Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week Three!

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

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"2005 called ... they want their power rankings back"


Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +65

Remember last week, when we asked the great philosophical question "are the Eagles actually worth a shit or did they look better than they actually are because they were playing certified turds like the Browns and the Bears?" Well, after drubbing a team considered by many analysts and experts to be a lock for the AFC Championship game by 31 points, you know, I reckon this here Eagles team might actually be a legitimately great professional football team. Anchored by North Dakota State standout Carson Wentz (who still hasn't lobbed an INT as a NFLer), the Eagles collected 301 receiving yards in their mind-breaking 34-3 slaughter of the Steelers, with Darren Sproles - motherfucking Darren Sproles! - apparently being reanimated from the grave to rack up 128 yards and a solo TD saunter. Factor in barn burning back Wendell Smallwood (79 yards and a TD run on 17 carries) and an ungodly great rush defense that held PIT to an insanely low 29 yards of offense, and folks ... we might just have a redux of the 1999 Rams on our hands

New England Patriots (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +36

It honestly doesn't make any sense. Arguably the greatest QB in NFL history gets benched for the first four games, and what does his back-up do? Oh, he only comes in and mops the floor with the team many analysts predicted to be a NFC Championship contender, following up the next week with a pummeling of a divisional rival in which the team he was commanding jumped out to a 24-3 lead around halftime. So he gets injured, the third string quarterback comes in, and what doe she do? Naturally, he puts on an even more amazing performance, propelling the Patriots to a bookie-enriching 27-0 shutout of the Texans - considered by many to be one of the best defensive units in all of pro football - last Thursday night. Granted, super-talented back LaGarrette Blount (105 yards and two TDS on 24 carries) had a lot to do with the Pats picking up the W, but still ... nothing short of some kind of Faustian bargain explains how a team THIS injury/suspension hampered continues to fucking dominate the League with their leading receiving just one injury away from having to fill in as quarterback. 

Denver Broncos (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +27

Trevor Siemian is definitely playing a lot better for the Broncos than Peyton Manning did last year. In Denver's 29-17 win over the Bengals, Siemian lobbed four touchdown passes and collected 312 yards on 23 completions, while Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas combined for 217 receiving yards and three touchdown catches. Alas, if you are looking for a weak spot, the run game is definitely it. The Broncos could only post 52 yards of ground offense (with no scores) in last Sunday's win, while their D allowed the Bengals to collect 143 yards and two rushing touchdowns. 

Minnesota Vikings (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +24

Lotsa' fluky things happened in the Vikes 22-10 win over the defending NFC Champions, ranging from a first quarter safety to a 54-yard Marcus Sherels punt return early in the second quarter. Though Sam Bradford's play was consistent (171 yards and a TD pass on 18 completions), it was, strangely, Minnesota's defense which was more responsible for the W than anything else, with the 2016 Purple People Eaters intercepting Cam Newton three times and sacking him on no less than EIGHT separate occasions, for a cumulative loss of 64 yards. 

Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +20

While Alex Smith didn't really do a whole lot on offense (he finished the game with just one TD pass and 237 yards on 25 completions), the Chiefs defense definitely succeeded where the O faltered. Half of the points put up by K.C. in the contest were derived from defensive TDs, including a 27-yard fumble return by Demetrius Harris and a 55-yard pick six courtesy of Derrick Johnson. Oh, and speaking of interceptions, care to to take a wild guess just how many times the Chiefs picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick in the game? If you said "are you sure this guy isn't special ed or something?", you sir, would be as right as a 90 degree angle.

Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +17

The run game certainly did most of the heavy lifting in Dallas' 31-17 win over Chicago last Sunday evening. On a combined 49 rushes, the Cowboys posted 199 yards and three touchdowns, with rookie sensation/probable woman beater Ezekiel Elliot finishing the game with 140 yards on 37 carries. As impressive as Big D's offense may have been, you really can't be too happy if you are Cowboys fan looking at that defense. Prey tell, how in the bluest of hells does a modern NFL team let Brian Hoyer throw for 317 yards in a regular season game

Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
Season Point Differential: +16

The beautiful thing about pro football is that, as the old aphorism goes, anything can happen once Sunday rolls around. Stats, empirical wisdom, the basic theorems of physics ... all useless asides. And few games demonstrate that whole mid-1990s WWF "anything can happen" mentality quite like Arizona's "say whut?" 33-18 loss to the lowly Buffalo Bills. Well, actually, quite a few things would explain the loss - like Carson Palmer lobbing four interceptions, the Cards only putting up 88 yards of rushing offense while letting the Bills post 208 and - the biggie - the team as a whole seemingly forgetting the forward pass exists and refusing to air it out against Buffalo's notoriously porous pass defense. The only question now is, is this game little more than an early season aberration, or are the Cards slowly but surely sauntering their way towards implosion?

Seattle Seahawks (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +15

After a slow start, the Seahawks are finally starting to look like the team we all thought they were going to be. In a 37-18 win over the San Francisco America Haters, receivers Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham both collected 100 plus yards on the day, while running back Christine "I'm Not A Woman" Michael carried the rock for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Alas, even in victory the 'Hawks still found a way to lose: multi-millionaire star QB Russell Wilson left the game with an MCL sprain, which could keep him off the field for this weekend's meeting with the Jets. 


San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Season Point Differential: +14

Granted, you may want to write off their blowout win over the Jaguars, but the Chargers have remained excruciatingly close in its two losses (the latest, of course, being their 26-22 defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.) They might not always come out on top, but with Philip Rivers lobbing the rock consistently for 300 yards every game, they are nonetheless a team that's going to remain competitive down to the wire. That they are managing to do so with such an insanely long string of player injuries makes their surprisingly solid play all the more remarkable. 

Baltimore Ravens (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +13

In a razor thin 19-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Joe Flacco recorded the only Baltimore touchdown of the game ( a seven-yard scrambler) early in the first quarter. From there on out, it was all field goals, as the Ravens' D held off a late surge from the win-less pussycats of northern Florida. Factoring in sacks, Baltimore limited the Jags to just 168 yards passing, and only 48 yards rushing. 

Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +13

With their 45-32 Monday night win over the Saints, the Falcons now sit atop the NFC South. Matt Ryan was solid in the prime time clash (he went 20 for 30 for 240 yards and two TD passes), while the run game absolutely gutted New Orleans as Devonta Freeman collected 152 yards and Tevin Coleman ran it in for three touchdowns. But about allowing Drew Brees to throw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, though...

Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +08

Don't let the 34-27 final score fool you - the game was never that close. Indeed, the Pack had already jumped out to a 31-10 lead over the Lions at halftime, and everything else was halfhearted defense going through the motions to preserve the facile "W." Oh, and Aaron Rodgers appears to be back, ya'll - weep tears a plenty for the fantasy footballers who didn't start him for some stupid ass reason, 'cause he finished the game with 205 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 completions. 

Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Season Point Differential: +06

Woo howdy, Cam Newton had a day to forget last Sunday, as his squad fell to the Vikings, 22-10. In a game overshadowed by rioting in the city streets of Charlotte and rumors that Black Lives Matter protesters were going to invade the game like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, the Panthers' QB played like utter and complete cat shit, finishing the game with 262 yards, no TD passes and three interceptions. And oh yeah, he also got sacked a mind-breaking eight times over the course of the game, because nothing says "incredible irony" like watching an outspoken black athlete have his clock cleaned by a bunch of guys wearing Aryan warrior cartoon decals on the side of their heads. 

Buffalo Bills (1-2)
Season Point Differential: +03

And one week after firing their offensive coordinator, of course the Buffalo Bills defense would improve drastically. In a game that pretty much ensured an entire generation of bookie children would go to really nice colleges, the Bills upset the much ballyhooed Cardinals 33-18. While T-Mobile didn't do shit in the game when it comes to aerial offense (seriously, once you factor in the sacks, he only threw the ball for a meager 89 yards), the Bills run game did all the work for him, ultimately collecting 208 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. And how about some words of praise for that Bills' D, which sacked the Golden Ginger four times and sacked his ass not once, not twice but FIVE times?

New York Giants (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +02

Sometimes, tough losses just kinda' happen, and last Sunday, one of them definitely happened to the Giants. In a close 29-27 loss, Eli Manning had 350 passing yards, but only one of his 25 completions resulted in a touchdown. Even worse, two of them wound up in the open arms of Redskins' defenders, including a late fourth quarter INT that put the final nail in the coffin of the Giants' comeback aspirations. 

Oakland Raiders (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +01

After giving up 500 yards in each of their first two games of the season, the Oakland Raiders FINALLY decided to play some defensive ball in their 17-10 win over the Tennessee Titans. Up 17-3 at halftime, Oakland pretty much coasted, letting its very well-paid secondary do their part to preserve the W. Still, they allowed way more rushing yards than they should have, letting DeMarco Murray - yes, that DeMarco Murray - collect 114 yards and the Titans only score of the afternoon. (And as always, if you'd like to relive the game, moment-by-moment, through my eyes, you can point your mouse clicker right here.) 


Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
Season Point Differential: -01

The Steelers pretty much turtled up in their 34-3 thrashing at the hands of the suddenly resurgent Philadelphia Eagles. Big Ben had no touchdown passes, one INT and got sacked four times for a cumulative loss of 34 yards in the losing effort, while DeAngelo Williams could only muster a measly 21 yards throughout the contest. Antonio Brown (140 yards on 12 receptions) still looked good, but considering PIT got outyarded 426 to 251, now is a good time to start asking some serious questions about the many, many gaps in this team's defense.

Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -03

And the Fins finally get a win in 2016, but it was far from an easy victory. It took Miami overtime to best the very, very bad Browns 30-24, and Ryan Tannehill's play (319 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions) was the definition of the term "mixed bag." Jarvis Landry did look pretty good though, reeling in seven catches for 120 total yards and one visit to the end zone. 

Detroit Lions (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -04

It's yet another classic "good news, bad news" situation for the Lions. The good news is, Matt Stafford threw the ball for 385 yards and got three touchdowns against the Packers last Sunday. The bad news is, the Lions run game was held to 50 yards and the defense couldn't do shit to stop A-Rod from lobbing four TD passes of his own. And oh yeah, they also lost the game, too, to the oh so close yet far tune of 34-27.

San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -10

The 49ers took a respite from literally spitting in the faces of the brave men and women in uniform of this country just long enough to get their asses kicked by the Seahawks 37-18. THE BLAINE GABBERT played poorly (119 yards, no TDs and an INT on 14 completions), but not poor enough to bring in Colin KKKapernick off the bench, which at this point, must be perfectly terraformed to his contractually guaranteed $61 million dollar ass cheeks. On the positive side for the 49ers faithful, however, Carlos Hyde did put in another good showing, collecting 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. 

Houston Texans (2-1)
Season Point Differential: -11

If you are still trying to wrap your head around how the Texans could lose 27-0 to a Patriots team being quarterbacked by some guy named "Brisket" at home, join the rest of America. I'm not quite sure what fully explains Houston's abysmal performance last Thursday, but the team's inability to stop the Pats' run was definitely a major factor. Well, that, and Brock O. only being able to chalk up 175 passing yards (after sacks). And especially the run game only putting up 107 yards, with no end zone visitations whatsoever

Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -14

And Indy finally gets a win, in the form of a come-from behind 26-22 victory against the scrappy San Diego Chargers. Andrew Luck went 24 for 37 in his 331 yard day, while Frank Gore posted 82 yards and one rushing TD. And as for the Colts' D? Well, they may have held the snake bit Chargers to only 37 yards rushing, but their secondary collapsed against the pass, allowing Philip Rivers to throw the ball for 330 yards. 

Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -15

The Titans may have well have put Marcus Mariota's face on the back of a milk carton, because he was nowhere to be seen in the team's 17-10 home loss to the Raiders last Sunday. At the final horn, he had 214 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions lobbed into the arms of Raiders defenders Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson. And - no surprise here - there own D did precious little to prevent Derek Carr from tossing the pigskin for 249 yards. 

New York Jets (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -16


Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Season Point Differential: -17

The Rams took out the Bucs 37-32 last Sunday in a heavily delayed game (bunch a pussies - back in my day, football players looked forward to dodging lightning strikes.) Case Keenum went 14 for 26, with two touchdowns, one INT and 190 total passing yards, while Todd Gurley churned into enemy end zone twice in his 27-carry, 85-rushing yard day. Alas, the Rams still haven't gotten the fundamentals of defensive play down quite yet: after all, they did let Jameis Winston throw for 405 yards and three touchdowns, didn't they?

New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -17

Unfortunately, the mawkish magic of exploiting Hurricane Katrina ten years down the road did precious little for the Saints, who fell 45-32 to the Falcons last Monday night. While Drew Brees posted very Drew Brees like numbers (three TD passes and 376 yards, to be exact), the defense absolutely shit the bed when it came to stopping the Falcons run; at the final horn, the Falcons posted 210 rushing yards, with Tevin Coleman alone recording three touchdowns on the ground. 

Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -19

The wobbly wheels of the Bengals' bandwagon are starting to shake loose way earlier than expected. While the run game looked pretty solid, that was more or less the only bright spot for Cincinnati in their 29-17 loss to the Broncos last Sunday. Andy Dalton was especially underwhelming, concluding the game with no touchdown passes, one interception and a grand total of just 189 aerial yards, once you factor in the four times he got sacked by Denver defenders. 

Washington Redskins (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -24

Somebody call the estate of Michael Jackson, because the Redskins' 29-27 win against the Giants was the epitome of a thriller. Kirk Cousins put on his best game in ages, finishing the contest with 296 yards and two TDs on 21 completions. Sure, the defense generally sucked and allowed Eli Manning the opportunity to lob the rock for 350 yards, but the Skins' secondary showed up when it counted - especially defenders Su'a Cravens and Quinton Debar, who each reeled in game-shifting interceptions launched by the only Manning still in pro football. 

Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -30

It's almost like the Browns are intentionally trying to find the most heartbreaking ways to lose games now. After letting the Ravens bounce back from a 20-2 deficit in week two, the Browns last Sunday dropped a close one in O.T. to the Dolphins, with back Jay Ajayi plunging the dagger into Cleveland's ribcage via a game-clinching 11-yard TD run. That said, it was kind of a historic game, for those of you who actually watched it, as it featured former Raiders QB Terrell Pryor, at various points in the game, playing quarterback, wide receiver and safety

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -30

The Jags gave it a valiant effort, but their late charge still wasn't enough to come out on top in a back and forth 19-17 loss to the Ravens. All in all, Blake Bortles had a pretty shitty day. He finished the contest with 194 yards on 24 completions, with a 2:3 TD-to-INT ratio. Making matters worse, he also got sacked four times, resulting in a good 26 yards of lost real estate for the fumbling, bumbling Jags. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -31

You really can't blame Jameis Winston for Tampa Bay's 37-32 loss to the Rams. The dude had more than 400 yards passing, with three aerial touchdowns. So who do you blame? Well, the defense - which let Todd Gurley sneak past them twice and allowed Case Keenum to hit Tavon Austin and Brian Quick for short TD strikes - would be my go-to scapegoat. 

Chicago Bears (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -38

Yep, the Bears are winless three games into the new NFL season and things probably won't be looking up anytime soon. In their latest loss, the Bears fell 31-17 to the "no Romo" Cowboys, and even a surprisingly decent showing from back up QB Brian Hoyer (317 yards and two touchdowns on 30 completions) wasn't enough to make it a competitive matchup at any point in the game. But on the positive side? You know, there will probably be a lot of great quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft, and even better, I'm pretty sure none of their last names are going to be "Cutler." 


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