My NFL Week 16 Power Rankings
I predicted there would be a great shakeup in the Top 10 this week in the rankings. Too many of the top 15 teams played each other and teams are injured/sliding here at the end of the season. This is why you must love the NFL. The magnitude of every game from here into and through the playoffs — attention is palpable.
As they are as you await my rankings.
So I will keep you waiting no longer.
1. Indianapolis Colts. I refuse to put PIT any higher than 4, because 1. IND beat them head to head. 2. NYG beat them head to head. 3. BAL would’ve beaten them without that bogus TD call and 4. they still have to play TEN. If they pull that off, then PIT goes here next week. Until then? No. The Colts are the hottest team in the NFL and NO ONE wants to play them right now.
2. Tennessee Titans. They weren’t really “upset” last week. The Texans finally broke out of their early-season malaise in the past few weeks. Too bad it’s too little, too late. I had them winning 11 this year and that wasn’t a stretch analyzing their roster. The early-season stretch of three straight road games and not having Reliant Stadium fully available due to the hurricane really set them back. They are near the top of the NFL in scoring, mind you. But this is the Titans’ block here. I say they’re reeling. Kerry Collins is their QB. Time has come today.
3. New York Football Giants. Yes, we missed Burress last week and missed him AND Jacobs vs. Dallas. They aren’t the only reason the Giants have lost two straight. But let’s not get too hasty here. Carolina is not better than the Giants. If they beat us Sunday, then they are. Pittsburgh lost to us. No way you can put them ahead of us either.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure, they find ways to win, and it’s not about style points, but I GUARANTEE all those points they leave on the field will come back to haunt them in the playoffs. It won’t in the regular season. They’re one of those teams where the bye in the playoffs may backfire as the team that plays them will potentially have two weeks to (semi) prepare for them. They can be figured out, especially if you have a good slot receiver.
5. Carolina Panthers. Until/IF they beat the Giants, how can you realistically put them any higher? Other than Eli Manning (of late) who has a shakier QB amongst the team with the best records in the NFL than Carolina? Steve Smith is arguably the best all-around WR in the NFL. The Black Cats have a two-headed rushing attack, but the Giants have proven that they can slow that down. Tony Romo (and Witten) effectively beat the Giants. Romo gets rid of the ball and (at least on Sunday Night) doesn’t make mistakes. Jake does (7-27, 72 yards, 4 INT vs. OAKLAND???). Panther fans need to real in their enthusiasm and think on that for a while. The Panthers’ defense, while solid, will struggle to get consistent pressure on Manning. They’d better hope that Jacobs misses the game. That’s their real hope here.
6. Baltimore Ravens. ESPN had Dallas here??? How??? But anyway, this team might be better than their 9-5 record. They’ve had two games where the refs took the game from them (vs. TEN and Sunday vs. PIT). That would make them 11-3. Who, realistically, other than NYG, PIT and IND — who all beat them — can you say is better than them? Not Miami. Although they are not far behind in these rankings, as you will see.
7. Atlanta Falcons. They win pretty. They win ugly. With a rookie QB and a first-year starting RB putting up all-world numbers (Turner: 15 rushing TD) and Roddy White having the season of his life as well. I am looking good in fantasy due to these two guys.
8. Miami Dolphins. The Fish are going to win the AFC East.
9. Dallas Cowboys. Hard to put them any higher. Their backs are against the wall. They defeated a beat-up and DEAD Redskins team (which lost to CIN???) and caught the Giants missing their two top offensive weapons. Let’s not get carried away. A TRUE barometer of the Cowboys will come Saturday night when (I am picking, anyway) they lose to BAL.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’re reeling. But I am not putting any of these other 9-5/8-6 teams ahead of them, either.
11. Minnesota Vikings. I can’t justify putting them any higher. They have a shaky QB situation. Great backfield, and great defensive and offensive line. But if you are a bettor, would you take the Vikes on ANY spread right now?
12. New England Patriots. Yes, they beat the Raiders. But they are going to be the odd team out in the AFC East and the last wild card spot. The injuries have caught up to them.
13. New York Football Jets. Jets fans think the Jets are done. I think they have a way to get that last wild card spot. It’s going to be tight. Gonna come down to Week 17 and the tiebreakers post-games. I think the Fish will win the division, but the Jets should beat Seattle and if they beat MIA (followed by the Patriots losing out) they will still get in.
14. Arizona Cardinals. That loss Sunday killed their chances to secure higher than a 3 spot in the playoffs. That is huge, because even though they’ll be at home, their first game guarantees to be against a team they do not match up well against in Tampa Bay (most likely).
15. Philadelphia Eagles. They’re still alive, somehow. No one would want to play them if they made the playoffs, either.
16. Chicago Bears. Yes, they’re 8-6, but who fears these guys?
17. Denver Broncos. Ditto.
18. Houston Texans. They let me down, because I picked them to go far this year. Their last three games shows you why I had them winning 11. That win Sunday vs. TEN was NO “upset”, either.
19. New Orleans Saints. They have slim hopes, still, but they basically need the Iggles, Cowboys, Tampa Bay and Fulcons to lose out. Is that really going to happen? That’s what happens when you have an all-world QB, no running game and a perennially ABYSMAL defence.
20. Washington Redskins. You can call them the name that other NFC East teams’ fans call them: DEADSKINS.
21. San Diego Chargers. Underachievers of the year. However, they can win out, have Denver lose out (including a loss to SD in Week 17) and still win their division. They’d have the 4 seed and likely land a rematch with the Colts. Honestly, with a clean slate, does anyone want to play this team in the playoffs when they’re semi-healthy?
22. San Francisco 49ers. They will finish 7-9. They were dead in the water before they fired Nolan.
23. Buffalo Bills. JP Losman = YIKES.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars. They beat an equally dead team that has mailed it in (although they will check in to beat DET to finish the season).
25. Green Bay Packers. Yeah, what I said about JAX.
26. Cleveland Browns. Dear god. Romeo Crennel is a (word that rhymes with buckin’) soldier like his injured starting tight end to stick in there with this menagerie.
27. Kansas City Chiefs. I keep telling myself they’re not this bad. Maybe Carl Peterson’s resignation (firing) will spark change.
28. Oakland Raiders. I was actually picking them to beat New England LOL
29. Seattle Seahawks. Just finish the season already, boys.
30. Cincinnati Bengals. Wow, they beat WARSHINGTON.
31. St. Louis Rams. Goodness gracious sakes alive they don’t even have a pulse.
32. Detroit Lions. Good lord. They’re going 0-16. No doubt about it. They have made their past couple of games interesting, but…