NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: 49ers, Raiders Get Huge Wins

The NFL wrapped up its penultimate regular season and we are looking at a wild finish in Week 17. While the Green Bay Packers wrapped up the number one seed in the NFC, the New England Patriots wrapped up a first round bye, and the New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South, the rest of the action simply set up a great finish on New Years Day.

The San Francisco 49ers head into Week 17 with a simple formula. Beat the St. Louis Rams and the 49ers earn the number two seed. If the Saints lose to the Carolina Panthers the 49ers would also secure the number two seed, but both teams play at 10:00am PT, so the 49ers will not have the benefit of getting to see what happens in the Saints game.

The Oakland Raiders find themselves in a wild situation. They snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 8-7 and thanks to the Broncos and Jets losing, they are in the thick of the AFC West and wild card races. For the Raiders to earn a playoff berth, they need to win and then have either the Denver Broncos or Cincinnati Bengals lose. The Raiders are tied with Denver, but the Broncos hold the tiebreaker. On the other hand, the Raiders hold tiebreakers over the Bengals, Titans and Jets.

The power rankings show an intriguing battle at the other end of the spectrum as well. The Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams are tied at 2-13. The Colts hold the tiebreaker edge but they also have the slightly easier matchup, heading on the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams will be hosting the 49ers with an opportunity to trip up San Francisco in their battle for the number two seed. The draft implications are intriguing.

On to the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

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

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