aaron rodgers
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have won three straight and are the current No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The 2021 NFL season continues to include twists, turns, and a whole bunch of “what the hell” moments.

All of a sudden, the NFC is Green Bay’s — Aaron Rodgers and co. are on a roll and sit atop the conference with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Green Bay’s most recent victory came over the Ravens on the road while teams like the Patriots, Buccaneers, and Cardinals all suffered Week 15 losses.

Following this past weekend’s events (and the events of Monday and Tuesday, which both played host to two games due to COVID-related rescheduling), the Packers now find themselves at the top of ESNY’s 2021 NFL Power Rankings with Week 16 approaching.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars ( → )

Urban Meyer may be gone, but the Jaguars are still far from successful. Their disastrous season continued in Week 15 with a 14-point loss to our next team…

31. Houston Texans ( → )

We won’t give Houston credit for notching its third victory of the year because it was against Jacksonville, one of the only ballclubs worse than the Texans at this point.

30. New York Jets ( ↓ 1 )

The Jets remained in the loss column Sunday with a 31-24 defeat to the division-rival Dolphins. They’re out of playoff contention and Zach Wilson still doesn’t look like a big-game quarterback. The rookie only threw for 170 yards and was sacked six times.

29. New York Giants ( ↓ 1 )

The Giants continue to struggle offensively, which is what normally occurs when you don’t have a stellar line, an effective run game, or consistent health throughout the unit.

New York suffered a 21-6 defeat against the Cowboys Sunday and has now lost at least 10 games in five straight seasons.

28. Detroit Lions ( ↑ 2 )

The Lions have won two of three…somehow.

On Sunday, Detroit beat the much superior Cardinals by a score of 30-12, so we will improve the team’s ranking by two spots. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.

27. Chicago Bears ( → )

The Bears keep struggling and Matt Nagy needs to go.

Chicago couldn’t conjure up much offensive success Monday night in what was a 17-9 loss to Minnesota.

At least the Bears will earn a great first-round draft pick! Oh, wait…

26. Carolina Panthers ( → )

The Panthers remain at No. 26 after suffering an expected loss to Buffalo. Cam Newton struggled yet again, completing just 47.4% of his throws for 156 yards, one touchdown, one pick, and a 56.5 rating.

25. Atlanta Falcons ( → )

Atlanta stays a mess.

The Falcons dropped a matchup to the 49ers Sunday by a score of 31-13 and sit tight at No. 25 on our latest power rankings.

I’m thinking the Matt Ryan era should come to a close…very soon.

24. Seattle Seahawks ( → )

The Seahawks have now experienced their first losing season in 10 years. They most recently came up short against the Rams Tuesday night by a score of 20-10.

Could the Russell Wilson era be concluding in Seattle?

23. Washington Football Team ( ↓ 1 )

I understand Washington started Garrett Gilbert at quarterback Tuesday night just four days after signing him, but we had to move the Football Team down one spot to make room for Miami’s ascension (which we’ll discuss in a minute).

Washington has now lost two straight and is sitting outside the playoff picture.

22. Denver Broncos ( ↓ 2 )

Denver suffered a 15-10 loss to Cincinnati in Week 15 and is outside the playoff picture at 7-7.

The Broncos are still mathematically alive but it may be a long shot for them to notch a wild card spot.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers ( → )

Could the Steelers be turning a corner as the season comes to a close?

Pittsburgh notched a huge victory over a talented Titans team Sunday and is 7-6-1 (ninth seed in the AFC). Maybe the Steelers squeak into the postseason with a few enormous wins down the stretch?

20. Miami Dolphins ( ↑ 3 )

The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in football.

They’ve won six straight following a 1-7 start and could still find themselves in the mix for the AFC Playoffs.

Miami is just one game back of the 8-6 Bills, who occupy the final wild card spot in the conference.

19. Cleveland Browns ( ↓ 2 )

Cleveland drops two spots following a heartbreaking last-second loss to the Raiders.

The Browns are 7-7 but sit just one game behind the AFC North-leading Bengals.

18. Las Vegas Raiders ( ↑ 1 )

The Raiders returned to the win column for the first time since Thanksgiving when they defeated Cleveland on Monday.

Vegas is also just outside the playoff picture in the AFC, sitting at 7-7.

17. New Orleans Saints ( ↑ 1 )

The Saints are Tom Brady’s regular-season kryptonite.

Brady is now 0-4 against the Saints (in the regular season) since joining the Bucs, with the latest loss coming by a score of 9-0 on Sunday night.

16. Philadelphia Eagles ( → )

The Eagles sit tight at No. 16 after doing what many expected them to do against Garrett Gilbert.

Philly emerged victorious Tuesday night to improve to 7-7.

15. Minnesota Vikings ( → )

Many also expected the Vikings to win in Week 15, which they certainly did. Minnesota beat Chicago 17-9 on Monday night.

Just imagine if the league rules allowed for the Bears (+7.0) to kick an extra point following their last-second touchdown…

14. Cincinnati Bengals ( ↓ 1 )

The Bengals defeated the Broncos in Week 15 and lead the AFC North but move down one spot to make room for the Colts’ ascension.

13. Baltimore Ravens ( ↓ 1 )

Baltimore additionally moves down one spot following a loss to the Packers, but John Harbaugh’s coaching performance was surely impressive. The Ravens lost by only one despite the absence of Lamar Jackson (ankle).

12. Indianapolis Colts ( ↑ 2 )

The Patriots’ seven-game win streak came to an end Saturday at the hands of the Colts, who find themselves sitting atop the AFC wild card standings.

If Indianapolis keeps winning games (the team has won five of six), it will surely find itself in the postseason for the second straight year.

11. Los Angeles Chargers ( ↓ 1 )

The Chargers could’ve taken sole possession of the AFC West on Thursday night but came up short against the Chiefs in overtime.

Justin Herbert threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the matchup.

10. San Francisco 49ers ( ↑ 1 )

The 49ers have now won two straight and five of their last six. They are definitely capable of not just being a playoff team but also sitting in the top 10 of our power rankings.

If the season were to end today, San Francisco would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC.

9. Dallas Cowboys ( → )

There was no way the Cowboys were going to lose to the Giants on Sunday.

Despite Dallas’ recent struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the Giants offense is even worse and Big Blue is simply a lost cause this year.

The Cowboys remain in our top 10 following a 21-6 victory.

8. Tennessee Titans ( ↓ 2 )

If the Titans are going to possess momentum heading into the postseason, they must come up big in winnable games down the stretch.

Tennessee dropped its Week 15 matchup to Pittsburgh but still sits on top of the AFC South.

7. Buffalo Bills ( ↑ 1 )

I still think Buffalo is a top-10 team despite it currently residing as the final playoff ballclub in the AFC.

The Bills need to be careful though — a few losses down the stretch could lead to them missing the postseason.

6. Kansas City Chiefs ( ↑ 1 )

Seven straight wins for the Chiefs — what a turnaround for an AFC powerhouse that was 3-4 to start the year.

Kansas City should have great momentum entering the playoffs. Right now, the team is the top seed in its conference.

5. Los Angeles Rams ( → )

The Rams were expected to beat the struggling Seahawks Tuesday night, and that’s exactly what occurred.

Los Angeles, a current wild card team, would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC if the season were to end today.

4. Arizona Cardinals ( ↓ 1 )

What a dreadful game it was for the Cardinals on Sunday.

Arizona suffered a 30-12 loss to Detroit.


The Cardinals are still in first place in the NFC West but are the No. 4 seed in the conference.

3. New England Patriots ( ↓ 1 )

The Patriots’ win streak has ended.

For the first time since Oct. 17, New England failed to emerge victorious. The Colts constructed an impressive performance Saturday night and earned a 27-17 win.

The Pats could still fight for the No. 1 seed in the AFC though and Bill Belichick will certainly have his players ready for playoff football.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( ↓ 1 )

Will Tom Brady ever be able to outplay the Saints in the regular season while in a Buccaneers uniform?

Following Tampa’s Week 15 defeat, the Bucs move down to No. 2 on our rankings to make way for our new top team…

1. Green Bay Packers ( ↑ 3 )

Following a big Week 15 win over Baltimore, the Packers are now the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have won the NFC North crown (their third straight division title).

If Green Bay wins out, the Aaron Rodgers-led squad will earn home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the postseason, privileges only two organizations (one from each conference) will possess.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.