Moorhead’s NFL Power Rankings – Week 16


Cincinnati Bengals (1-13)

Previous Rank: 32

New England Patriots v Cincinnati Bengals

Why They Stayed The Same:

The Bengals took a really ugly loss to the Patriots at home. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions and gave the Patriots all the fuel they needed to close this one out. We did see a chink in the armor of the run defense though as Mixon went off. It seems that the Bengals are closing in on becoming the team with the number one draft pick.

Key Players Last Week:

Joe Mixon (136 Rushing Yards, 20 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Miami Dolphins

The Bengals are in a predicament. They face a weak Dolphins team in which they have a good chance to win, but they also want to retain their spot for the number one pick. It will depend on the week after this one, but taking a loss and just tanking wouldn’t be a bad option here for them.


Miami Dolphins (3-11)

Previous Rank: 28

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Giants

Why They Dropped:

It is weird that the Dolphins took a loss here to the Giants with Eli throwing three picks, but it happened. The defense couldn’t stop the offense from thriving with Eli’s two touchdown passes and the run game of Saquon Barkley. The Dolphins, while under some promising leadership from Brian Flores, hope to do well in the upcoming weeks.

Key Players Last Week:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (279 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

DeVante Parker (72 Receiving Yards, Two Receiving TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Cincinnati Bengals

The Dolphins have enough draft picks in the first round so taking a loss here wouldn’t be wise in my opinion. They should come out strong and demolish a very weak Bengals defense while putting the pressure on Andy Dalton.


Detroit Lions (3-10-1)

Previous Rank: 30


Why They Stayed The Same:

The Lions have crashed the struggle bus real hard with a horrible blowout loss to the Bucs. Blough is having a real tough time managing the game with only Kenny Golladay to work with and their defense is a thing of the past.

Key Players Last Week:

Wes Hills (21 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s)

Danny Amendola (102 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Denver Broncos

The Lions would like to take a win, but a match involving a strong Denver defense doesn’t bold well for Blough or the Lions offense. The run game has to be a big part here and trying to pressure Drew Lock should be their main concern.


Washington Redskins (3-11)

Previous Rank: 30


Why They Moved Up:

While the Redskins took a loss here against the Eagles, they were very impressive as it could have gone either way as the Eagles only won in the last few seconds of the game. Maybe Haskins knew who was in attendance and decided to make a statement. Urban Myer looked on at what could be his NFL team for next season so the Redskins could have a great coach for them coming soon.

Key Players Last Week:

Dwayne Haskins (261 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

Adrian Peterson (66 Rushing Yards, One Rushing TD, 25 Receiving Yards)

Terry McLaurin (130 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The New York Giants

The Redskins have a divisional matchup with the Giants this week. Haskins can make an even bigger statement with a win this weekend, but in order to do that they have to cover the receivers, pressure Eli Manning and stop Saquon Barkley. Barkley will be the key element in this one and the Redskins have to stop him to win here.


New York Giants (3-11)

Previous Rank: 31


Why They Moved Up:

The Giants got a win here against the Dolphins in what was most likely Eli Manning’s last home game with the Giants. It wasn’t pretty, but overall they got the win and that is what matters. Barkley finally got going again and that coupled with Eli’s touchdown passes got them the W for this one.

Key Players Last Week:

Eli Manning (283 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, Three INT’s)

Saquon Barkley (112 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s, 31 Receiving Yards)

Sterling Shepard (111 Receiving Yards)

Golden Tate (51 Yard Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Washington Redskins

The Giants need a win to keep their spirits up at this point and for Shurmur to keep his coaching job. A win over the Redskins would certainly help that cause, but in my mind is seems all but over for the Giants this season.


New York Jets (5-9)

Previous Rank: 25


Why They Dropped:

The Jets on offense surprisingly didn’t do too bad against the Ravens last Thursday night, but their defense just couldn’t muster anything against Lamar Jackson who torched them. Sam Darnold is a good quarterback, but he has to have more help around him other than Bell and Crowder.

Key Players Last Week:

Sam Darnold (218 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, One INT)

Le’Veon Bell (87 Rushing Yards)

Jamison Crowder (90 Receiving Yards, Two Receiving TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Pittsburgh Steelers

The Jets have a tough task at hand against the Steelers this week. If they have any chance at coming out with a win here they need to pressure Duck Hodges. Sam Darnold will have a tough time against this elite Pittsburgh defense so the Jets defense needs to do their part. Also something tells me Le’Veon Bell will also be a big part in the effort here.


Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Previous Rank: 24

Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers

Why They Dropped:

The Carolina Panthers are done with Kyle Allen and will be starting Will Grier after Allen threw three interceptions against the Seahawks last weekend. The only positive from this is that I get to see Grier in action next weekend. However, this team, aside from McCaffrey and Moore, are at a loss. Hopefully they can finish this season out on a good note, but it seems unlikely.

Key Players Last Week:

Christian McCaffrey (87 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s, 88 Receiving Yards)

D.J. Moore (113 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Indianapolis Colts

The Panthers might find success this weekend against the Colts who took a heavy loss to the Saints. McCaffrey should thrive as the Colts gave up big numbers in the passing and running game. It seems like the smartest plan with Grier making his first start.


Denver Broncos (5-9)

Previous Rank: 21


Why They Dropped:

The Broncos took a really difficult loss to the Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium last weekend as they were essentially blown out with only producing one field goal on the day. Now weather had a bit of playing card in this scenario, but it does not excuse how this team performed in full.

Key Players Last Week:


What’s Next?:

The Detroit Lions

The Broncos get a much easier matchup this weekend against the Detroit Lions who just got creamed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend. I like the offense and defense going into this game and I think that Lock can make himself a real star in this one.


Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)

Previous Rank: 26

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders

Why They Moved Up:

Jacksonville somehow came away with the win in this one making Oakland look like fools in their last matchup in Oakland. The crazy thing here is that Jacksonville didn’t need to do that much to get the win here. it was all about strategy and timing. With those two things Jacksonville escaped defeat.

Key Players Last Week:

Gardner Minshew (201 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Atlanta Falcons

The Jaguars haven’t convinced me that they are ready to get back in to competition just yet. They will prove me wrong though if they can take out the Falcons who just beat the 49ers last week. Pressure Matt Ryan and Julio Jones while stopping Devonta Freeman and this should be a locked in win for the Jaguars.


Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)

Previous Rank: 22

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers

Why They Dropped:

When the team gets beaten while Philip Rivers throws three picks, most would suspect their team to drop a lot more than one. I can understand that. It also doesn’t help that they virtually got blown out in tis one. However, until some of these teams do something, I just can’t drop the Chargers below the following teams because I believe they are better than all of them.

Key Players Last Week:

Keenan Allen (99 Receiving Yards)

Mike Williams (71 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Oakland Raiders

The Chargers have the chance to right the wrong that was their original loss to the Raiders. With Josh Jacobs not playing the offense will have to pass and the Chargers defense has to prepare for that.


Arizona Cardinals (4-9-1)

Previous Rank: 27


Why They Moved Up:

The Arizona Cardinals put on a clinic last weekend against the Browns. Their defense was no match for the run game as Kenyan Drake ate them alive on the ground. Murray didn’t need to do much passing with that going on and with the impressive run game that was recorded moves them up four spots.

Key Players Last Week:

Kyler Murray (219 Passing Yards, One TD, One INT)

Kenyan Drake (137 Rushing Yards, Four Rushing TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Seattle Seahawks

The Cardinals get their chance at revenge this weekend when they go one on one with the Seattle Seahawks for the second time. I picture that the Cardinals come out swinging with the run game just like they did against the Cleveland Browns with Kenyan Drake. Murray should pass and run when needed and let the big guy run the ball down their throats.


Oakland Raiders (6-8)

Previous Rank: 20


Why They Dropped:

The Raiders went out and had what most would suspect an easy matchup against the Jaguars at their last game at home in Oakland…and they lost. It wasn’t a good one and the fans in Oakland deserved better than what they got for a last home game.

Key Players Last Week:

Darren Waller (122 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Los Angeles Chargers

The Raiders are going to be without a huge weapon in Josh Jacobs this weekend so they will have to utilize the passing game coupled with a run game from DeAndre Washington. It will be a tough one as the Chargers are out for revenge after they got beat last time by the Raiders.


Indianapolis Colts (6-8)

Previous Rank: 16


Why They Dropped:

They couldn’t get anything going plain and simple. This team struggled offensively and defensively against the Saints on the road. Jacoby Brissett is raising some eyebrows now as people are starting to wonder if he is the way to go after Andrew Luck’s retirement.

Key Players Last Week:


What’s Next?:

The Carolina Panthers

The Colts have a chance to rebound against the Panthers who are riding with a new quarterback in Will Grier. In order to win this game they have to get in the face of Grier and stop McCaffrey. Simple as that.


Cleveland Browns (6-8)

Previous Rank: 17


Why They Dropped:

A loss to the Cardinals is never good especially when their running back makes your defense look like complete garbage. Baker was still able to toss two touchdowns, but he still threw an interception to the Cardinals and their defense isn’t good.

Key Players Last Week:

Baker Mayfield (247 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, One INT)

Nick Chubb (127 Rushing Yards, One Rushing TD)

What’s Next?:

The Baltimore Ravens

The Browns got tricky and beat them the first time, but I hardly see that being the case in this one unless the Ravens sit their starters. Either way it is still high hopes for the Browns.


Atlanta Falcons (6-8)

Previous Rank: 23


Why They Moved Up:

The Falcons had a tightly contested game with the 49ers and came out the victors in the last seconds of the game. That alone is huge and with Julio finally finding the end zone it makes it even sweeter.

Key Players Last Week:

Matt Ryan (210 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

Julio Jones (134 Receiving Yards, Two Receiving TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Jacksonville Jaguars

The Falcons should have a pretty solid chance to win this game as long as their defense steps up to the plate. Matt Ryan should have no trouble winning the Falcons this game with Julio Jones by his side.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)

Previous Rank: 18


Why They Moved Up:

Jameis Winston dominated in this game. Even without Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for a bit. He made the Lions his bitch and will look to keep producing to keep his job as the Buccaneer’s quarterback.

Key Players Last Week:

Jameis Winston (458 Passing Yards, Four TD’s, One INT)

Chris Godwin (121 Receiving Yards)

Breshad Perriman (113 Receiving Yards, Three Receiving TD’s)

Bucs Defense (Two Sacks, Two INT’s, One Fumble Force, One Fumble Recovery, One Defensive TD)

What’s Next?:

The Houston Texans

The Bucs have a chance at a major upset here going up against the Texans. If the defense plays as ruthless against Watson as they did against Blough and Winston dominates in the passing game then this could be the making of a major game in Winston’s career.


Chicago Bears (7-7)

Previous Rank: 14


Why They Dropped:

The Bears took a big loss for the second time in a row to the Packers and it wasn’t the greatest contest for Chicago. You probably should have suspected this, but the NFL is mysterious sometimes.

Key Players Last Week:

Mitch Trubisky (334 Passing Yards, One TD, Two INT’s)

Allen Robinson (125 Receiving Yards)

Anthony Miller (118 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Kansas City Chiefs

The Bears are looking to rebound against the Chiefs who just blew out the Broncos last weekend. Look for the run game and a hard pressed defense to be big factors in this if the Bears want to escape with a win.


Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Previous Rank: 19

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins

Why They Moved Up:

While the numbers don’t show it, this was a huge win for the Eagles who look to capture the NFC East division. Winning in a highly contested matchup against the Redskins certainly helps.

Key Players Last Week:

Carson Wentz (266 Passing Yards, Three TD’s)

Miles Sanders (122 Rushing Yards, One Rushing TD, 50 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

Zach Ertz (61 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Dallas Cowboys

This is it. The division is decided here this week between the Cowboys and Eagles. Carson Wentz has to ball out with his tight ends and the defense needs to take advantage of Prescott being a little dinged up. Mostly though their front seven needs to handle Elliot and the secondary has to step up against this receiving core.


Los Angeles Rams (8-6)

Previous Rank: 13


Why They Dropped:

They took a loss to the Cowboys as their defense was just straight up gashed by the running game of their opponents. They have to repair these damages or other teams will start to take advantage.

Key Players Last Week:

Jared Goff (284 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, One INT)

Tyler Higbee (111 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The San Francisco 49ers

This matchup doesn’t hold promise for the Rams after their first contest so look for the Rams to change up the game plan a little bit. One thing is for certain they have to get Gurley and Higbee involved to win.


Dallas Cowboys (7-7)

Previous Rank: 15

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

Why They Moved Up:

They stunned me because I thought they were going to lose this one and not only that, but they won in style dominating on the run game. It was truly a sight for Elliot and Pollard to have successful stats along side each other.

Key Players Last Week:

Dak Prescott (212 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

Ezekiel Elliot (117 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s, 43 Receiving Yards)

Tony Pollard (131 Rushing Yards, One Rushing TD)

Tavon Austin (59 Yard TD Reception)

What’s Next?:

The Philadelphia Eagles

Same thing as the Eagles from earlier, but they should pressure Wentz knowing that he barely has any weapons to throw to. Doing that and exposing the secondary with their receivers are going to help them win this game.


Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)

Previous Rank: 11


Why They Dropped:

The offense struggled heavily in this game with Duck throwing four picks to his one touchdown. The defense didn’t have a bad day, but still were plucked by Josh Allen and John Brown in this one.

Key Players Last Week:

James Washington (83 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The New York Jets

The Jets are a decent team even though the numbers don’t show it so Tomlin better put the fear of God into the Steelers to win this game as the Steelers have a tendency to play down to their competition. They need to pressure Darnold and stop Bell on the ground.


Tennessee Titans (8-6)

Previous Rank: 10


Why They Dropped:

They took a hard fought loss to the Texans. Their defense did its best, but in the end running back Carlos Hyde did them in. Overall, the offense did well, but Derrick Henry couldn’t get the ball going as well as he needed to which also hurt their chances of winning this game.

Key Players Last Week:

Ryan Tannehill (279 Passing Yards, Two Passing TD’s One INT, One Rushing TD)

A.J. Brown (114 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The New Orleans Saints

The Titans need to exercise Brown and the rest of the wideouts and expose the Saints defense in this one if they hope to succeed. If they can get close enough to the end zone then they should use Henry. It’s going to be a tough for the Titans to pull off a victory in this though.


Houston Texans (9-5)

Previous Rank: 12

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Why They Moved Up:

The Texans delivered a well deserved win against a powerful Titans team. Watson did good, but in the end the run game by Carlos Hyde and the ball catching ability of Hopkins are what got them this win.

Key Players Last Week:

Deshaun Watson (243 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, Two INT’s)

Carlos Hyde (104 Rushing Yards, One Rushing TD)

DeAndre Hopkins (119 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Texans better realize that Winston is a huge threat coming into this upcoming game. They need to pressure him and Perriman knowing that he is the only wide receiver left for Tampa Bay and that he scored three touchdowns last weekend against the Lions. Pressuring Winston is a must especially with his busted thumb.


Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

Previous Rank: 9


Why They Stayed The Same:

To be honest the Vikings probably would have moved up a spot after their dominant win over the Chargers. However, their team took a major hit with the loss of running back Dalvin Cook. How long he stays out is the question, but for now they stay as they are.

Key Players Last Week:

Mike Boone (56 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s)

Stefon Diggs (76 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Green Bay Packers

This will be an interesting Monday night matchup as the Vikings are only one game back from being tied with the Packers. Green Bay has relied on the running game with Aaron Jones instead of Aaron Rodgers. After the Vikings put on a dominant display against the Chargers, I’d hope for the same power move against Green Bay.


Buffalo Bills (10-4)

Previous Rank: 8


Why They Stayed The Same:

The Bills did their job in playing a defensive game with a win over the Steelers last Sunday night. Josh Allen and the offense did well, but it was the Buffalo defense that kept the Steelers in check.

Key Players Last Week:

John Brown (99 Receiving Yards)

Bills Defense (Four Sacks, Four INT’s, Three Fumble Forces, One Fumble Recovery)

What’s Next?:

The New England Patriots

The Bills are coming off a good win against the Steelers. They should imply the same strategy against Brady and the Patriots. Brady has no weapons outside of Edelman so the real task will be if Josh Allen can stand up to the Patriots defense.


Green Bay Packers (11-3)

Previous Rank: 7

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

Why They Stayed The Same:

The Packers came out with a win, but it almost didn’t happen that way on a last ditch backyard play from Chicago. Aaron Rodgers did what he could, but in the end they relied on Aaron Jones to get the job done with two rushing touchdowns.

Key Players Last Week:

Aaron Rodgers (203 Passing Yards, One TD)

Aaron Jones (51 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s)

Davante Adams (103 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings came up with a big win against the Chargers, but the Packers are not the Chargers. The Packers are a much more competitive and should bring all the power they can which includes the defense pressuring Cousins and catching their defense off guard with the impressive run game while passing when needed.


New England Patriots (11-3)

Previous Rank: 6


Why They Stayed The Same:

A win is a win, but it was against the Bengals who are the worst team in the NFL and they were tied with them at half time. Once the cape was pulled however, the Patriots let the Bengals have it, Dalton in particular with four interceptions.

Key Players Last Week:

Patriots Defense (Four INT’s, One Fumble Recovery, One Defensive TD)

What’s Next?:

The Buffalo Bills

Brady didn’t do so well against the Bills last time so the plan should revolve exactly around the defense like the last time. Pressure Allen and watch him crumble around his own mistakes.


Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

Previous Rank: 5

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Why They Stayed The Same:

The Chiefs played a very well designed game plan against the Broncos given the snowy weather conditions. The offense worked its magic while the defense was able to pressure to Lock and keep him under their thumb for the majority of the contest.

Key Players Last Week:

Patrick Mahomes (340 Passing Yards, Two TD’s, One INT)

Travis Kelce (142 Receiving Yards)

Tyreek Hill (67 Receiving Yards, Two Receiving TD’s)

What’s Next?:

The Chicago Bears

The Chiefs come in contact with the Bears this Monday night and if I were them, I’d strongly consider sitting their starters knowing that nothing is at stake. The Bears will surely look to try to pick him apart and wound the team heading into their hopeful Super Bowl dreams.


San Francisco 49ers (11-3)

Previous Rank: 2

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers

Why They Dropped:

The 49ers took another loss and this time it was to the Atlanta Falcons. A team that most people thought wouldn’t be able to stand up to the elite 49ers defense. Sadly, they gave up a last second touchdown that cost them the game.

Key Players Last Week:

George Kittle (134 Receiving Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Los Angeles Rams

The 49ers and the Rams are both coming off losses and for the 49ers’ sake they better pull away with a victory here against a very vulnerable Rams team. The key in my mind will be trying to neutralize Goff’s new favorite toy; Tyler Higbee.


Seattle Seahawks (11-3)

Previous Rank: 4


Why They Moved Up:

The Seahawks put up a very dominating performance against the Carolina Panthers last weekend. From the combined efforts of the offense and the defense, the Seahawks were able to utterly destroy the Panthers and enter the top three in my power rankings.

Key Players Last Week:

Russell Wilson (286 Passing Yards, Two TD’s)

Chris Carson (133 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing TD’s)

Tyler Lockett (120 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Arizona Cardinals

The Seahawks go from one easy team to the next when they face the Arizona Cardinals. The game plan should be to keep Murray on his toes and to keep Kenyan Drake from going off again. Wilson should also stay mindful of his surroundings and go down when needed.


New Orleans Saints (11-3)

Previous Rank: 3


Why They Moved Up:

Brees was incredible last Monday night. He missed one pass all night, broke Manning’s Touchdown record and led the Saints to a blowout win against the Colts. Overall, very impressive indeed.

Key Players Last Week:

Drew Brees (307 Passing Yards, Four TD’s)

Michael Thomas (128 Receiving Yards, One Receiving TD)

What’s Next?:

The Tennessee Titans

The Saints have made it in the playoffs, but their opponents; the Tennessee Titans are still in the wild card hunt. If I were the Saints I’d keep my starters out, but not too long as to risk injury to the Saints weapons.


Baltimore Ravens (12-2)

Previous Rank: 1


Why They Stayed The Same:

The Ravens did it again. They found a way to keep going at the speed they are producing. Lamar was outstanding as he broke Michael Vick’s rushing record and threw five touchdowns to boot. The only thing I was little concerned was the defense that let the Jets get some points and put a little chink in the secondary.

Key Players Last Week:

Lamar Jackson (212 Passing Yards, Five TD’s, 86 Rushing Yards)

What’s Next?:

The Cleveland Browns

Now if I were the Ravens, I’d be still holding onto the grudge when the Browns took away a victory from them. So do what you did to the Jets. Get up high early and pull your starters and take back the win in your name Baltimore.

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