A weekly review of how teams performed in relation to last week’s Power Rankings (with new rankings scheduled for Tuesday):
With a league-high 14 victories and a dominant performance in Week 17, the New England Patriots left little doubt.
They'll almost surely remain the No. 1 team when ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings come out Tuesday for the final time this season. Even the Patriots' backup quarterback, Brian Hoyer, put up a triple-digit passer rating against Miami on Sunday.
The Patriots have ranked among our top six continuously since Week 6. They've been No. 1 for the past three weeks. They're the team to beat in the playoffs, but you'll have to beat them in Foxboro -- or Dallas.
And now, a closer look at what happened in Week 17 relative to the Power Rankings from last week (the chart shows how our panelists voted last week) ...
The reckoning: Eight games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams. Let's take a closer look at them ...
(24) Detroit 20, (19) Minnesota 13: Shaun Hill wins his final two starts, proving again he's a pretty good backup.
(17) Oakland 31, (11) Kansas City 10: Focus on seeding if you wish, but the Chiefs knew they were in the playoffs no matter what, and it showed.
(13) Tampa Bay 23, (4) New Orleans 13: The Bucs wound up 6-2 on the road, 4-0 against the NFC West, 3-3 against their own division and on the right track overall.
(9) Green Bay 10, (6) Chicago 3: Was Mike Martz going for the sacks-allowed record or something? Chicago finished with 56, most in the league and typical for a Martz-run offense.
(23) Houston 34, (15) Jacksonville 17: At least Arian Foster got the rushing title.
(10) Indianapolis 23, (20) Tennessee 20: Was there ever any doubt Peyton Manning would get back to the playoffs?
(22) Dallas 14, (7) Philadelphia 13: It's tough to imagine Michael Vick holding up for a full 16-game season.
(25) Seattle 16, (16) St. Louis 6: There's no pressure on the Seahawks at home against the Saints in wild-card round.
Still to play: That's it. No Monday nighter this week.
My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: New England.