Is it possible there is only one week left in the NFL regular season?! After last week we’ve had some jockeying in the OddsTrader Power Rankings so let’s see where the teams stand after a wild and wooly Week 17.
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. Buffalo Bills (10-6 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) Next: vs. Jets – The Bills cruised to a two-touchdown victory over the Falcons last week despite a few boneheaded interceptions by Josh Allen. Although his brain cramps did not cause a catastrophe in the standings, they did infuriate many Buffalo backers who pushed with the Bills as 14-point favorites but would have otherwise celebrated an easy cover. The Bills get a layup in their regular-season finale when the Jets come to town.
2. New England Patriots (10-6 SU, 10-6 ATS) Next: at Dolphins – The Evil Genius has a history of shredding rookie quarterbacks and Trevor Lawrence became the latest victim. The Patriots’ defensive schemes stymied the beleaguered first overall pick in April’s draft with a pair of sacks and three interceptions while the offense went ickey-balookey and dismantled the Jaguars, 50-10.
It was just the kind of dominating victory the young Patriots needed after suffering a pair of defeats to the Colts and Bills. They have now clinched a playoff berth but their final seeding is undecided as they prepare to visit the sun-splashed climes of Miami for a date with the Dolphins to wrap their regular season.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 SU, 8-8 ATS) Next: at Broncos – The Chiefs traveled to the Queen City on Sunday and got crowned by the surging Cincinnati Bengals. If there was ever a thing as a “good loss” this could have been it as Kansas City was riding an eight-game winning streak and ran into a juggernaut led by one of the most dynamic pass/catch combos in the game – Burrow to Chase.
If the Chiefs defeat the Broncos this Sunday, and in the unlikely event the Titans lose to the Texans, the No. 1 seed and first-round bye will be theirs. However, it is far more likely they will cop the No. 2 spot with a win over Denver.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4 SU, 8-8 ATS) Next: vs. Panthers – Tom Brady’s late-game heroics have become so commonplace that instead of discussing the 33-yard dart he tossed to Cyril Grayson with only seconds remaining to rally to a 28-24 win over the Jets, Antonio Brown is getting all the buzz after he walked out on his team in the third quarter.
Nevertheless, the Bucs are the NFC South kings yet again, yet TB12 casually tossed over 400 yards and three touchdown passes in the victory but we shake our shoulders and wonder aloud why AB lost his mind. The price of being the GOAT.
5. Indianapolis Colts (9-7 SU, 10-6 ATS) Next: at Jaguars – You could almost smell an upset cooking after the Colts knocked off the Patriots and Cardinals in consecutive weeks leading up to Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Raiders. Gritty is a word that has been used ad nauseum about this edition of the Indianapolis Colts but it seems to fit them perfectly.
And if you know anything about gritty, it describes a determined team that can upset any other on any given week. However, they are also not in the pantheon of elite teams, otherwise, we could call them great and not gritty. Thus, we have the 2021 Colts – gritty.
It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)
6. Dallas Cowboys (11-5 SU, 12-4 ATS) Next: at Eagles – The Cowboys saw their four-game winning streak snapped by the Cardinals at Jerry’s World. It’s amazing what a step up in class will do to illustrate where you are as a team.
Two weeks ago, Dallas looked like pure dynamite in a 56-14 destruction of woeful Washington but just a week later they battled a superior team that came to play and lost, 25-22, as 4 ½ point home chalk.
Nevertheless, the Cowboys clinched their first divisional title in three seasons and are a legitimate threat to win the NFC crown this season. However, they will have to do so without Michael Gallup, who tore an ACL in the loss to Arizona.
7. Green Bay Packers (13-3 SU, 12-4 ATS) Next: at Lions – The Packers annihilated the Vikings, 37-10, and ensured they would exit the 2021 regular season with an unblemished record at home. A win over the toothless Lions next week at Ford Field will guarantee they never have to leave Lambeau until the Super Bowl, should they get that far.
Aaron Rodgers contributed to his MVP case by throwing for 288 yards, two touchdowns, and connecting on over 76 percent of his passes. Just another day at the office for the future Hall-of-Famer.
8. Tennessee Titans (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS) Next: at Texans – It would be nothing short of shocking if the Titans didn’t capture the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye, as the only hurdle they face is a date with the moribund franchise known as the Houston Texans this Sunday. Tennessee flexed in a major way when they throttled the surging Dolphins in a 34-3 victory and are now AFC South champs for the second consecutive season.
9. Los Angeles Rams (12-4 SU, 8-8 ATS) Next: vs. 49ers – The Rams narrowly won their fifth consecutive game with a 20-19 victory over the Ravens in hostile territory on Sunday and can clinch the NFC West with a win this week against the 49ers. Matthew Stafford continues to be a double-edged sword for LA, turning the ball over three times but orchestrating the winning drive with under a minute remaining in their win over Baltimore.
10. San Francisco 49ers (9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS) Next: at Rams – The 49ers copped a workmanlike 23-7 victory over the lowly Texans as the heir apparent, Trey Lance, started in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and tossed two touchdowns passes to lead his team to the precipice of a playoff spot.
A win over the Rams or a loss by the Saints next week will get the 49ers to the second season and a road date with what will likely be the Tampa Bucs.