Thursday, November 21, 2019

2019-2020 NFL Power Rankings (Week Eleven)

ESPN and Bleacher Report can eat it — THESE are the only pro football rankings that matter, anywhere and everywhere


By: Jimbo X

This Week’s Episode:
“And It’s hard to hold a candle / In the cold November Raaaaaaaaaiiiiiin …”

THE ELITES

#001
New England Patriots (9-1)
Season Point Differential: +179

In a Super Bowl 2018 rematch, this time the Patriots had the last laugh over the Eagles, besting Philadelphia 17-10 in a contest that was, to quote the late, great Pope John Paul II, “tighter than a nun’s twat.” Tom Brady went 26 for 47 for 216 yards in the win, but with no touchdowns — indeed, the only passing TD of the game was lobbed by Julian Edelman, who tagged Phillip Dorsett II on a trick play for six on the scoreboard. Alas, New England’s run game struggled a bit, with top back Sony Michel concluding the outing with just 33 yards on 10 carries.

#002
Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +145

In a battle of hot, young black stud QBs, Lamar Jackson certainly got the better of Deshaun Watson Sunday. In the Ravens’ 41-7 throttling of the Texans, the Louisville standout went 17 for 24 for 222 yards and four TD passes, PLUS another 86 rushing yards on nine keepers. Mark Ingram II called it a day with 37 yards and two touchdowns on three catches, while Gus Edwards definitely did his part to keep Baltimore’s run game steady with 112 yards and one rushing score on eight touches. And the Baltimore D looked downright superb, holding Houston to 122 yards rushing and just 110 passing.

#003
San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
Season Point Differential: +140

The Cardinals gave the Niners a tougher fight than anticipated, but San Fran still prevailed over Kyler Murray and Company 36-26 over the weekend. Jimmy G went 34 for 45 for 424 yards, four TDs and two interceptions in the 10-point win, with top receiver Deebo Samuel collecting 134 yards on eight catches. Alas, it’s hard to not be more than a little concerned about the 49ers run game; at the final horn, their defense allowed Arizona 135 on the ground, while San Francisco’s top back, Tevin Coleman, concluded the outing with just FOURTEEN yards on a dozen carries. 

#004
Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +089

Dak Prescott went 29 for 46 for 444 yards in Dallas’ 35-27 win over Detroit Sunday. D.P. finished the game with three TD passes, with top receiver Michael Gallup calling it a day with 148 yards on nine catches, and second-best-catcher Randall Cobb sayin “I’m out” with 115 yards and one score on four hauls. Alas, the Cowboys’ run game wasn’t as impressive; while their D allowed the Lions to amass 121 yards and two end zone trips on 28 carries, the Cowboys could only muster 75 yards and one rushing score on 24 touches (with Ezekiel Elliot finishing the game with only 45 yards on 16 touches.)

#005
Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
Season Point Differential: +084

Heading into the fourth quarter Sunday, the Vikings were down 23-7 against the Broncos. Which, naturally, meant Minnesota was bound to explode for 20 points in the last 15 minutes of play en route to a wild and woolly 27-23 come-from-behind victory. While the Vikes may want to applaud themselves for their tenacity, the reality is that their offensive production numbers (victory or not) just weren’t that great. Dalvin Cook, for example, was held to just 26 yards rushing, and while Kirk Cousins did lob the rock for 319 yards and three TD passes, you know what else happened? He got sacked FIVE times for minus 35 yards on the day; if absolutely nothing, that’s got to give you some concerns about the O-line down the late season stretch, don’t it?

#006
Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Season Point Differential: +052

Patrick Mahomes went 19 for 32 or 182 yard and a one-to-one TD-to-INT split in Monday night’s 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. He also ran the rock five times for 59 yards, apparently trying to win a Lamar Jackson impersonation contest or something. Top receiver Travis Kelce called it a day with 92 yards and one score on seven receptions, and holy shit, did the Chiefs make Philip Rivers earn his paycheck that night, sacking him twice and intercepting him FOUR times before the game, mercifully, concluded. 

#007
Green Bay Packers (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +045

The Packers had a bye over the weekend, and they return to the gridiron Sunday night for a big one — a potential NFC Championship preview on the road against San Fran. But from thereon out, it’s pretty much smooth sailing for Green Bay, with gimmes against the Giants, Redskins and Bears before a probable NFC North Championship contest against the Vikings on Dec. 23. Really, it’s hard to see this team finishing the year anything worse than 12-4, but hey, you never know … this IS the same team that got creamed 26-11 by the Chargers, of all teams, just a few weeks back.

#008
Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +045

Jared Goff went 11 for 18 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in the Rams’ 17-7 win over the Bears Sunday. Really, the run game was the only thing giving L.A. the edge in this one, with Todd Gurley amassing 97 yards and one score on 25 carries Malcolm Brown (15 yards, five carries) recording the team’s only other TD of the contest. Nd defensively, I suppose the Rams did alright, holding Mitchell “The Mitchell” to just 190 passing and holding the combined Chicago backfield to just 74 on the ground.

THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS

#009
Buffalo Bills (7-3)
Season Point Differential: +041

Josh Allen had a great showing in Buffalo’s 37-20 win over Miami Sunday. At the final horn, he went 21 for 33 for 256 yards and three TD passes, with top receiver John Brown hauling in two touchdown passes and finishing the outing with 137 yards on nine carries. Meanwhile, top Buffalo back Devin Singletary had 75 yards on 15 carries, and the Bills’ defense pretty much stonewalled Miami’s run game, holding them to just 23 yards on 13 carries … which, somehow, still produced at least two rushing scores for the Dolphins, weirdly enough.

#010
New Orleans Saints (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +039

Drew Brees went 28 for 35 for 228 yards and three TD passes in the Saints’ 34-17 win over the Bus Sunday. Michael Thomas called it a day with 114 yards and one score on eight receptions, while Alvin Kamara kept the run game steady with 75 yards on 13 carries. And defensively, New Orleans looked downright dynamic stopping the run, holding Tampa Bay to just 36 yards on the ground all game long.

#011
Seattle Seahawks (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +021

Following a bye over the weekend, the 8-2 Seahawks find themselves staring down a murderer’s row of opponents in the final six games of the season, starting with this Sunday’s romp with the Eagles. Things don’t get any easier from there, with games against Minnesota, Los Angeles and Carolina in the subsequent three weeks. Seattle gets a mild reprieve in the penultimate game of the regular season against the Cardinals, but all eyes are going to be firmly affixed on the Dec. 29 showdown between the Hawks and the Niners — a game that could not only determine the de facto NFC West champ, but possibly determine the No. 1 seed overall in the National Football Conference.

#012
Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +021

The Colts had no problem surmounting the Jags over the weekend, besting their AFC South rivals 33-13 on Sunday. “Whisker Biscuit” Brissett went 15 for 24 for one TD and one INT in the win, with top receiver Marcus Johnson calling it a day with one score and 38 yards on four catches. Of course, the big variable in the win was Indy’s rushing attack; at the final horn, they outpaced Jacksonville on the ground 264 yards to 29, with backs Jonathan Williams and Marlon Mack each eclipsing 100 yards on the day.

#013
Houston Texans (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +013

Needless to say, Deshaun Watson had a day to forget Sunday. In the demoralizing 41-7 loss to the Ravens, he went 18 for 29 for 169 yards, no touchdown passes and one interception, with Baltimore defenders sacking his ass no less than SIX times (indeed, factoring in a sack of AJ McCarron, the Ravens’ D had seven on the day, for minus 59 yards overall.) The rushing differential was also quite apparent; at the final horn, Houston had 122 on the ground, while Baltimore had amassed a mere 263 yards of rushing offense.

#014
Tennessee Titans (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +006

The .500 tight ones find themselves in quite the pickle in the wake of last week’s bye. The next two weeks they have tough divisional matchups against the Jaguars and Colts, with presumably even TOUGHER matchups against the Raiders and Texans after that. Tennessee isn’t getting any reprieves heading into the final two games of the year, neither, with a difficult home tilt against the Saints on Dec. 22 and a super-pivotal clash with the Texans (again) on Dec. 29 that will almost certainly have major playoffs implications. At this point you certainly can’t write the Titans off as a dark horse playoffs contender, but considering the comparative weight of the rest of their schedule, it seems like even a 9-7 final record might be thinking of the overly-wishful variety.

#015
Los Angeles Chargers (4-7)
Season Point Differential: +006

Remember a couple of weeks back, when ESPN ran that article calling Phil Rivers the best QB in NFL history to never make it to a Super Bowl? Well, with performances like the one he had Monday night in the Chargers 24-17 loss to the Chiefs, it’s pretty obvious WHY he hasn’t gotten to the gridiron’s grandest stage. Despite going 28 for 52 for 353 passing yards, Rivers managed just one TD pass and rattled off FOUR interceptions, ultimately finishing the game with a QBR of 22.8. Hell, at this rate, Dan Fouts might be able to put up better numbers — or, at least, pull off that powder blue uni a little bit better.

#016
Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +004

Carson Wentz couldn’t do what Nick Foles did back in ’18, as his Eagles fell to the Pats 17-10 on Sunday evening. CW went 20 for 40 for 214 passing yards, with one touchdown lobbed to Dallas Goedert, but in the process, he also got sacked FIVE times for negative 40 yards on the day. Top receiver Zach Ertz called it a day with 94 yards on nine catches, but the Eagles run game sputtered out; at the final horn, the best top rusher Miles Sanders could muster was just 38 yards on 11 touches. 

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

#017
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5)
Season Point Differential: -002

OK, OK, we get it — the only thing anybody will ever remember about the Steelers’ 21-7 loss to the Browns last Thursday night was the part at the end of the game where Myles Garrett conked Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet like it was a segment of Puppet Pals or something. But honestly, the REAL story of the game is just how shitty Rudolph looked under center for Pitty; not only did he lob FOUR interceptions in the loss, he also got sacked four times for minus 43 yards on the day, bringing his total yardage tally down to a mere 178 yards on 23 completions. 

#018
Chicago Bears (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -005

Mitchell “The Mitchell” Trubisky went 24 for 43 for 190 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio in Sunday’s 17-7 loss to the Rams. Top receive Taylor Gabriel called it a day with 57 yards on seven receptions, while top Chicago back Tarik Cohen had 39 yards on nine carries. And just to rub it in a little bit, Khalil Mack — the highest paid defender in NFL history — concluded the game with a grand total of ZERO tackles. Meanwhile, first-year Raider Maxx Crosby concluded Sunday’s win over the Bengals with FOUR sacks; anybody ready to apologize to Jon Gruden yet?

#019
Oakland Raiders (6-4)
Season Point Differential: -025

The Raiders bested the Bengals 17-10 on Sunday, in a game that saw Derek Carr go 25 for 29 for 292 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio. Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs had another triple digit rushing day, concluding the affair with 112 yards on 23 carries, and holy shit, did the Raiders’ D rise to the occasion, with the defense combining for one interception, five sacks and TEN deflected passes. And, as always, you can relive all the wonder and the whimsy of my cognitive processes as the game happened LIVE anytime you want, right here, buckaroos.

#020
Denver Broncos (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -025

Perfectly encapsulating the abject failure of the 2019 campaign thus far, the Broncos hilariously managed to screw up a 23-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter Sunday and get beat 27-23 by Minnesota. Brandon “Literally Who?” Allen went 17 for 39 for 240 yards and one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio in the losing effort, with Courtland Sutton collecting 113 yards (but no scores) on five catches. And Phillip Lindsay looked pretty decent, with 67 yards on 16 carries; if absolutely nothing else, at least the Bronco can take some pride in holding the Vikes to just 37 yards on 18 carries all game, I guess.

#021
Detroit Lions (3-6-1)
Season Point Differential: -028

In the Lions’ 35-27 loss to the Cowboys Sunday, Jeff Driskell went 15 for 26 for 209 yards and two touchdown passes, both of which landed in the arms of receiver Marvin Jones, Jr. (who had 43 yards, in total, on a mere four catches.) And with 51 yards scrambling, Driskell was easily the most productive rusher for EITHER team, ultimately outpacing Ezekiel Elliott on the ground by six yards (although, for the record, Detroit’s Bo Scarbrough DID have 55 yards and one end zone trip of his own on 14 carries, too.)

#022
Carolina Panthers (5-5)
Season Point Differential: -029

To put I mildly, Kyle Allen played like a total twat in Sunday’s 29-3 loss to the Falcons. At the final horn, he went 31 for 50 for 325 yards, zero touchdowns and FOUR interceptions, complete with a very Phil Rivers-like five sacks on the day, which ultimately pushed his total yardage on the day down to 270. Still, Christian McCaffrey continued to ball his goddamn mind in, even in defeat; not only was he Carolina’s top rusher with 70 yards on 14 carries, he also led the team receiving with 121 yards on 11 catches. Now that what I call … puts on sunglasses … having the white stuff, amirite?

#023
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -033

Nick Foles went 33 for 47 for 296 yards on Sunday, but his Jags still succumbed to the Colts 33-13 over the weekend. The former Super Bowl champ went two-for-one on the TD-to-INT ratio, with literal who DJ Chark, Jr. recording both of the end zone grabs and concluding the contest with 104 yards on eight carries. Alas, the Jaguars rushing attack looked downright dead, with Leonard Fournette only accumulating 23 yards on eight carries.

#024
Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -036

Cleveland bested Pittsburgh 21-7 on Thursday night, in a game that saw Baker Mayfield for 17 for 32 for two TD passes — one zipped to Jarvis Landry (43 yards, four catches) and one lobbed to Stephen Carlson (eight yards, one couch.) And lost amidst all of the Myles Garrett helmet-tomfoolery is the fact that the Browns played fantastically on both sides of the run game; Nick Chubb called it a day with 92 yards on 27 carries, while Cleveland’s D held the entire Pittsburgh backfield to just 58 yards on the ground.

ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT

#025
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -036

Jameis Winston went 30 for 51 for 313 yards in Tampa Bay’s 34-17 loss to the Saints. While he managed to lob two touchdown passes, he also tossed four costly interceptions, including a damning 55-yard pick six to New Orleans defender Marcus Williams. Still, the receiving corps for the Bucs looked mostly solid in defeat, with Cameron Brate leading the pack with 73 yards on 10 receptions — albeit, sans any trips to enemy end zone. 

#026
Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -042

After playing like abject dookie most of the season, the Falcons have looked pretty great the last two weeks, especially in Sunday’s commanding 29-3 win over the Panthers. Matt Ryan went 21 for 31 for 311 yards and one TD pass in the 26-point victory, with Calvin Ridley leading the team with 143 yards on eight receptions. Granted, even in such a dominant win, one can’t help but chide Atlanta for its weak rushing attack; at the final horn, their top back, Brian Hill, amassed a mere 30 yards on 15 carries. 

#027
Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)
Season Point Differential: -069

The Cards got off to a hot start, but they just couldn’t keep the momentum up en route to Sunday’s 36-26 loss to the 49ers. Kyler Murray went 24 for 33 for 150 yards and two TD passes, but he also got sacked four times, rolling back his total yardage amount to just 131. Still, he had a great game running the rock, finishing the outing with 67 yards and one score on eight carries — a final yardage amount that almost DOUBLE San Fran’s entire rushing production throughout the contest.

#028
New York Giants (2-8)
Season Point Differential: -086

At 2-8, the season is pretty much over for the Giants, but don’t be surprised if they go at least 3-3 in their final six games of the year. The Nov. 24 game against Chicago is quite winnable, as are the Week 15 and Week 16 title against the lowly Dolphins and Redskins. Of course, with the Packers and the Eagles (twice) on the rest of the docket, it seems like the G-Men doing any better than 5-11 at the end of the year is quite outlandish, if not perfectly absurd.

#029
New York Jets (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -091

I suppose in existential terms, saying Sunday’s game between the Jets and Redskins had a “winner” seems like a real mishandling of the term. Alas, numbers-wise, New York did indeed triumph handedly over Washington en route to a dominant 34-17 win. Sam Darnold had probably his best pro day to date in the victory — at the final whistle, he had gone 19 for 30 for 293 yards, four TD passes and just one interception, ultimately concluding the game with a 121.3 RTG.

#030
Washington Redskins (1-9)
Season Point Differential: -128

The Redskins dropped yet another home game on Sunday, this one a brutal 34-17 loss to the Jets. Dwayne Haskins went 19 for 35 for 214 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, although he also lobbed one interception and got sacked six times for minus 43 yards. The Redskins’ run game also looked quite unimpressive; at the end of the outing, Adrian Peterson had just 25 yards on nine carries, with nothing even remotely resembling a touchdown on his stats sheet.

#031
Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)
Season Point Differential: -129

The Bengals remain the only winless team in the NFL following Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Raiders. Ryan Finley went 13 for 31 passing for 115 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, but since he got sacked five times for negative 42 yards, you can just go on ahead and mail his yardage back down to a mere 78 on the day. The Cincy rushing attack, at least, had a little bit more liveliness to it; in the losing bid, Joe Mixon wrapped up the contest with 86 yards and one score on 15 carries. 

#032
Miami Dolphins (2-8)
Season Point Differential: -166

Well, this might come as a surprise to you, but no, the Dolphins did not look all that dandy in Sunday’s 37-20 loss to Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a pretty good day, statistically, going 32 for 45 for 323 yards, but he lobbed no touchdown passes — and, in the process, got sacked a mere SEVEN times for negative 43 yards on the day. Running backs Kalen Ballage and Jakeem Grant combined for just 16 yards on 10 carries, but still managed to get two touchdowns out of them, somehow. And another bonus for the Orange and Teal faithful this week? They only had one player suspended for beating the shit out of his pregnant girlfriend — which means, of course, that the Chiefs will probably to try to claim Mark Walton off the waiver sheets before the end of this week.

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