Updated: December 16, 2014, 3:13 PM ET
2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16
So much for the Packers going the distance at No. 1.
After a surprising loss in Buffalo, Green Bay was knocked out of the top spot by New England, which pummeled Miami on Sunday. It's the second go-around for the Patriots, who last reigned supreme from Weeks 10 to 12.
ESPN's Power Panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) dropped the Packers to No. 4, behind the Broncos and Seahawks. The Cowboys rose two spots to No. 6, while the Eagles fell two spots to No. 9.
Green Bay appeared to have a favorable enough closing schedule to stay the course at No. 1, but Sunday's rare dud opened the door for change. Now we'll see if the Patriots, who finish the regular season against the lowly Jets (No. 27) and dangerous Bills (No. 15), can maintain their rule for the final two weeks.
Note: The comments below are provided by ESPN Stats & Information.
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|Tom Brady averaged 9.6 yards per attempt targeting Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell in Sunday's win over the Dolphins, much better than the Week 1 loss to Miami (5.2).|
|Peyton Manning was 5-of-7 for 156 yards and a TD on throws at least 15 yards downfield Sunday, tied for his second-most deep completions in a game this season.|
|The two highest rushing yards and yards-after-contact totals allowed by the 49ers' defense this season have come in the two games against the Seahawks.|
|The Packers had seven drops Sunday by seven receivers after entering the game with 13 drops on the season. None was bigger than Jordy Nelson's third-quarter dropped deep ball.|
|They're in. Ryan Lindley hasn't posted a QBR above 22.5 in four career starts, and there's a good chance he will start a playoff game this season.|
|Pay that man his money. Dez Bryant had three touchdown catches, bringing his league-leading total to 13 receiving touchdowns. Thirty-seven wide receivers had a higher cap hit this year than Bryant.|
|Andrew Luck started Sunday 2-of-8, including a pick-six, but finished 16-of-26 with two touchdowns. So a pick-six sparked improvement in two straight weeks. Don't make it a habit.|
|In the 11 games where each team attempted a field goal, Sunday was the first time the Lions actually had a higher field goal percentage than their opponent.|
|Even with wins at the Redskins and Giants, an 11-win Eagles team could be out of the playoffs with a little bad luck. Thank the horrific NFC South.|
|Ben Roethlisberger was 10-of-10 for 123 yards targeting Antonio Brown Sunday, the third game of Brown's career with a perfect catch percentage on at least 10 targets.|
|Money signs for everyone! The Bengals' defense pitched its first shutout since a 14-0 win over the Browns in Week 16 of 2008, Johnny Manziel's sophomore season -- in high school.|
|One of six AFC teams with at least nine wins, Baltimore just needs to beat the 7-7 Texans and 7-7 Browns to punch a ticket into the playoffs.|
|Even Alex Smith loves the running game. Smith was 10-of-13 for 125 yards and a touchdown off play-action Sunday, bringing his league-leading completions total to 104 on play-action passes.|
|Philip Rivers did not complete a pass in the first quarter (0-for-3) Sunday, the first time since Weeks 15 and 16 of 2006 Rivers did not complete a first-quarter pass.|
|That's how you close out a season at home. The Bills have both remaining games on the road. It could be Buffalo's first season since 2004 with a positive point differential.|
|Ryan Tannehill can beat the blitz, so the Patriots kept it simple Sunday. The Pats sent four or fewer pass-rushers after Tannehill on 47 of 51 dropbacks (92 percent), his highest percentage faced this season.|
|Injuries to Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde didn't help Sunday, and the 49ers are out. A forgettable season for San Francisco could get worse against the 8-6 Chargers and 11-3 Cardinals.|
|J.J. Watt recorded two sacks and had a batted pass against Andrew Luck Sunday, his fourth game this season with multiple sacks and a batted pass (including two against Indy).|
|Drew Brees had three touchdowns and one incompletion (17-of-18) when facing a standard pass rush Monday night. Does any playoff team really want to face the Saints in the Superdome?|
|With a defense ranked sixth in efficiency, there are clearly pieces in place for the Rams. What will the Rams' offense look like in Week 1 next season?|
|Only Geno Smith in Week 8 (0.04) had a worse QBR in a start this season than Johnny Manziel's 1.0. Cleveland was shut out for the first time since 2009.|
|The Panthers, with their minus-70 point margin (eighth worst in the league), can possibly host a playoff game this season.|
|Teddy Bridgewater looked pretty good Sunday, posting a career-high 75.6 completion percentage and recording his third 300-yard game, as many as the rest of this year's rookie class combined.|
|Harry Douglas stepped up Sunday with Julio Jones sidelined, catching 10 of his 14 targets. Both numbers were the second best in a game of Douglas' career.|
|Odell Beckham Jr. had 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, only 13 yards short of the rest of the Giants' offense combined (156 yards).|
|Jay Cutler was sacked seven times Monday night, second most in his career. Cutler completed more passes to the Saints (three) than the Bears (two) on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield.|
|The Jets would pick sixth if the season ended today. Scouts, Inc. currently ranks Marcus Mariota as the second-best draft prospect. Who would pick second? Tennessee -- because of Sunday.|
|With the last two games against division rivals with a combined 19-9 record, the prognosis isn't positive for the end of a dismal 2014 season. Where does the offseason begin?|
|The first overall pick is Tampa Bay's to "lose." The Buccaneers finish with the Packers and Saints, two very losable games before draft decision time.|
|Blake Bortles' minus-1.7 yards per dropback average against the blitz Sunday was the third-lowest average by any quarterback with at least 10 dropbacks in the past nine seasons.|
|Among 24 rookies to start a game since 2006, only Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler had a lower rookie-season QBR than Derek Carr (41.6) and have records above .500.|
|One "test" is in the rearview mirror, with Tennessee losing to the Jets. The big one comes Thursday night -- a loss to 2-12 Jacksonville is critical for draft slot.|