14 min read

NFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Lions Ascending, Buccaneers Free-Falling

The Detroit Lions, who won just three games last year and began this season by losing six of their first seven, have crashed the top 10 in The 33rd Team’s Week 16 power rankings.

The Lions jumped from 15th to ninth on the strength of their impressive 20-17 win against the No. 11 Jets. It was their sixth win in the last seven games as they improved their record to 7-7 and kept their playoff hopes very much alive.

Another team that made a big move this week was the Jaguars (6-8), who jumped five spots from 19 to 14 after an impressive 40-34 overtime win against the Cowboys. It was their fourth win in the last six games. They’ve also beaten the Titans, Ravens and Raiders during that span.

The Chargers (8-6) continued their ascent, improving from ninth to seventh with a three-point win against the Titans. The Chargers have won three of their last four games.

The Cowboys (10-4) dropped from fifth to sixth after their loss to the Jags. The Chiefs (11-3), who needed to go to overtime to beat the 1-12-1 Texans, moved up from sixth to fifth.

The complete 33rd Team Week 16 power rankings:

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)

Last week: W25-20 at Bears | This week: at 10-4 Cowboys | Previous: 1

Good news: The Eagles' defense had six more sacks Sunday against the Bears, giving them a league-high 55. A league-high 30 have been on third down. Nine of Haason Reddick’s 12 sacks have come on third down.

Bad news: Jalen Hurts threw for 315 yards and ran for three TDs vs. the Bears, but took a pretty good beating from the Bears' defense. He’ll have one less day to heal up for Saturday’s big Christmas Eve division battle against the Cowboys.

2. Buffalo Bills (11-3)

Last week: W 39-36 vs. Dolphins | This week: at 3-11 Bears | Previous: 2

Good news: Josh Allen has thrown 10 touchdown passes and just one interception in the Bills’ last five games.

Bad news: The Bills gave up 188 rushing yards to the Dolphins, who had been averaging just 89.8 yards per game on the ground.

3. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)

Last week: W 21-13 at Seahawks | This week: vs. 7-6-1  Commanders | Previous: 3

Good news: The 49ers have the best defense in the league. They lead the league in points allowed (15.0 per game). During their seven-game win streak, they have held opponents to 11.0 points per game.

Bad news: Puzzling early losses to the Bears, Broncos and Falcons cost them any shot at NFC home-field advantage and a first-round bye.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)

Last week: W 34-23 at Buccaneers | This week: at 7-7 Patriots | Previous: 4

Good news: Joe Burrow, who was sacked 29 times in the Bengals’ first eight games, has been sacked just eight times in their last six games.

Bad news: The Bengals have lost three of their five division games.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

Last week: W 30-24 at Texans | This week: vs. 7-7 Seahawks | Previous: 6

Good news: The Chiefs notched their seventh game with at least 30 points. They lead the league in scoring (29.6 points per game) and total offense (429.4 yards per game).

Bad news: The defense could be a problem in the playoffs. They’ve given up 27 or more points in four of their last five games.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

Last week: W 17-14 vs. Titans | This week: at 4-9-1 Colts | Previous: 9

Good news: The Chargers have moved ahead of the Dolphins for the No. 6 playoff seed, and they have three winnable games (Colts, Rams, Broncos) left. Them running the table is a good possibility.

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

7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Last week: L 34-40 at Jaguars | This week: vs. 13-1 Eagles | Previous: 5

Good news: The Cowboys have averaged 37.1 points per game in their last seven games.

Bad news: Their last two opponents, the 1-12-1 Texans and 6-8 Jaguars, converted 55 percent of their third-down opportunities. On Sunday, the Jaguars converted three of four third downs of 10 yards or more.

8. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)

Last week: W 39-36 vs. Colts | This week: vs. 8-5-1 Giants | Previous: 8

Good news: They pulled off the biggest comeback in NFL history against the Colts, rallying from a 33-point halftime deficit.

Bad news: The fact they gave up 33 points in one half to a Colts team that was averaging 16.1 points per game is concerning. In their last six games, the Vikings have given up 31.3 points per game.

9. Detroit Lions (7-7)

Last week: W 20-17 at Jets | This week: at 5-9 Panthers | Previous: 15

Good news: The Lions are one of the NFL's hottest teams, and they have three teams under .500 left on their schedule. They are still contenders in the playoff hunt.

Bad news: The Lions are 31st in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 48.2% of their third-down opportunities.

10. Miami Dolphins (8-6)

Last week: L 36-39 at Bills | This week: vs. Packers | Previous: 10

Good news: Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are one of the league’s most productive wide receiver tandems. They’ve combined for 171 catches, 2,646 yards and 14 TDs.

Bad news: Even with Hill and Waddle, the Dolphins are a below-average third-down team. They’re 22nd in the league in third-down efficiency (37.7%).

11. New York Jets (7-7)

Last week: L 17-20 vs. Lions | This week: vs. 6-8 Jaguars | Previous: 11

Good news: The Jets' defense is third in yards allowed (305.4) and fifth in points allowed (18.8).

Bad news: New York has lost five of their last seven and probably will be without injured QB Mike White for at least one more game. White, who has a broken rib, isn’t expected to play Thursday vs. Jacksonville.

12. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

Last week: L 3-13 at Browns | This week: vs. 5-9 Falcons | Previous: 7

Good news: With Lamar Jackson expected back this week and two of their last three games against teams with losing records, the Ravens still are in decent playoff shape. But, it’s hard to see them beating the Bills, Bengals or Chiefs in the postseason.

Bad news: Real playoff teams don’t lose to the Browns and Jaguars in the same month.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8)

Last week: W 40-34 v. Cowboys | This week: at 7-7 Jets | Previous: 19

Good news: Trevor Lawrence has a 111.2 passer rating in the last six games, including a 70.4 completion percentage, 14 TDs and just one interception.

Bad news: The Jaguars' defense has 11 takeaways in the last five games, but still has given up 27 or more points in four of those five games.

14. New York Giants (8-5-1)

Last week: W 20-12 at Commanders | This week: at 11-3 Vikings | Previous: 18

Good news: Saquon Barkley had his best game in weeks against Washington, rushing for 87 yards and finishing with 120 yards from scrimmage. They need him to play well for the offense to function anything close to properly.

Bad news: The Giants’ run defense is leaking oil. In their last five games, they've given up 181.2 yards per game on the ground and 5.4 yards per carry.

15. Tennessee Titans (7-7)

Last week: L 14-17 at Chargers | This week: vs. 1-12-1 Texans | Previous: 14

Good news: The Titans have held nine of their last 11 opponents to 20 points or less.

Bad news: The offense has struggled to score points all season. They’re 26th in scoring, averaging just 18.2 points per game. That’s nearly a touchdown less than last year.

16. Washington Commanders (7-6-1)

Last week: L 12-20 vs. Giants | This week: at 10-4 49ers | Previous: 12

Good news: The Commanders have a playoff-caliber defense, especially if they finally get DE Chase Young back this week. In their last nine games, Washington has held opponents to 18.8 points per game.

Bad news: The last thing Washington’s struggling offense needs right now is a road game against the 49ers. They’ll be lucky to score six points against the 49ers’ No. 1-ranked defense.

17. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)

Last week: W 30-24 vs. Patriots | This week: at 6-8 Steelers | Previous: 23

Good news: The Raiders, who have won four of their last five following a 2-7 start, are the only team in the league with a 1,400-yard rusher (Josh Jacobs) and a 1,200-yard receiver (Davante Adams).

Bad news: The Raiders’ 11 takeaways are the second-fewest in the league.

18. New England Patriots (7-7)

Last week: L 24-30 at Raiders | This week: vs. 10-4 Bengals | Previous: 13

Good news: Rhamondre Stevenson had a career-high 172 rushing yards against the Raiders. The 2021 fourth-round pick leads the Patriots in rushing and receiving and has 1,295 yards from scrimmage.

Bad news: With tough games against the Bengals, Dolphins and Bills remaining, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery than the Patriots do of making the playoffs.

19. Cleveland Browns (6-8)

Last week: W 13-3 vs. Ravens | This week: vs. Saints | Previous: 21

Good news: Nick Chubb is second in the league in rushing yards (1,252) and rushing TDs (12) and leads the league in runs of 10 yards or more (39).

Bad news: The Browns have scored just two touchdowns and 23 points in Deshaun Watson’s first two starts.

20. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)

Last week: L 13-21 vs. 49ers | This week: at Chiefs | Previous: 16

Good news: Even after losing four of their last five, the Seahawks still are kinda, sorta in the playoff hunt.

Bad news: Seahawks’ ground game has gone into hibernation at the absolute worst time. They’ve averaged just 60 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry in the last five games. Rookie Kenneth Walker III has averaged 3.2 yards per carry in his last four games.

21. Tampa Bay Bucs (6-8)

Last week: L 23-34 vs. Bengals | This week: at 4-10 Cardinals | Previous: 17

Good news: They are two games below .500, but one game up on the rest of the NFC South, which should be relegated to the USFL.

Bad news: Before Sunday, Tom Brady was 89-0 when he had a lead of 17 points or more. Now, he’s 89-1.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)

Last week: W 24-16 at Panthers | This week: vs. 6-8 Raiders | Previous: 22

Good news: After losing six of their first eight games, the Steelers have won four of their last six.

Bad news: Those last four wins have been against teams with a combined 19-36-1 record.

23. Green Bay Packers (6-8)

Last week: W24-12 vs. Rams | This week: at 8-6 Dolphins | Previous: 20

Good news: Have won back-to-back games for the first time since Week 4 and still are mathematically in the playoff hunt.

Bad news: Their three remaining games are against the 8-6 Dolphins, 11-3 Vikings and 7-7 Lions.

24. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Last week: L 16-24 v. Steelers | This week: v. 7-7 Lions | Previous: 24

Good news: Unbelievably, the Panthers are just a game behind the first-place Buccaneers in the NFC South.

Bad news: Panthers' quarterbacks have thrown the second-fewest touchdown passes in the league (12).

25. Denver Broncos (4-10)

Last week: W 24-15 v. Cardinals | This week: at Rams | Previous: 28

Good news: Praise the Lord and pass the Rocky Mountain oysters. The Broncos have put up 24-plus points in each of their last two games.

Bad news: The Broncos would have the third pick in the quarterback-rich 2023 draft right now if they hadn't made the decision to trade it for Russell Wilson of all people.

26. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

Last week: L12-24 at Packers | This week: vs. 4-10 Broncos | Previous: 26

Good news: Cam Akers averaged a season-high 5.4 yards per carry against the Packers.

Bad news: The Rams are averaging nearly 11 fewer points per game this season than they did last year.

27. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

Last week: L 15-24 at Broncos | This week: vs. 6-8 Bucs | Previous: 25

Good news: Well, if you’re GM Steve Keim or coach Kliff Kingsbury, the good news definitely is that you signed hefty contract extensions before this dumpster-fire of a season.

Bad news: The Cardinals are 32nd in opponent completion percentage (69.7) and tied for 31st in touchdown passes allowed (25).

28. Houston Texans (1-12-1)

Last week: L 24-30 vs. Chiefs | This week: at Titans | Previous: 31

Good news: The Texans have played two of the league’s best teams – the 11-3 Chiefs and 10-4 Cowboys – hard the last two weeks, which is a testament to their head coach, Lovie Smith. They took the Chiefs to overtime on Sunday and had the Cowboys on the ropes in the fourth quarter.

Bad news: Texans' QBs have a league-high 16 interceptions.

29. New Orleans (5-9)

Last week: W 21-18 v. Falcons | This week: at 6-8 Browns | Previous: 30

Good news: The Saints have held six of their last seven opponents to 20 points or less.

Bad news: They’re just 3-3 in those six games.

30. Chicago Bears (3-11)

Last week: L 20-25 vs. Eagles | This week: v. Bills | Previous: 32

Good news: Justin Fields is just the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 in a season.

Bad news: Fields was sacked six times Sunday, and four of them were on third down. He’s the most sacked QB in the league with 46 in 13 games.

31. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)

Last week: L 36-39 at Vikings | This week: vs. Chargers | Previous: 27

Good news: If they can find a quarterback in the offseason, the Colts can turn things around fairly quickly. But that’s a big if.

Bad news: The Colts have turned the ball over an NFL-high 27 times. Their minus-12 turnover differential is tied with the Saints for worst in the league.

32. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)

Last week: L 18-21 at Saints | This week: at 9-5 Ravens | Previous: 29

Good news: The nice thing about having a losing record is you can get an early peek at your rookie third-round quarterback (Desmond Ridder).

Bad news: The Falcons rushed for 231 yards against the Saints and still managed to score just 18 points. The loss to the Saints was their fifth in the last six games. They’ve scored just 106 points in those six games.