NFL power rankings, 2020 post-Week 15 edition (previous rank in parentheses):
1. Chiefs (1): With RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffering a mini-blowout, Kansas City is literally limping to the finish … and could really use that first-round bye.
2. Packers (2): Home-field advantage may not mean as much in 2020 playoffs largely devoid of fans … unless you typically play in freezing temperatures in a bracket dominated by warm-weather teams.
3. Bills (4): QB Josh Allen spreads wealth nicely, Buffalo’s 13 players with TD grabs tying league record … though one of those scores belongs to Allen himself.
4. Saints (3): They’re staggering down the stretch, but New Orleans historians will recall a similar December 11 years ago that ended with a Lombardi Gras party.
5. Titans (7): If there was an award for MUP (Most Underrated Player), QB Ryan Tannehill would probably have it on lockdown.
32 THINGS WE LEARNED:From Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season
6. Ravens (10): Of all of QB Lamar Jackson’s outrageous stats, how about this one – he has 43 TD passes and zero INTs in red zone during his career.
7. Buccaneers (8): After all the hype surrounding this club, who would have predicted that OLB Jason Pierre-Paul would be their only Pro Bowl representative in 2020?
8. Seahawks (9): Not sure what Russ has been cooking for the last seven weeks – 11 TD passes, 11 turnovers – but recipe has proven playoff-worthy all the same.
9. Steelers (6): Failed to crack 20 points in four consecutive games for first time since QB Ben Roethlisberger’s 2004 rookie season … but Pittsburgh did reach AFC title game that year.
10. Browns (11): You knew they haven’t reached playoffs since 2002. Did you know they last hosted a postseason game in 1994, when Bill Belichick was the coach? Cleveland on verge of putting a lot of ugly history in the rear view.
11. Colts (12): No worse Pro Bowl snub this year than exclusion of DT DeForest Buckner, who anchors one of league’s best defenses.
12. Dolphins (13): Nice job, Salvon Ahmed, who broke Miami’s 31-game streak without a 100-yard rusher after vowing to play well for his ailing grandmother.
13. Rams (5): At least they won’t see an AFC East team again unless they meet one in Super Bowl LV. Brutal loss to Jets left Los Angeles 1-3 in non-conference games.
14. Cardinals (14): You’d expert a desert-based pass rush to bring the heat, and Arizona has exploded for 14 sacks over the past two weeks.
15. Washington (15): Former Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas has developed into a bona fide NFL tight end this season, basically as good as any of his NFC peers in 2020.
16. Bears (23): WR Darnell Mooney, who established a Chicago rookie record with 46 catches, is just one reason this team is suddenly back in playoff conversation.
17. Patriots (17): How’d season turn out? Two of New England’s three Pro Bowlers (P Jake Bailey and captain Matthew Slater) are special teams aces.
18. Falcons (18): With his 343rd career TD pass, QB Matt Ryan has (quietly?) cracked NFL’s top-ten all-time list … and is 24 away from overtaking Eli Manning for ninth place.
19. Vikings (19): They’ve scored at least 23 points in six of their eight defeats – just not a stat you’d expect from a team coached by Mike Zimmer.
20. Raiders (20): Don’t blame this sinking ship on Darren Waller, whose 425 receiving yards since Week 13 are most ever for a tight end in a three-game span.
21. Panthers (25): DJ Moore and Robby Anderson are Carolina’s first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in 21 years.
22. Chargers (26): Pro Bowl WR Keenan Allen has had a nice season given his 100 catches, but hard to believe he hasn’t cracked 1,000 yards.
23. Eagles (21): If rookie QB Jalen Hurts wills Philadelphia to an unlikely division crown, fans will co-sign Carson Wentz’s desire to skip town.
24. Giants (22): They’re averaging 12.3 points in four games since their Week 11 bye … bad even by NFC East standards.
25. Broncos (24): His turnover streak extended to a league-worst 10 consecutive games, QB Drew Lock may be playing himself out of a starting job in 2021.
26. Cowboys (28): Backup RB Tony Pollard provided nice spark (132 yards, 2 TDs) for team with still-flickering playoff aspirations.
27. 49ers (16): Plenty of factors fueled their highly disappointing NFC title defense, but perhaps Niners’ 1-3 record against NFC East best sums up what amounts to dreaded Super Bowl hangover.
28. Bengals (30): Somehow appropriate that, with second-stringers all over the field, they crafted second-biggest upset of Week 15 against Pittsburgh.
29. Texans (27): QB Deshaun Watson’s 27 TD passes are a career high, and he’s 32 yards from setting a new personal best through the air – all without WR DeAndre Hopkins.
30. Lions (29): Hear the one about the special teams coach who went rogue and decided on his own to call a fake punt? Yep, the latest goings-on from Motown.
31. Jets (32): In the spirit of a team that also fails to lose in the clutch, they’re not bad enough to be at the bottom of these rankings any longer.
32. Jaguars (31): It’s only about six hours from Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence’s Cartersville, Ga., home to Jacksonville … though slightly further to London. Get your passport ready, buddy.