The NFL’s 2020-21 regular season has officially come to a close. While Week 17’s results didn’t do too much to shake up the landscape of the league, it’s still a perfect time to reflect on how all 32 teams fared this season.
The Kansas City Chiefs finish the season with ten straight weeks atop the NFL’s totem pole, after briefly ceding that honor to the Seattle Seahawks. It took the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks to break in to my Top Ten, but once they arrived, they were there to say.
How do teams like the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints rank among the best in the NFL? The Cleveland Browns and Washington Football Team may have made the playoffs, but were there better teams out there that didn’t make the cut?
Post-Week 17 Power Rankings
- Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) [Last Week: 1]
- Ten Straight Weeks at the Top: The Chiefs started the season at the top, briefly lost that title to the Seattle Seahawks, but haven’t looked back in the last ten weeks. Kansas City lost their second game of the season in Week 17, but that was of course without Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are easily the AFC and Super Bowl favorites heading into the postseason.
- Buffalo Bills (13-3) [Last Week: 2]
- The Bills didn’t back into the playoffs in any sense: they dismantled their AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins, 56-26 in Week 17 to both secure the #2 seed and keep Miami out of the playoffs. Watch out for Josh Allen and the Bills.
- New Orleans Saints (12-4) [Last Week: 3]
- Since Week 3, New Orleans has gone 11-2: losing once with Taysom Hill at quarterback and once with Drew Brees (the latter coming as a three-point loss to an elite Chiefs team.) Long story short, the Saints have been rolling since September, and may be ready for their deepest playoff run in some time.
- Green Bay Packers (13-3) [Last Week: 4]
- A lot of people might want to see the Packers higher, and make no mistake, they’re right up there with the Bills and Saints. Green Bay even beat New Orleans 37-30 in Week 3: but also lost 38-10 to the Buccaneers two games later. The Packers are still a great team, there’s just three teams that are slightly better.
- Seattle Seahawks (12-4) [Last Week: 5]
- At 5-0, with Russell Wilson playing at an MVP-pace, the Seahawks looked unstoppable (they were both my preseason and midseason pick to reach the Super Bowl for the NFC.) They slowed down considerably in the season’s third quarter, looking like the third-best team in the NFC West at times. But they have bounced back, and still aren’t a team you want to face in January.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) [Last Week: 6]
- The Steelers surprising 10-0 start was followed by an even more surprising three-game losing streak to Washington, the Bills, and the Bengals. While these types of teams have found playoff success before (2009 Colts lost their final three games,) there seems to be legitimate concern for Pittsburgh. At the same time, they should at least get past the Browns in the playoffs.
- Baltimore Ravens (11-5) [Last Week: 8]
- The Ravens, like the Seahawks, suffered a midseason slump. But in the final five weeks of the season, Baltimore has put up at least 27 points per game, over 34 points three times, and only played one game that was decided by less than 14 points. The competition may not have been the stoutest, but Baltimore is ready to roll in the postseason. However, four of the Ravens five losses came against the Steelers, Chiefs, and Titans: all potential playoff opponents.
- Tennessee Titans (11-5) [Last Week: 7]
- The Titans have had a mixed bag of results this season, and struggled against eventual playoff teams. I’m not sure they have another AFC Championship Game run in them, but with 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry on the squad, Tennessee can potentially upset anyone.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) [Last Week: 9]
- Another team that looked Super Bowl-bound some times, yet other times, could barely stay competitive. At the end of the day, Tom Brady drastically improved this wildcard-winning Tampa Bay team.
- Indianapolis Colts (11-5) [Last Week: 10]
- Indianapolis has earned wins over the Titans and Packers, but they lost to the Browns, Titans, Ravens, and Steelers. Philip Rivers and the Colts can usually at least keep up with playoff-caliber opponents, so that’s a positive sign.
- Miami Dolphins (10-6) [Last Week: 12]
- Miami got dismantled by the Bills in Week 17, and missed the 2020-21 postseason as a result. Still, with a strong 10-6 season, the Dolphins are almost a Top Ten team.
- Los Angeles Rams (10-6) [Last Week: 13]
- The Rams somehow managed a Week 17 win to squeak in to the postseason over the Cardinals. But with back-to-back losses before that, including a shocker to the Jets, Los Angeles isn’t the Top Ten team they were just a few weeks ago.
- Chicago Bears (8-8) [Last Week: 14]
- While the Bears’ three-game winning steak came to an end against the Packers, Chicago did qualify for the playoffs. I’m just not too sure they can keep up with playoff-level teams.
- Cleveland Browns (11-5) [Last Week: 15]
- The Browns were a hit-or-miss team before their COVID-19 outbreak. Now with uncertainty in the locker room and without their head coach for their postseason appearance since 2002, it’s hard to imagine Cleveland making a deep playoff run.
- Arizona Cardinals (8-8) [Last Week: 11]
- The Arizona Cardinals had the most disappointing second half in the league: failing to turn a 6-3 start in to a playoff berth, or beat the short-handed Rams in Week 17.
- Minnesota Vikings (7-9) [Last Week: 16]
- After a 1-5 start, Minnesota went 6-4 to finish out the season. In theory, they would be more dangerous in the postseason than Washington Football Team.
- Washington Football Team (7-9) [Last Week: 18]
- Washington squeaked by Philadelphia last Sunday night to secure the NFC East title and a playoff spot. At their best, Washington beat Pittsburgh. But I wouldn’t expect them to fare that well on a consistent basis, and I don’t fosee any playoff victories.
- San Francisco 49ers (6-10) [Last Week: 17]
- Injuries were the major catalyst behind the defending NFC champions’ disappointing season. Still, San Francisco played some close and exciting contests, with their second and even third string quarterbacks.
- New York Giants (6-10) [Last Week: 22]
- The Giants played some up-and-down games, but at the end of the season, it’s hard to say Joe Judge didn’t make some progress in his first year as head coach.
- Dallas Cowboys (6-10) [Last Week: 19]
- In the season’s second half, Andy Dalton and the Cowboys offense were operating at a high level. The defense was still pretty bad though, and they couldn’t beat the Giants in an important Week 17 matchup.
- Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) [Last Week: 20]
- I’m somewhat surprised the Chargers fired Anthony Lynn: Los Angeles could easily have gone 10-6 by flipping a couple one-score losses. Then again, consistently close losses may be a result of bad coaching. Either way, the Chargers have a stud a quarterback in Justin Herbert.
- Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) [Last Week: 24]
- The Raiders had the potential to be a good or even great team: they beat both the Chiefs and Saints earlier this year. But the wheels fell off for Derek Car and the Raiders as they sputtered to an 8-8 finish.
- Denver Broncos (5-11) [Last Week: 21]
- The Broncos were able to pull off some gritty wins, and even force superior opponents to sweat a little. But at the end of the day, the 5-11 Broncos need more talent to compete next season.
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) [Last Week: 23]
- Over the course of a full season, Jalen Hurts definitely would have managed more than four wins. Despite his benching in Week 17, he should be Philadelphia’s quarterback of the future.
- Carolina Panthers (5-11) [Last Week: 25]
- The Panthers 2020 season was pretty forgettable if you’re not a Carolina fan. Teddy Bridgewater was decent, and when Christian McCaffrey was healthy, the offense looked quite good. Injuries and a porous defense held back the Panthers from making noise this year.
- New England Patriots (7-9) [Last Week: 27]
- Finishing 7-9 actually makes the Patriots season seem better than it was. Early in the year, they had promise with Cam Newton at quarterback and even upset the Ravens. By the end of the year, they could hardly harm a fly (only the New York Jets.) -SEE ALSO: Five Landing Spots for Cam Newton in 2021
- Atlanta Falcons (4-12) [Last Week: 26]
- Despite having one of the best offenses in the league, Matt Ryan and the Falcons managed just four wins all season. It just goes to show even in today’s offensive-minded NFL, you have to play SOME defense.
- Houston Texans (4-12) [Last Week: 29]
- Early in the year, I though the Texans were just a victim of a tough schedule. Turns out, despite MVP-caliber efforts from DeShaun Watson, Houston was a pretty lousy team.
- Detroit Lions (5-11) [Last Week: 30]
- The Lions 5-11 record wasn’t the worst in the league, but they did finish the season on an uninspiring 1-6 note.
- Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) [Last Week: 28]
- The Bengals pulled off a stunning upset of the Steelers without Joe Burrow, but still, were largely a pushover without the rookie at quarterback.
- New York Jets (2-14) [Last Week: 31]
- “They can’t even tank right!” The Jets won back-to-back games against the Rams and Browns to rise from the #32 spot, but miss out on the chance to drat the top overall draft pick.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) [Last Week: 32]
- Two Straight Weeks at the Bottom: Despite being pesky at times, the Jacksonville Jaguars finished with a league low one win and had a carousel at quarterback. Better days could be ahead after earning the first overall pick.
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- NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9, Post-Week 10, Post-Week 11, Post-Week 12, Post-Week 13, Post-Week 14, Post-Week 15, Post-Week 16
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- Top Ten Players Heading Into the 2020-21 NBA Season
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Travel and Hiking
- Stumptown, Rose City, “Weird”: My Portland 2020 Day Trip
- Hike: Mount Beacon Fire Tower Out-and-Back
- Hike: Breakneck Ridge Loop
Header Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports