Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - Previously: #2 - The Seahawks move up to No. 1. Their win last week was very impressive. Racking up 600 net yards of offense in Arizona, where no one else has won, was awesome, especially considering that the Cardinals had extra time to prepare.
To top it off, the Seahawks did this without having Marshawn Lynch for a quarter because he had a stomach bug. It's nice to know that Skittles are the answer to that sort of illness. Speaking of Lynch...
New England Patriots (12-3) - Previously: #1 - I'm not moving the Patriots to No. 2 as a downgrade; I understand that they've always had issues with the Jets. This is more Seattle being overly impressive lately. I'm also a bit concerned with New England's inability to throw downfield. The Patriots have an awesome weapon in Rob Gronkowski, but they don't really have anyone to stretch the field.
Green Bay Packers (11-4) - Previously: #4 - When Chad Millman told Colin Cowherd amid the porno music that the sharps were on the Buccaneers because "they're taking a double-digit home dog on principle," I just shook my head. First of all, no real sharp bettor takes teams/situations solely on principle. Second, how could they bet against Aaron Rodgers off a loss against a Tampa Bay defense missing its best player? The Buccaneers, as we saw in their blowout loss at Atlanta, are nothing without Gerald McCoy.
The Packers played like crap, yet they were still able to prevail by double digits. They need to clean up their act though. No more crucial drops, missed field goals, fumbles, goal-line ineptitude, etc. Otherwise, they'll be quickly bounced out of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - Previously: #6 - The Steelers defy the sharps yet again with another solid win. I compared Pittsburgh's ability to win "unlikely" games with that of the 2008 version of this team, and I received some stupid feedback for it, including:
LOL, you comparing this Steelers team to the 2008 Superbowl champions. That 2008 team had a suffocating defense that was no. 1 in numerous categories. The 2014 team's defense is a joke, especially against the pass. They also won as road favorites coming off a win in 2010 and 2011 (the year they lost to Tim Tebow in the playoffs armed with a much better defense). None of those teams lost at home to a team that will finish 2-14 either.
Derp dee derp dee doo. I never said this Steeler team was as good as the 2008 version (I had them at No. 6 last week, for crying out loud). I just noted that these teams have both won "unusually," and that it could be a possible coincidence. This Pittsburgh defense sucks, but the offense is very explosive, and the Steelers will be a threat to anyone in the playoffs as long as Ben Roethlisberger continues to be at the top of his game.
Dallas Cowboys (11-4) - Previously: #9 - The white-guy host on NFL GameDay Final asked Deion Sanders whom he thought had the best chance of winning in Seattle. Deion said the Cowboys, and I agreed with him. I don't trust Dallas, but the team has already won in Seattle, and it plays better on the road, for the most part. Strangely enough, I think it's in Dallas' best interest not to secure homefield advantage, so its fans better not hope for a Packer-Lion tie, or whatever other weird things need to happen that Donovan McNabb doesn't understand.
Denver Broncos (11-4) - Previously: #3 - Looks like another one-and-done playoff run for Peyton Manning, whose noodle arm was exposed Monday night.
Here's my NFL Game Recaps page where you can find analysis of the Broncos-Bengals game.
Indianapolis Colts (10-5) - Previously: #5 - Wow. The Colts were not prepared to play the Cowboys. A rematch would be much different if Indianapolis actually needs to try hard, and if Andrew Luck has T.Y. Hilton at his disposal. Indianapolis is a top-eight team with Luck under center.
Jim Irsay has been able to tweet again, but not all of his tweets made it on to Twitter, as he was forced to delete some of them. I managed to capture these before he erased them:
were going to win dallas suck a dick @TonyRomo!!!
U 2 @JerryJones U HOMO YOU'RE TEAM IS GOING DOWN 2DAY!!!
3 and out hahahahah cowboys suck a turd wait wtf personnel foul on jordan freeman UGHHHH
@JerrellFreeman COWBOYS SCORED A TD BECAUSE OF U U IDIOT IM GOING TO BURN YOU'RE HOUSE DOWN!!!
OMG WE WENT 3 AND OUT OMG WTF PETE HAMILTON WHY DID WE RUN 3 TIMES WE HAVE ANDREW LUCK
SRSLY ANDREW LUCK IS GOD WHY THE FUKC ARE WE RUNNING EVERY TIME I HOPE U DIE IN A FIRE PETE HAMILTON!!!
fake punt time i no this cuz i tld them to do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) - Previously: #14 - Andy Dalton was extremely lucky that he didn't throw five interceptions against the Broncos. He's going to have a train wreck of a performance in the playoffs once the Bengals bump into a team that can stop the run.
Speaking of train-wreck performances...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: It's been 16 weeks now since I've last had a drop from my precious magic flask, and time is running out. Now that I don't have to play anymore, I can track it down, and there have been reports of wildly drunk people in Houston.
Steve Smith: Derek, my former teammate, please help!
Derek Anderson: Why, what's wrong?
Steve Smith: My quarterback, he needs help! Look! He has a huge bulge in his stomach and he's vomiting all over the place!
Joe Flacco: ERGHWR OIHWE HI blegh!j prjg irwhgip whrgi rhoi BLEGH woig ierhgo rhg owihg oer gb BLEGH wruogh ruegh roego reng o BLEGHHH
Steve Smith: Derek, I believe that...
Derek Anderson: I know what you're going to say. Only one thing could have happened to cause this.
Joe Flacco: ERHIOER GHWROI GHROIH O blegh ERGH OREGUH OWRG OIERNG ORENGO blegh urw gb uworh gorg oiren gor oBLEGH wrioh orihg oer oebo BLEGH!!!
Derek Anderson: My God. Joe Flacco ate my magical flask.
Steve Smith: What do we do?
Derek Anderson: We wait - until it comes out one end, or the other.
Detroit Lions (11-4) - Previously: #8 - The Lions didn't try hard against the Bears, so I'm not going to try hard in this write-up.
San Diego Chargers (9-6) - Previously: #11 - It's amazing that the Chargers keep finding ways to win despite Philip Rivers' numerous injuries. First, it was his ribs. Then, it was his back. Now, FOX Sports is reporting this latest malady:
In other news, Rivers is now Matt Millen's favorite player.
Let's play "Why is Team X Not in the Top 10 Rabble Rabble Rabble!"
Arizona Cardinals: As I said, the Cardinals would fade into oblivion following the Carson Palmer injury. This team never belonged in the top 10 after Palmer went down. Allowing 600 net yards to the Seahawks was a disgrace.
Philadelphia Eagles: I hate it when people said "I told you so," but I have to do it in this instance because I caught so much grief from Eagle fans for not rating their team highly throughout the year. The Eagles have always had glaring issues; they were just extremely fortunate to rack up close victories against terrible opponents early in the season to build up their fraudulent win total. They got all the bounces and scored fluky special-teams touchdowns. That was bound to go against them sooner or later, and it did at Washington.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 17 - Bottom 10
32. Tennessee Titans (2-13) - Previously: #32 - Nice move by Ken Whisenhunt. He had Charlie Whitehurst score early to show ownership that his team can be competent, but then he told his team to lose so that they could preserve a top-two draft pick, which also appeased ownership. I see what you did there, Ken.
Speaking of coaches, it's time for the Andy Reid meme of the week!
Last week: Andy feels pretty damn good about beating the lowly Raiders, so he decided to celebrate with a nice, long shower:
This week: I haven't recycled an Andy Reid meme yet, and I apologize for doing it this once, but this one seems especially appropriate after Jamaal Charles was inexplicably given just nine carries against the Steelers:
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) - Previously: #29 - With Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston locked in to go to the Buccaneers and Titans, barring trades, I just had to interview them. My chat with Mariota was boring, but the one with Winston was much more entertaining. Here's the transcript:
Me: Hey Jameis, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
Winston: It's all good. Hey, want some of my white-cheddar popcorn?
Me: Sure. Where'd you get that?
Winston: Oh, the nice guy at the 7-11 gave it to me for free.
Me: That's nice of him!
Winston: Yeah. Except there was a thief in the store. As I was walking out of the store with my bag of white-cheddar popcorn, someone yelled, "You have to pay for that!" and "Stop, thief!" Can you believe it? The nerve of some people, stealing stuff that isn't theirs!
Me: Uhh... are you sure they weren't referring to you?
Winston: Why would they refer to me? They said I could have it. I didn't ask anyone, but I'm Jameis Winston, so they obviously wanted me to have it.
Me: I see.
Winston: That's the last thing I need: another baseless accusation. I've been accused of a lot recently. The worst was that stupid point-shaving story.
Me: So, you're saying that's not true?
Winston: Absolutely not. I would never shave points. It's just been so tough this year, man. We keep winning, but we can't win by a certain amount because some shady guy comes up to me before games and tells me we're not allowed to win by a certain amount.
Me: I thought you just said you didn't point shave!
Winston: I didn't use a razor!
Me: Touche. So, are you excited about going to Tampa or Tennessee?
Winston: I know nothing about the city of Tennessee, but Tampa sounds like a great place. They have the biggest strip club in the world, Mons Venus. I'm going to spend so much money there that they'll have to call it Mons Jameis!
Me: Oh man, do you think that's such a great use of your time?
Winston: Why not!? They have plenty of girls in there, and all will want to have sex with me, even if they say no!
Me: Hmm... I think we should cut the interview at this point before you further incriminate yourself. Hey, where are you going with my laptop!?
Winston: You said the interview was over, and then you said I could have your laptop!
Me: No I didn't!
Winston: Well, I'm taking it anyway. I need it for stuff, and I take whatever I want because I am Jameis.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) - Previously: #30 - I'd make a joke about the Jaguars-Titans game drawing no viewers, but four million people watched that game. It's amazing what sort of cash cow the NFL has when people are willing to tune into a contest featuring two of the three worst teams in the league. And it's not like there were many fantasy football implications. I highly doubt that four million Delanie Walker owners were sweating it out.
29. Oakland Raiders (3-12) - Previously: #31 - Another nice home win for the Raiders. Too bad their team will have to be dismantled soon. But hey, anything is possible when you're allowed to use retired players (thanks, Jay B.):
You'd think that if the Raiders were able to use retired players, they'd actually pick some of the good ones. I hear Kurt Warner is available!
28. Washington Redskins (4-11) - Previously: #28 - Fifty-two Redskin players should be grateful that the Cowboys beat the Colts. Had Dallas lost, it would've needed to beat Washington to win the NFC East. DeSean Jackson wouldn't have wanted the alternative - for Philadelphia to prevail - so he may have given all of his teammates food poisoning the day of the game next week to ensure that the Cowboys would've had an easy victory.
27. Chicago Bears (5-10) - Previously: #26 - How could anyone think that Jimmy Clausen was a downgrade over this guy?
And no, that's not Cutler upset about getting benched; that's Cutler upset about being told that he still had to go to the game.
26. New York Jets (3-12) - Previously: #27 - I said it in my recaps, but I don't get how the Jets can justify firing Rex Ryan. He's basically the only person who knows how to stop Tom Brady... and New York wants to get rid of him!? Why? Ryan has done some miraculous work this season. Getting a roster this devoid of talent to three wins is an amazing feat. John Idzik needs to be exiled, but Ryan should stay.
25. New Orleans Saints (6-9) - Previously: #25 - Wow, there really has to be something wrong with the Saints' ability to play at home. They've won some road games impressively this year, but they keep getting demolished at home. It's almost like some voodoo lady put a hex on the Superdome. Maybe that one Bengal fan chick who had the ball stolen from her by the grumpy, old Saint fan was the one who did it. If so, Drew Brees and Sean Payton need to find this old man and offer him up as a sacrifice to break the curse.
24. Cleveland Browns (7-8) - Previously: #24 - You have to feel bad for any Carolina bettors last week. The Panthers were almost certainly going to cover until Johnny Manziel got hurt. Brian Hoyer sucked too, but he's infinitely superior to Johnny Zumba (giving credit to Matvei for that one).
Speaking of Manziel's injury...
23. Atlanta Falcons (6-9) - Previously: #23 - Everyone has clobbered the Saints in the Superdome, so I'm not sure how impressed I should be.
Here are a few hate mails from the comment board below, as well as my responses to them:
Who wants to bet that Walt still ranks the Colts ahead of the Cowboys and keeps Indy higher than they should because "he doesn't want to overreact to one game" even though the Colts have struggled against weaker competition the past 4 weeks and Dallas had been playing better after Romo failed to get his injection in the Thanksgiving game. Aside from the Bengals if they make it in, the Colts are probably the worst AFC team that will make the playoffs. This four week stretched occurred after they got crushed by the Steelers and Pats
But the loss to the Steelers was more than 4 weeks ago so they're fine.
"I like the respect AZ gets on the comment board....has this comment board ever influenced the Walt?" No that would be too logical, Walt enjoys losing money too much for that
Losing money is awesome.
You said once upon a time that Whisenhunt should have never been fired by the Cardinals and that the Titans got an A grade for hiring him & now you say:
The stupid Titans couldn't even cover as 3.5-point home dogs against Geno Smith. Ken Whisenhunt just might be the worst coach in NFL history.
Either you are a complete hypocrite (98 percent chance) or you have some kind of disability that cripples your memory.
I am a hypocrite with a disability that cripples my memory. Derp.
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Baltimore Ravens (9-6). Previously: #7
12. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6). Previously: #10
13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-7). Previously: #13
14. Arizona Cardinals (11-4). Previously: #12
15. Miami Dolphins (8-7). Previously: #15
16. Minnesota Vikings (6-9). Previously: #18
17. Buffalo Bills (8-7). Previously: #16
18. San Francisco 49ers (7-8). Previously: #19
19. New York Giants (6-9). Previously: #20
20. St. Louis Rams (6-9). Previously: #17
21. Carolina Panthers (6-8-1). Previously: #21
22. Houston Texans (8-7). Previously: #22
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: