Jackson 5: NFL power rankings, week 15

By Aaron Jackson,

With just two weeks remaining in the NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to take shape, though injuries across the league to star players have made this picture muddier than ever. Here is the latest rendition of my NFL Power Rankings. A reminder: this is strictly based on my opinion, and is solely a “who I think will likely win the Super Bowl” ranking. Last time the rankings were as follows; Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Vikings, Rams.

1. New England Patriots: A loss to the Dolphins hurt, but was to be expected. This team always loses a game they shouldn’t against an AFC East opponent. That said, they rebounded nicely against Steelers to prove they’re worthy of their 3/2 odds to repeat as Super Bowl champions. You can’t ever count Tom Brady out, and for that reason this team is #1.

2.Los Angeles Rams: They made a huge leap this time around, based largely off what I saw Sunday. If there was any reason to doubt the Rams, it was questioning their ability to win the big game, something they put to bed with Sunday’s trouncing of the Seahawks in Seattle. Between that win and the Eagles losing Carson Wentz this seems like the right place for the upstart Rams.

3. Minnesota Vikings: They took care of business against a bad Cincinnati Bengals team, and at 11-3 may end up as the top team in the NFC. The defense is great, and the offense is efficient, but I can’t help but feel like come playoff time, Case Keenum will turn into a pumpkin. If they still had Dalvin Cook anchoring the running game, I’d consider them to be two, but they don’t. I’ll take Jared Goff and the Rams over Keenum and the Vikes for now.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers: They would be no. 2 here if not for one thing; the injury to Antonio Brown. The team says it’s a partial calf tear and that he should be back for the playoffs, but I’m skeptical of that. I think it’s much more likely that he will attempt a comeback that falls short when he doesn’t have the same burst he did earlier this season. Yet another domino which has fallen in New England’s favor.

5. New Orleans Saints: I was initially leaning towards Philadelphia here, but I just can’t justify leaving a team with Drew Brees off while including a team with Nick Foles. The Saints run game has been amazing, and Brees is still able to light it up when needed. Philly’s victory over a bad New York Giants team did little to inspire confidence when they had to come from behind to do so. So, for now the Eagles are the first team out.

Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.