We are entering the home stretch of the NFL season and there are still plenty of teams in the playoff hunt. Let’s see how the OddsTrader Power Rankings shook out after a tumultuous Week 15!
Don’t forget, you can go over our nifty tool explanation with our Week 1 post, and remember to check back every Tuesday for analysis of the adjustment in the positions.
Now, let’s review our Top 10 teams and see if you agree.
1. New England Patriots (9-5 SU, 9-5 ATS) Next: vs. Bills – After reeling off seven consecutive wins, the Patriots hit a landmine in Indianapolis last week when they fell, 27-17, to the Colts.
It was a gritty fourth-quarter performance that saw New England score 17 unanswered points before Jonathan Taylor put the game on ice with a 67-yard scamper. The Patriots are still at the top of the heap and could put a virtual lock on the AFC East with a win over the Bills this week.
2. Indianapolis Colts (8-6 SU, 9-5 ATS) Next: at Cardinals – The Colts have been moving up the OddsTrader Power Rankings for several weeks and they can now see the summit of the mountain.
A statement win over the Patriots last week puts this plucky bunch in the thick of the playoff mix. If they can trample the Cards in the desert next week it is fair to say they are the team to beat.
3. Buffalo Bills (8-6 SU, 8-6 ATS) Next: vs. Patriots – The Bills knocked off the Carolina Panthers, 31-14, last week in a game they had to have but this week they will be tasked with avenging their loss to their division rivals from New England when they visit the Evil Genius in Foxboro.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) Next: vs. Steelers – If you thought the Chiefs would magically disappear after their early-season struggles then you were sorely mistaken.
Kansas City marched into LA and strolled out with a hard-fought 34-28 overtime victory against Justin Herbert and the Chargers. The Chiefs have now won seven straight and will entertain a desperate Pittsburgh team this week.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) Next: at Panthers – The Bucs took a well-deserved tumble down the rankings after they were shutout, 9-0, by the same division rival that beat them earlier in the season – the New Orleans Saints.
It was a devastating loss on more than a few fronts as we saw one of Tom Brady’s most ineffective performances of the season (maybe career?) and watched him come unglued on national television by smashing his iPad and hurling an expletive at an assistant coach. But worst of all, Chris Godwin suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Uh-oh.
It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)
6. Green Bay Packers (11-3 SU, 11-3 ATS) Next: vs. Browns – It appeared as though the Packers were going to draw away from the Ravens last week but they watched their 14-point lead melt like butter in a blast furnace.
Baltimore made it nearly all the way back until they inexplicably went for a two-point conversion, only to come up short and give Green Bay the 31-30 decision. Right now, the Packers are in control of the No. 1 seed in the NFC but much can change between now and the end of the regular season.
7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4 SU, 11-3 ATS) Next: vs. Washington – The Cowboys have a stranglehold on the NFC East and put yet another divisional rival to sleep last week when they defeated the Giants for the second time this year, making them undefeated against division foes.
However, two of their next three games will be against Washington and Philadelphia so that streak could end but it’s fair to say their view from the top will not.
8. New Orleans Saints (7-7 SU, 7-7 ATS) Next: vs. Dolphins – I guess when you beat the reigning Super Bowl champions twice in a season you get to cop the No. 8 spot in our power rankings even with a .500 record.
And that’s exactly what we have here as the Saints continue to give Tom Terrific and the Bucs fits after their 9-0 shutout in hostile territory.
9. San Francisco 49ers (8-6 SU, 7-7 ATS) Next: at Titans – The 49ers remind us of Matt Damon’s character in Rounders, Mike McDermott, when Teddy KGB, as played by the sublime John Malkovich, accused him of “just hanging around, hanging around” and refusing to go broke at the poker table.
The 49ers are doing much of the same as they have now won five of their last six, with the most recent, a 31-13 thrashing of the Falcons.
10. Los Angeles Rams (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) Next: at Vikings – After a surprising three-game slump, the Rams have woken up and are now in the midst of a three-game winning streak upon taking care of business on Tuesday night against the Seahawks.
Los Angles is locked in a heated battle with the Cardinals for the top spot in the NFC West but the 49ers are coming on strong as well. It should be an interesting race to the finish line.