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NFL Power Rankings Week 17

Power Rankings! On Christmas!

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everybody's particular religious or secular winter-time holidays have been splendid. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the Dr. Who Christmas special tonight. It should be way better than that game on Sunday night. My oh my, that was atrocious. Anyway, on to the rankings!

1) Denver Broncos (12-3)

2) New England Patriots (11-4)

3) Green Bay Packers (11-4)

4) Atlanta Falcons (13-2)

5) Seattle Seahawks (10-5)

I try to do these power rankings with a few things in mind - one of which is "if this team met that team on a neutral field, who would win." This was the criterion I really struggled with when placing the Seahawks ahead of the 49ers. I think a lot of the recent victory game from the Seahawks playing at home. Our offense stumbled a few times due to the noise, for example; statistically, the refs tend to punish away teams more often, and that seemed particularly true Sunday night. That said, there are other, non-home team, reasons why Seattle won. First and formost, the 49ers were just outcoached. Plain and simple. In pretty much every facet of the game. Just outcoached.

6) San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)

7) Houston Texans (12-3)

8) Washington Redskins (9-6)

9) Chicago Bears (9-6)

10) Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

11) Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

12) Minnesota Vikings (9-6)

13) New York Giants (8-7)

14) New Orleans Saints (7-8)

15) Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

The Cowboys are a tricky team to place right now. If one goes by "chances of getting into the playoffs" well, they are right in the thick of it. That puts them slightly above the middle of the pack. As does their record. But, as with any team sitting at 8-7, their play has been really erratic. At times, I want to place them pretty high. For example, I struggle with the thought that they are lower than the Giants (who are also crazy inconsistent) and higher than the Bengals. But then who is worse than them? The Saints just beat them at home. The Vikings? Maybe, but a certain RB in Minnesota has decided to carry the entire team. Tough decisions in the life of a power ranker. Ultimately, I think 15 is about right.

16) Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

17) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

18) St. Louis Rams (7-7-1)

19) Miami Dolphins (7-8)

20) Carolina Panthers (6-9)

21) San Diego Chargers (6-9)

22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9)

23) Detroit Lions (4-11)

First off, congratulations to Calvin Johnson. He is an incredible player, and I wish he were a 49er in all honesty. Now, however, let's get mad at him for breaking Jerry Rice's record. First off, Jerry is right: he has so many records. No need to get mad about any single one being lost. That said, Johnson broke this record in an offensively inflated era on a team that pretty much tries to get Johnson the ball more than it tries to win. Don't get me wrong, the record is impressive. In some ways, more impressive than Rice's earlier record. Johnson broke the record in fewer receptions (117 to 122) than Rice. Moreover, Johnson still has one more game to go. So, I want to give Johnson props for an impressive season, but I think we all know that Rice would have torn up the NFL in these modern offenses.

24) New York Jets (6-9)

25) Tennessee Titans (5-10)

26) Buffalo Bills (5-10)

27) Oakland Raiders (4-11)

28) Arizona Cardinals (5-10)

29) Philadelphia Eagles (4-11)

30) Cleveland Browns (5-10)

31) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13)

32) Kansas City Chiefs (2-13)