2016 NFL Week 9 Powre Rankings
We are officially at the halfway mark, and most — but not all — the teams have had their bye weeks, and we will be back on equal footing for all in about three weeks. Some division races are setting up, and with four teams possessing ties on their ledgers, this should make for some interesting tiebreakers come December and January. Here are the rankings:
1. New England Patriots (7-1).
We’re waiting for them to face Seattle and Denver, basically.
2. Dallas Cowboys (6-1).
Gutty win by the Dak Prescott-led Dallas offense, although Ezekiel Elliott is the real gamebreaker for that team.
3. Denver Broncos (6-2).
The B-Men have a few injuries to sort out, but they do not need Trevor Siemian to be prime Peyton Manning to win. They do enough offensively for their defense to do their thing and close out games in the 4th; something that only Seattle can consistently do from that side of the ball.
4. Oakland Raiders (6-2).
If people are still doubting the Raiders (beyond their sometimey defense), then they are the staunchest of pessimists.
5. Atlanta Falcons (5-2).
The Falcons showed that they have resilience and are not here for the “annual swoon” talk, although they are heading into a short week against the only team that can really challenge them for the division (Tampa) without Tevin Coleman, Jacob Tamme and Dwight Freeney on Thursday night.
6. Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1).
Seattle got flat out robbed by the officials practically all game in New Orleans.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2).
It might be time for the Chiefs to move on from Jamaal Charles, as much as it pains to say this. He will be 30 by the end of this season, and after tearing up both knees and having surgery yet again as we speak, there is no upside from here.
8. Green Bay Packers (4-3).
The Packers’ offensive shortcomings are massive, if not somewhat obscured by Aaron Rodgers’ abilities, but failing to convert at critical junctures (often Rodgers’ own fault, although not portrayed this way by media apologists) has done in the Packers in every loss thus far. They had the Falcons dead to rights with Julio Jones severely hobbled and still failed to score on two critical drives in the 4th quarter in Atlanta.
9. Minnesota Vikings (5-2).
The Vikes’ offense was never good at any point this year. They’ve actually run the ball marginally better without Adrian Peterson (although this is a byproduct of the lack of ability on the offensive line, not a sign of Peterson’s decline; which in and of itself, while existent, not as evident as the statistics would indicate). Sam Bradford has his shortcomings, but no one would excel behind that offensive line. There was a level of comfort with Bradford and Pat Shurmur, which is part of the reason Norval resigned as offensive coordinator. The Vikes have not played “Norv” football at any point, and one has to wonder if there was a philosophical clash between Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner. Nonetheless, the biggest takeaway is the takeaway department for the Vikings; they were not only getting turnovers on defense when they went 5-0, but they were scoring on those turnovers. They had several turnovers against Philadelphia, but could not cash in, and could not turn over the woeful Bears in what was a listless effort on Minnesota’s part. This team has issues, and this loss could hurt them in tiebreaker scenarios come December.
10. Houston Texans (5-3).
No idea how they are winning with all the injuries on defense and THAT quarterback.
11. New York Football Giants (4-3).
The Giants moved into second place — as it goes, for posterity’s sake here in midseason when “place” is irrelevant in standings — by virtue of a Washington tie in London vs. Cincinnati and an Eagles loss on Sunday night. They have a chance, with a bye week and the Eagles defense getting punished by the Dallas offensive line all game to pull within possibly a half game (with a Dallas loss to Cleveland, however far fetched that may be — but the 2008 Giants, which was an unstoppable team before facing Cleveland that year and before Plaxico Burress’ “incident”, also lost to them — this is the scenario) with a head to head win in the bag against Dallas, of first place in the division, with a head to head game against Dallas in East Rutherford in the not-too-distant offing.
In other words, it is put up or shut up time for Ben McAdoo and his anemic offense.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3).
Ben Roethlisberger could be back this week, and this is a critical game for everyone involved in the AFC North. A loss puts Baltimore into first place with a head to head advantage (barring the second of the two games later between these two), a win gives the Steelers some breathing room in the division, as it would give them head to head wins against both Baltimore and Cincinnati, and the Bengals’ tie in London did them no favors, either. The Steelers have been abominable on the road this season, so that bears watching, as the game is at M&T this Sunday.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3).
The Eagles had a chance to pull into first place (and would have had a temporary edge over Dallas) but did not want the win badly enough; surrendering a 10 point lead, as Carson Wentz continues to regress to the meanest of means.
14. Detroit Lions (4-4).
The Lions still do not know who they are week to week. Losing to the Texans in that fashion (aided by some questionable decisions by head coach Jim Caldwell) just adds to that label.
15. Buffalo Bills (4-4).
What was that?
16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1).
Looking for a new kicker when they might need to look for a new quarterback. Andy Dalton took a sack and turned over the football on back to back overtime possessions, and still hasn’t played a solid, 60-minute football game this year.
17. Washington Redskins (4-3-1).
The Redskins’ defensive woes are gonna really be magnified in November.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4).
Tampa came flying out of the gate to start the game, then Jacquizz Rodgers got injured, and Dirk Koetter made a series of questionable decisions with the offense, hamstringing Jameis Winston in the process.
Winston himself missed on a very easy throw in overtime that could have aided the Bucs’ chances of getting into what was then sudden-death for a game-winning field goal. The Raiders won on the very next drive, as a result. Tampa needed the win to maintain pace with Atlanta with a critical division-defining game on Thursday night, but losing to Oakland might have cost them any sliver of hope for still winning the NFC South.
19. Miami Dolphins (3-4).
Bye week. You hope Jay Ajayi rested up, because of the Fins have any hope of doing anything this year, it is on the back of Ajayi, not the arm of Ryan Tannehill.
20. San Diego Chargers (3-5).
The Bolts blew it again.
21. Tennessee Titans (4-4).
The Titans are watchable now.
22. Baltimore Ravens (3-4).
The Ravens should be getting several guys back for their all-important tilt with Pittsburgh on Sunday.
23. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1).
This team is circling the drain, and now Tyrann Mathieu is out for virtually most of the rest of the regular season. They cannot afford any other injuries on either side of the football. It’s basically Seattle’s division to lose, and we’ve probably seen the last loss by Seattle for weeks. We’ve seen this every year for the past five. Seattle has a couple of losses that rile them up, and they will get Kam Chancellor back soon, as well. They are poised to go on that annual run and finish off this division race before Thanksgiving.
24. Indianapolis Colts (3-5).
The Colts are who we thought they were.
25. New Orleans Saints (3-4).
Sickening officiating bailed out the Saints all game. It is games like Seattle vs. New Orleans that make people stop watching NFL games.
26. New York Jets (3-5).
The Jets have won two straight, albeit against the team with the most impactful injuries and the worst team in the league, respectively.
27. Los Angeles Rams (3-4).
The Rams are not making the playoffs. They won’t win the division and they already lost tiebreakers to Detroit and the Football Giants, so play Jared Goff.
28. Carolina Panthers (2-5).
Too little, too late.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5).
Fire Greg Olson, get a new quarterback coach, unless that coach fixes Blake Bortles’ mental and physical shortcomings (that ghastly hitch in his throw, which gives defensive players the half step they need to break on all of his downfield passes), the Jaguars are going nowhere. They should be looking for a new QB in the 2017 NFL Draft.
30. Chicago Bears (2-6).
The Bears played a clean game, you have to give them that much. It’s not just about what Minnesota didn’t do, but what the Bears did (even if Jay Cutler should have had three typical “Jay Cutler” interceptions, two of which Xavier Rhodes flat out dropped).
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-6).
Colin Kaepernick just better hope he can remain healthy with this talent-bereft group that this team trots out every week.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-8).
Another game, another instance of the Browns having a lead, failing to hold it, and inexperience costing them in the end.