Benigno’s Best: Week 16 NFL Power Rankings
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By Joe Benigno
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With two weeks left in the season, the NFC East, NFC West and AFC North titles are still up for grabs, not to mention the four Wild Card spots.
1. Denver Broncos 11-3 (2): Denver quietly moves into the top spot with a resounding road win in Baltimore. That’s now eight straight wins for Peyton Manning’s new team.
Next: @ Browns
2. Atlanta Falcons 12-2 (4): Atlanta gets a measure of revenge for last year’s playoff disaster at the Meadowlands with a 34-0 butt-kicking of the defending champs in the Georgia Dome. Still, the question remains: Can they win in the playoffs?
Next: @ Lions
3. San Francisco 49ers 10-3-1 (5): The Niners went into Foxborough and built up a 31-3 lead, and then held on for dear life in a 41-34 win. The loss drops the Pats out of the top spot in rankings. San Fran can clinch its second straight NFC West title with a win on Sunday in Seattle.
Next: @ Seahawks
4. Houston Texans 12-2 (3): Houston clinches its second straight AFC South crown with a win over the division-rival Colts. They need one more win to clinch home-field throughout the AFC playoffs.
Next: vs. Vikings
5. New England Patriots 10-4 (1): Just when the Belichick’s looked unbeatable, here come the Niners to burst the Pats’ aura of invincibility. Still, their offense put up 34 points against the league’s best defense.
Next: @ Jaguars
6. Green Bay Packers 10-4 (7): The Pack wins its second straight NFC North title, making it a clean sweep of the Bears. What was that lateral by Randall Cobb on the fake punt late in the fourth quarter? It kept the Bears in the game.
Next: vs. Titans
7. Seattle Seahawks 9-5 (8): Seattle backs up its 58-0 drubbing of Cardinals with a 50-17 rout of the Bills in Toronto. 108 points in two weeks — Are you kidding me?! Is Russell Wilson the real NFL Rookie of the Year?
Next: vs. 49ers
8. Washington Redskins 8-6 (unranked): Washington cracks the top 10 with its fifth straight win, ending the Browns’ three-game win streak in Cleveland. And they did it with Kirk Cousins playing for the injured RGIII. If the ‘Skins win their last two, they win the NFC East.
Next: @ Eagles
9. New York Giants 8-6 (6): Big Blue was a big no-show in a 34-0 disaster in Atlanta. The Giants still control their own playoff destiny if they win their last two. What’s happened to that pass rush?
Next: @ Ravens
10. Cincinnati Bengals 8-6 (unranked)
It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Cincy. If they beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore they win the AFC North. Case closed.
Next: @ Steelers
Are the Broncos the best team in the NFL? If not, who is? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…