Thursday 19 October 2017 / 02:37 PM

FINAL POWER RANKINGS

Well, it’s been a wacky and wild season, but as we head into the playoffs, it’s time to take a look at where each team ended up for the season. For the final time, it’s power ranking time!

1. New England Patriots (14-2) –

Was it really ever a doubt that the Patriots would find their place atop the rankings again? After their shellacking of the Dolphins and Jets, the Patriots don’t look to have many holes anywhere on the roster, and will have home field in the playoffs, plus a first round bye. Yet again, the road to the Super Bowl runs through Foxboro.

2. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) –

The Cowboys suffered a slight setback, but for a team that played three different quarterbacks in one game, it went about as well as you could hope. The Cowboys are still the favorite in the NFC and have the clearest shot in the conference.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) –

The Chiefs are just rolling, and locked up the second seed in the AFC, guaranteeing they won’t leave the confines of home unless it’s to go to Foxboro. And that’s a good thing: the Chiefs have been far from a good road team this season.

4. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) +2

There’s probably not a hotter unit in the NFL than the Falcons offense. While I personally have my doubts on the ability of Matt Ryan once the postseason starts, you can’t dismiss just how great they’ve looked in recent weeks. Getting home field and dodging trips to Seattle or Green Bay was huge.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) –

The Steelers have rattled off seven straight, and are back to looking like the team at the start of the season. Big Ben looks healthy, and the offense is great. In fact, this may be the AFC’s best shot at beating the Patriots going forward.

6. Oakland Raiders (12-4) -2

The time that Derek Carr has missed during the last two games does not paint a pretty picture going forward for this Raiders offense. If they play like they did against the Broncos, it’s going to be a short preseason trip for the Raiders.

7. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) +1

The Seahawks got a momentum win that they needed, with a win to roll into the postseason with. But that loss to the Cardinals HURTS, after losing home field advantage in the postseason. Traveling to Atlanta is way different than getting them in Seattle.

8. Green Bay Packers (10-6) +1

The Packers are the hottest team in football, and Aaron Rodgers is a savant. Remember all those death notices of the Packers early on? Now they’ll host a playoff game, and good chunk of pundits think this is the best team in the NFC.

9. New York Giants (11-5) -2

In with a boom, out with a whimper. The Giants rolled into the last few weeks of the season, and dropped off in the last couple of games. Still, they look good on offense, but will go only as far as the arm of Eli Manning will take them. Not exactly where you want to be.

10. Miami Dolphins (10-6) –

The Dolphins got a pretty crushing loss to close the season against the Patriots, and you have to think that was a way for the Patriots to send a message to the Dolphins and the rest of the AFC. The Dolphins need Tannehill back to have a real shot at making noise.

11. Detroit Lions (9-7) +1

The Lions didn’t get the end of the season they wanted, but at least they’ll be in the postseason. The offense looked less productive than they probably needed, but as long as Matt Stafford is under center they’ll have a shot to make noise.

12. Houston Texans (9-7) -1

The Texans are the definition of backing into the postseason, but hey, at least they are here. Still, if Tom Savage is going to be out any considerable amount of time, Brock Osweiler can’t be counted on to win a playoff game. Well, not that Savage can either.

13. Tennessee Titans (9-7) +2

While they didn’t make the postseason, the Titans got as close as possible. And they have to feel good about the progress they’ve made this year. And add in a nice little shot to the Texans to end the season, to boot.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) +3

Another team that should feel good about their progress, the Bucs made a significant jump in Jameis Winston’s new year under center. While it was disappointing end, the Bucs should have lots of hope going forward in the division.

15. Denver Broncos (9-7) +1

Talk about a disappointment. The Broncos QB troubles finally came back to bite them, and they’ll now be on the look for a new QB, and a new head coach. After such a blistering start, the Broncos now have a lot to figure out.

16. Washington Redskins (8-7-1) -3

Well, the Redskins got a little worse this season. Kirk Cousins balled out, but now they’ll have to pay to keep his services. The defense has a lot of money invested to be as bad as it is, and the Redskins are too close to the cap for significant changes.

17. Indianapolis Colts (8-8) +2

The Colts made their way to .500 after it certainly looked like they wouldn’t midway through the season. Still, it’s starting to get a little tiring with yet another year of a bad running game, and a horrible defense. However, it looks like Grigson and Pagano are going to stay, for better or worse.

18. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) -4

The Ravens ended their season less than promising, after starting hot and then middling. Still, the defense came along pretty well, but it’s obvious that those problems on offense are going to get worse. They need to address that receiving core, especially with Steve Smith retiring.

19. Minnesota Vikings (8-8) +2

The Vikings went from promising to really bad really fast. After starting with a commanding division lead, they fell all the way to third. Now, they’ve got to look toward the future, and whether that will include Sam Bradford or Adrian Peterson.

20. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) –

As bad as the season was, at least they weren’t the biggest disappointment in the NFC. Still, the Cardinals were way worse than the talent on their roster, and they’ve got some things to figure out with a roster that is aging and expensive.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) -4

While the season didn’t end as well as they’d hope, the Eagles should take some pride in how well they did this season in comparison to what was expected. The roster doesn’t have a lot of talent, and while there should be some concern about Wentz’ rapid drop, his weapons around him just aren’t that great.

22. New Orleans Saints (7-9) -4

There wasn’t much expected out of New Orleans, but having wasted another year of a solid Drew Brees has to hurt. I’ve lost faith that the defense is going to get better, but even some better weapons for Brees wouldn’t hurt. Anything, really.

23. Buffalo Bills (7-9) -1

The Bills experiment with Rex Ryan is officially over, and that looks like it’s also the end of Tyrod Taylor’s time as the starter. If that’s the case, I certainly hope that the answer isn’t going to be EJ Manuel. Poor Bills, man.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) +1

The Bengals had a randomly horrible season, and it looks like it won’t be the end of Marvin Lewis. Lewis and the Bengals normally are pretty solid in the regular season, and that’s what’s so concerning. They’ll need to figure out that offense.

25. Carolina Panthers (6-10) -1

And the biggest disappointment in the NFL season: your Carolina Panthers. Just about everything for this team regressed this season, from Cam’s league-leading offense from a year ago, to the vaunted Panthers defense. Now, the Panthers will try and see if this was a fluke, or the new normal.

26. San Diego Chargers (5-11) –

So much uncertainty rests for the Chargers going into the offseason. All the serious injuries on the roster are concerning, but also optimistic, but also the location of the team is up for debate. I feel for the fans in San Diego, and mostly Philip Rivers.

27. New York Jets (5-11) –

The Jets are a mess, and what else is new. Things were looking up after last year’s promising run, and then they gave Ryan Fitzpatrick big money and he was benched by midseason. Such is the Jets way.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) –

Well, at least Jaguars fans got what they wanted and will see someone other than Gus Bradley on the sidelines in Florida going forward. There is way too much talent on this roster to be as bad as they are.

29. Los Angeles Rams (4-12) +1

Yeah, the Rams are pretty bad. But there’s reason for optimism: Jared Goff played okay, the offensive line can’t get much worse, and the defense is still good. Hopefully they’ll have a better coach on the sidelines, and we’ll see if LA really can sustain a team.

30. Chicago Bears (3-13) -1

Well, it looks like Matt Barkley won’t be the guy in the backfield for the Bears going forward. And neither will Jay Cutler, so the Bears are in for a full rebuild. Which stinks, because they weren’t very good after their last rebuild – two years ago.

31. San Francisco 49ers (2-14) –

Chip Kelly is out, Colin Kaepernick is likely out, and the GM is out. So here we go, a full rebuild in Cali! At least they’ll match the Rams, but they won’t match the talent. There’s very little on this roster to be excited about.

32. Cleveland Browns (1-15) –

I know, I know. The Browns are terrible, sure. But they’ve got some talent on the defense, and the offense has playmakers if they can get Terrelle Pryor locked up. Now they just need a quarterback, and they can compete.

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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