Week Twelve Rankings

nfl

Some of the league’s top offenses didn’t play this week and so we were spared the heartbreaking matchups that could’ve ensued. By that same token, one of the league’s worst teams was spared another probable loss this week as well. Bye-Weeks are funny things. Sometimes you go into one strong or go into one hoping for a beloved reprieve from the veritable beating your team has taken week to week. Sometimes you come out strong and other times you falter in the following weeks. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s rankings.

The Best:

  1. Dallas Cowboys- For one week at least, the Cowboys have avoided the No. 1 spot’s curse just like the Vikings (technically) and Patriots did. They avoided what at first looked to be  a dangerous game against the Baltimore Ravens and came out on top by multiple scores. What more can be said about Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott that hasn’t been already? The only thing that remains to be said is thanks to Tony Romo for initiating all of this to begin with- as bad a thing as that is to consider an injury (an initiation). +/- 9-1
  2. Seattle Seahawks- These guys have been up and down all over the place but have constantly shown how strong they are, both offensively and defensively. They’ve already had their down moments and look to be moving onto their historic fourth quarter season surge. Whereas the Patriots faltered at times before putting the 49ers to bed and the Raiders suffered the Houston blitz many times on Monday night, the Seahawks put the capable Eagles defense to rest. +2 7-2-1
  3. New England Patriots- Another slight dip for the Pats this week. They ended up winning by two scores on the 49ers, but it wasn’t always so pretty to begin with. And when you’re willing to let a thirsty and floundering 1-9 team get close to you, things can get scary and ugly quick. Tom Brady continues to make his bid for MVP even playing four games down to everybody else. But is anyone really surprised at all by that? -1 8-2
  4. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders also faltered a little bit this week despite showing that they still have it in them to win the close games against difficult opponents. While the Texans haven’t typically been strong this year despite their winning record, they definitely played well when it came down to it in Mexico. The Raiders overcame a crippling defensive attack and brought it back for the win late in the second half when it came time. -1 8-2
  5. Washington Redskins- The Redskins get a major boost up in the rankings this week thanks in equal part to their performance over the ailing Packers and the Bye-Week summoning both the Broncos and Falcons away. Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers dueled it out for the majority of the day but I think we both know who won that one and it wasn’t the scoreboard. +4 6-3-1
  6. Denver Broncos- Denver holds steady for the week after embracing their Bye-Week with open arms. They headed into the week with a clutch special teams victory over the Saints who have now lost their last two games- both of which looked entirely winnable throughout. The Broncos still have their work cut out for them, particularly with the division they are in, but things are looking up after a Chiefs loss and the Raiders narrowly escaping a Texans upset. +/- 7-3
  7. Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons have had a pretty good year so far, but could be leaning towards a second half collapse for the second year in a row. Right now they’re rested up and ready to go, which could be just the motivation Mat Ryan’s unit needs in order to bust a few more wins out. While nobody was watching, the NFC South got very, very close indeed. Anyone could win at this rate and that should be all the motivation the Ryan-Jones connection needs in order to continue breaking out. +/- 6-4
  8. Kansas City Chiefs- Well, there’s no rest for the wicked and Kansas City found that out the hard way. First, they lost to Tampa Bay mainly due to the fact that they couldn’t force turnovers, which historically have been their easiest and surest way to winning. Secondly, they gave up big plays in the absence of Marcus Peters and Mike Evans ran on them constantly. They pulled out some tight ones in the last few weeks but couldn’t get this win. -3 7-3
  9. New York Giants- The Giants are definitely one of the more pleasant surprises of the season at this point. They’ve been fairly consistent and they’ve become closers who are able to win close games rather than losers who lose them. It seems like they are destined to mirror their most recent Super Bowl runs but will they be able to mirror that same success besides their record alone? The defense is stepping up and the run game has been established and the young receiving corps is getting the job done. +3 7-3
  10. Detroit Lions- As they’re apt to do, the Jaguars gave the Lions quite the fright on Sunday. Luckily for the NFC North leaders, that’s all it ended up being and they clutched the game when it came down to it. Now they’re looking to match up against Minnesota and things could get ugly quick. It’ll be a game to determine the fate of the division and where things go from here on out. The real question isn’t who will win but rather how and how will it impact their seasons win or lose? +/- 6-4

The Next:

  1. Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings managed to survive a late surge by the Cardinals in order to bring a halt to their losing streak. Whereas they opened the season 5-0, they’ve since gone 1-4. While it isn’t the greatest record in the league, there is still time to get back in top shape for the future and coming games. Plus, they’ll hopefully be getting Adrian Peterson back which is never a back deal at all. +2 6-4
  2. Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles have definitely had a tough schedule for the better part of the season, but that hasn’t stopped them from defying expectations coming into the season and still managing to do so at times even now. Carson Wentz has definitely done a lot more than people probably expected, even if the Eagles have been sloppy at times lately in their losses. If this crew manages to get their act together and maintain the players they have without suffering more injuries, they could continue to be dangerous. -4 5-5
  3. Houston Texans- Houston had a fairly strong showing in Mexico City against a talented Oakland offensive unit and that’s definitely one of the reasons I’m boosting them up a tad bit here. I’ve yet to be truly impressed by the team this season, however I do know that they have their own strengths. The QB position is by far the most questionable, however there are some formidable tools on both the offense and defense. +1 6-4
  4. Miami Dolphins- Where oh where did these Dolphins come from? Don’t look now, but they’ve been on a row for quite some time. Sure, that doesn’t necessarily translate to playing well at all times, as the game against LA can attest to, but nonetheless it’s impressive. They’ve re-established the running game and actually made their offense a viable option again at times as well, even dominating here and there. +5 6-4
  5. Buffalo Bills- The Bills have been taking some hits lately but that didn’t stop them from pulling out a close victory over Cincinnati. They remind me a lot of the Titans for the moment as both teams seem to have their highs and lows back to back and maintain a somewhat balanced record instead of ever pulling ahead in the wins category. I think this team is critically underrated and only undermined by injuries to key positions when they can least afford to suffer them. +1 5-5
  6. Baltimore Ravens- While the score says otherwise, Baltimore played hard against Dak’s Dallas and they deserve to be rewarded regardless of the outcome. The AFC North is still very much anybody’s game, however it’ll be entertaining to see how this defensive powerhouse continues to assert its dominance throughout the season. They may have lost by two scores in the end but for the majority of the game they were neck and neck with the clutch Cowboys’ pace. +5 5-5
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers are neither rewarded nor hurt this week. I think for the most part that can be attributed to the fact that their adversary was the Browns, who at this point don’t even seem desperate for wins. It’s almost as if they’ve resigned themselves to their fate as the football god laughs and spites them. Whereas they fought for close losses earlier, now they get blown out by admittedly talented offensive units. The Steelers have been up and down at best, but nobody can doubt Big Ben and get away with it. +/- 5-5
  8. New Orleans Saints- It’s a shame, I really felt like the Saints had this one. After all, the Chargers and Panthers really do like to give up second half points and make games close again no matter how far the margin between teams is. Drew Brees has been coming up huge in statistics this year, but then again is that really even a surprise? He goes out there and does pretty much the same every year and its shame that his team never does that well except every four or five years or so at this rate. The defense is starting to improve but it’s almost too late for that. -3 4-6
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Wow, where did that come from? Tampa Bay definitely has its strengths but even still, I was shocked that they managed to defeat the Chiefs in the manner they did. Sure, it was no Titans/Packers blowout festival, but it was a statement nonetheless. Alex Smith should get his crap together before they suffer another defeat that honestly shouldn’t happen. Good on you, Jameis Winston and Mike Evans- you two make the moves and when you work in tandem the Bucs groove. Don’t look now but the Bucs are a sneaky second in the South. +4 5-5
  10. Indianapolis Colts- I could see it going either way, but inevitably my bet on the Titans fell through and it was the Colts who came in clutch and won the AFC South matchup. Andrew Luck has been having quite the season even if his Colts got off to a slow start and essentially had to rediscover what the term “offensive line” even means. Regardless of the setbacks, they’re currently resting at a balanced wins and losses and have six weeks to see where that takes them from here on out. +4 5-5

The Rest:

  1. Carolina Panthers- It was ugly at best and combined with their game against Kansas City, the Panthers gave up a combined 34 points in the fourth quarter while also scoring a whopping zero, however a win is a win is a win. They get the big move this week mainly because the teams below them lost and because it seemed about time something went their way, even with LUUUUUKE’s departure after a concussion near the end of the game. +5 4-6
  2. Green Bay Packers- At this rate, I’m not quite sure what’s to be said about the Packers but holy cow. Not one, but two big time losses for this group in the past few weeks. First Tennessee came out with their Marcus Mariota roadshow and then Kirk Cousins channeled his best Oprah Winfrey and made sure everyone got a ball. What a weird year it’s been so far- Tony Romo isn’t the go-to in Dallas, the Titans are relevant again, and the Raiders are actually GOOD. Watch out Aaron Rodgers, nothing is sacred anymore. -11 4-6
  3. Tennessee Titans- It’s been a good year for the Titans for the most part, but there are still some improvements that could be made. The defense has played well even though the offense has alternated between big and bad games. DeMarco Murray and Marcus Mariota have both established themselves as threats whereas the receiving crew has seen Delanie Walker continue to play well and Andre Johnson make a surprise mid-season retirement. -3 5-6
  4. Arizona Cardinals- The mighty have fallen fairly far this year as many squads that were dominant last year have been mediocre at best this year. The Cardinals seemed like they might be poised to make a return to form but the Vikings dialed up a good old fashion cancellation on that order by halting their own losing streak. Whereas the Seahawks have gotten vastly better since their early-season meeting, the Cardinals have floundered and Carson Palmer has not been his good old self, merely his old self. -6 4-5-1
  5. San Diego Chargers- For this week, San Diego just drew the short straw and takes a hit on their ranking coming out of the Bye-Week. They’ve been doing fairly okay lately even though they lost a little bit of steam in their last few weeks as well. Philip Rivers is dangerous as always but since the team focuses predominately on his play, if he has an off day it’s a lost game. -3 4-6
  6. Los Angeles Rams- I’m giving the Rams a little bit of slack right now because they dominated for three and a half quarters against the Dolphins and honestly I’m still shocked they didn’t win it. The defense has carried the team because the offense can’t block for Todd Gurley who would otherwise quite literally carry it. Give Jared Goff a hand but don’t expect too much in return from the rookie because none of Los Angeles’ QBs has the juice to recharge the team right now. +1 4-6
  7. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals sure don’t look like they’re in any shape to contend very strongly for the division title right now. Then again, they’re only really two games behind so anything could happen. AJ Green and Andy Dalton have as strong a connection as ever but that’s pretty much the only thing that’s strong down in Cincinnati right now. Man, Ohio just can’t catch a break this year. -2 3-6-1
  8. Chicago Bears- The Bears showed signs of life, for the first half of the game at least. Then they completely fell apart and the Giants took over. So far we’ve yet to see the Jay Cutler or the Bears we saw in their matchup with Minnesota, but then I think that surprised even the Bears themselves. They’re not a completely lost cause even if the season itself is probably a lost one. +2 2-8
  9. New York Jets- I elevated the Bears to the position that the Jets previously held mainly because of their first half productivity against the Giants this past week. The Jets will be coming off of a Bye-Week and as such have still a lot to prove in terms of play at Quarterback, defensive woes in the secondary, and much more. Only time will tell if they can manage to win a few more games or if they’re out for the count. -1 3-7
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars- For the second week in a row, the Jags made an attempt to steal the show from their opponents. This week’s would-be victim was the Lions who still managed to come in and win the game when it was down to the wire. They’re a very flawed unit but they have some surprisingly decent tools both offensively and defensively if they can figure out the problem this year at QB and get things patched up and ready to go. -1 2-8

Those Guys:

  1. San Fransisco 49ers- I really wanted to move the 49ers up a spot, truly did, but I just couldn’t bring myself to fairly do so this week. Kap played surprisingly not terrible, however that’s far from the same thing as playing well. They manage to put up points on most teams but typically in garbage time when the bulk of the game is over anyway. +/- 1-9
  2. Cleveland Browns- Tsk, tsk Cleveland. +/- 0-11
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