Week Ten Rankings

nfl

In a week where six teams had a Bye-Week and several teams had kickers that just couldn’t get the job done, some teams soared while others flopped and still others put another nail in the seasonal coffin. Will the Falcons suffer a late season slump? Will the Lions be the surprise contender in the North? Will the Carson Wentz train finally get derailed for good? When will the Chief’s roll stop? Can anybody stop the Dak attack? All these questions and more may be answered next week on another episode of National League Football. But for now, let’s see how the pros fared in Week Nine.

The Fairest in all the Land:

  1. New England Patriots- I’m no fanboy and the Dallas Cowboys really are quite good but despite the fact that New England didn’t even play this week, I’ve letting them retain the rights to a top spot they for all intents and purposes don’t seem like they’re ready to lose. Dak Prescott is good but Tom Brady is Tom Brady. It’s a tough choice this season but I’m set on the Brady Bunch for now. +/- 7-1
  2. Dallas Cowboys- So far it’s been a great year for the Boys and coming off of last year and what looked like disaster at the beginning of this one has got to feel good. Don’t doubt for a minute that they’re second best to anyone in the NFC, but they’re only slightly behind the Pats in my mind as far as the entire league goes. You’ve heard all the pundits, there’s nothing more for me to say. +/- 7-1
  3. Oakland Raiders- Okay, I’m a believer right now. I knew these guys were good but I honestly still didn’t think they had it in them to beat the Broncos this week and definitely didn’t think they’d earn  more than a wild card trip to the playoffs if they can maintain their level of play right now. I don’t want to jinx things at all and I really like this team right now despite their flaws. They have guts and they get things done. Is this a finally overdue return to form? +1 7-2
  4. Atlanta Falcons- What an absolute romp over the Buccaneers who handed Atlanta their earliest loss of the season. The lowest number of points they scored in a quarter was ten and they scored ten points in three of the four quarters. This team has truly emerged as one of the most offensively talented rosters on the field this year even with some mistakes along the way. Matt Ryan and the running game and receiving corps all deserve the credit. It’s a team effort. -1 6-3
  5. Kansas City Chiefs- It was not the strongest showing by any means, but Kansas prevailed even while down a quarterback against a thirsty Jaguars team that desperately needed a win. Nick Foles, not Alex Smith, led the Chiefs to victory- although it would be more accurate to say he was competent and didn’t mess up the defense’s chances of securing the win. They’ve got the best twenty game record in the NFL currently and let’s see just how far they can make it in an ever-competitive AFC West. +1 6-2
  6. Seattle Seahawks- Seattle finds themselves moving slightly up this week coming off of a game where they were outgunned but not outplayed by the Buffalo Bills. The strength of a timely Richard Sherman interception and a powerful day for Jimmy Graham are large contributors. Some weird stuff went down on the sidelines and with the officiating, but even with three more points Buffalo wouldn’t have won outright. Russell Wilson continues his role as the “Magician” downfield. +1 5-2-1
  7. Denver Broncos- Not a good day in the AFC West for Denver who now sits in third in the highly contested division. Oakland pulled ahead with their victory and Kansas City has surpassed the Broncos by virtue of a one game loss difference. These guys need to stop following the ways of the Vikings and get their feet back under them if they want to make the playof cut in such a heated divisional battle. -2 6-3
  8. Green Bay Packers- The Packers haven’t lost to the Colts since 1988 at Lambeau apparently, however that’s exactly what happened this weekend and it should be a telling sign for the ailing roster. Every time it seems like a comeback is in the works the Pack sabotages it themselves. Aaron Rodgers isn’t his normal self but in the moments where he does shine and begins a steady fourth quarter comeback his teammates often screw things up one way or another. The NFC North is pretty much open for the taking right now between Detroit, Minnesota, and Green Bay but somebody needs to step up. +2 4-4
  9. Philadelphia Eagles- Ride the Carson Wentz train all you want, he wasn’t his usual self this game and hasn’t been for the last few which have all met with mixed results. Yes, the Eagles have faced a tough mid-season schedule and have been on a downward trend since their early Bye-Week where they initially lost steam. That’s not to say they couldn’t continue their early performances if they can get the offensive line on board and amp the defense back up. -1 4-4
  10. Detroit Lions- Lose to the Texans one week, beat the Vikings in a clutch overtime performance the next. Apparently the Lions are attempting to steal all of our hearts, as well as our fourth quarter leads, this year. Never count Matthew Stafford out. He’s proved time and time again this year that if there’s still a chance at all then he can win it. Sure, they’ve lost close ones too. But seriously, the man is having a career year so far and as far as fourth quarter comebacks go, he’s tallying huge numbers in his career. +5 5-4

No Better than a Back Hand:

  1. Minnesota Vikings- The mighty continue to fall. Sam Bradford looks more realistically like Sam Bradford again and the results are unsurprising if not unsatisfying as well. His metamorphosis hasn’t quite been completed as he still retains some of his old ways apparently. The Vikings can’t afford more dropped games- not after three straight and two to teams that didn’t even deserve that gift wrapped package. -2 5-3
  2. Washington Redskins- Washington received the gift that keeps on giving and was graced with a much-needed Bye this week. As it stands, they’ve got what it takes to make another wild card run at the playoffs but they need some refinement as well. They’ve lost some close ones and they’ve clutched some closer ones. They’ve got some hidden talent and need to tap more into it. +/- 4-3-1
  3. New York Giants- The Giants proved they could win the divisional matchup but have they proven much else? They’re sneaky good as far as their record goes, however there’s no way they can stand their own against the titans of the field right now. And no, I don’t mean Tennessee. Dallas, if they continue to play the way they have, should clutch the division but New York could make a wild card bid. Keep the defensive plays going Landon Collins. +4 5-3
  4. Buffalo Bills- Congratulations are in order for this team despite the disappointing end to their game. They outplayed the Seahawks in terms of yardage and production and it took some first half shenanigans coupled with a costly pick and final goal-line failure to lose them the game. It was a thriller through and through and between LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor there was plenty of action to see. They’re much better than their record suggests. +2 4-5
  5. Houston Texans- Easily the most up and down team historically as far as recent history goes, this season has proven no different. Joke all you want about Brock Osweiler’s steal of a deal, the man has yet to prove himself. The weapons are there even with players hurt but the Quarterback situation must improve if they are to secure deserved and good wins. -2 5-3
  6. Arizona Cardinals- Is the NFC West the new NFC South? It certainly looks pretty weak right now. Three of the four teams have losing records and the point total for the lower two is a whopping -130 differential. The Cardinals have been inconsistent to say the least, as have the Carolina Panthers who were the only NFC team “better” than the Cards last season. What happened? These guys will be lucky to make the playoffs at this rate. -5 3-4-1
  7. New Orleans Saints- Even against the 49ers, the Saints will go marching on. Such has been the theme for all teams save for one this year and so it continues. The Saints started in a hole but they’ve managed to dig themselves enough breathing room for the moment. They’re only one loss behind the Falcons and one game back. It’ll be interested to see which team loses momentum first and if the Saint can continue to ride Drew Brees’ arm to victory like they have been. +1 4-4
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers- For the longest while, it looked like the Steelers were the clear favorites in the AFC North. Now it could even be the Bengals world and we’re just living in it (again). I understand Roethlisberger being hurt and the Steelers losing to the Pats, but I don’t forgive dropping the Miami game or losing the Baltimore grudge match for the six of seven times in recent years. If Ben was hurt then why risk him again? He didn’t play well anyway and it wasn’t worth the possible repercussions. There are so many offensive tools here when the offense actually works. -4 4-4
  9. San Diego Chargers- The Chargers have done a good job of reversing their fortunes a little bit lately. They’ve still got a shot at wild card contention even in the most currently heated divisional pile in the AFC, maybe the NFL. Philip Rivers is doing great things will very little help. As he always has. The Tennessee game was a surprisingly great one and a high scoring affair that ended when Rivers deemed the shootout over with. Melvin Gordon put up a career day and also managed to actually hold onto the ball. All was well. +1 4-5
  10. Miami Dolphins- Another win in the books and Miami shuffles past a more talented Buffalo team in divisional standings. They played Fitz and the Jets so it may not seem like much but continued solid play from the backfield and the defense have won them these matches. That’s more than enough for a slight rankings raise in my books, especially when other teams have been literally dropping the ball. +2 4-4

Trying to Escape No Man’s Land:

  1. Indianapolis Colts- Don’t look now but the Colts have sneaked their way back into contention right beside the Titans and Texans in the weakish AFC South. Just don’t let the Jags sneakily beat you and you’ll be alright… Andrew Luck has had a good year through bad situations. He’s rarely protected and has so far has to essentially carry the team with the exception of some good running days by Frank Gore on occasion. All things said, the team has improved but the offense is still sometimes its biggest enemy. +2 4-5
  2. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals fall victim to the mid-season Bye-Week slump as they didn’t play but they’ve dropped nevertheless. I don’t want that to dishearten any Bengals fans completely, as you all are still in the running for AFC North honors, however it’s time to get the Dalton to Green show back on the road and time to stop relying upon Hill so much in crunch time when he can’t do the same things. -3 3-4-1
  3. Tennessee Titans- Until the Titans can win more than one game in a row they will reside somewhere around this area. They’ve got a good squad and a sneaky defense but they continue to drop games when they matter and seem to give three quarters of effort as opposed to a full regulation game’s worth. Marcus Mariota has been steadily improving and his turnovers have gotten less egregious (thankfully). He’s winning the sophomore battle with fellow draft-mate Jameis Winston, but neither of their teams is too hot at the moment after high profile losses. -2 4-5
  4. Baltimore Ravens- These guys shuffled their way into leading the AFC North again somehow, don’t ask me. They finally halted their downward slide for the moment and channeled a little bit of that 3-0 spunk again. Joe Flacco doesn’t seem like his usual self, but then again a 5-11 season that he wasn’t a big part of probably doesn’t help for confidence. The defense ultimately won the game, but the offense still has options if only it would use them effectively. +1 4-4
  5. Carolina Panthers- Are the Panthers about to make a surprise rags to riches mid-season comeback for the second time in three years? Their 7-8-1 season was thoroughly impressive all things considered. However they’ll also have to fight off the New Orleans Saints yet again and so far the Saints are ahead. Whether or not they can go from last to wild card contender is questionable but they are getting a few more wins under the belt. +2 3-5
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- I’m not really sure how this team bested Atlanta the first time around so chock it up to beginning of the season luck and flukes. Atlanta was undoubtedly the better team this time and absolutely blew the Buccaneers away with their own cannons. Winston continually goes to Evans and that connection is very strong but still not enough alone to win games. The running game is still suffering thanks to injuries but things could be turning around soon. -2 3-5
  7. Chicago Bears- Well, they’ve had their moment. The Bears take a slight dip coming out of the Bye-Week but that’s not to say they’re doomed to failure. They went into the Bye with a completely surprising performance against Minnesota which could be the spark Jay Cutler needs in order to be relevant again. Brian Hoyer is done- that arm is nasty. So they’re going to need all the Cutler they can get, assuming he plays like he did against Minnesota that is. -1 2-6
  8. New York Jets- Let it be known that I do give credit where credit is due. The Jets could’ve won the game against Miami but they didn’t. Fitzpatrick mostly saw to that again and honestly the coaches should just admit that ship has sailed at least for the season. It was a relatively close game even if it was still an offensively lopsided contest. The Jets aren’t as bad as they were earlier in the season but there’s no way they’re doing as well as last season. +1 3-6
  9. Los Angeles Rams- Aaron Donald is killing it but he’s about the only one other than Jeff Fisher’s blood pressure. He’s actually about the only bright spot the Rams have right now, and a strong defensive POY candidate as well. Todd Gurley continues to get stuffed and isn’t blocked for, Case Keenum is trash and the coaches aren’t willing to start Jared Goff, and for the most part the Rams can only rest on the fact that they are currently better than the 49ers. -1 3-5
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars- It’s a sad day when a coach hasn’t even put together enough wins in multiple seasons to have won more than one season’s worth of games. But that’s the case for Jacksonville. Bortles continues to struggle and the run game has only marginally improved this year at all over the course of nine weeks. The defense shines at times but isn’t enough on its own to win many games. Something needs to change but I’m not quite sure what it would be if I were limited to one thing and one thing only. +/- 2-6

Hello Again, Darkness My Old Friend:

  1. San Fransisco 49ers- What are you all even doing at this point? Certainly not playing professional football. It’s bad when a team that has won at least one game is still worse in my mind than the Browns who have yet to win a game. Too bad I can’t justifiably place them below a winless team right now. The Browns stay in their games and try to secure a W whereas the 49ers gave up last season it seems. +/- 1-7
  2. Cleveland Browns- There’s so much going on here but what can’t seem to go is checks in the win category. I so desperately want to see the Browns at least eek out a 4-12 season if only because they’ve come so close to tasting victory this year and instead could very well run the 0-16 gauntlet. Cody Kessler, Corey Coleman, and Terrelle Pryor are all young and fresh and great, but they need a little more support defensively if they’re to finally cash in. +/- 0-9
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