumstances. Could they see the Chiefs again in the Super Bowl? Heading into Week 16, I have them ranked as the best team in the NFC and third in the NFL.
2) Buffalo Bills (11-3)
The Bills got a big win in Denver to clinch the AFC East. Josh Allen was outstanding yet again and is really playing at a high level right now. The Bills defense has also really improved of late. The Bills blew this game open when Jerry Hughes picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in a very impressive fashion.
The 11-3 Bills are a tough team to beat right now, having won seven of their last eight. Hopefully, Stefon Diggs’ injury isn’t too serious.
1) Kansas City Chiefs (13-1)
At New Orleans in what was clearly the game of the week, the Chiefs kept their momentum going with 41:14 of time of possession and a strong defensive showing. But Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense averaged just 4.5 yards per play – something you rarely see from the Chiefs’ offense.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire left this game late after a solid day on the ground. That is an injury that must be monitored. At 13-1, the Chiefs are the best team in my NFL Week 16 Power Rankings.
Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.