Matt Tabeek's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings: Saints retake top spot, Falcons rising

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Week 16 was all about missed opportunities for some and restoring order for others.

The Saints and Rams are looking more like the teams we've watched for most of the season and that's bad news for the rest of the NFC, too. New Orleans and Los Angeles not only own the two bets records in the NFL, both teams have re-established themselves as the top two teams in my Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings, too. 

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Despite winning 10 of their last 11 games, the Chargers – last week's No. 1 team here – blew a golden opportunity to win the AFC West by losing to the resurgent Ravens. Now the Chiefs, losers of two straight, can wrap up the division title and a first-round playoff bye with a win at Seattle on Sunday night.

Speaking of the Seahawks, they've now won five of their last six, clinched a playoff berth and crack the top-10 this week. You can check out the rest of my rankings below:

Table inside Article
RANK TEAM TABEEK'S TAKE PREVIOUS (Dec. 18)
1 Saints (13-2) They clinched home-field advantage and that’s bad news for the rest of the NFC. 2
2 Rams (12-3) Yes, it was the Cardinals, but they finally got back on track. I think they can win it all. 4
3 Chargers (11-4) Believe it or not, they can still win the West and clinch home-field advantage in the AFC. 1
4 Bears (11-4) They’ve reeled off three straight and can still earn a first-round bye, but it won’t be easy. 5
5 Patriots (10-5) A 10th straight division title and they still earn home-field advantage in the AFC. Amazing. 7
6 Chiefs (11-4) They’re the top seed in the AFC right now, but they’re sliding and have lost two straight. 3
7 Texans (10-5) Like the Chargers, they’re a team no one wants to face in the playoffs. They’re dangerous. 6
8 Seahawks (9-6) They’ve clinched a playoff spot and are hot right now. Will they rest guys this week vs. Cards? 10
9 Colts (9-6) Huge game – an elimination game – this week vs. the Titans. Win and they’re in. 9
10 Ravens (9-6) They can still win the AFC North and a first-round bye or not make it in at all. Must-win game. 11
11 Cowboys (9-6) They’ve won the East for the second time in three years and clinched a playoff spot. Who knew. 12
12 Vikings (8-6-1) It’s pretty simple for the Vikings – win and they’re in. Lose and they need help. At least they’re at home. 13
13 Steelers (8-6-1) Golden opportunity missed with loss in New Orleans. Now they need help just to make it in. 8
14 Eagles (8-7) The defending champs must go on the road and beat the Redskins – and hope the Vikes lose. 14
15 Titans (9-6) Win and they’re in. However, they could earn a whole lot more if some things fall their way. 15
16 Browns (7-7-1) Not only did they turn things around in 2018, they were a fun team to watch. Future looks good. 16
17 Packers (6-8-1) If you thought Aaron Rodgers and Co. were going to fold their tents for 2019, think again. 20
18 Dolphins (7-8) I told you not to get too excited over that 3-0 start. They’re done and have a lot of work to do. 17
19 Falcons (6-9) They went on the road, beat up a division rival and some young players shined. They’ll look to close out 2018 on a strong note. 23
20 Redskins (7-8) Tough, injury-riddle year. They can play spoiler and knock out the defending champs though. 19
21 Bengals (6-9) They not only lost the Battle of Ohio, they were swept by the Browns. Injuries did this team in. 22
22 Panthers (6-9) They’ve now lost seven straight games and questions are swirling around their coach and QB. 18
23 Broncos (6-9) Three straight gut-wrenching losses and let’s just say things are looking good for Vance Joseph. 21
24 Giants (5-10) Say what you want about their season, but they fought hard in the second half for Pat Shurmur. 24
25 Bills (5-10) They lost to the Patriots but there are some positive signs for this team, namely at quarterback. 25
26 Buccaneers (5-10) Potent offense wasn’t enough to overcome an underperforming defense. Big changes coming? 26
27 Jaguars (5-10) Speaking of underperforming defenses and changes, I expect there will be plenty in Jacksonville. 30
28 Lions (5-10) It’s been an up-and-mostly-down year for rookie head coach Matt Patricia. Stafford needs some weapons. 27
29 Jets (4-11) Regardless of whatever offseason changes come about, they have a QB in Sam Darnoldson. 29
30 49ers (4-11) I say it almost every week, but this team competes hard. Pretty soon, though, they need to start winning more. 28
31 Raiders (4-11) Emotional win for the Black Hole. Rough year for those fans, but they still show up in force. Well done, Oaktown. 31
32 Cardinals (3-12) This season can’t end soon enough for rookie coach Steve Wilks. Question is, will he see Year 2? 32

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