Week 15 Power Rankings (NFL)

1. Pittsburgh Steelers– Nine wins in a row and counting. That’s where they stand right now and the Steelers haven’t looked all that great if you really want to be honest about things. Last week against Baltimore, they allowed 38 points and at one point, they were down by 11 points in the fourth quarter. The running game was absent as Baltimore has been known to be one of the best to stop the run. The Steelers were able to come back behind a 500-yard passing effort from Ben Roethlisberger and 213 of those yards were recorded by Antonio Brown who is having an MVP season, he’s a top four candidate now with Brady, Wilson and Brees. I stated last week that this was the most important stretch of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially with facing rivals in back to back weeks. The Ravens last Sunday, the Patriots today and this is for home-field in the AFC. This game is more important for them I think than New England. Will this be the year they get over the hump and beat a team that has owned them for the last decade?

2. Philadelphia Eagles– They were able to get back in the win column with their victory last weekend against the Los Angeles Rams. They won the division, but it was a bittersweet victory especially after losing Carson Wentz for the year with a torn ACL. He was having such a great year and was the front-runner for the league MVP. It’s always important to have a very good back up quarterback and the Eagles have a guy who’s extremely familiar with the team and Doug Pedersen in Nick Foles. Doug was the offensive coordinator when the Eagles drafted him in 2013, when Nick signed as a free agent with the Chiefs in 2015, Doug was the offensive coordinator under Andy Reid and now as the head coach of the Eagles, Foles is back and it will be up to him to keep the Eagles headed in the right direction. He doesn’t have to be Wentz, he just has to simply play his game and everything else will fall into place.

3. New England Patriots– Monday night was the worst I’ve seen them look since September. The offensive line struggled to protect Brady, the receivers were physically dominated at the line of scrimmage, the defense looked lackluster as they have all season long When they lose, Bill isn’t happy, he mumbles to the media and it calls for a rough week in practice. The Patriots will receive a boost with Rob Gronkowski returning from his one-game suspension and hopefully, they will have Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers each back on defense. The Patriots always find a way to bounce back and play motivated after a loss. It’s onto the Pittsburgh Steelers today in a huge game.

4. Carolina Panthers– What a huge win for them last week against the streaking Minnesota Vikings. Right now, they are the fifth seed in the NFC playoff picture and if their defense continues to play as stout as they have and if the offense establishes Stewart which will take a ton of pressure off Cam Newton, the Panthers can cause some problems for quite a few teams. Today, they’ll welcome the Packers to town with some guy named Aaron returning back to the field after a broken collarbone injury kept him sidelined for nine weeks. This is a huge game in the NFC and for the playoff picture.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars– It’s time to take this team seriously because they aren’t the same Jaguars of old. This team actually has structure, they play with discipline and they have the best defense in the league. To beat them, you must be able to run the football and stop the run. They do both exceptionally well and that’s what has set them apart. If the playoffs were to start today, they’d be the three seed in the AFC. It’s time to respect them and the win against Seattle should’ve opened your eyes.