Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots Throw Away Playoff Hopes

Jakobi Meyers and Rhamondre Stevenson started off a costly lateral play for the Patriots. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fifteen weeks into the NFL season, teams are starting to claim playoff spots. Some division titles were claimed, including the NFC West. Here’s where all 32 teams stand after Week 15.

32. Houston Texans (1-12-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 32

This game was much more competitive than it had any right to be. Houston gave the Chiefs a run for their money but ultimately fell in overtime. Houston would have to win out to lose the first pick in the draft and will likely be on the clock sooner rather than later.

Team MVP: Christian Kirksey (11 tackles, sack, TFL, QB hit)

Next: at Titans

31. Chicago Bears (3-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 31

The Bears gave the Eagles all they could handle, but ultimately Chicago fell to 3-11. Despite unlocking Justin Fields, the Bears’ defense doesn’t seem to be able to hold up. They will likely have their choice of defensive players like Will Anderson from Alabama and Jalen Carter from Georgia.

Team MVP: David Montgomery (53 rush yds, TD, 3 rec, 38 yds, TD)

Next: vs Bills

30. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1) Prev: 28

There are three certainties in life. Death, taxes, and Matt Ryan blowing massive leads. Once up 33-0, the Colts blew that lead in overtime, losing 39-36. After winning his coaching debut, it would seem that the Jeff Saturday doubters were correct. Indy will need to find a proper head coach in the offseason.

Team MVP: Julian Blackmon (4 tackles, INT, TD)

Next: vs Chargers

29. Denver Broncos (4-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 30

In the first week without Russell Wilson, Denver got a win. Brett Rypien threw for almost 200 yards, proving to be a serviceable backup. We’ll see if Wilson returns next week and if the offense looks any better or worse.

Team MVP: DeShawn Williams (5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs, 4 QB hits)

Next: at Rams

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 27

Arizona is now officially eliminated from playoff contention. A lot is up in the air right now for Arizona. Will Kyler come back as the same player? Will Kliff Kingsbury come back at all? The Cards are left with more questions than answers this year.

Team MVP: JJ Watt (5 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs, pass defense, 3 QB hits)

Next: vs Buccaneers

27. Los Angeles Rams (4-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 26

The reigning Super Bowl champs are no longer defending. This year’s Rams squad got derailed by injuries but didn’t look as good as last year’s team. LA will likely look to acquire even more superstar talent this off-season at the cost of their draft picks.

Team MVP: Leonard Floyd (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, 3 QB hits)

Next: vs Broncos

26. Atlanta Falcons (5-9) Prev: 25

In Desmond Ridder’s first start, the Falcons lost to the Saints. Atlanta is only one game behind the Bucs, but now the Saints are in the same boat they are. The Falcons have cooled off significantly since the start of the season. They are likely just seeing what Ridder brings to the table for the rest of the season.

Team MVP: Tyler Allgeier (139 yds, TD)

25. New Orleans Saints (5-9) Prev: 29

Next: at Ravens

New Orleans is getting itself back into the NFC South conversation. A win over Atlanta puts them one game back from the Buccaneers. New Orleans would love to steal the division, as they don’t have their first-round pick this year.

Team MVP: Kentavius Street (3 tackles, 1.5 sacks)

Next: at Browns

24. Panthers (5-9) Prev: 21

With an opportunity to catch up to Tampa Bay, Carolina fell to the Steelers. The NFC South is up for grabs, but the Panthers winning the division would make for an incredible story. This team was supposed to be rebuilding after trading Christian McCaffrey in the regular season. To make the playoffs would be quite an accomplishment.

Team MVP: DJ Moore (5 rec, 73 yds, TD)

Next: vs Lions

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) Prev: 24

Mike Tomlin’s streak of never having a losing season lives one more week. The Steelers are likely out of the playoff picture at this point. In addition to having to win out, the Steelers would need a lot of outside help.

Team MVP: TJ Watt (2 tackles, 1.5 sacks, TFL)

Next: vs Raiders

22. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8) Prev: 22

The Raiders pulled off an improbable victory thanks to an uncharacteristically dumb play from the Patriots. The Raiders are still alive, but for how much longer? For every Raiders win, there seems to be an inexplicable loss.

Team MVP: Chandler Jones (2 tackles, 2 pass defenses, 2 QB hits, fumble recovery TD)

Next: at Steelers

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) Prev: 18

The Bucs certainly don’t look like division leaders. They had a 17-point lead against the Bengals and gave it away. Tom Brady’s many fumbles certainly didn’t help matters. While Brady has been the Bucs’ best player, he’s not without blame, at least for this game.

Team MVP: Chris Godwin (8 rec, 83 yds, TD)

Next: at Cardinals

20. Green Bay Packers (6-8) Prev: 20

Green Bay got a primetime victory over the Rams. The Packers are in a similar boat to the Steelers, where they are not mathematically eliminated but need to win out and receive a lot of outside help. Despite whatever quote Aaron Rodgers may drop, don’t get your hopes up for this team.

Team MVP: Aaron Jones (90 yds, 4 rec, 36 yds, TD)

Next: at Dolphins

19. Seattle Seahawks (7-7) Prev: 16

The Seahawks are on a downhill trend. Their loss to the 49ers eliminated them from possibly winning the NFC West, but Seattle is still in the middle of the Wild Card race. They’ve been passed by teams like Washington and the Giants, with Detroit hot on their heels. Something needs to change for the Seahawks if they want to make a run.

Team MVP: Tyler Lockett (7 rec, 68 yds)

Next: at Chiefs

18. Cleveland Browns (6-8) Prev: 19

It may not have been the most entertaining game, but the Browns will take a win any way they can get one, especially when it messes with their division rivals. Deshaun Watson still looks a bit rusty. Nobody expected him to immediately turn back into the player he was after missing over a year, but Jacoby Brissett looks like a better option now.

Team MVP: Myles Garrett (3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits)

Next: vs Saints

17. Tennessee Titans (7-7) Prev: 15

It’s time to be worried for the Titans. The week has not been good for Tennessee, as it started with a loss to the Chargers. During the game, Ryan Tannehill had to leave with an injury. Tannehill will miss the remainder of the season, putting their playoff hopes on the shoulders of Malik Willis.

Team MVP: Derrick Henry (104 yds, TD, 4 rec, 59 yds)

Next: vs Texans

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8) Prev: 23

Trevor Lawrence has officially figured out the NFL. T-Law put 34 points on Dallas, one of the best defenses in the league. Rayshawn Jenkins scored the game-winning pick-six in overtime to give the Jags potentially upset of the year. The Jags are getting hot, just as the Titans are getting cold.

Team MVP: Rayshawn Jenkins (18 tackles, 2 INTs, TD)

Next: at Jets

15. New York Jets (7-7) Prev: 13

The Jets are getting dangerously close to being eliminated from playoff contention. New York lost to the Lions, putting them at 7-7. The Patriots, who have the head-to-head advantage over the Jets, also are 7-7 but are out of the playoff picture. Zach Wilson will start again next week, but he did not play too badly against Detroit.

Team MVP: Zach Wilson (18/35, 317 yds, 2 TDs, INT)

Next: vs Jaguars

14. New England Patriots (7-7) Prev: 11

New England threw away their playoff hopes, losing on an insane lateral play at the end of regulation. Between this and the Miami Miracle, the Pats have a habit of losing in the dumbest ways. Currently out of the playoff picture and with three playoff teams to end their schedule, don’t count on the Patriots to return to the playoffs.

Team MVP: Rhamondre Stevenson (172 yds, TD)

Next: vs Bengals

13. Detroit Lions (7-7) Prev: 14

Here come the Lions. Detroit pulled off a miraculous win against the Jets in New York and remains white hot. The Lions trail three NFC East teams for the last playoff spot. Arguably the hottest team in the NFL, nobody wants to play the Lions right now.

Team MVP: Romeo Okwara (4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs)

Next: at Panthers

12. Washington Commanders (7-6-1) Prev: 10

Washington took a controversial loss to the Giants. The Commanders were within five yards of a touchdown and were on the receiving end of several bad calls in the last few plays of the game. With their previous matchup ending in a tie, the Giants will have the head-to-head advantage for playoff seeding. With the Lions red hot, the Commanders could be in trouble.

Team MVP: Jahan Dotson (4 rec, 105 yds, TD)

Next: at 49ers

11. New York Giants (8-5-1) Prev: 17

The Giants saved their season with a win over the Commanders. New York was on a downward trend, but a win gives them much-needed breathing room over them and the other teams in the NFC Wild Card race. Two of their last three games are against the top two seeds in the NFC, so they will need Washington, Seattle, or Detroit to slip up down the stretch.

Team MVP: Saquon Barkley (87 yds, TD, 5 rec, 33 yds)

10. Miami Dolphins (8-6) Prev: 9

Miami might be another team in trouble. They’ve played a lot of good teams, but if they want to make a playoff run, they will need to beat these teams. Miami has slipped to the seventh seed after their loss to Buffalo and needs to rebound quickly.

Team MVP: Raheem Mostert (136 yds)

Next: vs Packers

9. Chargers (8-6) Prev: 12

Suddenly, the Chargers are in a great position to make the playoffs. Los Angeles holds the sixth seed and is the healthiest they’ve been since the start of the season. A healthy Chargers team is good enough to get into the playoffs.

Team MVP: Duke Tranquill (10 tackles, sack, TFL, QB hit)

Next: at Colts 

8. Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Prev: 7

It’s been coming for a few weeks, but the Ravens have lost control of the AFC North. Lamar Jackson was previously expected to return on Christmas Eve but is not yet ready to return. The game is winnable with Huntley, but a loss would dig the Ravens a deeper hole.

Team MVP: Kyle Hamilton (7 tackles, sack, 2 TFLs, Pass defense, QB hit)

Next: vs Falcons

7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4) Prev: 5

Dallas may have gotten caught looking to their next opponent. The Cowboys had an early lead, but they let Jacksonville come back. The loss follows a disappointing performance against Houston. Dallas is trending down, heading into their biggest game of the year. On the plus side, Dallas still managed to clinch a playoff spot.

Team MVP: CeeDee Lamb (7 rec, 126 yds)

Next: vs Eagles

6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4) Prev: 8

The 49ers officially clinched the NFC West with a win in Seattle. Brock Purdy has been excellent at quarterback. Dubbed “Mr. Relevant,” Purdy has the 49ers’ offense looking like they haven’t lost a step. This star-studded squad is an immediate threat to everyone in the NFC.

Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey (108 yds, TD, 6 rec, 30 yds)

Next: vs Commanders

5. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4) Prev: 6

Cincy stayed hot with a win over the Bucs. They trailed early, but Joe Burrow led his team to a 17-point comeback. The Bengals officially lead the AFC North and have had back-to-back 10-win seasons. A division crown will likely follow.

Team MVP: Joe Burrow (27/39, 200 yds, 4 TDs, INT)

Next: at Patriots

4. Minnesota Vikings (11-3) Prev: 4

Minnesota clinched the NFC North in style. The Vikings once trailed this game 33-0. Fortunately, they played a team led by Matt Ryan, who can’t stop blowing leads. The Vikings will head into the playoffs as a contender, but their defense raises many red flags.

Team MVP: Kirk Cousins (34/54, 460 yds, 4 TDs, 2 INTs)

Next: vs Giants

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) Prev: 3

Kansas City clinched yet another AFC West division title with a win over Houston. The Texans made it much more interesting than we thought, but we got the inevitable result. The Chiefs are one of the favorites to win the AFC, as they have been all year.

Team MVP: Jerick McKinnon (52 yds, TD, 8 rec, 70 yds, TD)

2. Buffalo Bills (11-3) Prev: 2

The Bills got revenge on the Dolphins for beating them earlier in the year. With the other three teams in the division beginning to struggle, it looks inevitable that Buffalo will win the highly competitive AFC East. It is just a matter of time at this rate.

Team MVP: Josh Allen (25/40, 304 yds, 4 TDs, 77 rush yds)

Next: at Bears

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1) Prev: 1

The Eagles may be facing their first signs of adversity this year. During their win over the Bears, Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder injury. He finished the game but is questionable for their matchup with the Cowboys. If the Eagles win, they will clinch the NFC East and the top seed in the NFC.

Team MVP: Jalen Hurts (22/37, 315 yds, 2 INTs, 61 rush yds, 3 TDs)

Next: at Cowboys