Carolina Panthers (12-0) - Previously: #1 - Carolina's remaining schedule: Falcons, at Giants, at Falcons, Buccaneers.
Everyone is discussing the two Atlanta games as pitfalls, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if New York hands the Panthers their only loss of the season. The Giants have been, well, giant-slayers under Tom Coughlin. They always give the Patriots problems, and it shouldn't shock anyone if Eli Manning goes nuts and throws for like 550 yards and five touchdowns out of nowhere to take down Carolina.
Arizona Cardinals (10-2) - Previously: #3 - Arizona went through its mid-season swoon and is ready to clobber teams once again, now that Michael Floyd and John Brown are back healthy. I found it hilarious, by the way, that the Cardinals' third receiver was like a billion times better than the Rams' No. 1 wideout. I think Jeff Fisher would ask Gregg Williams to literally kill five players to get his hands on one of those wideouts. And Williams would do it!
Cincinnati Bengals (10-2) - Previously: #4 - I thought the Bengals might get tripped up at Cleveland, which just shows you how horrible of a handicapper I am. Cincinnati didn't have Tyler Eifert, but it didn't matter because the Browns didn't try whatsoever.
Oh, and not that I'm all that crazy about Bengal fans, given the hate mail I receive from them, but I hope they muted the TV on Sunday, given that Matt Millen was one of the color analysts. Millen had some interesting things to say that I'll save for the NFL Picks page, but he offered up this gem when rookie corner Josh Shaw was walking off the field: "He has a smile on his face, so it's not that bad."
Thanks, Matt. I'm glad you're not my doctor. Otherwise, I'd take a trip to your office and tell you about a pain I have, only to hear you say, "You have a smile on your face, so it's not that bad."
Denver Broncos (10-2) - Previously: #5 - Good news-bad news. The bad news is that the Broncos scored just 17 points against a dead San Diego team. Brock Osweiler had some interesting throws, to say the least. The good news is that the league has allowed Peyton Manning to have some assistance on the field...
...so perhaps he'll be able to return and finally not choke in the playoffs. After all, it's common knowledge that service dogs can prevent NFL quarterbacks from gagging in big moments.
New England Patriots (10-2) - Previously: #2 - I have to admit that New England's loss to the Eagles was pretty gratifying, given how much crap I heard from e-mailers/commenters about how I've listed them as an overrated team for the past month-and-a-half or so. I just couldn't see them maintaining their success with all of the injuries and problems they have. I mean, just look at how they arrived at the stadium yesterday:
I wonder if Millen thinks Rob Gronkowski is OK because he has a smile on his face.
Seattle Seahawks (7-5) - Previously: #9 - I normally like to go against public sentiment, but I have to agree with everyone. The Seahawks look ridiculously dangerous. They've changed the offense enough that Russell Wilson is getting rid of the ball extremely quickly, thus minimizing the offensive line's ineptitude. Thomas Rawls has been an upgrade over Marshawn Lynch, who was secretly nursing an injury for most of the year. The defense, meanwhile, is incredible, as rookie Frank Clark has been a force.
Oh, and by the way, Seattle's next three games are against the Ravens, Browns and Rams. They'll be 10-5 in no time, and they'll probably have a dream first-round matchup against the winner of the NFC East. So, they'll effectively be the third team with a bye in the NFC playoff picture.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) - Previously: #6 - The Steelers dropped one slot in the wake of their 45-10 victory because of Seattle's impressive win in Minnesota. Despite this move, I think Pittsburgh could actually be the best team in the AFC. I'll have to see it from them next week. If they take down the Bengals in Cincinnati, they'll be in my top five for sure.
By the way, loved this interaction between Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy on Sunday night:
"Dungy, why is Pittsburgh going to win?"
"One word: 'Antonio Brown'"
Green Bay Packers (8-4) - Previously: #7 - I still can't believe that Hail Mary. Of course, I switched my pick to the Lions an hour before kickoff and even put a unit on them. People of Detroit: I'm sorry for doing this and single-handedly ruining your chances of going 9-7. I'm a horrible person.
Anyway, there's lots of concern for the Packers. The offensive line is in shambles. Aaron Rodgers might be hurt. And the NFL isn't allowing Eddie Lacy to use a service dog like Peyton Manning can. However, that kind of victory might propel the Packers to a strong finish. Plus, the extra time off following their Thursday game will definitely help.
Minnesota Vikings (8-4) - Previously: #8 - I wrote this last week: "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!?"
Ahh... so, that's why. Good thing I didn't make the Vikings my Pick of the Month, or I'd be eating out of a garbage can all week.
The Vikings were missing their top three defenders - Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr - so they weren't as putrid as they looked on Sunday. However, their offense is disgustingly bad. Teddy Bridgewater has choked in big games thus far, though it's not like he's had much of a chance behind that awful offensive line.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) - Previously: #10 - Speaking of eating out of a garbage can... The Raiders outgained the Chiefs by a wide margin Sunday, but Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper made sure that I'd lose $440 with all of the dumb mistakes they made. Horrible!
The Chiefs stay at 10, as I can't exactly move them up after they lost the yardage battle, 361-232 and had way fewer first downs (27-15) than the Raiders. I'll still credit them for the win - it's not like I'm moving them down, or anything - but I'm just saying that the 34-20 result was pretty misleading.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 14 - Bottom 10
32. Cleveland Browns (2-10) - Previously: #32 - The Browns just keep making this too easy...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: I was in Cleveland last week, so it figures that I'd get another report saying that my stolen magic flask is there after I flew back home. Just my f***ing luck. Ah well, at least I get to rack up the frequent flier miles and eventually use them like Jennifer Love Hewitt told me to. I love you, Jennifer Love Hewitt... I love you.
*** After a flight to Cleveland... ***
Derek Anderson: Coach, have you seen Johnny Manziel? He had his own magic flask last week, but I'm thinking he nabbed mine.
Mike Pettine: Jjoohhnny Mmananzziieell, fufuuufsccckk thahatt guuuyyss hic!
Derek Anderson: Umm... Coach, have you been drinking out of my magic flask?
31. St. Louis Rams (4-8) - Previously: #22 - The Rams might just be the second-worst team in the league. They were playing well earlier, but they've been exposed as hot garbage. Just look at how bad their offense is:
The NFL feels so bad for Foles that it's willing to give him a charity first down. How nice! 'Tis the season, after all.
30. Baltimore Ravens (4-8) - Previously: #30 - I hope Matt Schaub misses one game with an injury. Just one. Because that means Jimmy Clausen will have to start against the Seahawks... for the second time this season!
Poor Jimmy. How is he supposed to prove that he's a No. 1 overall-worthy selection if he has to battle Seattle every time he starts a game?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) - Previously: #29 - A great Sunday for Jacksonville. No, seriously, I'm not being sarcastic here. Blake Bortles looked great, yet the team was still able to preserve a high selection by losing. It's everything a Jaguar fan could've wished for, save for hotter lifeguards at the stadium pool.
28. San Diego Chargers (3-9) - Previously: #28 - If you want proof that the Chargers have the worst homefield advantage of all time, check out this picture that Matt R. shared on my Facebook wall:
Wow. And that's before the kickoff, so it's not like it's showing just the Broncos fans who stuck it out. How is there that much orange in the stands? I actually can't spot a single Chargers jersey!
27. Tennessee Titans (3-9) - Previously: #31 - I've been saying that the Titans are underrated for a while now. They handled themselves well against the Panthers; they should've beaten the Jaguars the first time; and they had the victory over Oakland before an incompetent/corrupt official screwed them out of a win.
Having said that, I can't explain this:
I'm guessing the Titans will be looking for a new center this offseason? I'm sure a positive attribute they'll be seeking is "does not fall asleep during live game action."
26. Miami Dolphins (5-7) - Previously: #25 - The Dolphins drop upon winning because they were outgained (legitimately) by Matt Schaub. If it wasn't for a fluky pick-six that was tipped, Baltimore would've won that game.
By the way, I wanted to include a link to According to Nick, a cool football blog from a reader of this site who also likes to make fun of NFL teams using memes.
25. New Orleans Saints (4-8) - Previously: #27 - I was stupid for thinking that Sean Payton wouldn't have a great game plan for the Panthers, given that he has one foot out the door. While Payton most certainly won't be back in New Orleans next year, I should've realized that he would use the Carolina contest as an item on his resume. The owner/general manager hiring him must have seen that game and thought, "Hey, Sean still has a lot of fire! Better snap him up by giving him lots of money before another team does!"
24. San Francisco 49ers (4-8) - Previously: #26 - I don't know if you saw the news, but apparently, the 49ers have stated that they want Colin Kaepernick back next year. That's because he has shown a greater dedication to film study recently. It's true. Just take a look at this picture, where a humbled Kaepernick has begun asking questions to Blaine Gabbert:
Ah, so that's why he repeatedly threw the ball out of bounds. He just wasn't sure which players to pass to!
23. Dallas Cowboys (3-8*) - Previously: #23 - Here's the Week 13 NFL Recap, including Redskins-Cowboys.
That's the Monday night game. What about the Sunday night game? Here were some memorable tweets from Jim Irsay during the Colts-Steelers contest:
THE GAMES ABOUT TO START BUT DID ANY1 ELSE SEE O'BAMA ON TV??? I HAD THE TV ON MUTE BUT I HOPE HE SAID WE GOTTA BOMB THE MUSLIMES!!
SRSLY IM AFRAID FOR MY LIFE I LIKE TO GO PICK UP HOOKERS ON A SAT NIGHT BUT WHAT IF THEY HAVE BOMBS AND WANT TO DO TERRORISMS???
"@ColtsFan511 Not all Muslims* are terrorists" FACK YOU ASHOLE YOUR PROBABLY THE ONE GONNA BOMB MY HOUSE TEAM AND COKE RESERVEES
ANYWAY HERES THE GAME I ALL READY BET $500000 MILLION THAT THE COLT ARE GONNA LOST THIS GAME BECAUSE WE HAVE HASASLBACK
FUMBLE BY JACOBY JAMES HAHAHAHAHA HERE WE GO COLT TIME TO SCORE TOUCHEDDOWN!!!
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NOOO WHY HASASLBACK THROW PASS INTRACEPTION. EVEN I COULDVE THROWNED A BETTER PASS THE STEELERS LB WAS RIGHT THERE
DEANGELO WILLIAMS FUMBLE HAHAHAHAHA MORE LIKE DEVAGELO WILLIAMS BECAUSE HE HAS A VAG GET IT1/!?!?1?
A FEEL GOLD AND A TOUCHEDDOWN MAKES THE LEAD 10-6 WE GOT THIS. IM GONNA BRB AND BUY SOME GUNS TO PROTECT MYSELF AGAINST MUSLIMES
*** Two hours later ***
WTF WERE LOSING HWO THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN I JUST LEFT THE HOUSE TO GET 20 GUNS TO KILL THE MUSLIMES AND NOW COLT ARE LOSTING!!
AND NOW ANTONIOUS BROWN SCORES ON PUNT RETURN AND HAHAHAHA HE HURT HIS NUT SACK BY JUMPING ON THE GOLD POST AHAHAHAH WHAT A LOOSER
UGH AND ANTONIUS BROWN IS NOT EVEN HURT. BULLSHOT!!! I WAS HOPING HED TEAR HIS NUT SACK OPEN I HATE THE STEELERS AT LEAST I WON $$$
"@ColtsFan511 No one cares about your money" YOUR JUST JEALOUS YOU LOOSER HOW MANY GUNS DO YOU HAVE TO PROTECT URSELF AGAINST MUSLIMES????!?
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Buffalo Bills (5-6). Previously: #11
12. New York Jets (6-5). Previously: #13
13. Indianapolis Colts (6-5). Previously: #14
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6). Previously: #19
15. Detroit Lions (4-7). Previously: #15
16. Oakland Raiders (5-6). Previously: #16
17. Chicago Bears (5-6). Previously: #12
18. Washington Redskins (5-6). Previously: #17
19. New York Giants (5-6). Previously: #18
20. Houston Texans (6-5). Previously: #21
21. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7). Previously: #24
22. Atlanta Falcons (6-5). Previously: #20
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: