NFL Power Rankings: 2008 Week 17 Edition
In the latest edition of ESPN.com's Power Rankings, the Dolphins are ranked ninth and the Jets -- despite a humbling Week 16 loss in Seattle -- are a steady 14th. A Dolphins' victory would give Miami the AFC East title and mark another miraculous milestone after a 1-15 season in 2007. The Jets, once ranked as high as third in the weekly poll of our experts, need to beat the Dolphins and find help elsewhere to secure at least a wild-card berth, if not the East crown.
The Tennessee Titans' 31-14 demolishing of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants' 34-28 overtime victory over the visiting Carolina Panthers scrambled the rankings' top tier a bit. The Titans rule the roost this week, the Giants are second and the Panthers third. The Steelers, the Week 16 rulers, drop three places to No. 4. The Indianapolis Colts lurk again at No. 5.
The Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys were the great descenders this week, each falling four spots. If the NFC West-champion Cardinals continue their free fall with a Week 17 loss to the 26th-rated Seattle Seahawks, it's possible the playoffs will feature a team outside our top 20. The Cardinals enter the Seahawks game ranked No. 19. The final regular-season rankings will be published Dec. 30.
The Detroit Lions, 0-15 entering the regular-season finale at the Green Bay Packers, seemingly have the No. 32 rung on lockdown. If the Lions avoid becoming the league's first 0-16 team, would that accomplishment be enough to vault them to No. 31 or even higher? Tune in next week.
(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)