This is the week where we learn about who played well, and who did not. The Philadelphia Eagles won an amazing game against Dallas Cowboys to remain undefeated at 16-0. After that came the Chicago Bears and their win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 49-7 on Sunday night football. Then came one of the most surprising results which was Washington Redskins losing in Arizona Cardinals 17-14 but Minnesota Vikings winning in New York Jets 31-28 (which also made them 5 wins for season). And it didn’t stop there!
The “nfl power rankings week 17” is a weekly ranking of the NFL teams. The rankings are based on how well each team did in each game during the week.
6:55 a.m. Eastern Time
ESPN’s NFL Nation
The NFL Power Rankings are looking forward now that 2021 is behind us and we’re in 2022. While there are still playoff spots and titles to be achieved, we thought it would be a good idea to offer each organization a New Year’s resolution for 2022.
To do so, we asked our NFL Nation writers to write their own “Auld Lang Syne” for the clubs they cover, as well as a key aim for the next season. While the New England Patriots went a little off the rails, the rest of the comments mainly fit into one of two categories. Short-term ambitions to build for a push at the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season were the key emphasis for contenders like the Green Bay Packers. Other clubs’ efforts to reward worthy players or surround them with stronger support drew the attention of reporters. Simply taking a good stride down the long path to respectability was the appeal for your depressed clubs (sorry, Jacksonville).
Our authoritative panel of more than 80 journalists, editors, and TV personalities examines how teams stack up during the season to establish our Power Rankings.
Previous rankings: 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | Preseason
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN NE | NO | PHI | PIT | SF SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Previous position: 2
Helping the IR players return is my New Year’s resolve.
There are a number of players on injured reserve that have a chance to return for the playoffs, including starters and several Pro Bowlers. Jaire Alexander, OLB Za’Darius Smith, LT David Bakhtiari, C Josh Myers, and WR Randall Cobb are among them. Aaron Rodgers expressed optimism after Sunday’s game that some or all of them will return this season, while coach Matt LaFleur downplayed it significantly. Any of them returning may be beneficial in the playoffs. — Demovsky, Rob
1st place previously
Tyrann Mathieu should be re-signed as a New Year’s resolve.
The Chiefs must retain Mathieu through the conclusion of his contract, which is set to expire in a few months. He has a lot of value as a player, and he also has a lot of value as a locker room leader. The Chiefs would have a hard time finding all of his benefits at a lower cost than re-signing him. Except for Mathieu, they haven’t put much money into their secondary, and he’s a player they can’t afford to lose. Adam Teicher’s remark
Previous position: 4
New Year’s resolution: Get in shape for the playoffs.
Injuries have destroyed the Buccaneers. Chris Godwin has completed his year’s work. Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David, and Giovani Bernard are all on injured reserve, although they might return. Due to knee and shoulder ailments, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul are out. Mike Evans and Antoine Winfield Jr. have both just recovered from hamstring injuries. An ankle injury forced Ronald Jones II to leave Sunday’s game. They’re hobbling their way into the playoffs. Worse, they now have to replace Antonio Brown, who has departed the squad. Jenna Laine is a writer who lives in New York City.
Previous position: 5
Eliminate turnovers as a New Year’s resolution.
Matthew Stafford has sparked the offense, but the Rams would be unbeatable if the 13th-year quarterback could end some of his turnover streaks. Stafford is tied for second in the NFL in throwing touchdowns with 38, but he’s also tied for second in interceptions with 15, including four pick-sixes, the most in the league. The incredible aspect is that the Rams have won five straight games despite back-to-back multi-turnover outings. Imagine how dominating they might be if Stafford could find a way to reduce or eliminate the multi-turnover games (he has five). Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
Previous position: 8
Re-sign OLB Harold Landry III as a New Year’s resolve.
Since Brian Orakpo’s 10.5 sacks in 2016, the Titans haven’t had a pass-rusher finish with double-digit sack totals. Landry’s 12 sacks this season tie him for sixth most in a single season in team history with Kyle Vanden Bosch. The Titans now boast a potent pass rush, lead by Landry, who has 41 sacks, which ranks sixth in the NFL. The Titans sometimes put Landry in coverage, and he is a good run stopper. Landry has also shown to be one of the team’s most dependable players, missing just one game in the last four seasons. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
Previous position: 7
Find techniques to win tight games as a New Year’s resolution.
The Bills are on their way to the playoffs and will secure the division for the second consecutive year with a victory against the Jets or a Patriots defeat to the Dolphins. Buffalo, on the other hand, had the opportunity to clear its way to the playoffs considerably sooner. Instead, the Bills are 0-5 in one-score games, with the offense having late chances to win or tie four of those games but falling just short. It’s not a simple remedy, like providing gloves for Sean McDermott’s clapping hands or identifying a future dominating running back, but it’s something that has to be addressed for a club that should be in contention for many years. Alaina Getzenberg is a writer who lives in New York City.
3rd place before.
Keep your New Year’s resolution. Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn
If another club offers either assistant coach a head-coaching post, Jerry Jones can only do so much, although he has proven convincing in the past with other coaches. Quinn has turned the defense around. Moore has been a constant presence in quarterback Dak Prescott’s ear since the start of the season. Under Mike McCarthy, starting over with a third defensive coordinator in three seasons and maybe changing the offensive plan would not be the ideal way to begin the new year. Todd Archer is a writer.
Previous position: 11
Don’t have second-half meltdowns is my New Year’s resolve.
Even though the Cardinals won in Dallas on Sunday, they have now lost five of their last nine games, giving Kliff Kingsbury a second-half decline in every season as a head coach. If the Cardinals hadn’t gone on a losing streak this season, they would have likely won the NFC West by now and been vying for or capturing the conference’s top spot. On top of that, they might have easily won 14 or 15 games. It’s something Kingsbury has to improve on because it limits his potential, and with a quarterback like Kyler Murray, having a ceiling isn’t the way to win Super Bowls. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
Previous position: 9
Stop asking Bill Belichick about resolutions as a New Year’s resolution.
Belichick was asked whether he has any resolutions after the team’s Week 16 home defeat to the Bills. That, obviously, did not go as planned. “Those would all be personal anyhow, so they probably wouldn’t matter much to you anyway,” he answered on videoconference six days later when asked a follow-up question. — Reiss, Mike
This week’s essentials include: • Check out the full schedule » | Check out the standings » • Every team’s depth chart » • Injuries » | Transactions » • Rankings of the Football Power Index » Additional NFL coverage »
Previous position: 10
Improve Joe Burrow’s protection as a New Year’s resolve.
If you’ve heard this before, please stop me: The Bengals’ quarterback is putting himself in danger in the pocket a bit more than most people are comfortable with. Let’s look at the data before being persuaded by any nice remarks to abandon this resolve. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Bengals have the 31st best pass block victory rate in the league. In 2019, they tied for 31st, and in 2020, they tied for 29th. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Burrow has been contacted 89 times within the pocket, which is the third-highest number in the league. To eventually bring the pass blocking up to standard, the Bengals will need to strengthen their present players and make some summer signings. – Ben Little
Previous position: 12
Make a major investment at cornerback as a New Year’s resolve.
Since GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan came in 2017, the Niners have invested heavily on critical positions like as quarterback, left tackle, and pass rusher. They haven’t done the same at cornerback, where the most money was spent on Richard Sherman as he was coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Niners haven’t picked a cornerback earlier than No. 66 in the draft, either. San Francisco’s basic passing yardage figures are excellent, but the 49ers have the most defensive pass interference penalties in the NFL with 19. In 2022, a top-tier cornerback may push the 49ers’ defense back into elite territory. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
Previous position: 6
Carson Wentz’s New Year’s resolve is to be more consistent.
The Colts should be grateful that Jonathan Taylor (1,734 yards) is the NFL’s top rusher since he is a big reason why they are one victory away from entering the playoffs. Wentz, who the Colts acquired from the Eagles for a first-round choice last summer, has shown he lacks the consistency to demonstrate he can win in the long run. Wentz looked fantastic in the fourth quarter against Arizona on Christmas Eve, but he struggles with overthrows and takes too many chances, which makes him uneasy. Mike Wells’ remark
Previous position: 13
Give Jalen Hurts some breathing room as a New Year’s resolve.
The Eagles aspire to be a “quarterback factory,” as general manager Howie Roseman memorably put it, and that’s not a terrible attitude to have; investing in the most important position in professional sports is typically wise. However, the QB1 must also feel supported. Things immediately went apart when Carson Wentz believed that was in doubt after the Eagles chose Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It may be tempting for the Eagles to spend some of their valuable draft capital (they have three first-round picks this April) on a big-name quarterback, but Hurts has led his team to the playoffs in his first year as a full-time starter and, at 23, deserves some breathing room before the Philadelphia brass gets the factory back up and running. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
Previous position: 17
Less drama is my New Year’s resolve.
From Jon Gruden’s emails and quick resignation to Henry Ruggs III’s fatal automobile accident to Damon Arnette’s social media presence, to five walk-off victories, an improbable playoff run, and an offseason of uncertainty (where will GM Mike Mayock go? ), this season has been full of surprises. Rich Bisaccia, the interim coach? QB Derek Carr? ), the Raiders might use a more relaxed 2022 season. However, they have recently flourished under adversity and are one victory away from making the playoffs for just the second time since (checks notes) 2002! Gutierrez, Paul
15th place before.
Justin Herbert’s contract should be upgraded after Year 3 as a New Year’s resolve.
Herbert’s rookie contract is in its second year, and his basic pay is $1,818,125. He’s on the verge of a major contract extension, but the Chargers won’t be able to do it until after Herbert’s third season. Still. If Herbert continues to put up enormous statistics like he has in his first two seasons (66 touchdown passes, almost 9,000 yards passing, and just 24 interceptions), the Chargers will need to be prepared to make him one of the best paid quarterbacks in the league. If the Chargers defeat the Raiders on Sunday night, Herbert will be in position to lead them to the playoffs. There’s no denying Herbert is putting up a strong case for a second contract. Shelley Smith says:
14th place before.
Find a strategy to keep healthy as a New Year’s resolve.
Overcoming injuries has been a constant issue for the team from training camp until the last week of the regular season. This season, the Ravens have dressed 75 players, matching 2020 for the most in franchise history. For at least one game, Baltimore has used 45 different players. Even Lamar Jackson, who had never missed a game due to injury in his first three seasons, was forced to miss a game. He has missed the last three games due to a right ankle injury. The Ravens feel they can compete for a Super Bowl if they stay healthy. This season, though, Baltimore has been a shadow of its former self. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
Previous position: 16
Support Tua as a New Year’s resolution!
Since 2019, Dolphins GM Chris Grier has spent four top-90 selections on offensive lineman, yet the team still has the worst pass-blocking offensive line in 2021. With over $80 million in cap space expected this summer, it’s time to stop tossing draft selections at the issue and start spending real money to solve it. Draft an impact running back on the second day of the draft while he’s at it; Grier like to wait until Day 3 and it shows on the field. After next season, Miami will have to make a choice on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. It must either surround him with a supporting cast that can assist him thrive or lay the groundwork for Tagovailoa’s replacement if the club chooses to move on. — Louis-Jacques Marcel
Previous position: 19
New Year’s resolution: find a successor for Ben Roethlisberger.
Is it Mason Rudolph, or someone else? A rookie in the first round? Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, perhaps? With so many flaws on the offensive line to address for next season, it’s unlikely to be the latter, but the Steelers must find a solution. The Steelers have put off developing a quarterback succession plan since Roethlisberger’s career has been extended, but the task is due. For the third year in a row, the run game will need considerable assistance in the summer, but it all begins with choosing who will be the next quarterback. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
Previous position: 18
New Year’s resolution: Recruit more talent to surround the future quarterback.
For a Saints squad that has employed five different quarterbacks in the previous calendar year, finding the perfect quarterback in 2022 is certainly a key priority. Because Winston is an unsigned free agent recuperating from a torn ACL, the Saints will explore all offers, including blockbuster deals. The Saints must surround their next quarterback with stronger pass catchers and a more complete offensive line, regardless of who they draft. Injuries had a significant role in 2021. WR Michael Thomas was out for the whole season, while Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk, and Andrus Peat also missed significant time. The Saints will now have to make some difficult financial choices regarding how many of those players they can bring back in 2022, as well as whether or not to recruit other reinforcements. Triplett, Mike
Here’s how the playoff bracket currently stands, as well as the possible outcomes. • Playoff picture and potential clinchers « • ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine is interactive » • Football Power Index » | Standings
Previous position: 20
Strengthening the passing game is a New Year’s resolution.
It’s much too easy to blame Cleveland’s passing woes only on quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has been out since Week 2 with a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder. To be sure, Mayfield has battled. But he’s far from the only reason the Browns’ passing offense has become one of the league’s least dangerous. The Browns need to improve their wide receiver skills, particularly their downfield playmaking. The Browns are expected to seek a receiver with their first choice in what seems to be another enticing WR draft. Jake Trotter’s remark
Previous position: 21
Fix the offensive as a New Year’s resolve.
Since 2016, the Broncos have started ten different quarterbacks, including running back Phillip Lindsay. However, this team’s issues with the ball extend well beyond their quarterback. The Broncos have refused to fit their offensive strategy to the talent they’ve recruited or acquired for most of the last four seasons. They’ve violated two key offensive principles: they consistently call something they can’t block, and their defense would respond “no” if asked whether their offense is tough to stop. Yes, they’ll use every resource at their disposal to become one of the league’s luckiest teams in terms of finding a long-term quarterback, but even the greatest quarterback option will struggle if they can’t match a playbook to the squad in the huddle. — Legwold, Jeff
22nd in the previous ranking
A fresh start is a New Year’s resolution.
The Vikings haven’t had a winning record in almost 700 days. They attempted a gentle reconstruction, but it failed miserably. They attempted and failed to retool their defense in order to recapture the golden days of the 2017 season. Mike Zimmer has led this club to the playoffs three times in the last eight seasons, general manager Rick Spielman has brought in draft selections like Brian O’Neill and Justin Jefferson, and quarterback Kirk Cousins had one of his greatest seasons in 2021. However, in 2022, it’s time to start again and take this brand in a new path with new ideas, new leadership, and sweeping changes. Courtney Cronin (Courtney Cronin)
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Previous position: 23
Get line assistance — on both sides — as a New Year’s resolve.
In actuality, this may be a present for Atlanta’s greatest players, quarterback Matt Ryan and cornerback A.J. Terrell. Physical on the lines is one of the things Falcons head coach Arthur Smith wants his team to be, and despite the other gaps on his squad, it is where the summer should begin. Atlanta’s pass rush continues to be ineffective — no Falcons player has more than 4.5 sacks (Dante Fowler Jr.) or 12 quarterback hits (Grady Jarrett) — and quarterbacks, even with Terrell, sit back and pick apart Atlanta’s secondary. Ryan has been sacked at least once in every game save two on offense. He’s been sacked three times in half of Atlanta’s games. If the Falcons want to make a leap forward in 2022, they must address the fronts as a top priority. — Rothstein, Michael
Previous position: 24
Find a quarterback as a New Year’s resolution.
There might be a slew of resolutions, beginning with settling on a new name. But it’ll take more than a new moniker for Washington to reclaim its followers. Fans need hope, which is best provided by a quarterback. Whether it’s trading for an experienced veteran or finding the perfect player in the draft, Washington has to be proactive in its search for one. For a variety of reasons, Washington supporters have been without optimism for a long time; offer them cause to think that next year will be different. Since winning the Super Bowl following the 1991 season, the team has started 32 quarterbacks; no statistic better explains why it has only won two postseason games since owner Dan Snyder came over in 1999. Look for him. — John Keim is a writer who lives in the United States
Previous position: 25
New Year’s resolution: Increase your score.
New Year’s resolutions don’t always have to be complex. Reduce your weight. Be more courteous. More literature should be read. Or, in the case of Chicago, score more points. The Bears have been mired in a never-ending cycle of poor offense, averaging just 18 points per game this season. Will a new coach be of assistance? Perhaps, but they’ve already tried that path. Is Justin Fields, a rookie, really the answer? Perhaps, but without adequate plans and guidance, it’s difficult to say. That’s why the Bears are in desperate need of heavenly help. Nothing else seems to be working, so a simple New Year’s resolution might be the way to go. Declare it to be so, and the points may follow. However, Bears fans have gone down that road as well. Prayer hasn’t gotten us very far, so let’s just get that new head coach. Rogers, Jesse
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Previous position: 26
Third-down improvement is a New Year’s resolution.
It has been the offense’s Achilles’ heel and one of the season’s most perplexing characteristics. On third down, the Seahawks rank 28th in offensive EPA and 28th in yards per play, but sixth in both categories on first and second down. So it’s not as though their troubles on third down are just another indicator of a weak offense. Before you blame Russell Wilson’s finger injury, remember that the Seahawks were 27th in the league in third-down conversion rate through four games before he went down in the second half of Week 5. They were dead last before Sunday, but improved to 27th after shooting 7-of-12 for the season in their rout of Detroit. Brady Henderson’s quote
Previous position: 27
Invest in an offensive line as a New Year’s resolve.
I’m not suggesting that Sam Darnold is the Panthers’ quarterback of the future. He isn’t, in my opinion. But, given how frequently he’s under pressure, there’s no way to tell for sure. No quarterback should have to deal with the lack of protection Darnold has had in the NFL, first with the New York Jets and then with the Carolina Panthers. Since 2018, he’s been sacked 2.67 times a game, including 3.3 times this season with the Panthers. It’s no surprise that he’s been seeing “ghosts” since 2019. David Newton is an author.
Previous position: 28
Trade Deshaun Watson is my New Year’s resolve.
Watson’s future is not in Houston, according to both parties. The Texans and Dolphins attempted to make a trade before the deadline, but Watson’s lawsuits claiming sexual assault and improper conduct blocked them from doing so. Obviously, there are still a lot of unknowns in Watson’s legal predicament, but the Texans will eventually be able to move on from the quarterback and onto the next chapter of the organization. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
30th in the previous ranking
Get some guys on defense for Robert Saleh as a New Year’s resolve.
The Jets have given up a franchise-record 477 points, ranking 32nd in points and yards allowed. It is a talent problem, not a coaching one. Consider: Last season, with a totally new staff and strategy, the previous high was 457. Saleh, a defensive coach by trade, needs assistance at all three levels, particularly at linebacker and safety. In the first two rounds, the Jets have four selections. There should be an inquiry if at least two people aren’t on the defense. Cimini, Rich
Previous position: 29
Be competent is a New Year’s resolution.
Is this a reasonable request? In five consecutive seasons, the Giants have dropped at least ten games. After the Bears’ setback on Sunday, Joe Judge reiterated that this “ain’t no clown show company.” How about some concrete proof from the field to back it up? In this year’s resolve, the Giants have set a low bar, which is what occurs when a team misses the playoffs five years in a row and nine times out of ten seasons. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
Previous position: 31
A winning record is a New Year’s resolution.
Fans of the Lions have endured a lot throughout the years. The city hasn’t had a playoff triumph since 1957, and it’s desperate for some football success. At times, the Lions have had great players and excellent coaching, but they simply can’t seem to bring it all together. But, for this New Year’s resolution, let’s not even consider the playoffs; instead, let’s concentrate on the regular season. We may begin with a successful track record. That hasn’t occurred since Jim Caldwell’s second of back-to-back 9-7 seasons in 2017. At the very least, Dan Campbell should be able to provide a.500 mark. Eric Woodyard’s remark
32nd in the previous ranking
New Year’s resolution: Hire the proper coach.
In his ten years as owner, Shad Khan has done this just a few times. Even the one choice he got right — rehiring Doug Marrone and bringing back Tom Coughlin as football guru — backfired horribly after one successful season. Trevor Lawrence had a bad year, and the organization is in danger of damaging his career if Khan makes another head-coach hiring mistake. Unfortunately, given Khan’s track record, there’s little reason to believe he’ll make the best decision. Mike DiRocco’s remark
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