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NFL Power Rankings Week 17: 1-32 poll, plus New Year's resolutions for each team

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Foxworth: Chiefs won't have easy road to Super Bowl (1:38)

Domonique Foxworth is confident the Chiefs will be Super Bowl champs again this season but doesn't think it will be easy. (1:38)

With one week of regular-season games remaining, it's time for the NFL Power Rankings to look to the future. After a 2020 that was different from anything we've ever seen and chock full of challenges (on and off the field), we look ahead to (hopefully) better times in 2021.

Our NFL Nation writers take the reins from there, offering New Year's resolutions for the teams they cover. How we rank in our Power Rankings: Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings: 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)

Week 16 ranking: 1

New Year's resolution: Have another rookie crop like that of 2020

The Chiefs will stay in great shape if they can continue to replenish with young talent as they did this year. Draft picks L'Jarius Sneed, Willie Gay, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Mike Danna and undrafted rookies Tershawn Wharton and Tommy Townsend have the look of players who will be a part of things in Kansas City for a while. -- Adam Teicher

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1:15

Why Orlovsky is calling the Browns' season a success

Dan Orlovsky insists the Browns' season is successful even if they don't make the postseason, because the team has established its future with Kevin Stefanski and Baker Mayfield.

2. Green Bay Packers (12-3)

Week 16 ranking: 3

New Year's resolution: Make sure Aaron Rodgers remains in Green Bay

A Rodgers-Packers divorce seems inevitable and might have been accelerated by the Jordan Love pick, but regardless of whether they get to and/or win the Super Bowl this year, they need to keep the partnership going for at least another season or two. For one thing, there's no way Love would be ready to step in and perform like Rodgers did in taking over for Brett Favre after sitting for three years. Then there's Rodgers' MVP level of play. Some might trade him now while his stock is still soaring, but he still has plenty to offer this team. -- Rob Demovsky


3. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Week 16 ranking: 2

New Year's resolution: Get comfortable with a target on their backs

The Bills are a tough team to find a resolution for -- they're doing almost everything well as the regular season rounds out. But after winning the AFC East for the first time in 25 years, it'll be hard to play the underdog card that Buffalo has often played the past two seasons. There will be raised expectations for the Bills once the calendar turns; they'll need to be as comfortable with a target on their backs as they were with a chip on their shoulders. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques


4. New Orleans Saints (11-4)

Week 16 ranking: 4

New Year's resolution: End their 10-season Super Bowl drought

The Saints have plenty of things to worry about in 2021, such as managing some daunting salary-cap issues and possibly choosing a new quarterback. But first things first, they want to get back to the big game while they still have Drew Brees and this loaded collection of talent intact, as they're approaching the 11-year anniversary of beating the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. -- Mike Triplett


5. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)

Week 16 ranking: 6

New Year's resolution: Restructure big-money contracts

NFL teams, they're just like us. We both have to deal with budgeting -- especially to start a new year. The Steelers are going to be in that boat, as contracts including those of Ben Roethlisberger, Stephon Tuitt, Joe Haden and Steven Nelson eat up big chunks of the cap, making it nearly impossible to re-sign most of the 19 impending unrestricted free agents -- and that doesn't include giving OLB T.J. Watt a well-earned megadeal. The Steelers need to work some magic in the checkbook to field a team that even loosely resembles the one that started 11-0 this year, otherwise they'll be starting from close to scratch with a 39-year-old quarterback. -- Brooke Pryor


6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 7

New Year's resolution: Get a No. 1 wide receiver

A proven No. 1 wide receiver for Lamar Jackson is the missing piece of the Ravens' high-scoring offense. Last offseason, the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins for quarterback Kyler Murray and the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs for QB Josh Allen. Baltimore has to get just as aggressive if it wants Jackson to take the next step as a passer. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown has been too inconsistent to be relied upon to be a No. 1 receiver, ranking 42nd in the NFL with 728 yards receiving. -- Jamison Hensley


7. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)

Week 16 ranking: 8

New Year's resolution: Bottle up whatever has gotten into the defense

After holding the Rams to only three field goals in their NFC West-clinching win Sunday, the Seahawks' defense has allowed a league-best 13.7 points per game over the past six weeks. That's less than half of its 28.8 average over the first 10 weeks, which was third-most in the league. The Seahawks would be looking at the NFC's No. 1 seed had they played that kind of defense from the get-go. They'll need their turnaround to continue in order to get past Aaron Rodgers' Packers or Drew Brees' Saints in the playoffs. -- Brady Henderson


8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 11

New Year's resolution: Win their first playoff game since the 2002 season

The last time the Bucs were in the postseason was 2007, when they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants at home in the wild-card round. But the last time they actually won a postseason game was their 48-21 win over the then-Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season. So this has been a long time coming, and this time, they have six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady to lead them. -- Jenna Laine


9. Tennessee Titans (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 5

New Year's resolution: Find a game-changing pass rusher

The Titans need to explore absolutely every possible option to find a pass-rusher who can wreck opposing offenses. They should add multiple pass-rushers via the draft and free agency. Adding a premier free-agent pass-rusher will be costly and would likely cause the team to make some tough decisions regarding other positions. However, given Tennessee is dead last in the NFL with only 15 sacks, something needs to be done to find a way to pressure quarterbacks and put offenses behind the sticks with sacks or tackles for a loss. -- Turron Davenport

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Ryan Clark dubs Trevor Lawrence the biggest loser after Jets' win

Ryan Clark asserts that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will miss out on the chance for immediate stardom now that the Jets have won their way out of the No. 1 pick.

10. Cleveland Browns (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 9

New Year's resolution: Improve the defense

This past offseason, the Browns focused on solidifying their offense and better supporting QB Baker Mayfield. They accomplished that, signing TE Austin Hooper and RT Jack Conklin before drafting LT Jedrick Wills Jr. in the first round. Now, Cleveland needs to turn toward the other side of the ball for a defense that ranks just 20th in efficiency, despite featuring star pass-rusher Myles Garrett. The Browns need help at every level, but especially in the secondary. -- Jake Trotter


11. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 10

New Year's resolution: Find a left tackle

Anthony Castonzo has started all 144 games he has appeared in since entering the NFL in 2011. But he is now 32 years old, contemplated retirement last offseason, plans to take it season-by-season on his future and has missed three games this season due to injury. The Colts can't sit back and wait on Castonzo -- they need to find the next person tasked with protecting their quarterback's blind side. -- Mike Wells


12. Miami Dolphins (10-5)

Week 16 ranking: 12

New Year's resolution: Add more explosive playmakers to help Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins spent the 2020 offseason finding their QB in Tagovailoa and loading up in the trenches to build a playoff team. The biggest weakness left might be the lack of playmaking receivers and running backs who can separate from defenders while making plays in the open field. With two first- and second-round picks, including an expected top-5 pick via Houston, the Dolphins have the resources to secure multiple upgrades here. -- Cameron Wolfe

13. Los Angeles Rams (9-6)

Week 16 ranking: 13

New Year's resolution: Play consistently on offense

Rams head coach Sean McVay doesn't need to reinvent the wheel as a playcaller and quarterback Jared Goff doesn't need to be a superstar, but together they must find a solution for the wild inconsistencies that have plagued the offense since a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Since 2019, Goff leads the NFL with 38 turnovers and McVay has yet to find answers for an offense that cannot establish a rhythm. Goff needs to become a better game manager, and McVay must put his quarterback in position to succeed. -- Lindsey Thiry


14. Arizona Cardinals (8-7)

Week 16 ranking: 14

New Year's resolution: Play more consistently

Regardless of how it finishes, the Cardinals' 2020 season will be defined by how the team played after the bye (3-5 thus far) compared to the success it found pre-bye (5-2). And because Arizona lost four out of five games right after the bye, including three in a row -- and would've lost five in a row if not for the Hail Murray -- the Cardinals find themselves in a fight for their playoff lives. Next season, the Cardinals need to find more consistency or they might be in for the same type of season, which might not end well for Kliff Kingsbury. -- Josh Weinfuss


15. Chicago Bears (8-7)

Week 16 ranking: 17

New Year's resolution: Commit to the run earlier in the season

The Bears waited too long to commit to second-year running back David Montgomery. Montgomery did not touch the football nearly enough during Chicago's six-game losing streak but has caught fire over the past month. Montgomery became the first Bears running back to score a touchdown in five consecutive games since Neal Anderson in 1991. The former third-round pick out of Iowa State has rushed for 95-plus yards in four of the past five games. There is nothing wrong with Montgomery. The Bears took a long time to realize that. -- Jeff Dickerson


16. San Francisco 49ers (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 20

New Year's resolution: Get and stay (relatively) healthy

Forget happiness and success, those will come for the 49ers if they can get the first part of the trifecta squared away. The Niners' injury bad luck this season was among the worst the NFL has ever seen. And while they did their best not to use it as an excuse, they never had much of a chance to defend their NFC crown, as most of their best players spent the season on injured reserve. Even with a lot of difficult decisions awaiting this offseason -- including at quarterback -- this team has enough talent to vault right back into contention if it has vastly improved health in 2021. -- Nick Wagoner


17. Minnesota Vikings (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 18

New Year's resolution: Commit to using star receivers

The Vikings can absolutely be a run-first team if they want to continue to carry that philosophy into 2021. It'd probably help if they were less predictable, like running less on second down, and one way to execute that is by prioritizing an uptick in usage for Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Minnesota has two star wideouts who should each be nearing double-digit targets every game and relied on in critical situations, such as two-minute drives and helping the team get back into contention when playing from behind. -- Courtney Cronin


18. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)

Week 16 ranking: 16

New Year's resolution: To not be 6-4 after 10 games

Yeah, we know the Raiders need a closer on defense after epic choke jobs against the Chargers and Dolphins, as well as a defensive coordinator who can make chicken salad, if you know what we mean. They could also get better on offense in the red zone instead of settling for 18 field goals from 20 to 29 yards. But being 6-4 has been the Raiders' death knell the past two seasons. In 2019, they lost five of their last six and, with a loss at Denver, will have accomplished the same ignominious feat this season. -- Paul Gutierrez


19. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 21

New Year's resolution: Figure out how to finish

Sixteen one-possession losses in two seasons is way too many. It's up to the Chargers to find the fierceness to finish the close games with Ws instead of Ls, to keep leads instead of squandering them. Is it a tough O-lineman, a reliable kicker, a tough D-lineman? Whatever it is, do something to help franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert has led them to three consecutive winning drives in as many weeks in December, but the Chargers need to carry that over to 2021. -- Shelley Smith


20. New England Patriots (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 19

New Year's resolution: Dedicate more resources to WRs and TEs

For all the talk about quarterback play -- and that's a big issue, no doubt -- it won't matter who is throwing the football if the Patriots don't upgrade their personnel and overall philosophical approach in terms of acquiring/developing wide receivers and tight ends. Over the past two seasons in a post-Gronk world, no team in the NFL has received less from tight ends in the passing game than New England. It's like a black hole in the offense. -- Mike Reiss


21. Washington Football Team (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 15

New Year's resolution: Fix the QB position

This was going to be the No. 1 issue before Dwayne Haskins Jr. was released, so his ouster doesn't change anything. Washington has had 30 players start at quarterback since the 1993 season, and it's the No. 1 reason the franchise can't win consistently. This division is highly winnable; the right quarterback would put Washington in a great position. Alex Smith will be 37 next season, and while he's a terrific story, it's hard to say he can still be an effective starter for 16 games. Washington must explore all avenues -- trades, a free-agent signing or the draft. It's probably ideal to pair a midround pick with a veteran -- that will give the team someone who can take advantage of a top defense and a young player to groom. -- John Keim

22. Dallas Cowboys (6-9)

Week 16 ranking: 26

New Year's resolution: Commit to the defense

OK, maybe after signing Dak Prescott long-term, but make sure the defense has the talent to run the scheme Mike McCarthy wants to run, whether Mike Nolan is the coordinator again or it's somebody new. If a CeeDee Lamb-type offensive player falls to them again in the first round, have a discussion about it, but this draft and offseason needs to be about the defense. The Cowboys have major needs at all three levels, but especially in the secondary. -- Todd Archer


23. New York Giants (5-10)

Week 16 ranking: 22

New Year's resolution: Finally get the offensive line right

This was supposed to be Dave Gettleman's top priority -- the hog mollies. Three years later, here we are. The line is only slightly better. Nick Gates looks solid at center, Shane Lemieux and Matt Peart have potential, but Andrew Thomas needs to develop into a high-end left tackle. His rookie year wasn't overly promising. It's about time the Giants get this right. -- Jordan Raanan


24. Carolina Panthers (5-10)

Week 16 ranking: 28

New Year's resolution: Win close games

You've heard this before, but the Panthers are 0-8 in games in which they have had the ball on their last possession with a chance to win or tie. Win half of those and they are right in the playoff mix. Coach Matt Rhule wants to develop a gritty, tough-minded team. Getting over the hump in those games will go a long way toward turning things around. -- David Newton


25. Atlanta Falcons (4-11)

Week 16 ranking: 27

New Year's resolution: Get the setup right

Atlanta needs a new coach and general manager; because it fired Dan Quinn early, owner Arthur Blank was able to get a jump on potential candidates. The Falcons have shown life under interim coach Raheem Morris, but regardless of whom they hire they need to restore this team's second-half confidence. Atlanta outscored opponents by 67 points in the first half of games, fifth-best in the NFL. However, the Falcons were outscored by 68 points in the second half, the third-worst margin in the league. Atlanta clearly has some pieces in place but there's a reason it went 2-8 in games decided by a touchdown or less. -- John Keim


26. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)

Week 16 ranking: 23

New Year's resolution: Choose a quarterback

The Eagles tried to have their cake and eat it too by selecting intriguing prospect Jalen Hurts in the second round while already committed to Carson Wentz. The controversy that ensued proved exactly why you don't do that. While keeping both on the roster might be the most appealing financially and from a flexibility standpoint, doing so would put Philadelphia on a path leading to the exact spot it is in now. Pick a quarterback, move forward and learn from your mistakes. -- Tim McManus


27. Denver Broncos (5-10)

Week 16 ranking: 24

New Year's resolution: Get (and stay) healthy

People often say if you have your health you have everything. Well, the Broncos would certainly like to see if that can be true in 2021. The Broncos have lost four defensive starters -- including Von Miller for the entire season -- their No. 1 receiver (Courtland Sutton) for all but two games and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay. At one point the Broncos lost four cornerbacks to injury in a two-week span as a fifth -- A.J. Bouye -- was suspended for violating the league's PED policy. Toss in a game in which the Broncos had to play without a rostered quarterback due to COVID-19 protocols and it has been a season unlike any other Vic Fangio has seen in more than three decades in the NFL. -- Jeff Legwold


28. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)

Week 16 ranking: 29

New Year's resolution: Find a stable offensive line

Getting quarterback Joe Burrow a solid and consistent offensive line is the team's top priority this offseason. The Bengals learned how costly shaky O-line play can be when Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury that ended a promising rookie year. Cincinnati has used 10 different starting combinations on the line this season. Some of that was dictated by injury, but some of it also stems from the inability to find the right combination. Cincinnati should be in the market for potential upgrades at guard and tackle if it wants to protect its franchise quarterback in 2021. -- Ben Baby


29. Houston Texans (4-11)

Week 16 ranking: 30

New Year's resolution: Find the right general manager and head coach for Deshaun Watson

This should be the singular goal for the Texans as they interview general managers and head coaches now and in the new year. Watson took a step forward in 2020, putting up the best numbers of his career despite losing DeAndre Hopkins in a trade during the offseason, then losing Will Fuller V to a six-game suspension during the season. The Texans' 4-11 record doesn't reflect how well Watson has played, and the new hires Houston makes need to reflect what is best, not only to help continue Watson's growth but also to build the right team around him. -- Sarah Barshop


30. Detroit Lions (5-10)

Week 16 ranking: 25

New Year's resolution: Get the GM/head-coaching hires right

The Lions are once again facing a major organizational change, with a new general manager and head coach expected to be hired early in 2021. Without a division title since 1993 and a playoff win since the 1991 season and with questions at literally every position other than punter, making sure Detroit finally finds the correct pairing of head coach and general manager is imperative. The Lions have at least been talking with a plethora of candidates for the general manager search, a better sign of a more comprehensive process than when the team hired Bob Quinn. -- Michael Rothstein


31. New York Jets (2-13)

Week 16 ranking: 31

New Year's resolution: Hire a dynamic coach who can galvanize the whole organization

For too long, the Jets have been obsessed with hiring so-called offensive and defensive gurus as their head coaches. The current coach, Adam Gase, hasn't done much guru-ing, and he's expected to be fired. His replacement should be someone who can lead the entire team -- a CEO-type, if you will. There's a leadership void in the organization, and it needs a strong personality to create a winning culture. It doesn't matter if it's an offensive, defensive or special-teams coach. -- Rich Cimini

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14)

Week 16 ranking: 32

New Year's resolution: Make the right hires

Sounds straightforward and simple, but the Jaguars haven't done that very often in their history, which is a large part of why they're 1-14 and locked into the No. 1 pick (which isn't a bad thing in this instance, because, Trevor Lawrence). The Jaguars have seven picks in the first four rounds, including four in the first two, and they have to nail those early picks to turn things around. Taking Lawrence is easy, but he alone isn't going to make this franchise a contender next year. We've seen what not having the right hires has done to this franchise, so owner Shad Khan has to make the right choices or he'll be facing another lost decade. -- Mike DiRocco