NFL Power Rankings: Where Every Team Stands After Week 15

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a first half pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NFL playoff picture got a little clearer on Sunday.

The Week 15 schedule boasted some of the most intriguing matchups with playoff implications on the line.

Some teams clinched their division or a playoff berth while others found themselves eliminated from any chance of playing football past Week 17.

Following another epic week in the NFL, here are your fresh power rankings.


1. Denver Broncos (11-3)

Having won nine straight, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are surging right now.

Denver already locked up the AFC West and right now owns a first-round bye, as it holds a one-game lead over the Patriots in the playoff standings.

After a big road win in Baltimore in Week 15, the Broncos will be looking to make it 11 straight wins as they close out their season against the Browns and Chiefs.


2. New England Patriots (10-4)

This was a huge game for the AFC, as the Patriots' loss to the 49ers on Sunday Night Football moved Denver into the No. 2 slot in the seeding, giving them a first-round bye as of now.

New England currently holds the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture. With games remaining against the Jaguars and Dolphins, the Patriots shouldn't have much trouble staying in the top half of the seeding in the AFC.

3. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1)

The 49ers proved defense overpowers offense in Week 15 as San Francisco outlasted New England, 41-34.

With the win, San Francisco clinched a playoff berth and holds the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. But it can't lay down, as the Seahawks are just a game and a half back in the division and are looking to overtake the 49ers.


4. Houston Texans (12-2)

The Texans assured themselves of a playoff spot on Sunday, beating the Colts 29-17 and clinching the AFC South for the second consecutive season while currently holding a first-round bye.

Boasting a top-10 offense and No. 3 rushing defense in the NFL, Houston needs to shore up its secondary to make a deep playoff run, as we saw Tom Brady expose the Texans on Monday Night Football in Week 14.

Nonetheless, you can't argue with what Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and the rest of the Texans offense are doing right now.


5. Atlanta Falcons (12-2)

Seeking a convincing win over another legitimate contender, the Falcons got just that in a 34-0 shutout of the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Atlanta came into this game having already clinched the NFC South, but its convincing win in Week 15 further bolstered its chances of securing a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Sporting one of the deadliest passing attacks in the league, the Falcons will be a difficult out in the postseason, especially if they're playing at home.


6. Green Bay Packers (10-4)

Week 15 was a clinching week for the Packers, as their defeat of the Chicago Bears earned them the NFC North title and a guaranteed trip to the playoffs.

Green Bay has won eight out of its last nine and is only a half game behind the 49ers for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

With games left against the Titans and Vikings, the Packers will be looking to win out and give themselves a chance to secure a bye in the postseason.

7. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

The Seattle Seahawks get better and better each week.

After dismantling the Cardinals 58-0 last week, the Seahawks owned the Bills 50-17 in Week 15 and now hold the fifth seed in the NFC playoff picture.

Seattle's Week 16 matchup with the 49ers will have enormous playoff implications and will feature two of the NFL's best defenses.

8. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

Despite losing to the Broncos on Sunday, the Ravens are guaranteed a playoff appearance and currently sit at fourth in the AFC playoff seeding.

A Steelers loss aided Baltimore, but the Bengals are just one game behind the Ravens in the division, making their Week 17 showdown with Cincinnati an enormous game.

Either way, Baltimore will play beyond December, but where they finish in the AFC still remains to be seen.

9. Washington Redskins (8-6)

Even without Robert Griffin III, the Redskins were able to get a huge win on the road against the Browns, and in the process moved into the NFC East driver's seat, as they hold the tiebreaker over the Giants and Cowboys.

With two NFC East games remaining—including a Week 17 matchup with Dallas—the Redskins' young offense might just take the crown in the division.

10. Indianapolis Colts (9-5)

Although they lost to the Texans on Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts still find themselves in the playoff hunt, currently hanging onto the fifth seed in the AFC.

With a win at Kansas City next weekend, Andrew Luck and the Colts would clinch a spot in the playoffs.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

Following a Baltimore loss in Week 15, the Bengals find themselves in great position to play January football.

For now, they're in at the sixth seed, but they trail the Ravens by just one game in the AFC North, which means Cincinnati still has a legit shot to clinch the division.

12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

A few weeks ago we were talking about how the Cowboys were done, but after a thrilling win over the Steelers in Week 15, the Cowboys find themselves right on the precipice of a playoff appearance.

Dallas is still on the outside looking in, but a loss by Minnesota, Washington and/or New York would propel it into the postseason picture.

13. New York Giants (8-6)

Leading the NFC East entering Week 15, the Giants now find themselves trailing the Redskins and Cowboys in the division after being demolished by the Falcons.

It doesn't get any easier for the G-Men in Week 16, as they'll travel to Baltimore to take on a hungry Ravens team.

New York is still in the conversation but must win out and receive some help from divisional foes to make it to the playoffs.

14. Chicago Bears (8-6)

A win against the Packers in Week 15 would have kept the Bears right on the heels of Green Bay, but instead the Pack clinched the division and Chicago still finds itself outside of the top six teams in the NFC.

A Bears win and Vikings loss in Week 16 would thrust Chicago into the playoff seeding.

15. Minnesota Vikings (8-6)

With Adrian Peterson running the rock, the Vikings are capable of anything.

Minnesota owns tiebreakers over the Giants, Bears and Cowboys and currently holds the No. 6 spot in the NFC playoff picture. 

If they win out, AP will be running in January.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

Pittsburgh's loss to the Cowboys in Week 15 catapulted the Bengals into the No. 6 seed and has the Steelers on the bubble in the AFC.

Week 16's matchup with Cincinnati will be a must-win for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers if they're going to play postseason football.

17. New Orleans Saints (6-8)

Technically, the Saints still have a shot at the playoffs, but realistically speaking, they're done.

They looked impressive while shutting out Tampa Bay, as Drew Brees tossed four TD passes to get back on track.

New Orleans needs to win its last two games and hope for a slew of losses from a handful of NFC teams above it.

18. Miami Dolphins (6-8)

The Dolphins are still alive in the AFC playoff picture but must win their last two games to have any chance.

And with the Patriots looming in Week 17, the odds aren't looking too good for Miami.

19. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)

The Rams aren't likely to make the playoffs, and a loss to the Vikings in Week 15 certainly didn't help.

Speaking of help, St. Louis needs a lot of it to play past Week 17 and it's probably not going to get it.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

It was a mere few weeks ago that the Buccaneers looked like a playoff team.

Fast forward to Week 15 and they're being shutout by a Saints team that's been up and down all season.

The Bucs were eliminated from contention following the loss to New Orleans but can mess with the Falcons' hopes of a bye with their matchup in Week 17. 

21. New York Jets (6-7)

It's hard to believe the Jets still mathematically have a chance to make the playoffs.

Will it happen? No, because they need too much help from the rest of the AFC, but the door is definitely still open.

22. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

There's not much to play for in Carolina these days, but the Panthers did look good in their Week 15 dismantling of the Chargers.

Had Cam Newton not started so slow, Carolina could be in the hunt right now.

23. Arizona Cardinals (5-9)

Arizona finally won its first game since Week 4, but it's too little, too late for the Cardinals.

The Cards can still shake up the NFC playoff picture with games remaining against the playoff hopeful Bears and the 49ers.

24. Cleveland Browns (5-9)

It's all about devastation now for the Browns.

They may not be able to compete for a playoff seed but they can help prevent Denver from securing a first-round bye and keep the Steelers from making it into the postseason.

25. Buffalo Bills (5-9)

I have a feeling the Bills won't mind keeping the Jets out of the playoffs, as their Week 17 matchup against New York could have major playoff implications for the Jets, with Buffalo having already been eliminated.

26. San Diego Chargers (5-9)

The Chargers organization needs a change of scenery from Norv Turner and Philip Rivers, as it's another season in San Diego without a playoff appearance.

27. Tennessee Titans (4-9)

Tennessee has nothing to play for except to keep the Packers away from a first-round bye in the postseason, as the Titans will travel to Lambeau Field in Week 16.

28. Detroit Lions (4-10)

It was an extremely disappointing season for the Lions, who have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Detroit, however, can put a dent in the NFC by beating the Falcons and Bears to shake up the NFC playoff picture in the last two weeks of the season.

29. Oakland Raiders (4-10)

The Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention and won't have the opportunity to play spoiler, as their last two opponents have either been eliminated from postseason contention or don't have much of a chance to make it past Week 17..

30. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)

Philadelphia can't make the playoffs but can ruin postseason opportunities for two division rivals by beating the Redskins and Giants in Weeks 16 and 17.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

The Jaguars were beaten down by the Dolphins in Week 15 and have nothing left to play for this season.

If it makes Jags fans feel any better, they hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs because of win percentage in conference games.

32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)

Having already been eliminated from playoff contention, the Chiefs will have an opportunity to play spoiler in Week 16 by defeating the Colts and preventing Indianapolis from clinching a postseason spot.


Follow me on Twitter: 


    2018 NFL Schedule Is Here 🙌

    NFL logo

    2018 NFL Schedule Is Here 🙌

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Win-Loss Predictions for Every Team

    NFL logo

    Win-Loss Predictions for Every Team

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Giants Release Brandon Marshall

    NFL logo

    Giants Release Brandon Marshall

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Full 2018 NFL Prime-Time Schedule

    NFL logo

    Full 2018 NFL Prime-Time Schedule

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report