NFL Power Rankings for Week 17 are courtesy of Alex Smart, An award winning professional football handicapper featured on Touthouse.com. If you are betting NFL football this season be sure to buy Alex Smart’s expert NFL betting Picks
1: Tennessee Titans (12-3 ATS, 13-2 SU) (LW: 1) The road to the Super Bowl runs through Nashville. The Titans knocked off the Steelers 31-14 and were disrespected as 2.5-point underdogs. The last game of the season against the Colts means nothing, so expect to see plenty of backups on the field.
Next Up: Away @ Colts
2: New York Giants (11-4 ATS, 12-3 SU) (LW: 2) Last season, the G-Men took the hard route to the Super Bowl, having to play three road games to reach the Promised Land. This year, thanks to a 34-28 OT victory over the Panthers, New York won’t need to leave the Meadowlands. This week’s game against Minnesota is meaningless to the Giants, but could determine whether the Vikes or Bears will win the NFC North.
Next Up: Away @ Vikings
3: Baltimore Ravens (11-4 ATS, 10-5 SU) (LW: 3) Someone forgot to tell the Ravens that they were supposed to lay down for the Cowboys in their final game at Irving Stadium. Even at 10-5, the Ravens know they have work to do, but a win against Jacksonville will send them to the playoffs regardless of anything else that goes on.
Next Up: Home vs. Jaguars
4: New Orleans Saints (10-4-1 ATS, 8-7 SU) (LW: 5) If there was any thought that the Saints could be the team to lose to the winless Lions, that was defused early. New Orleans rolled up Detroit 42-7. QB Drew Brees is 401 shy of Dan Marino’s single season passing yardage record.
Next Up: Home vs. Panthers
5: Atlanta Falcons (9-6 ATS, 10-5 SU) (LW: 11) They’ve done it! The Falcons are in the playoffs by virtue of their 24-17 victory over Minnesota in the Metrodome. Underrated all season, Atlanta joins the Panthers, Giants, and Cardinals in the NFC playoff party. Next week’s game against St. Louis could be for the division title.
Next Up: Home vs. Rams
6: Philadelphia Eagles (9-6 ATS, 8-7-1 SU) (LW: 4) The season is essentially over for the Eagles after they lost 10-3 to the Redskins in Washington. They can still get in the playoffs with a win over the hated Cowboys next week, but it’ll still require a lot of help.
Next Up: Home vs. Cowboys
7: Carolina Panthers (8-6-1 ATS, 11-4 SU) (LW: 6) Carolina proved it belonged with the big boys, but it still came up short in the Meadowlands in a 34-28 loss in OT to the Giants. With Atlanta breathing down their necks, the Panthers had better beat New Orleans this week, or they will have gone 2:00 from being the #1 seed to the #5 seed in a blink of an eye.
Next Up: Away @ Saints
8: Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7 ATS, 11-4 SU) (LW: 7) Images of Keith Bulluck and LenDale White stomping on a Terrible Towel at the end of Pittsburgh’s 31-14 loss to Tennessee could be a great motivating factor in a few weeks should these teams hook up in the playoffs. The Steelers have earned a first round bye, and will wrap up the regular season with a meaningless game against Cleveland.
Next Up: Home vs. Browns
9: Arizona Cardinals (8-7 ATS, 8-7 SU) (LW: 8 ) No one expected to see much from the Cardinals this week, and “not much” is what they got. Arizona was whooped by New England 47-7 in the snow at Gillette Stadium, and will prepare for the playoffs in the final game of HC Mike Holmgren’s Seahawks career.
Next Up: Home vs. Seahawks
10: Kansas City Chiefs (8-7 ATS, 2-13 SU) (LW: 9) The three-game cover streak for the Chiefs has come and gone after a 38-31 loss to the Dolphins. There were a lot of people that came to Arrowhead dressed as empty seats, but if you thought that was bad, how many fans are showing up to Cincinnati next week?
Next Up: Away @ Bengals
11: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7 ATS, 9-6 SU) (LW: 10) Tampa Bay picked a bad time to fall flat on its face. The Bucs lost their third straight game with a 41-24 loss to the Chargers. The good news is that lowly Oakland is all that’s left on the schedule. The bad news is that the Bucs still need some help to get in.
Next Up: Home vs. Raiders
12: New England Patriots (8-7 ATS, 10-5 SU) (LW: 19) The Patriots picked up a second straight massive victory this week by beating the Cards 47-7. With the loss by the Jets in Seattle, the Pats are a lot closer to the playoffs, but they’ll still a win and either a loss by Miami or Baltimore to get into the postseason.
Next Up: Away @ Bills
13: Green Bay Packers (8-7 ATS, 5-10 SU) (LW: 15) No one is mentioning HC Mike McCarthy as a coach on the hot seat, but after losing five straight games, could the Pack skipper be the next to go? That seat will get a heck of a lot hotter if Green Bay is the team to end the winless season of the Lions.
Next Up: Home vs. Lions
14: Indianapolis Colts (7-7-1 ATS, 11-4 SU) (LW: 17) The Colts wrapped up the #5 seed in the playoffs and added further misery to Jacksonville by beating the Jags 31-24 in come-from-behind fashion on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football telecast. For the second straight year, a Week 17 showdown with Tennessee is meaningless.
Next Up: Home vs. Titans
15: Houston Texans (7-8 ATS, 7-8 SU) (LW: 13) The hopes of the Texans’ first winning season in franchise history went up in smoke in Oakland. Houston’s five-game cover streak may be over, but the team has nothing to be ashamed of regardless of the outcome of this week’s game against the Bears.
Next Up: Home vs. Bears
16: New York Jets (7-8 ATS, 9-6 SU) (LW: 12) J-E-T-S may stand for “just end the season” once again. After losing by ten to the Seahawks, the season for New York comes down to a game against the Fins. Though they could still win the AFC East with a win and a New England loss, the only other hope for a playoff birth would be if Baltimore loses to Jacksonville.
Next Up: Away @ Dolphins
17: San Francisco 49ers (7-8 ATS, 6-9 SU) (LW: 16) They were behind by two scores with under 5:00 to play, but the frisky 49ers found a way to pull out another win by beating the Rams 17-16. That’s three out of four in the win column for San Fran, which will be trying to avenge its last loss to Washington, a 52-17 beatdown in 2005.
Next Up: Home vs. Redskins
18: Seattle Seahawks (7-7-1 ATS, 4-11 SU) (LW: 23) If this was the final home game of Mike Holmgren’s coaching career, it was certainly a good one. The Seahawks beat the Jets 13-3 to put them on the brink of elimination of the playoffs. Holmgren’s Seattle career will end next week in Arizona.
Next Up: Away @ Cardinals
19: Chicago Bears (6-7-2 ATS, 9-6 SU) (LW: 14) Chicago’s still alive for the playoffs thanks to a dramatic OT victory over the Pack on MNF. The Bears need a win and some help, but a game in Houston won’t be easy, as the Texans are playing solid football down the stretch.
Next Up: Away @ Texans
20: Dallas Cowboys (7-8 ATS, 9-6 SU) (LW: 18) The Cowboys closed the doors of Irving Stadium and may have written the pink slip for HC Wade Phillips in one final swoop. The Ravens knocked off Dallas 33-24 and put the Boys on the brink of extinction. They got a lot of help on Sunday though, and could make the playoffs with a win in the City of Brotherly Love and some help this week.
Next Up: Away @ Eagles
21: Miami Dolphins (7-8 ATS, 10-5 SU) (LW: 20) The Fish are one win from going from the outhouse of the AFC East to the penthouse of it. By virtue of their 38-31 win in Kansas City, the Dolphins know a win against the Jets on Sunday is good enough for the AFC East crown. A loss will likely keep them home for the playoffs.
Next Up: Home vs. Jets
22: Detroit Lions (6-9 ATS, 0-15 SU) (LW: 24) The Lions made NFL history on Sunday against the Saints, becoming the first team to lose its first 15 games of the season in their 42-7 defeat. The only team between Detroit and immortality is a game at Lambeau Field, a place they haven’t won at since 1991.
Next Up: Away @ Packers
23: Buffalo Bills (7-8 ATS, 7-8 SU) (LW: 25) The Bills aren’t a playoff team, but they pushed Denver into an elimination game next week by hanging on to a 30-23 victory at Mile High Stadium. They can throw another wrench into the AFC playoff mix with a win next week against the defending AFC champs.
Next Up: Home vs. Patriots
24: San Diego Chargers (6-8-1 ATS, 7-8 SU) (LW: 26) The San Diego offense had its way against a struggling Tampa Bay defense in Sunday’s 41-24 win, and now find themselves in an all or nothing battle with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West Championship and a bid to the second season. You gotta love this mediocre at best division!
Next Up: Home vs. Broncos
25: Cleveland Browns (6-8-1 ATS, 4-11 SU) (LW: 21) Boy have the Browns been bad of late. They’ve only scored a total of 31 points in their L/5 games after being shutout 14-0 by the lowly Bengals last Sunday. The good news is that the Steelers have squat to play for next week. The bad news is that Ken Dorsey is still their quarterback.
Next Up: Away @ Steelers
26: Cincinnati Bengals (6-9 ATS, 3-11-1 SU) (LW: 27) In case last week’s Fitzpatrick vs. Dorsey match-up didn’t get you excited (especially with the seven total offensive points in the game!), this week should get you jumping out of your chair. Fitzpatrick! Thigpen! It’s the NFL on CBS!
Next Up: Home vs. Chiefs
27: Washington Redskins (6-8-1 ATS, 8-7 SU) (LW: 28) After opening up the season 4-1 ATS, the Skins were a wreck, going 1-7-1 ATS in their next nine. That streak is finally over with their 10-3 ‘W’ against the Eagles, which pushed their divisional rivals’ playoff hopes to the brink. Washington will close out the season in San Francisco.
Next Up: Away @ 49ers
28: Minnesota Vikings (6-9 ATS, 9-6 SU) (LW: 22) Minnesota had a chance to lock up the NFC North and put itself in a position to possibly capture the #2 seed in the NFC, but it all went up in flames with a 24-17 loss to the Falcons. The Vikes still need a win over the Giants or a Chicago loss to the Texans to make the playoffs.
Next Up: Home vs. Giants
29: Oakland Raiders (6-9 ATS, 4-11 SU) (LW: 29) Just when it looked like the Raiders were left for dead, they took out a hot Texans team in the home finale. Next week is the “Jon Gruden Bowl,” as the silver and black will take their best shot at eliminating the Bucs from the playoffs.
Next Up: Away @ Buccaneers
30: St. Louis Rams (5-10 ATS, 2-13 SU) (LW: 32) The Rams snapped defeat from the jaws of victory in Week 16’s 17-16 loss to the Niners. The #2 pick in the draft could be on the line in Atlanta, so for the sake of whomever the next sucker is to be named the Head Coach in St. Louis, the Rams had better not win.
Next Up: Away @ Falcons
31: Denver Broncos (4-10-1 ATS, 8-7 SU) (LW: 30) Thanks to Denver’s 30-23 loss to Buffalo, the AFC West will be won in San Diego, where the Broncos and Chargers will do battle to determine who will capture the divisional crown and earn the right to play the Colts in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Next Up: Away @ Chargers
32: Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11 ATS, 5-10 SU) (LW: 31) Jacksonville had its chance to put a damper on Indy’s playoff hopes, but couldn’t finish the game after leading by 10 points in the 3rd quarter. Maybe they’ll have better success trying to cripple the Ravens’ chances.
Next Up: Away @ Ravens