The Patriots were expected to bounce back with a vengeance in Week 16 against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars after losing to the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium in Week 15.
Unfortunately, Tom Brady and company weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders against the two-win Jaguars and barely escaped with a win on the road.
As a result of the loss to the 49ers and struggles against the Jaguars, New England has fallen from No. 4 to No. 5. Despite the team’s recent struggles, the Patriots will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs and shouldn’t be judged for the past two weeks alone.
#4 Green Bay Packers (11-4)
The Packers are on a roll heading into the final week of the NFL regular season with 11-4 record and the distinction as a team that no one wants to face in the NFC come playoff time.
Green Bay has won nine of the last 10 games and is coming off perhaps their most impressive win of the season lighting up the Tennessee Titans in Week 16. The Packers scored a season-high 55 points against the Titans while only giving up a season-best seven points in the process.
As the season comes to a close, the Packers are firing on all cylinders on both sides of the football while shooting for the second seed in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers may prove to be as dangerous as any team in the postseason this time around.
#3 San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers were able to take down the Patriots in convincing fashion in Week 16, but were blown out by the division rival Seattle Seahawks one week later resulting in San Francisco falling from No. 1 to No. 3.
San Francisco will certainly be a forced to be reckoned with in the playoffs, but may have suffered major blows to their offense in Week 16′s loss to the Seahawks with Vernon Davis (concussion) and Mario Manningham (knee) going down with injury.
#2 Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
The Falcons locked up the number one seed in the NFC on Sunday with win over the Detroit Lions.
Although the Falcons continue to dominate, no one seems sold on this team until they can win a playoff game with Matt Ryan under center.
#1 Denver Broncos (12-3)
With 10 straight wins heading into their regular-season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL with Peyton Manning proving why he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
Denver will be a serious force to be reckoned with in the playoffs if they’re are able to clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason. The Chiefs may be the only thing standing in their way of accomplishing that goal in Week 17.