NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Who is going to win the NFC East?

Dave Holcomb

The Atlanta Falcons routed the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, 40-20, to improve to 4-9. It's still a lost season for the Falcons, though, as they were eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago.

It's too bad the Falcons aren't in the NFC East. In that fun hypothetical, the Falcons would actually be two games behind the division leader with three weeks to go. Not to mention, one of Atlanta's four wins this year came against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are tied for the NFC East lead with the Dallas Cowboys.

Divisions make the NFL fun, and it's unusual to see one division so much worse than the others like the NFC East is this year. But it is a little frustrating too that geography determines playoff participants. Not only would the Falcons be two games back of the division lead at 4-9 if they were in the NFC East, they would also get the benefit of playing the Redskins and Giants each twice.

The Cowboys are 6-7 but are 2-7 outside of their division because they are 4-0 versus the NFC East. If the Cowboys and Falcons switched divisions -- and actually, geography-wise, that would make sense -- then it seems rather plausible that it would be the Cowboys at 4-9 having had to play the Saints twice and the Falcons with five or maybe even six wins. 

Maybe they'd switch places in our NFL Power Rankings too.

We'll obviously never know for sure. Instead, the Eagles and Cowboys are slotted at No. 15 and 16 in our Week 15 Power Rankings, respectively. The Falcons rose three spots after their win Sunday, but still sit well behind the NFC East leaders at No. 26.

Here's our full NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 15:

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
5. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
6. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
7. New England Patriots (10-3)
8. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)
9. Los Angeles Rams (8-5)
10. Buffalo Bills (9-4)
11. Houston Texans (8-5)
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
13. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
14. Chicago Bears (7-6)
15. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
16. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
17. Cleveland Browns (6-7)
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
19. Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)
20. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
21. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
22. Denver Broncos (5-8)
23. New York Jets (5-8)
24. Miami Dolphins (3-10)
25. Washington Redskins (3-10)
26. Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
27. Carolina Panthers (5-8)
28. Arizona Cardinals (3-9-1)
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
30. Detroit Lions (3-9-1)
31. New York Giants (2-11)
32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)