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NFL Power Rankings - Week 16: Chargers hit season high, Cowboys stumble

Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NFL Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore's football editors, including Mike Alessandrini, Jack Browne, Michael McClymont, and Arun Srinivasan.

1. New Orleans Saints (12-2)

Previous Rank: 1

Monday night's 12-9 win over the Panthers was a reminder that the Saints' defense can win games by itself, too. - Browne

2. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)

Previous Rank: 4

The Chargers are the best team in Los Angeles - yeah, we said it. No one wants to see Philip Rivers and Co. right now. - Srinivasan

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

Previous Rank: 2

The Chiefs shouldn't be too disheartened by their collapse against the Chargers, but they'll need to regroup on the road in prime time against a Seattle team that'll be looking to cement a postseason berth. - Srinivasan

4. Chicago Bears (10-4)

Previous Rank: 5

Congrats to Chicago, which bested its archrival en route to being crowned NFC North champion. Matt Nagy and Vic Fangio may be the NFL's top coaching duo. - Alessandrini

5. Los Angeles Rams (11-3)

Previous Rank: 3

The Rams haven't looked the same since Cooper Kupp's season-ending injury, but they're simply too talented to panic. - Srinivasan

6. Houston Texans (10-4)

Previous Rank: 8

Despite an ankle injury, DeAndre Hopkins almost single-handedly saved the Texans from an upset loss to the Jets. No other receiver is playing better right now. - Browne

7. New England Patriots (9-5)

Previous Rank: 6

There may not be a team in the AFC playoff chase that needs home-field advantage as much as the Patriots do right now. - McClymont

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)

Previous Rank: 12

Mike Tomlin's squad exacted revenge on the big bad Patriots after last season's Jesse James controversy. Next week’s matchup with the Saints will be fun. - Alessandrini

9. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

Previous Rank: 10

Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus should be an under-the-radar head coaching candidate. Nobody's done more with less this season, which includes Indy's shutout of Eberflus' old team, the Cowboys, in Week 15. - Browne

10. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Previous Rank: 11

Kudos to John Harbaugh, who made the potentially job-saving (and correct) decision to roll with rookie QB Lamar Jackson over Joe Flacco. We're extremely excited to see Jackson in the playoffs - if he can lead the Ravens there. - Alessandrini

11. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)

Previous Rank: 9

Losing to your division rival in overtime is never fun, but the Seahawks are still in a position of strength when it comes to securing a playoff berth. - Srinivasan

12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

Previous Rank: 7

Just when the public was ready to anoint the Cowboys, they put up a big fat zero. Really, how do you get shut out in today's NFL? - McClymont

13. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)

Previous Rank: 13

Seriously, Vikings? Where was that the last eight weeks? - Alessandrini

14. Tennessee Titans (8-6)

Previous Rank: 14

Derrick Henry gained almost as many yards (408 vs. 476) and scored more touchdowns (six vs. five) across the last two games compared to the other 12. - Browne

15. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Previous Rank: 19

It appears Saint Nick is coming to town just in time for another late-season run. - McClymont

16. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1)

Previous Rank: 20

Six tackles, one interception, and one game-clinching sack - have a day, Jabrill Peppers. Baker Mayfield doesn't have to be the only Brown who wakes up feeling dangerous. - Alessandrini

17. Miami Dolphins (7-7)

Previous Rank: 15

If that was the last time we see Frank Gore on a football field, it's a shame he limped off as opposed to being given a thunderous ovation. - McClymont

18. Carolina Panthers (6-8)

Previous Rank: 16

Could Ron Rivera be this year's surprise firing? - Browne

19. Washington Redskins (7-7)

Previous Rank: 23

Congratulations to Josh Johnson. The journeyman quarterback's on his 13th team in his 11th NFL season, and finally recorded his first win. - McClymont

20. Denver Broncos (6-8)

Previous Rank: 17

Von Miller broke Denver's all-time franchise sack record and has recorded at least half a sack in six consecutive games. It's a shame no other Bronco can match his consistency. - Srinivasan

21. Green Bay Packers (5-8-1)

Previous Rank: 18

Simply put, the Packers are playing ugly football down the stretch. More than the coaching staff needs to change. - Alessandrini

22. Cincinnati Bengals (6-8)

Previous Rank: 25

Only two more weeks of Jeff Driskel, folks. Get 'em while you can! - Alessandrini

23. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)

Previous Rank: 26

After failing to score in the first seven games, Julio Jones has five touchdowns over the last six. Football rarely makes sense. - Browne

24. New York Giants (5-9)

Previous Rank: 21

Seriously. How do you get shut out in today's NFL? - McClymont

25. Buffalo Bills (5-9)

Previous Rank: 27

With the Bills down to their fourth-string running back on Sunday, Josh Allen put the team on his back. The future might be brighter than expected in Buffalo. - McClymont

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9)

Previous Rank: 22

This is Tampa Bay's 11th straight season without a playoff appearance. Whoever takes over from head coach Dirk Koetter will be hard-pressed to snap the streak without significant changes. - Browne

27. San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

Previous Rank: 31

It may be a lost year, but the 49ers are trending in the right direction while providing some optimism for 2019. - Srinivasan

28. New York Jets (4-10)

Previous Rank: 28

Mike McCarthy's rumored to be a Jets head coaching candidate, but can he provide the offensive creativity this team badly needs? - McClymont

29. Detroit Lions (5-9)

Previous Rank: 24

The Lions have scored over 20 points just once in their last eight games. This team is an utter mess. - Alessandri

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)

Previous Rank: 29

This season's been nothing short of a disaster, but it could get so much worse if the Jaguars permanently damage their relationship with Jalen Ramsey. - Browne

31. Oakland Raiders (3-11)

Previous Rank: 30

After a shocking win against Pittsburgh, Oakland reverted back to form against the lowly Bengals. This season will reach its merciful end soon, Raider Nation. - Srinivasan

32. Arizona Cardinals (3-11)

Previous Rank: 32

Josh Rosen was pulled during Sunday's blowout loss to the Falcons. You have to wonder if the Cardinals will do more to aid the first-round pick's development next season instead of hanging him out to dry week after week - Srinivasan

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