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NFL Power Rankings, Week 17

Time for our last set of regular-season power rankings, and here's what we think we know as New Year's Day looms:

* There are still some projections involved here, but the AFC playoff field is going to look pretty familiar to us, with the Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Colts and Jets fighting it out for supremacy. Unless the Titans somehow upset the Colts on Sunday and the Jaguars get in, only the upstart Chiefs will truly be a fresh face in the AFC's January tournament.

* The NFC's two best playoff teams both reside in the NFC South. Atlanta and New Orleans seem like they're a cut above the rest of the field, especially now that the Eagles look beatable. You can't discount a Bears team that continues to defy expectations, or a Packers team that can dominate any opponent, but the Falcons and Saints have fewer weaknesses than either Chicago or Green Bay. And let's not even quibble about the relative strength of the NFC West champ.

* This might be the best wild-card field ever. If it's the Saints and Packers in the NFC, and the Jets and Ravens in the AFC, would it register as a shock if any of those four ended up in Dallas? Not to me, and plenty of others.

Now on to this week's rankings...

NFL Power Rankings, Week 17