NFL Week 16: Recap & Power Rankings

It was a very rough week for the NFL, to say the least, as Covid continued to sweep through the league in Week 16 and wreak havoc on teams’ playoff hopes. A byproduct of their real-life issues was felt by fantasy managers around the world, like myself, who were left scrambling to field a team in their respective leagues’ playoffs. As a result, I wound up losing a close one in the semi-finals but had a strong performance in my pick ’em league. Officially I went 11-5 on paper but, after the final Covid numbers were set, I made some adjustments to go 13-3, win the week, and retake the overall lead. Christen had a tough go of it but still went 8-8.

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As expected, the Dolphins’ feasted on the debilitated Saints’ offense

Closing out Covid week on Monday night, the Miami Dolphins extended their win streak to 7-games with a 20-3 win over the Saints. New Orleans was decimated by Covid and were down to rookie QB Ian Book who threw a pick-six on the Saints’ first possession. He never got comfortable and Miami never looked back.

Dallas ran roughshod over Washington

The Cowboys completed their season sweep of the Washington Football Team with a 56-14 win on Sunday night. It was by far the most dominant performance of Week 16 and keeps Dallas alive in the race for the #1 seed in the NFC. Even if they don’t get it, this Cowboys team is finally in the position they’ve been working towards for the past few seasons.

The Rams are rounding into shape at the right time of the season

The Rams stayed alive in that race for the NFC’s #1 seed as well with their 30-23 win over the Vikings. Minnesota has proven to be a tough out so it’s a solid win for the Rams but they will need some help to get to the top of the conference. Tom Brady and the Bucs got back on track with a 32-6 win over the Panthers. Carolina has been sliding hard so it’s tough to say how much can be taken from that game but Antonio Brown looked good in his return to the Bucs and they’ll need him as the Bucs battle for the #1 seed in the NFC too. The Cardinals fell out of that conversation with their 22-16 loss to the Colts on Christmas Day. It was the easiest underdog pick of the week with Indy as 1-pt dogs.

The Packers/Browns game highlighted the value of the QB position in the NFL

No matter what the Bucs, Cowboys, and Rams do the road to the NFC’s top spot still goes through Green Bay. It got a bit dicey there for a moment as the Browns mounted a comeback in the second half but, as it’s gone again and again for Cleveland, Baker Mayfield threw the costly pick at the end of the game. Playoffs are looking unlikely now for the Browns while the Packers have the NFL’s best record.

Houston shocked the league with a dominant win over the Chargers in Los Angeles

It was a wild day in the AFC West as Chargers got massively upset by the Texans, 41-29. Los Angeles had a number of guys who were on the Covid list, but they should have been good enough to beat Houston. The Chargers’ overaggressiveness against the Chiefs last week now puts them in jeopardy of missing the playoffs altogether after the Raiders beat the Broncos 17-13. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill got off the Covid list just in time and the Chiefs kept it rolling with a 36-10 win over the Steelers. Last week, KC was in jeopardy of losing the division lead but with the W they are the #1 seed in the AFC.

Tee Higgins had a monster game posting a 13/194/2 stat line

The AFC North got some clarity as the Bengals took the division lead with an emphatic 41-21 win over the Ravens. Baltimore was bit by the Covid bug again as Tyler Huntley was a late addition to the list, leaving Josh Johnson to start. Going back the past few weeks, the Ravens also put themselves in this situation with their failed 2-pt conversions. Cincy is now in the divisional driver’s seat. Also back in the divisional driver’s seat, the Bills got revenge with a 33-21 win over the Pats in New England. Buffalo now controls their own playoff destiny while the Pats have to scratch and claw the rest of the way.

In the last meaningful game of the week, the Eagles survived a rough start to route the Giants 34-10. Philly stays on the inside of the NFC playoff bubble for now but, in yet another in the long line of injury issues, they lose Miles Sanders once again, this time to a hand injury that will keep him out in Week 17 at least. The Falcons kept themselves in the NFC playoff picture with a 20-16 win over the Lions. They’ll need some help, but their season has been better than expected.

Closing out the rest of the games on the week. Seattle blew a two-score lead, at home, again to lose to the Bears on a Jimmy Graham revenge TD and Damiere Byrd 2-pt conversion. The Jets beat the Jaguars 26-21in a battle of the cellar dwellers and both teams will have some good draft position for next season.

There wasn’t any change among the Top-5, but the Titans, Colts, and Bills all moved up and the Bengals returned to the Top-10. Here are the rest of the Power Rankings:

1. Packers 12-3 (=)
2. Buccaneers 11-4 (=)
3. Chiefs 11-4 (=)
4. Cowboys 11-4 (=)
5. Rams 11-4 (=)
6. Titans 10-5 (+2)
7. Colts 9-6 (+2)
8. Bills 9-6 (+4)
9. Cardinals 10-5 (-3)
10. Bengals 9-6 (+3)
11. Patriots 9-6 (-4)
12. 49ers 8-7 (+1)
13. Chargers 8-7 (-2)
14. Ravens 8-7 (=)
15. Eagles 8-7 (+3)
16. Raiders 8-7 (+4)
17. Dolphins 8-7 (+2)
18. Vikings 7-8 (-2)
19. Steelers 7-7-1 (-2)
20. Saints 7-8 (+4)
21. Browns 7-8 (=)
22. Broncos 7-8 (=)
23. Falcons 7-8 (+1)
24. Washington 6-9 (-1)
25. Seahawks 5-10 (=)
26. Panthers 5-10 (=)
27. Bears 5-10 (=)
28. Texans 4-11 (+2)
29. Giants 4-11 (+1)
30. Jets 3-12 (+1)
31. Lions 2-12-1 (+1)
32. Jaguars 2-13 (-1)

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