Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week One!

ESPN and Sports Illustrated can eat it - these are the only pro football power rankings anybody needs. 

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"It Ain't Over Until It's Over (or, 'parity' means never having to say you're sorry for shitty defenses)"

The Elites

San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +028

Well, raise your hand if you thought the goddamn motherfucking 49ers were going to post the best defensive showing of the first week of NFL action. Indeed, the boys in red and gold absolutely bitch slapped the L.A. Rams, holding Case Keenum to 120 aerial yards and two INTs while - improbably, to the point of being miraculously - limiting Todd Gurley to just 47 yards on the ground. On the offensive side of the ball, running back Carlos Hyde posted two touchdowns and 88 yards on 23 carries, while the team's quarterback who doesn't hate America finished the affair with 170 total passing yards and a solo TD pass. Whether the results of this matchup indicate the Niners' defense is that improved or the Rams offense is just that sucky is still up in the air; regardless, you have to give it to Chip Kelly and kids - against seemingly all forms of empirical wisdom, they somehow managed to look like the most comprehensively complete professional football team in the league. Well, for one week, anyway. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +022

In a lopsided Monday night victory, the trifecta of Big Ben, DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown beat the Redskins' defense like a community bongo, dropping 435 total yards of offense on Washington in their dominant 38-16 win. Roethlisberger didn't ask for Washington's consent as he drilled the ball downfield for 300 yards and three touchdown passes, while Williams churned up 143 yards on the ground and sniffed end zone twice. And of course, Brown was as productive as ever, collecting two touchdowns in his facile 126 yard day. Alas, if you are looking for a grey streak in yellow and black clouds? The secondary did give up a ton of aerial yardage, allowing Kirk Cousins - far from the definition of a "gunslinger," it must be said - to lob the rock for a surprisingly high 329 yards. 

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +019

Are the Eagles that good or are the Browns that bad? This early on in the season, it seems like a jump ball question. Regardless, you have to be at least mildly impressed by Philadelphia, especially new QB Carson Wentz, who launched two touchdowns and collected 278 passing yards on 22 completions as the new-look Eagles pecked Cleveland's eyeballs out to the tune of 29-10. Another somewhat surprising high point in Philly's victory? Receiver Jordan Matthews, who recorded one end zone visit and 114 total yards over the course of the game. 

Houston Texans (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +09

Ex-Broncos QB Brock Osweiler looked pretty good in his first regular season start for the Texans, collecting two touchdowns and 231 yards on 22 completions in Houston's 23-14 win over the desiccated corpse of what once was the Chicago Bears. Furthermore, the Texans' defense looked downright stellar, holding the Bears to just 73 total rushing yards and sacking Jay Cutler no less than five times during the contest. 

Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +09

No Bridgewater, no problem! Hell, for that matter, no offense at all, no problem, seeing as how the Vikes didn't even have to record a single offensive touchdown to beat the Titans 25-16 over the weekend. Shaun Hill had 236 yards, but none of his 18 completions resulted in a touchdown. Even stranger, Adrian goddamn fucking Peterson was held to 31 yards on 19 carries, and not once did he lick end zone. Thankfully for Minnesota, their defense was a lot better at finding the opposite side of the field, with Eric Kendricks returning a pick-six 77 yards and fellow defender Danielle Hunter (yes, his first name actually is Danielle) picking up a costly Tennessee fumble for another six on the board. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +07

Jameis Winston was a goddamn pimp in the Bucs' 31-24 win over the Falcons. The FSU standout tossed four touchdown passes to four different receivers, ultimately finishing the game with 281 yards on 23 completions. And the defense held up pretty well, too, sacking Matt Ryan three times and limiting Atlanta's potent rushing attack to a substandard 52 yards. 

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +06

I'm not really sure how you are supposed to feel if you are a Chiefs fan. On one hand, you can be happy they posted a huge comeback against San Diego and won a pivotal divisional game in what may very well be the most competitive division in pro football. Then again, the o-line did show a lot of signs of infrastructural duress, allowing Alex Smith to be sacked three times, and somehow, someway, the feared K.C. defense actually let the Chargers accumulate more rushing yards. Still, a win is a win, and if nothing else, the 17-point surge in the fourth quarter - not to mention the O.T. game clincher - proves this is a team that has a lot of fight in them. 

Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +06

Yeah, Baltimore's defense appears to be pretty good. Well, that, or else Buffalo's offense is just utter and complete dog shit. In a low scoring, 13-7 win, the Ravens absolutely stifled the Bills, holding their offense to just 111 yards passing and only 65 rushing. As the final score would allude, however, the Ravens weren't exactly proficient at putting digits of their own on the scoreboard. Despite a fairly solid 258 passing yards, Joe Flacco could only lob one touchdown pass throughout the contest, while Baltimore's running back corps could only produce 83 touchdown-less yards. 

The Playoff Hopefuls

Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +04

For a team considered by many to be an absolute lock for the NFC Championship, the Packers certainly had their hands full with the surprisingly feisty Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday. In Green Bay's narrow 27-23 win, Aaron Rodgers had a (for him, anyway) low 199 passing yard tally, yet he nonetheless managed to toss the rock for two scores, with his scrambling sojourn into the end zone representing the Pack's only rushing touchdown of the evening. 

Detroit Lions (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +04

Who'd thunk the Megatron-less Lions would've wound up being the highest-scoring offense in the first week of pro football? Indeed, Matty Stafford had three touchdown passes and 340 passing yards in the Lions 39-35 win over the Colts, with each of his end zone completions mailed to different receivers. Of course, Staffy Staff did get a lot of help from Detroit's run game, which produced 116 yards on the ground and another two scores. And holy shit look at that run defense, holding Frank Gore to 59 yards and no TDs!

New England Patriots (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +02

Even without arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history or the best tight end in professional football suited up for the game, what did the Patriots accomplish last Sunday evening? Oh, the only went into the home stadium of a team presumed by many to be the NFC's Super Bowl representative and outyarded them aerially and on the ground, sacked their quarterback three times and staved off a late fourth quarter surge to win by two. Yeah, nothing impressive about the feat, to be sure. 

Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +02

The Seahawks, at one point, were gifted 12.5 points by the Vegas line against the Dolphins. So, of course, the entire game was a low scoring affair, with the Seahawks not even sniffing end zone until the ass-end of the fourth quarter. Regardless, Russell Wilson was solid (258 yards and a 1:1 TD-INT ratio on 43 passing attempts), with receiver Doug Baldwin finishing the contest with 92 yards on nine receptions ... and probably getting his dick sucked for reeling in the game winning touchdown for the 'Hawks.

Denver Broncos (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +01

Second verse, same as the first - albeit, a lot closer. In a Super-Rematch, the Peyton Manning-less Broncos still managed to triumph over the Carolina Panthers, but it was by the narrowest of margins - a 21-20 uno point-o squeaker. New signal caller Trevor Siemian was a mixed bag (a one-to-two TD to INT ratio and just 178 yards on 18 completions) but the running game, which produced 148 yards and two scores, was enough to make up the difference. And as for the defense? Judging by the 333 total yards they gave up, methinks Denver's D probably isn't going to be as good as last year's Lombardi Trophy-worthy secondary. 

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +01

It may have taken a last second field goal, but the Bengals nonetheless managed to complete a late rally and knock off the New York Jets in an insanely close 23-22 game. Andy Dalton put up some solid numbers for fantasy footballers (366 yards on 23 completions), but only one of his passes wound up in the Jets' end zone (reeled in by - who else? - A.J. Green, who finished the game with a stellar 180 receiving yards.) Furthermore, don't expect the Ginger Gunslinger - who was sacked an absurd seven times by New York's defense - to remain healthy for long if his o-line keeps playing so shitty.

New York Giants (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +01

Eli Manning was certainly the x-factor in Giants' razor thin 20-19 win over the Cowboys on opening Sunday. The only Manning left in the NFL had three touchdown passes in the game, all of them falling into the arms of different receivers (including one lobbed to the returning Victor Cruz, who wrapped up the game with 34 yards on four receptions.) In all, Eli went 19 for 28 on pass attempts, concluding the affair with 207 yards (203, if you factor in the two times he got sacked.)

Oakland Raiders (1-0)
Season Point Differential: +01

There's gutsy play-calling and then there is "everybody, take a look at how big my dick is" play-calling. The latter is pretty much the only way to describe Jack Del Rio's decision to go for two with 40 seconds left on the clock instead of kicking a game-tying extra point in the Raiders' thrilling 35-34 win over the New Orleans Saints (and if you want some damn fine, moment-by-moment musings from the game, we here at The Internet Is In America have you covered right here.) The road win, obviously, is a huge deal for the Raiders faithful (indeed, the game represents the team's biggest comeback victory in enemy territory since 2000), but there are still plenty of deficiencies to discuss - like having a porous defense that allowed over 500 yards of total offense and collectively committing 14 penalties, in the process giving up 140 yards in free real estate. 

The Middle of the Pack

New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -01

Pretty much the only way the Saints' home opener loss to the Raiders last weekend could have been any worse would be if Wil Lutz's missed 61-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation somehow triggered another levee break. In the 35-34 heartbreaker, Drew Brees lobbed the rock for four touchdowns and 423 passing yards, but despite the fact that receivers Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks both had at least 140 yards and a TD haul a piece, it still wasn't enough to keep "Death Stare" Carr from rallying the troops and engineering a late comeback victory for the Raiders. Oh, and in case you were wondering if the Saints' defense still sucked? Well, Oakland's 486 yards of total offense ought to tell you everything you want to know. 

Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -01

Carolina's 21-20 loss on opening night was bittersweet on a lot of fronts - probably the least of which had to do with Cam Newton nearly getting his noggin knocked off on a illegal hit the refs somehow managed to miss (tl;dr - probably racism.) Still, in the hyper competitive contest the Panthers, statistically, seemed to have been the better unit. The Panthers posted 176 yards passing and 157 rushing in riposte to the Broncos' 159 aerial yards and 148 on the ground, and Carolina's defense can take some solace in sacking Trevor Siemian twice ... although Denver managed to up the ante their and sack Cammy Boy three times

New York Jets (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -01

The Jets, really, played a more complete game than the Bengals in Sunday's tough 23-22 loss. For one thing, New York nearly tripled Cincy's rushing output, posting 152 yards on the ground while limiting Bengals' runners to just 57. Despite posting fewer yards, Ryan Fitzpatrick (189 yards on 19 completions) also lobbed twice as many touchdown passes as Andy Dalton, too. Still, in a back-and-forth battle, it came down to who had possession last, and as fate would have it - said possession didn't belong to the guys in green and white. 

Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -01

Dak Prescott had pretty decent numbers in the Cowboys' 20-19 loss to the Giants. Alas, despite wrapping up the game with 227 yards on 25 completions, none of those passes resulted in points on the board. Indeed, the only player with a star on his jersey to score any points who wasn't kicking the ball was Ezekiel Elliot, who nonetheless finished the game with a disappointing 51 yards on 20 carries. 

Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -02

The Cards put up some very, very good stats Sunday night, but they were too little and too late to surmount the New England Patriots, who bested them 23-21 in their own stadium. Carson Palmer finished the game 24 for 37 with two touchdowns and 271 yards, while Larry Fitzgerald wrapped up the game with two touchdowns on eight catches and 81 yards. The run game was a bit disappointing however, as the team could muster no more than 92 yards and a solo David Johnson TD run throughout the contest. 

Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -02

The Fins were *thisfuckingclose* to upsetting the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. Unfortunately for the south Florida/northern Cuba faithful, the defense shit the bed in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and let Russell Wilson hook up with Doug Baldwin (in a decisively non-homosexual way, of course) to snatch sweet, delicious victory out of Miami's maw at the last second. In terms of defense, it's a classic good news/bad news dichotomy: on the pro side, the Dolphins' D did in fact sack Wilson three times during the game. And the bad news? Sadly, the Temple of Boom managed to infiltrate Miami's poor o-line early and often, ultimately sacking Ryan Tannehill five times for a net loss of 36 yards. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -04

The Jags made it a lot closer against the Packers than most predicted, ultimately losing a tough one 27-23. Blake Bortles went 24 for 39, collecting 320 yards and a solo TD pass in the four-point loss. The o-line showed its chinks (Bortles ate dirt three times, representing a total of 20 yards in lost real estate) and the run game, held to just 48 yards, looked pretty lifeless. Still, the close showing against Green Bay ought to give long-suffering Jaguars fans reason to be optimistic. Cautiously optimistic, of course

Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -04

You can blame a lot of things on the Colts 39-35 upset loss to the Lions, but you can't pin it all on Andrew Luck. In a losing effort, he nonetheless lobbed four touchdown passes and concluded the game with 385 aerial yards. Alas, in a tit-for-tat offense-heavy contest, Detroit's tat proved a little bit more efficient than Indy's tit - especially since the Lions, unlike the Colts, actually managed to convert some ground yardage into rushing touchdowns

Anxiously Awaiting the Draft

Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -06

If you wanted to catch some fugly football over the weekend, the Bills' 13-7 loss to Baltimore was your kind of matchup. The Bills' defense had some decent gains (for one thing, they sacked Joe Flacco four times), but my goodness, Rex Ryan and pals just couldn't get the offense rolling. Factoring in the lost yardage from sacks, the Bills only had 95 passing yards on the day - and none of Tyrod Taylor's 15 completions represented any end zone expeditions. 

San Diego Chargers (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -06

At one point, it seemed like San Diego had the upset signed, sealed and in the mail by halftime. Up 21-3 at the beginning of the third quarter, the Chargers' D absolutely collapsed, as arch rivals Kansas City quickly put up a 24-point deluge to tie the game at the end of regulation ... which, of course, would give way to a shocking 33-27 Chiefs victory in overtime. If you need to blame the loss on something, the pass defense is a pretty good place to begin; Chargers defenders, after a good start, wound up letting Alex Smith rack up 363 yards by air, with two of his 34 completions connecting to red-clad players  in dark blue end zone paint. 

Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -07

If you are an Atlanta Falcons fan (and by the way, I've lived in Atlanta my whole life and have yet to actually meet one), there is some good news and there is some bad news. The good is that Matt Ryan played very well, posting two touchdowns and 334 yards on 27 completions. The bad news is that the defense forget how to play for an inexplicable 60-minute window last Sunday, letting Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston lob four touchdown passes in Atlanta's 31-24 loss. But hey, at least they did a pretty good job against the run, holding Tampa Bay to only 90 yards of rushing offense throughout their losing effort. 

Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -09

Marcus Mariota was fairly solid with 271 yards and two touchdowns, but his efforts weren't enough to help the Titans in their 25-16 loss to the Vikings. There's really no excuse for a team with as much firepower in the backfield as Tennessee to only produce 64 yards on the ground, and the defense left a lot to be desired - in the year of our Lord 2016, nobody ought to be letting Shaun freaking Hill average 7.2 yards per pass. 

Chicago Bears (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -09

Well, there's not a whole lot to be happy about if you are a Bears fan in the wake of Chicago's 23-14 loss to Houston. Factoring in the five times Texans' defenders made him eat dirt, Jay Cutler posted just 185 passing yards on the day, and only one of his 16 completions resulted in a touchdown. There are some solid players on the Bears posting solid stats (wide receiver Alshon Jefferey, for example had 105 yards on just four catches), but until this team can start playing defense and protect its quarterback? Looks like things are going to be awfully painful for the faithful in the Windy City this autumn. 

Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -19

The Browns looked very, very ... well, Browns-ish ... in their 29-10 loss to Philadelphia. New quarterback RGIII (surprise - he's hurt again!) had no touchdowns and one INT in his 190 yard passing day (which, actually, crawls back to 168 once you factor in the three times he got sacked.) Making matters worse, the only person to whiff end zone for Cleveland during the contest? A guy who, earlier in the summer, posted a cartoon of a white cop getting his throat slit on social media and almost cost the team a police presence at home games. Hoo boy - if you thought last year's Johnny Football drama was farcical, just wait until this year's shit show down by Lake Eerie!

Washington Redskins (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -22

Pretty much everything went to shit for the Skins in their regular season opener. Despite posting more yardage than Big Ben, Kirk Cousins had twice as many interceptions than touchdowns thrown (and by the way, the number for the latter is zero) in his team's 38-16 loss to Pittsburgh, and in total, the team could only muster a disappointing 55 yards on the ground. The only thing really approaching anything close to a "highlight" for the Skins would be DeSean Jackson, who had 102 receiving yards on six catches. But then again, seeing as how none of those receptions resulted in points on the board, maybe such isn't as bright a highlight as it sounds. 

Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
Season Point Differential: -28

Perhaps in an oblique nod to recently deceased trans-actress Alexis Arquette, Hollywood's "new" NFL team decided to play dead as shit in their regular season opener, getting absolutely ass-pounded by, of all teams, the San Francisco 49ers. There's plenty of blame to go around in L.A.'s 28-0 blanking, but perhaps the most troubling thing for Rams fans was how easily the Niners negated their heavily touted rushing attack. The Rams wrapped up the game with an abysmal 65 total rushing yards, with Todd Gurley not only not hitting end zone once in the affair, but not even breaking the 50 yard marker. And if that's what the (seemingly) cruddy San Fran D does to them, good lord, what carnage will Seattle's and Arizona's defenses hoist upon them? If Monday night's mauling was any indication, So Cal fans better hurry up and adopt themselves a dedicated ovo-vegetarian diet ... 'cause you mother fuckers are going to be dining on a lot of goose eggs this season. 


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