2015 NFL Power Rankings: Final
Here are our final 2015 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Carolina Panthers (Record: 15-1; Last: 2)
Few could have expected the Panthers to lose just one game this season. After their Week 16 loss, Cam Newton and the Panthers bounced back with a dominant 28-point win over the Bucs. The prohibitive favorite to win the league's MVP award, Newton finished the season with 35 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns.
2. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 13-3; Last: 1)
The most complete team in the NFL, the Cardinals enter the postseason with a healthy Carson Palmer, who had a career year. Palmer threw for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns, both of which were career highs and franchise records. If they weren't down to their third-string quarterback last season, who knows how far they would have gone last year?
3. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 10-6; Last: 4)
Appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls, the Seahawks are a Wild Card team that nobody wants to see in the postseason. After a slow start (2-4), the Seahawks closed the season with wins in six of their last seven games. In their final four wins, they scored 30-plus points while limiting their opponent to 13 or less. And it's possible that they get Marshawn Lynch back just in time for the start of the postseason.
4. New England Patriots (Record: 12-4; Last: 3)
Dealing with numerous injuries and losing four of their final six games, the Patriots limped into the playoffs, literally and figuratively. Fortunately, they have a first-round bye to allow for some healing even though the Broncos clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That said, I have more trust in Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the defending champs more than I do in any other AFC playoff team.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 11-5; Last: 6)
The Chiefs bring a 10-game winning streak into the postseason. During their 10-game winning streak, they have beaten their opponents by an average margin of victory of 15.0 points per game.
6. Denver Broncos (Record: 12-4; Last: 7)
Earning home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, the Broncos will start Peyton Manning next weekend. Ironically, Manning came on for Brock Osweiler after the team turned the ball over for a fifth time (including two Osweiler touchdowns). Despite starting only nine games, Manning still threw the second-most interceptions (17) last season.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 12-4; Last: 5)
The Bengals will start AJ McCarron for at least one more week as Andy Dalton is unable to go against the Steelers. In four starts, McCarron has thrown for 200 or less yards in three games, but he has compiled a 6:2 TD-to-INT ratio over that span.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 10-6; Last: 9)
The Steelers will be without DeAngelo Williams (and of course, Le'Veon Bell) for Saturday's matchup against the Bengals. While Ben Roethlisberger has had plenty of big games this season, he's had a rather disappointing pair of performances against the Bengals -- one touchdown and four interceptions in two games.
9. Washington Redskins (Record: 9-7; Last: 11)
Taking a four-game winning streak into the postseason, Kirk Cousins has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in his past three games. Going back to Week 7, he has posted an impressive 23:3 TD-to-INT ratio and he actually has more rushing scores (four) than interceptions thrown over that stretch.
10. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 11-5; Last: 10)
Even though the Vikings won their division and the right to host a playoff game, no team is a bigger underdog (-5 vs. SEA) this weekend. In his first matchup against the Seahawks, Teddy Bridgewater threw for only 118 yards, no touchdowns and one interception and Adrian Peterson had eight carries for 18 yards.
11. Green Bay Packers (Record: 10-6; Last: 12)
It's been a disappointing season for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. In his tenure as the team's starting quarterback, Rodgers set career lows in completion percentage (60.7), Y/A (6.7) and QB rating (92.7) and his TD% (5.4) was his lowest since his first year (2008) as a starter.
12. Houston Texans (Record: 9-7; Last: 13)
One of four starting quarterbacks to win a game for the Texans this season, Brian Hoyer will get the start in the franchise's fifth-ever playoff game. In each of the first two playoff appearances, they won in the Wild Card round (against the Bengals) and lost in the Divisional Round.
The best of the rest:
13. New York Jets (Record: 10-6; Last: 8)
14. Buffalo Bills (Record: 8-8; Last: 16)
15. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 8-8; Last: 14)
16. Detroit Lions (Record: 7-9; Last: 20)
17. Oakland Raiders (Record: 7-9; Last: 15)
18. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 8-8; Last: 21)
19. St. Louis Rams (Record: 7-9; Last: 19)
20. New York Giants (Record: 6-10; Last: 17)
21. New Orleans Saints (Record: 7-9; Last: 22)
22. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 7-9; Last: 24)
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 6-10; Last: 18)
24. Chicago Bears (Record: 6-10; Last: 25)
25. Miami Dolphins (Record: 6-10; Last: 26)
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 5-11; Last: 23)
27. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 5-11; Last: 27)
28. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 5-11; Last: 29)
29. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 4-12; Last: 28)
30. San Diego Chargers (Record: 4-12; Last: 30)
31. Cleveland Browns (Record: 3-13; Last: 31)
32. Tennessee Titans (Record: 3-13; Last: 32)
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