Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week Nine!

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


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@Jimbo__X

THE ELITES


01
New England Patriots (7-1)
Season Point Differential: +85

Even with a bye week, the Pats retained enough cushion in the plus-minus department to remain our No. 1 ranked team in pro football. The Patriots face the biggest challenge of their season thus far on Sunday, as they host the rough and tough Seattle Seahawks in Foxboro.


02
Dallas Cowboys (7-1)
Season Point Differential: +83

The Cowboys made short work of the Browns, dispatching the still-winless Cleveland squad 35-10. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot continue to post impressive stats: in the win, Prescott went 21 for 27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns while the alleged domestic abuser ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. 


03
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
Season Point Differential: +57

Uh-oh. After a super hot start, the Eagles now find themselves sitting at .500 at the midway point of the season. The team's 28-23 loss to the Giants may not be a season-breaker yet, but in an ultra-competitive NFC East, those in-division losses may come back to haunt Philly come playoff seeding time. 


04
Denver Broncos (6-3)
Season Point Differential: +48

The highly-touted Denver D didn't look too stellar against the Raiders last Sunday night. Indeed, it was the Silver and Black that looked like the defensive dynamo, holding the Broncos to just 33 yards rushing in a 30-20 Oakland win. Still, Trevor Siemian managed to throw more yards and touchdown passes than Derek Carr, so that counts as a moral victory, doesn't it? (Answer: no, not really.)


05
Atlanta Falcons (6-3)
Season Point Differential: +46

The Falcons beat the shit out of divisional rivals Tampa Bay last Thursday night, pummeling the Bucs 43-28. Matt Ryan had another stellar - some might even say MVP worthy performance - lobbing the pigskin for 344 yards and four touchdowns, with top target Julio Jones collecting 111 yards and a solo TD on eight catches. 


06
Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
Season Point Differential: +39

Following a bye week, the Cardinals emerge this Sunday for what should be a fairly facile home stand against the lowly, America-hating 49ers. After that, things will get very tough for the Cardinals, as the remaining six teams on their schedule all have a .500 or better record.


07
Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)
Season Point Differential: +34

Although the 19-14 win was a bit closer than anticipated, the Chiefs still managed to knock off the sore luck Jaguars last Sunday. With Alex Smith out, Nick Foles tossed one TD and finished the contest 20 for 33 for 187 yards; alas, you have to worry about the Chiefs' formerly potent run attack, which was only able to muster a paltry 62 yards last weekend.


08
Buffalo Bills (4-5)
Season Point Differential: +34

The Bills just barely lost to the Seahawks last Monday night, losing a tough one 31-25. T-Mobile and LeSean McCoy both had pretty good statistical showings, but the Bills got beat in the one mathematical metric that matters most - that being, number of times your offensive players managed to whiff enemy end zone


THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS


09
Minnesota Vikings (5-3)
Season Point Differential: +29

And with a 22-16 overtime loss to the Lions, Minnesota - after a 5-0 start - have managed to drop their last three games. Is this just a rough patch on the road, or have the wobbly wheels finally flown off the bandwagon? The next four games - which includes tough road contests in Washington and Detroit - will tell us everything we need to know. 


10
Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1)
Season Point Differential: +28

Russell Wilson had a hell of a game Monday night, lobbing the rock for 282 yards and two TD passes (both of which landed in the arms of Jimmy Graham, who wrapped up the game with 103 yards on eight catches.) And while Seattle's rushing attack didn't net a whole lot of yardage, they made the most of their scant 33 yards with two ground-based touchdowns. 

11
Oakland Raiders (7-2)
Season Point Differential: +22

And with a 30-20 win over arch-rivals Denver, the Raiders find themselves sitting pretty atop the AFC West. The Raiders' D absolutely stifled the Denver rushing attack, while the Raiders, perhaps inspired by all of those Kia commercials, decided to Tecmo Bowl the shit out of the ball, collecting 200-plus yards on the ground, with Latavius Murray hitting end zone not once, not twice, but three times. And as always, you can relive the glory and the majesty of the victory right here

12
San Diego Chargers (4-5)
Season Point Differential: +21

In what can only be described as a loving homage to NFL Blitz, the Chargers just barely outlasted the Titans in a 43-35 score-fest. The crazy thing? Just how many points the Chargers put up defensively, include touchdowns stemming from a 36-yard Dwight Lowery fumble return and a 33-yard interception return by Brandon Flowers. 


13
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Season Point Differential: +13

Returning from injury, Big Ben had a decent statistical day (23 for 45 for 264 yards, one TD and one INT) but the Steelers just couldn't get the run game going against the Ravens. Despite holding Baltimore to just 50 yards on the ground, the potent Pittsburgh rushing attack only accumulated a scant 36 yards in their 21-14 divisional loss. 

14
Green Bay Packers (4-4)
Season Point Differential: +11

The Packers got upset at home by Andrew Luck and the Colts, who bested Green Bay 31-26 over the weekend. While Aaron Rodgers had three touchdown passes and nearly 300 passing yards, the Packers just couldn't get their rushing game going - indeed, despite accumulating 116 yards on 19 carries, not a single one of those rushing attempts resulted in points in the board. 


15
New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Season Point Differential: +04

Drew Brees had 323 passing yards and three touchdowns in the Saints' 41-23 win over the San Francisco America Haters. Strangely, that wasn't what propelled New Orleans to victory - that distinction belongs to the run game, which managed to outyard San Fran 248 to 93 on the ground. 


16
Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
Season Point Differential: +01

The Ravens' 21-14 win over the Steelers puts them at .500 and atop the AFC Central totem pole. And don't let that score convince you this was a tight contest, neither; the Ravens led the game 21-0 at the beginning of the fourth, with all of the Steelers touchdowns coming in the form of extra-stinky garbage time points. 

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK


17
Detroit Lions (5-4)
Season Point Differential: -01

The Lions' 22-16 overtime win against Minnesota not only puts them above .500, it also puts them in a overall win percentage dead heat with the Vikings. Hold onto your hats, folks - if the Vikes and Packers keep dropping games late in the season, Matty Stafford and boys might just sneak their way into the postseason ... perhaps even as surprise champions of the NFC North. 


18
Carolina Panthers (3-5)
Season Point Differential: -02

If you like big, fat, fugly football games you would've loved Sunday's game against the Rams. It sure wasn't pretty, but Cam Newton and company nonetheless managed to escape the contest with a narrow 13-10 win. And in case you were wondering, yes, Senor Newton did indeed eat a couple more helmet sandwiches during the contest ... which the refs, perhaps in an oblique ode to the traditional officiating in professional wrestling, somehow managed to miss not once but twice.


19
New York Giants (5-3)
Season Point Differential: -03

Don't look now, but the Giants are slowly clawing their way back into the postseason discussion. Eli Manning certainly played like the Eli Manning of old in the team's 28-23 win over the Eagles last Sunday, racking up 257 yards and four touchdowns. And uh, two interceptions, but, hey, who's counting there, right?


20
Washington Redskins (5-3-1)
Season Point Differential: -03

Considered one of the suckiest conferences in pro football in the offseason, the NFC East is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in pro football. Three teams, including the Skins, are at least three games above .500 at the halfway mark; needless to say, the rest of Washington's schedule ain't going to be easy, including a three week road swing beginning on Thanksgiving that comprises stops at Dallas, Arizona and Philadelphia.


21
Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Season Point Differential: -09

With a .500 record at the midway point of the season, the Dolphins seem rather unlikely to catch pace with the Patriots. And from here out, the road to the potential postseason is only going to get harder for the Fins, as their remaining schedule includes some very tough road challenges against the likes of San Diego, Baltimore and Buffalo.


22
Tennessee Titans (4-5)
Season Point Differential: -09

The Titans lost 43-35 to the Chargers last Sunday in a fairly defense-averse outing. Marcus Mariota went 27 for 43 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but since he also lobbed two interceptions - including a late pick six that pretty much sealed the victory for San Diego - I reckon it's a bit bittersweet reflecting on his performance. 


23
Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Season Point Differential: -17

The Colts marched into Lambeau and upset the Packers last Sunday, winning a close one 31-26. Andrew Luck lobbed two interceptions, but the backfield managed to save his ass, with Frank Gore collecting two touchdowns and 60 yards on 19 carries. 


24
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1)
Season Point Differential: -22

The Bengals have to be the most surprisingly bad team in the NFL this season. With their iffy draw against the Skins tainting their record, the Bengals find themselves effectively two games under .500 at the halfway point of the season. That said, with the Steelers and Ravens the epitome of inconsistent play, it's not totally outside the realm of possibility that the Bengals circle the wagons and make a semi-serious bid for the playoffs. But then again ... it's not really a likely scenario, either.


ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT


25
Houston Texans (5-3)
Season Point Differential: -30

The Texans have a two game lead over the Colts, but that could vanish in a hurry considering how tough Houston's schedule is about to become. With some rough games against the Raiders, Chargers and Packers on the docket - not to mention some pivotal rematches against Indianapolis and Tennessee down the stretch - this is a team that could find itself with a sub-.500 record very quickly


26
Los Angeles Rams (3-5)
Season Point Differential: -37

The Rams lost a tough one to the struggling Panthers over the weekend, 13-10. Believe it or not, Case Keenum actually had a better statistical showing than Cam Newton in the losing effort - he finished the game 27 for 46 for 296 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio, whilst Cammy Cam wrapped up the day 20 for 32 for 225 yards and a solo TD pass. 


27
Chicago Bears (2-6)
Season Point Differential: -48

Well, with a 2-6 record, the Bears really don't have much to hope for throughout the remainder of the season. And with Jay Cutler clearly in the twilight of his career, one has to wonder - would it be worth the Bears' time to intentionally sink the rest of the season in order to secure a No.2 or No. 3 draft pick? I don't know about you, but personally, I like the sound of #PlayLikeShitSonForWatson or #PlayLikeShizerForKizer as potential social media campaigns.


28
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
Season Point Differential: -52

Despite Jameis Winston's three touchdown passes, the Bucs just couldn't stop the Falcons en route to their 43-28 blowout win last Thursday night. The Buccaneers run game being held to just 73 yards all game - plus Winston getting sacked three times - certainly didn't help their chances.


29
New York Jets (3-6)
Season Point Differential: -62

Another AFC East matchup, and another heartbreaking failure for the Jets. Following their 27-23 loss to the Fins, New York is officially four games back in the conference title hunt, and they really scary thing? They still have two games against New England remaining.


30
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
Season Point Differential: -62

To the Jags' credit, they managed to hang in their against the Chiefs. Indeed, Blake Bortles posted far better passing numbers than Nick Foles, and Jacksonville managed to put up 205 rushing yards compared to K.C.'s lackluster 62. Alas, those field goals still account for something, and the Jags' D just didn't do its part keeping the Chiefs out of FG range in the surprising close 19-14 affair. 


31
San Francisco 49ers (1-7)
Season Point Differential: -93

Colin K. had almost 400 passing yards and two touchdowns last Sunday ... and the 49ers still got their asses kicked by the Saints 41-23. Too bad overwrought pre-game, attention-seeking identity-politics-affirming public displays aren't worth the same points as field goals, huh?


32
Cleveland Browns (0-9)
Season Point Differential: -105

Following a crushing 35-10 loss to the Cowboys, the Browns are officially seven game away from tying the 2008 Detroit Lions for worst single season record in NFL history. And if the Browns do happen to finish with an 0-16 record, you really can't call it a surprise - after all, Vegas had 'em going winless all the way back in April


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