Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week Ten!

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

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"Time to expand the playoff field to 24 teams?"


Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
Season Point Differential: +88

And with a thrilling 35-30 win over the Steelers (in tandem with a Patriots loss), the Cowboys now have the best overall record in professional football. The double shot of rookie awesomeness Dak Prescott and and Ezekiel Elliot continue to put up Pro Bowl caliber numbers. In Sunday's win, Prescott finished the game 22 for 32 for 319 yards and two touchdowns while Elliot concluded the contest with 114 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries ... plus another 95 receiving yards on just two completions, including an 83-yard touchdown catch. 

New England Patriots (7-2)
Season Point Differential: +78

The Pats fell to the Seahawks Sunday night, dropping the home stand 31-24. Tom Brady had more than 300 yards passing on 23 completions, but none of those resulted in a touchdown - and as the final score indicates, not even LaGarette Blount's three rushing touchdowns was enough to make up for Brady's inability to find the opposing end zone. 

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)
Season Point Differential: +66

Carson Wentz (231 yards on 23 completions with no touchdowns) struggled at times, but the Eagles were still able to gash up the Falcons' D enough to scrap by with a 24-15 win at home. Especially effective was back Ryan Matthews, who carved up the Atlanta secondary for 109 yards and two rushing touchdowns. 

Denver Broncos (7-3)
Season Point Differential: +50

It was 23-23 tie with the Saints lined up for a game-winning field goal with about a minute and a half left in the fourth. New Orleans' kicker shtoinks it and since defensive players can now return errant PAT points for two, take a wild guess what happened next. Go on, fucking guess

Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1)
Season Point Differential: +42

That 23-20 win over the Niners was way closer than it should have been, but the Cards got the "W," regardless. Their next seven games, however, are going to be absolutely brutal; of their remaining foes, only two - the Rams and Saints - have sub .500 records, and even then, neither game can be considered a "gimme" match-up.

Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
Season Point Differential: +37

A Marcus Peters strip gave Kansas City the ball back with just 20 seconds left in the fourth in Sunday's game against the Panthers - thus, allowing their kicker to knock a game-winning, tie-shattering field goal en route to a 20-17 road win. And with the Raiders on a bye, the victory propelled the Chiefs to the top of the AFC West - well, for one week, at least. 

Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +37

Matt Ryan had one of his worst showings of the year in the Falcons' 24-15 loss to the Eagles. Matty Ice looked less than MVP-worthy in the defeat, racking up a (for him, anyway) low sum of 267 yards on 18 completions (with a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio atop it.) Alas, if anything, what really cost them the game was their sloppy run game, which accumulated only 48 yards on the day, in tandem with a porous rushing defense that allowed the Eagles to stomp and stammer down field for 208 yards.

Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1)
Season Point Differential: +35

The 'Hawks exacted some semblance of revenge against the Patriots for their Super Bowl loss a couple years back, besting Tom Brady and pals 31-24 Sunday night. Russell Wilson had perhaps his best showing all season in the prime time victory, wrapping up the contest 25 for 37 for 348 yards and three touchdown strikes.


Buffalo Bills (4-5)
Season Point Differential: +33

With the Pats dropping Sunday night's contest against Seattle, the Bills now only find themselves three games out of first place in the AFC East (and just one game  away from leap frogging the slowly ascending Dolphins for the division's No. 2 spot.) They return from a bye week this Sunday to take on Cincinnati, with tough contests against the Raiders, Steelers and Dolphins padding out the rest of their schedule.

Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
Season Point Differential: +23

With Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Redskins, the Vikes - after a 5-0 start - have now  lost four games in a row. It's apparent Minnesota has some MAJOR, perhaps even playoffs-jeopardizing, run game problems on both sides of the ball. In their latest loss, they were only able to muster 47 rushing yards throughout the contest, while allowing Washington's run attack to accumulate 128. 

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

With the Chiefs and Broncos both winning Sunday, the Raiders find themselves in what is essentially a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West. They return from their bye week for a Monday night hootenanny with Houston ... in a "home" game that just so happens to be emanating out of Mexico freakin' City

Baltimore Ravens (5-4)
Season Point Differential: +22

With three touchdowns and two interceptions, it's hard to make heads or tails of Joe Flacco's 296 yard day against the Browns last Thursday. That said, there's no denying the Ravens' D played well in the 28-7 win over Cleveland - they managed to hold their divisional rivals to just 111 yards passing and only 33 rushing. 

San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Season Point Differential: +14

The Chargers dropped a tough one Sunday to the Dolphins, losing a hard fought contest 31-24. Sure, we could talk about Phillip Rivers throwing the pigskin for 326 yards and three touchdown passes, but come on - when you lob four interceptions in one game, you can throw for 600 yards and won't nobody give a shit. 

Tennessee Titans (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +13

The Titans' 47-25 throttling of the Packers has to be the most shocking blowout of the NFL season so far. Marcus Mariota lobbed the rock for 295 yards and four touchdowns on 19 completions, while DeMarco Murray ran for 123 yards and a solo TD scamper on 17 carries - oh, and he also threw a touchdown pass to Delanie Walker, which yes, you do indeed need to see

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5)
Season Point Differential: +08

It was a hard fought, back and forth affair, but unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they had possession second to last in a last possession wins kinda' ball game against the Cowboys. At least the Steelers faithful can take solace in Big Ben's fantasy numbers in their 35-30 loss, I suppose - dude finished the game with three touchdowns and 408 passing yards, with top receiver Antonio Brown collecting 154 yards on the day. 

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

Don't look now, but every single team in the NFC East has a record above .500. Following a tough 26-20 win over the Vikings, the Skins found themselves three games behind conference leaders Dallas, but their overall record is still good enough to earn them a playoff spot if the postseason were to start right now. Keep a keen eye on the division, folks - we are going to be seeing ourselves some goddamn slug fests as January draws nearer. 


New Orleans (4-5)
Season Point Differential: +02

Drew Brees went 21 for 29 for 303 yards and three touchdowns (plus two interceptions, but who cares about turnovers anymore?) in Sunday's game against the Broncos, but thanks to a whiffed field goal kick - and the refs conveniently overlooking a Denver defender stepping out of bounds on a PAT return that should've been ruled a no-goal - the Saints wound up losing a heartbreaker 25-23. Still, with seven games remaining on their schedule, the Saints aren't technically factored out of the playoff race quite yet - and with what should be fairly facile contests against the Panthers, Rams and Buccaneers on the docket, Nawlins at least has a pretty good shot at finihing .500, if absolutely nothing else. 

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

And ten weeks into the 2016 season, who'd have guessed the fucking Lions would be leading the NFC North? Although their divisional lead is a very narrow one, you can't help but be impressed by how well Matt Stafford and pals have been playing this season - considering how depleted their roster is, it's been a long time since we've seen a team overacheive this much. 

New York Giants (6-3)
Season Point Differential: -02

With a 21-20 Monday night win against Cincy, the G-Men now find themselves three games above .500 and in an absolute dog fight to win the NFC East. While it doesn't seem likely the Giants will be able to catch-up with Dallas they way they've been playing, Eli and pals seem poised to make a solid run for the postseason ... and we all know what happened the last two times they snuck into the playoffs under the radar

Miami Dolphins (5-4)
Season Point Differential: -02

After a slow start, the Fins are slowly but steadily turning into something that might actually resemble a playoff contender. And the strange thing is, they're not even doing it, necessarily, on the backs of Ryan Tannehill or Jay Ayaji - rather, it's their defense, which in Sunday's 31-24 win over San Diego, held the Chargers to just 70 yards rushing and intercepted Phillip Rivers no less than four times

Carolina Panthers (3-6)
Season Point Differential: -05

Cam Newton and company had a 17-0 lead over the visiting Chiefs in the second quarter of last Sunday's game in Charlotte. Of course, if you've been following the Panthers' season, you know what was destined to happen next: their defense allowed K.C. to post 20 unanswered points, complete with a game-blowing Kevin Benjamin fumble with just 20 seconds left in the fourth. 

Green Bay Packers (4-5)
Season Point Differential: -11

The Packers getting their ass kicked 47-25 by, of all teams, the Tennessee Titans, really makes you rethink this team's inherent quality. Indeed, in a hyper competitive NFC North, there's no real guarantee the Pack are locks for conference champs anymore - and with the NFC wildcard race likely to include several teams with 10-plus wins, Green Bay's seven-year post-season appearance streak could be in grave jeopardy. 

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

Despite all that money Andrew Luck's making, the Colts remain third place in the AFC South, with the playoffs a loooong-shot considering how well the AFC West is playing these days. The team's final seven games certainly will not be easy; in addition to tough home stands against the Titans, Steelers and Texans, they've also got some brutal road contests slated against the Vikings and the Raiders in late December.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1)
Season Point Differential: -23

Who'd thunk nine games into the season the Bengals would only have three wins? Cincy's woes continued with a 21-20 loss to the Giants on Monday night; with tough games ahead against Buffalo, Philadelphia and Baltimore, the next three weeks could be awfully unkind - if not downright catastrophic - for Marvin Lewis and company. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
Season Point Differential: -26

The Buccaneers pretty much butt fucked the Bears last Sunday, crushing Chicago 36-10 in a gloriously one-sided drubbing. Tampa Bay's defense held the Bears' better-than-average rushing attack to just 122 yards and limited Jay Cutler to a mere 161 yards passing - oh, and they sacked his ass four times and intercepted him twice, with one errant pass resulting in a TB TD. 

Houston Texans (6-3)
Season Point Differential: -27

The Texans may lead the AFC South and possess a record three games above .500, but they sure as hell ain't winning pretty. In the team's narrow 24-21 victory over Jacksonville Sunday, Brock Osweiler only posted 99 passing yards, while opposing QB Blake Bortles lobbed the rock for 265. Still, the Texans' run game was able to bail them out where the aerial attack failed, as they accumulated more than 100 more rushing yards than their adversaries. 

Los Angeles Rams (4-5)
Season Point Differential: -34

I could say the "Rams" beat the Jets last Sunday, but that's really a misnomer, seeing as how the only person in blue and gold who could put points on the board was kicker Greg Zuerlein. Still, Greg's efforts were enough to give L.A. the lead over the Jets - in one of the shittiest games all year, they bested N.Y. 9-6 in a contest I'm pretty sure is going to be used as a substitute for water boarding someday. 

New York Jets (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -65

You know, it's not so much the fact the Jets lost 9-6 to the Rams that makes last Sunday's clunker of a game so comically awful. No, that would be the fact that the only touchdown of the game came in the form of a Bryce Petty to Bilal Powell touchdown in the second quarter - with kicker Nick Folk somehow managing to fuck up the PAT attempt just seconds later. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)
Season Point Differential: -65

Well, the Jags at least made it difficult for Houston in Sunday's 24-21 divisional loss. Blake Bortles clearly outplayed Brock Osweiler, but Jacksonville's run game just couldn't get rolling - ultimately, they wrapped up the game with just 80 yards on 22 rushing attempts, while their foes collected 181 yards on the ground. 

Chicago Bears (2-7)
Season Point Differential: -74

Yes, life gets worse for Bears fans. After a disastrous 36-10 loss to Tampa Bay in which Jay Cutler played like a half stoned Canadian Football League back-up, guess who just got served a four-game suspension for P.E.D.s? If you said "Chicago's absolute best player this season," you sir or madam, would be right-a-roonie

San Francisco 49ers (1-8)
Season Point Differential: -96

Well, at least the Niners kept it surprisingly close in their latest loss - a 23-20 defeat against Arizona. For the five people left in the world who actually give a shit about Colin K., his performance over the weekend was rather unremarkable, finishing up the loss 17 for 30 for 198 yards and one touchdown pass, plus another 55 scrambling yards and a TD run. 

Cleveland Browns (0-10)
Season Point Differential: -126

With the Browns' season-long win-less streak hitting double digits, you really have to start wondering whether or not the '08 Lions are in danger of losing their dubious distinction as the only 0-16 team in NFL history. I suppose the good news for Cleveland is that their next three game are at home. The bad news? Those home stands, in order, are against the Steelers, the Giants and the Bengals. 


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