NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Cowboys Rise as 49ers Fall

Getty Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys

Week 15 offered up a multitude of upsets and shocking performances, causing a shift in our weekly NFL power rankings. It also seemed to have finally given us some insight into the playoff picture as we shift our focus onto the two final weeks of the regular season.

The Dallas Cowboys‘ playoff hopes took a massive leap forward vs. the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas completely dismantled a Rams team that came in winners of three of their previous four games. With their 44-21 victory, they head into Week 16 in what will essentially be a play-in game with the Philadelphia Eagles to determine which team will come out of the NFC East.

The Houston Texans handed their division rivals, the Tennessee Titans, their first loss in five weeks. The win puts the Texans in the driver’s seat of the AFC South, at least for the moment. The two will see each other once again in Week 17, which could serve as an early playoff game for both teams.

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Top 5: 49ers Drop After Poor Showing

The San Francisco 49ers suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday. 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, who had led the NFL in yards per carry over the last two seasons heading into the contest, finished with 54 yards on 14 carries, an average of just 3.9 ypc. With little running game, the 49ers proved to be George Kittle or bust at the skill position, a major concern moving forward. San Francisco pass catchers not named Kittle combined for a grand total of 66 passing yards. With that said, the 49ers still managed to clinch their first playoff birth since the 2013 NFL season.

The loss knocks the ‘9ers out of the top seed in NFC and into a wild card spot, despite an 11-3 record that is tied for the best in the conference. The Seahawks gain claim of the top spot in the NFC thanks to their victory over San Francisco back in Week 10. Recent events make the pair’s head-to-head battle in Week 17 all the more important for playoff seeding.

Not surprising, the Baltimore Ravens continue to keep a firm grip on the top spot in our power rankings. Baltimore has ripped off 10 consecutive victories and clinched the AFC North thanks to a shellacking of the New York Jets to the tune of 42-21.

However, don’t expect to see the Ravens play it safe with Lamar Jackson to close out the season. With New England and Kansas City both also winning this week, Baltimore has yet to clinch a first-round bye.

Bottom 5: The Joe Burrow Bowl

The Dolphins dropped their second consecutive game on Sunday, this time to a seemingly rejuvenated New York Giants team led by Eli Manning. They are now just two games ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals in the win column with two weeks of play left to go.

The two bottom feeder franchises will battle it out in Week 16, as each team inches closer to the first overall draft pick in 2020. In other words, acquiring the services of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.

If the Dolphins were to lose to the Bengals this coming week, they would then be just one game behind the Bengals. While Cincinnati has a very winnable game in Week 17 against the disappointing Cleveland Browns, Miami will all but certainly add another “L” to the win/loss column against a New England Patriots team likely attempting to clinch a first-round bye.

Here is a look at our latest NFL power rankings. We will update the table below after Monday Night Football.

NFL Power Rankings: After Week 15

1 Baltimore Ravens (12-2)
2 New Orleans Saints (11-3)
3 Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
4 Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
5 San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6 New England Patriots (11-3)
7 Green Bay Packers (11-3)
8 Minnesota Vikings (10-4)
9 Buffalo Bills (10-4)
10 Houston Texans (9-5)
11 Tennessee Titans (8-6)
12 Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
13 Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)
14 L.A. Rams (8-6)
15 Tampa Bay Bucs (7-7)
16 Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
17 Chicago Bears (7-7)
18 Indianapolis Colts (6-8)
19 Atlanta Falcons (5-9)
20 Carolina Panthers (5-9)
21 Cleveland Browns (6-8)
22 Oakland Raiders (6-8)
23 Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)
24 Arizona Cardinals (4-9)
25 Denver Broncos (5-9)
26 L.A. Chargers (5-9)
27 New York Jets (5-9)
28 New York Giants (3-11)
29 Washington Redskins (3-11)
30 Detroit Lions (3-10)
31 Miami Dolphins (3-11)
32 Cincinnati Bengals (1-13)

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