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NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: Steelers’ big win over Patriots moves them up the rankings

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The Steelers were a unanimous Top 5 team heading into the regular season and after a big win in Week 15 they start to move back into the Top 10.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The only consistent aspect of the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the season were their inconsistencies.

After an opening week tie with the Cleveland Browns, followed by a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers had shown it all — amazing offense, head-scratching play calling and shoddy defense, among others.

Needless to say, the Steelers experienced a precipitous drop in the weekly NFL Power Rankings because of their poor play which resulted in a 0-1-1 record heading into Week 3. However, a 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football had the Steelers on the rise. Right on cue, the next week they suffered a 26-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football, and the Pittsburgh roller coaster was back on the decline.

Have no fear Steelers fans, a dominant performance in Week 5 vs. the Atlanta Falcons, followed by a big win over the Cincinnati Bengals, had the team on the upward track. Or as Mike Tomlin would say, “The arrow is pointing up.”

Inconsistency was the theme early with this team, but they seemed to have rectified this after beating the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 and the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, extending their winning streak to five straight games. A narrow victory in Jacksonville over the Jaguars moved the Steelers’ win streak to six games, and boosted their ascent in the weekly rankings.

Just in case fans were thinking things were too good to be true, the Denver Broncos slapped a big fat ‘L’ on the Steelers in Week 12 — dropping the team down the rankings in the process. After a Week 13 home defeat versus the Los Angeles Chargers, plus a Week 14 loss to the 2-10 Oakland Raiders, the wheels were falling off. A huge Week 15 win over the New England Patriots continues the inconsistent trend with the Steelers, and also lifts them up in the rankings — again.

In reality, these power rankings mean nothing, but they’re great for conversation and debate. This week, the Steelers barely stayed in the Top-10.

Check out the rankings, and let us know what you think in the comment section below!

ESPN

1. New Orleans Saints
2. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Los Angeles Rams
5. Chicago Bears
6. Houston Texans
7. New England Patriots
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
Biggest breakthrough: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Linebacker T.J. Watt is also deserving for his 11 sacks in his second season, but Smith-Schuster’s star turn is hard to ignore. He isn’t a supporting player to Antonio Brown. He’s a marquee player alongside Brown after registering 95 catches, 1,274 yards and six touchdowns through 14 games. He has a flair for the big play, Ben Roethlisberger loves throwing to him, and he hasn’t caught fewer than three passes in a game this season.”
9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Baltimore Ravens

NFL.com

1. New Orleans Saints
2. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Chicago Bears
5. Los Angeles Rams
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Indianapolis Colts
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
“Stressful being a fan, isn’t it? The waning moments in Heinz Field were not for the faint of heart. If you fainted watching Tom Brady’s last pass go airborne, who could blame you? No Pittsburgh contest goes down easy these days. Sunday’s thriller marked the fifth straight Steelers outing determined by one score. Despite Pittsburgh’s penchant for going “empty” on offense (no RBs), a third-string running back was imperative to Mike Tomlin’s group staying in first place in the AFC North. Jaylen Samuels picked up 172 yards on 21 touches, outgaining all of the Patriots’ RBs combined. With James Conner’s ankle still wonky, Samuels could be huge in terms of eating yards and clock in New Orleans this week, limiting Drew Brees’ possessions. Side note: The Steelers’ all-black unis are cool, but they kind of look like what teams wear in movies where the filmmakers couldn’t get the rights to NFL properties. You know, like when Johnny Unitas roamed the sidelines at Texas Stadium in “Any Given Sunday” donning gear that rivaled the costumes at the Dallas Medieval Times? Wasn’t he coaching the “Knights”?”
10. Baltimore Ravens

CBS Sports

1. New Orleans Saints
2. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Los Angeles Rams
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Chicago Bears
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
“That was an impressive showing by the defense against the Patriots. Now that unit faces another big test against Drew Brees and the Saints on the road.”
9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Dallas Cowboys

SB Nation

1. Los Angeles Chargers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Chicago Bears
5. Los Angeles Rams
6. Houston Texans
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
“They FINALLY beat the Patriots, and they did it in December. Of course, they did manage to beat the worst version of the Patriots we’ve seen since the Matt Cassel year. But, hey, a win is a win. They’ll probably win the AFC North too, probably going 1-1 over the last two weeks, against the Saints and Bengals. The only reason for that is because the Ravens have to play the Chargers this week and finish the season against a Browns team that actually has real hope for the future.”
8. New England Patriots
9. Baltimore Ravens
10. Indianapolis Colts