NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals rise, Packers fall in Week 17

14 of 33

Dec 27, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Chicago Bears defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Last week: 18
Change: -2

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to fall away after being outsiders for a playoff berth a few weeks back. After beating the Falcons, they were right in the hunt, but losses to the Saints, Rams and Bears in the past three weeks has killed off any hopes. They finish the season on the road to the now-defeated Carolina Panthers.

Overall, it’s been an encouraging season for the Bucs. Jameis Winston has certainly improved the quarterback position and added stability to a previously turbulent position. After a two-win season in 2014, they have a minimum of six this year. A win over the Panthers next week would give Lovie Smith’s team a respectable 7-9 finish.

There is plenty to build on entering 2016. Winston will continue to improve his game and he has flashed a lot of talent at times this season. Mike Evans is a dangerous threat with his size and will be entering his third season. There will be a number of challenges ahead for this team as it aims to become competitive in the NFC South, but this is club trending in the right direction. Winston leads the way.

Next: No. 19