Analysis

NFL Week 17 Power Rankings: Bills Retake Top Spot from Eagles

The Eagles’ 40-34 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday isn’t expected to impact their ability to secure the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. But it did cost them the top spot in The 33rd Team’s Week 17 power rankings.

Playing without MVP candidate Jalen Hurts, who sat out with a sprained throwing shoulder, the Eagles (13-2) suffered just their second loss of the season. But it was enough to provide an opening to the top spot for the Bills (12-3), who beat a Bears (3-12) team that was a surprisingly tough out for the Eagles a week earlier, by 22 points.

The rest of the top five is unchanged with the No. 3 49ers (11-4), No. 4 Bengals (11-4) and No. 5 Chiefs (12-3) all winning and standing pat.

The Lions’ (7-8) first experience with the top 10 proved to be short. They moved up to No. 9 last week after putting together an impressive 6-1 streak that included a 26-point win over the Jaguars (7-8) and an 11-point win over the No. 8 Vikings (12-3). But they dropped two spots to 11th this week after a 37-23 defeat to the Panthers (6-9).

The Ravens (10-5) moved back into the top 10 at No. 9 with yet another inoffensive win (17-9 over the Falcons). The Jaguars jumped from No. 13 to 10 with a 19-3 win over the Jets (7-8) on the heels of their impressive overtime win the week before over the Cowboys.

The Packers (7-8) jumped eight spots, from No. 23 to 15, with their third straight win, 26-20 over the No. 12 Dolphins (8-7). Green Bay and Miami are two of 12 teams that head into Week 17 with either seven or eight wins.

The Steelers (7-8) and Panthers both moved up five spots this week after wins. The Steelers, who defeated the Raiders, 13-10, jumped from 22 to 17. The Panthers moved from 24 to 19 after their win over the Lions.

The 33rd Team’s Week 17 power rankings:

1. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Last week: W 35-13 at Bears | This week: at 11-4 Bengals |  Previous: 2

Good news: TE Dawson Knox has touchdown catches in three straight games.

Bad news: Josh Allen has five two-interception games this season. The Bills lost three of those games. Only the Raiders’ Derek Carr has thrown more picks (14) than Allen (13).

2. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

Last week: L 34-40 at Cowboys | This week: vs. 6-9 Saints | Previous: 1

Good news: The Eagles need just one win to clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed

Bad news: Philadelphia has seven turnovers in their last two games, including four in Saturday’s loss to the Cowboys. They also had four in their only other loss to Washington.

3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4)

Last week: W 37-20 vs. Commanders | This week: at Raiders | Previous: 3

Good news: Mr. Irrelevant has found a go-to guy in TE George Kittle. In the last two games, Kittle has caught 10 passes from Brock Purdy for 213 yards and four touchdowns.

Bad news: The 49ers have struggled in the red zone. They converted just one of five trips inside the 20 into a touchdown against Washington and are 24th in red zone touchdown percentage (51.0) this season. Then again, when you’ve got their defense, you can get away with settling for three over seven.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

Last week: W 22-18 at Patriots | This week: vs. 12-3 Bills | Previous: 4

Good news: Joe Burrow has 16 touchdown passes in the last six games.

Bad news: The Bengals were outscored 18-0 in the second half by the Patriots. They had just six first downs in the second half.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3)

Last week: W 24-10 vs. Seahawks | This week: vs. Broncos | Previous: 5

Good news: Travis Kelce had his second straight 100-yard receiving performance. He’s sixth in the league in receiving yards with 1,257. The next closest tight end to him is the Vikings’ T.J. Hockenson with 839 yards.

Bad news: The Chiefs are 23rd in takeaways with only 16. They were fourth last year with 29.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6)

Last week: W 20-3 at Colts | This week: vs. 5-10 Rams | Previous: 6

Good news:With Monday night’s win over the Colts, the Chargers have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Bad news: Justin Herbert has zero touchdown passes and three interceptions in the last two games.

7. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

Last week: W 40-34 vs. Eagles | This week: at 7-8 Titans | Previous: 7

Good news: The Cowboys have a league-best 58.6 third-down percentage in their last six games. They converted 8 of 15 third-down opportunities vs. Eagles, including a game-changing third-and-30.

Bad news: Dak Prescott has the league’s highest interception percentage (3.8%). He’s thrown eight in the last five games.

8. Minnesota Vikings (12-3)

Last week: W 27-24 vs. Giants | This week: at Packers | Previous: 8

Good news: The Vikings are 11-0 in one-score games.

Bad news: Only three of those 11 wins were against teams that currently have a winning record. So, basically, they’ve played a lot of bad teams close.

9. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

Last week: W 17-9 vs. Falcons | This week: vs. 7-8 Steelers | Previous: 12

Good news: With the win over the Falcons, the Ravens clinched their fourth playoff invitation in the last five years.

Bad news: With or without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ offense hasn’t been much to look at this season. They’re averaging just 18.5 points per game in their last 12 games and are going to be hard-pressed to keep up with teams like the Bengals, Chiefs and Bills in the postseason.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8)

Last week: W 19-3 at Jets | This week: at 2-12-1 Texans | Previous: 13

Good news: The Jaguars are just two wins away from their first playoff appearance in five years and second since 2007.

Bad news: For only the third time this season, Trevor Lawrence didn’t have any touchdown passes against the Jets.

11. Detroit Lions (7-8)

Last week: L 23-37 at Panthers | This week: vs. 3-12 Bears | Previous: 9

Good news: Jared Goff has 12 TD passes and no interceptions in the Lions’ last seven games.

Bad news: How can you take a defense that gave up 570 yards and 30 first downs to the league’s 30th-ranked offense seriously?

12. Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Last week: L 20-26 vs. Packers | This week: at 7-8 Patriots | Previous: 10

Good news: The Dolphins have lost four in a row, but can still make the playoffs by winning their final two games against the Patriots and Jets.

Bad news: Tua Tagovailoa averaged 12.4 yards per attempt against the Packers, but threw three – count ‘em, three — costly fourth-quarter interceptions. The Dolphins haven’t beaten a winning team since upsetting the Bills in 90-degree heat in South Florida in Week 3.

13. New York Jets (7-8)

Last week: L 3-19 vs. Jaguars | This week: at 7-8 Seahawks | Previous: 11

Good news: Robert Saleh’s defense continues to shine. It has given up more than 22 points in a game just once since Week 3.

Bad news: Zach Wilson’s woeful 9-for-18, 92-yard performance against the Jags made it apparent that the Jets need to go look for another quarterback.

14. New York Giants (8-6-1)

Last week: L 24-27 at Vikings | This week: vs. 4-10-1 Colts | Previous: 14

Good news: WRs Richie James and Isaiah Hodgkins had their most productive games, combining for 16 catches, 179 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings.

Bad news: Giants are 2-5-1 in their last eight games. They’ve averaged just 17.1 points in those eight games.

15. Green Bay Packers (7-8)

Last week: W 26-20 at Dolphins | This week: vs. 12-3 Vikings | Previous: 23

Good news: Three straight wins have resurrected the Packers’ playoff hopes.

Bad news: They pretty much need to beat the 12-3 Vikings Sunday at Lambeau to keep those hopes alive.

16. Washington Commanders (7-7-1)

Last week: L 20-37 at 49ers | This week: vs. 6-9 Browns | Previous: 16

Good news: Rookie first-round WR Jahan Dotson, who had just 14 catches in the first 12 games, has 15 for 235 yards and 3 TDs in the last three games.

Bad news: The 49ers’ cooled off the Commanders’ red-hot running game, holding them to 2.4 yards per carry. Washington had strung together five straight 150-plus-yard rushing games before Saturday.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

Last week: W 13-10 vs. Raiders | This week: at 10-5 Ravens | Previous: 22

Good news: Who would’ve thought when the Steelers were 2-6 that Mike Tomlin would have any chance of avoiding his first losing season?

Bad news: Rookie Kenny Pickett’s five touchdown passes are the fewest by any quarterback with at least 300 attempts.

18. New England Patriots (7-8)

Last week: L 18-22 vs. Bengals | This week: vs. 8-7 Dolphins | Previous: 18

Good news: The Patriots’ 50 sacks are the second most in the league. Matt Judon and Josh Uche have combined for 26 of them.

Bad news: Bill Belichick’s decision to replace Josh McDaniel with Matt Patricia as the team’s offensive play-caller has not worked out very well. The Patriots are averaging a touchdown less than last year and Mac Jones has the league’s second-lowest touchdown percentage.

19. Carolina Panthers (6-9)

Last week: W 37-23 vs. Lions | This week: at 7-8 Bucs | Previous: 24

Good news: Winning for the fourth time in the last six games, the Panthers rolled up a franchise-record 570 offensive yards against the Lions, including a franchise-record 320 rushing yards.

Bad news: Offensive explosions from the Panthers have been few and far between. They were ranked 30th in the league in total offense prior to Saturday.

20. Tennessee Titans (7-8)

Last week: L 14-19 vs. Texans | This week: vs. 11-4 Cowboys | Previous: 15

Good news: They’re somehow still in the playoff hunt despite five straight losses.

Bad news: Ryan Tannehill’s ankle injury has forced the Titans to turn to rookie Malik Willis. And he’s just not ready for the glare and pressure of a late December/January playoff race.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8)

Last week: W 19-16 at Cardinals | This week: vs. 6-9 Panthers | Previous: 21

Good news: Despite their sub-.500 record and Tom Brady’s lowest yards-per-attempt average in 20 years, the Buccaneers can clinch the NFC South title – and a first-round home playoff game – with a win over Carolina on Sunday.

Bad news: Brady has thrown six interceptions in the last three games. It’s just the second time in his career – and the first time in 20 years – he’s thrown multiple picks in three straight games.

22. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9)

Last week: L 10-13 at Steelers | This week: vs 11-4 49ers | Previous: 17

Good news: The 13 points by the Steelers were the fewest the Raiders have given up this season.

Bad news: Derek Carr had three interceptions against the Steelers and has thrown nine in the last five games.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-8)

Last week: L 10-24 at Chiefs | This week: vs. 7-8 Jets | Previous: 20

Good news: Rookie RB Kenneth Walker III notched his third 100-yard rushing performance in his last eight games.

Bad news: Seahawks have lost five of their last six. They’ve scored 23 points in back-to-back losses to the 49ers and Chiefs. Geno Smith, who has led the league in yards per attempt much of the season, has averaged just 5.4 YPA the last two weeks.

24. Los Angeles Rams (5-10)

Last week: W 51-14 vs. Broncos | This week: at 9-6 Chargers | Previous: 26

Good news: Baker Mayfield – Baker frickin’ Mayfield – completed 24 of 28 passes and had a 124.7 passer rating against a Broncos defense that leads the league in opponent passer rating (78.9). Go figure.

Bad news: Rams’ 51-point offensive explosion was a too-little-too-late highlight in an otherwise disappointing season for the defending Super Bowl champs.

25. New Orleans Saints (6-9)

Last week: W 17-10 at Browns | This week: at 13-2 Eagles | Previous: 29

Good news: The Saints have held their last eight opponents to just 15.6 points per game.

Bad news: They’ve done that despite being last in the league in takeaways (11) and turnover differential (minus-12).

26. Cleveland Browns (6-9)

Last week: L 10-17 vs. Saints | This week: at 7-7-1 Commanders | Previous: 19

Good news: The Browns’ defense has eight takeaways in the last four games.

Bad news: That rust on Deshaun Watson is quite substantial. He completed just 48.4 percent of his passes Saturday, averaged 4.35 yards per attempt and has thrown just two touchdown passes in his four starts since finishing his 11-game suspension.

27. Houston Texans (2-12-1)

Last week: W 19-14 at Titans | This week: vs. 7-8 Jaguars | Previous: 28

Good news: Texans’ defense has given up just 13 touchdown passes and only four in the last six games.

Bad news: The Texans don’t seem to understand how tanking works.

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-11)

Last week: L 16-19 vs. Buccaneers | This week: at 5-10 Falcons | Previous: 27

Good news: Bah humbug.

Bad news: DeAndre Hopkins played 71 snaps Sunday and caught one pass for four yards. I don’t care who the hell the quarterback is. That’s inexcusable.

29. Denver Broncos (4-11)

Last week: L 14-51 at Rams | This week: at 12-3 Chiefs |Previous: 25

Good news: They’ll always have that 11-10 Week 3 win over the 49ers.

Bad news: With the Chiefs and Chargers left on Broncos’ schedule, interim coach Jerry Rosburg’s hopes for a win are slim.

30. Chicago Bears (3-12)

Last week: L 13-35 vs. Bills | This week: at 7-8 Lions |Previous: 30

Good news: The Bears, who have a league-worst 18 sacks, appear to have a clear path to the 2023 draft’s best edge rusher, Alabama’s Will Anderson.

Bad news: The loss to the Bills was their eighth in a row. They’ve given up 32.6 points per game in those eight defeats.

31. Indianapolis Colts (4-10-1)

Last week: L 3-20 vs. Chargers | This week: at 8-6-1 Giants |Previous: 31

Good news: Defense gave up just 17 first downs to the Chargers. That’s the fewest they’ve allowed in seven games (11 to Patriots in Week 10).

Bad news: Welp, it’s probably safe to scratch Nick Foles off the potential 2023 starting quarterback list.

32. Atlanta Falcons (5-10)

Last week: L 9-17 at Ravens | This week: vs. 4-11 Cardinals | Previous: 32

Good news: Rookie Desmond Ridder hasn’t thrown any interceptions in his first two NFL starts.

Bad news: He also hasn’t thrown any touchdown passes and has averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt. Is he the Falcons’ quarterback of the future? They’re not going to find that out this season.

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