Friday, 14 December 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

1.            New England Patriots 10-3 (U3)
If knocking off the previous #1 42-14 doesn’t get you the top spot, I don’t know what will. Congrats to the Pats, who have set themselves up nicely for a post-season run. Their time at the top could be short lived though, with another tough game vs the 49ers coming up Sunday.

2.            Denver Broncos 10-3 (U1)
The Broncos slay the Raiders as expected and climb higher thanks to sub-par performances from our previous top 2. They too have a tough opponent next though, with a trip to Baltimore looming.

3.            Houston Texans 11-2 (D2)
That game was ugly. Whilst it was only their second loss of the season, they have both been extremely lopsided, and both against probable play-off rivals. I still think they are a force to be reckoned with though, and with a much easier home game vs Indy next they should get back to their winning ways.

4.            San Francisco 49ers 9-3-1 (U1)
The Niners handled the Dolphins as expected, assuaging their QB debate for another week. It’s gotten to the stage now where anything less than a SB win will mean Harbaugh made the wrong choice. A difficult position to be in, but having a surplus of capable quarterbacks is something other teams can only dream of.  Next they have the Patriots in what should be a great match-up.

5.            Green Bay Packers 9-4 (U1)
Green Bay win on the frozen tundra vs the Lions, and climb further in our rankings. They definitely seem to be getting hot at just the right time, and this late season rally is remarkably similar to their Superbowl winning year. Next they face the Bears, who they made mincemeat of in their first run in.

6.            Atlanta Falcons 11-2 (D4)
The Falcons lose to Carolina, and deservedly fall hard as a punishment. They are still a powerful team, but the cracks have well and truly appeared. Let’s hope for their sake it’s not a sign of an impending collapse, especially with a tough hosting of the Giants next.

7.            Seattle Seahawks 8-5 (-)
Seattle destroy the Cardinals, but don’t move higher thanks to the quality of teams above them. This team can go all the way led by the electric Wilson, but will be hoping they can somehow avoid an away trip in the post-season. Next they travel to Buffalo, which shouldn’t be one they squander.

8.            Indianapolis Colts 9-4 (-)
Indy win again, locking up their wildcard berth in the weakling AFC. They are in for the toughest of divisional tests next however, travelling to the Texans. Time for Luck to show what he is really made of.

9.            New York Giants 8-5 (U3)
The Giants see off the Saints comfortably, but every win counts now after they let their divisional rivals close within striking distance. A tough match-up versus the Falcons is on the horizon.

10.         Washington Redskins 7-6 (U4)
A scary win over the Ravens with RG3 getting knocked out the game with a nasty looking knee injury. Sobering stuff for Redskins’ fans, but thankfully he was cleared of any permanent damage, and should play this Sunday. Cousins didn’t look too shabby either - it’s funny how some teams seem to be hoarding all the good quarterbacks this year, with the likes of Smith, Flynn and now Kirk warming the bench whilst people like Skelton start (more on him later).

11.         Chicago Bears 8-5 (D2)
An ugly loss to the Vikings, and it seems like a long time ago when the Bears held divisional supremacy on the back of their elite defence. They’ll need to quickly right the ship before another testing divisional match-up vs the Pack.

12.         Baltimore Ravens 9-4 (D2)
The Ravens lose back to back games for the first time in more than two years, and have brought in Jim Caldwell as their new OC. Interesting move (especially as we all know Manning was the real OC in Indy). Baltimore will be grateful all their AFC North competition also lost last week, and really they shouldn’t throw away the title at this stage, but a tough game vs Denver is on the horizon.

13.         Pittsburgh Steelers 7-6 (D2)
The AFC wildcard race is well and truly on, and could not be tighter with both the Steelers and Bengals at 7-6. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh they face the in-form Cowboys next, which should be a tough test for both play-off hopefuls.

14.         Cincinnati Bengals 7-6 (D1)
The Bengals throw away a 9 point 4th quarter lead to lose to Dallas, and have their work cut out to make the post-season now, especially with the Eagles coming off a short week on TNF.

15.         Dallas Cowboys 7-6 (U2)
Dallas seem to have ironed out their inconsistencies, and managed to scrape a tight win vs Cincy last week. The NFC East is wide open, especially if the Giants fail to win vs Atlanta this week, but the Cowboys have their own tough match-up hosting Pittsburgh.

16.         Minnesota Vikings 7-6 (U2)
The Vikings aren’t out the hunt yet, but have a tricky schedule going into the final 3 weeks that even all day AP might not be able to power them through. It starts with a trip to St. Louis this weekend.

17.         Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-7 (D2)
The Buccs lose to the Eagles, and are now essentially out of the playoffs barring some serious good fortune. Next up they face the Saints who will be playing hard after they received some good legal news.

18.         New Orleans Saints 5-8 (D2)
With the bounty players cleared, the Saints should be on a high despite being out of the play-off hunt. A divisional game is always unpredictable so this Sunday’s match-up versus Tampa could well be a tight one.

19.         St. Louis Rams 6-6-1 (U1)
The Rams have had a strange kind of season, but have surpassed all expectations at 6-6-1. They host the Vikings next in an underrated match-up.

20.         Detroit Lions 4-9 (D1)
Detroit are definitely better than 4-9, and can consider themselves somewhat unlucky after losing 3 in row. Their frozen tundra defeat to GB was pretty conclusive though, and right now all they have to play for is getting Megatron to surpass Jerry Rice’s record. They face the toothless Cardinals next.

21.         Cleveland Browns 5-8 (U1)
If you offered Browns’ fans 5 wins all year they’d have probably bitten your hand off in September, and the fact this team has a chance at 0.500 is astounding. They’ll be facing the resurgent Redskins next who, with or without RG3, will be another tough encounter.

22.         San Diego Chargers 5-8 (U1)
I’m surprised the Bolts beat Pittsburgh, and even more surprised they did it so comfortably. It doesn’t really mean anything though as right now even an 8-8 finish probably won’t snag a WC slot (unless Cincy, Pittsburgh and NY all screw up).

23.         Buffalo Bills 5-8 (U1)
Buffalo’s season is as obscure as always right now, but they move up despite a loss as everyone else around here is equally irrelevant. Next they play the Seahawks, who will look to open another can of whoop-ass.

24.         Miami Dolphins 5-8 (D3)
Miami lose out to SF and sink further. It’s still been a solid season for a very young squad though, and the visiting Jags offer another winnable game this weekend.

25.         Carolina Panthers 4-9 (U1)
The Panthers beat the Falcons in a big upset, but still have a lot of issues. They will be looking to make it two on the bounce when they play the volatile Chargers this weekend.

26.         New York Jets 6-7 (U1)
The Jets are actually still in with a shot at the playoffs at 6-7, but I can’t see them winning the next three. They do face the Titans next though, which is definitely one they could grab a result from.

27.         Philadelphia Eagles 4-9 (U3)
The Eagles win, offering hope for the Foles era. Unfortunately they play the Bengals next, whose rampant pass rush should cave in their soggy O-line.

28.         Arizona Cardinals 4-9 (D3)
That game was embarrassing for the league. I felt like we were watching a lop-sided BUAFL match-up, and I’m pretty sure most of our QBs could post better than the 0.4 QBR Skelton did. The Lions are coming to town next.

29.         Tennessee Titans 4-9 (-)
The Titans are still an occasionally dangerous team, and I expect them to beat the Jets this Sunday, but unless they drastically improve their roster they can’t expect many more wins than this season granted them.

30.         Jacksonville Jaguars 2-11 (D1)
The Jags mini-bright patch seems to have been stuffed out, and with a tough game at Miami next things seem set to remain gloomy throughout 2012.

31.         Oakland Raiders 3-10 (U1)
The Raiders are not the worst team in the league, despite losing heavily to the Broncos. They aren’t far off though. Next they face…

32.         Kansas City Chiefs 2-11 (D1)
Yep, this match-up is not going to go down in history as particularly exciting or important. It has no meaning other than it’s a divisional game, and the Chiefs are an equally damp non-factor this year, despite being heavily touted pre-season.


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