New England Patriots (12-2) - Previously: #1 - The Patriots nearly lost to Matt Flynn, but that's nothing to be embarrassed about because, as e-mailer Steve Y. pointed out, New England was going against Kuhn and Friends.
If you're wondering why Kuhn and Friends didn't unleash Cthulhu, the answer is simple. Cthulhu would have been no match for Tom Brady and his beautiful hair.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) - Previously: #2 - I loved how ESPN ran a story about QB Dog Killer wanting to own a dog all of a sudden. Really? Do you consider this news, ESPN? If so, then I have breaking news to report. This just in - Osama bin Laden wants an atomic bomb to blow up America. Yes, it's true!
Atlanta Falcons (12-2) - Previously: #5 - Give the Falcons a ton of credit. Not only did they travel across the country and win at a raucous Qwest Field; they also overcame senile official Walt Coleman's bumbling announcements. Check out these two beauties:
"Seattle is changingling the spot of the ball."
"After review, Atlanta crossed the line to gain for the first... the first down. First down, Seattle... uhh... Atlanta... Atlanta is not charged... uhh... Seattle is charged with their first team timeout."
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) - Previously: #3 - I'm not going to penalize the Steelers much for that loss because Troy Polamalu would have made the difference.
At any rate, we know that women hate Ben Roethlisberger because he allegedly raped a girl in a bar this offseason. Now everyone can hate him for another reason.
The NFL Network had Roethlisberger on for an interview at halftime of the Thursday night game. In a valiant attempt to speak the English language, Deion Sanders asked Big Ben the following, "Does it bother you that you are not mentioned among the elitist in the game?"
Ah, it all makes sense now. Roethlisberger takes advantage of gold-digging skanks because he believes he's better than everyone. Thanks for clearing that up, Deion.
Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - Previously: #9 - A very impressive win over Drew Brees moves Baltimore up a couple of spots.
I'm sure the Ravens were happy to be playing at home this week after playing in Houston on Monday night. The fans down there were drunk, loud and disgusting. Just take a look if you don't believe me:
No wonder the Ravens nearly blew that huge lead. (Thanks to e-mailer Dan D. for sending this over.)
New Orleans Saints (10-4) - Previously: #4 - I think this reinforces that the Saints need to be indoors if they want to go to the Super Bowl again.
Speaking of the Saints, make sure you pick up Drew Brees in your fantasy leagues this week! What? You're saying Brees isn't on the waiver wire? Hmm... well the people on the comment board on the ESPN Women page beg to differ (scroll down to James44436's comment; thanks to Geoffrey W. for sending this link over.)
As if ESPN wasn't bad enough; now we have to deal with ESPN Women. But before you accuse me of being sexist, check out whom Stephania Bell tells you to pick up. That's right - the one and only Tony Gerhart.
New York Jets (10-4) - Previously: #6 - The Jets needed that win, though I'm not sure that happens if Troy Polamalu's playing for Pittsburgh.
On the bright side, Braylon Edwards didn't suck for a change. And that reminds me - here's some hate mail John G. sent me after I criticized Edwards recently for dropping too many passes.
Braylon Edwards has one drop this season. Sack up and quit letting your personal biases affect your analysis. Be intelligent. A**hole.
Green Bay Packers (8-6) - Previously: #7 - The good news is that Matt Flynn's performance may allow the Packers to trade him for a decent draft pick.
The bad news is that the Green Bay-New England Sunday night affair eerily reminded me a lot of the Eagles-Patriots battle of 2007 in which A.J. Feeley nearly took down an invincible, undefeated New England team. Philadelphia played its heart out and lost at the very end. The following week, the team had absolutely no energy for the Seahawks, and consequently suffered another defeat as home favorites.
As valiant as that effort was, I don't think the Packers will be able to bounce back from such an emotional loss.
Anyway, let's go to Notes from NFL.com GameCenter - a list of a few stupid comments I read on NFL.com's GameCenter and my thoughts on them (the second from Arun M; the third from Samantha D.):
1. "have u ever heard of twitter it goes on all the time and last i heard its not illegal know stupid think about it there would of been an ivestagation as soon as this came out"
Twitter goes on all the time? And here I thought Twitter's hours were 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. How silly of me.
2. "u know whats scary the pats are supposed to be re buiding they have 2 first rounders 2 snds 2 thirds next years draft how do u spell DYNISTY PATS THATS HOW"
Not sure about that spelling, bud, but I love your confidence.
3. "Too busy playin Assassin's Creed Brotherhood on PS3. With Jackson under center against a contending team he never gonna score. Sorry but Joe Webb ain't gonna do good either I ain't racist but DRAFT A WHITE QB this time IN THE 1ST ROUND. I JUST HAD TO SAY IT. YOU WOULD HAVE BETTER CHANCES OF GETTING A DECENT QB IF HE IS WHITE. YES THERE IS VICK BUT THIS IS HIS ONLY GOOD SEASON OF HIS ENTIRE CAREER WHERE HE ACTUALLY HAD GOOD WRS. FAVRE was not healthy yet he was the healthiest person on the roster other than AP on offense. YES I SAID IT. IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR HIM TO COME BACK FOR ONE MORE YEAR AND WITH MOSS SINCE ONLY MN WOULD TRULY WANT HIM BACK AND ALL THOSE MOSS HATERS IN MN CAN GO LICK THE CHEESE OF THE PACKERS."
Oddly enough, the main character in Assassin's Creed also wears a white hood. Coincidence?
New York Giants (9-5) - Previously: #8 - I love listening to Philadelphia's sports talk radio station (610 WIP) after the Eagles lose because the calls are highly entertaining.
Last night wasn't nearly as amusing - save for one lunatic caller. He actually said the following to host Big Daddy Graham in a serious tone:
"Michael Vick said Brent Celek was gonna have an impact on the season, and I think he knew Celek would have a touchdown against the Giants. I believe Michael Vick has a special psychic power."
So don't feel bad, Giants fans. It's tough to beat a quarterback with a special psychic power.
San Diego Chargers (8-6) - Previously: #10 - I forget who mentioned it on the NFL Network, but someone told us that Alex Smith still asks Norv Turner (his former offensive coordinator) questions from time to time. Here's how their conversation went down prior to the Thursday night game:
Alex Smith: Oh, wise Norv, what should I do to help my team win on Thursday night?
Norv Turner: You will achieve success, my son, by throwing it to the gentlemen in the powder-blue jerseys. Good things will happen if you do as I say.
Alex Smith: But oh wise Norv, aren't those gents on the other team?
Norv Turner: You dare challenge the wisdom of the Norv?
Alex Smith: No, oh wise Norv, no, I'm sorry. I will do as you say.
Nice job, oh wise Norv. Easy win.
2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16 - Bottom 10
32. Carolina Panthers (2-12) - Previously: #32 - I'm disgusted with Carolina's effort. Sure, throw your entire future away for a meaningless win over the Cardinals. Great job.
I'll address this further in the Bengals capsule, so here are my thoughts on the Bears-Vikings game:
1. This wasn't really much of a game, with all of the drama coming before kickoff. Despite Brett Favre ruling himself out on Saturday, Favre made a surprise start. My reaction on the forum: "****. Favre will start. ****ing *******. I wanted to see Joe Webb."
Favre was TKOed early, and Webb sucked. He had a great 13-yard touchdown run and made a couple of solid throws, but the Bears picked him off twice as he telegraphed some of his passes. Webb went 15-of-26 for 129 yards and two interceptions with 38 rushing yards.
2. The other reason I was angry was because I knew that Favre's surprise start would prompt a massive orgasm by ESPN. If you were fortunate enough to miss this telecast, here's what it sounded like:
3. While Favre screwed over the ESPN viewers, Adrian Peterson screwed over his fantasy owners. Peterson was a late scratch, possibly costing tens of thousands of fantasy players a semi-final victory.
4. The Bears looked awesome, but some of that was Minnesota's sorry emotional state. The Vikings had absolutely no energy, as they were robbed of yet another home game. But Chicago deserves a ton of credit. Jay Cutler (14-24, 194 yards, 3 TDs, INT) was terrific for most of the night, though he threw a pick and tossed a horrible second interception that was wiped out by a penalty.
5. Congrats to Devin Hester, who set the NFL record for most career punt and kickoff return touchdowns with 14. Hester nearly had a 15th, but was tackled inside the 10-yard line.
6. Even aside from all the Favre a**-kissing, Jon Gruden was horrible. He made three factual errors, and it's pretty apparent that he's mailing it in because he knows he'll be coaching next year.
First, Gruden said that the Vikings played the Lions last week. They took on the Giants.
Second, Gruden called Johnny Knox "Kevin Knox." I'll be calling Johnny Knox "Kevin Knox" going forward.
And third, Gruden said that they call Flozell Adams "The House." It's "The Hotel," Gruden. Clearly you've never landed on Boardwalk in Monopoly, or you'd know the difference.
31. Denver Broncos (3-11) - Previously: #31 - How can anyone think Tim Tebow will possibly fail in the NFL? Not only does he have the heart of a champion; he also has God on his side. Tebow was awesome in his debut.
Funny e-mail from David H. featuring a quote regarding the quarterback that Tebow displaced:
Just read your Jon Gruden quotes. He (and Jaws to a lesser extent) is terrible, especially after watching the best team in the biz, Michaels and Collinsworth, do their thing the night before. Anyhow, Gruden had one of the greatest quotes during the Denver/San Diego game a few weeks back.
In reference to Orton piling up garbage time yards, he said "Meaningless yards mean nothing." Gee, thanks for the insight, coach. I suppose he thinks fat chicks are overweight too.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) - Previously: #30 - I want to bring up an interesting e-mail from Fernando G:
I find your opinions on football both fun and informative, but there is a thing that bothers me, and it's expressed in this paragraph:
"In the wake of Carolina beating Arizona, a Bengals loss would have given them the inside track on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Instead, the they foolishly won this game, making it highly unlikely that they will land Andrew Luck."
Foolishly won? The day I see a team take a fall for a better pick at the draft that would be the day Ill stop watching football all together. I find exciting that teams that are no longer in the playoff race can still destroy the hope and dreams of "better" teams.
Fernando is definitely not alone in this mindset. Chris Berman and Tom Jackson often praise teams for playing hard and winning meaningless games down the stretch.
I, however, think this is the worst possible offense a team can commit. I really don't get how anyone can defend Cincinnati and Carolina's victories. The ultimate goal of any franchise is to win the Super Bowl. If that's the case, what's going to get a team there quicker? A meaningless win over the Browns or Cardinals late in the year, or the ability to land a blue-chip quarterback who is the consensus No. 1 prospect?
You can't say it's not the latter. I understand teams want to win football games, but they are just hurting themselves in the long run. I mean, look at the Boston Celtics, who tanked and thus were able to land the Big Three. Or the Rams, whose futility allowed them to draft Sam Bradford. St. Louis now has the chance to win multiple Super Bowls before the loser of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes ever recovers.
But maybe I'm just crazy. I don't know. I don't think it's right to make your fans watch horrible football all year and then completely derail your future for a win that means absolutely nothing.
29. Arizona Cardinals (4-10) - Previously: #29 - The Adventure of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask continues!
Anderson: Hic... hey mannnnnn, take a sssip ffffrom hic this fffflask.
Jimmy Clausen: Dude, I've been playing drunk all year. I don't need to drink out of your magic flask.
Anderson: Thazzzz whyyy you neeedddd to drinnnkk.
Clausen: Eh, what the hell? Can't hurt, right?
*** Ten minutes later ***
Clausen: Oh my God, I'm sober! I think your magic flask canceled out the alcohol in my system. I'm going to play a great game now and screw Walt out of five units!
28. Seattle Seahawks (6-8) - Previously: #28 - I'd say something about the Seahawks, but e-mailer Mike G. summed Sunday's game up best:
I was surprised in your Seattle-Atlanta recap that you did not blast Matt Hasselbeck enough for being completely inept. The strip sack/ TD recovery by the Fat Babineaux in the end zone was particularly awful. Being the gambler I am, I had Seattle in a 3-team teaser at +16, and that bald turd single-handedly made sure I had no shot at winning some holiday cash.
I never thought I would be happy to see Charlie Whitehurst enter a game. Well, unless I had big money on the opposing team. I guess it is justice that a Pete Carroll-coached team is so disgraceful. He will be coaching college again in two years.
In my defense, I did say that Hasselbeck chugged five of Derek Anderson's magical flasks. I guess that wasn't condemning enough. Fine, 10 flasks.
27. San Francisco 49ers (5-9) - Previously: #23 - I already mentioned why the 49ers lost in the Chargers capsule, so here are more Notes from NFL.com GameCenter (the first from Jeff. E; the third from Brinthan B.):
1. "steelers love big sexual assualting ben"
This is perhaps the worst nickname given to Ben Roethlisberger. Seriously dude, put some effort into it.
2. "harrision should keep dsoing wehat he does and if the nfl is so worried about all these big hit i do think they target and look at harrision morethan anyother player in the nfl because u always see big and dirty hits but harrison it the first one to get called"
Quite sadly, I couldn't agree more with this.
3. "of course the pats have the best record in the nfl THEY PLAYED ONE MORE GAME THEN ALMOST EVERYTEAM moron ur smart let me tell ya pats are junk ur d is garbbbage"
Ah, the key to having success in the NFL is playing one more game "then" almost "everyteam." Bill Belichick is cheating again!
26. Houston Texans (5-9) - Previously: #22 - I guess the novelty of closing the year out well and finishing 8-8 or 9-7 has worn off. The Texans didn't try hard at all Sunday. In fact, instead of beating up the other team, they fought each other.
If you missed it - SportsCenter and NFL Primetime didn't show it - Houston defenders Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith got into a fight, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
To find out why Cushing and Smith fought each other, I asked them to sit down with me for an interview:
ME: Hey Brian and Antonio, thanks for joining me. Let's get it out in the open. Why did you guys fight yesterday?
CUSHING: "He started it!"
ME: Guys! One at a time. Brian, you first.
CUSHING: "Antonio told me he has pictures that he secretly took of my balls!"
SMITH: "That's only because Brian takes steroids!!!"
ME: Wait, Antonio, you actually have pictures of Brian's balls?
SMITH: "Yeah! Take a look here. These are his balls from high school. Normal size. These are his balls from college. A bit smaller. Now look at them. You can barely see them!"
ME: Dude, I don't want to see this.
CUSHING: "RAWWRRRR I WILL KILL YOU FOR HAVING PICTURES OF MY BALLS!!!"
ME: Brian, Antonio's a weirdo, but that doesn't mean you should beat him up.
CUSHING: "You're right. Sorry guys, I have tears in my eyes. I'm gonna go to my room, write in my journal and cry myself to sleep."
25. Washington Redskins (5-9) - Previously: #24 - I'm at a loss for words. Rex Grossman actually played well on Sunday. Mike Shanahan turned Jake Plummer into a decent quarterback in Denver; maybe he can do the same thing with Grossman. Hey, crazier things have happened. Well, not really.
At any rate, Donovan McNabb is done in Washington, regardless of how Grossman plays the final two weeks. That's what Shanahan told McNabb anyway, when he said, "There's nothing you can do in these last three games that could convince me."
So, Donovan, if you're thinking of kidnapping Shanahan's kids and holding them hostage to get your job back, don't do it. Nothing can convince Shanahan.
24. St. Louis Rams (6-8) - Previously: #17 - You're letting me down, Sam Bradford. I was planning on paying for my unborn children's college education with the money I'd earn betting on you. Two spread losses in a row? For shame.
For those of you who didn't watch the Rams-Chiefs game, CBS color analyst Dan Fouts had a gay moment during a Thomas Jones run:
"Look at those guns on Thomas Jones! And for those of you who don't know what guns are, those are his biceps!"
Not that there's anything wrong with that, Dan.
23. Detroit Lions (4-10) - Previously: #27 - In my NFL Week 15 recap, I wrote that Matt Millen's stench was finally gone from the Lions organization.
As a quick reminder of how truly awful Millen was, here's an e-mail from Adam S., who narrated an actual exchange between Millen and Bob Papa during the San Diego-San Francisco game:
Millen: You see here... I want you to watch this... His shoulder hits the pylon... That's a touchdown!!!
Papa: No, his knee down at the 1-yard line. He's down.
Millen: I want you to watch this, Mike Secretary said he wanted more toughness on the field, and watch Alex Smith, he dives at the pylon and shoulder hit the pilon. BAM, it's a touchdown!!!
Official: The ruling on the filed is reversed. The player was down at the 1-yard line.
Millen: What a great challenge by Norv Turner!!!
This guy is a worse broadcaster than he was general manager of the Lions!!
Hey, say what you want about Millen, but I don't think there has ever been a human being who has sucked at so many things.
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links:
Jones gives the Packers a physical hitter and presence in the middle of their defense. Morgan Burnett is in the last year of his contract, is approaching 30, and had injuries last year. Jones could learn behind him for a year and then take over.