Splash’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

power ranking

Welcome back to the futile exercise of ranking the 31 NFL teams and the clown show known as the Jacksonville Jaguars. As always, these will be updated weekly, so be sure to watch out as teams move up and down. If teams continue to win, they will rise. If teams continue to lose, they will fall. Similarly, a loss does not necessarily equate to a team being ranked lower than their opponent. Upsets in the NFL do happen, so trends will usually be needed for a team to drop many slots.

Numbers in parentheses refer to last week’s rankings.

No.32: Jacksonville Jaguars (+0)

Trevor Lawrence managed to go a full game without throwing an interception, quite an accomplishment considering the first 13 games of his career. For as much as people thought Urban Meyer getting fired would turn around the Jaguars, it did not materialize in the first week without him. Remember, much of the staff was hired by Meyer. The Jaguars will need a full offseason to clean the stench.


No.31: New York Jets (-2)

While the Jets came up short, Zach Wilson had one of his better games as the Jets jumped out to an early lead. In the future, the Jets will look to close out games such as that one. Either way, the Jets might be one explosive draft class away from being contenders. With two first-round picks, expect for the Jets to make a splash.

No.30: Carolina Panthers (-2)

While the Panthers did not have a kicker for Sunday’s game, it did not matter. Cam Newton continues to be one of the worst passers in the NFL, and his rushing production is not good enough to win games. The Panthers’ usually stout defense is eroding in recent weeks, and they have slumped to a 2-9 stretch. At least they will have a kicker next week.


No.29: Houston Texans (+2)

Davis Mills is not necessarily good at football, but he might be good enough to warrant a full 2022 season as the starter in Houston. Brandin Cooks had a return-to-form game, and he should get to 1,000 yards once again. The defense has pieces. The Texans should be focused on the draft for the next few seasons. However, sweeping the Jaguars likely took the Texans out of Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux range.

No.28: Detroit Lions (+2)

The Lions have won two out of three, dispatching a pair of potential playoff teams. Jared Goff had his best game of the season, and Craig Reynolds continued to be elusive. Amon-Ra St. Brown had an explosive afternoon, and Charles Harris played like the first-round pick he was drafted to be. It is too little, too late, but this team fights for Dan Campbell.

No.27: New York Giants (-1)

With Daniel Jones out for the season, the Giants have lost any upside they may have had with Jones. In contrast, the Giants will trot out the disastrous duo of Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm. Glennon was poor again on Sunday. Fromm was somewhat passable, but he only played in garbage time. The Giants are a colossal mess, and they need to hit on their pair of first-round picks.

No.26: Chicago Bears (+1)

Justin Fields played reasonably well outside of one fumble. The rest of the offense did him no favors. David Montgomery lost a fumble as well, and the special teams unit muffed a punt. The defense was up to the test, but the offense scored three points in the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The future seems to be bright, however.


No.25: Atlanta Falcons (+0)

It was another week of thinking the Falcons were an XFL team that stumbled into the stadium. In this week’s episode, the Falcons forgot how to convert red-zone situations. The entire offense was stagnant on important downs, and the defense continued to fold. For the final weeks, Matt Ryan should throw 100 passes a week to Kyle Pitts. Otherwise, the Falcons are bad television.

No.24: Seattle Seahawks (-2)

The Seahawks did lead 10-3, but that lead quickly evaporated. Russell Wilson was nothing special, and the rest of the offense followed along. The defense held firm for a half, but Cooper Kupp began to gash them in the second half. The Seahawks have clinched a losing record for the first time in the Wilson era. Postseason football will not be returning to Seattle.

No.23: Washington Football Team (-3)

In most cases, a team would not be punished for losing with as many COVID cases as the Football Team had, but Garrett Gilbert was far from the issue. After a strong quarter (aided by a pair of takeaways), the defense began to fall apart. The offense has excuses; the defense does not. Washington will get another crack at the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks.

No.22: Cleveland Browns (-3)

The “(-3)” is misleading. The Browns were missing several players with COVID, but they fell because two other teams made large jumps. Nick Mullens was a capable passer, and Nick Chubb had a solid day. However, kicking issues reared their ugly heads again, and the defense capitulated on the final drive. Instead of ascending to the AFC North crown, the Browns are in the cellar.

No.21: Las Vegas Raiders (+0)

It took a crazy defensive stop and a last-gasp game-winning drive, but the Raiders knocked off the Browns. Derek Carr threw a ghastly interception, but the defense got the ball back, and Carr responded to adversity. All considered, the Raiders should have had an easier time beating the Browns, but a win is a win. The Raiders are back to .500 with the win.

No.20: New Orleans Saints (+4)

The Saints seem to own Tom Brady in the regular season. In the last two seasons, the Saints are 4-0 against him, and Brady-led offenses have scored three points in 120 minutes at Raymond James Stadium. Taysom Hill was passable, and Alvin Kamara had some solid runs. Scoring nine points is not impressive, but it was a two-score win over the reigning champions.

No.19: Denver Broncos (-1)

Teddy Bridgewater will likely miss Week 16 with a concussion. Avert your eyes as Drew Lock may be on your TVs on Sunday afternoon. The only watchable aspect of the Broncos’ offense is Javonte Williams breaking all of the tackles because his offensive line sometimes forgets to block. The defense is strong, but the offense is among the worst in the league.

No.18: Philadelphia Eagles (+5)

The Eagles are not necessarily talented enough to be this high, but they know their limitations (much like the next two teams). Jalen Hurts has his moments of inconsistency, but he brings a reasonable floor to the team. The Eagles consistently win in the trenches, and they will be a tough out during the playoffs. They won’t win a Super Bowl, but they could be fun to watch for a week or two.

No.17: Baltimore Ravens (+0)

The Ravens are the only team in NFL history to have an 0-3 stretch coincide with a -4 point differential. They came up just short in a comeback effort against the Browns, and they failed on a pair of two-point conversions. John Harbaugh is having one of his best coaching seasons based on expectations as the Ravens continue to lose pieces. Lamar Jackson is likely to be back in Week 16, so the season is not over, but it will take a Herculean effort in the next three weeks.

No.16: Tennessee Titans (-3)

A.J. Brown has been cleared to practice, and he will likely return in Week 17. Derrick Henry could return in the next few weeks, and Julio Jones is back (and injured again). With these three on the field, the Titans can beat anyone. Without them, they could lose to anyone. They have a magic number of two in the AFC South, so they just need to take care of business in two of their last three games.

No.15: Pittsburgh Steelers (+1)

The Steelers are heavily flawed on both sides of the ball, but they have just enough star power to have a winning record. T.J. Watt is a game wrecker, and he is likely to win the Defensive Player of the Year. Diontae Johnson is having an exceptional season. The Steelers do not play a team with a losing record the rest of the season, so they will need good play to return to the playoffs.

No.14: Minnesota Vikings (+1)

Believe it or not, the Vikings hold the No.7 seed in the NFC playoffs. Kirk Cousins had an ugly Monday Night Football performance, but the Vikings won regardless. Down the stretch, they have a pair of tough games before hosting the Bears in Week 18. If they split their next two games, they will almost certainly make the playoffs. With Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, the Vikings could be a nightmare matchup.

No.13: Miami Dolphins (+1)

After a 1-7 start, the Dolphins have reeled off six wins in a row to thrust themselves back into the playoff race. With a Week 16 win over the Saints, the Dolphins would leap up to a 22% chance of making the playoffs (according to FiveThirtyEight). Heading into Week 9, they had just a 1% chance. The Dolphins close the season with trips to New Orleans and Nashville before hosting the New England Patriots.

No.12: Arizona Cardinals (-6)

What is going on in Glendale? Losing to the Los Angeles Rams is one thing. Losing to the Lions is an outright disaster. Kyler Murray turned into a potato, and the Cardinals’ defense could not stop any semblance of an offense. The Cardinals will make the playoffs, but they have a pair of playoff teams on their schedule in the next two weeks.

No.11: Cincinnati Bengals (+1)

The Bengals knocked off the Broncos in one of the more underwhelming games of Week 15. Joe Burrow is now the No.1 passer according to Pro Football Focus, and he should make his first Pro Bowl. Tyler Boyd had a strong game against the Broncos while Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were quiet. The Bengals host a de facto AFC North title game against the Ravens next week. The Bengals would jump from a 38% chance of winning the division to a 63% chance with a win.

No.10: Los Angeles Chargers (-1)

The Chargers blew their chance at the division, but they have a simple path to the playoffs. If they win two of their last three games, they have an overwhelmingly favorable road to the playoffs. The Chargers should be sizable favorites in each of their last three games (Texans, Broncos, and Raiders), so expect to see Justin Herbert make his playoff debut.

No.9: San Francisco 49ers (+2)

The heated race of the NFC is for the No.7 seed. The 49ers are a game ahead of that chaos, and they have an 81% chance of making the playoffs. Their divisional hopes are not dead (2%), but the wild card is a much more likely bet. Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well, and Kyle Shanahan is approaching 2019 levels of dominance.

No.8: Dallas Cowboys (+2)

Barring a ridiculous turn of events, the Cowboys will win the NFC East. They have a 14% chance of being the NFC’s top seed, but a win over the Cardinals in Week 17 would propel that to over 20%. Dak Prescott has not returned to his early-season form yet, but the Cowboys will almost certainly host a playoff game. The Cowboys need Prescott to be at his best to win multiple playoff games.

No.7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)

The Buccaneers will clinch the NFC South with a win or a Saints loss. With games against the Panthers, Jets, and Panthers, the Buccaneers will win out. In this case, the Buccaneers would have a 10% of securing the NFC’s top seed with the Cowboys (11%) and Packers (78%) as the odds-on favorites. Either way, Brady will need to bounce back from one of the worst games of his career.

No.6: New England Patriots (-4)

After losing to the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots’ stranglehold on the AFC East lead is up for grabs next week. They have a 66% chance to hold off the Buffalo Bills, but they square off. A win eliminates the Bills from division competition. A loss would leave the Patriots with just a 13% chance at the division. However, the Patriots would still have a 94% chance to make the playoffs even with a loss.

No.5: Indianapolis Colts (+3)

Speaking of the Colts, they are up to an 89% chance of making the playoffs. The division is not closed yet, but they need the Titans to lose at least twice in the last three weeks. If the Colts win two of their last three games, their playoff odds will be 99%. They would clinch a spot if they win out. Carson Wentz will need to step up, however.

No.4: Buffalo Bills (+3)

The Bills have a trick up their sleeves: home games against the Falcons and Jets in Weeks 17 and 18. Even if the Bills lose in Foxboro on Sunday, they will have an 85% chance of making the playoffs after they beat the Falcons and Jets. It may be a hipster opinion to think the Bills will miss the playoffs, but it is bordering on pure stupidity.

No.3: Los Angeles Rams (+2)

The Rams are now on equal footing with the Cardinals. The Rams have an easier schedule over the next two weeks, two wins that could be enough to close out the division if the Cardinals slip up with the Colts and Cowboys. Heading into Week 16, the Rams have a 40% chance of winning the division (Cardinals 58%, 49ers 2%). The Rams have done well to reply to adversity in recent weeks, and they only need one more win to clinch a playoff spot.

No.2: Kansas City Chiefs (+2)

The Chiefs are now a full game clear at the top of the AFC. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill had mammoth games against the Chargers in Week 15, and they will be poised for a monster end of the season if they are activated from the COVID list. The Chiefs have won seven in a row, and they could very well stretch that streak to 10 and earn the No.1 seed in the conference again.

No.1: Green Bay Packers (+0)

Through 15 weeks, the Packers are the only team to clinch a playoff spot. They have also clinched the NFC North for the third season in a row. They have a 79% chance of earning the top seed in the NFC. In the next two weeks, the Packers welcome the Browns and Vikings to Lambeau Field. In Week 18, they head to Lambeau East (also known as Ford Field). Congratulations on your 14-3 record, Packers.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images


Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk


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