So without further ado, here are your NFL Power Rankings heading into the final week of the season, and we have a new number one!
1: Carolina Panthers (11-4)
The Carolina Panthers locked up a play-off berth with a win at home against the New Orleans Saints - the same team that handled them with ease just a fortnight before. Cam Newton is playing some inspired football right now, and that game-winning drive with under two minutes to go was as clutch as it gets. The Panthers are the hottest team in the NFL.
2: Seattle Seahawks (12-3)
Invincible? Well not any more! The Seahawks were handed their first defeat at home in the Russell Wilson era at the hands of their division rivals Arizona in a game where they had four interceptions of Carson Palmer. They were totally inept on offense, and couldn't punch it in on the goal-line. The Seahawks are mortal after all.
3: Denver Broncos (12-3)
In the midst of another hectic day in the NFL, one thing that hasn't received enough recognition was Peyton Manning breaking Brady's touchdown passes record - 51. He is also on pace to break Drew Brees' yardage record - needs 266 in Week 17, and the Broncos need 16 points versus the Raiders to set an NFL record to points scored. Manning will be the undisputed MVP.
4: San Francisco 49ers (11-4)
The Niners eked out a win in the last ever game at Candlestick to tie up a play-off spot, and the division is not totally out of the question. They are rounding into shape just at the right time, they look dangerous. If anyone (other than Arizona) can go into Seattle and win, I'd place my bets on the 49ers to do it.
5: Arizona Cardinals (10-5)
They did the unthinkable, they beat Seattle in the Clink! They pulled off the defensive performance of the season by any team in the NFL and managed to overcome four (!) Carson Palmer picks. They have given a blueprint to the rest of the NFL on how to beat Seattle, and have managed to gain the recognition they undoubtedly deserve - and they probably won't even make the play-offs! They can look back on this season with pride.
6: New England Patriots (11-4)
The one constant in this team throughout the year, Tom Brady, is the guy keeping this team afloat right now. Through all the adversity, all the injuries, Brady has led this team to another division title, and a (likely) first-round bye in the play-offs. Any other year, he would be my MVP.
7: New Orleans Saints (10-5)
Failing too book a play-off spot in Week 16 means their season will be on the line this weekend at home to Tampa Bay. A true win-and-you're-in situation for the Saints who probably will not have the first-round bye. Their inability to close out games this season has cost them, and will probably do so in the play-offs.
8: Cincinnati Bengals (10-5)
Good Andy has shown up in recent weeks leading the Bengals to his first AFC North title and third successive play-off appearancce, but this time he will get a home game, where we see a marked difference in his game compared to on the road. If this team can keep the offense going they will be a contender for sure. All on you now, Andy.
9: Philadelphia Eagles (9-6)
They would probably have the NFC East sewn up by ow if Foles was the Day 1 starter, but hey, that's the NFL. Despite his heroics and impressive performances, their season is on the line in Dallas next week, where the winner takes all. Key to the game - feed LeSean McCoy, gorge him. He's a legit OPOY candidate.
10: Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
A big win against the Chiefs kept the Colts' faint hopes of a first-round bye alive in the AFC, but it's likely that this was just a preview of the Wildcard round in the AFC. The Colts have now beaten the 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos and Chiefs this season, arguably the most impressive selection of wins by a team this year.
11: Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
A poor loss to the Colts gives the Chiefs a good few weeks to prepare for their likely rematch. The Broncos have sewn up the AFC West, meaning the Chiefs have absolutely nothing to play for this week after being locked into the 5th seed. This team just doesn't have the feel of a team that can challenge deep in the play-offs.
12: Baltimore Ravens (8-7)
With their destiny in their own hands, the Ravens blew it against the Patriots in Week 16, and now need help to get into the AFC play-offs. The current Super Bowl champions have had a really down year, and a knee injury to Flacco doesn't help their prospects for the Week 17 do-or-die game.
13: Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
Dallas kept their season alive with a phenomenal game-winning drive from Tony Romo in the fourth quarter. Maybe he's not so bad after all. Jason Garrett's job is on the line next week against the Eagles where the winner takes all, but he may have to do it without Tony Romo, who, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, has herniated disk in his back, which Garrett has since denied, but it's hard to see Kyle Orton taking the Cowboys to the play-offs.
14: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
Probably the most unlikely play-off scenario, is still alive for the Steelers. No team needs more help than them, not even the Cardinals! Needing a Miami, Baltimore and San Diego loss, coupled with a Week 17 win for them to make the post season. If there was any AFC Wildcard contender I think has the best shot of doing damage, it's the Steelers, they have the clutch quarterback, to which we know all to well about.
15: San Diego Chargers (8-7)
San Diego has a real chance of making the play-offs, if they get some help along the way. With Philip Rivers playing at an MVP-calibre level, anything is possible. In a game where they host the Chiefs, who as mentioned have nothing to play for and may rest their starters, the Chargers could be in a sweet spot.
16: Chicago Bears (8-7)
They could have wrapped up the division with a week to spare if they even bothered showing up against the Eagles, but they didn't, meaning it's all to play for in the Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers, who may/may not have Aaron Rodgers back for the game.
17: Green Bay Packers (7-7-1)
Somehow, they have managed to overcome the loss of Rodgers to keep their play-off hopes alive 'till this point of the season. Win-or-go-home for the Packers and Bears, which really comes down to whether Rodgers will be cleared to play. If he is, then this Bears D doesn't stand a chance.
18: Miami Dolphins (8-7)
The current holders of the AFC's six seed could've put further distance between themselves and the chasing pack if they had beaten the Buffalo Bills last week, but failed to score a single point! Now they must win against the New York Jets and hope things go their way elsewhere for that to be locked up.
19: St. Louis Rams (7-8)
The Rams are one of the most unlucky teams in the league. Stuck in a division, possibly the greatest ever, with three ten-win teams, and they have seven wins also. They would be in the thick of it in the AFC right now, I'd even go as far as saying they would be a ten-win team in the AFC. This is a good team who are a couple of pieces away.
20: New York Jets (7-8)
Telling his team he was going to get canned was the best thing he could've done to get them motivated. The Jets showed up against the Browns and have a chance to ruin a division rivals' season with a win on the final day. I don't hold much hope for Geno Smith however, the Jets need to go elsewhere next season.
21: Detroit Lions (7-8)
They had control of their own destiny just a few short weeks ago leading the NFC North, now they are eliminated in the penultimate week of the season. What a total shambles this team is. Jim Schwartz cannot get it done, it's tiime for him to be fired. Sorry, not sorry, Jim.
22: New York Giants (6-9)
I think the Giants can put this season down as just playing poorly to start. As we know, the NFC East is there to be had, if they had played better early on the would still be in the mix. This isn't the greatest team in the world by any stretch, but with a few additions here and there, they would once again become the team to beat in their division.
23: Buffalo Bills (6-9)
The Bills have been an impressive home team this year, especially on defense. Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso have been great this year, but the problem lies on offense. Is E.J. Manuel 'the guy'? He hasn't looked too smart in his rookie year, but the first-round investment probably warrants them to give him another year to figure it out, but I have my doubts.
24: Tennessee Titans (6-9)
Another team that, with a quarterback, would be a much better team right now. The team are probably going to move away from Jake Locker who cannot stay healthy, but Ryan Fitzpatrick proved too be a very capable backup if called upon. They have an up-and-coming defense which needs to be retooled, but the AFC South isn't a strong division, they could challenge sooner rather than later.
25: Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1)
A spirited effort in the last few weeks to make their season not look a total shambles has paid dividends for the team that, like the rest of this lot, need to find a quarterback. The team are moving away from Christian Ponder, the Josh Freeman experiment flopped, and they have a horrible defense.
26: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
Their major question right now is: do we believe in Mike Glennon? He has shown flashes of being their franchise guy, but not often enough. By far the most impressive rookie signal-caller from this draft class, but the Buccs have a chance to secure a quality prospect early in the draft.
27: Atlanta Falcons (4-11)
Injuries has cost this team this season. The return of Julio Jones will help a lot next year. They need to upgrade the offensive line and they need to continue investing in that young defense which will only get better. Boy, the NFC South will be the new NFC West.
28: Cleveland Browns (4-11)
Need a good quarterback to just feed Josh Gordon all day every day. A strong defense is being let down by a malignant offense. The Browns have two first round picks and a plethora of middle-round picks in the upcoming draft, if they don't manage them in any way to secure their franchise guy, questions need to be asked.
29: Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11)
Not as bad as we all thought. Tipped as the worst team in NFL history, the Jags do in fact have life. Much like the Raiders, this team doesn't have enough quality player to be more than a four-win team, but they have the right staff in place, the players have bought-in to what Gus Bradley has in mind.
30: Oakland Raiders (4-11)
More competitive that many imagined the Raiders would be this year. There is still minimal of talent on this roster but they now don't have the burden of all that dead money in the salary cap and can afford to sign some quality free agents, but they need to build through the draft, starting with a quarterback.
31: Washington Redskins (3-12)
New regime is needed to sort this mess out. They need to invest big in defense, because they couldn't stop anyone this year, but it doesn't look like it'll be a worst-to-first situation for the Redskins.
32: Houston Texans (2-13)
Still the worst team in football. Carry on.