Updated: January 5, 2016, 3:22 PM ET
2015 NFL Power Rankings: Final regular-season order
The Cardinals wrestled the top spot from the Panthers a week ago. Now the roles are reversed, as Carolina is back at No. 1, just in time to claim our regular-season "title" for 2015.
After being blown out at home by Seattle, Arizona slipped to No. 4. The Seahawks were rewarded, rising from No. 10 to No. 3 -- the biggest move of the week. The Broncos, who edged the Patriots and Bengals for the AFC's No. 1 seed, jumped from No. 4 to No. 2.
With Week 17 in the books, the attention now turns to the playoffs. Of the eight teams playing on wild-card weekend, six reside in our top 10. Only the Redskins (No. 11) and Texans (No. 13) are on the outside looking in.
The Jets finished the season on a sour note, but they're the best of the non-playoff teams at No. 12.
Note: The comments below are provided by ESPN Stats & Information.
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|The Panthers are the seventh team in NFL history to win 15 games or more in the regular season. Three of the previous six made the Super Bowl and two won it.|
|Peyton Manning is back, but the Broncos just need someone to protect the ball. They ranked first in total defense for the first time in franchise history.|
|The Seahawks allowed the fewest points for the fourth straight season, and Russell Wilson finished with a career-high 74.9 Total QBR. Is Seattle still the team to beat?|
|The Cardinals set franchise records in wins, scoring and point differential this season, but a 30-point loss in the home finale can't help the confidence.|
|The Patriots went 2-4 following their 10-0 start. But they still have a bye, and that will provide a much-needed break for the injury-depleted team.|
|The Bengals won 12 games for the first time since 1988, when they lost the Super Bowl. Will this be the year coach Marvin Lewis (0-6) gets his first playoff win?|
|Ben Roethlisberger averaged 328.2 passing yards per game, third-best in a single season in NFL history. He may be leaned on even more in the playoffs with Le'Veon Bell out and DeAngelo Williams hobbled.|
|The Chiefs have won a franchise-best 10 straight games. Three of the previous nine teams to win 10 or more consecutive games to end the season won the Super Bowl, most recently the 2003 Patriots.|
|The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2009, Brett Favre's first season with the team. The defense keys Minnesota, which finished top five in points allowed for the first time since 1988.|
|The Packers scored two touchdowns in their final two games of the season. Their opponents scored three defensive touchdowns in those games. The Packers were outscored 58-21 the past two weeks.|
|Kirk Cousins led the NFL in completion percentage, threw a touchdown pass in all 16 games (first time in Redskins history) and made the playoffs. Who wouldn't like that?|
|Sorry, Jets fans. You join the 2014 Eagles, 2013 Cardinals, 2012 Bears, 2010 Giants and 2010 Buccaneers as recent 10-win teams that failed to make the playoffs.|
|J.J. Watt (17.5 sacks) is not alone, as teammate Whitney Mercilus finished with 12.0 sacks, most by a Texan not named Watt since 2008 (Mario Williams, 12.0).|
|Sixteen seasons without a playoff berth is tough to swallow. But on the bright side, the Bills finished with a non-losing record for the second straight year, the first time that has happened since 1999-2000.|
|The Falcons went 2-7 in their last nine games after starting 6-1. Only three teams (Cowboys, Titans and Browns) had worse records from Week 8 through 17.|
|A 7-9 season was a big improvement for the Raiders but next they need to learn how to finish. The Raiders had the worst point differential in the fourth quarter this season (minus-60).|
|The Colts went 2-5 in games started by Andrew Luck this season and 6-3 in games started by all others. A healthy Luck in 2016 could have the Colts right back in the playoffs, though.|
|Mark Sanchez is the only quarterback currently under contract with the Eagles next season. Sam Bradford's best Total QBR this season came in his one game without Chip Kelly as coach.|
|The Saints allowed the most points in the NFL this season and the second-most in franchise history. No team in 2015 had more defensive snaps from rookies than the Saints.|
|The Lions went 6-2 in the second half of the season, committing a league-low four turnovers. Only the Chiefs, Panthers and Cardinals had better records in the second half.|
|Ryan Tannehill was surrounded by weapons this season but finished with a career-worst 43.1 Total QBR, ranking 29th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks.|
|The Rams finished with a losing record for the ninth straight season, the longest active streak in the NFL, and the fourth straight under coach Jeff Fisher.|
|The Giants (6-10) finished with a sub-.500 record for the third straight season. The last time that happened? The 1973-80 seasons. Eli Manning wasn't even alive for that stretch.|
|The Buccaneers lost four straight to end the season, but six wins in 2015 still match the franchise's combined win totals from 2013 and 2014.|
|A 6-10 season is only a one-win improvement over 2014, but overall improvements were made. The defense didn't rank 30th or worse in scoring for the first time since 2012.|
|The Ravens lost nine games by eight or fewer points, their first-round pick from 2015 didn't play a snap (WR Breshad Perriman) and they have the sixth pick in 2016. Baltimore is still in good shape.|
|The Jaguars scored their most points (376) since 2007 (411), when they last made the playoffs. However, they also allowed the second-most points in franchise history (448).|
|The Chargers' 4-12 season was their worst since 2003, the year that prompted them to acquire Philip Rivers. Rivers signed a deal before the 2015 season that guaranteed him $65 million.|
|The 49ers finished last in scoring, averaging 14.9 points per game, for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in the Super Bowl era.|
|The Cowboys' 4-12 season was their worst since 1989, when they went 1-15. The season also gets them down to .500 since the start of 1997 (152-152).|
|The Titans own the No. 1 pick in the draft following a 3-13 season, but what's more pressing? They finished 28th in points scored and 27th in points allowed this season.|
|The Browns have used an NFL-high 24 starting quarterbacks since returning to the NFL in 1999. Will pick No. 2 in 2016 finally land Cleveland its franchise quarterback?|