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NFL Power Rankings

   by Matt Fargo - 12/23/2010

New England fought off a scare from the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers to make it six straight wins and retain the top spot in the Power Rankings for a third straight week.

Despite another win over another bad team, Atlanta moved up to number two in the rankings. The Falcons will be tested at home against the Saints coming off a loss.

The Steelers had a chance to pretty much lock up the AFC North but they lost to the Jets. They clinched a playoff berth and have Carolina and Cleveland remaining.

Philadelphia overcame a 21-point fourth quarter deficit and won in the final seconds on a punt return for a touchdown. The NFC East was pretty much locked up with that victory.

Baltimore was in a must-win situation and it came through with a great effort against a red hot Saints team. A 2-0 finish against the Browns and Bengals clinches a playoff spot.

The Jets likely saved their season with a road win at Pittsburgh. They catch Chicago after clinching the NFC North so they could be in a very favorable spot this Sunday.

New Orleans had won six straight games before it was manhandled in Baltimore, getting outrushed by 181 yards. The Saints are in a must win spot Monday at Atlanta.

Chicago clinched the division Monday as it defeated the Vikings following a Packers loss Sunday. The Bears have to think about a first round bye but getting up this week may be tough.

Green Bay is a game back in the Wild Card race with remaining games against the Giants and Bears. The former is also battling for a Wild Card while the latter may be going for a bye.

It will be interesting to see how the Giants respond with their season on the line following their implosion against the Eagles. The inside track to the Wild Card is on the line this week.

San Diego continued its solid late season play as it dominated the 49ers Thursday night. The Chargers close with back-to-back road games against teams playing for nothing but spoiler.

Indianapolis passed its second test as it is now in control of its own destiny in the AFC South. The Colts will hold the common opponents’ tiebreaker should they and the Jags win out.

Kansas City put forth a good effort against improving St. Louis to remain a game ahead the Chargers. A loss against Tennessee will make Week 17 very interesting in the AFC West.

Miami’s season is officially over as it lost at home against the Bills, eliminating it from the playoffs. The Dolphins can’t even play spoiler as they have the Lions and Patriots left.

Tampa Bay suffered a devastating home overtime loss to the Lions as its playoff hopes are dwindling. If the Giants and Saints win this week, the Buccaneers are officially out.

Jacksonville took a dive following its loss in Indianapolis. The Jaguars now need a lot of help to clinch a Wild Card berth after it could have locked up the division last week.

Oakland kept its slim playoff hopes alive. The Raiders can actually clinch the division but needs the Chiefs to lose this week and the Chargers to lose one of two.

Tennessee snapped its losing streak with a win over Houston. The Titans are still alive in the AFC South if they win out, the Colts lose to Oakland and the Jaguars lose out.

Cleveland suffered yet another close loss as it is now seven losses by a touchdown or less. It is spoiler time at home against division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Houston came out flat this week following that tough loss against Baltimore on Monday. Gary Kubiak’s job is on the line now after another failed attempt to make the playoffs.

Dallas held off a strong comeback by the Redskins as it is now 4-2 under Jason Garrett. The Cowboys travel to Arizona for a Christmas night dud that looked enticing early in the season.

Detroit snapped an NFL record 26-game road losing streak with an overtime win at Tampa Bay. The Lions have continued to play hard despite some tough luck losses this year.

Minnesota looked horrible on both ends against the Bears Monday. It makes no sense why NBC chose the Eagles game over six others where both teams are still fighting for the playoffs.

St. Louis is now two games under .500 but still remains in first place in the NFC West. A Rams loss and a Seattle loss mean a three-way tie at 6-9.

Washington fought hard behind Rex Grossman but came up short against the Cowboys. The Redskins have the Jaguars and Giants, both of which will be fighting for the playoffs.

Buffalo won its second straight game and is now 4-2 over its last six games. A few more bounces their way and the Bills could be 8-1 over their last nine games.

Seattle laid an egg at home against the Falcons which were playing their third straight road game. The Seahawks, along with the Rams, control their own destiny to win the division.

San Francisco was hammered by the Chargers which halted a decent 4-2 run. The 49ers are 5-9 but can actually win the division with two wins and a Seattle loss.

Cincinnati snapped its 10-game losing streak with a win over in-state rival Cleveland. The Bengals did lose Terrell Owens with a knee injury which hurts this week against the Chargers.

The Broncos have lost five straight and are 1-9 their last 10 after getting blasted by the Raiders for a second time this season. Denver returns home after a three-game roadtrip.

Arizona put up a poor effort against the 1-12 Panthers and lost for the eighth time in nine games. The Cardinals next host the Cowboys in a Christmas night snoozer

Carolina won its second game but remains in the last slot for the 10th consecutive week. The Panthers now have a short week to face Pittsburgh which is coming off a loss.

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