NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: The Packers Are Better With Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY WI - DECEMBER 26: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is congratulated by Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants after their game at Lambeau Field on December 26 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

We're now headed into the final weekend of the NFL season and tons of big games are still on the schedule. Guess that's how it's supposed to be.

Down the stretch we come in both the NFL and the SB Nation Arizona NFL Power Rankings. As we enter the final week of the season, most of the playoff spots are spoken for, but the seeding is still quite open. One thing that hasn't changed is the Patriots. Those dudes are awesome.

The biggest jump this week was by the Joe Webb-led Minnesota Vikings, who climbed an impressive six spots, from 25 to 19. It wasn't really a compliment to the impressive win, but more an indictment on the poor performances of the teams in front of them. Speaking of those teams in front of them, the biggest drop off from last week was the Texas, who fell four slots. Nothing Houston does surprises me at this point.

On to the rankings. The regular season is almost over.

(1) New England Patriots (13-2) - Tom Brady is the runaway MVP and this is the best team in football. No clue who stops them. No freaking clue. (LW: 1)

(2) Atlanta Falcons (12-3) - The Atlanta team I watched lose to New Orleans on Monday night seemed like one that might not win a game in the playoffs. But due to their 12-3 record, they stay here. (LW: 2)

(3) New Orleans Saints (11-4) - If Atlanta miraculously loses to the Panthers then the Saints could get home field advantage again. But they proved they can win in Atlanta. (LW: 5)

(4) Baltimore Ravens (11-4) - Unimpressive win against Cleveland. Need Pittsburgh to lose to those same Browns to have a shot at the division. Enjoy the wild card. (LW: 3)

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) - Take that, Panthers. (LW: 6)

(6) Chicago Bears (11-4) - Philly loss gives Chicago a first-round bye in the playoffs. Can't say I expected that when they were worked over at Solider Field against Seattle in Week 6. (LW: 8)

(7) Philadelphia Eagles (10-5) - Apparently playing on a Tuesday completely threw the Eagles off their game. Guess that'll happen. (LW: 4)

(8) New York Jets (10-5) - Finally showed they have a bit of an offense, although it was in a loss to Chicago. (LW: 7)

(9) Green Bay Packers (9-6) - Aaron Rodgers makes all the difference. Yes, feel free to pick your jaw up off the ground. (LW: 12)

(10) Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) - My gut says this team doesn't do anything in the playoffs ... yet there's just something compelling about this team. (LW: 10)

(11) Indianapolis Colts (9-6) - All they have to do is beat the sorry Titans and they are in the playoffs. Thanks be to the embarrassing loss by the Jaguars. (LW: 13)

(12) New York Giants (9-6) - Destiny is in the hands of Chicago. A superior Green Bay team put them in this position. (LW: 9)

(13) San Diego Chargers (8-7) - Chokers. (LW: 11)

(14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6) - Joshua T. Freeman is quite good, but everyone heaping praise on Tampa should probably acknowledge that this team is 0-5 against over .500 teams. (LW: 15)

(15) Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7) - Playoff hopes on the line and they lose to Rex Grossman, at home. Pathetic performance. (LW: 14)

(16) St. Louis Rams (7-8) - Pretty simple marching orders on Sunday Night: win and you're in. Biggest test in young Sam Bradford's career. (LW: 18)

(17) Oakland Raiders (7-8) - Hung with Indianapolis until the end. If they stick with Jason Campbell, this team could be in the playoffs in 2011. (LW: 16)

(18) Miami Dolphins (7-8) - How the hell does a .500 team go 1-7 at home? That's the story of the Miami season. (LW: 17)

(19) Minnesota Vikings (6-9) - Speaking of spoiler, bet Philly didn't expect to get beat at home by Joe Webb. Note to John Skelton fans: raw rookie quarterbacks are capable of completing a decent percentage of passes. See Webb, Joe. (LW: 25)

(20) Washington Redskins (6-9) - Went on the road and beat a potential playoff team that had everything to play for. Impressive, but they've still got Rex Grossman. (LW: 24)

(21) Tennessee Titans (6-9) - They've lost seven of eight and aren't really that competitive anymore. Ancient Bud Adams will probably make some big changes in the offseason. (LW: 19)

(22) Seattle Seahawks (6-9) - Really is shocking that this team -- which has been blown out week after week -- stands a home win away from the playoffs. And I kind of think they'll get it. (LW: 22)

(23) Cleveland Browns (5-10) - Played hard with the Ravens until the end, but still took their third straight loss. (LW: 21)

(24) Houston Texans (5-10) - This has to be the most underachieving franchise in the NFL. I'll bet Texans fans were fine with the loss to Denver as it probably drove the final nail in the coffin of Gary Kubiak. (LW: 20)

(25) Dallas Cowboys (5-10) - I still think these guys are better than the Cardinals. Not much better, but better nonetheless. The Christmas loss probably cost Jason Garrett his shot at the full-time job. (LW: 23)

(26) Detroit Lions (5-10) - Like the Browns, I'd expect Detroit to be one of those sleepers that everyone jumps on next year only to see them falter. (LW: 27)

(27) San Francisco 49ers (5-10) - The joke of an experiment that is Mike Singletary has finally ended. The Niners fans I know are relieved. (LW: 26)

(28) Arizona Cardinals (5-10) - Fun Christmas win against the Cowboys. I'm having a tough time understanding why anybody believes in John Skelton, though. Nice drive and all, but he's still a 45% passer. He terrifies me as the backup next year. (LW: 30)

(29) Cincinnati Bengals (4-11) - Carson Palmer was almost perfect (157.2) in ending San Diego's playoff hopes. (LW: 29)

(30) Buffalo Bills (4-11) - Kind of unfair that I'm dropping these guys after how scrappy they've been, but I liked the wins from Cincy and Arizona. Buffalo's going to have a real decision to make about Ryan Fitzpatrick. (LW: 28)

(31) Denver Broncos (4-11) - All hail the mighty Tim Tebow. 300 yards passing and a rushing touchdown is what Bronco fan dreams were made of. (LW: 31)

(32) Carolina Panthers (2-13) - Their Thursday night loss to the Steelers gave them the number 1 pick and the knowledge that Jimmy Clausen wasn't their QB of the future. Convenient. (LW: 32)

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