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Top 5 NFL Power Rankings for Week 17

The NFL top five teams in the power rankings for Week 17.

The 2021-22 regular season is hastening to a close.  New Orleans' fourth-string rookie quarterback Ian Book took the helm with a COVID-19  depleted squad against the Dolphins.  The team displayed resilience, lost, and did not make excuses. EVP/GM Mickey Loomis spoke with WWL hosts and admitted this was the worst condition he's seen since the 1987 NFL player’s strike.

“If we had seven or eight or 10 COVID positives, we can handle that,” Loomis said. “When you have 18 active players and four of your practice squad players test positive for COVID, it’s just too much to overcome, frankly. It wasn’t fair to the players. It wasn’t fair to our coaching staff, and certainly not the fans.” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis

Week 16 had franchise quarterbacks in Dallas, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City leading their teams to clinch division titles. The Cowboys and Colts are the highest risers in Week 17's rankings. Meanwhile, the Saints slip due to more injuries.


1. Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers narrowly defeat the Cleveland Browns 24-22 to hold on to number 1 in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers got the job done by throwing for 202 yards with 3 touchdowns. Davante Adams had a big day with 10 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Packers currently sit at 12-3 with only three games left.

Good News: Green Bay remains at No. 1.

Bad News: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not rule out retiring after this season in television interviews this week.

Green Bay Packers -- NFC North Division Title Clinched


2. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys make it into the top 2 for the first time this season after a 56-14 blowout win against the Washington Football Team. Dallas simply put on a show at all levels with 4 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and a blocked punt. Dallas has playmakers at every position on the field and should be considered a legit Super Bowl contender.

Good News: The Dallas Cowboys are considered one of the elite teams in the NFL right now.

Bad News: The contest against the Cardinals could be a playoff preview for the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys - NFC East Division Title, Clinched


3. Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs slipped to No. 3 but convincingly defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-10. Patrick Mahomes found his groove again by only throwing seven incompletions and three touchdowns. The defense has continued their complete turnaround from the beginning of the year. Kansas City has an excellent shot at making it to a third-straight Super Bowl.

Good News: Patrick Mahomes seems to have found his touch again just in time for the playoffs.

Bad News: Some post-COVID Chiefs players are still working towards optimal physical condition for the Bengals game.  Some are still not 100% after the COVID-19 protocol.

Kansas City Chiefs - AFC West Division Title, Clinched

Dec 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) back to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) back to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Bucs sit at number 4 after beating the division-rival Carolina Panthers 32-6. Tampa Bay had a big bounce-back game after going scoreless against New Orleans. The Bucs were missing a few key offensive weapons, but that did not stop Brady from throwing 232 yards and a touchdown. Tampa Bay is still in a position to claim the top seed in the NFC at 11-4.

Good News: The Bucs overcame being without Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, and Chris Godwin Sunday against the Panthers.

Bad News: The Tampa Bay Bucs are big favorites over the Jets.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - NFC South Division Title, Clinched


5. Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL these past couple of weeks. In Week 16, things didn't change as they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 22-16. The Colts are one of the youngest teams in the NFL. After a rocky 1-4 start, Indy is now 9-6. Jonathan Taylor is one of the most exciting players to watch right now, and the Colts are slowly becoming dangerous.

Good News: The Colts have turned this season around from a 1-4 record.

Bad News: Quarterback Carson Wentz remains on reserve/COVID-19 protocol.


16. New Orleans Saints

Another week, another starting quarterback for the Saints. Ian Book couldn’t get the job done, and New Orleans lost to the Miami Dolphins 20-3. However, Book wasn’t entirely to blame as the Saints had 22 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list.  

While Taysom Hill is slated to start against Carolina, Jameis Winston continues to recuperate after surgery to repair a torn ACL and damaged MCL in his left knee. His physician shared a video rehabbing today and will be back with the Black and Gold in 2022. Interestingly, he is a free agent, so the quarterback saga to replace Brees may continue in New Orleans.

The Saints are not entirely out of playoff contention, but the road will be the most difficult in recent years. The Carolina Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention after their fifth consecutive loss. The Saints will take on Carolina Jan. 2 at 3:25 PM CT on FOX. Local fans can tune into WWL-870 AM and 105.3 FM Radio with announcers Mike Hoss, Deuce McAlister, and Steve Geller.

Good News: Playoff hopes are still alive.

Bad News: Time is running out and Saints must win the last two games.