Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings - Week 11!

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

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"December Awaits..."


Dallas Cowboys (9-1)
Season Point Differential: +98

The Cowboys' nine-game win streak continued with a 27-17 win over the Ravens. Dak Prescott finished the outing with 301 yards and three touchdown passes, with Dez Bryant wrapping up the game with 80 yards and two scores on only six receptions.

New England Patriots (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +91

Yeah, the Pats really didn't have any difficulties getting past the lowly Niners. In the 30-17 win, Tom Brady posted 280 passing yards and four touchdowns - in the process, tagging four separate receivers for excursions into San Fran's end zone. 

Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +55

Following a 26-15 loss to Seattle, the Eagles are now .500 in arguably the toughest division in all of pro football. On the positive side, Philly has just two road games remaining on the schedule - what should be pretty facile wins at Baltimore and Cincinnati. Like I said, though - should be pretty facile wins. 

Denver Broncos (7-3)
Season Point Differential: +50

The Broncos had a bye last week - they emerge this weekend for a pivotal divisional throwdown with the Chiefs. Their final three games of the season are an absolute murderer's row  of opponents - after going toe-to-toe with the Pats on Dec. 18, they have a Christmas clash with Kansas City and a New Year's Day season finale against the Raiders. 

Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1)
Season Point Differential: +46

The Seahawks' D held up very well against the Eagles Sunday. In Seattle's 26-15 win, they held Philadelphia to just 218 yards passing and only 113 rushing. Offensively, Doug Baldwin put in another Pro Bowl calibre performance, wrapping up the contest with 104 yards on just four catches.

Buffalo Bills (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +38

It wasn't pretty, but the Bills managed to improve to .500 following an ugly 16-12 win over Cincinnati. Give the Buffalo D some credit though; they managed to pick off Andy Dalton twice and held the Bengals to just 93 rushing yards all day long. 

Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +37

After a bye week, the Falcons return this weekend to tango with the Cardinals. After a Dec. 4 battle with Kansas City, Atlanta's schedule gets much easier - they conclude the 2016 season with a four game swing against the Rams, the Niners, the Panthers and the Saints, all of whom are sub-.500 teams as of week 11. 

Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1)
Season Point Differential: +36

With six games remaining on their schedule, the Cardinals are going to have to run the table to keep their narrowing playoff hopes alive. Step one is improving that O-line; in the Cards' 30-24 loss to Minnesota, Carson Palmer got sacked no less than four times for a cumulative loss of 43 yards


Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
Season Point Differential: +35

In one of the biggest shockers of the season so far, the Chiefs got upset at home by, of all teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Alex Smith did look a little shaky in the 19-17 loss - if the disappointing play continues, just how long until Andy Reid promotes Nick Foles to starter status?

Oakland Raiders (8-2)
Season Point Differential: +29

The Texans outran the Raiders 124 yards to 30 on Monday night. So how did Oakland adjust their gameplan? Simple - in the fourth quarter they said "fuck it" and just started throwing the ball to their running backs. And if you're wondering just how successful that little strategy was, the 27-20 come from behind victory for the Raiders ought to tell you everything you need to know.

Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +29

The Vikes finally got out of their four-game losing slump with a hard fought 30-24 win over the Cardinals. Believe it or not, Minnesota actually chalked up two 100-yard plus touchdown plays in the outing - a 100-yard INT return for Xavier Rhodes and a 104-yard kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +23

That the Steelers beat the Browns 24-9 isn't surprising at all. What is surprising, however, is how they did it. Big Ben had no touchdown passes in the outing and Le'Veon Bell recorded just one touchdown run - the remaining 17 points came in the form of field goals and a late defensive fumble return with about four minutes left in the fourth.

Washington Redskins (6-3-1)
Season Point Differential: +21

Kirk Cousins had a hell of a game Sunday. In the 'Skins 42-24 win over the Packers, he lobbed the pigskin for 375 yards and three touchdowns, ultimately going 21 for 30 on pass attempts. And he's not the only player for Washington who recorded a hat trick, either; running back Robert Kelly finished the game with 137 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.

San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Season Point Differential: +14

Hot off a bye week, the Chargers test their mettle against the Texans this Sunday.With the possible exception of a Dec. 24 hootenanny against the Browns, every game on San Diego's schedule from here on out is very losable - especially their home stands against Tampa Bay, Oakland and Kansas City.

Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
Season Point Differential: +12

Well, if there's a silver lining to last Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Cowboys, it's that the Ravens didn't get bumped off the top of the AFC Central totem pole. Alas, with the team in a mathematical dead heat with the Steelers, Baltimore is really going to have to crank it up down the December stretch - especially with a schedule that includes games against the Dolphins, Patriots and Eagles. 

Detroit Lions (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +06

Every single Lions game this season has been decided by one touchdown. Over the weekend, the NFC North totem pole toppers came out in the black instead of the red, besting the Jags 26-19. Strangely, much ballyhooed MVP candidate Matt Stafford posted no scores in the game - rather, about half of Detroit's points came off an Andre Roberts punt return and a Rafael Bush pick six. 


Tennessee Titans (5-6)
Season Point Differential: +06

Following a 24-17 loss to Indy, the Titans are on a bye this weekend. They should have no problems getting past the Bears or the Jags, but those matchups against the Broncos, Chiefs and Texans are no doubt going to be brutal

New York Giants (7-3)
Season Point Differential: +04

The G-Men continue to impress, with their latest victory a 22-16 win over the really, really shitty Bears. Eli Manning went 21 for 36 in the outing, collecting 227 yards and two TD passes. Meanwhile, Rashad Jennings provided a steady run game, racking up 85 yards and one score on 21 carries.

Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Season Point Differential: +02

With a 14-10 win over the Rams, the Dolphins now find themselves just outside the periphery of playoff discussions. Of course, the Fins are going to have to win and win often if they want to keep their post-season reveries alive - and a slate of games against the Ravens, Cardinals, Bill and Patriots will not be easy roads to hoe.

New Orleans Saints (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -01

After losing 23-20 to the Panthers, the Saints are two games below .500. The remainder of their schedule includes rough road games against Atlanta, Arizona and Tampa Bay and some tough Superdome showdowns with the Lions and the Rams - unless Atlanta or T.B. really shits the bed in December, you can't really be too optimistic about the Saints' playoffs aspirations moving forward.

Carolina Panthers (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -02

The Panthers got a big - perhaps even season-saving - win over the Saints, 23-20, last Thursday night. At 4-6, Carolina finds themselves two games behind the Falcons, one game behind Tampa Bay and they own the tiebreaker over fellow 4-6ers New Orleans. Alas, with road games against the Raiders, Redskins and Seahawks on the docket - not to mention some tough home stands against Atlanta and San Diego - this team could find themselves out of the postseason discussion in a real hurry.

Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Season Point Differential: -10

The Colts took down the Titans 24-17 in a crucial divisional match-up Sunday. With the Texans falling to 6-4, Indianapolis has a pretty good shot of catching up with Houston for the AFC South lead ... or, at the very least, making 'em sweat a little heading down the December stretch.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
Season Point Differential: -24

It ain't easy winning at Kansas City, but by golly, that's exactly what Jameis Winston and pals did last Sunday afternoon. In the 19-17 win, the former FSU star went 24 for 39 for 331 yards and one TD, with receiver Mike Evans - who, as it turns out, won't be protesting Trump's election at anymore games - hauling in 105 yards on just six catches.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1)
Season Point Differential: -27

In the wake of a 16-12 loss to the Bills, Cincinnati finds themselves technically four games under .500. With six games left on the docket, empirical wisdom would suggest the Bengals have to win every game from hereon out to even think about the word "playoffs."


Green Bay Packers (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -29

Boy, who'd thunk we'd have seen the Packers - considered the epitome of a perennially successful NFL team - residing in the Anxiously Awaiting the Draft section of the power rankings this late into the season? The Packers 42-24 loss to the Redskins is more than enough prove that this team has plenty of defensive deficiencies to work out. Sorry, cheese heads, but in today's offensive uber alles NFL, not even Aaron Rodgers passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns a game is enough to guarantee you a win anymore.

Houston Texans (6-4)
Season Point Differential: -34

Houston fans are looking for every excuse in the world for why they blew Monday night's fourth quarter lead against the Raiders. Bad ball spots. A receiver not stepping out of bounds and thus negating what would have been a touchdown. The fans in Mexico City shining laser pointers in Brock Osweiler's eyes, throwing paper airplanes on the field and chanting "puto" whenever the Texans returned a kick or punt. The one thing they won't blame, however, is probably the thing the team owes its 27-20 loss to the most - not being able to cover Raiders receivers on medium range passes. 

Los Angeles Rams (4-6)
Season Point Differential: -38

When it's all said and done, the 2016 Rams may have had the absolute fugliest season in pro football history. Their latest snooze-fest was a cruddy 14-10 loss to the Dolphins; alas, with a four game murderer's row against the Saints, Falcons, Patriots and Seahawks up next, we may finally start to see something that resembles a formal football offense in L.A. again.

New York Jets (3-7)
Season Point Differential: -65

The Jets were AWOL during week 11, but they're going to be a lot more noticeable in week 12 as they go nose-to-nose with divisional arch rivals New England. And this is a team that's going to get well acquainted with their foes in the AFC East - indeed, their final three games of the year, in order, are against the Dolphins, the Patriots and the Bills.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)
Season Point Differential: -72

Well, at least the Jags kept it close in their 26-19 loss to the Lions. All but technically eliminated from the postseason, pretty much all Jacksonville can do is scrap and bite and claw as hard as they can to reach .500 - which, considering their schedule includes some tough outings against the Bills, Broncos, Vikings and Texans over the next four weeks - seems extraordinarily unlikely.

Chicago Bears (2-8)
Season Point Differential: -80

After the 22-16 loss to the Giants Sunday, the Bears are pretty much all but finished this year. That's especially true considering Jay Cutler will be sidelined for the remainder of the season - which means either Matt Barkley or David Fales will be under center for the next six games. Pay heed, DeShaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky ... this is the O-line entrusted with your safety come 2017.

San Francisco 49ers (1-9)
Season Point Differential: -109

In the Niners' 30-17 loss to New England, Colin K. lobbed the rock for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He also got sacked five times for a cumulative loss of 29 yards, so yeah, there's that, too. 

Cleveland Browns (0-11)
Season Point Differential: -141

And with a 24-9 loss to the Steelers, the Browns find themselves becoming the first NFL team of the 2016 season to be officially eliminated from playoff contention. Thankfully for Cleveland and its supporters, the team has a much-needed bye following this week's clash with the Giants ... which means, for at least one week this autumn, the Browns are guaranteed to not lose something


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