Power Rankings: Pats, Colts, Cowboys secure their spots

Updated: December 25, 2007, 1:18 PM ET
By Mike Mcallister | ESPN.com

The top three teams in this week's Power Rankings all have their playoff seeds safely secured. And yet each of their regular-season finales will be fascinating to watch this weekend.

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
The rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff: writers John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli, Matt Mosley, Jeffri Chadiha and Mike Sando; Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Keith Kidd; and ESPN.com NFL senior editor Mike McAllister.

The Patriots, of course, will attempt to complete the NFL's first 16-0 regular season on Saturday night against a Giants team that has little motivation to stop them. The Colts and Cowboys, meanwhile, will face opponents that need to win in order to reach the postseason.

Neither the Titans (who play at Indianapolis) nor the Redskins (who host the Cowboys) expect a free pass, although it's likely the Colts and Cowboys will sit their starters -- or at least limit their playing time -- on Sunday.

"I think we make a big mistake by thinking we're going to go in there and beat up on some backups," Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told Tennessee reporters. "Indy's the defending world champs. That says a lot about their depth. They've been banged up for a good part of the year, playing with some backup guys."

And the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry may supersede any thoughts of a Dallas dropoff in effort.

"I expect them to come out here and play us. The rivalry speaks for itself," Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss told the Washington Post. "I think they're going to be smart, but at the same time we're going to be smart. We've got to go out there and try to win regardless of the situation."

But even if the Colts and Cowboys lose this week, it's doubtful their Power Ranking status will be affected when the final rankings are released next week. During the course of the season, they've shown to be the most consistent teams this side of the Patriots.

So how would you rank the Patriots, Colts, Cowboys and the 29 other teams after Week 16? Click here to access SportsNation's ranking tool.

BIGGEST RISE: Tennessee Titans from 13th to ninth; Chicago Bears from 24th to 20th. BIGGEST DROP: Cleveland Browns from seventh to 11th.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)


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