Week Fifteen Rankings

nfl

Another week comes and another week goes. The Dallas Cowboys still have their playoff berth but things have been put into a little bit more perspective even for that previously untouchable team. A ruthless streak has ended and other teams are hungrily sizing two rookies up. This week featured perhaps the closest games yet as many were decided by a single score. A few were runaway contests but that’s to be expected when touted offenses come up against cupcakes. Let’s see where the state of the league stands after yet another number one has fallen.

Contenders:

  1. New England Patriots- It’s been a little while, but the cream of the crop has returned to the top. Tom Brady made a few mistakes but it boiled down more to Baltimore’s secondary making excellent reads. The New England special teams left something to be desired…two times. For a team that is missing some of its most important weapons, the Pats look pretty good sitting at 11-2. For a team that played four games without it’s starting QB and went 3-1 and has gone 8-1 since, they’re at the top of their game and in peak condition. +1 11-2
  2. Oakland Raiders- It’s hard to decide right now who should get this second slot due to the fact that the Cowboys, Raiders, and Seahawks all made mistakes and paid the price for them this week. The Chiefs beat the Raiders and edged the Falcons but I don’t think that warrants such a high move in the top few slots. Derek Carr, for all of his missteps against a divisional opponent on the road, proved he is still in contention for MVP even in their loss. Dak and crew have played worse in not just their last game but the one before as well. +1 10-3
  3. Dallas Cowboys- The Boys may be America’s team but they’re no longer the number one team after a less than stellar performance over the past two weeks finally leading to Sunday night’s loss for the second time this season to the Giants. Dak Prescott had his worst game of the season and the offensive unit itself had one of its worst showings. The Giants didn’t fare much better but were much more explosive when they knew they needed to be. -2 11-2 *Playoffs
  4. Kansas City Chiefs- What a dynamic team. First of all, Tyreek Hill is a monster on any side of the ball. I don’t know where the man came from this season but he’s destroyed entire teams in the past few weeks alone. I’m almost convinced Eric Berry and Hill alone could defeat some of the lesser teams in the league. Almost. The Chiefs have hit their stride and don’t look to let up even with stiff competition coming up. +1 10-3
  5. Atlanta Falcons- This is a team that lost to the Chiefs by the barest of amounts after being literally two yards from a three point lead. And it only came due to the clutchest of plays by Eric Berry…twice. But they’ve paid their dues and they showed LA what it was like to experience the utter dread of humiliation in a multiple score victory this week. This remains the most explosive offense and certainly one of the best passing games in the league right now. They’ve got to be on their toes with a hot Tampa Bay on their trail however. +1 8-5
  6. Seattle Seahawks- If this was any other team and this weren’t the top ten, the Hawks would be dropping like flies. Green Bay (unsurprisingly) dominated them, but the score was still higher than I expected. It was essentially how the NFC Championship should’ve turned out a few years ago if not for the utter clutch play of Russell Wilson and four minutes of scores upon scores. Sadly, Wilson was a ways from his A-game and Rodgers stole the win instead this week. The Seahawks have some hurdles to get over but they’re still one of the most threatening NFC contenders out there. -2 8-4-1
  7. Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford plays well versus any team save for the Bears this season and there is undeniable proof of that in both of their matchups. However, the Lions have still won these games when it counted even if it has been ugly. Such has been the story of Stafford’s team this season. They’ve trailed in every single game save for one and yet here they sit with a pretty record in one of the penultimate weeks of football. His clutch play and surrounding talent are buoying the team when they need it the most. +1 9-4
  8. Washington Redskins- The NFC East has proven that it’s a pretty damn talented and competitive division this year, which is way more than could be said for it last season. Outside of the Cowboys there are two other teams vying for playoff berths against all odds. It’s strange to some that I would list the Redskins over the Giants, who have the better record, and yet this ranking isn’t merely about numbers and results but performance as a whole. And so Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson get this spot over even Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. For now at least. +1 7-5-1
  9. New York Giants- So far this season the Giants have bested every other team in the league at one thing and that is defeating the Cowboys, who’ve otherwise been on an 11-0 roll. Against the Giants and Eli Manning, Dak Prescott’s team is 0-2 for the year and it’s come off a combination of 4 points across their losses. I can’t think of any other post-season matchup I’d rather see than a Giants v Cowboys rematch if that were to happen. Would it be a Cindarella story or will it be Dallas’ Empire Strikes Back (with them as the evil empire)? +1 9-4
  10. Denver Broncos- The Broncos have looked like a shadow of their former self for a while this season but it’s started to hinder them yet again in the past few weeks. First they let the Jaguars get entirely too close for comfort and then this week they let yet another AFC South opponent best them. Granted, it was the Titans and the Broncos have had trouble stopping the run all year. Much less starting their own run game. And man, Justin Forsett is just not what he used to be. They’ve been looking for answers but so far they need to keep looking. -3 8-5

Wannabees:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- For now at least, the Steelers hold the AFC North and have kept the Ravens at bay by their loss to New England this Monday night. It’s a wonderful thing, winning. The Steelers are looking to hit their hot streak it seems like and it could all be very doable, especially when considering their schedule in relation to Baltimore’s in terms of holding the Ravens off until the season’s end and clinching the divisional title for themselves. +2 8-5
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- This team has already heated up much more than they ever did last year and Jameis Winston has shown great promise in a year that has been largely dominated by some of the younger players in the league at his position. His team is still tied for first just slightly behind the Falcons in the South, but it’s either team’s spot to lose and both have a long road ahead of them in the final weeks. As it is, the NFC South is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and surprising parts of the playoff contention just based upon who makes the cut. +3 8-5
  3. Baltimore Ravens- It ended up being a lot closer game than it initially looked like it was going to be, but then both Joe Flacco and Tom Brady were playing good ball even with their respective mistakes. Despite a fifty yard or so difference, their stats were pretty comparable as were those of their teams. The Ravens definitely won the turnover battle, however New England repaid them in kind by beating them in the penalties department. -2 7-6
  4. Green Bay Packers- Well look who showed up to the NFC Playoff Race party 2k16! The Packers and Aaron Rodgers finally seem like they’re ready to brush off the cobwebs and make a bid for the NFC North title. They have a tall task ahead of them but could very well come close, if not achieve their goal. I’m eager to see how things play out in this division for sure, and in the NFC as a whole in the next few weeks leading up to the grand finale of it all. +3 7-6
  5. Minnesota Vikings- Not to be outdone entirely, and still technically above the Packers as far as actually records go, the Vikings are seeking a little bit of the NFC North pie as well. I’m curious as to who will play the better ballgame in the coming weeks despite being biased enough from previous experience both this season and in others to speculate that it’ll be Aaron Rodgers and not Sam Bradford. Time will tell and this is a team I’ll keep an eye on in a division that burns bright some days and burns out on others. -3 7-6
  6. Miami Dolphins- I know they beat a team that, record notwithstanding is probably the better ballclub on any other given day, but Miami is staying put for a number of reasons (the least of which being other teams fared better this week and moved up higher). The status of Ryan Tannehill is iffy at best and for better or worse he has been the face of the team in their clutch situations this year, oftentimes in combination with Kenny Stills when the latter can actually catch wide open passes. Jay Ajayi should continue to be a factor, but the QB is also important. +/- 8-5
  7. Buffalo Bills- Despite their record that may argue otherwise, these guys are always going to be dangerous even when they’re not entirely healthy or playing their greatest game. They weren’t doing or feeling either of those against the Steelers and letting Le’Veon Bell put almost 300 yards on them should showcase that. But as it was, the Steelers still only won by seven and not by 28, which is more than the Rams can say for themselves. -3 6-7
  8. Tennessee Titans- Tennessee gets the big propel here for their domination in a low scoring affair over the Broncos who should’ve been the superior team. While they handled the first half of the game and then disappeared offensively in the second half, they still managed to hold on for both the steal and the win. Marcus Mariota has improved greatly this season throughout the season and the Titans are perhaps the most explosive running ground game in the league right now, riding high off of the Murray-Henry tandem. +5 7-6
  9. Indianapolis Colts- Surprisingly, the Colts are staying put even with their close loss to divisional leader (for now) Houston. I really thought they had it within themselves to upset the balance of power and allow for themselves and Tennessee to both surpass Houston, but somehow the Texans’ continue to get lucky when they’re on the cusp of losing their division titleship. In what is arguably the weakest division in the AFC, I’m honestly not sure but it boggles my mind week to week. Sorry Andrew Luck. +/- 6-7
  10. New Orleans Saints- The Saints have always been a mixed bag of tricks and probably always will be. Drew Brees has been the one constant highlight performer in their roster for more seasons than just this one, but the defense has really been at a remarkably low level in 2016 and when it came down to a defensive showing they got beat by Tampa Bay. The Saints may not have much hope for a playoff berth at this point but they could still finish the season with a .500 record if they put in the work and have the willpower to succeed again. -2 5-8

Pretenders:

  1. Houston Texans- The Texans have continually played like a team that should be batting well below a winning record and yet somehow they come up with enough decisively clutch moments to win games. They’re not quite sitting pretty but they’re still at the top of the pile that is the AFC South for the time being. I’d honestly like to see someone knock them off of it by the end of the season just so I don’t have to watch the same utter trouncing I saw last post-season versus the Chiefs. Do us and the Texans a favor and put them out of their misery before then. +1 7-6
  2. Carolina Panthers- I’m severely disappointed in this team. Typically you get Super Bowl ‘fatigue’ after winning a Super Bowl game, however this team went 15-1, killed the competition in the championship, fumbled the biggest game away and haven’t recovered since. I guess the only thing that’s semi-heartening is that their NFC Championship competitors (Arizona) are doing virtually as bad right now this season as well. +2 5-8
  3. Philadelphia Eagles- It’s almost past the point of no return for Philadelphia’s season here and they don’t show any signs of recovering their early season success. In fact, if three of four teams are doing extremely well in a division then it’s almost necessary that the fourth be doing marginally less and typically downright bad. So technically they’re already exceeding expectations at least. I’d hoped to see more out of the criminally underrated rookie QB Carson Wentz, but it seems like there’s now enough tape on him to shut him down completely in games. -3 5-8
  4. Arizona Cardinals- Honestly, I still thought the Cardinals could pull a fast one on the Dolphins despite both teams being on opposite sides of success this year. The Cards played well for the most part the last few weeks while the Dolphins mostly scraped by or scraped their brains out of their helmets after games like the one against the Ravens. But sadly it just wasn’t so. Miami escaped with a win and an injured QB and Arizona continues to make me question their aging player at the position. Carson Palmer shows signs of resurgence and then falls into the same old routine that has become normal for this season. -3 5-7-1
  5. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals are showing some late season fire, even if it may be coming on much too late to save their season in fact. I do like what I’ve seen in the last two games even if they’ve still got a ways to go and for the most part are just playing to finish at a middling note for the season and to get as far away from the dregs of the bottom teams as they can right now. +/- 5-7-1
  6. Chicago Bears- In a rare turn of events, Chicago lost another game that was closer than it may have had any right to be, but they’re moving up in the world of football rankings instead. They’ve got potential even in this lost season and Matt Barkley is playing well enough to probably cement himself a 2nd string position behind the healthy Jay Cutler if and when the man returns. It was a shame to see Brian Hoyer go out earlier in the season since he was putting up some great numbers, but such is the will of the football gods. +1 3-10 *Eliminated
  7. San Diego Chargers- It really has been a sad year for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. They had such promise in early games before succumbing utterly to injuries, allowing too many deep fourth quarter runs, being their own worst enemies, and losing the turnover battle game by game. Life is already hard enough when you play in what is arguably the most difficult division to play in the league this year. -1 5-8
  8. New York Jets- The Jets won a game. With Bryce Petty. In overtime. Egad. +2 4-9 *Eliminated
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars- I’ve not much left to say about this team. Blake Bortles lives to fight another day I suppose only because there’s nobody present to take his job at the moment. I’d like to see a Tom Coughlin-coached squad again though. -1 2-11 *Eliminated
  10. Los Angeles Rams- Domination and humiliation were a packaged deal for the Rams this week. And boy was it tough to watch. Even Todd Gurley couldn’t stomach it at all. -1 4-9 *Eliminated

Those Guys:

  1. San Fransisco 49ers- *sigh +/- 1-12 *Eliminated
  2. Cleveland Browns- *longer sigh +/- 0-13 *Eliminated
Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Milly Schmidt

The Cat's Write

Mr. Miniike's Tea-Sipping Reviews

Album reviews and pop culture nothings by a Christian INFP New Yorker turboplebe with no musical talent. Mostly empty gushing. How can you resist?

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

The Ninth Life

It's time to be inspired, become encouraged, and get uplifted!

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

What Inspires Your Writing?

A blog dedicated to writers...and the people, places, and things that spark their creativity

%d bloggers like this: