By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2022 NFL Power Rankings – Week 16

Chargers Advance, Rams Stay


December 22, 2022

John McGillen - LA Chargers

Running back Joshua Kelley celebrates touchdown vs Titans - Chargers rank 31st in total rushing yards

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1): Quarterback Jalen Hurts has a right shoulder sprain and may miss the next game, which is Saturday against the Cowboy's in Jerry's House. Former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew is the backup quarterback, and he may get the start. That would be interesting if the Eagles could beat the Cowboys with Minshew at quarterback. Next: +5.5 at Dallas Cowboys – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 46 (ATS: 8-6 – O/U: 9-5)

2. Buffalo Bills (11-3): The Bills won a close matchup at home with the Dolphins to hold onto their top seed position in the AFC Playoff race. The Bills have not been that impressive at times this season, but they have quarterback Josh Allen and that is enough to keep up with the Chiefs. Next: -9 at Chicago Bears - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 6-7-1 – O/U: 4-10)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3): The Chiefs clinched their seventh consecutive AFC West division title on Sunday with an unimpressive 30-24 win in overtime over the Texans in Houston. The Chiefs outgained the Texans offensively 502 yards to 219 yards, but mistakes kept the Texans in the game. Next: -9.5 vs Seattle Seahawks - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 48.5 (ATS: 4-9-1 – O/U: 7-7)

4. San Francisco 49ers (10-4): The 49ers were without all-purpose star Deebo Samuel and were down to their third string quarterback, rookie Brock Purdy. No problem. The 49ers rolled through the Seahawks in Seattle, with Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle combining for a total of 231 yards in offense and three touchdowns in a 21-13 victory. Next: -7 vs Washington Commanders – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 9-5 – O/U: 6-8)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4): The Bengals trailed the Buccaneers 17-0 late in the second quarter and ended up with 237 yards in offense in the game. But the Bucs have a 45-year-old quarterback and some days, he looks his age. Quarterback Tom Brady had four turnovers in the game, helping the Bengals to a come-from-behind 34-23 victory over the Bucs. Next: -3.5 at New England Patriots – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U 41.5 (ATS: 11-3 – O/U: 5-8-1)

6. Minnesota Vikings (11-3): The Vikings were trailing 33-0 at halftime to the Colts and in the NFL, that means the game is over. But the Colts decided to make NFL history and blow a 33-point lead, losing in overtime on a last second 40-yard field goal, 39-36. The Vikings proved that you just need two good quarters of football and overtime to defeat the Colts. Next: -3.5 vs New York Giants – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 48 (ATS: 6-7-1 – O/U: 9-5)

7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4): It would be easy to laugh at the Cowboys, as Steven A. Smith of ESPN does, after an embarrassing loss. The Cowboys lost 40-34 to the Jaguars in overtime on an interception return for a touchdown, which Smith thoroughly enjoyed. The real question remains, just how good are the Cowboys? Next: -5.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 46 (ATS: 8-6 – O/U: 8-6)

8. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6): The schedule is working well for the 8-6 Chargers. After their 17-14 win over the Titans, the face the 4-9-1 Colts, the 4-10 Rams, and the 4-10 Broncos in their final three games. If they can get left tackle Rashawn Slater healthy and linebacker Joey Bosa healthy before the end of the season, they could be a handful to deal with in a playoff game. Next: -4 at Indianapolis Colts, Mon, Dec. 26 – O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 8-5-1 – O/U: 5-8-1)

9. Baltimore Ravens (9-5): The Ravens have scored a total of 29 points in the past three games, including just three points in the loss to the Browns, 13-3. Not having quarterback Lamar Jackson in the lineup has not helped, but the team was struggling offensively before Jackson's knee injury. Next: -7.5 vs Atlanta Falcons – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U 37.5 (ATS: 5-8-1 – O/U: 4-10)

10. Miami Dolphins (8-6): The Dolphins are in the midst of a three-game losing streak but could help the Chargers down the playoff stretch. The Dolphins will play the Patriots and the Jets in the final two weeks. Any losses by those two teams will make it easier for the Chargers to clinch a playoff berth. Next: -4.5 vs Green Bay Packers - Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 49.5 (ATS: 7-7 – O/U: 7-7)

11. New York Giants (8-5-1): The Giants got a big win over the Commanders on Sunday Night but were helped by the officials twice in the final minute of the game. An illegal formation call, which clearly should not have been called, cost the Commanders a 4th down touchdown and on the next attempt a blatant pass interference was just ignored by the officials. The kind of calls that just make you wonder... Next: +3.5 at Minnesota Vikings – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 48 (ATS: 10-4 – O/U: 5-8-1).

12. Detroit Lions (7-7): The Lions have won three in a row and six of their last seven games after beating the Jets on the road. Their lone loss was to the Bills by three points. The Lions have become a team that no one wants to face, and everyone should want to watch. Next: -2.5 at Carolina Panthers – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 44 (ATS: 10-4 – O/U: 9-5)

13. Washington Commanders (7-6-1): The Commanders lost a tough game at home to the Giants and the refs on Sunday Night. The Commanders have a tough road ahead to get into the playoffs, starting this weekend in the "City by the Bay." Next: +7 at San Francisco 49ers – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 7-6-1 – O/U: 4-9-1)

14. Tennessee Titans (7-7): The Titans have lost four straight games after their 17-14 loss to the Chargers. Running back Derrick Henry rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown and added four receptions for 59 yards. He led the Titans in both categories, which explains part of the Titans issues. They are one-dimensional. Next: -5 vs Houston Texans - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 37 (ATS: 8-5-1 – O/U: 5-9)

15. Seattle Seahawks (7-7): The Seahawks lost to the 49ers in Seattle, which clinched the NFC West division title for the 49ers. At one point this season, the Seahawks were 6-3 and in first place in the NFC West. They still have a shot at the playoffs, but more importantly, own the #3 pick in the 2023 NFL draft courtesy of the Broncos via the Russell Wilson trade. Next: +9.5 at Kansas City Chiefs - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 48.5 (ATS: 6-8 – O/U: 8-6)

16. New England Patriots (7-7): Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers made the bonehead play of the year, taking an ill-advised lateral from a running back in a 24-24 game with no time on the clock and tossing a pass across the field to the quarterback, which was intercepted by Chandler Jones of the Raiders and returned for the game winning touchdown and probably cost the Pats a playoff berth. Next: +3.5 vs Cincinnati Bengals – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 7-6-1 – O/U: 6-8)

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8): The Jaguars control their own destiny. Three wins and the Jags win the AFC South division. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has suddenly gotten hot and is looking like the player everyone thought he was coming out of Clemson. Against the vaunted Cowboys defense on Sunday, Lawrence threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Next: +1 at New York Jets - Thu, Dec. 22 – O/U: 38 (ATS: 6-8 – O/U: 8-6)

18. Cleveland Browns (6-8): The Browns got a big win on Saturday with their 13-3 victory over the Ravens. Quarterback DeShaun Watson continues to struggle but there are 230 million reasons that he will not be benched. Next: -2.5 vs New Orleans Saints – Sat, Dec 24 – O/U: 32 (ATS: 7-7 – O/U: 7-6-1)

19. Green Bay Packers (6-8): The Packers still have a shot at the playoffs, but they cannot afford another loss and they will need help in the final three weeks. The Packers need to decide if it is time to move on from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and go with the future quarterback, Jordan Love? Or maybe they keep Rodgers and trade Love? Next: +4.5 at Miami Dolphins - Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 49.5 (ATS: 8-8 – O/U: 7-7)

20. New York Jets (7-7): A good head football coach needs to be able to manage the clock and use timeouts wisely. Jets head coach Robert Saleh has a lot to learn. Trailing 20-17 to the Lions, the Jets had the ball at their 25-yard line with three timeouts and 1:49 remaining in the game. Saleh wasted valuable seconds and the Jets were forced to try a long 58-yard field goal to tie the game, which missed. Next: -1 vs Jacksonville Jaguars - Thu, Dec. 22 – O/U: 38 (ATS: 8-6 – O/U: 5-9)

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8): The NFC South in 2022 may be the worst division in the NFL ever. The Bucs have a one game lead over the Panthers, Falcons, and Saints. It is likely that the division winner will have a losing record but will host a first-round playoff game. Playing the NFC South in the first round of the playoffs is almost as good as a bye. Next: -6.5 at Arizona Cardinals - Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 41 (ATS: 3-10-1 – O/U: 4-10)

22. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8): The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last 32 seconds against the Pats to pull off a miracle 30-24 victory. Lost in the Raiders celebration was that they were ahead 17-3 at halftime and were on the verge of blowing a double-digit halftime lead for the fifth time this season. Next: +3 at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 7-7 – O/U: 7-6-1)

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8): The Steelers kept their faint playoff hopes alive and their faint hopes of a winning season alive with a win over the Panthers. This Sunday they welcome an old friend to Pittsburgh, when the Raiders come to town in a battle of Alabama running backs, the Raiders Josh Jacobs vs. the Steelers Najee Harris. Next: -3 vs Las Vegas Raiders – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 7-6-1 – O/U: 6-8)

24. New Orleans Saints (5-9): The Saints still have a shot at winning the NFC South division if they win their final three games and the Bucs lose two of their final three games, which is certainly possible. The Saints do not have a first-round pick in 2023, so the Saints will likely look the "Aints" next season. Next: +2.5 at Cleveland Browns - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 32 (ATS: 5-9 – O/U: 6-8)

25. Carolina Panthers (5-9): The Panthers loss to the Steelers did not have much effect on the team's playoff status. With three games to go, the Panthers just simply need to win out and they win the NFC South and clinch a first-round playoff berth at home with an 8-9 record. Next: +2.5 vs Detroit Lions - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 44 (ATS: 7-7 – O/U: 6-8)

26. Los Angeles Rams (4-10): The Rams were officially eliminated from the playoff race by the Packers in their Monday Night loss. With the loss, the Lions stayed at #4 in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Rams traded their first-round pick in 2023 to the Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford. That earned a Super Bowl championship last season for the Rams, but the trade is really blowing up on the Rams this season. Next: +2.5 vs Denver Broncos – Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 36.5 (ATS: 4-8-2 – O/U: 5-9)

27. Atlanta Falcons (5-9): Quarterback Marcus Mariota is having knee surgery this week and is done with the Falcons. He has left the team. Rookie Desmond Ritter started against the Saints and threw for 97 yards in a 21-18 loss. The Falcons would have the worst passing offense in the NFL if it were not for the Bears. Next: +7.5 at Baltimore Ravens – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 37.5 (ATS: 8-6 – O/U: 6-8)

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-10): The Cardinals look like they are going to implode after the season. No one would be surprised to see the General Manager and Head Coach fired. Kyler Murray is not your prototypical quarterback at 5'10" and 207 pounds. This is not a job that Sean Payton would be interested in. Next: +6.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 41 (ATS: 6-8 – O/U: 7-5-2)

29. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1): The Colts blew a 33-point halftime lead and lost star running back Johnathan Taylor for the season with a high ankle sprain. Both will be difficult for a bad football team to overcome, which is a break for their next opponent, the Chargers. Next: +4 vs Los Angeles Chargers – Mon, Dec. 26 – O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 6-8 – O/U: 5-9)

30. Denver Broncos (4-10): Backup quarterback Brett Rypien threw for 197 yards and one touchdown to lead the Broncos to a 24-15 win over the hapless Cardinals. Running back Latavius Murray, who started the season unemployed, rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown in the win. It was the first Bronco win since October and they did it without their $245 million dollar quarterback, Russell Wilson. Next: -2.5 at Los Angeles Rams - Sun, Dec. 25 – O/U: 36.5 (ATS: 6-8 – O/U: 3-11)

Brevin Townsell - LA Rams

Running back Cam Akers led Rams with 65 rushing yards vs Packers - Rams rank 30th in total rushing yards

31. Chicago Bears (3-11): Quarterback Justin Fields has rushed for 1,000 yards in 13 games, an amazing feat. But he is usually running for his life on a bad football team. The Bears have a seven-game losing streak and the odds are that will extend to ten by the end of the season. Next: +9 vs Buffalo Bills - Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 5-8-1 – O/U: 9-5)

32. Houston Texans (1-12-1): The Texans have clinched the #2 spot in the 2023 NFL Draft after losing in overtime to the Chiefs. Head coach Lovie Smith has the Texans competing hard every game and with an infusion of talent through the 2023 NFL draft, they could win the weak AFC South division in 2023. That would be an amazing turnaround in one season. Next: +5 at Tennessee Titans – Sat, Dec. 24 – O/U 37 (ATS: 6-7-1 – O/U: 6-8)


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