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NFL power rankings, Week 16: Where do we get tickets for a Chargers vs. Saints Super Bowl?

The starting quarterbacks alone would have more children than points scored in that game ... and they’d score a lot of points! Also, it’d be a good game.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Chargers Joint Practice
Look at these dorks.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Los Angeles Chargers: Imagine being an NFL executive contemplating the playoffs with the very real possibility that the Chargers, a team that can’t fill a tiny soccer stadium for its “home” games, could be playing deep into January. That’s got to be at least a little unnerving for the ratings watchers on Park Ave. The NFL’s best team and nobody loves them. It’s like Kirk Van Houten turned “Can I Borrow a Feeling?” into a No. 1 single, but was still, you know, Kirk Van Houten.

Further proving the complete lack of cosmic justice and absence of reason in the NFL this season, the Chargers are currently the FIFTH seed in the AFC. They beat the Chiefs and are tied for the best record in the conference, but the tiebreaker currently goes to Kansas City. That could change. MVP-candidate Philip Rivers and Co. face the Ravens this week and wrap up the season against the Broncos. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are in Seattle before a December preseason game against the Raiders at home.

2. New Orleans Saints: They’re back on top in the NFC this after grinding out a win against the failing Panthers on Monday night. Will they stay there? They have to play the Panthers one more time and next week, the Steelers, both home games. The Steelers game looks tough, but I expect them to have the offense firing on all cylinders again and thoroughly debunk the notion that the Steelers are a Super Bowl contender. New Orleans should be playing home games through the conference championship.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: That was a tough loss to the Chargers last week, so I can’t ding them too much. Patrick Mahomes is a lock for the MVP. Hell, I’m kind of starting to think that maybe you can count on these Chiefs not to suffer the usual humiliating January loss.

4. Chicago Bears: It’s Week 16, and we have the Bears — the Bears!?! — swatting away the Packers like gnats and gunning for a first-round bye. This is just and fair for a franchise that suffered though five years of self-inflicted Marc Trestman and John Fox football.

5. Los Angeles Rams: I would maybe be worried about the Rams a little bit. These last two losses weren’t just the usual “hey, you lost a tough game on a couple of bad bounces” kind of thing. As Geoff Schwartz pointed out this week, they’re turning the ball over (7/4 ratio in their last two), defenses are challenging their offensive line and winning, and they don’t seem to use the middle of the field much anymore. McVay and his well-attended facial hair can fix this, right?

6. Houston Texans: It’s hard to get too excited about beating the New York Jets in a close game, but if you are what your record is, then the Texans are a 10-4 football team. That’s pretty good! Right now, they’re the No. 2 seed in the AFC. That probably won’t change, and I think they can make some noise in the playoffs.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers: They FINALLY beat the Patriots, and they did it in December. Of course, they did manage to beat the worst version of the Patriots we’ve seen since the Matt Cassel year. But, hey, a win is a win. They’ll probably win the AFC North too, probably going 1-1 over the last two weeks, against the Saints and Bengals. The only reason for that is because the Ravens have to play the Chargers this week and finish the season against a Browns team that actually has real hope for the future.

8. New England Patriots: I just don’t know. The avocado juice doesn’t seem to be working for Tom Brady anymore. And whatever fad diet Brady’s guru has the defense on right now, is giving them a real case of diarrhea on the field. How else can you explain the just how leaky they are? The most troubling sign of all is that a team coached by Bill Belichick is on a two-game skid because he shot himself in the foot against the Dolphins. That’s very un-Belichickian.

9. Baltimore Ravens: Offenses just aren’t supposed to play this way anymore. Hell, defenses aren’t supposed to matter this much anymore either, but the Ravens have concocted some weird hybrid of 1980s football and Michael Vick. And it’s working. Can it work deep into the postseason? It just might.

10. Indianapolis Colts: They didn’t really need much from Andrew Luck this week. Instead the defense and the running game did all the work. Being able to win like that and still have Luck when you need to pull off a fourth-quarter drive could wreck a lot of dreams next month (looking at you, Kansas City).

11. Minnesota Vikings: It’s really hard to get excited about those last three seeds in the NFC. The Cowboys and Seahawks each lost a head-scratcher this week. The Vikings, meanwhile, looked a lot more like we all thought they would when we were going through the useless exercise of making preseason predictions. Will that hold, though? They get the Lions this week, so another practice game like that would at least be a good chance to roll up some reps before January.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Someday, maybe there will be no shame in losing to future MVP Nick Mullens. But right now, it’s just a sneak peak at an early playoff exit, IF they make it that far.

13. Dallas Cowboys: They got blanked by the Colts who used the very same recipe that Dallas had ridden for a five-game winning streak. Who knows with this team. They should have the NFC East wrapped up now, but that egg they laid has given the Eagles some hope and kept the Josh Johnson-led Washington NFL team alive too.

14. Tennessee Titans: The bottom part of the AFC is swarming with these kind of teams that don’t look all that great on paper, but somehow find ways to win. The best part about the Titans is that they could snuff out Washington’s playoff hopes this week.

15. Philadephia Eagles: Nick Foles is back, so I guess they’re going to the Super Bowl.

16. Cleveland Browns: No, they’re not going to make the playoffs, but they probably are going to finish with seven, maybe eight wins. AND, they’re doing it with real swagger. It’s going to be fun to watch this team next season. The only thing that can dampen their hopes for 2019 is keeping Gregg Williams around.

As for the other 16 NFL teams, we have a very nice mock draft for you.