Oct. 30, 2018
Totally Biased Power Rankings: Week 16
Holy crap it's already Week 16!
Not too many changes at the top this week, as most of the better teams in the league played a slew of lesser teams (Minnesota vs Cincy, New Orleans vs. Jets, etc). Overall, a fairly quiet week in terms of movement.
Anyway, to the rankings!
1. Minnesota Vikings (11-3, LW 1): The best team in the best conference demolished the Bengals last week, which was the perfect game to rebound from a loss in Charlotte. They get the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers this week, whose playoff chances are gone. Should be another W.
2. LA Rams (10-4, LW 2): The Rams beating the Seahawks wasn't surprising, the Rams beating them 42-7 was. Todd Gurley = MVP who will never win it because he plays on a West Coast team and isn't a QB.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-4, LW 3): The game against the Jets was closer than I think most people predicted, but they still won 31-19. Up next is a game against the Falcons which is probably more significant than what Steelers-Pats was.
4. Atlanta Falcons (9-5, LW 4): It's really quite simple for Atlanta. Win and you're in, lose and you're out. They've been in playoff mode for about 3 weeks now and almost slipped up against the Bucs on Monday Night. This week's game against the Saints will have a huge impact on the playoffs, namely who gets in and at what seed.
5. New England Patriots (11-3, LW 5): I was actually tempted to move the Patriots down a few spots, mostly because I was disappointed they didn't win by 20+. While everyone talks about how great Brady was on the last drive of the game, no one mentions he's actually been pretty subpar the 7 quarters before that. And if a defense (or injury) takes Gronk away in the playoffs, get ready for an avalanche of "Brady doesn't have it anymore" from the same people highfiving him now.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4, LW 6): Congrats to Jacksonville for making the playoffs for the first time since 2007. I remember that team with David Garrard at QB, and then he made big money that offseason and disappeared forever. To be fair, he did have a lot of back issues. These Jags, though, are different. As in "if Bortles keeps up the 100+ passer ratings they'll win the Super Bowl" different. Get your bandwagon ready.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3, LW 6): Cry all you want, Steelers fans, they made the correct call on that Jesse James play. On the schoolyard it's a catch, no doubt, but in the NFL it isn't. I've seen the exact same play hundreds of times, and the refs call them incomplete about 99% of the time. On a different note, I'm pleasantly surprised by Pittsburgh. I didn't think there was a chance they would win this game, yet they should have (ya know, if Big Ben doesn't pull a Jay Cutler at the end of the game). My concern with this team is they made such a big deal about this past week's game that it may end up being the equivalent of a Super Bowl loss, with their hangover starting now. Let's see how they come out in January, but I'm guessing they'll be flat and demotivated. It's tough to get so hyped for such a game and lose in such a fashion.
8. Carolina Panthers (10-4, LW 8): Look, I know. "How do they win and go down a spot?" Blame the Jags for being so damn dominate lately. On a different note, I'm glad Jerry Richardson is finally being exposed for being a piece of shit. I know he's the founder of the franchise, and in a way I kinda hate that he's essentially being forced to sell his team, but I'm glad it was brought to the light. This isn't the first, or twentieth, time I've heard Richardson being outed for being a racist (the sexual harassment stuff is new, but not surprising). Good on the whistleblowers and good on the NFL for not trying to cover it up.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (12-2, LW 11): Nick Foles looked good, the defense looked abysmal. Luckily they have a couple games left before the playoffs to fix some of their issues. Still, I'm going to be cautious moving them any higher unless the D shows vast improvement in the next few weeks (and Foles' play stays the same).
10. Baltimore Ravens (8-6, LW 12): I kinda hate putting Baltimore here, but they've been winning comfortably. The problem, of course, is they have been beating nobodies, and this week they play the dreadful Colts. Should be another dub.
11. Dallas Cowboys (8-6, LW 14): I also hate putting Dallas this high, but they are 8-6 and just got Zeke Elliott back. Does it feel like it's been six weeks without him? Maybe for Cowboys fans, I guess. The bigger question, though, is does Dallas have enough to make the playoffs? Could they be that team that sneaks into the playoffs and makes a run at the Super Bowl? The defense tells me no, but who the hell knows with this team.
12. Detroit Lions (8-6, LW 13): Yet another team I don't like having this high, but who the hell else is going to go here? If the Lions could find some form of run game, they could make a deep run in the playoffs. Until then, though, this team goes as far as Stafford takes them.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6, LW 15): Despite the final score, the Chiefs-Chargers game was closer than people may think. Regardless, the Chiefs have swept the Chargers again (4 years in a row I believe) and now own the AFC West crown with two games left. More importantly, though, is that they seem to have fixed their problems just in time for the playoffs. Which, honestly, is anyone surprised? Andy Reid does this practically every year.
14. LA Chargers (7-7, LW 9): The Chargers had the inside track to the playoffs and they blew it in the second half against the Chiefs. Don't know what it is about Andy Reid, Alex Smith, and Company, but they just have Phillip Rivers' number. LA still has a decent chance at the playoffs, though, they just need to win out (probable) and have Tennessee lose a game (super probable). If they make it, though, they probably don't want to go to Arrowhead though.
15. Seattle Seahawks (8-6, LW 10): Does the blowout loss to the Rams signal a change in the NFC West winds? With a rising San Fran and LA, as well as the expected exodus of many high-profile players from Seattle, are we watching the downfall of one of the most dominant franchises of the past 5 years? I think so. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of pride on that team and staff, but I think it's safe to say the door has closed shut on the Legion of Boom.
16. Buffalo Bills (8-6, LW 18): Honestly, Buffalo didn't look that impressive beating Miami. Because, as usual, Miami beat themselves. Or rather, Jay Cutler beat the Dolphins. But this is about the Bills, so I'll focus on them. Thought #1 LeSean McCoy is a surefire Hall of Famer, he has to be, and he is criminally underrated. Thought #2 If Buffalo can get a few playmakers on offense, they will be the heir to the Patriots throne when Brady-Belichick are done. Thought #3 Unless the Bills get a top QB prospect in the draft, they should stick with Tyrod Taylor. Dude isn't the best, but he won't throw the game away a la Smokin' Jay Cutler.
17. Miami Dolphins (6-8, LW 17): Now for my Dolphins thoughts. Once again, Miami followed a great performance against the Pats with a terrible one against the Bills. The worst part, though, was no one was surprised. The main difference in this game was Jay Cutler. 3 INTS, the last to kill any hope of a comeback, and 4 fumbles. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! What is also not talked about enough, in regards to this game, was that Miami settled for FGs early and Buffalo scored touchdowns. Miami made to the red zone on back-to-back drives and came away with 6 points, while Buffalo did the same and had 14. Big difference. Next up: Kansas City. Probably gonna win because Jay Freaking Cutler will have another monster game because it makes the least amount of sense.
18. Washington Redskins (6-8, LW 24): I love that even though the Skins' season is done, they still play to win. Kudos to the coaching staff for making sure their team didn't just mail it in after two ugly losses. I almost wonder if Cousins is auditioning for every team he beats? Like "look how much better you could be if I were your QB!"
19. Arizona Cardinals (6-8, LW 20): Blaine Gabbert might not be the franchise savior, but he definitely is doing a solid job. To piggyback on my last entry, should Arizona make a run at Cousins? Palmer is done, even if he hasn't officially retired, and Arizona has been in search of a franchise QB since World War 2. Of course, this team needs more pieces than a QB, but imagine a triplet combo of Cousins-Fitzgerald-Johnson. If the price is right, then why not?
20. San Francisco 49ers (4-10, LW 25): It feels weird putting a 4-10 team here, but the Niners have been on a roll ever since Jimmy G took the field. It might take a year or two, but is Rams vs. Niners gonna be the best rivalry in the NFL for years to come? I'm thinking yes.
21. Oakland Raiders (6-8, LW 21): When the measure of defeat is an index card, or a fumble from the 1 yard line that goes for a touchback, then I think keeping a team in the same spot if okay. What a weird year for the Raiders, but I can't say I didn't see it coming. Jack Del Rio ran the perennially good Jaguars so far into the ground it took them a decade to clean up the mess, and I fear that's where the Raiders are heading too (unless Mark Davis cans him soon).
22. Tennessee Titans (8-6, LW 19): It feels kind of funny putting an 8-6 team 2 spots below a 4-10 team, but that 4-10 team also just beat the Titans. Tennessee has two games left, against the 10-4 Jags and the 10-4 Rams. For a team who seemed destined for the playoffs a few weeks ago, they sure as hell have collapsed in recent weeks. If Tennessee wins either game, I will be shocked. Like, Buffalo winning a Super Bowl shocked. I know, low blow.
23. Green Bay Packers (7-7, LW 16): This is why I was hesitant on shooting the Pack too high up. Rodgers is the best QB in the game, but it was clear he was not 100% on Sunday. And since Green Bay's playoff dreams are dead for this year, he is now back on IR. If anything is to be taken away from this year, it's that Hundley is a solid backup. And if Aaron's injuries start piling up over the next few years, that could come in handy.
24. New York Jets (5-9, LW 23): Not many teams can go into New Orleans and win, especially while starting a backup QB who isn't world-renowned for being a good QB. That's why I'm taking it easy on the Jets, because even with a depleted offense, they still played respectably against one of the best teams in the league.
25. Chicago Bears (4-10, LW 26): I moved them up a spot mostly to make room below for someone else. But the Bears did an okay job against the Lions, they just can't figure out the magic formula for beating Detroit. The lack of development in Trubisky is troubling, which is probably why John Fox is going to be fired. Also, ya know, the horrible record doesn't help either.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10, LW 28): The Bucs tried to spoil the Falcons, and they damn near did it. Oh well, now they get to try and spoil the Panthers season a little. Is it me or do some teams seem to relish the spoiler role? As in, when the games matter their defense is an open door and their offense is stuck in neutral, but as soon as the playoff pressure is off BAM! they're the greatest team ever. I have a feeling the Bucs are like that this year.
27. Denver Broncos (5-9, LW 30): I'm forced to acknowledge the Broncos are not the worst in the league anymore, and it's Brock Osweiler's fault. I know, it's a strange sentence. It kinda makes me wonder why Osweiler wasn't the starter earlier. Sure, he isn't the best QB, but neither was Siemian or Lynch. Next week: a winnable game against the Redskins.
28. New York Giants (2-12, LW 31): Lose a game and jump 3 spots? Yeah, well, they almost beat the Eagles and I just think the bottom 4 teams are god awful. The G-Men have looked a little better, or livelier, without McAdoo. Could just be a coincidence, but it's good enough for me to move them to 28.
29. Indianapolis Colts (3-11, LW 29): This season spiraled out of control fast, pretty much sense the opening kickoff. Just kidding. Really, the Steelers game ended the Colts run of almost-upsets. Chuck Pagano has to be done in Indy, right? Jim Caldwell didn't last that long, despite going to a Super Bowl. As much as I hate to say it, I almost wonder if Pagano has survived this long because he had cancer a few years ago. And while you may think "that's absurd!" remember, Jeff Fisher held a job for like 17 years despite being the all-time leader in coaching losses. Why? Because he almost won a Super Bowl. Look, I'm sure Pagano is a good dude, and he is a good defensive playcaller, but Indy went from AFC Championship to AFC doormat in 3 years. It's time.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (5-9, LW 22): This is a bittersweet moment in the NFL. Marvin Lewis has been the coach of the Bengals for over a decade, almost as long as Belichick has coached the Pats. So, in many ways, it's the end of an era. An era, unfortunately, of 0 playoffs wins despite going multiple years in a row. Similar to Pagano, it's time for Lewis as well. The last few weeks of on field futility is evidence enough.
31. Houston Texans (4-10, LW 27): A few weeks ago I wrote about how Houston still had a shot at the playoffs, but clearly the floor has fallen out from underneath them. I get it, DeShaun Watson was your everything, and as soon as he went down, so did your hopes and dreams. #canitbe2018already
32. Cleveland Browns (0-14, LW 32): Not much to write here other than it's a shame Hue Jackson is still their coach. Well, not a shame but it would be funny if he went back to Cincinnati. That's the only good thing I have to say about Cleveland.