NFL Carolina Panthers

2013 NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Panthers Make Huge Statement With Win Over Saints

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2013 NFL Power Rankings Week 17

(Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

With one game left in the regular season, it's time to take a look at the 2013 NFL Power Rankings for Week 17.

What a week it was last Sunday as teams provided fans with plenty of excitement with playoffs right around the corner. There was plenty of excitement surrounding the matchup between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints as these two NFC South rivals both had a chance to control their own destiny for a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Believe it or not, it will be the Carolina Panthers controlling their own destiny after a huge win over Drew Brees and the Saints--who continue to struggle when they're on the road.

Speaking of the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles made a huge statement in the national spotlight with a 54-11 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. There was plenty of concern over Philadelphia's defense after their disappointing loss to the Minnesota Vikings the week before, but if they can play at that high level against the Dallas Cowboys--they should have no trouble when it comes to winning the NFC East.

Finally, the Bears received the news they didn't want to hear about Aaron Rodgers and how the quarterback will be back in the lineup on Sunday for the Green Bay Packers in a showdown to win the NFC North. Football fans could not have asked for a more exciting weekend of football--so let's take a look at the NFL Power Rankings for Week 17.

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32. Houston Texans 2-13 (32)

(Thomas Campbell/USA Today Sports)

It's hard to believe the Houston Texans were only trailing the Denver Broncos by three points heading into the fourth quarter, but the final 15 minutes was the same story this team has seen all season as they went on to lose their 13th straight contest.

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31. Washington Redskins 3-12 (31)

(Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Washington Redskins should have beat the Dallas Cowboys--it's as simple as that. There's only one word to describe the team's defensive performance in the fourth quarter: pathetic.

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30. Oakland Raiders 4-11 (30)

(Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The Oakland Raiders looked like they had a shot in the first half, but simply fell apart once the second half came around against the San Diego Chargers as this team continues to have issues at quarterback.

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29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 (29)

(Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

A poor offensive performance for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Mike Glennon (16 of 26 for 158 yards) failed to find the end zone as this team continues to look forward to 2014.

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28. Atlanta Falcons 4-11 (26)

(Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Roddy White (12 catches for 141 yards with one touchdown) finally found the end zone for just the second time all year, but a costly interception in the fourth quarter ruined what would have been an impressive win on the road for the Atlanta Falcons.

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27. Cleveland Browns 4-11 (27)

(USA Today Sports)

Make that six-straight losses for the Cleveland Browns as Jason Campbell couldn't help his team get past Geno Smith and the New York Jets.

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26. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 (25)

(Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It's hard to believe the Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the hottest teams in football two weeks ago, but their loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday was a game they simply could have won.

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25. New York Giants 6-9 (28)

(Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports)

Well this was quite the nice surprise as the New York Giants pulled off the overtime win against the Detroit Lions.

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24. Minnesota Vikings 4-10-1 (23)

(Marc Lebryk/USA Today Sports)

One week we're bragging about the Minnesota Vikings and how impressive they looked against the Philadelphia Eagles. The next week--it was like they didn't even show up against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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23. Detroit Lions 7-8 (20)

(Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports)

What has happened to this Detroit Lions team over the last couple of weeks? For a team that should have locked up the division by now, the Lions have nobody to blame but themselves for missing out on the playoffs and don't be surprised if Jim Schwartz gets the boot once the season comes to an end.

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22. Buffalo Bills 6-9 (24)

(Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

With the way the Miami Dolphins had been playing over the last couple of weeks, it was quite the surprise to see the Buffalo Bills record the shutout against them on Sunday--especially with Thad Lewis at quarterback.

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21. Tennessee Titans 6-9

(Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It was nice to see the Tennessee Titans end their three-game losing streak and even though Chris Johnson (22 carries for 90 rushing yards) had a decent game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will be interesting to see what's in store for the running back this offseason.

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20. Green Bay Packers 7-7-1 (17)

(Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

This was a game the Green Bay Packers needed to win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and now--it all comes down to one final game against the Chicago Bears to determine whether or not this team plays in January.

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19. New York Jets 7-8 (22)

(Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Will this be Rex Ryan's last win as head coach for the New York Jets? It's only a matter of time before we find out, but at least this was an impressive win for Geno Smith and company.

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18. St. Louis Rams 7-8 (19)

(Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

If there's anything to take away from the St. Louis Rams this year, it would be this is a young team to keep an eye on heading into the 2014 season.

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17. Baltimore Ravens 8-7 (13)

(Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

So much for the Baltimore Ravens looking like one of the hottest teams in football, huh? For a team that controlled their own playoff destiny, the Ravens took a huge step back with that crushing loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

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16. Miami Dolphins 8-7 (12)

(Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Just like the Ravens, the Miami Dolphins missed out on a major opportunity when it comes to their playoff fate as they failed to score a single point against the Buffalo Bills. Lucky for them, they can still control their fate as they head into Week 17 holding on to the No. 6 spot in the AFC.

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15. Chicago Bears 8-7 (8)

(Tommy Gillgan/USA Today Sports)

The Chicago Bears missed out on clinching the NFC North in Week 16 after they suffered an embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the national spotlight. Now, they have to try and win the division with a Week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers--who will have Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup.

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14. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-8 (18)

(Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports)

It may be a long shot, but the Pittsburgh Steelers deserve some credit for pulling off an impressive win on the road in Green Bay to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

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13. Dallas Cowboys 8-7 (16)

(Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys were THIS close to being eliminated from the playoffs after they used a strong fourth quarter to overcome the Redskins. Unfortunately, it looks like they may have to try and win the division without Tony Romo--who is dealing with a back injury.

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12. San Diego Chargers 8-7 (14)

(Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The San Diego Chargers may have looked impressive at times over the last couple of weeks, but they'll need a ton of help if they're going to work their way into a Wild Card spot.

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11. Philadelphia Eagles 9-6 (15)

(Howard Smith/USA Today Sports)

If the Philadelphia Eagles can play at the high level they did against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they should have no trouble clinching the NFC East. Keep in mind though what happened two weeks ago against the Vikings though--so it will be interesting to see what happens in Dallas.

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10. Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (3)

(Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)

Who saw this brutal loss coming? One week ago, it looked like the Kansas City Chiefs had finally woken up on offense and the next--they score seven points at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

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9. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 (11)

(Marc Lebryk/USA Today Sports)

When the Cincinnati Bengals play at home, they are a completely different team--which could mean trouble once the playoffs get underway.

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8. New Orleans Saints 10-5 (5)

(Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

The struggles on the road continued for the New Orleans Saints as this team went from having a first round bye to most likely earning a Wild Card spot in a matter of weeks.

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7. Arizona Cardinals 10-5 (9)

(Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season and to pull off a win on the road against the Seattle Seahawks--that's very impressive. If this team can manage to make the playoffs, look out for the Cardinals.

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6. Indianapolis Colts 10-5 (10)

(John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

When considering the Kansas City Chiefs could end up being their first-round opponent, the Indianapolis Colts have to feel good about their win on the road against Andy Reid and company.

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5. New England Patriots 11-4 (7)

(Mitch Stringer/USA Today Sports)

You know it's an impressive win when Tom Brady only throws for 172 yards with one touchdown and the New England Patriots still manage to put up 41 points.

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4. San Francisco 49ers 11-4 (3)

(USA Today Sports)

Thank goodness the San Francisco 49ers woke up in the second half against the Falcons as this team still has a chance at earning a first-round bye--as crazy as that sounds.

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3. Carolina Panthers 11-4 (6)

(Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

A big win for the Carolina Panthers in Week 16 as Cam Newton and company control their own destiny when it comes to earning a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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2. Seattle Seahawks 12-3 (1)

(Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

If there's anything to take away from Week 16, it's the Seattle Seahawks can lose at home--which gives the rest of the NFC hope heading into the postseason.

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1. Denver Broncos 12-3 (2)

(Thomas Campbell/USA Today Sports)

Come on--we all knew the Denver Broncos would end up beating the Texans. Now, it's just a matter of earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.