Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week 16

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


By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"This is the End, Friend"

THE ELITES

01
New England Patriots (13-2)
Season Point Differential: +170

In the wake of a 41-3 beatdown of the Jets, the only thing standing in the way of the Pats and home field advantage throughout the playoffs is surging Miami, who, as fate would have it, are hosting the Patriots this Sunday afternoon. A win there - or a Raiders loss - guarantees the road to Super Bowl 51 will go through Foxboro ... well, for one game, at least. 

02
Dallas Cowboys (13-2)
Season Point Differential: +129

Dak Prescott and pals made the Lions look anything but playoff worthy on Monday night, beating the current NFC North frontrunners 42-21. Ezekiel Elliot had two rushing touchdowns (80 yards on 12 carries) while Prescott lobbed the rock for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Hell, Detroit's defense sucked so much, even Dez Bryant got an opportunity to chuck the pigskin for six on the board.

03
Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
Season Point Differential: +128

With their 33-16 win over the Panthers and the Bucs losing the same day, Atlanta officially locks up the NFC South title. They're going to need some help, but if they can win out against New Orleans this Sunday (no small task, mind you), hey, what do you know, guess who just secured themselves a first round playoffs bye?

04
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)
Season Point Differential: +69

It was a brutal, down and dirty, back and forth struggle, but the Steeler nonetheless managed to top their divisional foes Baltimore Sunday, 31-27. Not only did the win give Pittsburgh the AFC North title (and thusly, the third overall seed in the playoffs), but it also officially eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention ... something I am sure the Baltimore faithful won't remember at the beginning of next season.

05
Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
Season Point Differential: +68

The Chiefs pulverized the defending Super Bowl champions last Sunday night, clobbering the Broncos 33-10. Alex Smith wrapped up the game 25 for 35 for 244 yards and a one-to-one TD-INT ratio while the K.C. run game outpaced the Broncos' rushing attack 238 yards to 63. Oh, and they also let Dontari Poe throw the fattest touchdown pass in NFL history, just because.

06
Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1)
Season Point Differential: +60

The Seahawks, who have had the NFC West locked up for several weeks now, ended up losing Saturday's shindig against the Cardinals 34-31. Now, is this is an example of a team on "sleep mode" until the postseason begins, or is their inability to bounce back against lesser competition an indication this team ain't quite ready for do-or-die, January-time football?

07
Oakland Raiders (12-3)
Season Point Differential: +49

Saying that the Raiders suffered a major postseason setback when Derek Carr sustained a broken fibula late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 33-25 win over the Colts is kinda' like saying JFK's assassination really hurt his chances for reelection. With Matt McGloin now under center, the Raiders have an opportunity to secure a crucial first round bye if the Scranton Strangler can lead his team to victory over the Broncos this Sunday, but if they are unsuccessful at vanquishing Denver and K.C. manages to beat S.D., all of a sudden Oakland drops from the No. 2 seed all the way down to the fifth seed overall. 

08
Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Season Point Differential: +41

The Bills playoffs drought continues, with their heartbreaking 34-31 O.T. loss to Miami cancelling any postseason plans they may have had that didn't entail watching the shit at home on TV. And whatever happens in '17, rest assured it will be without the aide of one Rex Ryan - indeed, the notorious foot fetishist was given his walking papers with one game to go on the schedule.

THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS

09
Baltimore Ravens (8-7)
Season Point Differential: +39

Bad snaps and some boneheaded throws ended up sinking the Ravens Sunday, as they fell to the Steelers 31-27 in a back-and-forth barroom brawl of a football game. Even worse for Baltimore, the defeat officially keeps them from participating in the 2016-17 postseason - surely, they won't have any hard feelings against the Steelers next fall, will they?

10
Green Bay Packers (9-5)
Season Point Differential: +37

Aaron Rodgers' four touchdown passes paved the way for the Packers to bump off arch rivals Minnesota 38-25 on Sunday. Up next for Green Bay? The de facto NFC North Championship hootenanny against Detroit - win, and G.B. is in and if they lose? Well, they're going to be praying Washington and Tampa Bay hunch the pooch in their respective games this weekend, for sure. 

11
Washington Redskins (8-6-1)
Season Point Differential: +22

The Skins' 41-21 win over the Bears last weekend keeps their playoff dreams a' goin. Indeed, if Washington can beat the Giants at home this Sunday, they are pretty much guaranteed a slot in the playoffs - well, just as long as the Lions/Packers game later that evening doesn't result in a tie, anyway.

12
Philadelphia Eagles (6-9)
Season Point Differential: +22

It really don't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but the Eagles - at the beginning of the season, touted as a potential Super Bowl candidate - certainly gained some measure of satisfaction from their 24-19 win over the Giants last Thursday. Granted, the team is still going to wrap up the year with a losing record, but hey - a late season divisional win is still a late season divisional win, ain't it?

13
New Orleans Saints (7-8)
Season Point Differential: +21

The Saints' 31-24 win over the Bucs didn't do diddly to change the fact they aren't going to be in the playoffs this year, but it did give Drew Brees ample room to inflate his seasonal yardage. And hey, these guys very well could defeat the Falcons this Sunday ... you know, not that it does anything about the pesky postseason problem or nothing. 

14
Denver Broncos (8-7)
Season Point Differential: +18

Following their 33-10 loss to the Chiefs, the Denver Broncos - yes, the defending Super Bowl champs - are officially eliminated from playoff contention. There's a lot of blame to go around for the latest loss, but Trevor Siemian's god-awful play can't be overlooked - the dude went 17 for 43 for just 183 yards, no TDs and one INT.

15
Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1)
Season Point Differential: +18

David Johnson had three touchdown runs in the Cardinals' upset win over the Seahawks Sunday. Long out of the playoffs discussion, maybe Arizona can use this 34-31 victory as kindling for a comeback next season?

16
New York Giants (10-5)
Season Point Differential: +17

The G-Men are guaranteed a slot in the playoffs no matter what, so maybe we shouldn't freak out about their 24-19 loss to the Eagles last Thursday night. Now, if they lose to the Redskins on the road THIS Sunday, however...

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

17
Indianapolis Colts (7-8)
Season Point Differential: +15

The Colts' 33-25 loss to the Raiders Saturday eliminated Andrew Luck and pals from any postseason considerations. And don't let that final score fool you into thinking this was anything even remotely resembling a close contest, neither - indeed, the score was 33-14 Oakland up until Derek Carr went down early in the fourth, with everything Indy posted on the board afterwards being the definition of garbage time points

18
Miami Dolphins (10-5)
Season Point Differential: +4

The Dolphins needed some extra time, but they nonetheless managed to best Buffalo 34-31 in an O.T. thriller. Officially playoffs bound, one has to wonder: is the golden trifecta of Matt Moore, Jay Ayaji and Jarvis Landry really capable of going toe-to-toe with the likes of Big Ben and Tom Brady, or are they just a flash-in-the-pan act that got hot down the stretch against lesser competition? 

19
San Diego Chargers (5-10)
Season Point Differential: -3

I reckon the Bolts were feeling mighty generous with it being the holidays and all, so they went out there and gifted the Cleveland Brown their first win of the year last Sunday. And if that don't prove to you these Chargers are some decent chaps, they even let the Browns outrun 'em by a 124 to 34 yard margin in the 20-17 loss!

20
Tennessee Titans (8-7)
Season Point Differential: -4

Adding injury to insult, not only did the Titans lose 38-17 to the Jags Sunday, they also lost starting QB Marcus Mariota for a long time due to a broken fibula. And yes, if all that shit wasn't bad enough, it also happened to officially eliminate Tennessee from the playoffs, too.

21
Detroit Lions (9-6)
Season Point Differential: -5

Following a very bad 42-21 Monday night loss to the Cowboys, the Lions now find themselves in a do-or-die regular season finale against the Packers. A win and the Lions take home the NFC North crown and - depending on how the rest of the NFC playoffs teams perform on Sunday - quite possibly even a first round bye in the postseason. But if they lose? Green Bay clinches the division and the Lions will be roadbound through the entirety of January.

22
Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1)
Season Point Differential: -7

If you want to watch the kind of NFL games they show in hell in ultra low-definition, Cincinnati's 12-10 loss to the Texans gives you a ghastly glimpse into the pro football afterlife. Still, Andy Dalton managed to put up some impressive figures in the showing - 268 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio on 28 completions.

23
Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
Season Point Differential: -8

The Vikings' 38-25 loss to Green Bay ensures Minnesota will finish the year no better than .500. Hey, remember earlier this season, when the Vikes started off 5-0 and we all thought they were going to run roughshod over the rest of the NFC North? Well, Pepperidge Farms remembers...

24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
Season Point Differential: -16

The Bucs dropping last Sunday's game against the Saints 31-24 did a LOT to jeopardize Tampa Bay's playoffs aspirations. That said, T.B. can still earn a playoff berth this weekend if they beat the Panthers. And the Colts beat the Jags. And the Cowboys beat the Eagles. And the Lions beat the Eagles. And the Titans beat the Texans. And the 49ers beat the Seahawks. And the Redskins and Giants tie

ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT

25
Carolina Panthers (6-9)
Season Point Differential: -32

Dropping Sunday's game against the Falcons 33-16 more than put an end to whatever unrealistic playoffs hopes the Panthers may have had - indeed, Matt Ryan and pals pretty much pissed all over their proverbial postseason graves. Still, it's a talent-rich team that has potential to get back on track next year ... or become an even bigger mess than they were in 2016. I'd say it's about a 50-50 shot at this point.

26
Houston Texans (9-6)
Season Point Differential: -42

Sunday's 12-10 win over the Bengals - in tandem with the Titans and Colts both losing - officially gives Houston the AFC South title. Still, it's pretty much the group consensus that this is the worst team in this year's playoffs dozen - as evident by QB Tom Savage's statistics: 18 for 29 for 176 yards and no scores (and that's just 155 yards if you count the 21 yards lost to the four times he got sacked.) 

27
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12)
Season Point Differential: -78

The Jags pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the week Sunday when they pummeled the Titans 38-17. Blake Bortles, in particular, had a hell of a game, going 26 for 38 and lobbing the rock for 325 yards and a solo TD strike.

28
Chicago Bears (3-12)
Season Point Differential: -92

Chicago's 41-21 loss to the Redskins was - well, I guess the word would be "lowlighted" - by Matt Barkley's five interceptions. With Chicago on track for a first five pick in the draft, methinks their first course of action will probably be getting themselves a new QB.

29
Los Angeles Rams (4-11)
Season Point Differential: -132

The Rams somehow managed to let the Niners rack up 15 points late in the fourth quarter, thus producing a 22-21 come from behind loss for L.A. Jared Goff's numbers are just miserable: 11 for 24 for 90 yards, one TD and two interceptions (and that yardage count can be dialed on down to 78, if you count the real estate he lost from being sacked four times.)

30
New York Jets (4-11)
Season Point Differential: -154

The Jets symbolically crashed and burned with a 41-3 ass-raping at the hands of the Patriots last weekend. And if that score sounds bad, just remember - New York didn't even get a field goal on the board until six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

31
San Francisco 49ers (2-13)
Season Point Differential: -169

The Niners only have two wins all season, and what do you know, they're both at the expense of the Los Angeles Rams. In Sunday's 22-21 comeback win, Colin K. quit hating America long enough to go 28 for 38 for 266 yards and two touchdowns - y'know, despite getting sacked four times in the same contest.

32
Cleveland Browns (1-14)
Season Point Differential: -185

Alright, '08 Lions, time to pop the corks - the Browns finally won a game in 2016. So, does the 20-17 victory over San Diego herald the first step of the long suffering franchise's return to glory, or did they just get lucky in a game against a team that didn't have nothing to play for with two weeks to go in the regular season? As they oft say, only time will tell.

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