NFL Week 16 Powre Rankings
1. San Diego Chargers.
At this point, I’m beginning to buy them as the best team in the NFL because the Colts’ inability and lack of desire to run the ball (STRETCH PLAY, PLEASE???) is going to catch up to them when teams are able to get near Manning’s feet. I think that’s going to give the Chargers a slight edge should they face one another in the AFC Championship Game.
2. Indianapolis Colts.
What I just said.
3. New England Patriots.
Hard to detract from what they’re doing at this point. No one in the NFC appears to be dominant.
4. Philadelphia Eagles.
For all that they have done (big plays all year, winning the NFC East — as they’re going to do — and looking impressive the past month and a half) everyone knows that the playoffs are a different ball game and the other shoe will come down.
Side note: for all the so-called “EXPERTS” out there on ESPN (STEVE YOUNG, TONIGHT) who fail to mention a very important fact in the NFC playoff hunt, let me put you on: the Iggles have a chance to secure the 2 seed by virtue of the somewhat shocking Vikings loss last night. The Vikes aren’t a shoe-in to win either of their last two games and they have not by any means secured that 2 spot yet. With the Cards having the head-to-head tiebreaker and the Iggles having it (if PHI wins out), they will be playing their starters. The Iggles will be also, meaning Dallas may be in for yet another epic collapse at the hands of the Iggles, more questions and thus thereby knocking down the final obstacle for the Giants to clinch a playoff berth. Don’t act surprised two weeks from now when this materializes.
5. New Orleans Saints.
EXPOSED. And worse yet, it was against a team with a shaky confidence level that thoroughly smacked them around and proved that the Saints’ running game is a mirage and their defense had been playing over its head/not as good as statistics would indicate.
6. Green Bay Packers.
Likewise with THEIR defense, which really hadn’t done anything impressive except in the Dallas game.
7. Dallas Cowboys.
Credit to them for winning Saturday night, they get the December talk off their back — at least until they lose to Washington Sunday.
8. Arizona Cardinals.
You just never know which team is going to show up every week. The way it looks, Bill Parcells is right ONCE AGAIN — “YA ARE WHAT YA RECORD SAYS YA ARE” and the Cards record shows they post two good ones for every STINKER they mail in. They’re 9-5 right now. By that ratio, they are due for a blowout next week (2:1 — 10-5, get it?) and a STINKER vs. Green Bay. Hmmmm… with the 3 seed at stake for them, their last two games are actually not games where they will be resting starters.
9. Minnesota Vikings.
I’ve been pointing it out almost from the time Favre signed there. And I’m saying it AGAIN, you saw the crack in the dam last night — it’s going to be Childress’ play-calling and decision-making and/or Favre’s erratic playoff performance (a staple since 2000 — look at the stats, records and outcomes — Favre has STUNK in the playoffs since 1997, but especially since 2000; and that’s WHEN they’ve made it to the playoffs). Keep an eye out, because they could be facing a desperate Giants team Week 17 and once again in the Wild Card Playoff the following week. The Giants have their mojo and moxie back and the Vikes are clearly missing EJ Henderson. They need to get their running game back on track and figure out what teams are doing to take Kevin Williams and Jared Allen out of games or they are going to be one and done.
10. New York Giants.
Even if it was for an extended period of time, anyone with eyes knows the Giants have the personnel on defense to return to their perennial perch amongst the best defenses in the NFL. They did not play like it for two months, but much like ’07, there was a lull before the new coordinator (Spagnuolo) and his system took off. Sheridan finally got it right — and if they continue to play to the personnel’s strengths, the first 5 games and the Washington game will once again loom as the trend and not the aberration that they appear to be to the haters (and the 2-6 streak will be marked as an aberration). Too many playmakers on both sides of the ball to keep this team down — a team that scores almost 27 PPG legitimately every season and had perennially ranked amongst the best defenses in the NFL the past few seasons before the aforementioned lull.
11. Cincinnati Bengals.
I dunno how much they’ll have left in the tank after Chris Henry’s passing. But more of a cause for alarm is how mediocre to downright bad Carson Palmer’s numbers have been in most of the games this year. Coming off a 90 yard game in Week 14, he played well enough in Week 15 vs. San Diego, but the Bengals aren’t dynamic enough in the running game — rather solid — if not unspectacular; to be able to get by with Palmer averaging less than 200 yards per game passing.
12. Tennessee Titans.
Record aside, VINCE YOUNG KNOWS HOW TO WIN. Had he been inserted sooner, the Titans might very well have one of those Wild Card spots sewn up with a 10-4 record. As it is, Jeff Fisher — who is proving that he is losing his touch a bit (clock management in Week 15?) gave Young his job back a couple of weeks too late. The Titans CAN still make the playoffs, but they need help from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in order to have a shot. That said:
NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY THEM IF THEY MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. NO ONE.
13. Baltimore Ravens.
Their destiny is in their hands. A win versus Pittsburgh almost certainly gives them control over one of the Wild Card spots. But it is a huge task to fulfill to go into Pittsburgh and beat a very desperate Steelers team. The caveat being the Steelers don’t rely upon the run anymore for the Ravens to flex their true muscle (stuffing the run). The Ravens CAN be had in the air and Roethlisberger has been as prolific as any in doing so this season.
14. Miami Dolphins.
WATCH OUT. That’s all I’m saying. The AFC East can break VERY CRAZY if the Patriots don’t take care of business in these last two games.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gutsy play in Week 15, but they’re at long odds to even make the playoffs. And I think the young Ravens end their season appropriately in Week 16.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars.
Valiant effort vs. Indianapolis, but — eh.
17. Houston Texans.
As is their trademark year in and year out — too little, too late. They don’t have any tiebreaker advantages. All they can do is hope everyone ahead of them loses (and some of those teams play one another) so, yeah…
18. Denver Broncos.
I know this team. I knew they’d beat Dallas. I knew they’d lose to Baltimore. I knew they’d lost to Oakland. And I know they’re going to beat Philadelphia this weekend. Brian Dawkins might try to take DeSean Jackson’s head off this week. I wouldn’t mind this.
19. Oakland Raiders.
How about the MOXIE of this team??? Old Man Cable is showing that with time, he can make a bunch of misfits, complete busts and undeveloped talent look pretty doggone good. They have some very impressive wins this year, which all look less and less fluky with each passing week.
20. Atlanta Falcons.
Not knocking them, but the Jets left 24 points on the field and left the door WIDE OPEN all game. They’re still horridly average.
21. New York Jets.
Sanchez can’t totally be blamed (although he’s on the hook for a good 67% of it in this most recent loss) but he’s cost them 5 full games and was most of the reason they lost Week 15.
22. Carolina Panthers.
They’re riding high right now…
Until they come to East Rutherford and get smacked Sunday.
23. San Francisco 49ers.
Fading fast and complete lack of effort in a game they should have won Week 15.
24. Buffalo Bills.
25. Washington Redskins.
They had been playing better for the past 5 games until they failed to show up Week 15.
26. Seattle Seahawks.
The Seabags are just a pile of garbage. No other way of putting it.
27. Chicago Bears.
Lovie, pack your bags.
28. Cleveland Browns.
29. Kansas City Chiefs.
What a horrific defensive performance against one of the historically worst offenses ever.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
31. St. Louis Rams.
Inspired ball of late, but I bet Spags wishes he had stayed on as our DC this year. He’d be 13-1 instead of 1-13.
32. Detroit Lions.
DEAR GOD. After an inspiring start in the first two weeks, they’ve reverted back to their ways from last season. 1-31 in their last 32 games (and I shant reel off their overall record in the decade. YIKES). The Rams are right there with them in these past two seasons, though. 2-30. UFFFFFF.