Since my Google spreadsheet doesn’t like talking to tablets, I’ll list a summary in plain text and leave the link for you MAC and PC users. The aggregate ranking points are in parentheses, followed by their change in this week’s consensus
1. San Francisco (20) +3 The 10-3-1 Niners went into New England on a mission, and their big win sets up a great showdown with 9-5 Seattle, who has a shot at winning the division. 2. Denver (26) No Change The 11-3 Broncos have locked up the AFC West, and that Patriots loss means that they won’t be traveling to New England for a playoff game. With a visit by the Browns on tap, it seems likely that Denver will remain a top seed. 3. New England (48) -2 In the minds of many rankings, the 10-4 Patriots could have fallen further as they finished one point ahead of Houston (49 points). With a 3-seed playoff spot, New England will have to put the peddle to the floor in Jacksonville next week before resting some starters. 4. Houston (49) -1 The Titans (12-2) drop a spot, but hold the top seed in the playoffs. They host Minnesota and Adrian Peterson this week and need a strong finish to reclaim the top spot in the view of our consensus. 5. Atlanta (57) No Change With the top NFC playoff seed, the 12-2 Falcons might be peaking at the right time. They host the 4-10 Lions on Saturday night and need to continue their winning ways. 6. Green Bay (73) No Change The 10-4 Packers have locked up the NFC North. Winning out doesn’t trump the need to get players healthy. They host the 5-9 Titans next Sunday. 7. Seattle (90) +1 The 9-5 Seahawks hold the top wild card spot in the NFC, but the Sunday night showdown with the 49ers will have playoff implications and playoff intensity. This should be a great matchup. 8. Washington (110) +3 The 8-6 Redskins find themselves in a 3-way tie at the top of the NFC East. Winners of 5-straight, that offense continues to grind down defenses no matter which rookie QB is under center. The 4-10 Eagles are a speed bump as this Redskins team continues to amaze.
9. New York Giants (138) -2 That beat down by Atlanta was a serious blow to the 8-6 Giants playoff hopes. Traveling to the 9-5 Ravens, who have lost 3-straight is going to make for an interesting matchup with playoff implications in both conferences. 10. Indianapolis (144) No Change The 9-5 Colts hold down a wild card spot. They appear to be in great position to make the playoffs with a game at Kansas City this week. 11. Baltimore (147) -2 The 9-5 Ravens have lost 3-straight and face a Giants team desperate for a win. The Ravens need this game with the 8-6 Bengals in hot pursuit. 12. Dallas (153) +2 The 8-6 Cowboys really need to win out. A wild card birth seems more distant than an NFC East division championship. They will need some help from Baltimore (at least) as they host the Saints in a must win matchup. 13. Cincinnati (155) +2 The 8-6 Bengals are trying to overtake AFC North leading Baltimore (9-5). They have a tough matchup at the 6-8 Steelers, but will still be in the race if the Giants beat the Ravens. A huge game! 14. Minnesota (180) +2 That was a big win over the 8-6 Bears as Adrian Peterson ran wild. QB Christian Ponder attempted no pass over 12 yards. While the Vikings currently hold a wild card spot, their next game is at Houston, where they must win. 15. Chicago (188) -3 The 8-6 Bears are in free fall after 3-straight losses. They can right the ship with a win at Arizona, but it might be too little, too late.
16. Pittsburgh (196) -3 The two game slide couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 7-7 Steelers, who need an impressive win over AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals. A loss will eliminate the Steelers. 17. New Orleans (228) +2 Having been eliminated from playoff contention, the 6-8 Saints hope to play spoiler when they visit the 8-6 Cowboys. A trap game? 18. St. Louis (242) -1 At 6-7-1, the Rams are all but eliminated from the playoffs. The question is which Rams team will show up when they visit the 6-8 reeling Bucs. 19. Miami (256) +3 Despite their 6-8 record, the Dolphins are mathematically still in the playoff hunt. They will need more help than is likely to happen. Only the Mayans end of the world prediction rates longer odds. They have to help themselves first by beating the 5-9 Bills. 20. Carolina (263) +6 Moving up six spots in the rankings is the largest positive move by any team in the last month. The 5-9 Panthers have been eliminated from the playoffs, but have won 2-straight games. The Panthers will look to extend the winning streak when they host the 4-10 Raiders. 21. Tampa Bay (265) -3 A 4-game losing streak has torpedoed the Bucs season. The 6-7-1 Rams come to Tampa Bay desperate for a win. Bucs fans are already looking toward the offseason.
22. New York Jets (295) -1 How bad are the 6-8 Jets? With question marks all over the team, even Fireman Ed had to resign. The good news? The 5-9 Chargers come calling. 23. Cleveland (298) -2 The banged up Browns (5-9) came tumbling back to earth after last week’s loss. The really bad news is that Cleveland visits the Denver Broncos in one of the NFL’s biggest mismatches. 24. (Tie) San Diego (319) -1 and Tennessee (319) +3 Flip a coin. Both teams are 5-9 and headed in the same direction: South. While the Chargers have a shot against the reeling Jets, the Titans, who gained three spots in the rankings, visit Green Bay in December. 26. Buffalo (329) -2 The 5-9 Bills defense never came together and they will be in the market for a franchise QB in the offseason. They’re off to Miami this week, where they will be playing for pride, not to mention their jobs. 27. Detroit (345) -2 The 4-10 Lions are mired in the NFL’s worst current losing streak (six losses). The powerful Falcons come to Detroit for a MNF game on Saturday night. These teams despise each other and fireworks won’t be limited to scoring. 28. Arizona (356) +1 Rankers weren’t fooled by last week’s win over the hapless Lions. The 5-9 Cardinals will get a dose of hate when the surly Bears come to town. A must win for the Bears looks like bad juju. 29. Philadelphia (369) -2 The Eagles are arguably the most disappointing team in the NFL. One has to wonder how the 4-10 Eagles won four games. The Redskins come calling with an offense that might take them on a deep playoff run. 30. Oakland (386) +1 Is a house cleaning in order for the 4-10 Raiders? The roster is full of holes, and the owner’s displeasure is in full meltdown. The Raiders visit the inept 5-9 Panthers, where they have an outside chance for a rare victory. 31. Jacksonville (406) -1 The 2-12 Jaguars look like the most likely franchise to move. They might consider leaving most of their roster behind. The Patriots are coming to town with a chip on their shoulder. Don’t take the points! 32. Kansas City (413) No Change
The 2-12 Chiefs will fire everyone and start rebuilding next year. The Colts come to town desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Can the Chiefs spoil the Colts season? Again, don’t take the points. There are some entertaining matchups in Week 16. I’ll be back next week with the final NFL consensus power rankings. For those of you who would like to see the full results, click the following link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ao6HfBXFL76ydFZySmtkaFFOSXVPUlJMdG5KRVhNWHc#gid=0940998