Bears Insider

Schrock's NFL Power Rankings: Where Bears stand after dismantling Falcons

The Bears vaulted up the weekly rankings after bludgeoning the Falcons

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Week 17 of the NFL season saw the two best teams in the NFL clinch the top seeds in their respective conferences with resounding wins, while two of their supposed top challengers went out with a whimper.

The path to the Super Bowl will head through Baltimore and San Francisco, and neither conference has a second team that appears to be a worthy challenger at this moment.

The Buffalo Bills are hot, but their offense has been inconsistent at best. The Ravens just throttled the Dolphins, and it’s hard to see Joe Flacco going into Baltimore and outdueling Lamar Jackson.

On the NFC side, the Eagles are an utter disaster, the Lions’ secondary would get cut up by the Little Giants, and the Cowboys have a big-time Mike McCarthy problem.

In Chicago, the Bears were eliminated Sunday, but only after Justin Fields delivered a dazzling performance that will give general manager Ryan Poles something to think about as he surveys his options with the No. 1 pick.

The 7-9 Bears will have a chance to knock the rival Packers out of the playoffs with a win at Lambeau Field in Week 18. That’s something to play for before an offseason of big decisions begins.

Here’s where each team stands after Week 17:

  1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3): Five touchdown passes and a perfect quarterback rating to give the Ravens the No. 1 seed in the AFC should just about lock up the MVP trophy for Lamar Jackson. Not bad for a guy who's not “quarterbacky.” Whatever the hell that means.
  2. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): After clinching the No. 1 seed, the 49ers now get two weeks to rest up their top players before the divisional round. Best of luck to whoever has to go to Levi’s Stadium during the third weekend in January. That won’t be fun.
  3. Buffalo Bills (11-5): The Bills were sloppy in Sunday’s win over the Patriots, but they erased their early season slump and have caught the Dolphins atop the AFC East. Buffalo is the AFC’s best chance to take down the Ravens.
  4. Miami Dolphins (11-5): The Dolphins were whooped in every facet of the game Sunday against the Ravens. Sunday’s loss was a massive red flag to anyone who believed the Dolphins were a legitimate Super Bowl threat coming out of the AFC.
  5. Dallas Cowboys (11-5): Brad Allen’s botched call Saturday saved Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott from the grilling they deserved after horrible clock management late against the Lions. Dallas is good, but McCarthy is the Cowboys’ Achilles’ heel.
  6. Detroit Lions (11-5): I don’t condone Dan Campbell going on tilt after the Lions were robbed of a two-point conversion and a win over the Cowboys. It was a cool play. It worked. You got jobbed. Just kick the PAT and go to overtime, man. Detroit needs a designated coach for when Campbell starts seeing red.
  7. Cleveland Browns (11-5): Joe Flacco is the perfect quarterback for this Browns team at this moment. He might be good enough to win them the AFC, but there’s no way the Browns can bring him back in 2024 with the Deshaun Watson anvil around their necks. Soak it in while you can, Browns fans.
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5): A team that looked like a juggernaut through the first seven weeks has completely disintegrated over the last month and a half. The Eagles don’t look like they have the horses for a Super Bowl run, and they are out of time to find the answers needed to solve their issues.
  9. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6): Patrick Mahomes should get some sort of Nobel Peace Prize for continuing to throw the ball deep to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
  10. Los Angeles Rams (9-7): A healthy Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Kyren Williams have made the Rams a tough team to beat. Not exactly who the Lions are going to enjoy facing on Wild Card Weekend.
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7): The Jaguars got right against the worst team in the NFL on Sunday, and not a moment too soon, as Jacksonville needs a win in Week 18 to secure the AFC South title.
  12. Houston Texans (9-7): C.J. Stroud returned, and the Texans’ offense got back on track. A win next week over the Colts, and the Texans are back in the playoffs. With Stroud and DeMeco Ryans at the helm, the future is very bright in Houston.
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7): Mason Rudolph and the Steelers’ offense tallied a season-high 468 yards on Sunday against the Seahawks. With the playoffs on the line in Week 18, the Steelers can’t possibly go back to Kenny Pickett. Can they?
  14. Indianapolis Colts (9-7): Do the Colts have the firepower to be a threat in the playoffs? Do we want to see the skeleton ponies on Wild Card Weekend? No, and no.
  15. Green Bay Packers (8-8): The 2022 Lions started 1-5 but got hot late. They barely missed the playoffs but beat the Packers in Week 18 to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs. The 2023 Bears started the season 1-5. See a pattern? Chicago can spoil its rival's season with a season-closing win in Week 18.
  16. Chicago Bears (7-9): From 0-4 to 7-9, the Bears have steadily improved throughout the season and are in position to make a big leap in 2024 after another round of additions. On a day in which the Bears secured the No. 1 pick, Justin Fields shined and gave Ryan Poles something to think about heading into a critical offseason.
  17. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8): In the end, the Joe Burrow injury was too much to overcome. Jake Browning gave the Bengals a spark, but the defense’s inability to stop explosives cost them a surprise playoff berth.
  18. Denver Broncos (8-8): Jarrett Stidham’s 129 passing yards didn’t exactly look like the “boost” that Sean Payton was looking for when benching Russell Wilson. With the Broncos set to cut Wilson, Payton will get a clean slate to craft the offense in his image, but it’s going to take time to see the finished product.
  19. Seattle Seahawks (8-8): Even if the Seahawks manage to squeak into the playoffs, they won’t be there long. Seattle was bullied in its own building by a team starting a backup quarterback. There is still a lot of work to be done in the PNW.
  20. New Orleans Saints (8-8): The Saints played their best football when it was required Sunday, handling the Bucs to keep their playoff dreams alive. That was Step 1, but they’ll need to back up that performance in Week 18 (and get some help) to make the playoffs.
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8): Tampa Bay faceplanted with a chance to win the division Sunday. It was a disheartening effort from a team that has been playing good football over the last month. It was a missed opportunity, but the Bucs can still win the division by beating the lowly Panthers in Week 18.
  22. Minnesota Vikings (7-9): At least Minnesota got Jaren Hall some experience getting his brains beat in. Wonderful decision by Kevin O’Connell. Although, I’m not sure there was a right decision to be made.
  23. Atlanta Falcons (7-9): Inconsistency has been the theme of the Falcons’ season. Head coach Arthur Smith’s play-calling was an abject disaster Sunday in Chicago, and quarterback Taylor Heinicke had a nightmare day on the lakefront. The Falcons can still win the NFC South, but they should do everyone a favor and abstain from postseason participation.
  24.  Las Vegas Raiders (7-9): As much as wins over the Chargers and Chiefs helped Antonio Pierce’s cause, losses like Sunday’s to the Colts and the 3-0 loss to Minnesota harmed it. He still has work to do to secure the gig and fend off the Jim Harbaugh rumors that are circulating.
  25.  Los Angeles Chargers (5-11): John Spanos better be waiting for Jim Harbaugh with a contract the second Monday’s Rose Bowl ends. The Bolts need Harbaugh or the Hoodie to take Justin Herbert and the Chargers out of the abyss Brandon Staley put them in.
  26.  Arizona Cardinals (4-12): Jonathan Gannon showed he’s building something in Arizona with a win over the Eagles on Sunday. It’s going to take time, but I think the Cardinals are finally on the right track with the right guy at the helm.
  27. New York Giants (5-11): The Giants are now assured of a top-five pick after Sunday’s loss. That’s a good prize for an organization that deserves little after spending $40 million on Daniel Jones after one fluke season.
  28. New York Jets (6-10): The Jets’ supposed championship-caliber defense was torched by Joe Flacco and the Browns on Thursday. New York needs to make wholesale changes to everything in the offseason. Aaron Rodgers won’t fix it all.
  29. Tennessee Titans (5-11): The Titans didn’t show up Sunday and were blown out to sea by the Texans. No reason to think they’ll show up in Week 18, either.
  30. New England Patriots (4-12): The Patriots have to find a way to get either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. Having this putrid season end with no answer at quarterback is a complete waste.
  31. Washington Commanders (4-12): Has anyone told Josh Harris that Caleb Williams is from the DMV? If you’re trying to rebrand the franchise, you might want to call the Bears to see what the price of a clean slate costs.
  32. Carolina Panthers (2-14): The Panthers officially sent the No. 1 pick to the Bears on Sunday, and owner David Tepper appeared to throw a drink at a fan during Carolina’s shutout loss. Tough scene for the Charlotte Jungle Cats.

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