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Arizona Sports NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Patriots return to No. 1

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) catches a pass then twists to stretch the ball into the end zone for a touchdown against the New England Patriots with seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. Upon video review, the touchdown call was reversed and the pass was ruled incomplete. The Patriots held on to win 27-24. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

The top two teams in our Week 15 rankings battled at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Sunday, and it was No. 2 upending No. 1.

The Patriots, for the third time this season, got a call to go their way in a crucial moment to escape with a win. This time, it was a reversal of an apparent touchdown by Steelers tight end Jesse James with seconds left. Upon review, the call was changed to an incomplete pass and Ben Roethlisberger was then picked off by Duron Harmon in the end zone to give New England the win.

So once again, the Patriots top our rankings, but the Steelers didn’t fall far.

Here’s a look at our 1-32 NFL pecking order heading into Week 16.

Ties will go to the team that receives the majority of higher rankings from our panel.


Burns | Jurecki | Lapinski | Marotta | Morgan
Week 16 Composite
Biggest Risers: Kansas City Chiefs ▲4
Biggest Fallers: Los Angeles Chargers ▼5


1. New England Patriots (11-3)

Shift: ▲1
Hi: 1
Lo: 1
Comment: Another AFC East title, a record ninth in a row. — Morgan
Next: vs. Buffalo

2. Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)

Shift: ▲1
Hi: 2
Lo: 4
Comment: Nick Foles played well last week with four touchdowns passes. — Jurecki
Next: vs. Oakland (Monday)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)

Shift: ▼2
Hi: 2
Lo: 5
Comment: The catch rule is silly but that doesn’t change how badly Ben screwed that up at the end. — Burns
Next: at Houston (Monday)

4. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)

Shift: —
Hi: 3
Lo: 5
Comment: Case Keenum has completed almost 71 percent of his passes over the last 7 games. — Marotta
Next: at Green Bay (Saturday)

5. Los Angeles Rams (10-4)

Shift: —
Hi: 3
Lo: 5
Comment: So apparently this is the Rams’ division now. With emphasis. — Lapinski
Next: at Tennessee

6. New Orleans Saints (10-4)

Shift: ▲1
Hi: 6
Lo: 8
Comment: They have balance and a QB that’s won a Super Bowl. Should be a team to watch in the postseason. — Jurecki
Next: vs. Atlanta

7. Carolina Panthers (10-4)

Shift: ▼1
Hi: 6
Lo: 7
Comment: Scary team in January. — Burns
Next: vs. Tampa Bay

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)

Shift: —
Hi: 6
Lo: 9
Comment: Blake Bortles has strung together three consecutive passer ratings of 119 or better. — Morgan
Next: at San Francisco

9. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)

Shift: —
Hi: 8
Lo: 9
Comment: Devonta Freeman just took over on Monday night. — Lapinski
Next: at New Orleans

10. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

Shift: ▲4
Hi: 10
Lo: 12
Comment: In the driver’s seat for the AFC West. — Jurecki
Next: vs. Miami

11. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Shift: ▲1
Hi: 10
Lo: 13
Comment: With home games against the Colts and Bengals, Baltimore should be able to grab an AFC Wild Card spot. — Morgan
Next: vs. Indianapolis

12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

Shift: ▲3
Hi: 10
Lo: 15
Comment: Zeke is back. Can’t wait to watch his documentary. OK, I’m kidding. — Marotta
Next: vs. Seattle

13. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)

Shift: ▼3
Hi: 11
Lo: 15
Comment: Remember when the Seahawks didn’t lose home games by 35 points? — Lapinski
Next: at Dallas

14. Detroit Lions (8-6)

Shift: ▲3
Hi: 13
Lo: 16
Comment: It’s been 60 years since the Lions won a playoff game. — Morgan
Next: at Cincinnati

15. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

Shift: ▲3
Hi: 14
Lo: 17
Comment: It’s going to be agony for Bills fans to watch their team lose its playoff spot this week at New England. — Morgan
Next: at New England

16. Los Angeles Chargers (7-7)

Shift: ▼5
Hi: 14
Lo: 18
Comment: Really had to have that game in Arrowhead on Saturday. Now they need outside help to have a shot. — Lapinski
Next: at NY Jets

17. Tennessee Titans (8-6)

Shift: ▼4
Hi: 14
Lo: 18
Comment: People didn’t think they were that good, and they’ve proved it with two straight losses out West. — Marotta
Next: vs. LA Rams

18. Green Bay Packers (7-7)

Shift: ▼2
Hi: 13
Lo: 18
Comment: Rodgers returned, but it wasn’t enough. — Jurecki
Next: vs. Minnesota (Saturday)

19. Oakland Raiders (6-8)

Shift: —
Hi: 19
Lo: 20
Comment: A folded index card away from being higher on this list. — Burns
Next: at Philadelphia (Monday)

20. Washington Redskins (6-8)

Shift: ▲2
Hi: 19
Lo: 22
Comment: When the straight-laced Associated Press calls your win “a comedy of errors” you know it was bad. — Morgan
Next: vs. Denver

21. Arizona Cardinals (6-8)

Shift: ▼1
Hi: 20
Lo: 23
Comment: Cardinals are like the kid in the high school coming-of-age comedy … we’re just rooting for them to score. — Marotta
Next: vs. NY Giants

22. Miami Dolphins (6-8)

Shift: ▼1
Hi: 20
Lo: 22
Comment: Will they bring Jay Cutler back next year or turn back to Ryan Tannehill? — Jurecki
Next: at Kansas City

23. Denver Broncos (4-10)

Shift: ▲2
Hi: 23
Lo: 24
Comment: One of the Cardinals’ chief competitors for an offseason QB. — Burns
Next: at Washington

24. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)

Shift: ▼1
Hi: 23
Lo: 26
Comment: Hey, Marvin Lewis won’t get a playoff win this year either. — Marotta
Next: vs. Detroit

25. New York Jets (5-9)

Shift: ▼1
Hi: 24
Lo: 27
Comment: Jets players have come out and recommended they keep Todd Bowles and give him an extension. — Jurecki
Next: vs. LA Chargers

26. San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

Shift: ▲2
Hi: 22
Lo: 29
Comment: A whole bunch of GMs have to explain to their owners why they didn’t trade for Jimmy G. — Burns
Next: vs. Jacksonville

27. Houston Texans (4-10)

Shift: —
Hi: 25
Lo: 29
Comment: Jadeveon Clowney shouldn’t call a QB who just hung 45 on his team ‘trash.’ — Marotta
Next: vs. Pittsburgh (Monday)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)

Shift: ▲1
Hi: 26
Lo: 29
Comment: Will Gruden be back calling plays for real sometime soon? — Burns
Next: at Carolina

29. Chicago Bears (4-10)

Shift: ▼3
Hi: 26
Lo: 29
Comment: The more Trubisky throws, the less they win. That can’t be good. — Lapinski
Next: vs. Cleveland

30. Indianapolis Colts (3-11)

Shift: —
Hi: 30
Lo: 30
Comment: Pagano counting down the days. Will he join the Cards staff in some capacity? — Burns
Next: at Baltimore (Saturday)

31. New York Giants (2-12)

Shift: —
Hi: 31
Lo: 31
Comment: QB Eli Manning: “I know I can still play at a high level and run this offense.” — Morgan
Next: at Arizona

32. Cleveland Browns (0-14)

Shift: —
Hi: 32
Lo: 32
Comment: If losing every week is wrong, they don’t want to be right. — Lapinski
Next: at Chicago


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