NFL Week 16 Power Rankings

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, even if Staples co-opted the song for their back-to-school advertisements. Christmas time doesn't just mean family, friends, and Uncle John having too much wine, it means NFL teams vying for a playoff birth or a top pick in next year's draft.

All we've heard all year is offense, and for good reason. Patrick Mahommes and the Chiefs have taken the league by storm. The Rams made us forget about the Greatest Show on Turf. The Saints run it down your throat one week, and then air it out for a 40 burger the next.

But, when the clock struck December, things started to change a bit. Suddenly, it's the Bears, Seahawks, Ravens, and Cowboys that we're all scared of. Sure, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Kansas City still top the power rankings, but we can't deny that defense is back. Shootouts have turned to grind-outs, and offense has turned to offensively challenged. And if you don't believe me, just ask Drew Brees and my fantasy team that got knocked out in the first round.

The playoffs are almost here, but make sure you enjoy the time with your family this week. And hell, pour Uncle John another glass. Here are your power rankings.

1. New Orleans Saints (13-2) — I hope somebody gets Sean Payton some dance lessons for Christmas, though New Orleans has every reason to celebrate in ("Choppa") style after clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC. This team could beat you every which way.

2. Los Angeles Rams (12-3) — The Rams flip flopped like a John Kerry campaign speech on Gurley's status all week, but they made the right decision in the end. C.J. Anderson is a comeback story we can all get behind, especially those that cashed out in fantasy off his efforts.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) — Two straight losses can't be encouraging for a team that has habitually struggled in December. I'm still on-board though- this team isn't the same as years past.

4. New England Patriots (10-5) — Tom wasn't terrific, and with his lack of weapons and Rob Gronkowski's fall from grace, it really is started to become worrisome. Bill Belichick loves that narrative, though. Somehow we will see this team in the Super bowl.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) — I hope the Chargers are studying Saturday's tape, because they'll likely matchup with Baltimore again in the first round of the playoffs. The Chargers are still dangerous, even if we all want to send them back to San Diego.

6. Chicago Bears (11-4) — Good defense and mistake free-football is the way this team will navigate in the playoffs. The Super Fans better get their polish sausages ready.

7. Houston Texans (10-5) — DeAndre Hopkins has to have the wildest catch radius I've ever seen. Where's John Brinkus when we need him (for the first time ever)? The Texans ran into a team that's playing with supernatural confidence and still went blow for blow. They'll be a tough out for anyone in the playoffs, though a first round bye just became unlikely.

8. Dallas Cowboys (9-6) — The Cowboy are playoff-bound, so that's pretty much the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl for millennial Cowboys fans. They were calling for Jason Garrett's head a few weeks ago, and if they lose wild card weekend, they probably will again. Dilly dilly.

9. Seattle Seahawks (9-6) — One of the few ways to beat the Chiefs is by having 12 men on the field. That home field advantage is serious, which makes me think Seattle will take the first exit in the playoffs after having to travel to Dallas or Chicago.

10. Baltimore Ravens (9-6) — This is the AFC dark horse. Their time-control style of play is suited for this time of year, though they could still get knocked out of the dance with a loss and a Pittsburgh win. How can you not love playoff time?

11. Indianapolis Colts (9-6) — Nobody expected Indianapolis to control their own destiny heading into Week 17. If Le'Veon Bell is going to go there anyway, we should let the Colts test drive him for the next few weeks to really shake things up in the AFC.

12. Tennessee Titans (9-6) — Will the Colts see Marcus Mariotta or Blaine Gabbert next week? I'm not sure who will get the nod, but I think the correct answer is that the Colts are going to see Derrick Henry. A lot of Derrick Henry.

13. Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) — After a near Super Bowl appearance a year ago, it seems like the vibes in Minnesota have been somewhat negative all season. It's time for Kirk Cousins to earn his money.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) — Oh my god. Nick Foles has the biggest dick in Philadelphia. He may just lead Philly back to the playoffs, and if that happens, are we going to have a quarterback controversy? Even as a Giants fan, I'm cheering for this guy.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- (8-6-1) — You have to feel for JuJu after maybe fumbling the Steelers season away. This team seemed like a playoff lock a few weeks ago, and now are on the outside looking in like that guy in Erin Andrews' hotel room a few years back.

16. Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) — If celebrity death-match was still a thing, we would have a Baker Mayfield/Hue Jackson battle already scheduled for PPV. And, if you haven't heard of that show, then I don't know how you made it to this point in life.

17. Miami Dolphins (7-8) — We're hearing sweeping changes are coming in Miami. It makes sense I guess, as this team is and will be stuck in the middle forever. The Patriots have won the division like 34 years straight, but we see the bottom-feeders starting to position themselves for life after Tom Brady. The Dolphins need to get their guy to do so, as well.

18. Carolina Panthers (6-9) — A once-promising season took a sharp downward spiral, and I think Cam's shoulder was the catalyst behind that. Christian McCaffery has probably been this team's only bright spot. Kenyon Barner should be banned from Carolina's practice facility.

19. Green Bay Packers (6-8-1) — This was as about as exciting as a meaningless game could get. Aaron Rodgers game-winning touchdown saved him from going 0-for-8 on the road this season. I still don't think the victory is going to allow Mr. Philbin to stick around for next year.

20. Denver Broncos (6-9) — The Broncos have no interest in playing for Vance Joseph. That guy is going to find a pink slip under his tree. John Elway is starting to look Michael-Jordanish. Great player, awful in the front office.

21. New York Giants (5-10) — The Giants did what they do best — lose a game in the last seconds that they should have won. Do they stick with Eli for another season because this year's draft class is evidently weak?

22. Detroit Lions (5-10) — The Lions are not very good at defending Hail Mary passes. The Lions aren't very good in general. I'm starting a campaign to stop putting offensive players in on these Hail Mary passes. The defense gets paid to play defense.

23. Washington Redskins (7-8) — I think the most important thing in D.C. right now is the long-term health of Alex Smith. And I mean D.C. in general, not just in the sports world. Does somebody have the address of the laboratory Adrian Peterson was made in. I want to check it out.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) — The Bengals got pushed back like Artie Lange's nose after a weekend snorting glass shards. All this team wants for Christmas is the offseason to be here.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10) — Dirk Koetter has "Should I stay or should I go?" on repeat on his iPad. Though, I don't think it's going to be his choice. This guy's coaching decisions throughout the year waivered more than Austin Rivers in the last five days.

26. Atlanta Falcons (6-9) — When you have a season like the Falcons have had, you have to step back and look at the positives. Calvin Ridley is an animal. Deion Jones is back and playing well. Dan Quinn is really generous with his dollar-bill tosses at gentleman's clubs.

27. Buffalo Bills (5-10) — The Bills D got gashed on the ground, so a mediocre Tom Brady game didn't affect the outcome. This team has a lot to figure out.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) — You put your backup in, you take your backup out, you put your starter back in, and you shake it all about...

29. New York Jets (4-11) — The Jets legitimately have their quarterback of the future. I'm not sure we can say that about the Bills or Cardinals just yet. The Patriots have to fall off eventually, and the Jets are trying to be next up. I don't know if Todd Bowles will be around to see that follow through.

30. San Francisco 49ers (4-11) — The 49ers are going to be one of the most interesting teams to watch next year. It's like they were playing with the cast of "The Replacements" this season.

31. Oakland Raiders (4-11) — The only thing that would make the Coliseum finale more exciting is if there was a stabbing in the stands. I don't know where the Raiders will be playing next year, but I bet they'll still be trash.

32. Arizona Cardinals (3-12) — Do you remember where you were when Larry Fitzgerald threw his first career touchdown pass? Do you remember where you were when Larry Fitzgerald threw his last career touchdown pass? This guy needs to be mentioned with the greats more often.

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