In Week 15, the AFC playoff picture remained mostly unchanged. However, there were some major significant in the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers swapped spots and both teams clinched playoff berths. The difference between the first and sixth seed in the NFC could be decided in San Francisco’s and Seattle’s Week 17 clash.
While Monday Night Football didn’t alter the playoff picture drastically, several records were broken, but more on that later.
1. Lamar Jackson 15/23 212 yards, five touchdowns, 86 rushing yards
Last week’s ranking: 1
The second-year quarterback’s MVP campaign picked up steam with a dominant win against the New York Jets. During the game, Jackson broke Michael Vick’s record for the most rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback.
2. Russell Wilson 20/26 286 yards, two touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 2
The league MVP award isn’t out of Wilson’s reach, but it’s beginning to feel that way. Wilson put together a clean performance in a significant win for the Seahawks on Sunday, but that doesn’t match Jackson’s dominant showing on Thursday night.
3. Drew Brees 29/30 307 yards, four touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 3
The New Orleans Saints dominated the Indianapolis Colts as Brees set the record for career passing touchdowns and single-game completion percentage. His 115.3 passer rating and 75.8 completion percentage lead the NFL this season.
4. Ryan Tannehill 22/36 279 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one rushing touchdown
Last week’s ranking: 4
While the Tennessee Titans lost to the Houston Texans, Tannehill can’t take all of the blame for the close loss. Tennessee struggled to establish the running game, and that caused problems late in the contest. The Titans are still in the playoff hunt.
5. Patrick Mahomes 27/34 340 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 5
Even with the interception, Mahomes posted a 115.7 passer rating against the Denver Broncos on a snowy afternoon in Kansas City. The Chiefs have won three straight games and are in clear control of the AFC West.
6. Deshaun Watson 19/27 243 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 32 rushing yards
Last week’s ranking: 7
With a significant win against the Titans, the Texans solidified their spot atop the AFC South. While the team escaped with a win on Sunday, Watson cannot be so carefree with the football. He can’t turn the ball over as much against the league’s elite teams.
7. Kirk Cousins 19/25 207 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 6
While he did throw his fifth interception, Cousins completed more than 70% of his pass attempts for the eleventh time this season. With a 111.1 passer rating, Cousins is trending toward the Pro Bowl, and, with a 10-4 record, the Minnesota Vikings are trending toward the playoffs.
8. Dak Prescott 15/23 212 yards, two touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 11
Just as the world was falling apart, the Dallas Cowboys more than doubled the Los Angeles Rams’ score in a 44-21 smackdown. It wasn’t Prescott’s flashiest performance of the season, but he kept the Cowboys in playoff positioning, for now.
9. Jimmy Garoppolo 22/34 200 yards, one touchdown
Last week’s ranking: 8
A week after an outstanding win against the Saints, Garoppolo and the 49ers had a letdown game against the Atlanta Falcons. Against a porous Falcons defense, the 49ers scored less than half of the points they poured on the Saints last week.
10. Carson Wentz 30/43 266 yards, three touchdowns, one fumble lost
Last week’s ranking: 12
The Philadelphia Eagles struggled early against the Washington Redskins, but the birds went home with a 37-27 win. Wentz posted a 109.3 passer rating, his first game with an above 100-passer rating since Week 8.
11. Jameis Winston 28/42 458 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 17
Winston cannot go through a game without throwing an interception. However, he more than makes up for it by throwing for tons of yards. Winston is now less than 430 yards away from throwing for 5,000 this season.
12. Tom Brady 15/29 128 yards, two touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 9
New England’s offense didn’t need to do much to beat the Cincinnati Bengals. While his completion percentage wasn’t great, Brady posted a clean sheet. It was his fifth consecutive game completing fewer than 60% of his pass attempts.
13. Aaron Rodgers 16/33 203 yards, one touchdown
Last week’s ranking: 10
For the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers almost lost to an inferior team. While the Packers have 11 wins, the team looks vulnerable, and Rodgers looks like a far cry from his former MVP self. He’s still a standout player, but he’s not truly elite.
14. Matt Ryan 25/39 210 yards, two touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 14
In a year where everything has gone wrong for the Falcons, Ryan and Julio Jones lifted Atlanta to a last-minute victory over the 49ers. The Falcons are only 5-8, but the team is still talented enough to play spoiler for opponents.
15. Derek Carr 22/36 267 yards, one touchdown
Last week’s ranking: 13
Just like with their season as a whole, a second half collapse led to the Oakland Raiders being booed off of their home field for the final time on Sunday. Carr has a solid game, but Oakland’s offense went quiet in the second half and that led to the team’s downfall against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
16. Josh Allen 13/25 139 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one rushing touchdown
Last week’s ranking: 15
It wasn’t pretty, but the Buffalo Bills snuck out a 17-10 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Allen didn’t have a great night, but the Bills hold serious postseason potential and could even steal the AFC East crown from the Patriots.
17. Kyler Murray 19/25 219 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 56 rushing yards
Last week’s ranking: 21
The rookie completed 76% of his pass attempts in Arizona’s 38-24 victory against the Cleveland Browns. He did throw his fifth interception in the last three weeks, but Murray is an up-and-coming player that could elevate Arizona moving forward.
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick 23/41 279 yards, two touchdowns, 33 rushing yards, one fumble lost
Last week’s ranking: 26
The veteran journeyman doesn’t get enough respect for some of the things he can do with bad teams. The Giants squashed the Dolphins, but Fitzpatrick had a good game and gave the struggling team a chance. All things considered, that’s pretty impressive.
19. Jared Goff 33/51 284 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 23
The Rams are on the verge of playoff elimination. After a beatdown in Dallas, Los Angeles needs to win out and have other teams lose the final two weeks. With 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, Goff is a shadow of his former self.
20. Gardner Minshew II 17/29 201 yards, two touchdowns
Last week’s ranking: 28
The Jaguars pulled off a comeback win against the Raiders, posting 17 unanswered points in the second half. For all of his struggles, Minshew has 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season with a 91.2 passer rating.
21. Eli Manning 20/28 283 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 19
It wasn’t pretty, but Manning got a more fitting send-off in his second and supposed final finale as a New York Giant. With the win, Manning’s career record is 117-117. New York defeated the Miami Dolphins 36-20.
22. Andy Dalton 17/31 151 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 20
The career-Bengal gifted the franchise its first win of the season back in Week 13. Since then, Dalton has thrown one touchdown and five interceptions. Cincinnati’s offense was devastated by New England’s defense, with only Joe Mixon having a solid day.
23. Philip Rivers 28/39 307 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, one fumble lost
Last week’s ranking: 18
There are plenty of options for Rivers to consider when he becomes a free agent this offseason. However, it seems clear that he won’t return to Los Angeles. The veteran has 21 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and eight fumbles this season.
24. Sam Darnold 18/32 218 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost
Last week’s ranking: 25
The Jets and Darnold will want to forget the 2019 season. It’s been a year of disappointments, including Thursday night. The Baltimore Ravens stomped the Jets, doubling New York’s score 42-21.
25. Jacoby Brissett 18/34 165 yards
Last week’s ranking: 22
After a solid first half of the season, Brissett and the Colts have collapsed. In the last five weeks, he’s completing fewer than 60% of his pass attempts and has four touchdowns and three interceptions.
26. Mitchell Trubisky 29/53 348 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 24
After winning three games straight and trending in the right direction, Trubisky ran into trouble against Green Bay. The third-year quarterback completed 54.72% of his pass attempts and posted a 65.6 passer rating in Chicago’s seventh loss of the season.
27. Baker Mayfield 20/43 247 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 29
Calling 2019 a sophomore slump for Mayfield would be like calling Hurricane Sandy a casual afternoon shower. This season is totally lost for the Browns, who are the only franchise this decade to never finish a year with a winning record.
28. Dwayne Haskins 19/28 261 yards, two touchdowns, one fumble lost
Last week’s ranking: 31
Against the Eagles, Haskins posted the first game of his career with over 250 receiving yards. The struggling rookie put together a solid performance, posting a 121.3 passer rating. That says more about Philadelphia’s defense than Haskins.
29. Kyle Allen 25/41 277 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 27
The Carolina Panthers continued their disastrous collapse on Sunday. While they only lost by four points, Carolina never led. It was the team’s sixth consecutive loss. Since Week 8, Allen has thrown ten touchdowns and 15 interceptions. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Panthers will start Will Grier in Week 16.
30. Devlin Hodges 23/38 202 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 30
Two of Hodges’ interceptions came on desperation shots on Pittsburgh’s final two drives. The Steelers held the Bills in check all game, but the offense showed its severe limitations against Buffalo’s stout defense.
31. Drew Lock 18/40 208 yards, one interception
Last week’s ranking: 16
After a stellar performance against the Texans last week, Lock and the Broncos collapsed in snowy Kansas City. The rookie quarterback showed his inexperience, completing just 45% of his pass attempts and posting a 50.8 passer rating.
32. David Blough 24/43 260 yards, two interceptions
Last week’s ranking: 32
After captivating the country on Thanksgiving, things have gone downhill for Blough and the Detroit Lions. The 3-10 Lions could not keep up with Tampa Bay’s high-flying offense, and Blough now has four interceptions and just one touchdown in the last two games.