Wednesday, 19 December 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

1.            San Francisco 49ers 10-3-1 (U3)
That was a dominant win over what most considered to be the best team in the league, at this point last week. Even if they lose to the Hawks this weekend the Niners only have to beat the Cardinals in SF to clinch the West. Plain sailing you would think.

2.            Denver Broncos 11-3 (-)
Denver just demolished a once sturdy Baltimore squad, and with it put down a claim for the best in the AFC. We’ll have to wait for the play-offs to put that to the test, as I don’t see visiting Cleveland causing too many headaches for Manning and co.

3.            New England Patriots 10-4 (D2)
Despite the loss the Pats rallied hard from behind, coming close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. You can never count Brady out, and they will still be confident of a deep post-season run. They can take out their frustration over last week on the Jags, who I feel a little sorry for going into this one.

4.            Houston Texans 12-2 (D1)
Houston win, but don’t deserve to be on the podium after their lop-sided loss to NE 2 weeks ago. They’ve had a fantastic season, but will be wary of another match-up with the Pats come January. Next they face Adrian Peterson (and 10 other anonymous offensive players).

5.            Atlanta Falcons 12-2 (U1)
The Falcons curb stomp the Giants 34-0, and will have recovered a huge amount of confidence with the manner of the win. Next they face Detroit, who just lost to the Cardinals. Yep.

6.            Green Bay Packers 10-4 (D1)
Green Bay win, but drop. Such is the quality at the top that they’ll have to be content with 6th place until someone slips up. Beating Tennessee this week isn’t going to turn too many heads.

7.            Seattle Seahawks 9-5 (-)
Seattle post back to back 50-burgers. I feel bad I can’t move them higher, but I really can’t justify ranking them above any of the elite 6. Take it as a compliment on how ahead of the curve I was in jumping on your bandwagon, Seattle fans. Taking down SF this weekend would certainly make you hard to keep at #7.

8.            Washington Redskins 8-6 (U2)The Redskins win without RG3, and are finally justifying my season long faith in them. I’d love it for Washington to take the East and make the play-offs. 3 rookie QBs in the post-season would be incredible… and they control their own destiny, starting with Philly. 

9.            Cincinnati Bengals 8-6 (U5)
The Bengals confidently beat down on the turnover prone Eagles, and should feel very confident they can squeeze into the playoffs with a win over Pittsburgh this weekend.

10.         Dallas Cowboys 8-6 (U5)
Dallas see off the Steelers to keep pace in the NFC East, they’ll likely need to beat the Skins in week 17, but first have to make sure they avoid an upset versus the Saints this weekend.

11.         Indianapolis Colts 9-5 (D3)
Indy lose as expected but have still guaranteed a post-season place. Luck may be just the 3rd best rookie QB this year, but to have turned his team around the way he has is pretty damn impressive. Next they face a relatively simple game vs KC.

12.         New York Giants 8-6 (D3)
Eli sure is leaving his end of season rally very late this year, it’s almost as if he’s not an elite QB at all… Whilst they have more than a fighting chance against the Ravens this week it could all be for nothing is the Redskins win out (and either the Bears/Vikings/Cowboys snag the second WC spot).

13.         Chicago Bears 8-6 (D2)
Chicago are in free-fall and in serious danger of missing out on the post-season entirely. They’ll need to slam on the brakes and pull out a win against Arizona this Sunday or things are going to start getting really dicey.

14.         Baltimore Ravens 9-5 (D2)
Speaking of good teams in a slump… The Ravens are collapsing, but it’s not too late to recover and hold on to the AFC North Crown. They could really do with a win over equally struggling NY this week.

15.         Minnesota Vikings 8-6 (U1)
If AP doesn’t win MVP this year then a RB never will again. He’s going to break 2k and potentially the rushing record coming off some serious knee surgery. Unbelievable. Especially when the rest of his offence isn’t coming close to matching his level of play. The Vikings have a real shot at the play-offs, but will need to ball out to beat Houston this weekend.

16.         Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7 (D3)
The Steelers narrowly lose out to Dallas. It’s probably a little unfair to rank them this low, but I don’t see them as favourites in the Cincy game, and if they lose they are done.

17.         New Orleans Saints 6-8 (U1)
The Saints smash Tampa, but gain nothing more than pride. They’ll just be looking forward to getting their HC back next year at this stage, but a chance at ruining Dallas’ play-off hopes this weekend can’t hurt.

18.         Miami Dolphins 7-8 (U6)
Miami are still mathematically in the hunt, but it looks highly unlikely. They should however beat the Bills this weekend.

19.         Carolina Panthers 5-9 (U6)
A dominant performance over San Diego sees the Panthers shoot up our table. They should never have lost 9 this year with the talent they have, but that will be little consolation now. Next they have the Raiders, and a nice opportunity to gain some more pride and experience for next year.

20.         Arizona Cardinals 5-9 (U8)
Arizona shock the league by a confident defence led win over Detroit. They still have the worst 3 QBs in the league though, so I can’t see them having much luck over the hungry Bears this Sunday.

21.         Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-8 (D4)
Tampa have had an up and down year, but that loss to the Saints was maybe the lowest point. This week’s game against St. Louis is very winnable.

22.         St. Louis Rams 6-7-1 (D3)
The Rams get Petersoned, and like Tampa will be eyeing their match-up as a chance to make an (albeit hollow) statement.

23.         Detroit Lions 4-10 (D3)
The Lions are falling apart at the seams. I didn’t think they were as bad as their record last week, but that performance was truly 4-10 worthy. The have the small matter of defending against the Falcons in prime-time this Saturday.

24.         Cleveland Browns 5-9 (D3)
The Browns lose to the Redskins, and things don’t get any easier with a trip to Denver up next. I still think they have had an impressive year though, and will be looking forward to 2013 as much as anyone in the league.

25.         San Diego Chargers 5-9 (D3)
San Diego get embarrassed by a sub-par team again. I don’t think any franchise in the league is in need of a fresh start as much as SD. Good bye and good riddance Norv and AJ. They should be confident of having fun with McElroy starting for the Jets this weekend.
26.         Buffalo Bills 5-9 (D3)
The Bills are the second team in as many weeks to get creamed by Seattle. Chin up Buffalo, there’s always next year. Plus you have the Dolphins next, and they’re not a very good football team.

27.         New York Jets 6-8 (D1)
The Jets lose, again. Sanchez plays terribly, again. Gets benched, again. Surely this is it, ladies and gentlemen? The time we’ve all been waiting for ALL year. That’s right, it’s * drum-roll* TEB.. wait what?! McElroy time… that doesn’t have nearly the same ring to it. Give Timmy a chance against SD for Tebow’s sake, he really needs the first team reps so he’s sharp enough to save all our souls post Friday’s apocalypse.

28.         Oakland Raiders 4-10 (U3)
The Raiders beat the Chiefs as I predicted, and whilst I also called them winning off of Janikowski’s leg I didn’t expect them to rely solely on the man to get the W! They’re going to have to improve offensively if they hope to avoid the same treatment the Panthers just dished out to their Californian neighbours.

29.         Tennessee Titans 5-9 (-)
The Titans win, but it was only the Jets. They aren’t actually that bad a football team, and Locker looked mildly impressive at times (mainly with his legs) in the prime-time match-up that deserved the billing ironically. Next they have the small matter of travelling to GB.

30.         Philadelphia Eagles 4-10 (D3)
Philly lose another game and seem to have fully embraced the youth movement more than a lurker in a school playground. They won’t be too hopeful of snagging a result versus the smouldering Redskins this weekend.

31.         Jacksonville Jaguars 2-12 (D1)
Jacksonville fooled me with their little late season blip in good form. Silly me, I should have known better and now they’re right back where they belong. They are hosting the Patriots next.

32.         Kansas City Chiefs 2-12 (-)
Oh Kansas. Kansas Kansas Kansas. In  a year where there have been a lot of terrible teams, you have truly been the worst of the worst. You have 2 weeks left to shape up and win a game before you finish the season ranked #32 and get some kind of appropriate wooden spoon/first overall pick. The Colts are coming to town this weekend.

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