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Wayne Larrivee's Week 15 NFL Power Poll: Ailing Packers make biggest climb

Wayne Larrivee's blog
Posted: 1:47 PM, Dec 13, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-13 19:12:00-05
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big
Wayne's power poll: Ailing Packers climb big

Okay, did you see 38 to 10 happening? If you did, please send me your thoughts on this week’s games. After all, the financial markets aren’t going to be going up much longer and at this time of year, we could all use a little extra cash.
 
Anyone who has followed this poll knows I have been touting the Seattle Seahawks as the best team, or eventually the best team in the NFL, virtually all season.  Then there was 38 to 10.
 
The season has included 14-5 at Tampa, 6-6 at Arizona, 9-3 in Los Angeles...are you starting to get the picture of the Seattle Seahawks on the road? That’s a problem, because they will have to eventually go on the road in the post season.
 
I still think the Seahawks are a terrific football team, so Green Bay’s 38 to 10 victory over Seattle Sunday was some kind of impressive! 
 
If you have followed this column, you also know, I am very objective when assessing the NFL and the Packers.
 
Let me say to you what all the national media was saying in the press box of Lambeau Field Sunday night: “No one wants to play Green Bay in the playoffs.”
 
Even in their injury-compromised state, the Packers have won three in a row to get back into the playoff discussion at 7-6.  
 
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews is a shell of his former self as he plays through what I have been told is a “significant” shoulder injury.
 
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a hamstring issue with his right leg and a calf injury with the other.
 
Guard T.J. Lang returned last week from a broken foot after missing just three games. Suffice to say, fractures don’t heal that quickly.
 
Each one of these guys are playing through a good deal of pain. No one would question them if they decided to sit out; they might not even be playing if it wasn’t a “desperate December” in Green Bay.
 
Their toughness is the undercurrent that has lifted the Packers from the depths of despair during a “season-gutting” four game losing streak to a three game winning streak, with each game a seemingly “must win” in terms of playoff relevance.
 
Three weeks ago, Rodgers said he felt the Packers could run the table, well, they just passed the most difficult test on that table.
 
New England, Seattle, Kansas City, Dallas are the cream of the crop, but none are unbeatable; in fact Seattle has won at New England, the Cowboys just lost to the Giants (again) and the Chiefs fell to the Buccaneers - at home!
 
Detroit, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants bear watching.
 
There are another dozen teams (including the Packers) spread across the AFC and NFC, any one of whom could make a run.
 
This is going to be a great finish to the regular season leading to an unpredictable post season.
 
Here is this week’s Power Poll:
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
1. New England Patriots (last week: 2): Best coach ever, best QB ever. Can’t lose.
 
2. Kansas City Chiefs (last week: 4): Special teams are special. So is this team.
 
3. Dallas Cowboys (last week: 1): Dak starting to play like a rookie.
 
4. Detroit Lions (last week: 6): They WANT to be trailing in the fourth quarter because when they do, they win!
 
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (last week: 8): Survived the petroleum pellets at The Ralph to win.
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
6. Seattle Seahawks (last week: 5): The Emperor has no clothes!
 
7. Oakland Raiders (last week: 3): Almost came back on the Chiefs, but close don’t get you a drink box on this level.
 
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (last week: 9): The defense is legit. So is the QB.
 
9. New York Giants (last week: 11): The ‘Gints have the ‘Boys number.
 
10. Denver Broncos (last week: 7): Can’t score, can’t win.
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
11. Green Bay Packers (last week: 19): I didn’t see 38 to 10 coming. Neither did Pete Carroll.
 
12. Washington Redskins (last week: 12): Kept post-season hopes alive with a victory at Philly.
 
13. Atlanta Falcons (last week: 13): Blasted the Rams in L A. 
 
14. Tennessee Titans (last week: 15): A signature win over the World Champs.
 
15. Houston Texans (last week: 21): Nice rebound win at Indy to maintain their share of the lead in the AFC South.
 
16. Minnesota Vikings (last week: 16): Gutted one out at lowly Jacksonville.
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
17. Miami Dolphins (last week: 14): Won in a monsoon to finally put the Cardinals out of their misery.
 
18. Baltimore Ravens (last week: 10): When it is all said and done, these guys just aren’t that good.
 
19. Arizona Cardinals (last week: 17): Coach Bruce Arians is down to blaming the weather in this lost season.
 
20. Indianapolis Colts (last week: 18): Lost their share of the division lead at home in a loss to the Texans.
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
21. Buffalo Bills (last week: 20): Another home loss means the longest playoff drought in the NFL will continue. 
 
22. Carolina Panthers (last week: 27): Beat San Diego because the Chargers are the Chargers.
 
23. Cincinnati Bengals (last week: 25): Back to back wins but they are too far back to make noise.
 
24. Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 23): Three losses in a row for the once-promising Eagles.
 
25. New Orleans Saints (last week: 24): What has happened to the Drew Brees-led offense the last two weeks?
 
26. Chicago Bears (last week: 25): Made the Lions work all four quarters at Ford Field.
 
27. San Diego Chargers (last week: 22): See Carolina.
 

Photo: Getty Images
 
28. Los Angeles Rams (last week: 8): So revolting was the loss to the Falcons at home, one week after announcing an extension for head coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams fired him. I guess Erick Dickerson gets his field pass back.
 
29. New York Jets (last week: 29): They beat San Francisco, which is like not losing on your bye week.
 
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (last week: 30): Sweeping changes coming soon.
 
31. San Francisco 49ers (last week: 31): Does Oregon still want Chip Kelly? They can get him, probably cheap.
 
32. Cleveland Browns (last week: 32): Perfect season still within reach.