Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015-16 NFL Power Rankings (Week 7)


An increasingly blurrier line between great and god-awful...

By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@Jimbo__X


THE ELITES

01
Arizona Cardinals
Season Point Differential: (+96)

Is it absurd to rank a team that already has two losses ahead of five still unbeaten squads? That's an understandable reaction, I realize, but just looking at the core of this Cardinals team, I'm not sure there's a more complete team in the National Football League (and yes, I know I sound like a broken record, having stated some permutation of that line for the last four weeks now.) Simply put? Until a team comes along and beats the Cardinals (and badly), or they stop racking up comically sizable win margins, I really can't justify bumping them off the top of the countdown ... yet


02
New England Patriots
Season Point Differential: (+87)

This just in: the Pats are a good team. I mean ridiculously, absurdly, stupidly good. Alas, as their close contest against the Jets over the weekend proved (and especially their unreasonably close game against the Colts two weekends back) this team isn't infallible. Yes, Tom Brady and pals are going to continue racking up astronomical yardage, but the secondary has proven itself just as vulnerable to the same kind of aerial onslaught. Bellichick's boys are awfully sound gunfighters, but ... perhaps sooner than later ... they're going to meet a team that's just a bit quicker than them on the draw


03
Green Bay Packers
Season Point Differential: (+63)

After a bye week, Aaron Rodgers and company put their unbeaten streak against Peyton Manning and the Broncos ... who, as fate would have it, just so happen to be sans a loss so far this season themselves. With a balanced run-pass attack and a versatile defense (not to mention that the elder Manning has been playing like utter crap since week one), there's pretty much no reason for Green Bay to drop this one.


04
Cincinnati Bengals
Season Point Differential: (+60)

The Bengals took the week off, only to reemerge for a Sunday afternoon hootenanny with divisional rivals Pittsburgh. The match-up is a tale of two teams, to be sure: while the undefeated Bengals remain one of the most lethal deep threats in the League, their counterparts to the northeast are struggling to get their offense clicking ... but Big Ben is expected to make his return, who will most certainly prove a tougher adversary than the likes of Landry Jones and whatever is left of what we used to call "Mike Vick."

05
Carolina Panthers
Season Point Differential: (+52)

The Panthers have to be the most surprising unbeaten team at this point, especially when you factor in Cam Newton's terribly inconsistent play (1 passing TD and THREE INTs) against the Eagles last Sunday night. Alas, Carolina's defensive play is bailing them out, especially when it comes to putting pressure on the QB -- last weekend, the Panthers smacked Sam Bradford no less than nine times, sacking him five for negative 33 yards. 

06
New York Jets
Season Point Differential: (+47)

The Jets gave it their best try, but they still dropped Sunday's tilt against arch rivals New England 30-23. Despite absolutely smother the defending Super Bowl champs on the ground (the Pats could only muster 16 rushing yards all game), Tom Brady also smoked New York in the air, lobbing two touchdowns and accumulating 355 yards of aerial offense. 


07
Atlanta Falcons
Season Point Differential: (+43)

The Falcon 10-7 win over the Titans in Nashville has to be one of the ugliest games all season. While Matty Ice's stats were just sort of meh (1 TD, 2 INTs, 251 yards), the Falcons' D did a pretty good job covering both Tennessee's passing and rushing attack; the Titans only had 77 yards on the ground and put up a fairly low 187 yards by air. 


08
Denver Broncos
Season Point Differential: (+37)

The Broncos, who had a bye this past weekend, might just be the worst 6-0 team in NFL history. With 1,955 total yards, they have the third worst offense in the League, ranking 23rd in passing and 30th in rushing. Clearly, the defense (the third best against the run and the absolute best against the air attack) is the only thing keeping them buoyant, especially as Peyton Manning continues to look all shades of Brett Favre, circa 2010. 


THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS


09
Pittsburgh Steelers
Season Point Differential: (+27)

After being bested by a bad Chiefs team by 10 points, the Steelers are no doubt champing at the bit to get Big Ben back. With arguable the best one-two receiver combo in the League and the absolute best running back in the game, there is NO reason for this team to be getting out-yarded by the likes of Travis Kelce and Charcandrick West. 


10
Seattle Seahawks
Season Point Differential: (+26)

The still sub-.500 Hawks have struggled, but they certainly looked like the defending NFC Champions last Thursday as the pounded the crap out of San Fran 20-3. Despite Russell Wilson's uneven play (1 TD, 2 INTs, 235 yards), Marshawn Lynch had his best performance in a while (122 yards and a TD) and the defense looked absolutely stellar, limiting the Niners to just 61 rushing yards and sacking Colin K. SIX times. 


11
Philadelphia Eagles
Season Point Differential: (+23)

The good news is, the Eagles looked somewhat decent defensively, picking off Cam Netwon no less than three times in their loss to Carolina. The negative, I am afraid, is that the team just could not get rolling on offense, as Sam Bradford tossed for only 205 yards and no TDs and nobody could strike endzone on the ground despite putting up 177 total rushing yards. 


12
Minnesota Vikings
Season Point Differential: (+22)

Although A.P. was stricken with a rare chewing tobacco/shrimp ailment, the Vikes still looked solid against the lowly Lions in a 28-19 victory. Terry Bridgewater had 316 yards and two touchdown passes, with Stefon Diggs racking up 108 yards and a TD on six carries. The defense did OK against the run (they kept Detroit down to just 77 yards), but they still let Matt Stafford chalk up way more yardage in the air than he should have. 


13
New York Giants
Season Point Differential: (+10)

In a NFC East that, at best, seems like a colossal clusterfuck of organizational dysfunction, the G-Men are probably the least worrisome team in the division (this week, anyway.) While Eli Manning had no touchdown passes and the Giants could only score one offensive TD, New York paid off the balance with a pick six defensive score and some impressive special teams footwork from Dwayne Harris. Alas, without some fortuitous bounces, its hard to consider the Giants responsible for their own victory in this one. 


14
Miami Dolphins
Season Point Differential: (+10)

Just two games after sacking their head coach, the Fins are not only 2-0, they're playing the best they have in about five or six seasons. Miami absolutely flattened the hapless Texans over the weekend, as Ryan Tannehill carved up the Houston secondary for four touchdown passes and 282 yards on the day in their 44-26 win. The defense looked especially good, as Reshad Jones put six on the board, held the Texans' run game to 71 yards and sacked Brian Hoyer four times. 


15
Buffalo Bills
Season Point Differential: (+3)

The Bills' not-quite-a-comeback against the Jags in London is but just the latest in a long string of early season disappointments. While E.J. Manuel almost broke 300 yards passing, he split his TD-to-INT reception to two a piece, and Buffalo's running backs failed to hit endzone on 28 carries. Outside of receiver Robert Woods, it was hard to find much of anything to cheer about if you are a Bills fan this past weekend. 


16
Oakland Raiders
Season Point Differential: (-9)

Don't let the 37-29 score fool you; the Raiders had this one won at halftime, and everything from the third quarter onward was unabashed coasting. For 45 minutes, Oakland's D shut down the absolute best offense in the League, with Derek Carr hitting no less than three different receivers for touchdowns. Simply put, this was the best Raiders' performance since the Jason Campbell days ... which, yeah, is just about the weirdest goddamn sentence I think I've ever had to type. 

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

17
St. Louis Rams
Season Point Differential: (-11)

Even though the Rams had five fumbles in Sunday's game against Cleveland, they still managed to win the game 24-6. Nick Foles had a bad day (no touchdowns and just 163 passing yards), but Todd Gurley made up for it with 128 rushing yard and two trips to the endzone. 

18
Washington Redskins
Season Point Differential: (-20)

Kirk Cousins led the Skins to one of the most improbable come-from-behind wins of the season so far, as the team with the most offensive name in all of pro sports overcame a 24-0 first half to somehow win the game 31-30. Credit receivers Jordan Reed (two TDs, 72 yards) and Ryan Grant (one TD, 54 yards) as the heroes in this one. 

19
Tennessee Titans
Season Point Differential: (-20)

Just how well do you imagine a team quarterbacked by ZACH METTENBERGER would play against a one-loss Falcons team? If you said "surprisingly well," you are halfway right: while the defense did manage to limit the high-scoring, yardage-devouring Dirty Birds to just 10 points, Tennessee couldn't get their own offense clicking either, producing just 77 rushing yards and 187 passing yards all game long. 

20
Kansas City Chiefs
Season Point Differential: (-22)

The 2-5 Chiefs had their best showing so far this season on Sunday, besting the Landry Jones-commandeered Steelers 23-13. Even with Antonio Borwqn and Martavis Bryant on the other side of the ball, K.C. managed to out-yard Pittssburgh in the air, as they bested the black and yellow by nearly 50 yards. Their defense also played much better, racking up two INTs and dropping Jones twice, all while limiting the Steelers to only 350 or so total offensive yards.

21
New Orleans Saints
Season Point Differential: (-24)

The Saints are on a two-game win streak, first knocking off the formerly undefeated Falcons two weeks ago and winning Sunday's contest against the Colts, 27-21. Drew Brees was OK, with 1:1 TD/INT ratio for 255 yards, but running back Mark Ingram looked like a champ, busting out 143 yards on 14 carries, including a solo TD. 

22
Indianapolis Colts
Season Point Differential: (-27)

Well, this is not the team most analysts predicted we would be seeing this year. At 3-4 overall (and with an unbelievable 1-3 home record), Indy is playing really bad football at the moment, having dropped a 27-21 game to New Orleans over the weekend. While Luck had semi-decent stats (333 yards and three TDs), he also had two interceptions and got sacked four times for -32 yards. And the less said about their atrocious run game, which produced just 75 piss-ant yards over the weekend, the better.

23
Baltimore Ravens
Season Point Differential: (-27)

It is really hard finding a positive for the 1-6 Ravens. In their Monday night loss to the Cardinals, Joe Flacco was lukewarm with one TD and INT and the running back corps, accumulating just 55 yards all day, did absolutely nothing on the ground. Even worse, Baltimore -- more or less a team known for its dynamic defense since its inception -- has played horribly on the other side of the pigskin, allowing the Cards to triple them in rushing yards and out pass them 275 yards to 252.


24
San Diego Chargers
Season Point Differential: (-33)

Do NOT let Philip Rivers' 336 yards and three touchdowns fool you; the Chargers got absolutely reamed by the Raiders Sunday, at one point falling behind 37-6 late. While their O stats got padded with some garbage time scores, San Diego spent about 45 minutes playing some of the worst football -- offensively and defensively -- we've seen all season-long over the weekend. 


ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT


25
Cleveland Browns
Season Point Differential: (-35)

With Johnny Football's off-field antics stirring up again, the Browns' 24-6 loss to the Rams over the weekend as indicative of a team that's having a lot of problems on and off the turf. Josh McCown had a day to forget (270 yards, no TDs) and the run game, responsible for only 82 yards, was practically taking the day off. Oh, and they turned the ball over four times, which makes me wonder if somebody didn't switch on an NFL 2K cheat before kickoff. 

26
Dallas Cowboys
Season Point Differential: (-37)

Matt Cassel played more like Fatt McAsshole on Sunday, lobbing three interceptions (including a pick six) en route to Dallas' 27-20 loss to the Giants. Although injury-prone ex-Raider Darren McFadden had one of his best career showings yet (152 yards and a TD), the rest of the offense struggled, while the defense did very little to slow down either New York's passing or rushing attack. 

27
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Point Differential: (-39)

It's not often you can say you gave up a 24-0 lead, but this Buccaneers team is all sorts of special, I tell you what. In Tampa Bay's inconceivable 31-30 loss to the Skins, Doug Martin (136 yards) kept the ball literally rolling, but Jameis Winston's two touchdown passes (including one to Mike Evans, who had 164 yards on the day) wasn't enough to seal the enchilada. How this team managed to lose this game, despite nearly quadrupling Washington's rushing yards, is simply beyond the realm of human understanding. 

28
Houston Texans
Season Point Differential: (-45)

You know it's going to be a bad day when your quarterback misses the goddamn flight to the game and has to take commercial to the stadium. Brian Hoyer's three TD passes were for naught, as the Fins mercilessly drubbed Houston all day -- and on top of it all, the team's God-denying halfback Pro Bowler succumbed to a disastrous leg injury shortly after scoring the team's only rushing TD of the day. 

29
Chicago Bears
Season Point Differential: (-59)

The 2-4 Bears had the week off and will come out of hibernation (get it?) to face the Vikes this Sunday. The team ranks 28th in total offense at the week seven mark (they are 27th in passing and 22nd in rushing), but their defense is improving: although they rank 25th in rushing yards allowed per game, they also rank sixth overall in passing yards permitted per contest. 

30
Jacksonville Jaguars
Season Point Differential: (-60)

The Jags put on a jolly good rogering of the Buffalo Williams in London-town over the weekend, as Sir Blake Bortles tossed the pork for two goals and what the yanks call an "interception" in their 34-31 victory. Special commendation goes to T.J Yeldon, who finished the game with a touching of the down for 105 meters on 20 ball touches. 

31
Detroit Lions
Season Point Differential: (-61)

In Detroit's 28-19 loss to the Vikings, Matt Stafford got sacked seven times for a loss of 59 yards. Still, he was able to lob a pair of TD passes to Megatron and Eric Ebron, and the defense did put Bridgewater on his back four times. So, all things considered ... yeah, this team still sucks. 

32 
San Francisco 49ers
Season Point Differential: (-77)

Believe it or not, the Niners did manage some success going after Russell Wilson in their 20-3 loss to the Seattle, sacking him five times and intercepting him twice. Alas, Colin K -- who, after being sacked six times for -43 yards wound up with just 88 all purpose yards on the day -- didn't hit the endzone once, while the Niners running back crew finished with just 61 yards on the ground. If you happen to see a silver lining in any of this, odds are, you've been staring into the sun too much

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