There has been a massive shakeup in the Top 15 Team Power Rankings this week. The two ball clubs that were in the driver’s seat for the number one seed in the AFC Playoff Race are no longer in the top five list of the rankings.
1. Carolina Panthers
Even after clinching a playoff berth last week against the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers have not let their foot off the gas pedal. They pitched a shutout against the Atlanta Falcons 38-0.
2. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals defense showed up when it mattered the most when they took on the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Defensive end Dwight Freeney forced quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to turn over the football, which eventually won the football game for the Cardinals. As a result of that victory, the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth in the NFC.
3. New England Patriots: (Previous Ranking 5th)
The New England Patriots finally returned to their winning ways when they went on the road to play against the Houston Texans. The Patriots won 27-6. The game was close in the beginning, but the Patriots did what they do best which is capitalizing on an opposing teams mistakes. The Patriots are once again the number one seed in the AFC Playoff Race.
4. Seattle Seahawks: (Previous Ranking 7th)
Over the last two weeks, the Seattle Seahawks have outscored their opponents by an impressive 73-13. It was around the same time last year that this ball club demolished everything in their path. The Seahawks are much better than what their record says.
5. Green Bay Packers: (Previous Ranking 6th)
In a contest that I thought would be close, the Green Bay Packers delivered a 28-7 beat down to the Dallas Cowboys who are still alive in the horrible NFC East.
6. Kansas City Chiefs: (Previous Ranking 8th)
After starting off the season with a 1-5 record, the Kansas City Chiefs are now on a seven-game winning streak. Their current opponent was the division rival, the San Diego Chargers who they defeated 10-3. The Chiefs defense successfully stops the Chargers offense who was on the verge of tying the ball game in the contest’s final minutes.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers: (Previous Ranking 10th)
The Steelers took advantage of a Bengals football team that was missing their signal caller Andy Dalton, who will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured right thumb. With Dalton’s season-ending injury, the Steelers could win the AFC North Title.
8. New York Jets: (Previous Ranking 11th)
The New York Jets now control their destiny in regards to making the playoffs this season. Their next opponent is a potential trap game at “Jerry World” against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday Night.
9. Denver Broncos: (Previous Ranking 4th)
Nobody saw the Oakland Raiders pulling off the upset against the Denver Broncos last Sunday. Is Peyton Manning ready to play yet?
10. Cincinnati Bengals: (Previous Ranking 3rd)
The Cincinnati Bengals went from a team that could be the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs to a team that could be out of the race for the AFC North Title hunt. They will go on the road to face the San Francisco 49ers without starting quarterback Andy Dalton. They should be able to clinch the division title next week with A.J. McCarron under center.
11. Minnesota Vikings: (Previous Ranking 9th)
The Minnesota Vikings now have three lives left to make the playoffs as a wildcard. From the looks of it, a late season implosion is very possible.
12. Washington Redskins
After laying an egg against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, Washington went on the road to defeat the Chicago Bears 24-21. As a result of that victory, they are now in 1st place in the NFC East.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are now within a game of winning the AFC South Title in 2015. The Jaguars took the Indianapolis Colts to the woodshed 51-16 last Sunday. Their next opponent will be against the Atlanta Falcons. The Jaguars must win this game to keep pace with the Colts and Texans.
14. Houston Texans
Brian Hoyer is not the long term answer for the Houston Texans going forward. Hoyer failed to throw a touchdown pass against the vaunted Patriots defense last Sunday. As I have said before, “J.J. Watt Cannot Play Quarterback.”
15. Indianapolis Colts
If the Colts suffer another humiliating loss like they did against the Jaguars and Steelers, head coach Chuck Pagano could become a candidate for “Black Monday 2016.”
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