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NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Colts Continue Their Climb Up

Indianapolis Colts v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Colts, coming off a victory against the then number 1 seed in the AFC, the New England Patriots, the Colts headed to Arizona to face another tough task in the Cardinals. However, despite being down almost the entire offensive line and several defensive playmakers the Colts left the desert with a win.

The Colts sit at 9-6, and are currently in the 5th seed in the AFC. They’re also still say two games behind the AFC South leaders, the Titans, after they beat the 49ers this week. The majority of the national media have moved the Colts further up the power rankings board, and they feature regularly inside the top 5. As an nine win team, and with losses by opposing AFC rivals, the Colts are firmly in the playoff and division conversations and need only one more win to secure a playoff spot. Here is how the Colts stack up in the week 17 power rankings.

ESPN has the Colts at 6.

This is way too easy. Taylor isn’t only the Colts’ MVP, he is a legitimate league MVP contender. Taylor leads the NFL in rushing attempts (297), yards (1,626) and touchdowns (17). Taylor’s production has helped lighten quarterback Carson Wentz’s load significantly, and the running back’s ability to dominate on the ground helps keep a defense that has forced 31 turnovers this season fresh throughout the game. has the Colts at 5.

Carson Wentz worked through his progressions, slid to his left to buy time, kept his eyes downfield and fired a laser into the hands of Dez Patmon in the back of the end zone. The brilliant touchdown connection — on third-and-9, no less — served as the dagger strike in an impressive road win at Arizona and a declarative statement that Wentz is once again a QB to be reckoned with in the NFL. The former No. 2 overall pick isn’t perfect — he’s still prone to the occasional head-scratching decision — but when he’s locked in, Wentz makes the Colts look like the best team in football.

CBS Sports has the Colts at 9.

Winning at Arizona with their offensive line decimated shows how well they are coached. Frank Reich has done an amazing job with this team.

USA Today has the Colts at 5.

QB Carson Wentz’s notion of holiday gifting? Various meats, bourbon and Yeti gear to his offensive linemen, and two TD passes during Saturday night’s win in the desert. Advantage: Prescott.

Bleacher Report has the Colts at 7.

If only.

If only the Indianapolis Colts realized one of these years that the NFL regular season starts in September.

After downing the reeling Cardinals on Christmas night, the Colts are rolling. Since starting the season with a winless September, the Colts have peeled off nine wins in 12 games. Since losing to the rival Titans on Halloween, Indy has just one loss, and that was a one-score defeat to the defending Super Bowl champions.

Call them slow starters. Or late bloomers. But whatever the nomenclature used to describe it, the Colts are one of the hottest teams in the AFC.

That’s probably not going to be enough to catch the Titans in the AFC South. But with the NFL’s best (active) running back in Jonathan Taylor and a top-10 scoring defense, the Colts have established themselves as the sort of team no one wants to face on Wild Card Weekend.

Pro Football Network has the Colts at 7.

Jonathan Taylor only had 5 rushes of more than 5 yards against the Cardinals. Indy’s defense wasn’t out stealing footballs from Arizona like Swiper in Dora the Explorer. The Colts needed Carson Wentz to be efficient and avoid mistakes, and that’s exactly what he did against the Cards despite missing multiple offensive linemen.

The Colts probably won’t want to compete in a track meet come playoff time, but their opportunistic defense and great rushing attack can carry them in January if Wentz can play mistake-free football. Only the Patriots and Chiefs have looked as good in the past 10 games.

Yahoo Sports has the Colts at 7.

Winning at Arizona, with a patchwork offensive line, should get Frank Reich in the Coach of the Year conversation. The Colts continue to impress. Had they not lost some close games earlier this season they’d have had a good shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They’re playing on that level now and will be a very good wild-card team.