So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
Green Bay Packers (13-1) - Previously: #1 - I wrote the following last week:
"The Packers are going 19-0, and the blond chick in the State Farm Discount Double-Check commercial is really hot. That is all."
Oops! Well, at least half of that statement still applies. The blond chick remains hot - even with NFL.com displaying that ad a billion times an hour on their game pages. RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! RODGERS!!! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!!!! Ugh.
New England Patriots (11-3) - Previously: #3 - Still not buying the Patriots. Their defense blows now, especially with Andre Carter now likely out for the year. They got very lucky Sunday with three Denver fumbles in the first half.
Anyway, here's something to prove that the Jets are a fraud (thanks to Arun M.):
Hear that, Jets fans? You haven't won the Super Bowl since World War II, and the Patriots will win to you. How does that make you feel?
New Orleans Saints (11-3) - Previously: #4 - Why do I get the feeling that in a few years, several members of Minnesota's secondary will come forward and reveal that they were raped by Drew Brees in December 2011? Oh, and I'm sure Joe Paterno will be fired for not reporting it to the police.
Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - Previously: #5 - It should be no surprise that the Ravens were "blowed" out at San Diego. Look at what the Colts did to them the week before, according to GameCenter:
That looks like a freaking roller coaster. I feel like just by looking at that, GameCenter wants to charge me $8 for a picture of me puking my brains out all over the guy seated next to me.
San Francisco 49ers (11-3) - Previously: #6 - A recap of the Steelers-49ers game:
1. Ben Roethlisberger shouldn't have played in this game. He had no mobility and was limping around most of the time. He sailed some of his throws, and was responsible for four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble). He could have easily thrown a fourth pick, but linebacker Larry Grant had the ball fall right out of his hands.
Roethlisberger threw for 330 yards, and his toughness is definitely commendable, but the Steelers should have been more responsible and let him rest for a week. They're very lucky he didn't suffer further injury.
2. Alex Smith was better, but only by default. He went 18-of-31 for 187 yards and a touchdown. He made quick decisions, but I fear that the media will make the mistake of talking him up too much.
Almost all of Smith's throws were of the dink-and-dunk variety. There just isn't enough big-play potential in this offense to make San Francisco much of a factor in the postseason. As I wrote in the forum, this 49er team reminds me of the 2001 Bears. They have a great defense and special teams, but are handicapped with a limited offense that is efficient in the regular season but will be the catalyst for the team's downfall in the playoffs.
3. The 49ers were able to move the chains the entire evening. I don't know what happened to this Pittsburgh defense. I know James Harrison was out, but LaMarr Woodley was back from injury. The Steelers looked as old and slow as they did at the beginning of the year.
4. Two separate blackouts made this game really interesting. A transformer blew out 10 minutes prior to kickoff, blanketing the entire stadium in darkness. The contest started after a 20-minute delay, but there was another blackout in the second quarter. A stupid fan took this opportunity to run onto the field, prompting Roethlisberger to joke, "Where's James Harrison when you need him?"
The blackout was fun. I thought the players should have manned up and took the field in the darkness. Forum member Pheltzbahr had a better idea:
I'd be raping cheerleaders if I was there.
A GameCenter person had his own take:
ward thought he was playing baltimore when he got his ligts knocked out
5. Official Walt Coleman needs to be fired. He's completely inept and has no idea what is going on. There were so many instances where Coleman whistled a team for a penalty, only to have the announcers say something like, "That didn't look like a 'insert penalty type' to me."
Coleman's most egregious errors came in replay situations. Both teams challenged obvious replay situations, only to have Coleman announce, "The ruling on the field is confirmed" all three times when it was completely evident that the calls should have been overturned on all three occasions.
I took this opportunity to tweet (@walterfootball), "Why are the 49ers and Steelers challenging? It's not like Walt Coleman knows how to use the replay equipment."
Detroit Lions (9-5) - Previously: #10 - A big win for the Lions - even if the Raiders did screw themselves over with stupid mistakes.
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:
1. "Im better than tyler palko if you ask me lol and taller to"
Hey, if you make it into the NFL, you can join Vince Young in the Illiterate Quarterback Club.
2. "i'm not a idot because the bengals can trade up and do what they want"
No, you're an "idot" because you can't spell the word "idiot."
3. "their no rams fans because they know their going to get killed again"
"Their" is no hope for our country's education system either.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) - Previously: #2 - The theme this week is exposing last year's final four teams as frauds. I already showed you why the Jets are a sham. Steeler fans, you may want to choose another team to root for:
That's right - your six rings are a sham. Time to jump ship and root for the Browns.
Denver Broncos (8-6) - Previously: #7 - Denver's loss to New England made many people happy. John Kreese Elway for one. Johnny Lawrence Fox was another. And then there were all the dumb, former players on ESPN who have been wrong about Tim Tebow all along.
I am fair though, so I sat down with Merril Hoge for an interview to let him state his thoughts on Tebow:
Me: Hey Merril, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Merril Hoge: My pleasure.
Me: Tim Tebow finally lost. Was this what you expected?
Merril Hoge: It's just what I've been saying all along, Walt. Tim Tebow cannot throw in the National Football League.
Me: I thought he actually threw pretty well Sunday, but his pass protection was abysmal. Agree or disagree?
Merril Hoge: Disagree. The Broncos threw it too many times. They needed to hand the ball off to the factor back! The factor back!
Me: But they were trailing after those three fumbles, plus Willis McGahee got hurt. They couldn't exactly run the ball.
Merril Hoge: You can always run the ball with the factor back. That's why he's the factor back! Factor back!
Me: But you need to throw when you're way behind...
Me: Good God. Only Tim Tebow can save humanity now.
New York Giants (7-7) - Previously: #8 - I have some bad news for you Giant fans. You have no shot to win the division - because you're four games behind the 49ers with two weeks remaining. This is from NFL.com (thanks Landon E.):
Houston Texans (10-4) - Previously: #9 - I'm not going to count the Carolina loss against the Texans. It was meaningless for them because they clinched the division the week before. Plus, Wade Phillips was out.
A note on the two teams at Nos. 11 and 12 in these rankings: I don't trust the Cowboys or the Falcons. The latter hasn't really beaten anyone this year and can't win outdoors. Dallas, meanwhile, could implode at any moment. If the Eagles still have something to play for Sunday afternoon, Tony Romo, Jason Garrett and company are going down in flames.
2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16 - Bottom 10
32. Indianapolis Colts (1-13) - Previously: #32 - Famous GameCenter user Taton is still banned. I would have loved to read what Taton would have written during Indianapolis' first victory of the season. Here are the posts Taton would have made on GameCenter if he were still a member:
When the Colts established a 3-0 lead:
- Adam Vinatei kick feld goal!!!!! Colt have led for first time in seaon!!!!!!!
When the Titans tied it up:
- tian kick field gol!!!!! colt must score moee point!!!!!!! Coach Casewell is fat pig!!!!!!!!!!
When the Colts took the lead again:
- orkovsky touchdwon!!!!!! he better than p.manning!!!!!!! coach cadwell still need to be fire or no hope for playoff next yar!!!!!!!!!!!!
When the Titans scored late to draw within seven:
- uh oh here we go again caoch cadwell going to blow game!!!!!!!!!!!! coach casewell going to have gay sex in lockar room with jim isray if colt looose game!!!!!!!!!!
When the Colts finally prevailed:
- colt win finally!!!!!!! now no more win needed!!!! gay cach cawell need suck for lack!!!!!!!!
31. St. Louis Rams (2-12) - Previously: #31 - Thank you, Kellen Clemens, for costing me $300. May you be kidnapped, taken to a seedy hotel room and penetrated anally via kielbasa by Matt Millen.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) - Previously: #30 - Charlie Campbell (@draftcampbell) was at the Buccaneers-Cowboys game Saturday night. Since I wrote up the game recap, I thought I'd have him discuss the future of this Tampa squad:
Tampa Bay is at a crossroads. After Dallas cruised to a 31-15 win Saturday night, the Buccaneers are poised to finish 4-12 on the season. The Bucs aren't going to go on the road and beat the Panthers on Christmas Eve or win against the Falcons a week later. Right now, it would be a surprise if head coach Raheem Morris was given another season. Although many believe ownership doesn't want to fire Morris, the collapse with eight straight losses and counting will probably force a coaching change.
Tampa Bay will have to pay Morris $2 million in 2012. There is a strong sentiment around the team that general manager Mark Dominik is trying to save his own job by separating himself from Morris in order to make the Morris the fall guy for the disaster of a season. Most around the team believe that Dominik is likely to survive. The possibility exists that the Bucs owners, the Glazers, could clean house and look to hire a new general manager and head coach. However, Dominik received a multi-year extension earlier this season.
While Morris may be the fall guy, the entire organization deserves their share of the blame. Dominik and the Bucs' front office said no to free agent veterans whom the coaching staff wanted the team to sign. Players like running back Darren Sproles, running back Cadillac Williams, tight end John Gilmore and linebacker Barrett Ruud are some of those veterans. A lot of the draft picks made from 2009 haven't panned out, and the young players that played well in 2010 have struggled across the board in 2011. Sources have said that the front office overestimated the talent of their draft picks. From top down, there is plenty of blame to go around in Tampa Bay.
The rumors around the team are that Dominik would want the team to hire another young, lesser-known coach so he could maintain a high level of influence on the personnel moves. A big-name coach like Jeff Fisher or Bill Cowher would be the shot-caller from a football standpoint, and could have their own general manager they would want to run the team.
A decade ago, the Glazers wanted the elite of the NFL on the field and running the team. They chased Bill Parcells to replace Tony Dungy, and made the massive trade to land Jon Gruden. After the Super Bowl team went to pasture, the Glazers signed up for a young staff, a young roster and low payroll. With attendance and fan interest at a serious low, the Glazers are at a critical breaking point. They are going to have to decide whether to turn back the clock and make some bold moves to acquire some big-name difference-makers like Fisher or Cowher, or opt for a young coordinator in hopes of landing the next Dungy or Gruden. It will be an interesting January in Tampa.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) - Previously: #29 - I received a hilarious text from Matvei, who runs the Sharps Picks section, during the Atlanta-Jacksonville game:
Jacksonville looked so bad that I wanted to call the ASPCA. I can't believe what a p***y Gabbert is: he looks as petrified as he did two months ago against the Bengals.
28. Minnesota Vikings (2-12) - Previously: #27 - Thanks for playing, Vikings. You gave a good effort and stayed in the game for a while, but the Saints were just too much. You won't go home empty-handed though. Mike, tell them what they've won!
"You've won a brand-new left tackle! Matt Kalil, fresh from USC, is this year's model of a prototypical left tackle. Christian Ponder can enjoy his Sunday afternoons not getting destroyed by right ends coming in from the blind side. And best of all, Kalil will not cost you much - thanks to the new CBA, you'll get him at a very reasonable contract!"
27. Buffalo Bills (5-9) - Previously: #24 - Facebook friend Danny S. sent over this incredibly detailed Buffalo-Miami prediction from one of the ESPN message boards. Try to see if you can find the hilarious error.
Miami: 3 7 3 10 3
Bills: 13 0 0 7 0
First Quarter: C.J Spiller 2 yard touchdown run (Dave Rayner kick is blocked), Bills 6-0, Dan Carpenter 31 yard field goal is good, Bills 6-3, Nick Barnett 9 yard interception return for a touchdown (Dave Rayner Kick is good), Bills 13-3
Second Quarter: Reggie Bush 16 yard touchdown catch from Matt Moore, (Dan Carpenter kick is good), Bills 13-10 half
Third Quarter : Dan Carpenter 34 yard field goal is good, 13-13
Fourth Quarter: Brandon Marshall 27 yard touchdown catch from Matt Moore, Dolphins 20-13, C.J Spiller 3 yard touchdown run (Dave Rayner Kick is good), 20-20
Overtime: Dan Carpenter 44 yard field goal is good, Dolphins 23-20 Final/OT
M.Moore picked off by Nick Barnett for a touchdown
R.Fitzpatrick fumbled on a QB sneak up the middle pick up by S.Smith
R.Fitzpatrick picked off by Koa Misa -1 yard return
R. Fitzpatrick picked off by Cameron Wake 2 yard return
D.Shayner's kick Blocked by Will Allen 36 yard return
If you haven't found it, well, the Dolphins would be the first team in NFL history to go into overtime with a lead.
26. Cleveland Browns (5-9) - Previously: #28 - Last week, I showed you that Jon S. epitomized the state of the Browns best in this brief e-mail he sent to me following the Thursday night loss to Pittsburgh:
Thank God for McCoy and his interception. This could have been ugly. Five wins... that would be terrible. With only four wins we can get a real QB.
Jon S. sent over three more hilarious e-mails Sunday:
Oh my God, Washington and Miami both win! Come on browns... lose big to Arizona!
And after Cleveland's defeat:
Cleveland PROVES Colt McCoy is not the answer and we still lose. Merry Xmas, Cleveland Browns!!!!
And during Baltimore's loss at San Diego:
Now the Ravens are losing. If this happens and Steelers win tomorrow night, both Baltimore (Browns get them next week) and Steelers for final game will both need to beat Browns. So the Steelers won't take the last game off at Cleveland. Oh boy, I am already getting ready to order a QB jersey!!!!
25. Chicago Bears (7-7) - Previously: #21 - Cannon Ball Caleb Hanie was great against the Packers in the NFC Championship. Now, he's the worst quarterback of all time. What happened?
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Caleb Hanie: Oh boy, oh boy, I'm going to make so much money next offseason!
24. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8) - Previously: #26 - It's time for my weekly bashing of NFL.com's bogus edge meter:
A slight edge? What a joke. The Chiefs are clearly better than the Packers. They should have the slight edge!
If NFL.com is smart enough to figure this one out, perhaps the following graphic is also true:
If the Chiefs can upset the Packers, perhaps Emmitt Smith can defeat William Shakespeare in a grammar competition.
23. Washington Redskins (5-9) - Previously: #25 - The Redskins are winning themselves out of the Robert Griffin and Matt Barkley sweepstakes. What the hell are they doing?
Here are more Notes from NFL.com GameCenter:
1. "Go eagles eagles fans try not get to tipsie"
Perhaps you should have taken your own advice prior to logging on to GameCenter.
2. "the fact jack. u steeler fanz r da only dilusional ones out there. like i said i dislike the seehawks"
Ah, the Seehawks - the birds that hail from the optometrist's office.
3. "hey stellerz316 whats up wit ur name and ur picture friend? r u supposed to be a monk profit or something with the verse 316 and the hood?"
A monk who makes money? Isn't that against their beliefs?
2011 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Dallas Cowboys (8-6). Previously: #13
12. Atlanta Falcons (9-5). Previously: #12
13. San Diego Chargers (7-7). Previously: #16
14. New York Jets (8-6). Previously: #11
15. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6). Previously: #14
16. Oakland Raiders (7-7). Previously: #15
17. Seattle Seahawks (7-7). Previously: #18
18. Arizona Cardinals (7-7). Previously: #19
19. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8). Previously: #23
20. Miami Dolphins (5-9). Previously: #20
21. Tennessee Titans (7-7). Previously: #17
22. Carolina Panthers (5-9). Previously: #22
Run Defenses, Pass Defense, Pass Protection:
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: