NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: It's Closing Time

Week 17's Power Rankings represent the last week of the NFL regular season. Like pretty much every season, there was a lot of drama, and there actually seemed to be more drama than usual heading into the final weeks. But most of that is over now. The last week of the season won't go far in determining who's in and who's out, but there's some seeding on the line. Here's how the Top Ten stacks up to close things out:

1. Green Bay Packers (14-1): Aaron Rodgers recovered quickly from his "bad" game to thoroughly punish the Chicago Bears at Lambeau. The obvious MVP had a 5:8 touchdown-to-incomplete pass ratio on the Pack's way to clinching the top seed.

2. New Orleans Saints (12-3): Drew Brees is having himself an MVP-type season as well, and if Rodgers were playing like a football demigod, Brees would win the award. But the second seed in the NFC might have to do.

3. New England Patriots (12-3): The Pats clinched a first round bye in the AFC and their offense is really clicking these days. Their defense remains suspect, however.

4. San Francisco 49ers (12-3): The Niners took care of business against the Seahawks, and they're right up there in the NFC playoff picture. But Alex Smith is no Mr. Brees and that may hurt them come postseason time.

5. Baltimore Ravens (11-4): It's looking like the Ravens will clinch the AFC North, particularly with Ben Roethlisberger ailing. Can they finally cash in on some of their Flacco-era hype?

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4): The Terrible Towels played well without Big Ben in Week 16, but his injury comes at an inopportune time. They'll need every ounce of Ben to survive the AFC playoffs.

7. Detroit Lions (10-5): Matthew Stafford had himself another spectacular game against the San Diego Chargers and the Lions clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999.

8. Houston Texans (10-5): Although the Texans have clinched their division, their injuries are catching up to them and the T.J. Yates mania has been quelled a bit with two straight losses.

9. Atlanta Falcons (9-6): Atlanta's in as an NFC wild card team, but this is not the dominant team of last season. A weak showing against the Saints on Monday Night doesn't increase confidence in their postseason chances.

10. New York Giants (8-7): The Giants don't really deserve a spot in the Top Ten, but they're currently leading the NFC East, and they're playing better ball than the rest of the teams reaching for the playoffs.

In local news, the Arizona Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention thanks to their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. John Skelton again had a painful start and an impressive finish, in the Tim Tebow fashion. Although the Cardinals were aggressive in snatching a new quarterback this offseason, there remains a giant question mark there. They won a lot more games with Skelton, but he's not even close to being an easy answer.

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