NFL Power Rankings Week 17: It's Packers, Saints And Then Everyone Else

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers talks with Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints after the NFL opening season game at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Saints 42-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Packers, Saints and 49ers continue to control the top of SB Nation's NFL power rankings while the Rams overtake the Colts as the worst team in the league.

SB Nation's Week 17 NFL power rankings are in and we have a new No. 2 behind the Green Bay Packers. The New Orleans Saints jump over the San Francisco 49ers into the second spot thanks to their drubbing of the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football.

The top six teams listed here are the truly elite teams in the league -- Packers, Saints, 49ers, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers. After that you have a group of teams that are on the verge of the playoffs but still haven't won over our complete confidence.

The bottom of our power rankings have a new name -- St. Louis Rams. After the Colts have won two in a row, the Rams have established themselves as the worst team in the league.

Here's how the rest of our power rankings look entering Week 17:

1. Green Bay Packers (14-1, LW: 1): Projecting Aaron Rodgers' final numbers...he'll end up just shy of 5,000 yards and around 46 or 47 touchdown passes. Eh, a decent season, I guess.

2. New Orleans Saints (12-3, LW: 3): The Saints leap-frog the 49ers here because they dominated another playoff contender (Falcons) on Monday Night Football. The Saints might be the team with the best shot to beat the Packers.

3. San Francisco 49ers (12-3, LW: 2): The 49ers can dominate the regular season, we know that. But how can they do in January football? That's the question you hav to ask with these teams that rise so quickly.

4. New England Patriots (12-3, LW: 4): The Pats are en route to another No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs but they're clearly flawed with that defense. Is Tom Brady and Co. enough to make a playoff run?

5. Baltimore Ravens (11-4, LW: 5): The Ravens might be the most complete team outside of Green Bay -- it's just a matter of doing it from week to week. They're a solid choice for the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4, LW: 6): Pittsburgh is in this place every year -- one of the top handful of teams in the league. I'm just hoping for a playoff rematch with the Ravens.

7. Detroit Lions (10-5, LW: 9): The Lions have now won three in a row so they might be peaking at the right time. They haven't made the playoffs since 1999 so they're looking to make some noise this time around.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6, LW: 14): I haven't been giving the Bengals enough credit this season. They could be at 11 wins if they were in a division that didn't include two of the best teams in the league.

9. Houston Texans (10-5, LW: 7): You almost feel bad for the Texans. This is their year to finally make the playoffs and they lose their top two quarterbacks. We'll see what T.J. Yates can do in January.

10. Atlanta Falcons (9-6, LW: 8): The Falcons were hot entering Monday night's game against New Orleans but then the Saints completely dominated them. Are the Falcons overrated?

11. New York Giants (8-7, LW: 15): The Giants and Cowboys' game next week will be the game of the week -- win and you're in.

12. Dallas Cowboys (8-7, LW: 13): See above.

13. New York Jets (8-7, LW: 12): I kept saying all year that the Jets would make their late season run and clinch a playoff berth. That's looking like a bad prediction right now. They need a lot of help to get in.

14. Denver Broncos (8-7, LW: 10): After all the Tim Tebow hoopla, the Broncos have been beat up in two straight weeks. The real test comes this weekend when the Broncos just have to beat the Chiefs to clinch the division title.

15. Oakland Raiders (8-7, LW: 17): The Raiders still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. They just need to A.) beat the Chargers this weekend and B.) hope the Chiefs beat the Broncos.

16. San Diego Chargers (7-8, LW: 11): The Chargers annual December winning streak was too little, too late. The Chargers lost last weekend which officially eliminated them from the playoff picture.

17. Tennessee Titans (8-7, LW: 16): Losing to the winless Colts two weeks ago hurts really bad now.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (7-8, LW: 21): The Eagles can get back to .500 but in a season in which they were viewed as preseason Super Bowl favorites, that's a disappointing finish.

19. Arizona Cardinals (7-8, LW: 18): The Cardinals are in an interesting position -- Kevin Kolb is your franchise guy but backup John Skelton wins more games. This is going to be an interesting offseason in Arizona.

20. Seattle Seahawks (7-8, LW: 19): They haven't allowed more than 19 points since November. Did anyone notice that this defense is playing well? Too bad they lost six of their first eight games.


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21. Carolina Panthers (6-9, LW: 24): The Panthers are going to be legit next year. I'm tellin' you.

22. Miami Dolphins (5-10, LW: 22): The Dolphins have been much more competitive in the second half of the season. That's a good sign heading into next year.

23. Chicago Bears (7-8, LW: 23): The Bears are probably a top 10 team with Jay Cutler. Without him, they are the 23rd best team.

24. Buffalo Bills (6-9, LW: 28): The Bills had nothing to play for yet came out and cruised past the Broncos. Where was that during the seven-game losing streak?

25. Kansas City Chiefs (6-9, LW: 20): Everything fell perfectly for the Chiefs where they would be in a win-and-you're-in situation against Denver this weekend. The only problem is that the Chiefs forgot to beat the Raiders, which means they're done.

26. Washington Redskins (5-10, LW: 25): Right when you think a team is making progress....they lose to one of the worst teams in the league. Where does that put Washington?

27. Cleveland Browns (4-11, LW: 26): Cleveland has lost all five games against AFC North opponents and could add the sixth next weekend. That's not a good sign for the future.

28. Minnesota Vikings (3-12, LW: 30): Kudos to the Vikings for picking up a win but the real news out of Minnesota is Adrian Peterson's injury. His status for the start of 2012 is iffy.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11, LW: 27): Another season of wasted opportunity for Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew is only 26 years old but with the workload he's taken in his career you have to wonder whether he'll be there when the Jaguars get this thing turned around.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11, LW: 29): Last week I wasn't sure if Raheem Morris should be fired but now, after a 32-point loss to the Panthers, it's clear the time has come.

31. Indianapolis Colts (2-13, LW: 32): Example No. 1 the NFL makes no sense: Indy loses 13 straight then comes back to pull out two straight victories, including one over the AFC South division winner.

32. St. Louis Rams (2-13, LW: 31): A new name for the worst team in the league overtaking the Colts' strangehold on this spot. Christmas is over but the Rams' best present would be Jon Gruden in 2012.

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