Crunch time in the NFL with just two weeks left for teams to make or break their seasons, and for teams to end the year on an up note. It should be a fun final two weeks of the year, and with it here are our power rankings for week 15.
NFC Top 5
1. Dallas (1) – Don’t look now but things are getting a bit hairy in the NFC. The Cowboys dropped a game they should have won 10-6 to the Eagles, and with it their offense was terrible complete with Tony Romo playing like a rookie making his first start. Check out the comments on Cowboysgab.com, this fan base is starting to sweat a little bit. And they should.
2. Green Bay (2) – The Pack continued to play well, dispatching the lowly St.Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome Sunday. Brett Favre seems to have overcome his fear of domes, and with games left vs the Lions and Bears, the Pack needs another slip-up by the Cowboys and two wins to clinch that all important #1 seed.
3. Seattle (3) – I think the Hawks may have been a little overconfident on Sunday in Carolina, as their offensive line didn’t play well at all, and the running game never got on track. On a positive note, the defense played well, and anytime they can hold a team to 13 points they should win. Look for them to refocus this week vs the Ravens at home.
4. Tampa Bay (4) – Jeff Garcia was back, and things seemed very much back to normal this weekend for the Bucs in their easy 37-3 win over the Falcons. This team has made more than a successful turnaround in one season, getting younger on defense and gaining renewed confidence on offense with Garcia leading the way.
5. Minnesota (-) – With the Giants being as crazy as Brittney Spears on the Sunset Strip, the Vikings slide into the 5 spot after their 5th straight win Monday night vs the Bears. The team didn’t play all that well, but the fact they got the job done was the key, and now two more wins and this team that was at one point 3-6 will make the playoffs.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Atlanta (2) – Seriously, who is going to want to take on this train wreck in the offseason? Already Bill Cowher and Bill Parcells have said “nada” to the Falcons, and you can bet top coordinators like Mike Singletary and Jason Garrett are going to really ponder taking this job. There are plenty of problems all over the place with this franchise.
2. St. Louis (3) – The Rams hung for a half with the Pack, but then got blown away by Brett Favre and Green Bay in a 33-14 home setback. This week will be equally as tough, as the not-so-happy Steelers come to town for a Thursday night game after giving up 400+ yards to the Jags at home Sunday. Chances of Scott Linehan staying: 50-50.
3. San Francisco (1) – Could we be seeing a new look at QB for the 49’ers? It looked that way on Saturday night, as Shaun Hill looked poised, playing well in his first start in a win over the hapless Bengals. The team will have plenty of time to look at Hill the last two weeks and think long and hard about their offseason options with former #1 pick Alex Smith.
AFC Top 5
1. New England (1) – Weather couldn’t stop the Pats on Sunday, as while the Jets put up a good fight, the Pats were clearly the better team in a 20-10 win. They were able to run the ball, and they showed that Tom Brady doesn’t need 300 yards and four TD’s to win every week. The Dolphins should be even easier to take care of at home Sunday.
2. Indianapolis (2) – Wideout Anthony Gonzalez could turn out to be the biggest draft choice this team has made in sometime, as he has done a great job filling in for an injured Marvin Harrison. Sunday the Colts had some issues on offense, but were able to get some late drives and hold the Raiders in the end in another win, 21-14. All anyone wants to really see in the AFC is Indy-New England.
3. Jacksonville (4) – The Jags move up the ladder in the AFC for the second straight week, as they finally are getting some much deserved props for their big win in Pittsburgh. Bottom line is this team can run the ball, play defense, and are mistake free at the QB spot. A rematch in Pittsburgh or a game in Cleveland would be very winnable in the first round.
4. San Diego (5) – For the first time this season the Chargers move up to the #3 seed, meaning a game with the high-powered Browns may await them in the first round, or possibly the Steelers if they slip up again. They did what they wanted Sunday vs the Lions at home, and should have another good day Monday vs the Broncos at home as well.
5. Pittsburgh (3) – The black and gold have suffered their first two-game losing streak of the season, and another letodwn in St.Louis or Baltimore in the last two weeks may find them playing on the road in the playoffs, or not in them at all. While it’s unlikely they will miss the playoffs all together, with the way they are playing winning more than one game seems like a stretch.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Miami (1) – The streak is over, and as I wrote Sunday, for one night at least the Fins can go to bed winners. They had better enjoy it, because despite the win they are in for a long afternoon in Foxboro Sunday vs the Pats. Greg Camarillo had not caught a TD since high school, but made the most of his first NFL TD Sunday vs the Ravens in OT.
2. Baltimore (2) – Think that Steve Biscotti doesn’t want to rethink his decision to announce Brian Billick will be back in 2008? The Ravens have been the biggest AFC bust in 2007, losing a franchise record 8 in a row, and with the Seahawks and Steelers left, there is a good shot this team will end the year losing 10 straight and going from 13-3 in 2006 to 4-12 in 2007.
3. New York Jets (3) – At least they made it interesting vs the Pats in Foxboro on Sunday. Chad Pennington seemed to play with a sense of freshness about him, and the team looked like they were not scared of the Pats, which despite the loss was nice to see. The Titans and Chiefs are left, and they could sneak one out at home vs old coach Herm Edwards the last week.