ESPN and Sports Illustrated can eat it - these are the only pro football rankings anybody needs.
By: Jimbo X
This Week's Episode:
"The End is Near"
New England Patriots (12-2)
Season Point Differential: +132
Tom Brady didn't have any touchdown passes and he only accumulated 188 yards against the Broncos, but his Pats still bested the defending Super Bowl champs 16-3 Sunday. You can attribute the success to the Patriots' rushing attack, which outran the Broncos by a 136-58 yard margin - in fact, New England back LeGarrette Blount was the only non-kicker to post any points during the game.
Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
Season Point Differential: +111
Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
Season Point Differential: +108
Dak Prescott went 32 for 36 for 279 yards in the Cowboys' 26-20 win over the Bucs on Sunday night. Although he didn't land any TD passes, he did scramble for a score - and so did Ezekiel Elliott, who wrapped up the game with 159 yards on 23 carries.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
Season Point Differential: +65
The Steelers mounted a major comeback against divisional rivals Cincinnati Sunday, eventually securing a come from behind 24-20 victory. Give kicker Chris Boswell some dap - his six field goals were responsible for 18 of Pittsburgh's 24 total points.
Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)
Season Point Differential: +63
Russell Wilson went 19 for 26 for 229 yards and three touchdown passes as the Seahawks routed the Rams 24-3 last Thursday. The win automatically gives Seattle the NFC West crown and situates them quite nicely for a first round bye - indeed, the only thing standing between the 'Hawks and a free weekend in January are what should be fairly facile contests against the half-dead Cardinals and 49ers.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
Season Point Differential: +45
Yeah, something tells me Andy Reid's going to Remember the Titans for a long time to come. The Chiefs were stunned at home as surging Tennessee nailed a last second field goal to give the boys in blue a come from behind 19-17 victory. Even worse - Mr. Walrus iced the kicker on his first attempt to split the uprights ... which, as cruel, cruel fate would have it, was too short.
Buffalo Bills (7-7)
Season Point Differential: +44
OK, it would take nothing short of a mathematical miracle to get the Bills into the postseason, but at least they can take pride in wielding the cudgel in yet another regular season drubbing - this one, a 33-13 win over the lowly, lowly Browns. Hey - racking up 280 yards of rushing offense in one game is still impressive, even if it IS against the absolute worst team in pro football, ain't it?
Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Season Point Differential: +43
Locked in a back and forth duel for the AFC North, the Ravens secured a pivotal 27-26 win over the Eagles to keep them just one game behind the Steelers. This Sunday's skirmish against Pittsburgh is effectively the de facto divisional championship game - if the Steelers win, they automatically punch their tickets to the playoffs, and if the Ravens win? Well, they'll still have to win out against Cincinnati in Week 17 ... and hope the Steelers somehow drop their final regular season contest against quite possibly the single worst pro football team ever assembled on the same day.
THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS
Oakland Raiders (11-3)
Season Point Differential: +41
And with Sunday's 19-16 win over the Chargers, the Raiders now find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season. To give you an idea just how long ago that was, the last time Oakland was in the postseason Saddam Hussein still controlled Iraq and MySpace hadn't even gone online. Oh, and if you missed last Sunday's historic game - complete with Michael Crabtree's amazing "slice of blue" catch in the end zone - you can relive it in all its glory and majesty right here.
Denver Broncos (8-6)
Season Point Differential: +41
In a field goal heavy affair, the Broncos could only muster a measly three points in their 16-3 loss to the Patriots over the weekend. Strangely enough, Trevor Siemian was unable to land a single TD pass, despite lobbing the rock for 282 yards on 25 completions.
Green Bay Packers (8-6)
Season Point Differential: +24
The Packers kept their playoffs hopes alive via a hard, hard fought 30-27 win over the Bears in a game that was about 20 times better than it ever should have been. Give Green Bay's running back committee some credit: they managed to outrush the Bears 226 yards to 95 yards, with top back Ty Montgomery posting 162 yards and two trips to the end zone on 16 carries.
Indianapolis Colts (7-7)
Season Point Differential: +23
The Colts had their best showing of the season last Sunday when they curb stomped the Vikes 34-6. Not only did Andrew Luck go 21 for 28 for 250 yards and two TDs, the Colts run game also outpaced Adrian Peterson and pals 161 yards to 34.
New York Giants (10-4)
Season Point Differential: +22
Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Season Point Differential: +17
Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)
Season Point Differential: +17
Yeah, yeah, I know the Eagles are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs 'cause of their 27-26 loss to the Ravens. But that still doesn't mean they can't play spoilers against the Giants and the Cowboys over the next two weeks. Well, aside from the fact they aren't playing very well at all right now, anyway.
Detroit Lions (9-5)
Season Point Differential: +16
Matty Stafford and pals couldn't get 'er done in the Meadowlands, as they fell to the Giants 17-6. Still, Staffy's stats ought to have made fantasy footballers happy - he wrapped up the game 24 for 39 for 273 yards (but no scores, and a solo INT.)
THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1)
Season Point Differential: +15
In an oblique nod to NFL Blitz, the Cardinals came up a buck short against the Saints Sunday, dropping an offensive-heavy 48-41 contest at home. And the loss ensures the Cardinals - touted as a Super Bowl favorite in the preseason - won't be participating in this year's playoffs.
New Orleans Saints (6-8)
Season Point Differential: +14
Drew Brees posted 389 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints' 48-41 win over the Cardinals. Receiver Brandin Cooks had a career day against Arizona, collecting an impressive 186 yards and two touchdowns on just seven catches.
Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
Season Point Differential: +05
Just how much of an impact did the returning A.P. have for the Vikings in last Sunday's contest against the Colts? Practically nada, since he only posted 22 yards on six carries ... in a game Minnesota would eventually wind up losing 34-6.
Washington Redskins (7-6-1)
Season Point Differential: +02
While Washington's 26-15 loss to Carolina on Monday night didn't technically eliminate them from playoff contention, it certainly extinguished whatever postseason dreams the Redskins may have been envisioning. To even make it to the postseason, they're going to have to run the table - and the Vikings, Packers, Buccaneers, Lions, Falcons and Seahawks are all going to have to drop at least one of their remaining two, as well.
Miami Dolphins (9-5)
Season Point Differential: +01
San Diego Chargers (5-9)
Season Point Differential: 0
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1)
Season Point Differential: -05
Already well out of playoff contention, the Bengals experienced insult to injury - albeit, self-inflicted on both accounts - when they squandered a 20-6 lead against the Steelers en route to a 24-20 loss. And if that wasn't bad enough, Jeremy Hill then proceeded to show the entire world he wasn't strong enough to rip up a "terrible towel."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
Season Point Differential: -09
Give the Bucs same credit - they hung in there against the Cowboys Sunday night. Alas, if you're looking for something to blame for Tampa Bay's 26-20 loss, Jameis Winston is a pretty good place to start - especially beginning with those three interceptions he tossed.
ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT
Carolina Panthers (6-9)
Season Point Differential: -15
Cam Newton posted 2015-like numbers in the Panthers' 26-15 win over the Redskins Monday night. His two-touchdown, 300 yard passing day was complemented by a steady, consistent Carolina rushing attack that outran Washington by a 148 to 29 yard margin.
Houston Texans (8-6)
Season Point Differential: -44
Chicago Bears (3-11)
Season Point Differential: -72
The Bears definitely gave the Packers everything they could handle last Sunday. Alas, the Bears wound up choking in the end, squandering a late lead en route to a 30-27 loss ... which may or may not be at least partially explained by Matt Barkley's three interceptions.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Season Point Differential: -99
Well, the Jags almost had Houston beat Sunday. Of course, the Tom Savage's Texans mounted an inevitable comeback and Jacksonville eventually lost 21-20, and as fate would have it, that was it for Gus Bradley's tenure as an NFL head coach.
New York Jets (4-10)
Season Point Differential: -116
Los Angeles Rams (4-10)
Season Point Differential: -131
So how did the Rams do in their first post-Jeff Fisher outing? Well, they certainly did the great mustachioed one proud - in a fitting homage to their dearly departed skipper, they got their asses kicked 24-3 by their divisional arch rivals on a live, nationally-televised broadcast.
San Francisco 49ers (1-13)
Season Point Differential: -170
Cleveland Browns (0-14)
Season Point Differential: -188
Well, the Browns got Robert Griffin III back, and it still didn't do shit to change their fortunes, as Cleveland got blown out yet again on Sunday - this time around, via a 33-13 ass pounding from Buffalo. Can the Browns get at least one win over the Chargers or Steelers over the next two weeks, or are they destined to supplant the 2008 Lions as the gold standard of suck in modern professional football? Hang in there, fellas ... we'll know all we's needs to know in just 14 days.