ESPN and Sports Illustrated can eat it - these are the only pro football rankings anybody needs.
This Week's Episode:
New England Patriots (11-2)
Season Point Differential: +119
Yeah, that Tom Brady kid up there in Foxboro is pretty good. In Monday night's 27-20 win over the Ravens, he lobbed three touchdown passes and accumulated 406 yards on 25 completions. And remember - that was without his best receiving target on the field.
Dallas Cowboys (11-2)
Season Point Differential: +112
Well, the Cowboys finally lost another game, and what do you know, it was against divisional foes New York in a hard-fought, 10-7 defensive struggle. Clearly, Dak Prescott had an off night; the rookie of the year lock finished the game 17 for 37 for 165 yards, with one TD and two interceptions.
Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
Season Point Differential: +83
Yeah, Matt Ryan had a field day with the Rams' porous secondary, collecting 237 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons' 42-14 win in L.A. But it was Atlanta's defense that looked the most impressive, forcing the Rams to cough up the ball three times, complete with Deion Jones and Vic Beasley scoring defensive touchdowns on a pick six and strip sack, respectively.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
Season Point Differential: +61
Sure, Big Ben may have thrown three interceptions in Sunday's game against Buffalo, but don't nobody remember it for two reasons. First, the Steelers still won the game 27-20. And secondly? Le'Veon Bell only ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries - a sum that eclipses the total Bills' rushing production by 169 yards.
Denver Broncos (8-5)
Season Point Differential: +54
The Broncos gave it a hearty try, but their late fourth quarter comeback attempt was all for naught as they fell to the Tennessee Titans 13-10 last Sunday. Strangely enough, Trevor Siemian utterly outgunned Marcus Mariota throughout the contest - while the Titans' QB finished the game with just 88 passing yards, the Broncos gunslinger concluded the game with 334.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
Season Point Differential: +47
The Chiefs scored all 21 points and put up a good 90 percent of their offensive yardage in the second quarter of Thursday night's game against the Raiders. Despite a ton of turnovers and the K.C. run game sputtering out, the Chiefs nonetheless were able to hold off the Raiders' comeback aspirations en route to a 21-13 win that puts them atop the AFC West totem pole ... well, for one week, at least.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
Season Point Differential: +42
The Ravens made it close, but they still couldn't bump off the Patriots last Monday night. Inthe 27-20 loss, Joe Flacco had 324 yards and two touchdowns on 37 completions. Meanwhile, Baltimore's rushing attack produced just 42 yards on 14 carries, with no ground-based excursions into New England's end zone.
Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)
Season Point Differential: +42
Further cementing their status as the most schizophrenic team in pro football, the Seahawks played like total Sea-Suck in their 38-10 loss to the Packers, with Russell Wilson throwing no less than FIVE INTERCEPTIONS. As bad as the NFC West is, Seattle's destined for a divisional crown no matter what, but you've REALLY got to start second guessing the playoff worthiness of this team down the stretch - and if they can even make it past the wildcard round at this point.
THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS
Oakland Raiders (10-3)
Season Point Differential: +38
Eh, the less said about the Thursday night game against the Chiefs, the better. In a 21-13 loss, Derek Carr went 17 for 41 for 117 yards and no touchdowns, producing an abysmal 7.6 QBR. There's still a lot of second-guessing as to what went wrong - was it the cold air or is that pinkie injury still nagging him? - but I reckon we can go on ahead and blame the overhead "SpiderCam" set-up for costing the Raiders at least one touchdown in last week's shindig. And, as always, you can relive the pain and misery and dashed dreams of the contest in its entirety right here.
Minnesota Vikings (7-6)
Season Point Differential: +33
The Vikes beat the Jags 25-16 in a game that saw Sam Bradford lob the rock for 292 yards and one TD on 24 completions. Up ahead, they've got a three-game swing against the Colts, the Packers and the Bears; whether or not the team finishes above .500 at this point is a coin toss.
Detroit Lions (9-4)
Season Point Differential: +27
Believe it or not, the Lions' 20-17 win over the Bears last Sunday means that if the playoffs started RIGHT NOW, Detroit would have a first round bye. Of course, Matt Stafford's finger injury places a lot of doubt on the team's postseason chances ... and with a backbreaking three game swing against the Giants, Cowboys and Packers on the docket, this very well could be a team limping into the playoffs ... that is, if they make it at all.
Buffalo Bills (6-7)
Season Point Differential: +24
T-Mobile clearly outplayed Big Ben in the Bills' 27-20 loss to the Steelers, as their QB lobbed the rock for 228 yards and two scores. Alas, LeSean McCoy and pals just couldn't get the ground game going, and the Bills' much ballyhooed rush defense got shredded to ribbons by Le'Veon Bell, who only posted a good 236 rushing yards against the boys in blue.
Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1)
Season Point Differential: +22
Whatever faint playoff dreams the Cards held onto disappeared with Sunday's 26-22 loss to the Dolphins. The absolute best the team can hope for now is an 8-7-1 season ... and with the Saints, Seahawks and Rams all on the schedule, even that underwhelming goal seems just a wee bit unobtainable.
Green Bay Packers (7-6)
Season Point Differential: +21
The Packers absolutely butt-fucked the Seahawks on Sunday, clobbering Seattle to the tune of 38-10. With the team's final three games of the year all in-division, Green Bay could make a serious run at a last second NFC Central title ... or, at the very least, a wildcard berth.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)
Season Point Differential: +18
The tough 27-22 loss to the Redskins on Sunday pretty much factors the Eagles out of the playoffs. Unless they can win their next three games and a good dozen or so teams post losing records over the next three weeks, there's no way in hell this team is going to be seeing the postseason - that is, unless they're watching it on TV from the warmth and safety of their homes.
Tennessee Titans (7-6)
Season Point Differential: +15
Although Marcus Mariota only put up 88 passing yards last Sunday, it was enough to give the Titans a 13-10 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. You can thank the Titans' run game for that - they managed to outyard Denver on the ground by a margin of 180 to 18, with DeMarco Murray's 92 yards easily quintupling the amount of rushing yards collected by the Broncos all damn day.
THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Washington Redskins (7-5-1)
Season Point Differential: +13
The 'Skins secured a crucial divisional win by besting the Eagles 27-22 last Sunday. They will round out the season with a three-game swing against the Panthers, Bears and Giants ... a fairly manageable schedule that should put Washington over .500 come Jan. 01. Like I said, though ... should.
New York Giants (9-4)
Season Point Differential: +11
The G-Men secured their second win of the year over the Cowboys via a 10-7 defensive stalemate last Sunday evening. Eli Manning clearly posted better stats than Dak Prescott in the win, accumulating 193 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio on 17 completions, with OBJ leading all receivers with 94 yards and one trip to the end zone on just four receptions.
New Orleans Saints (5-8)
Season Point Differential: +07
In an atypically offense-anemic performance, the Saints dropped a defensive stalemate to the Bucs 16-11. Even weirder, Drew Brees - who literally plays every game like it's NFL Blitz 2000 on the PlayStation - recorded a fairly low 257 yards ... and with it, three interceptions.
San Diego Chargers (5-8)
Season Point Differential: +03
Philip Rivers had a pretty lackluster showing in the Bolts' 28-16 loss to the Panthers, racking up three interceptions to go along with his two touchdown passes throughout his 236-yard passing day. Their passing game also sucked a mighty strong dick, collecting just 58 yards on 20 rushing attempts - by comparison, the Panthers managed to rack up 126 yards on 38 carries.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)
Season Point Differential: -01
Although the Bengals really have nothing to play for anymore, they went in there and beat divisional foes Browns like they owed them money last Sunday. In the 23-10 whuppin, Cincy outpassed the still winless Browns 213 to 169, while the Bengals rushers outran Cleveland 180 to 104.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)
Season Point Differential: -03
The Bucs got a crucial divisional win against the Saints Sunday, besting New Orleans 16-11 in a fairly cruddy contest. Jameis Winston only had 184 yards, but Tampa Bay's run game more than made up for it with 104 rushing yards - a sum easily doubling N.O.'s rushing output all game long.
Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
Season Point Differential: -05
Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Season Point Differential: -20
The good news is the Dolphins managed to beat the Cardinals 26-22 on Sunday. The bad news is they also lost their starting QB Ryan Tannehill to a ghastly ACL injury. The three remaining games on the Fins' schedule are all in-division, which makes each game doubly important. The only question now is whether or not a 10-6 finish will be good enough to get the team into the playoffs - and yeah, the Magic Eight Ball ain't looking too optimistic right now.
ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT
Carolina Panthers (5-8)
Season Point Differential: -26
Kicker Graham Gano booted four field goals for 12 points in the Panthers' 28-16 win over San Diego. The rest of the offense pretty much took the second half off, seeing as how Cam Newton and pals were already up 23-0 late in the second quarter.
Houston Texans (7-6)
Season Point Differential: -45
Following their 22-17 win over Indy, the Texans are technically still first place in the AFC South, but mathematically, their 7-6 record puts them in a dead heat with the surging Tennessee Titans. This week's game against Jacksonville ought to be a gimme, but their final two games of the year - against Cincy and the Titans - could be postseason dream destroyers.
Chicago Bears (3-10)
Season Point Differential: -69
At least the Bears kept it competitive against the Lions. In their 20-17 loss to Detroit, Chicago QB Matt Barkley put up 212 yards and one TD, while Jordan Howard posted 86 rushing yards on 13 carries. Expect the Bears to fully embrace their roles as spoilers heading into their final three games of the season against Green Bay, Washington and Minnesota.
New York Jets (4-9)
Season Point Differential: -95
Sure, it took overtime to pick up the ace, but the Jets STILL managed to beat the Niners 23-17 last weekend. For those of you who give a damn (yep, both of you), Bryce Petty is still behind center for the J-E-T-S, and he's definitely showing some signs of improvement - for example, this last game, he only got sacked six times and only cost his team negative 41 yards in the process.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Season Point Differential: -98
Well, at least the Jags can take solace in Blake Bortles' passing numbers in their 25-16 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. Going 23 for 37, he wrapped up the contest with 257 yards and one TD strike. Furthermore, Jacksonville receiver Marqise Lee led all receivers in the game with 113 yards on five catches.
Los Angeles Rams (4-9)
Season Point Differential: -110
After a 42-14 thrashing at the hands, helmets and cleats of the Falcons, the Rams said "fuck it" and hurried up and shit-canned Jeff Fisher, who has done the following things since becoming the team's head coach: fucking nothing. With so many weak links on defense and a totally cruddy receiving corps, looks like this is a team that's going to be in rebuilding mode for at least a few more seasons.
San Francisco 49ers (1-12)
Season Point Differential: -142
Not only did the Niners beat the Rams in week one, they absolutely throttled them. Well, since then - the second week of September, I remind you - San Fran hasn't won a goddamn thing and Colin K.'s now getting outgunned by the Jets' third-string QB. Thankfully, this thing called "The Cleveland Browns" exists, or else we would be talking about this team being one of the all-time great shit-stains in the history of professional football.
Cleveland Browns (0-13)
Season Point Differential: -168