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NFL Power Rankings through Week 15: Christmas Edition

Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts

Just in time for the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, the crazy improbability of Week 15 in the NFL arrived. A number of teams kept their improbable playoff hopes alive, the Colts managed to win, and the Packers found a way to lose.

Did the Colts and Packers hold onto their bookend spots at the bottom and top of the NFL hierarchy? Or did I feel like it was high time I changed their ranks on a whim?

These are good questions you’ll have to answer yourself by, you know, reading further.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I bring you a special Christmas Edition of my weekly NFL Power Rankings. If anyone is offended by the lack of hacky jokes made at the expense of your winter time holiday, I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, I’m in it for the presents. Last week’s ranking in parentheses.

Without further ado, the list of the NFL’s naughty and nice through Week 15:

32 (32). Indianapolis Colts (1-13)

Christmas came early for the Colts with a surprising win. I figured I might as well get that joke out of the way early.

They didn’t get what they really wanted, though, which was escaping from the dregs of my power rankings. A mere 10 first downs won’t cut it for me. Or Santa, for that matter.

31 (31). St. Louis Rams (2-12)

The Rams deserve a lump of coal for how they’ve played this season.

30 (30). Minnesota Vikings (2-12)

As do the Vikings, although they should just forward Santa’s package to Donavan McNabb’s home address. Considering how fat McNabb is these days, maybe a simple “Return to Sender” would suffice.

29 (29). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)

The Bucs deserve an entire coal mine for their recent play, and Raheem Morris should get a pink slip under his Christmas tree with a pretty pink bow to match.

28 (28). Cleveland Browns (4-10)

Please do something nice for Cleveland, Santa. Give them a concussion doctor, or do unto them as God does unto Tebow, or run over LeBron in your sleigh.

27 (27). Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)

Poor Maurice Jones-Drew. Seventeen carries for 112 yards, over 6 yards per carry, and still his team gets trounced. I hope MoJo asks for a new team for Christmas. Or at least a new quarterback.

26 (23). Buffalo Bills (5-9)

It’s amazing how a starting NFL quarterback and millionaire can manage to make Harvard look bad. I don’t know if it’s the consistent 3-interception games or the homeless look.

25 (19). Chicago Bears (7-7)

Three picks and a 10 for 23 performance? For Caleb Hanie’s sake, I hope he’s a Jehovah’s Witness, because there isn’t a lot for him to celebrate right about now.

24 (25). Washington Redskins (5-9)

“A party broke out for us,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said of the Redskins’ win. I don’t know what that means, but whatever you say, Barry.

23 (24). Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Since Cam Newton has already locked up Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Panthers dialed up the good ol’ Fumblerooski to put away the Texans. I will now ask for Little Giants for Christmas.

21 (26). Kansas City Chiefs (6-8)

Who would have thought the tag team of Romeo Crennel and Kyle Orton would lead to good things for the Chiefs? Derrick Johnson, that’s who:

“This is the great thing about football. You can’t always look at the records, because you’ve got grown men out there who are all getting paid.”

I would have gone with pride or dignity, but money it is, DJ! (I assume that’s his nickname.)

21 (22). Oakland Raiders (7-7)

With just under 9 minutes to play, coach Hue Jackson decided to kick the extra point to go up 27-13, instead of going for two to make it a 14 point game. Sure enough, the Raiders lost by one.

Hey, Hue Jackson’s kids, if you’re reading this right now, get your dad Madden for Christmas. He could use the game management experience.

20 (14). Tennessee Titans (7-7)

After losing to the woeful Colts, I can only shake my head in somber and shameful silence. But that is hard for you to read, so I’ll hand this space over to the ever quotatious Chad Ochocinco:

“If the Buccaneers are the Bucs, and the Patriots are the Pats, what does that make the Titans?”

19 (21). Miami Dolphins (5-9)

Reggie Bush piled on 203 yards on 25 carries, presumably inspired to win back Kim and spend Khristmas with the Kardashian’s (their new TV special, not coincidentally).

18 (17). Arizona Cardinals (7-7)

Who is John Skelton, and how is he the QB with the highest winning percentage outside of Wisconsin? He should be a character in a Western movie or the Red Dead Revolver video game, not Tebow Lite.

17 (20). Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)

Apparently Andy Reid is Santa in disguise (an admittedly poor one, at that), because Philadelphia could still be gifted a home playoff game this year. Who knew that the Dream Team was all “visions of sugar plums?”

16 (11). New York Giants (7-7)

“I’m very disappointed in how we played today. I accept full responsibility for it. But I expected to see more quality execution, and we didn’t get that.” And with those inspiring words, Tom Coughlin wished his team a merry Christmas, full of love and joy.

15 (18). Seattle Seahawks (7-7)

In the spirit of Christmas, I almost want to apologize to Tarvaris Jackson. Almost.

14 (15). Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

After going 15-26 with an interception, and having only completed 53.8 percent of his December passes, maybe pump the brakes on the Andy Dalton praise? It’s Jesus’s birthday, not his.

13 (16). San Diego Chargers (7-7)

I’m mildly frightened that the Chargers might actually be turning it around behind Philip Rivers’s fourth straight 4,000 yard season. The only other players to do that were Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and, reportedly, Kim Jong-Il.

12 (9). New York Jets (8-6)

For a team that prides itself on defense, the only explanation I can come up with for bleeding 45 points is that the Jets get easily confused when fans hold up the letter “D” followed by a picture of a fence. Pictograms just aren’t their strong point, I guess.

11 (8). Denver Broncos (8-6)

Finally, the Broncos lost. Thank God.

10 (13). Detroit Lions (9-5)

Remember Calvin Johnson? Well, after a five game hiatus (and he hadn’t even stomped on anyone), he showed up again on Sunday to reel in 9 catches for 214 yards and two TDs. Sources say he spent the past few weeks rebooting.

9 (12). Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

Has anybody realized that Tony Romo is on pace for almost 4,500 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions? Tony Romo? Are we sure?

8 (7). Houston Texans (10-4)

There’s the third-string rookie quarterback we’ve all been looking for. Welcome to the NFL, T.J. Yates! We’ve been expecting you.

7 (10). Atlanta Falcons (9-5)

The Falcons “allowed” -1 passing yards in the first half, Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns in less than three quarters, and the Falcons at one point held a 41-0 lead. It’s as if Ebenezer Scrooge took on Tiny Tim on the grid-iron. Only if Tiny Tim didn’t even have his crutches.

6 (2). Baltimore Ravens (10-4)

If the Ravens were a Christian child, they would be on both Santa’s naughty and nice list. And they would be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

5 (6). New England Patriots (11-3)

I asked Santa for a new defense during the playoffs for Christmas this year. Hmmm, I probably just should have asked for the Lombardi trophy straight up, huh?

4 (4). Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)

Maybe it’s just me, but it’s less “tough” and more “detrimental” when you return from injury to play like that.

3 (5). San Francisco 49ers (11-3)

Let me be the 10 millionth person to say this team was lights out Monday night.

2 (3). New Orleans Saints (11-3)

Drew Brees should ask for some MVP consideration for Christmas, because after 412 yards and five TDs, he’s only 304 yards shy of Dan Marino’s record for passing yards in a single season and just three TDs shy of Aaron Rodgers for the league-lead.

1 (1). Green Bay Packers (13-1)

I was kind of hoping Santa would bring me a Patriots Super Bowl win over a previously undefeated Packers team, but that was probably a little too extravagant. Like that time I asked my parents gave me a GameCube when I asked for a video game console, hey, I’ll take a Chiefs win in Week 15.

Happy Holidays, SoB readers.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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