The playoff race is getting tighter, players are making their final cases to take home some major awards, and teams outside the playoff bubble are beginning their folding process and looking towards 2023. As the holiday season gets more chaotic, so does the most unpredictable NFL season in league history.
Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Week 17 Power Rankings
Teams to Note
Miami Dolphins (Dropped 4 spots)
I've been neglecting to move Miami down over the past several weeks, but after a four game losing streak, it's warranted. They've looked below average lately, and after giving up 16 unanswered points to Green Bay in the second half, as well as throwing 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter, it's not looking much better in Miami after sitting at 8-3 last month. Add in another Tua concussion and the potential to miss him for the rest of the regular season and postseason, Miami could be going from playoff lock to just missing for a third year in a row.
Green Bay Packers (Rose 4 spots)
Speaking of the Packers, my lord have they turned it around. Even with his weapons not playing as great as they were in some stretches, Aaron Rodgers is finding a way to make some incredible throws and put this team in winning positions. Although they beat the Bears and Rams on their 3 game winning streak, they're in a great spot to sneak into the playoffs with the one-possession favorable Vikings and the gritty, but faulty, Lions left on the schedule.
Seattle Seahawks (No change)
I normally don't highlight teams that didn't move at all in the Power Rankings, but let's talk about the Seahawks. A late TD salvaged the game from looking worse on paper, but they held their own in the second half against one of the best teams in the league this season. Seattle has absolutely stumbled by going 1-5 in the past 6 games, but they've had some incredibly narrow losses in that span. With the Jets and Rams left on the slate, the Seahawks could somehow make the playoffs over teams like the Commanders, Packers, and Lions.
Week 16 Awards
AFC Offensive MVP: Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals
AFC Defensive MVP: Chris Jones - Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Trench Tyrant: Corey Linsley - Los Angeles Chargers
AFC Special Teams MVP: Tommy Townsend - Kansas City Chiefs
NFC Offensive MVP: George Kittle - San Francisco 49ers
NFC Defensive MVP: Nick Bosa - San Francisco 49ers
NFC Trench Tyrant: Tyler Smith - Dallas Cowboys
NFC Special Teams MVP: Greg Joseph - Minnesota Vikings
Award Winners to Note
Joe Burrow - Despite 2 interceptions, with both of those arguably being the receivers fault, Burrow lit up the Pats throughout the game. He hit 40 of 52 passes, with three of his incompletions being drops, and another incompletion resulting in an interception due to Tyler Boyd not even attempting to catch the pass. Add in 6 big time throws and 3 TDs, and nearly a fourth after just missing his receiver in the endzone, Burrow once again showcased why he is a top 5 QB in the league.
Tyler Smith - The rookie left tackle has shined when asked to step in for injured players, and he had his best game of his career so far in Week 16. He was the only linemen in the league who posted a 90+ pass and run blocking grade, as he allowed 0 pressures on a massive 44 pass block snap count, and he helped spring the Cowboys running game to 115 yards against one of the best defenses in the league. Tyler didn't face any slouches either; he saw Josh Sweat 46 times (11 sacks, 43 pressures on the year), Brandon Graham 11 times (9 sacks, 40 pressures on the year), and a mix of other Eagles defenders throughout the game as well.
Chris Jones - The league rank of DT1 might not be held by Aaron Donald for much longer if Chris keeps playing the way he has this season. He had his best game of the year as he generated 1 sack and 9 pressures on 42 pass rush snaps, as well as 3 total stops and TFLs. He had the second highest defensive grade in the entire NFL this week at 92.5, and backed that up with the highest pass rush grade of 92.3.
Photo: Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports
Key Fantasy Players Recap (Week 16)
QB: Davis Mills vs Tennessee Titans
Projected - 10.2
Actual - 9.92
Results - Pushed
RB: Deon Jackson vs Los Angeles Chargers
Projected - 7.9
Actual - 3.9
Results - Busted
WR: Rashid Shaheed vs Cleveland Browns
Projected - 7.4
Actual - 8.1
Results - Pushed
TE: Daniel Bellinger vs Minnesota Vikings
Projected - 8.1
Actual - 4.7
Results - Busted
D/ST: Detroit Lions vs Carolina Panthers
Projected - 5.5
Actual - lol
Results - Busted
K: Jake Elliott vs Dallas Cowboys
Projected - 6.2
Actual - 11.0
Results - Boomed
Week 16 Total: 1 Boomed, 2 Pushed, 3 Busted
Yearly Total: 25 Boomed, 16 Pushed, 25 Busted
Key Fantasy Players for Week 17
QB: Desmond Ridder vs Arizona Cardinals (proj. 11.7)
With Budda Baker out, the Cardinals defense will need a miracle day from the secondary to shut down the Falcons pass game.
RB: Royce Freeman vs Jacksonville Jaguars (proj. 7.6)
Despite two poor games this season, Royce can breakout against the Jags. Besides last week, the Jags let up over 100 yards rushing in 5 straight games.
WR: Greg Dortch vs Atlanta Falcons (proj. 9.2)
I've been saying it all year, the Cardinals need to feed Dortch. He averages nearly 17.5 fantasy points when targeted at least 4 times in a game, and he should be leaned on again in the passing game this week.
TE: Noah Fant vs New York Jets (proj. 8.3)
With Will Dissly out for the year, Fant is the only real TE threat in Seattle. He should have one of his best games this season.
D/ST: New York Giants vs Indianapolis Colts (proj. 6.8)
The Colts with Foles are awful, this should be an easy lock for the Giants.
K: Riley Patterson vs Houston Texans (proj. 7.3)
Patterson has put up 10+ fantasy points in the last 3 weeks, and he'll do that again in a must win game against the Texans.
Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP Photo
End of Year Awards Tracker
Comeback Player of the Year
Most Improved Player
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Kenneth Walker III
Trench Tyrant of the Year
Special Teams Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Offensive Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
Most Valuable Player
This has shaped up to be a great NFL season, despite some of the below average play we've seen. We may see some major records get broken, we may also see a first time Super Bowl winner as well. Time will tell as to who will come out on top in the coming weeks.