Carolina Panthers (11-0) - Previously: #1 - What I wrote last week: "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."
And this is why my NFL Picks have sucked this year. I discussed how the Panthers weren't getting any respect and how the sharps haven't been able to read them, yet I took the Cowboys, albeit for zero units, because the sharps were betting Dallas. Professional bettors have done well this year, but they would be up so much more if they just learned to believe in Carolina.
New England Patriots (10-1) - Previously: #2 - I'm glad I moved the Patriots down last week. They just have too many injuries, and now they can add Dont'a Hightower and Rob Gronkowski to the list. Speaking of Gronkowski, this is how all New England fans felt when he was on the ground Sunday night:
Do you think Simba was more upset about Mufasa dying (SPOILER ALERT!) or Gronk being hurt? If Simba happens to be a Patriots fan, I'd say the latter.
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) - Previously: #3 - I've been super high on the Cardinals, but it bothers me that the 49ers outgained them and averaged 1.9 more yards per play. That figure is staggering. What the hell happened? Perhaps Arizona didn't take San Francisco seriously - with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, who could blame them - but this could also be the beginning of a downward spiral. Carson Palmer's pass protection looked terrible, and the running game has vanished.
Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) - Previously: #4 - Andy Dalton went back from Red Tampon to Red Rifle in the team's blowout over the Rams. It'd be great for the Bengals if they could somehow bribe Roger Goodell into allowing them to play all of their postseason games against crappy opponents in 1 p.m. starts. Cincinnati would win the Super Bowl in short order.
Denver Broncos (9-2) - Previously: #5 - I had the urge to bump up the Broncos after they dethroned the Patriots from the ranks of the unbeaten, but then I remembered that they were able to achieve victory thanks in part to some horrible officiating from Tony Corrente, whom I referred to as the fourth horseman of the Week 12 Officiating Apocalypse. Walt Coleman, Jeff Triplette and Pete Morelli are the other three.
Officiating has been ridiculously bad this year, and it's hard to explain why. Most of the refs are the same, save for the guy with the fake mustache who officiated the Jets-Colts Monday night game back in Week 2. However, Coleman and Triplette have needed to go for years. Coleman doesn't even remember what his name is, while a Google search of Triplette chronicles how inept he's been. Morelli might have been the worst, though. He screwed up what down it was twice in the Cardinals-49ers game. Once is bad enough, but how can a ref do that twice? Hey, Pete, if you're reading this, it goes: first down, then second down, then third down, then fourth down. Oh, and teams can have only 11 men on the field at the same time. Not 13!
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) - Previously: #7 - I'm a little confused about Mike Tomlin's decision-making. He was aggressive enough to attempt countless two-point conversions and try a stupid fake field goal with Landry Jones - who isn't even the holder! - and then he was so conservative that he eschewed a touchdown opportunity and kicked a field goal down five points from the 3-yard line.
That made no sense to me, and neither did Ben Roethlisberger's strategy of putting himself into concussion protocol when he might not have suffered a concussion. That sounds like a great excuse in the work place...
Boss: Hey, I'm going to need you to get those TPS reports to me by noon, yeah...
You: Can't, boss. I'm in concussion protocol.
You: I put myself in concussion protocol. Because I suffered a concussion.
Boss: OK, I'll see if Jim can do those TPS reports, yeah...
See? Works like a charm!
Green Bay Packers (7-4) - Previously: #6 - Sure, the Packers lost on Thanksgiving night, but would it surprise you if I pointed out that they outgained the Bears by 75 yards and averaged 0.4 more yards per play? They were the better team, but countless drops and untimely penalties capsized them. Plus, they beat the Vikings on the road two weeks ago, so I'm hesitant to drop them very much.
By the way, something I forgot to mention was that Joe Buck said this during Green Bay's loss to Detroit: "Packers were a 10-point favorite in this game. Opened at 12." Buck instantly shot up as one of my favorite play-by-play guys upon hearing this. I loved it. Announcers should be more open about the spread. You sometimes hear, "Oh boy, that touchdown is going to upset some people" from the likes of Al Michaels, but to hear a play-by-play guy not only mention the spread, but the opening line as well, was fantastic. I think we need much more of this, since most individuals who watch football are only in it for gambling or fantasy purposes.
Minnesota Vikings (8-3) - Previously: #8 - The Vikings are one-point home underdogs against the Seahawks. Talk about a lack of respect. The Vikings have the stronger defense and better running game, so what in the world are they doing getting a point as hosts? That makes no sense to me. With that in mind, guess who might be losing $880 on a single game again this week!?
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) - Previously: #9 - How could the Seahawks beat the Steelers and remain three spots behind them? I don't know, why are you asking me?
OK, sorry, I'm just frustrated. Between the Seahawks, Steelers, Packers and Vikings, I didn't know how to order them. Seattle beat Pittsburgh, but got some officiating help and was outgained by 100 yards at home. If this game were on a neutral field, I think the Steelers would've won. And as for the Packers, they beat both the Vikings (recently) and Seahawks. Minnesota, meanwhile, prevailed in a tough road game, so I didn't want to drop them. Blegh.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) - Previously: #12 - Got a text from Awesome Kelly in Arizona:
"Boy, you kinds of whiffed on calling KC season over after Charles went down eh?"
First of all, I might have to start calling her Awesome Kelly in Canada. "Eh?" What's up with that, fwiend? Second, could you blame me? The Chiefs were 1-5 and had lost their best player. They weren't competitive against the Packers and Bengals, and they also lost to the Bears at home. Plus, with the annual Kansas City Barbecue Convention around the corner, I figured Andy Reid would begin focusing on that.
I'll give the Chiefs credit for turning things around, but I will also warn their fans that it'll only end in misery, as Alex Smith will check down a pass short of the line to gain on a crucial fourth-and-7.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 13 - Bottom 10
32. Cleveland Browns (2-9) - Previously: #29 - Come on, who do you think is going to be featured in the Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask this week? It's almost too easy...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: Why does my magic flask keep disappearing? Ugh. Well, I at least know where it is this time.
*** After a flight to Cleveland... ***
Derek Anderson: Well, well, well, if it isn't Johnny Football. Johnny, can you give me my flask back?
31. Tennessee Titans (2-9) - Previously: #28 - I still can't believe that holding penalty on B.W. Webb. He didn't even touch the receiver! I think it's a guaranteed lock that either Jeff Triplette had a financial interest in the Raiders covering, or Webb slept with his wife or daughter. Maybe both, at the same time!
If I were a Tennessee fan, I'd be furious - except that the loss improves draft positioning, putting the team in a better position to draft Laremy Tunsil. Check out my 2016 NFL Mock Draft for more.
30. Baltimore Ravens (4-7) - Previously: #32 - The Ravens screwed themselves early by losing too many coin-flip games. The Ravens are screwing themselves late by winning meaningless games and putting themselves in unfavorable draft positioning. I have to believe Baltimore fans were secretly wishing for a second Matt Schaub pick-six against Cleveland.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) - Previously: #26 - Same old Jaguars. And same old Walt for canceling my three-unit selection on San Diego like a moron. Ugh. Always bet against a home team that has a swimming pool at the stadium. Stupid, stupid!
28. San Diego Chargers (3-8) - Previously: #31 - So much for my dream of placing the Chargers at No. 32. I get that there's a disparity between the Jaguars and Chiefs - a pretty vast one - but how does a team go from losing 33-3 at home to winning in an upset on the road in a span of just seven days? I don't get it. Is San Diego's homefield that detrimental. I know that the Chargers have no fans, but they still don't have to travel, or anything, so how can they possibly be so bad as hosts?
27. New Orleans Saints (4-7) - Previously: #24 - I'd say that Rob Ryan had a good laugh watching his former team still suck against the Texans, but he was probably too busy plundering treasure.
I could make the awkward segue of going from the Saints to the Texans to the Colts, and how the latter two teams are still tied for the divisional lead, but I'm just going to come out and say it: Here were some memorable tweets from Jim Irsay during the Colts-Buccaneers game:
I JUST CHECKED MY SCHEDULE AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE THE TAMPA BUCS THIS WEEK MORE LIKE THE TAMPA SHMUCKS AM I RITE
WHOSE THE QB FOR THE BUCS??? IS IT STILL BRAD JACKSON??????
"@ColtsFan719 It's Jameis Winston" OH I 4GET THNX FOR REMINDED ME YOU F@GGOT
HAHAHA JAMEIS WILSON MORE LIKE LAMEIS WILSON AM I RITE
HOW CAN LAMEIS WILSON BE GOOD ON NFL???? HE STOLE CRABS AND LOBSTERS!!!!!!
Check out my @FanDuel Lineup and use promo code IRSAY for 20% bonus
DIDNT LAMEIS WILSON STEAL A COMPUTER TO OR AM I JUST CONFUSING HIM WITH SOME1 ELSE WHATEVER HE WAS POOR SO IM SURE HE DID STEAL PCS
"@NFLCommish Enough, Jim. You're too offensive, and I'm suspending you from Twitter for a week." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HEY @NFLCommish DONT 4GET THAT I HAVE PIX OF YOU WITH THAT ONE THING WONT GIVE IT AWAY BUT IT GOES MOOOOOOOOO HAHAH
"@NFLCommish Sorry, Jim, carry on" HAHAHAHAHAHAH
KICKOFFS ABOUT TO START BUT THE HOOKERS I JUST ORDERED HAVE ARRIVED SO IM GONNA GO JOIN THEM INSTEAD OF WATCHING THIS STUPID GAME
HAHAHAHA SUCH LOOSERS WATCHING FOOTBALL WHEN I HAVE HOOKERS AND BLOW TO ENTERTAIM ME!!! SAYANORA SUCKERS!!!!
26. San Francisco 49ers (3-8) - Previously: #30 - I'm not sure how a team can jump up four spots after losing to drop to 3-8, but that's the type of season it has been. Blaine Gabbert has actually looked competent for the 49ers, and I found myself missing Colin Kaepernick, who was an auto-fade because all he did was throw passes out of bounds.
Speaking of Kaepernick, this week's Colin Kaepernick Meme of the Week is a real picture that he posted of himself. Kaepernick knows he's done with the 49ers, so he displayed this on his Instagram account, perhaps in an attempt to have the Dolphins sign him this offseason:
I don't know, Colin, I think you went a little overboard.
25. Miami Dolphins (4-7) - Previously: #23 - The Dolphins could easily be much lower on this list, but there are just so many bad teams in the NFL that I could place them anywhere in the 25-31 range, and it would be acceptable.
It saddens me that the Dolphins have collapsed, since it means that PC Head Coach won't be sticking around. I was looking forward to more laughs with that. I also think that it's a sign that South Park is going to kill off PC Principal. We've already had the stunning revelation that he's an advertisement (SPOILER ALERT!) but my personal prediction is that his time on the show is coming to an end, unfortunately.
Real quick, speaking of great shows, I highly - HIGHLY!!! - recommend Scream Queens on FOX. Sure, watching that makes me sound heterosexually challenged - not that there's anything wrong with that - but it might be the funniest show on TV. It's a parody of Scream, but it's nothing like Scary Movie. The jokes are actually funny, and there's also great storytelling and suspense. It might be one of the top-five shows on TV right now, no joke. Check it out, and you won't be disappointed.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) - Previously: #19 - ESPN's 30 for 30 isn't as good as Scream Queens, but I'm looking forward to this episode...
The Eagles have quit on Chip Kelly. Wow, did not see that one coming. I mean, his terrific preseason performances were going to be soooo indicative of how this team was going to play, and the transactions he made this offseason made sooooo much sense, and he got along soooooo well with his players that he only got rid of sooooooo few of them. Ahhh, sarcasm overload.
23. Dallas Cowboys (3-8) - Previously: #11 - Tony Romo is out for the year, hence the massive drop in these power rankings. Dallas fans shouldn't be too pessimistic, however, as Jerry Jones already has some promising leads on a replacement for Romo:
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Buffalo Bills (5-6). Previously: #13
12. Chicago Bears (5-6). Previously: #14
13. New York Jets (6-5). Previously: #20
14. Indianapolis Colts (6-5). Previously: #15
15. Detroit Lions (4-7). Previously: #27
16. Oakland Raiders (5-6). Previously: #16
17. Washington Redskins (5-6). Previously: #22
18. New York Giants (5-6). Previously: #10
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6). Previously: #18
20. Atlanta Falcons (6-5). Previously: #21
21. Houston Texans (6-5). Previously: #23
22. St. Louis Rams (4-7). Previously: #17
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: