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Mason's Week 17 Power Rankings: Browns can't escape the bottom

Posted Dec 27, 2016

One win didn't pull Cleveland up from the bottom on a week where there wasn't much movement up or down around the league.

32. CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-14)

Last week: 32
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 30 - Defense: 31

Week 16 was perfect for the Browns: They avoided the first 0-16 season in eight years and kept the No. 1 overall pick because of the 49ers' comeback win over the Rams.

31. LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-11)

Last week: 30
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 32 - Defense: 11

Hard to believe this team was once 3-1.

31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-13)

Last week: 30
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 31 - Defense: 26

They have the Rams' number, at least.

29. NEW YORK JETS (4-11)

Last week: 29
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 27 - Defense: 23

Fourth-and-goal at the New England 11, 6:20 remaining, down 41-0 ... and the Jets kick a field goal. Gotta take the points when you get the chance to score them, I reckon.

28. CHICAGO BEARS (3-12)

Last week: 27
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 17 - Defense: 24

In John Fox's last seven seasons of games on the sidelines -- which doesn't count the four games he missed while he recovered from open-heart surgery in 2013 -- his teams are .500 at 57-57, which is amazing considering that he was a part of teams that went 38-10 in the regular season from 2012-14.

27. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-12)

Last week: 28
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 23 - Defense: 9

They're closer than anyone thinks to contention -- if they can fix Blake Bortles or otherwise find more consistency at quarterback.

26. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-10)

Last week: 25
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 19 - Defense: 10

Nineteen Chargers players are now on injured reserve.

25. CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-9-1)

Last week: 24
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 11 - Defense: 19

As if the A.J. Green situation couldn't get more frustrating: Green said he was healthy enough to play last weekend and traveled with the team to Houston. The team ruled him out, at which point Green asked to fly home on his own so he could enjoy Christmas Eve with his family. The team obliged. Leave an injured player at home to begin with, or have him there for the duration. The Bengals took neither path, putting a period on a bad, bizarre season.

24. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-8)

Last week: 22
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 6 - Defense: 29

The epitaph on the 2016 Colts will read, "They couldn't stop anyone."

23. CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-9)

Last week: 20
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 21 - Defense: 14

No single quote from any Monday press conference for any NFL head coach had more long-term impact than when Ron Rivera acknowledged that Cam Newton will have to become "a different-style player," and that the team would have to evolve around that. This is an acknowledgment that the Panthers' hopes of returning to the top of the NFC South -- and perhaps beyond -- in 2017 cannot be based on simply hitting the reset button and hoping the same situation brings a different result.

22. BUFFALO BILLS (7-8)

Last week: 21
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 10 - Defense: 22

Rex Ryan didn't coach as if he had one foot out the door, but the team lost its toehold on playoff hopes when Dan Carpenter couldn't step up and misfired on a 45-yard overtime kick that could have kept Buffalo alive.

21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6-9)

Last week: 26
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 16 - Defense: 13

No one is happier about the Eagles' descent than the Browns, who as of today hold two of the top seven picks thanks to their April trade for Philadelphia's 2017 first-rounder.

20. ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-8-1)

Last week: 23
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 14 - Defense: 6

Even in a foul season, they still have the Seahawks' number at CenturyLink Field, with wins in three of their last four games there. Arizona is also 2-1-1 against the Seahawks the last two seasons.

19. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-8)

Last week: 19
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 4 - Defense: 30

New Orleans hasn't been swept by the Buccaneers since 2007, and kept that streak alive in its 2016 home finale.

18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-8)

Last week: 18
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 22 - Defense: 7

By Monday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was putting the blame on himself, chalking up the players' decision to veer from the game plan as to how to cover Packers WR Jordan Nelson to a "miscommunication."

17. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-7)

Last week: 15
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 18 - Defense: 20

Marcus Mariota should be good to go midway through OTAs, which is the best the Titans could have hoped for in the wake of his injury.

16. DENVER BRONCOS (8-7)

Last week: 14
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 29 - Defense: 4

A league-low three offensive touchdowns in December, two of which came on drives of fewer than 30 yards. A league-low 33 first-quarter points all season -- with 14 of them coming on drives of 11 or fewer yards.

15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-7)

Last week: 10
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 13 - Defense: 17

Among the seven results needed for the Bucs to make the playoffs: a tie between the Giants and Redskins.

14. BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7)

Last week: 11
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 24 - Defense: 3

Baltimore's defense collapsed this month, allowing 85 points in the last three games.

13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (8-6-1)

Last week: 16
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 2 - Defense: 32

Washington now has its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97 -- which was before Dan Snyder became their owner.

12. HOUSTON TEXANS (9-6)

Last week: 17
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 25 - Defense: 1

If the Raiders lose to the Broncos, the projected starting QB matchup for the Texans' wild-card game will be Matt McGloin vs. Tom Savage.

11. MIAMI DOLPHINS (10-5)

Last week: 15
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 26 - Defense: 18

No one will remember that the Dolphins snapped their seven-season playoff drought against the league's weakest schedule that season ... they'll simply remember that the Dolphins were in the playoffs.

10. DETROIT LIONS (9-6)

Last week: 9
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 8 - Defense: 28

The Lions' last eight possessions Monday night ended thusly: punt, punt, interception, punt, missed FG attempt, punt, fumble, end of game. Motown's engine blew a rod at the worst possible time.

9. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-6)

Last week: 16
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 5 - Defense: 27

The Broncos broke Aaron Rodgers for a calendar year, but in the last six weeks, he's been repaired; he has 14 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 118.8 passer rating.

8. NEW YORK GIANTS (10-5)

Last week: 7
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 28 - Defense: 2

Defense can propel a team to playoff success on the road, but a 3-4 mark away from MetLife Stadium this year doesn't offer a hint that this Giants edition can mimic the magic of the 2007 and 2011 teams.

7. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-5-1)

Last week: 8
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 17 - Defense: 7

What the Seahawks needed above all was a bye and the rest that goes with it.

6. ATLANTA FALCONS (10-5)

Last week: 6
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 1 - Defense: 25

The good news is that the Falcons are one win away from a bye week. The bad news is that the Falcons have only made the Super Bowl once in the five times that they began a playoff run with a first-round bye, and are just 4-3 all-time at home in the playoffs. (And think about that -- seven home playoff games all time -- as many as the Broncos had over the five seasons from 2011-15.)

5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4)

Last week: 5
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 20 - Defense: 15

In the first quarter against Denver, the Chiefs had as many touchdowns from scrimmage on plays covering 70 or more yards as they did in the previous 48 games combined.

4. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-5)

Last week: 4
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 9 - Defense: 13

I don't care what Terry Bradshaw says; if you take your team to six postseasons and two Super Bowls -- winning one -- in 10 year and never post a losing record, you can coach.

3. OAKLAND RAIDERS (12-3)

Last week: 3
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 12 - Defense: 16

Matt McGloin has thrown just 55 passes in the last three seasons and has a career rating of 76.1. And now the Raiders' hopes are in his hands.

2. DALLAS COWBOYS (13-2)

Last week: 2
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 4 - Defense: 21

To play Tony Romo for a few series or not to play Tony Romo ... that is the question.

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-2)

Last week: 1
Per-possession efficiency rankings -- Offense: 7 - Defense: 5

They haven't played a regular-season game without the hope of the postseason since Dec. 24, 2000. Remarkable. There are college students who have no memory of a Patriots team being out of the running.

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