NFL power rankings

By Brian Billick

Brian Billick is an acclaimed NFL game analyst for FOX Sports and a Super Bowl-winning coach.

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are in top form now. I’ve got a line on who’s hot and who’s not going into Week 16.

1 Broncos 11-3 +1

The Broncos have won nine straight and finally have their statement win on the road, albeit against a less-than-healthy Ravens team.

2 49ers 10-3-1 -1

The way the 49ers jumped out to an early lead and then overcame Tom Brady’s comeback effort was very impressive, but the tie and loss to the Rams still leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

3 Patriots 10-4 -2

The Patriots had previously won 13 straight games in the month of December, and they nearly pulled off the 28-point rally to win No. 14.

4 Falcons 12-2 +1

The 34-point win over the Giants ties the NFL record for biggest margin of defeat over a reigning Super Bowl champ. The shutout is further proof that Mike Nolan deserves to be a head coach in this league.

5 Texans 12-2 +1

JJ Watt vs. the Colts: 3 sacks, 4 hurries, 10 tackles – including six for a loss and a forced fumble. Wow.

6 Packers 10-4

The Packers won their 12th straight against NFC North opponents, but it was the 41st time in a row they failed to have a 100-yard rusher in a game. That will come back to bite them in the playoffs.

7 Seahawks 9-5 +1

Back-to-back 50-point games have put the league on notice, but something is holding me back from totally jumping on the Seahawks bandwagon.

8 Redskins 8-6 +3

Matt Schaub, Matt Flynn … Kirk Cousins? Will he become the next coveted backup quarterback? He sure looked like it with 329 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start.

9 Ravens 9-5

Against the Broncos, the Ravens were without Ray Lewis, started a less than 100-percent Terrell Suggs and used an offensive coordinator that was calling plays for the first time in his career.

10 Bengals 8-6 +5

The Cincinnati defense had a season-high five takeaways against Philadelphia, and the Bengals offense turned them into 31 points.

11 Colts 9-5  -1

Andre Johnson’s 151 receiving yards made it seven straight games an opposing receiver had 100-plus yards, and they also surrendered 165 rushing yards to Arian Foster.

12 Vikings 8-6 +2

Adrian Peterson = MVP. Easily.

13 Cowboys 8-6

Tony Romo had his eighth 300-yard passing game on Sunday and won his third straight game in December, a month in which he has historically struggled.

14 Bears 8-6 -2

The Bears were 0 for 9 on third down and just 1 for 3 in the red zone. With games like that, it’s no wonder Jay Cutler is just 1-7 against the Packers in his career.

15 Giants 8-6 -9

The Giants were shut out by Atlanta and are still averaging 31 points per game over the last two.

16 Steelers 7-7

The Steelers seem to be ripping at the seams at the worst possible time. They have four days to get it right before they play their most important game of the season against the Bengals on Sunday. The winner will get a wild card.

17 Saints 6-8 +2

The win over Tampa Bay was the Saints team we were expecting to see all season.

18 Rams 6-7-1 -1

The Rams outgained the Vikings by 110 yards but became just another notch in Adrian Peterson’s belt.

19 Dolphins 6-8 +3

Ryan Tannehill had just his second career multiple touchdown game and Reggie Bush added his second 100-yard game of the season.

20 Panthers 5-9 +5

The Panthers had their season high in time of possession and held the Chargers to their lowest time of possession since 2010. Cam Newton has been on a tear, and his final two games against the Raiders and Saints shouldn’t be any different.

21 Buccaneers 6-8 -3

Greg Schiano is going to be judged much in the way Tom Coughlin has in his career. When things are going well, he is strong willed and a tough leader, but when things are going wrong, he is a dictator and out of touch with his players. Recent anonymous quotes from the players would suggest the latter right now.

22 Browns 5-9 -2

Trent Richardson had a season-high two rushing touchdowns but was only able to accumulate 28 yards on the ground in loss to the Redskins. The Browns need more than that.

23 Chargers 5-9 -2

Philip Rivers’ 121 yards passing vs. Carolina was his fifth-lowest total in his career and worst this season … that’s what happens when you get sacked six times.

24 Titans 5-9 +4

The Titans needed just a couple plays to beat the Jets, and they got them from Chris Johnson on his 94-yard touchdown run and then Jake Locker added another touchdown run late in the game.

25 Cardinals 5-9 +4

The Cardinals finally won their fifth game after starting the season 4-0, ending the worst follow-up (nine straight losses) to a 4-0 start in NFL history.

26 Jets 6-8 -2

Um …

27 Eagles 4-10 -1

Did Bryce Brown really have another lost fumble?

28 Lions 4-10 -5

Calvin Johnson now has seven consecutive 100-yard receiving games, which ties the NFL record held my Michael Irvin and Charley Hennigan. So at least the Lions have that going for them.

29 Bills 5-9 -2

The Bills will be having nightmares of Russell Wilson for the foreseeable future.

30 Raiders 4-10 +2

Somebody grab some ice for Sebastian Janikowski’s leg.

31 Jaguars 2-12 +1

At least the Jaguars have found some receiving weapons in Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon in the back half of the season … now they just need to find a quarterback and a defense.

32 Chiefs 2-12 -1

Zero points against the Raiders pretty much says it all.