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NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: Steelers take a step backwards after loss to the Bills

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The Pittsburgh Steelers were on the verge of the Top 10 in almost every Power Ranking heading into Week 15, then the Bills game happened.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 8-6 after Week 15 of the 2019 regular season, but how they got to this record has been a roller coaster ride. After an 0-3 start, the team was finally able to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in Week 4 to move their record to 1-3.

How did they follow up that prime time win? With a gut-wrenching overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field in Week 5. In typical fashion, with their backs against the wall the Steelers gutted out a big win on Sunday Night Football over the Los Angeles Chargers before heading into their Week 7 bye week.

Coming off the bye the Steelers continued their winning ways with a 27-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, and before you knew it they had won three in a row while beating the Indianapolis Colts 26-24 in Week 9. That three game streak turned into a four game streak after they beat the Los Angeles Rams at home 17-12 in Week 10. The good feeling Pittsburgh was experiencing was short-lived when the Cleveland Browns smacked them around 21-7 on Thursday Night Football in Week 11.

In Week 12 the team turned it around, albeit behind Devlin Hodges, as the team traveled to Paul Brown Stadium and beat the Bengals 16-10 to get above that .500 mark once again. With ‘Duck’ at the helm, they got revenge against the Browns in a 20-13 win over the Browns at Heinz Field. The Duck Dynasty continued in Week 14 when the Steelers traveled to Arizona to beat the Cardinals 23-17.

Those three wins were erased quickly when the Buffalo Bills came to Heinz Field in Week 15 and beat the Steelers 17-10.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, it is that time of week where we check in on what other outlets are saying about the black-and-gold in those weekly Power Ranking articles. We all realize these rankings are completely meaningless, but they are great for discussion. Not just where the Steelers are ranked, but who made the Top 5 who should have, or shouldn’t have?

Check out the Power Rankings below, and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the rankings in the comment section below!

ESPN

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New Orleans Saints
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Seattle Seahawks
6 .New England Patriots
7. Green Bay Packers
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Houston Texans
...
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
Offseason in two words: Offensive weapons

The Steelers have the defense to make them a contender, but the offense needs to catch up. With Ben Roethlisberger eyeing a return from this year’s season-ending elbow injury, the Steelers’ future hinges on which weapons surround Big Ben. Will they take another stab at adding veteran free agents? Or will they build the offense through the draft? Those are the questions they face this offseason. -- Brooke Pryor”


NFL.com

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. New England Patriots
7. Green Bay Packers
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Houston Texans
10. Buffalo Bills
...
12. Pittsburgh Steelers
“Here’s the biggest concern coming out of Western Pennsylvania on Monday morning. Did Sunday night’s 17-10 loss to the Bills expose the ceiling of the 2019 Steelers as a good team with a great defense that is destined to lose a low-scoring game in the playoffs because the offense can’t hack it? Devlin Hodges has been a nice story this season, but his limitations as a passer were laid bare against a Bills defense that intercepted him four times, including on each of Pittsburgh’s final two possessions. Hodges showed himself to be the superior option to Mason Rudolph -- the original Ben Roethlisberger replacement -- because he protected the football and made just enough plays. The Bills showed just how vulnerable the Steelers are if you can get ahead and force Hodges to try to beat you. Put in that position on Sunday night, the man they call Duck could not answer the call.”


CBS Sports

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Seattle Seahawks
5. New England Patriots
6. San Francisco 49ers
7. New Orleans Saints
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Houston Texans
...
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
“They just don’t have much offense, which means the defense has to win every game. That still might get them to the playoffs.”


Sports Illustrated

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New Orleans Saints
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Green Bay Packers
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. New England Patriots
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Houston Texans
...
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
“A defensive slugfest against the Bills also showed which of the anemic offenses is less equipped for the playoffs, and it proved to be the Steelers’. Devlin Hodges threw plenty of ducks (23-of-38, 202 yards, TD, four INTs, 43.9 rating) and James Conner (eight carries, 42 yards) couldn’t do much against a tough Bills front seven. All of Hodges’s four picks came inside the Buffalo 35, and the two fourth-quarter picks were turned over in the end zone.”


Washington Post

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. New England Patriots
6. Green Bay Packers
7. San Francisco 49ers
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Houston Texans
...
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
“The four interceptions thrown by rookie QB Devlin Hodges in Sunday night’s loss to the Bills were a big problem. Coach Mike Tomlin recently benched Mason Rudolph in favor of Hodges. It wouldn’t be all that shocking now for him to sit down Hodges in favor of Rudolph. They’re basically interchangeable.”