Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week Five!

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 doesn't matter how you play the game ... just as long as you win." 


Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Season Point Differential: +64

A one-point loss to the surprisingly feisty Detroit Lions certainly isn't enough to derail this team's hype train. Despite the narrow 24-23 loss, the Eagles still looked very good on the offensive side of the ball, with Carson Wentz lobbing the rock for 238 yards and two touchdowns. And Philly's defense didn't look too shabby neither, holding Detroit to just 164 yards passing (and only 80 rushing) in their losing effort. 

Minnesota Vikings (5-0)
Season Point Differential: +56

The last unbeaten team in the League crushed the Texans, absolutely pummeling Brock Os and company 31-13. Sam Bradford had two touchdown passes and 271 yards on 22 completions, with receiver Adam Thielen reeling in 127 yards on just seven catches. And the defense certainly did its part, holding Houston to a meager 155 aerial yards (with sacks factored in) and an even more anemic 59 yards rushing. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1)
Season Point Differential: +46

The bumblebees worked their magic again, creaming the bound to crash Jets 31-13. Big Ben took time off from his favorite off-the-field activity to rack up four touchdown passes and 380 aerial yards, with receiver Sammi Coates chalking up two touchdowns and 139 yards on just six receptions. Strangely enough, the moribund Jets still managed to outyard Pittsburgh on the ground, however, 72 rushing yards to 61. 

New England Patriots (4-1)
Season Point Differential: +40

As expected, Tom "On Parole" Brady looked sharp as a tack in his big return game, as he blistered the Browns for 406 passing yard and three touchdown passes in the Pats' commanding 33-13 win over Cleveland. Gronk had 109 yards on five catches, while receiver Chris Hogan finished the game with 114 yards on only four receptions. And when it comes to the run game, the Pats definitely outclassed the Browns, putting up 98 ground yards to their paltry 27.

Denver Broncos (4-1)
Season Point Differential: +40

And the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champions tasted defeat for the first time this season, losing a tight home game 23-16 against the Falcons. Paxton Lynch went 23 for 35 for 223 yards and one touchdown, but hoo boy, he also lobbed a costly interception and got sacked six times for a cumulative loss of 40 yards. Furthermore, the tandem threat of Sanders and Thomas looked about underwhelming as they have all season, producing just one touchdown and 129 yards throughout the contest. 

Dallas Cowboys (4-1)
Season Point Differential: +38

Ezekiel Elliot had his big "coming out" party, if you will, putting up two touchdowns and 134 yards in the Cowboys 28-14 win over the Bengals last Sunday. If you are wondering, Dak Prescott is also playing quite well, having produced 227 yards and one TD on 18 completions in the victory. Which, naturally, begs the question: should the Boys even mull benching this Prescott kid when Tony Romo is declared medically fit to play again?  

Atlanta Falcons (4-1)
Season Point Differential:+35

The Falcons exacted some long delayed revenge for Super Bowl XXXIII, besting the Broncos 23-16 at Mile High. Matt Ryan's numbers weren't as sky high as they were two weeks ago against the Panthers, but they were still nothing to scoff at - 267 yards and a TD on only 15 completions. And Matty Ice's no. 1 target? Of all people, running back Tevin Coleman, who wrapped up the game with one receiving TD and 132 yards on only four catches

Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Season Point Differential: +30

The Bills have been on a roll ever since they fired their offensive coordinator, collecting their third straight "W" over the Rams last Sunday in a 30-19 victory. T-Mobile had two touchdown passes in the outing and 124 total aerial yards on 12 completions and LeSean McCoy was an absolute beast, recording 150 rushing yards on 18 carries. And the defense never took the pressure of L.A.'s Case Keenum, who was sacked four times and intercepted twice.


Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Season Point Differential: +25

If your weekend seemed to have 100 percent less Russell Wilson in it than usual, no, your senses aren't deceiving you. Indeed, the Seahawks decided to take the week off and are set to re-emerge this Saturday to go toe-to-toe with the Falcons. Four games into the new season, Seattle is putting up 375 yards of offense per game and 19.8 points per showing; defensively, they are allowing a League-low 264 yards per game and a third best 13.5 points per game. 

Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
Season Point Differential: +24

The Cards got back on track with a 33-21 Thursday night win over the San Francisco America Haters. Drew Stanton's passing numbers may not be all that impressive (124 yards on 11 completions), but you can't find much fault with his top two offensive weapons: back David Johnson finished the game with two touchdowns and 157 yards on 27 carries while receiver Larry Fitzgerald reeled in two TD passes for 81 yards on six catches. 

Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Season Point Differential: +15

The grab bag performance by Aaron Rodgers (259 yards and a 2:2 TD-to-INTs thrown ratio on 23 completions) didn't really matter - the Packers still found a way to surmount the free-falling Giants 23-16 last Sunday night. Eddie Lacy (81 rushing yards on 11 carries) and Randall Cobb (108 yards on nine catches) both looked great, but if you wanted to pinpoint an "x-factor" to Green Bay's win, I'd definitely go with the stingy defense, which held Eli and pals to 199 yards passing and only 43 running the ball. 

San Diego Chargers (1-4)
Season Point Differential: +10

Nothing short of some kind of hoodoo curse on the Chargers explains their misfortunes this season. Had just one play gone their way in each of their losing efforts, this very well could be a 5-0 team at this juncture. Still, despite Philip Rivers' consistent play and a hearty effort by Melvin Gordon and Antonio Gates, the Chargers tasted defeat yet again, losing a 34-31 heart breaker to arch rivals the Raiders because their place holder forgot how holding balls worked on a potentially game-tying field goal attempt

Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Season Point Differential: +06

And that's two losses in a row for the Ravens, in the wake of last weekend's 16-10 loss to Beltway rivals Washington. Flacco had a less than elite showing, going 30 for 46 and collecting just 210 yards and a solo TD shot on the day, while the rushing game - despite chalking up 118 total yards - couldn't find Redskins end zone at all. And yes, their special teams - as evident by Jamison Crowder's 85-yard punt return - definitely has some things to work on

Oakland Raiders (4-1)
Season Point Differential: +05

No, your eyes weren't playing tricks on you - I did indeed have a live play-by-play blog going on up until the third quarter covering the Raiders/Chargers game, but thanks to a snafu involving an animated .GIF of Amari Cooper with Pepe the Frog's face, I wound up accidentally deleting the entire post. Regardless of my own fuck-uppery, the Raiders won their third game in a row, besting the Chargers 34-31 in a game that saw Oakland take the lead in the last minute of the third quarter and hold on to it throughout the remainder of the contest - although they certainly got some help from San Diego's placeholder on what would have been an overtime-ensuring field goal from the "Bad News Chargers."  

Detroit Lions (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -06

A late field goal gave Detroit all the padding they needed to secure a 24-23 upset over the Eagles. Despite being sacked four times for about 16 lost yards, you really can't complain about Matt Stafford's showing in this one - after all, he did throw three touchdown passes, didn't he? 

Washington Redskins (3-2)
Season Point Differential: -07

While Kirk Cousins had an all right game (29 for 41, 260 yards and a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio), it was really the special teams heroics of Jamison Crowder who single-handedly won this one for the Redskins. Well, no, I guess the Skins' defense did their part to keep the Ravens out of the end zone in their 16-10 win, too, but yeah ... without that punt return, this game almost certainly would've wound up a "W" for Baltimore. 


Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)
Season Point Differential: -09

The Chiefs took week five off, as the reemerge this Sunday to do battle with arch-nemesis Oakland. In terms of total offense, the Chiefs rank 30th in the League, posting 338.5 yards and 20.8 points per game. Defensively, they fare much better, ranking seventh overall with 300.4 yards and 23 points per game. 

Tennessee Titans (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -09

Hey, the Titans approved to .400 on the season via a 30-17 win over the Fins. Marcus Mariota had his best game in a long time, going 20 for 29 and posting 163 yards and three touchdowns. The run game was also dynamite, dropping 235 total rushing yards on Miami - with DeMarco Murray leading the pack with 121 yards. 

Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -11

In a rematch of Super Bow XLI (albeit, almost a decade later), the Colts managed to outlast the Bears 29-23. Andrew Luck ha his best game, stats-wise, in quite awhile, finishing the game with 322 passing yards and two touchdowns (even if he did get sacked five times.) T.Y. Hilton was definitely the MVP for Indy, averaging 17.1 yards on 10 catches and reeling in the late fourth quarter game-clinching TD. 

Carolina Panthers (1-4)
Season Point Differential: -12

Yep, the same team that was one game shy of going 16-0 last year has already dropped four games in their post-Super Bowl campaign. With Cam Newton out, Derek Anderson struggled in the Panthers' 17-14 loss to Tampa Bay last Monday. He finished the outing 18 for 28, with 278 total passing yards and no touchdowns ... and two very costly interceptions. 

New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Season Point Differential: -16

It was a bye week for the Saints, who return this weekend to tango with Carolina. Four games into the season, the Saints rank 20th in the League in terms of total offense, averaging 386 yards and 28.5 points per game. Defensively, they rank 12th, allowing opposing teams an average of 422.8 yards and 32.5 points per outing. 

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -18

The underperforming Benglas have to be one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season thus far. Their woes continued with a 28-14 loss to the Cowboys, in which Andy Dalton lobbed the rock for 269 yards and two touchdowns but still found themselves outgunned offensively and defensively. The stagnant run game is a pretty big part of the problem: Cincy recorded no rushing touchdowns in their latest loss and top rusher Giovani Bernard concluded the contest with only 50 yards on the day. 

New York Giants (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -19

Slowly but surely, it looks like the proverbial roof is beginning to collapse on the Giants' season. After a hot start, the G-Men have fallen to a 2-3 record, their latest loss being a 23-16 defeat at the hands of Aaron Rodgers' Packers. And when the absolute biggest story about your team is your top receiver's primadonna antics, you know things are going to get a LOT worse before they get any better

Houston Texans (3-2)
Season Point Differential: -22

It's very, very tough finding a silver lining in the Texans' 31-13 loss to the Vikings. Brock Os. got sacked four times and went 1-to-1 on touchdowns to interceptions thrown, the running game was held to less that 60 total yards and the most productive Texans receiver accumulated a scant 61 yards of offense. Well, at least Houston's D did hold the still A.P.-less Vikings rushing attack to a single TD and only 96 yards, I suppose...


Los Angeles Rams (3-2)
Season Point Differential: -24

Despite lobbing the pigskin for 271 yards, Case Keenum just didn't have it in him to lead his team to victory over the Bills, who summarily beat 'em 30-19 over the weekend. This, despite Todd Gurley racking up 72 yards of rushing offense and the tried and true tandem of Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin teaming up for 134 receiving yards on 12 catches. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
Season Point Differential: -27

The Jags took a breather last weekend, as they await a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Bears this weekend. Posting an average of 320.8 yards and 21 points a game, the Jags, statistically, are the worst offensive unit in the League. However, their defense - allowing opposing teams 304.5 yards and 27.8 points per game - is currently the third best in professional football. 

San Francisco 49ers (1-4)
Season Point Differential: -29

Following the Niners' 33-21 loss to the Cards, it's clear this Blaine Gabbert guy isn't working out. In the wake of an outing that saw him go 18 for 31 on passes for 162 yards (not to mention get sacked no less than seven times), San Fran has decided that Colin "Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks I'm a shit-head" Kaepernick will be their starter for this weekend's game against the Bills. Which means, hopefully, we'll get an answer to that age-old riddle: does being buried alive underneath a pile of blitzing linebackers constitute a valid form of protest against the national anthem?

Miami Dolphins (1-4)
Season Point Differential: -31

The Fins looked like utter and complete porpoise shit in their 30-17 loss to the Titans. Not only did Ryan Tannehill post lackluster numbers (he went 12 for 18 for 191 yards, no TDs and two INTs), he also got sacked six times, resulting in negative 42 yards of real estate. The run game hardly fared any better, recording a dismal 51 yards of offense throughout the losing affair. 

Chicago Bears (1-4)
Season Point Differential: -41

Even Brian Hoyer lobbing the pigskin for nearly 400 yards wasn't enough to give Bears the victory in their 29-23 loss to Indianapolis. Oh well ... at least you can take solace in the fine fantasy numbers put up by running back Jordan Howard (118 yards on 16 carries) and receiver Cameron Meredith (130 yards and a TD on nine carries), right? 

New York Jets (1-4)
Season Point Differential: -44

I guess the good news for Jets fan is that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't thrown any interceptions against the Steelers last Sunday. The bad news is, Gang Green still got its ass kicked 31-13, with Fizzy producing only one TD in the affair. And if that wasn't bad enough, running back Matt Forte put in a poor showing as well, producing just 53 touchdown-less yards on 12 carries. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
Season Point Differential: -48

It took a last second field goal, but the Bucs nonetheless managed to earn their second win of the season with a rough and tough 17-14 win over the Cam Newton-less Panthers. Jameis Winston was consistent, if not unremarkable, with 219 yards and one TD on 18 completions. Much more noteworthy was back Jacquizz Rodgers, who concluded the contest with 101 yards on 30 carries. 

Cleveland Browns (5-0)
Season Point Differential: -61

You know, not all hope is gone for the Browns. I mean, take a look at last year's Chiefs: they started the season 1-5 but somehow managed to win ten straight games and punch their tickets to the postseason. And surely, this team can remain competitive against the likes of Tennessee and the Jets, right? Tell the '08 Lions to hold off on popping the bubbly just yet ... if things keep playing out like they've been playing out in Cleveland, ya'll might just have yourself some company in the 0-16 Club come early January.


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