Power Rankings – Week 15
Published on Dec. 12 at 6:30 a.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Comeback Player of the Week: Atlanta WR Julio Jones — The rookie from out of Alabama was awful in last week’s loss at Houston. For starters, he dropped a pass that would’ve been the game-tying touchdown on the final play of the game. On that same last-gasp drive, a huge mental mistake cost the Falcons four or five seconds when they were trying to kill the clock and Jones inexplicably wasn’t husting back to the line of scrimmage. He also ran a bad route on a Matt Ryan interception. But Sunday against the Panthers, Jones caught a pair of touchdowns and turned a quick slant and a broken tackle into a long touchdown that gave Atlanta backers a cover. If Jones doesn’t break free, the Falcons likely go conservative and win by one rather than eight to cover the number as 2 1/2-point road favorites at Carolina.
–Goat of the Week: Chicago RB Marion Barber – The veteran back made a monumental mental mistake by going out of bounds and giving Denver a chance to rally and force overtime. Then in the extra session, Barber made a diving catch to get the Bears into field-goal range. However, moments later, on a carry in which he appeared to have room to go to the house for a game-winning touchdown, Barber didn’t protect the ball and coughed up a fumble that led to the Broncos recovering and then driving for the game-winning field goal.
–Player of the Week: Denver PK Matt Prater – First, he executes one of the best onsides kick you’ll ever see that didn’t get recovered by his own team. But when Denver miraculously got into field-goal range on the final play of regulation, Prater buried a 59-yard FG that would’ve been good from at least 65. Then in OT, he nailed the game winner from ONLY 51 yards.