Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015-16 NFL Power Rankings (Week 4)

 

Your defense is offensive...

By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@Jimbo__X

THE ELITES

01
Arizona Cardinals 
Season Point Differential: (+75)

Sure, the Cardinals may have dropped their first game of the season Sunday against the Rams, but offensively and defensively, few teams in the League look as complete as the Cards. Even in a losing effort, Carson Palmer still posted 352 yards, while Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Johnson combined for about 200 yards. Of course, the Great Ginger also got sacked four times, so maybe ... just maybe ... that offensive line (in tandem with an injury prone QB) could be the team's damning Achilles's Heel?

02
New England Patriots
Season Point Differential: (+49)

The Patriots had a bye this week ... not that they really needed one, as the team, anchored by Tom Brady's three game, 1,000 yards-plus total and the absolute inability for anything or anyone in this world to adequately cover Gronk hasn't really shown any signs of frailty so far this season.This weekend, they get a chance to extend their unbeaten streak to four games. And since that game is against the Cowboys -- SPOILER -- they'll probably get it, too. 

03
Cincinnati Bengals
Season Point Differential: (+44)

Although Andy Dalton only tossed one touchdown in the Bengals win over K.C. last Sunday, he nonetheless managed to rack up an impressive 321 yards for the day. The rushing attack absolutely carved up the Chiefs, with Cincy scoring four touchdowns on the ground -- complete with Jeremy Hill pounding the rock into the endzone no less than three times.

04
Atlanta Falcons
Season Point Differential: (+44)

After some exciting come from behind victories in their first three games of the season, the Falcons decided to shake things up a bit and absolutely smash the visiting Texans at home to the tune of 48-21. Amidst all the hoopla about Devonta Freeman's three touchdowns, it's easy to overlook the contributions of fellow halfback Terron Ward, who actually chewed up more yardage on the day. And if that run game isn't spooky enough, just remember: Tevin Coleman hasn't even been added to the official roster yet!

05
Green Bay Packers
Season Point Differential: (+42)

With just 224 yards and a solo touchdown pass, Sunday night's 17-3 victory over San Fran can rightly be considered an "off night" for Aaron Rodgers. Alas, the running back committee did more than enough to keep the clock ticking, while the Packers D looked absolutely stellar, blitzing Colin K no less than 41 times and sacking him six. 

06
New York Jets
Season Point Differential: (+40)

The Jets are the best defensive unit in the NFL, somehow, and they rebounded nicely from last week's loss to the Eagles by pounding divisional foes Miami 27-14 in jolly old England. That said, the offense didn't look too shabby, either; Ryan Fitzpatrick had 1:1 touchdown-to-INT ratio and about 218 yards, while unsung halfback hero mowed the turf for a solo touchdown and 160-plus yards on 29 carries.

07
Carolina Panthers
Season Point Differential: (+37)

Defensively and offensively, this team is a beast. Cam Newton threw two touchdowns and had 124 yards, while picking up another 51 yards on the ground. Then, there's the Panthers' D, which racked up FOUR interceptions, including a pick six for Josh Norman, who incidentally, had two INTs on the evening. 

08
Denver Broncos
Season Point Differential: (+28)

The Broncos, despite their 4-0 record, are very much a beatable team, as proven by Sunday afternoon's close call against the Vikings. In that one, Peyton had an atypically low 213 yards, and even more atypical, threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Alas, the Denver D -- which made Terry Bridgewater eat dirt seven times during the game -- is certainly doing their part to make up for the relatively lackluster offense. 


THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS

09
Pittsburgh Steelers
Season Point Differential: (+21)

With Michael Vick only throwing for 124 yards, it's probably not surprising that the Steelers couldn't get past the Ravens last Thursday night. What is surprising, however, is that Vick couldn't get the ball rolling despite having arguably the League's best halfback AND wide receiver on the same line. If Pittsburgh fan aren't anxiously checking their calendars awaiting Big Ben's return, they most likely will be following another Vick-led "L.." 

10
New York Giants
Season Point Differential: (+20)

After looking, playing and (presumably, smelling) like crap the first two games of the season, the Giants have looked remarkably improved in their last two outings, especially Sunday's 24-10 win over in-state rivals Buffalo. Eli Manning, after what seems like a good three years of sucking, finally dethawed over the weekend, tossing three TDs for 212 yards. And the Giants D managed to hold Buffalo to just 55 yards of rushing offense all afternoon. 

11
Buffalo Bills
Season Point Differential: (+18)

While T-Mobile outthrew Eli Manning, he couldn't rack up as many TDs, either. That's the funny thing about stats-driven football; at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many damn yards you accumulate, if none of them manage to sneak past your opponent's one. The lone bright spot for the Buffalo faithful last Sunday? Receiver Charles Clay, who had 111 yards on just nine receptions.

12
Seattle Seahawks
Season Point Differential: (+16)

The winner of two in a row, the Seahawks were gift-bagged their Monday night 13-10 win over the Lions. Still ... phantom stripped ball or not ... Russell Wilson did have a pretty good showing, number-wise, racking up 287 yards for the night and going an impressive 20/26 on pass attempts. 

13
Tennessee Titans
Season Point Differential: (+12)

Very few teams are as hard to figure out as these Titans. While Marcus Mariota is looking like a future Pro Bowler already, the rest of the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, tends to struggle. We'll see if we get the high-scoring Titans or the uncertain, shaky ones when they take on the Buffalo Bills in a quasi-sorta-rematch of the Music City Miracle this Sunday. 

14
Minnesota Vikings
Season Point Differential: (+7)

If you can overlook Terry Bridgewater getting mowed down seven times by the Broncos last weekend, the Vikes actually looked pretty good up against Peyton and the Broncos. For one thing, Terry had just as many TD passes as Manning, but racked up more yardage; that said, A.P. certainly did not look like the A.P. of yore, accumulating just 81 yards for the day and a single shot TD. 

15
Washington Redskins
Season Point Differential: (-1)

Don't look now, but the Skins have won two in a row and look relatively consistent compared to the walking chaos theories down in Dallas and in Philly. Speaking of the City of Brotherly Hate, the Redskins managed to eke out a 23-20 victory over their much loathed Pennsylvania rivals, thanks in no small part to an aggressive defense that sacked Sam Bradford five times. 

16
Dallas Cowboys
Season Point Differential: (-6)

All in all, Brandon Weeden's stats against the Saints weren't bad (246 yards and a TD), but the depleted receiving corps just didn't have enough gas in them to cross the endzone enough times to lead them to a victory.The lethargic run game also deserves some blame, as Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden combined for a lackluster 57 yards and just uno touchdown.


THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

17
Philadelphia Eagles
Season Point Differential: (-8)

Even though Sam Bradford had three touchdowns and 270 yards, it wasn't enough to propel the Eagles over the Redskins last Sunday.Blame the loss on both sloppy offensive play (two lost fumbles) and a weak-kneed defense that not once sent a defender chasing Kirk Cousins down in the backfield.

18
Oakland Raiders
Season Point Differential:(-11)

After posting back-to-back 300 yard games, QB Derek Carr barely hit 150 in the Raiders' demoralizing 22-20 loss to the Bears. Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper both saw precipitous drops in production, while the defense continues to show problems -- especially when it comes to tight end coverage.

19
Baltimore Ravens
Season Point Differential: (-11)

The uncharacteristically defense-deficient Ravens had plenty of problems against Pittsburgh last Thursday night, but they nonetheless were able to weather the storm and best their divisional foes 23-20. Praise be given to Kamar Aiken and Justin Forsett, who combined, mowed the turf for 227 yards. 

20
San Diego Chargers
Season Point Differential: (-14)

The Chargers barely got past the Browns, but hey, a "W" is still a "W," ain't it? Philip Rivers had a field day, tossing the ball 358 yards for three TDs, while San Diego's' top three receivers (Keenan Allen, Dontrelle Inman and Danny Woodhead) combined for nearly 250 yards. 

21
St. Louis Rams
Season Point Differential: (-15)

How do you stop an offensive juggernaut like the Cardinals? Simple -- you outrun them. Former UGA stud/professional autograph signer Todd Gurley looked impressive as hell in his pro debut, racking up 146 yards on 19 carries as St. Louis rolled by Arizona 24-22. Throw in Nick Foles' three TD passes (including two to Tavon Austin) and all of a sudden, this potentially explosive offense is starting to show a lot of promise

22
Cleveland Browns
Season Point Differential: (-17)

Two weeks in a row, the Browns snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The truly tragic thing about their narrow 30-27 loss to the Chargers is that they actually had better rushing numbers and nearly identical passing numbers to San Diego.Alas, Josh McCown also got sacked four times and lost a fumble, so ... 

23
New Orleans Saints
Season Point Differential: (-18)

Drew Brees and the Saints narrowly avoided going 0-4 with a thin 26-20 win over the Cowboys.That said, you have to give it up for Senor Brees, who looked all shades of 2009 with his 359 yards and two touchdown passes. The question is, does this star-deprived team have the offensive and defensive wherewithal to survival a division with both the Falcons and the Panthers in it? Folks, you don't need to consult a Magic Eight Ball to answer that one...

24
Indianapolis Colts
Season Point Differential: (-21)

By proxy of a Titans off-week, the Colts ascended to the top of the AFC South dungheap with an overtime victory over Jacksonville. With Andy Luck sidelined, the Colts turned to 40-year-old MATT HASSELBACK to lead them to victory over the Jaguars juggernaut and, all things considered, he didn't look all that bad. Of course, that's not to completely ignore all of the other offensive and defensive shortcomings besieging the team. Goodness, can you believe people actually had these sods name checked as presumptive AFC champs at the beginning of the season? What a bunch of knuckleheads, no


ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT

25
Kansas City Chiefs
Season Point Differential: (-25)

The Chiefs ... predicted by those eggheads at Harvard as a virtual lock for the playoffs ... are 1-3. Their latest disappointment came in the form of a 36-21 loss to the Bengals, in which Alex Smith racked up nearly 400 yards but couldn't find the endzone once throughout the afternoon. The sole positive to come out of this one if you are a K.C. fan? Well, at least you know Cairo Santos is a pretty good kicker, I guess...

26
Detroit Lions
Season Point Differential: (-30)

The only team remaining in the NFL sans a win, the Lions got shafted on a controversial last second call against the Seahawks Monday night. While the offense couldn't get going against Seattle, at least the Lions D looked pretty solid; after all, they did send Russell Wilson staring at the stars six times, on more than 50 blitzes

27
Houston Texans
Season Point Differential: (-31)

No team epitomizes the importance of the aerial attack in today's League more than Houston. Despite having one of the most dynamic defensive units in the NFL -- complete with arguably the best defensive player in pro football -- this team cannot get their collective shit together offensively. Don't let Brian Hoyer's inflated fourth quarter stats fool you; when Ryan Mallet was up against the Falcons' A-listers, he could barely muster 150 passing yards, with cero down-o touch-oes

28
Miami Dolphins
Season Point Differential: (-36)

Remember that Harvard analysis I was talking about earlier, that picked the Chiefs to earn the top slot in the AFC? Well, those same Ivy League elitists picked the Dolphins to win the AFC East ... the same team that just fired their head coach after getting waylaid in London by the Jets. And to think: as bad as the Dolphins are right now, they are STILL the best pro football team based out of Florida at the moment.

29
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Point Differential: (-45)

The funny thing about the Bucs' loss to the Panthers Sunday is that they actually outproduced Carolina in both the run game and the passing game. The problem? The team just couldn't turn those yards into too many endzone excursions. And oh yeah ... it also probably had something to do with Jameis Winston tossing four interceptions, too. 

30
Jacksonville Jaguars
Season Point Differential: (-45)

The Jacksonville misery train kept a chuggin' over the weekend, as the Jags experienced a heartbreaker O.T. loss to Indy. This, despite having more passing yards and nearly over twice as many rushing yards as the Colts. AND a better turnover ratio. AND sacking the quarterback more times. Shit, how did Jacksonville wind up losing that one, come to think of it? 

31
Chicago Bears
Season Point Differential: (-57)

Thanks to some last minute special teams heroics, the Bears earned their first "W" of the 2015 season against the Raiders on Sunday. While Jay Cutler and Matt Forte both looked solid, this is a team that still has plenty of gaps to fill on defense ... if guys like Seth Roberts and Roy Helu can put the kind of numbers they did against the Bears, I can only dare fathom what A.P. and James Jones are going to do to them. 

32
San Francisco 49ers
Season Point Differential: (-62)

Three years ago, Colin K. was playing in a Super Bowl. Now, he's commandeering a low-scoring revere offensive juggernaut (uh, mini-naut, perhaps?) that's getting clobbered every week. In an abysmal showing against the Packers, The Niners could only accumulate 160 yards, while they ran the rock for less than 80 ... all while allowing GB to chew up the field for about 400 yards. 


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