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Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

NFL Playoff Picture Furious Seven Week 17

Two divisions that aren’t sending teams in to my illustrious Furious Seven – the NFC and AFC West. How brutal are these divisions? I was talking to Chip, who you can chirp with at Account Management by asking for ext. 2327, and we were pondering how good the NFC West could possibly be? If the Seahawks’ wide receiver unit hadn’t been gunned down in malice by the injury bug, and the Niners hadn’t listened to Mike Martz and played Shaun Hill from the get go, would this division be slightly more competitive? Side note – if you’re getting an offensive coordinator from the worst franchise in the NFL, you don’t trust him when he wants to insert the second-string quarterback from his previous team as your starter. Frankly, Martz owes San Francisco a personally apology for the J.T. O’Sullivan debacle.  

And what about the freaking AFC West? Are we really going to send a team to the playoffs that’s .500? I’ve been touting the mantra all season that if a team finishes at .500, they don’t get to go to the playoffs. Period. Now, absurdly, San Diego controls its own destiny. Do you know how infuriatingly ridiculous that sentence is to write? My God. Can we talk about the cream of the crop already?

1. New York Giants (12-3)

Why are the Giants the go-to team for the Furious Seven’s committee of one? Simple. They have an easier path to the Superbowl. They dismantled the Carolina Panthers last weekend 34-28 and their other precarious competition includes Atlanta touting a rookie quarterback, the Arizona Cardinals who they also ran over and the Eagles and Cowboys who they’ve also beaten. The Giants are, top-to-bottom, the most complete team in the NFC.

Next Matchup: New York Giants -6.5 vs. Minnesota

2. Tennessee Titans (12-3)

All the Titans fans will be wondering this year is how unbelievable this team would’ve been with Jay Cutler at the helm…

Next Matchup: Tennessee vs. Indianapolis

3. Indianapolis Colts (11-4)

Anyone who submitted the Colts as “Dud of the Year” is feverishly attempting to retract those allegations as we speak. My favorite guy to talk to at the bar? The casual sports talking head who says, “Man, we should’ve seen this from the Colts! They’re unbelievable!” Two months ago this guy was digging the Colts’ grave for them. Now everyone’s on the bandwagon. Note that I told you to punch your ticket for this ride after Week 5. I’m just saying. Hold on, I have to go in to the bathroom to rub my nipples and scream, “It feels so good to be riiiight!”

Next Matchup: Tennessee vs. Indianapolis

4. Atlanta Falcons / Carolina Panthers

The Falcons and Panthers both present the exact same problem – unstoppable running attacks. Williams and Stewart are showing their gusto in boat loads, carrying this team on the ground by pummeling forward with yard after huge yard. Then there’s Steve Smith, who galvanized this team by punching his teammate in the pre-season.

Atlanta is one of the more dangerous teams in the playoffs because they have a midget rhino playing running back (Michael Turner) and the leading candidate for the Rookie of the Year. The Falcons are one vomit-induce-by-being-in-the-playoffs-as-a-rookie from flubbing the post season. But I’m not willing to write them off yet.

Next Matchup: St. Louis vs. Atlanta -14.5, Carolina -3 vs. New Orleans

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4)

Well, there goes the top seed in the AFC. Maybe they should consider changing the grass at Heinz Field to compliment Willie Parker, who can’t reach top speed on that hunk of mud they call their home turf. I love every phase of Steeler football…except when they get blown out on the road by the Titans by 17 points. I don’t trust these guys, but with the sad shape the rest of the NFL is in, the Steelers get the nod.

Next Matchup: Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh -9

6. Miami Dolphins (10-5)

Bill Parcells. Bill Parcells. Bill Parcells.

Anyone else excited for the awkward hug between Chad Pennington and Brett Favre after the Dolphins beat the Jets to squeak in to the playoff? The Dolphins have devastating play makers at key points, and Jason Fasono’s heroic effort to seal the deal last Sunday is indicative of how tenacious the Dolphins are going to be as they try to punch their ticket to the playoffs.

Next Matchup: Miami -2.5 vs. NY Jets

7. New England Patriots (10-5)

You want full circle? Well Belichik gets caught for cheating two years ago. Now they’re about to be cheated out of the playoffs by a team with a far worse record! I don’t know what I’d prefer: Patriots fans gloating about their dynasty, or Patriots fans moaning about not making the playoffs this year…

Next Matchup: New England -6.5 vs. Buffalo


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