The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 16)
by Lance Pugmire
Hope you are ready for a Denver-Atlanta Super Bowl, because that’s what looks like will happen judging by the rankings.
Up: Chargers + 5 | Down: Giants - 4
In cruise control toward an 11-win run to end the season by closing against the Browns (34-12 victory) and Chiefs.
Home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs after another strong showing by QB Matt Ryan. Concern is run game, but always better to be at home.
Surprise struggle against Jacksonville as Brady intercepted twice, but their resilience remains one of their greatest assets moving forward.
Seemed to have bye wrapped up, but now they’re desperate to win at Colts to hang onto spot. RB Arian Foster, rest of offense fell ill vs. Vikings.
Peaking at right time: defense sacked Titans’ Jake Locker seven times, Aaron Rodgers threw for 342 yards and sub RB Ryan Grant had 80 yards.
The way QB Russell Wilson played against such a formidable defense makes you like their chances even when they’re out of home-field comfort.
Inability to put together two strong road games doesn’t bode well for playoffs. Neither does knowing Seattle is an entrant, too.
Robert Griffin III threw two TD passes coming back from knee surgery, and now the great rookie has chance to lift long-dormant team to playoffs vs. Dallas.
A seventh winning fourth-quarter drive by QB Andrew Luck gives inspired team a spot in the playoffs. Gave up a lot of yards to Chiefs, however.
Adrian Peterson has an uphill task to catch Eric Dickerson’s record 1984 rushing total, but after beating Texans, home win vs. Packers not inconceivable.
Showed by dominating Giants how dangerous they are when QB Joe Flacco plays well, RB Ray Rice gets running room. Battle hardened.
Found a way to eliminate Steelers, advance to playoffs for second straight season (first since 1982) as K Josh Brown showed mettle with 43-yard FG at wire.
Back to old ways scoring two TDs on defense at Cardinals, and they can find way in playoffs reasonably by beating Lions, having Vikings lose to Packers.
Loss to Saints stings, but Tony Romo is playing sharp (416 yards) and they win division if they can win at Washington.
Startling downfall from the team that dominated the 49ers in San Francisco and hammered Green Bay. Now, pass protection a mess, defense full of holes.
Kicking themselves over slow start after Drew Brees threw for 446 yards in OT win at Dallas. They’ll get ‘em next year.
Can hang heads high after this encouraging campaign that included strong running game, clean showing vs. Buffalo.
Coach Jeff Fisher’s solid hand at work still after riding four interceptions of Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman to victory. Doubt they win at Seattle, but seven wins a big step forward.
Defensive missteps plagued them throughout, and ultimately caused death of playoff hope when they let A.J. Green catch that pass.
Won another by fistfight vs. Raiders as Cam Newton ran and threw for a TD. These late strides make them force a in deep division next season.
QB Josh Freeman has unraveled in five-game skid, defusing game plans of relying on Doug Martin, defense.
Defense has shined at times this year, and 11-sack effort vs. Jets’ Greg McElroy shows their strong suit to build off next year.
Losing at Denver a routine for nearly all. Defiant in defeat, but likely end at 5-11 because QB Brandon Weeden hurt.
Housecleaning clinched by fuility at Miami. Problems nearly everywhere (QB, run defense) and Coach Chan Gailey will pay.
Getting blasted at Green Bay, 55-7, shows the tremendous amount of rebuilding necessary here
So bad there are reports the fiery Tim Tebow has opted out of playing for them. Best pass Sunday was by their WR Kerley.
At least they have WR Calvin Johnson, who broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record Saturday against the Falcons.
Coach Andy Reid had final home game in loss to Redskins, who gained more than 300 yards and sacked QB five times.
Another team with infinite issues. Their leading rusher in Bears’ loss had 20 yards. Threw 49 passes, none for TDS, but had one returned for TD.
Reverted to old-school violent ways to no effect in 17-6 loss at Panthers. Interesting that Matt Leinart replaced injured Carson Palmer.
Played admirably to threaten playoff-bound Colts, as RB Jamall Charles rushed for 226 yards at home.
Perhaps their best game of the season was Sunday’s loss. That sums up how these 17 weeks have gone.