NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Top Teams Backing In

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SLR’s Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: 24-17 Dec 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; San Francisco 49ers fullback Bruce Miller (49) runs with the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) tackles him during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. San Francisco 49ers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) ▲1

Some late mistakes made the game look more lopsided than it was for most of the day. For a team that’s going nowhere, with a head coach that nobody supposedly likes, they’re playing with a lot of pride in meaningless games.

23. New York Giants (5-9) ▼1

I get that the season is over, and I get that that was the mighty Seahawks. But a shutout at home? Really? It’s a good thing Eli Manning has a good reputation and last name. With how poorly he’s played this season, a lot of other quarterbacks would be looking at some “competition” in training camp next year.

22. Tennessee Titans (5-9) ▲1

Ryan Fitzmagic: The magic that keeps on giving until you’ve put your team in a position to win, then gives the game away in the most heartbreaking way possible. Get well soon, Jake Locker.

21. New York Jets (6-8) ▼1

With the Jets officially out of the playoff picture, the question is quickly going to turn to Rex Ryan’s job security. But consider how low expectations were for the Jets this year. With a very raw, untested rookie quarterback and a mishmash of talent on offense, this team managed to win more games, against better opponents, than most expected. Ryan probably has another year in him, if only for Geno Smith’s sake.

20. Dallas Cowboys (7-7) ▼4

That was an absolute disaster of a game for the Cowboys, and most will blame Tony Romo. Even Romo’s head coach threw him under the bus with heavy criticism falling on his playcalling. If Romo audibled into the pass at the line like Garrett said on his fateful interception, then fine. But three of the four playcalls before that were also passes, with four minutes to go, a five-point lead, and an effective running game. Did Romo switch those up too? Or was it just an absolute tire fire of a coaching job all around?

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) NC

They waited to play their best overall game of the season until they did it as a spoiler, but hey, don’t let anyone say the Steelers don’t have pride. Now if they could just add some youth to their defense, they’d be in business.

18. St. Louis Rams (6-8) ▲3

If this defense had shown up, in its current form, about three weeks earlier than it did, the Rams might be alive in the playoff hunt. Instead, they have to play spoiler and we get to marvel at how good Robert Quinn and Chris Long are. Consider: the division that sent a 7-9 team to the playoffs in 2010 could end up with an 8-8 team in last place in 2013.

17. Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) ▲1

Matt Flynn now owns the Packers’ franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a game and largest comeback victory. Not Aaron Rodgers. Not Brett Favre. Not even Bart Starr. Matt Flynn. Can the Packers just sign him to a 10-year contract to be lifetime backup QB like the Steelers did Charlie Batch?