Power Rankings Week 17
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Patriots absolutely destroyed the Jaguars. However, that's what they are supposed to do. Still, this win was impressive. They beat them by a lot, and they didn't take their foot off the gas. If the Patriots play their game, they are hard to beat, but it won't be easy to accomplish that against the better teams.
The Bills got a win that feels like a loss. They won by two touchdowns, but Josh Allen threw three interceptions. Stefon Diggs didn't do much and Dawson Knox was a non-factor. The Bills got away with their performance because their opponent was inferior, but they are getting bounced if they play like that in the playoffs. The Bills are a really talented team, but they are pretty inconsistent in terms of performance.
The Bucs got their worse win of the season against the Jets. They lost Antonio Brown in the second half, and now their receiving core is basically Mike Evans, who has a hamstring that could be reinjured. Ronald Jones got hurt, so now all they have at running back is
Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Le'Veon Bell. Also, the Jets made the Bucs defense look the worst it has looked all season. In the end, the Bucs won, but if you can hardly beat the Jets, how are they supposed to compete against playoff teams? I ranked them this high out of respect for what they accomplished and because they have a little time to get healthy.
The Cowboys have a legitimate shot for a Super Bowl. However, the defense can't win it alone. The defense was solid against the Cardinals, but the offense didn't hold up their end of the bargain. They didn't press. They didn't move the ball down the field consistently enough. A lot of that had to do with Dak Prescott and the receivers. Dak was off, even in the passes he completed, and CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper didn't play big enough. Those receivers are way too good not to be making something happen. It just didn't seem like Dak could count on them to bail them out. The offense needs to step up for the Cowboys to achieve their ultimate goals.
The Cardinals offense looked a lot better this week. I think the key to that was the receiving core AJ Green, Antoine Wesley, and Christian Kirk. These guys showed up, and it led to team success. The receiving core seems like the most critical aspect of the Cardinals success right now, and they are finally showing up.
The Rams won again, and they have a great record. However, they struggled with the Ravens, and they shouldn't. The run game left some plays out there. Matthew Stafford threw another pick-six this game, and he leads the league in pick-sixes. The Rams are super talented. They are one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but they are ranked this low because of Stafford. I think Stafford is great, but I can't rank the Rams higher until he stops giving the ball away.
The Chiefs lost, but they battled and showed their offense is still prolific. The loss will probably keep the Chiefs sharp for playoffs and prevent them from being shocked in the playoffs because they thought they were better than everybody else. The Chiefs are still Super Bowl favorites.
The Bengals have arrived. They made the Chiefs defense look mortal, just exposing them play after play. The Chiefs defense had been shutting people down, but the Bengals offense overpowered the Chiefs defense. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase out-dueled Patrick Mahomes, and they now have a chance to lead the AFC, and they have clinched their division, AFC North.
The Titans are the sleeping giants of the NFL. They destroyed the Dolphins by just smothering them with their defense. The defense is legit, and now the receivers are getting healthy. Derrick Henry is returning, and the Titans will likely get a bye to get healthy. When they come back, the Titans will have a committee of running backs they can use, in addition to Henry, and defense they can count on. The Titans are the most dangerous team in the NFL right now.
The Packers have the best record in the NFL. They keep taking teams apart, and if they can stay healthy, they will be right back in that conference title game again. Nobody wants to see the Packers right now.
4. Jonathan Taylor
The Colts loss hurt Taylor's MVP chances. Running backs are judged by a different standard in the MVP race. They can't just be great. They have to be phenomenal. Taylor's biggest narrative was that he rushes for over one hundred yards, and the Colts win. Well, he rushed for over one hundred yards, and they lost. Also, they had a chance to win the division and fell farther behind.
Rodgers hasn't been phenomenal this year. However, he has been consistently excellent. Because of that, and the fact that the field of MVPs is in such flux, Rodgers looks like the best MVP candidate to most people. He has a good signature win against the Cardinals. He has the back-to-back narrative, and he has his team in position for the one seed.
2. Joe Burrow
It's time to talk about Joe Burrow for the MVP. In the last two weeks, he has put up legendary numbers against the Chiefs and Ravens, and clinched his division. In the last two years, he has turned an organization around that many thought was beyond saving. He has the Bengals competing for the one seed in the AFC and a Super Bowl, and they weren't even in the hunt last year. Burrow is playing like a young Montana. It feels like history in the making watching him play.
Brady has been phenomenal this year, and his team has needed him even more than last year. He just led his team to what became an improbable win against the Jets. Game on the line, no timeouts, and AB gone, Brady leads a TD drive and steals a win from the Jets. Brady has been putting the Bucs on his back all year. He leads the league in passing TDs and yards, and he leads the MVP race.
Rookie QB Race
5. Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence finally scored a TD, but it was on a screen. Lawrence didn't look good against the Patriots at all. Lawrence has had an awful rookie season. This game alone he ended up with three interceptions and less than two hundred yards. He needs a lot more help and probably should have sat this year.
4. Davis Mills
Davis Mills had a lot of deserved hype going into this game, and he just didn't take advantage of the opportunity. He barely threw for over one hundred yards and had one TD. 49ers struggled early and Mills didn't capitalize.
3. Trey Lance
Trey struggled with the Texans more than the scoreboard shows. He threw a pick, but he got on track, and when all was said and done, he got it done. Trey threw for two hundred forty-nine yards, a TD, and a two-score lead. He isn't the savior of the season per se, but he got the job done.
2. Mac Jones
Mac Jones got a nice confidence boost by beating the number one pick in the draft. He threw all over the Jaguars defense and did pretty much anything he wanted. Three TDs and no interceptions, this game was exactly what Mac needed.
1. Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson threw for only one TD, and two hundred and thirty-four yards, but he hung in there with Tom Brady. He forced Brady to win at the last second. However, Zach took care of the ball and almost led his team to a victory. In the Greatest Story on Turf Week 17, I said I wanted to see if Zach could hang, and he did. I think Jets fans are very excited about Wilson's year two right now.