Time is running thin on the 2021-22 NFL regular season, but late-season results are still shaking up the landscape of the league with just two weeks to go.

A month ago, it seemed like a forgone conclusion the Arizona Cardinals would waltz to the NFC West title, but suddenly after their third straight loss, they’re looking up in the division at a resurgent Los Angeles Rams team. Mac Jones and the New England Patriots took the NFL by storm with seven straight wins, but have now lost back-to-back games as well as the AFC East lead after falling to the Buffalo Bills in their second meeting of the season.

In other big results, Joe Burrow had the game of his life against the Baltimore Ravens to extend the Cincinnati Bengals AFC North lead, the Tennessee Titans edged the San Francisco 49ers in an important Thursday Night matchup, and the Miami Dolphins downed the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football to earn their seventh straight victory.

How did all these outcomes affect the Power Rankings? Read on to find out, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any rankings, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Last Week’s Power Rankings

Post-Week 16 Power Rankings

Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) [Last Week: 1]
    • The Kansas City Chiefs dominated on both offense and defense in a 36-10 win against the Steelers to further cement themselves as the best team in the NFL right now. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have now won eight straight games since starting 3-4. It would be one thing if just the Chiefs offense was playing well, but Kansas City’s defense has been among the tightest in the league over the second half of the season.
  2. Green Bay Packers (12-3) [Last Week: 2]
    • Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who hold sole possession of the best record in the NFL, held off a late comeback attempt by the Browns on Christmas Day, picking off Baker Mayfield four times in total and prevailing 24-22 to improve to 7-0 at home this season. Green Bay is on track to earn homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, meaning they would have to win just two playoff games at Lambeau to advance to Super Bowl 56.
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4) [Last Week: 3]
    • After last week’s shocking 9-0 loss to the Saints, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled to a 32-6 road win over the struggling Panthers in Week 16. Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 101 yards after running from a suspension, showcasing the next man up mantra after the team lost Chris Godwin for the season.
  4. Los Angeles Rams (11-4) [Last Week: 6]
    • When the Los Angeles Rams lost Robert Woods and added Odell Beckham Jr. to the roster, they promptly lost three straight and seemed to fade as a legit Super Bowl contender. But now the Rams have won four straight games after this week’s 30-23 win over the Vikings, and have averaged 29.3 points per game over that winning streak.
  5. Dallas Cowboys (11-4) [Last Week: 5]
    • Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys defense both put on clinics on Monday Night Football, downing Washington Football Team 56-14 in a huge blowout win. I considered nudging up Dallas into the #4 spot, but looking at their overall body of work, the Cowboys have yet to prove they can consistently beat winning teams. Of course, Dallas is just playing the schedule given to them, which hasn’t featured too many playoff-caliber opponents.
  6. Indianapolis Colts (9-6) [Last Week: 7]
    • The Indianapolis Colts continue to surge, beating the Cardinals 22-16 despite playing with a pretty banged up roster on Christmas evening. Carson Wentz and the Colts are 6-1 in their last seven games, with just one loss to the Buccaneers, and Jonathan Taylor went over 100 rushing yards yet again to continue his potential NFL MVP campaign.
  7. Buffalo Bills (9-6) [Last Week: 8]
    • The Buffalo Bills haven’t always performed consistently in big games this season, but in Week 16, they showed up when it mattered the most. Josh Allen threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns as the Bills downed the Patriots 33-21 on their own turf: claiming the AFC East lead and control of the division with just two weeks left to play.
  1. New England Patriots (9-6) [Last Week: 4]
    • After surging to tie for the top record in the AFC with seven straight wins, Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have lost back-to-back games to fall back in to second place in the AFC East. Both losses have come by ten points or more against the Colts and Bills, two teams firmly in the AFC playoff picture, which doesn’t bode well for New England this late in the season. The Patriots could have taken a commanding lead in the division by beating the Bills in Week 16, but weren’t able to take care of business.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) [Last Week: 13]
    • The Cincinnati Bengals may have faced a depleted Ravens team in Week 16, but with the AFC North lead on the line, they showed no mercy in a 41-21 win over Baltimore. Cincinnati led 31-14 by halftime, and Joe Burrow had a historic game with 525 yards and four passing touchdowns. After sweeping both the Ravens and Steelers this season, the fate of the AFC North is in the Bengals hands with two weeks left to play.
  3. Tennessee Titans (10-5) [Last Week: 14]
    • Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans were 1-3 over their last four games heading into Thursday Night Football, but were unable to overcome a 10-0 halftime deficit with a 20-7 advantage in the second half to improve to 10-5 and keep their AFC South lead safe for the time being.
  4. San Francisco 49ers (8-7) [Last Week: 12]
    • Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers were at the losing end of the 20-17 Thursday night game against the Titans, but still played pretty well, and with other teams in the league apparently entering free-fall mode, the 49ers actually rise a spot in this weeks rankings.
  5. Arizona Cardinals (10-5) [Last Week: 9]
    • After going 2-1 in Kyler Murray’s absence about a month and a half ago, it seemed like the Arizona Cardinals would be able to cruise to the #1 seed in the NFC. But after three straight losses, not only is the top seed out of play, but the Rams have taken the NFC West lead from Arizona, largely due to Los Angeles’s 30-23 Week 14 win over the Cardinals. Last week’s 30-12 loss to the Lions was downright embarrassing, and this week, the Cardinals fell 22-16 to the Colts on Christmas. Arizona is guaranteed a playoff spot with 10 wins, but with these recent struggles, just how long might a playoff appearance last?
SEE ALSO: Week 17 Picks
  1. Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) [Last Week: 10]
    • The Los Angeles Chargers went to toe-to-toe with the Chiefs last week, taking them to overtime, so I never would have guessed Los Angeles would have any trouble beating, let alone outright losing to, the Texans in Week 16. Justin Herbert and the Chargers fall out of the playoff field in the AFC with the loss, and may very well end up on the outside looking in even if they win their final two games.
  2. Miami Dolphins (8-7) [Last Week: 15]
    • From 1-7 to 8-7: after defeating a depleted Saints team on Monday Night Football, the Miami Dolphins have become the first team in NFL history to follow a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning steak in the same season. The only reason I can’t rank Tua Tagovailoa and company higher is their paper-soft schedule: a win is a win, but besides a Thursday night win over the Ravens, Miami’s six other wins came against the Texans, Jets, Panthers, Giants, and a shell of a Saints team. I’d love to see Miami continue to succeed, I just need to see them against better competition before I’m ready to call them a contender.
  3. Baltimore Ravens (8-7) [Last Week: 11]
    • I try not to count COVID-depleted teams losses against them too harshly, but the Baltimore Ravens were manhandled against the Bengals this week, falling 41-21 and allowing Joe Burrow to throw for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Josh Johnson was Baltimore’s starting quarterback and many starters were missing on both sides of the ball. Still, with four straight losses (even though the last three were by two points or less) the Ravens are running out of chances as the regular season approaches its end.
  4. Minnesota Vikings (7-8) [Last Week: 16]
    • Even without Dalvin Cook, the Minnesota Vikings made it interesting in the second half against the Rams, scoring 20 points in the final two quarters after scoring only a field goal in the first half. But the Rams were ultimately the better team, leaving Minnesota with a 30-23 victory. The 7-8 Vikings fall to 8th in the NFC, and will need a strong finish and some help in order to get into the postseason.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) [Last Week: 18]
    • Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith helped the Philadelphia Eagles engineer a 31-point second half after scoring just three points in the first half. The Eagles downed the Giants 34-10, but I can’t move them up too much with how much of a pushover the Giants have been without Daniel Jones at quarterback.
  6. Cleveland Browns (7-8) [Last Week: 22]
    • I moved the Cleveland Browns up because despite four interceptions thrown by Baker Mayfield, Cleveland still only lost by two points, on the road, to a Packers team with the best record in the league. Browns fans can complain about Mayfield all they want and rightfully so, but the Browns still had a chance at the end of the game in their 24-22 loss.
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1) [Last Week: 17]
    • Honestly I should drop the Pittsburgh Steelers even lower after their horrendous showing against the Chiefs, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and just assume Kansas City is a really, really good team. The playoff-hopeful Steelers looked lost on both offense and defense in a 36-10 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.
  8. Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) [Last Week: 24]
    • The Las Vegas Raiders got solid performances from Derek Carr (20-25, 201 yards, touchdown) and Josh Jacobs (27 carries, 129 yards) as they grinded out a 17-13 win over the Broncos. Las Vegas has followed up a 1-5 mid-season slump with back-to-back wins in the last two weeks, and still have a glimmer of hope in the AFC playoff race.
  9. Atlanta Falcons (7-8) [Last Week: 23]
    • The Atlanta Falcons allowed the Jared Goff-less Lions to give them a hard time, but won 20-16 after picking off Tim Boyle late. It’s certainly not the kind of that should have moved Atlanta up on this list, but the next few teams are a mess, and even if they’re never great, the Falcons are still 7-8 which is more than some teams can say.
  10. New Orleans Saints (7-8) [Last Week: 20]
    • Once again: without the integrity of your roster and starting lineups due to COVID-19, it’s hard to compete, as Ian Book and the New Orleans Saints learned the hard way in a 20-3 Monday Night Football loss to the Dolphins.
  11. Denver Broncos (7-8) [Last Week: 21]
    • Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead, but didn’t score again in 1 17-13 road loss to the Raiders that all but ended their playoff chances.
  12. Washington Football Team (6-9) [Last Week: 19]
    • Washington Football Team tumbles after suffering an absolute blowout in Dallas, falling 56-14 to the Cowboys after giving up 42 points in the first half alone before Dak Prescott took the rest of the game off. Washington’s defense wasn’t at 100%, but giving up 50 points is never a good sign, and Washington can basically kiss any postseason dreams goodbye.
  13. Chicago Bears (5-10) [Last Week: 26]
    • Nick Foles worked his magic once again, leading the Chicago Bears to victory in his first start of the season. The veteran completed 24-of-35 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown as Chicago won by converting a two-point try in the final moments of the game.
  14. Seattle Seahawks (5-10) [Last Week: 25]
    • The Seattle Seahawks had been playing decent, but after losing to Chicago in a snowy game by the narrowest of margins, its only fair they rank right under the Bears in this week’s rankings.
  15. Detroit Lions (2-12-1) [Last Week: 28]
    • The Detroit Lions are a team you just can’t seem to put away, not matter how poor their record is. Even with Jared Goff out and Tim Boyle at quarterback, the Lions gave the Falcons a run for their money in a 20-16 loss.
  16. New York Jets (4-11) [Last Week: 29]
    • Zach Wilson showcased his legs with a 52-yard touchdown run in the New York Jets 26-21 win over the Jaguars at home.
  17. Houston Texans (4-11) [Last Week: 31]
    • Davis Mills and the Houston Texans stunned the Chargers 41-29 behind a monster 149-yard, two-touchdown game from running back Rex Burkhead.
  18. New York Giants (4-11) [Last Week: 27]
    • The New York Giants lost their fourth straight game since Daniel Jones was lost for the season, falling 34-10 to the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Giant further displayed their ineptitude by giving Jake Fromm the start, only to pull him at halftime in a 3-3 game. Sure, his first half wasn’t promising, but why not give him a full game before resorting back to Mike Glennon?
  19. Carolina Panthers (5-10) [Last Week: 30]
    • The Carolina Panthers have lost five straight games and are 2-10 overall since their 3-0 start to the season. After being outscored 63-20 over the last two weeks, there isn’t much positive to say about this Panthers team.
  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) [Last Week: 32]
    • First overall pick Trevor Lawrence hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in four straight games, and has only thrown one in his last eight games. Likewise, the Jacksonville Jaguars are on a six-game losing streak with sole possession of the worst record in the NFL.




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