Matzek's NFL Power Rankings: Week 15
BIGGEST JUMP: Jacksonville Jaguars (from 29 to 24)
BIGGEST DROP: Miami Dolphins (from 19 to 22)
1 (1). GREEN BAY PACKERS - A win over the Chiefs on Sunday will earn the Packers home field advantage throughout the playoffs. How they approach the next two weeks will be interesting.
2 (2). PITTSBURGH STEELERS - The Steelers really need Big Ben on the field in order to win the AFC North. Without him, the Steelers are destined for the wild card.
3 (3). NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - All of a sudden, the Saints are in pretty good position to secure a first round bye and home playoff game. Their win over a solid Tennessee team proved they can win on the road, and outdoors in December.
4 (5). BALTIMORE RAVENS - Joe Flacco doesn't need to be great if Ray Rice continues to rush for over 200 yards.
5 (6). NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Tom Brady is on pace to eclipse Dan Marino's record of 5,084 yards passing set in 1984. Brady will be forced to keep passing because their defense can't stop anyone.
6 (7). HOUSTON TEXANS - Gary Kubiak should get plenty of votes for Coach of the year. The Texans locked up their first ever playoff berth - and did it with TJ Yates at quarterback.
7 (4). SAN FRANCISCO 49ers - Uh-oh. Look out here! That was a bad loss to the Cardinals. Next on the schedule are the Steelers. Looks like the 49ers could be playing ball in the first round of the playoffs.
8 (8). ATLANTA FALCONS - Combination of health, schedule, and talent should lead the Falcons into the playoffs as a wild card team.
9 (11). NY GIANTS - Eli is on pace to eclipse 5,000 yards passing this season. The Giants control their own destiny to win the NFC East.
10 (12). NY JETS - They have really turned things around, and appear primed for a playoff berth.
11 (9). DALLAS COWBOYS - How WILL they lose next?
12 (14). DETROIT LIONS - If the playoffs started today, the Lions would be in as a wild card - but I don't think any team is as worried about the Lions as they were after week 5.
13 (10). TENNESSEE TITANS - Had a real chance to boost their playoff chances against the Saints, but rookie quarterback Jake Locker took a sack in the red zone on the final play of the game in a 22-17 loss.
14 (15). DENVER BRONCOS - Ladies and gentlemen: your AFC west division leading Denver Broncos! Matt Prater should run for Mayor after blasting a 59 yard FG to send the game to overtime, and then connecting on a 51 yarder to sink the Bears.
15 (13). CHICAGO BEARS - Mercury falling.
16 (18). SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - They won't make the playoffs, but there is reason for optimism for Seahawks fans.
17 (16). CINCINNATI BENGALS - To be a playoff team, you have to beat playoff teams. The Bengals have yet to do so this season.
18 (20). SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - Leave it to the Chargers to wait until week 13 and 14 to realize their talent level.
19 (17). OAKLAND RAIDERS - What was THAT?
20 (21). ARIZONA CARDINALS - How did the Cardinals get to 6-7 all of a sudden? They are still alive in the playoff race.
21 (24). PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Nice win with Michael Vick back at quarterback, but the Eagles season was lost weeks ago.
22 (19). MIAMI DOLPHINS - I thought Tony Sporano would last after his Dolphins showed signs of life in recent weeks. What can I say...I was wrong.
23 (22). BUFFALO BILLS - Remember when the Bills were leading the AFC East?
24 (29). JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Holy explosion! The Jags scored 41 points in a win over the Bucs on Sunday. Their combined point total in their last three losses was 37.
25 (23). TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - See Raiders comment
26 (25). KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Romeo Crennel has taken over for the fired Todd Haley. His first test will be against the undefeated Packers.
27 (26). CAROLINA PANTHERS - Is there a Cam Newton-type impact player they can draft on defense?
28 (27). WASHINGTON REDSKINS - They don't quit...but they don't have a lot of talent to work with.
29 (28). CLEVELAND BROWNS - Can Colt McCoy see yet? He was blasted by the Steelers Jerome Harrison on Thursday.
30 (30). ST LOUIS RAMS - Awful. Just awful. I feel so bad for Stephen Jackson.
31 (31). MINNESOTA VIKINGS - At least it looks like Christian Ponder has a solid future.
32 (32). INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - I've said it before and I'll say it again: I will not complain if Peyton Manning receives a few MVP votes.