Carolina Panthers (10-0) - Previously: #2 - The Panthers just might be the best team in the league. Everyone keeps doubting them - even the sharps, who constantly pick the other team. Yet, all Carolina does is win, all while covering the spread for good measure.
Having said that, Cam Newton should be ashamed of himself. Not because of the dancing - I don't really care about that - but I think it's horrible how he always gives footballs to kids in the stands. I think he and the Panthers are discriminating against the fat guy football memorabilia collector group that I fall under. Us fat guys who collect memorabilia want footballs as well, yet it's just the kids who get them. This is utter bulls***. What have kids ever accomplished? They suck. Us fat guys who collect memorabilia deserve our footballs, so I am outraged at Newton and the Panthers.
New England Patriots (10-0) - Previously: #1 - I have to move the Patriots down. There are just way too many injuries. Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman were already gone, and now Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson are hurt as well. Meanwhile, the offensive line is an abomination. I think what we saw Monday night is a sign of things to come against tougher opponents.
Arizona Cardinals (8-2) - Previously: #3 - Facebook friend Nathan T. on my miserable picks:
Dear god, man... Putting units on the Cards at -4 and they win by 3 due to a late flurry by Cincy. I wouldn't stand near you in a lightning storm.
Arizona won by just three, but make no mistake about it - the Cardinals were up two touchdowns and probably would've won by that sort of margin if Patrick Peterson hadn't gotten hurt at the end. The Bengals began moving the ball again once Peterson was knocked out.
Cincinnati Bengals (8-2) - Previously: #5 - The Bengals move up amid a loss because the Vikings fall further down these rankings amid their home blowout defeat to the Packers. Besides, the Texans beating the Jets makes me feel a bit better about that Monday night loss. It all eventually makes sense...
By the way, major dap to my picks podcast co-host Matvei, who said that Dalton shouldn't be known as the Red Rifle or the Red Ryder B.B. Gun. In the wake of Dalton's whiny response to J.J. Watt, he should be known as the Red Tampon.
Denver Broncos (8-2) - Previously: #8 - The Broncos looked pretty good with a quarterback who didn't need a walker in between plays. They won by just two, but it could've been more if it wasn't for a back-door touchdown. Oh, and Brock Osweiler tripping Ronnie Hillman as he was running in for a touchdown didn't help. At least I think it was Osweiler. It might have been Manning's walker, which was still on the field for some reason.
Speaking of Manning, Mike Florio of the Internet Football Tabloid said that Manning will be playing elsewhere next year. My sources see it differently. Here's where Manning will be in 2016:
Green Bay Packers (7-3) - Previously: #9 - I guess I began eulogizing the Packers too soon? Aaron Rodgers appeared to be playing with some sort of injury against the Lions, as he misfired on at least half-a-dozen throws, but he bounced back nicely, torching the Vikings in the process. It also helped that Eddie Lacy actually looked like he was in shape. I guess it took Lacy getting benched for him to realize that his diet of eating 12 Oreos right before bed wasn't paying off.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) - Previously: #6 - The Bengals losing Sunday night prompted Cris Collinsworth to say that the Steelers have a chance to perhaps steal the division with a late surge. How feasible is it? Let's take a look at the schedules:
PIT: at Seahawks, Colts, at Bengals, Broncos, at Ravens, at Browns
CIN: Rams, at Browns, Steelers, at 49ers, at Broncos, Ravens
Ehh... sorry, Cris, I don't see it. Even if the Red Tampon is extra bloody, I don't think the Bengals will blow their divisional lead, given that they have an easier slate.
Minnesota Vikings (7-3) - Previously: #4 - The Vikings have won me a ton of money this year - perhaps I'd be at -$6,000 instead of -$5,000 if it wasn't for them - but I think I got carried away with them a week ago. Putting them at No. 4 was way too premature. The offensive line is a major concern.
Oh, and then there's this: It appears as though someone in the front office got a bit too drunk after the game and made a horrible trade. Check out this breaking news report from Rotoworld:
It's official! Peterson has been traded to the Bears. I hope the Vikings at least got some good stuff in return like perhaps a lineman, Matt Forte, or some of Mike Ditka's DNA.
Seattle Seahawks (5-5) - Previously: #7 - The Seahawks drop two spots following a 16-point victory. Makes sense to me! The primary reason is that the Broncos and Packers, who were behind Seattle last week, moved up. However, there's another reason, and it's that the Seattle defense allowed Blaine Gabbert to hang around. Gabbert drove down the field on the Seahawks in the 2-minute drill just prior to halftime and scored a touchdown. That was appalling. The Seahawks of old never would've allowed that.
On the bright side, Thomas Rawls. He's awesome, and based on the latest news that Marshawn Lynch has a sports hernia, he appears to be an upgrade. Rawls allowed Russell Wilson to be sharp, so perhaps this is a great sign moving forward. Granted, the Seahawks beat up on a team that only employs players willing to tell Jed York how beautiful of a human being he is, but it was an impressive performance on Wilson's part nonetheless.
New York Giants (5-5) - Previously: #10 - I actually almost slotted the Cowboys here, as they will be a legitimate threat down the stretch, thanks to...
...But I just couldn't stomach placing a 3-7 team in the top 10. I guarantee the Cowboys will be up here if they beat Carolina on Thanksgiving, however.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 12 - Bottom 10
32. Baltimore Ravens (3-7) - Previously: #26 - The Ravens are having the same sort of horrible luck I am with my picks, so I can sympathize. They're the no-brainer No. 32 team now, despite their victory, given that they lost both Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett.
At this point, if I'm Ozzie Newsome or John Harbaugh, I seriously consider benching the remainder of my quality players. Not only would it help draft positioning, but it would prevent further injuries. I mean, think about it: What if Marshal Yanda tears his Achilles? How about if C.J. Mosley also shreds his knee? What would happen if Eugene Monroe sustains a broken vag? Horrible karma is real - believe me, I know - and it has already begun leaking over into the 2016 season.
31. San Diego Chargers (2-8) - Previously: #24 - I have several thoughts on the Chargers after they ended up costing me $880:
1. You have no idea how utterly upset I am that I didn't get to place the Chargers at No. 32. I think Matt Schaub quarterbacking any team trumps that, however.
2. Metrics-wise, Melvin Gordon is the second-worst running back taken in the first round this decade. The only player he has been better than? Trent Richardson. Wow. The Chargers have needed to get Gordon off the field for weeks now, but the fact that Mike McCoy doesn't recognize that is one of many reasons he should be fired. Another reason? Since Week 6 of last year, San Diego is just 5-14 against the spread. How is that possible!?
3. Facebook friend Jay B. posted this picture, perhaps explaining my horrible bet on the Chargers:
I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: WTF why the hell am I sober for the second week in a row? Last week, Peyton Manning ate my magic flask in his chicken parm sandwich. This week, some fat a**hole who thinks he can pick football games took it. I know this because he bet on Blaine Gabbert!
*** After a flight to Philadelphia... ***
Derek Anderson: Yo, a**hole, why did you take my magic flask!?
Me: I dudnnnnoo I jusuusst loossstredd eieighth unnittss onnn theheh Chahrggersss hic!
Derek Anderson: Eight units on the Chargers? Holy s***, how much did you have to drink?
Me: I draanankkk llikeke hhahallff theh fllasssk hic!
Derek Anderson: Half the flask!? Good lord! You're only supposed to have a couple of sips to get you plastered!
Derek Anderson: That's it! I'm taking my magic flask away from you. You shouldn't drink one more drop of alcohol until you begin making reasonable betting decisions!
30. San Francisco 49ers (3-7) - Previously: #28 - It's time for the Colin Kaepernick Meme of the Week! Despite reports that Kaepernick underwent surgery to repair his broken vag, he was spotted warming up on the field prior to the Seattle game:
I don't know about you, but he looks the same to me - completely healthy! I'm surprised he didn't give it a go.
29. Cleveland Browns (2-8) - Previously: #32 - I'm kind of surprised that the Browns have declared Josh McCown to be their starting quarterback going forward. The NFL Network's Kurt Warner was even more shocked, as Josh McCown was atop his NFL quarterback rankings. No, seriously. This is an actual tweet from the NFL Network:
Looks like I wasn't the only one who drank half of Derek Anderson's magic flask.
28. Tennessee Titans (2-8) - Previously: #25 - To me, the bottom four teams are obvious. I could've put a number of teams here, but ultimately decided on the Titans. They have a positive spread record when Marcus Mariota is healthy, but losing at Jacksonville, albeit in crazy fashion, is bad enough to label any NFL squad as the fifth-worst team in the league. I don't care if there were fluky plays like a long punt return and a Supernaw fumble; you cannot, under any circumstances, both lose and cover to a team that has a pool in its stadium.
27. Detroit Lions (3-7) - Previously: #30 - I'm surprised that the Lions weren't flat following their victory at Green Bay. They somehow mustered enough energy to beat the Raiders, which was impressive. The team even hung a banner to commemorate the historic win...
...Yet, the Lions were still able to notch another win. Amazing.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) - Previously: #31 - I was shocked this week when I got some hate mail from Jaguar fans. Yes, it's true! It's probably just the same Jaguar fan who somehow just acquired the Internet in his trailer-park home in Jacksonville, but it was surprising nonetheless.
This Jaguar fan bashed me for ranking his team 31st, citing all of the victories his team has accumulated recently. Hmm... let's see... the Jaguars beat the Bills despite E.J. Manuel gift-wrapping 14 points for them. They took down the Ravens, thanks to a call the NFL admitted was incorrect. They then beat the Titans, thanks to a punt return.
Great. I'll admit that the Jaguars have been better - Blake Bortles has taken the next step, thanks to some great coaching - but this team still sucks overall.
Oh, and I still expect hate mail from that one Jaguar fan despite this improved ranking. That is, of course, if Mary Louanne from the trailer next door doesn't steal his bandwidth so she can buy cigarettes online.
25. Houston Texans (5-5) - Previously: #29 - First of all, a great tweet I saw on Sunday (can't remember who wrote it): "Hopkins must be responsible for global warming because Revis Island is under water."
Second, this is an example of what's pissing me off about handicapping the NFL. I bet the Texans for four units against the Dolphins, thinking they were better than their record indicated, and they lost by like 40 points. Now, the Texans are beating teams better than the Dolphins. WTF!?!?! Seriously, this makes no damn sense. I'm about to lose it.
24. New Orleans Saints (4-6) - Previously: #23 - The Saints had off this week. They might play better in the final six games now that they don't have a professional wrestler coaching their defense. They might even catch the Falcons for second place in the division.
Speaking of Atlanta, here were some memorable tweets from Jim Irsay during the Colts-Falcons game:
I DONT KNOW WHY IM WATCHING THIS GAME TODAY MY COLTS HAVE NO CHANCED VS THE FALSCONS
I WILL SAY THO THAT I THINK MATT RYAN LOOKS LIKE JAMIE LEE CURTIS. MAYBE HES A TRANSEXUAL LIKE HER TO LOL!!!
NOT THAT THERES ANYTHING WRONG WITH TRANSEXUALS I PAID FOR A HOOKER WHO WAS TRANSEXUAL LAST WEEK AND IT WAS A GOOD TIME
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UGH COLT MAKE PASS INTRACEPTION. MATT HASSLEBECK IS AS OLD AS THIS DINGLEBERRY I HAVE STUCK IN MY A**HOLE!1!!!
AND NOW FRANK GORE FUMBLES. GOOD GRIEF WHOSE MY GM AND WHYD HE MAKE THIS CRAPPY TEAM?
SERSLY GUYS WHOSE MY GM I FORGOT WHO I HIRED AND I DONT KNOW HIS NAME SOMEONE PLZ HELP ME OUT HEAR
"@ColtFan123 It's Ryan Grigson." RYAN GRIGSON I DONT REMEMEBER HIRING ANYONE NAME LIKE THAT ARE U SURE UR RIGHT U SOUND LIKE A DWEEB
I JUST GOGGLED IT AND IT IS RYAN GRIGSON OH WELL @ColtFan123 IS STILL A PU$$AY
21-7 WERE NOW LOSTING IM GONNA BRB MY HOOKERS HERE WITH SOME BLOW IM GONNA MAKE THIS SUNDAY ACTUALLY INTERTAINING
HOLY SSHTTTI WE ACCTUAALLY WONN WOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWW HOWTHEE HELLLEE THSIDD DID THATT HAPPENENE HAHAHAHA IJJ JJUST REAAD DTHATT MATT LELESSBIAN RYRYAN THREWW LLOTS OFF INNTRERCEPPTIONS EVVEN COORRBBY FLLFENER COOAUUGHT OONEN HAHAHAHA
23. Miami Dolphins (4-6) - Previously: #22 - I'm very disappointed in PC Coach. Forget not going for it on fourth down late in the game. That's irrelevant. PC Head Coach managed to beat Chip Kelly, who's known for being racist against all minorities. He checked Kelly's privilege, but for some reason didn't do so to the Cowboys, who employ DE Woman Beater. Do the PC Bros not care about domestic violence? PC Bros are clearly anti-racism, but they haven't shown any sympathy toward women. I think that's absolutely horrible.
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Dallas Cowboys (3-7). Previously: #12
12. Kansas City Chiefs (5-5). Previously: #14
13. Buffalo Bills (5-5). Previously: #13
14. Chicago Bears (4-6). Previously: #16
15. Indianapolis Colts (5-5). Previously: #20
16. Oakland Raiders (4-6). Previously: #11
17. St. Louis Rams (4-6). Previously: #17
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5). Previously: #27
19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6). Previously: #15
20. New York Jets (5-5). Previously: #18
21. Atlanta Falcons (6-4). Previously: #19
22. Washington Redskins (4-6). Previously: #21
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: