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NFL power rankings: Playoffs ahead

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A final set of NFL power rankings for the 2016 season.

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Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The NFL regular season has come to an end, with just 12 teams left standing to head into the playoffs. The league has completed all 17 weeks of the regular season, which brings up the question as to how the power rankings from around the web see things at the conclusion of the season?

Each week, we take a look at some of the various NFL Power Rankings from around the web, seeing where the Dolphins are ranked and what other sites are saying about the team. Here is the Wildcard Weekend version of the Power Rankings review:

SB Nation

Wildcard Weekend: 10

Last Week: 10

Comments: No team specific comments.

Fox Sports

WIldcard Weekend: 10

Last Week: 10

Comments: The Dolphins and Adam Gase had a great year in 2016, going from mediocre in 2015 to playoff team this season. There are high hopes for 2017 with Ryan Tannehill fully healthy and Jay Ajayi looking like a top back in the league. Unfortunately, this just isn’t their year, despite their torrid run to close out the season.

USA Today

Wildcard Weekend: 9

Last Week: 10

Comments: They're probably a year away from making serious playoff noise, but Adam Gase might finally be the guy who can consistently challenge the Pats.


Wildcard Weekend: 9

Last Week: 9

Comments: I do picks later in the week, but I have to say … the Dolphins are 10-point underdogs at Pittsburgh? Wow. Has that much really changed since the Dolphins beat the Steelers 30-15 in Week 6? I get that Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee in the second quarter of that game and tried to play through it, but the Dolphins deserve a little more respect than they’re getting.

CBS Sports

Wildcard Weekend: 10

Last Week: 10

Comments: No comments.

Wildcard Weekend: 9

Last Week: 10

Comments: How legit are these Dolphins? Sunday's loss to the Patriots didn't exactly make your neighbor with the Oronde Gadsden road jersey puff his chest out. It also meant Miami finished with a negative point differential on the season. Take heart, though, Dolphins fans: This organization won 10 games with a rookie head coach and a backup quarterback playing significant time while developing a nice player at running back in the process. The defense didn't fall apart when its best player's body did. Win, lose or draw in the playoffs, there's much to look forward to in 2017 for these guys ... with a healthy Reshad Jones.


Wildcard Weekend: 12

Last Week: 11

Comments: The Dolphins made the playoffs behind Jay Ajayi's powerful running. Ajayi averaged 2.52 yards per rush after contact this season, third highest of any player with 200 rushes the past five seasons. Only Adrian Peterson in 2012 and Marshawn Lynch in 2014 averaged more. That isn't bad company.


Wildcard Weekend: 9

Last Week: 9

Comments: No Comments.

Bleacher Report

Wildcard Weekend: 10

Last Week: 10

Comments: Week 1 ranking: 28 (+18)

You'll find the most valuable Dolphin wearing a headset, not a helmet.

Adam Gase's influence is so clear and profound. Everything points to this being the first of many postseason runs for the rising star of the head coaching world. Miami is lucky to have him.

It's Gase who stuck to the script when his Dolphins were embarrassed (in both all-orange jerseys and on-field play) by the Cincinnati Bengals in front of a national audience in Week 4. It's Gase who had the foresight to stick Laremy Tunsil at guard and have his five best starting linemen block for Jay Ajayi (1,272 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns). And it's Gase who will make his team into one tough son-of-a-you-know-what in the postseason, even without Ryan Tannehill.

Gase also picked up an important lesson from his Denver days: The game's third phase is an important one. Whether it was big punt blocks or big returns by Jakeem Grant and Kenyan Drake, Miami's special teams was a special group.

Looking forward: Ndamukong Suh had a few flashes of his old Detroit days in 2016. He needs help to produce like that at a steady pace. Miami's defense was far too front-four-centric; secondary and linebacking help are needed to patch up a bad rushing defense.

Washington Post

Wildcard: 10

Last Week: 8

Comments: Can the Dolphins win Sunday in Pittsburgh? Of course they can. Any time you have a runner like Jay Ajayi, you have a chance. But realistically, it’s going to be tough for the Dolphins. Matt Moore probably will make another start at QB, with Ryan Tannehill seemingly a long shot to return from his knee injury so soon. The Dolphins send the league’s 29th-ranked defense on the field to deal with Pittsburgh’s powerful offense. Still, it has been a very successful season for the Dolphins under their first-year coach, Adam Gase, even if it ends this weekend.


Wildcard Weekend: 8

Last Week: 11

Comments: Following a 1-4 start, the Miami Dolphins finished 2016 with nine wins in their final 11 games to grab a playoff berth for the first time since 2008.

We are not here to focus on the negative, but it has been the two setbacks over that stretch that really stand out. We are referring to a 38-6 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13, as well as Sunday’s 35-14 home setback to the New England Patriots.

What it really adds up to is just how will the Miami defense will fare this Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers and perhaps the playoffs in general? On offense, veteran quarterback Matt Moore has performed very efficiently in place of Ryan Tannehill. Running back Jay Ajayi has had a breakout year with 1,272 yards rushing and has been the catalyst of the team’s reversal of fortunes this year.

But the Dolphins are also giving up 140.4 yards per game on the ground. Despite the presence of Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, the club has just 33 sacks and has allowed 30 touchdown passes in 16 games. As previously mentioned, those setbacks to Baltimore and New England stick out like sore thumbs. And this was also a squad that surrendered 598 total yards in a Week 16 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park.

There is not a lot of playoff experience overall on this roster. But Adam Gase has pushed all the right buttons in his first season with the organization and is a viable NFL Coach of the Year candidate. If the defense can step up in the postseason, this could be an intriguing team. However, you have to show it before we can rank the Dolphins any higher at the moment.


  • Wildcard Weekend Average: 10
  • Week 17 Average: 10
  • Change: None
  • Highest Wildcard Weekend Ranking: 8 (Fansided)
  • Lowest Wildcard Weekend Ranking: 12 (ESPN)
  • Highest Single Site Weekly Ranking: 6 (Sports Illustrated - Week 12; SB Nation - Week 13)
  • Lowest Single Site Weekly Ranking: 31 (NFL/USA Today - Week 5)
  • Highest Average Weekly Ranking: 10 - Week 13 / Week 17 / Wildcard
  • Lowest Average Weekly Ranking: 28 - Week 5