NFL Power Rankings: Final Regular Season - Top 10
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Carolina Panthers (15-1) - Previously: #2 - My New Year's Resolution is that I'll admit when I'm wrong more than I already do and also tell the truth more. Let's begin with two items concerning the Panthers:
First, I was wrong for moving the Panthers down last week. I got carried away with Arizona's blowout win over the hapless Packers. I should've known that Green Bay sucks right now, so that just made the Cardinals look so much better than they really are. Carolina was in a bit of a funk, but the team looks prepared to do some major damage in the playoffs.
Second, I have no idea what that dab thing is. You know, the thing Newton does after each touchdown, where he sticks his elbow out awkwardly and points in the other direction? What is that? And is it dab or dap? What does it signify? Someone please educate me on youth culture because the last hip thing I knew was the Macarena.
Arizona Cardinals (13-3) - Previously: #1 - The Cardinals didn't show up to play the Seahawks. Plain and simple. Like me, they (correctly) thought that Seattle would rest its starters, yet the Seahawks risked Russell Wilson's health for absolutely no reason, as they remained in the No. 6 seed. You better believe that Bruce Arians is going to examine that film carefully to devise a game plan to defeat Seattle in the rubber match.
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Previously: #3 - Speaking of the Seahawks, I thought what they did was so extremely foolish. To risk the health of Wilson and the other starters, all while giving the Cardinals and other top-level NFC playoff teams great film to work with was extremely foolish. And for what? Seattle didn't improve its seeding whatsoever. Dumb.
OK, OK, OK... New Year's resolution... I'm just salty that I lost three units on the Cardinals -6. But still, it was pretty dumb, no?
New England Patriots (12-4) - Previously: #4 - I'm hesitant to move the Patriots down because the team we saw concede against the Dolphins may not be the same squad we see two weeks from now when they get some players back from injury. Then again, perhaps there won't be enough players returning, and those who do won't be 100 percent. New England could either win the Super Bowl or get blown out in the second round. Nothing would surprise me.
By the way, I have to say I'm disappointed in Tom Brady. While stalking him the other day, I drove by his house to check out his Christmas decorations. I wasn't very impressed, though it's possible that he was using them for practice:
Denver Broncos (12-4) - Previously: #5 - If you somehow missed Phil Simms and Jim Nantz gushing over Peyton Manning at the end of the Broncos-Chargers game, here's what it looked like:
The overreaction to Manning by those two and everyone on ESPN is out of control. Manning did nothing impressive. He dinked and dunked a few times, missed an open Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown, and handed the ball off to his running backs, who gashed the NFL's 29th-ranked rush defense. Whoop-dee-freaking-doo.
Speaking of Manning, you have no idea how unbelievably thrilled I am that I get to bet against him in the postseason one more time. One last Manning playoff choke job for the road sounds great to me!
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) - Previously: #6 - The Bengals are preparing as if A.J. McCarron is going to start instead of Andy Dalton. This, unfortunately, is bad news for us, as we won't get to bet against yet another Dalton playoff choke job.
In all seriousness, doesn't the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati spread seem ridiculous? The Bengals won the freaking division and were two wins better than Pittsburgh, yet they are 2.5-point home dogs to a Steeler team that couldn't even beat the Ravens two weeks ago! How does that make any sense!?
Minnesota Vikings (11-5) - Previously: #7 - I had the Vikings going 10-6 in my season preview, but they finished 11-5. I have to admit that I was wrong because of that whole New Year's resolution thing...
I actually have been wrong on the Vikings quite a bit in recent weeks, dropping my record in their games to 7-9 ATS. I went against them versus the Packers because Teddy Bridgewater hasn't won a big game yet. Well, Minnesota beat Green Bay, but does that really count for Bridgewater? He went 10-of-19 for 99 yards and an interception. That's hardly warrants any sort of confidence.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - Previously: #8 - Everyone is calling the Steelers the "most dangerous team" in the playoffs. I mean, their passing attack is dangerous for sure, but they might have the worst defense of the 12 teams in the postseason, plus DeAngelo Williams is hurt. That doesn't sound too dangerous to me.
By the way, thanks to Mike Ditka for offering this insight multiple times on Sunday NFL Countdown: "If the Steelers can't beat the Browns, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs."
I mean, sure, but if they beat the Browns, does that mean they deserve to be in? We all knew the Steelers were going to defeat Austin Davis - it was a matter of whether the Jets would lose - so I don't get why Ditka had to repeat that like five times Sunday morning.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Previously: #9 - I'm not going to downgrade the Packers for losing to the Cardinals and Vikings, two of the top seven teams in football. There's no shame in that.
Having said that, the Packers need to overcome some major issues quickly. Their offensive line can't block, while their receivers can't separate. Oh, and Rodgers may or may not have an undisclosed injury in his shoulder I may or may not have heard about.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) - Previously: #11 - New Year's resolution time, and this is the moment all Chiefs fans have been waiting for:
I was wrong about Kansas City. The team is great. Alex Smith makes terrific throws all the time. Some of his dinks and dunks make me cry because they are so beautiful. And his scrambles are going to work so well against good defenses. And speaking of good defenses, the Chiefs played so many difficult opponents during their 10-game winning streak. I have no idea how they won all of those games. Wowzers. And let's not forget about that great receiving corps. Albert Wilson and Jason Avant are basically All-Pros. And man, oh man, Spencer Ware is such a threat in the backfield. And let's not forget about Andy Reid, who always makes the best coaching decisions during games. I'm sweating so much right now that my shirt is completely drenched.
What? I wasn't being facetious whatsoever! The Chiefs really are legit!
NFL Power Rankings: Final Regular Season - Bottom 10
32. Tennessee Titans (3-13) - Previously: #32 - The Titans-Colts game may have seemed boring to you, but there was at least one entertaining factor. Of course, I'm talking about some memorable tweets from Jim Irsay during the contest:
HELLO THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD GAME. I AM HAPPY TO BE A NFL OWNER.
I LIKE THE COLTS. COLTS ARE GOOD. GO COLT.
UGH OK F*** THIS I WAS AT A PARTY WITH THAT BASTERD ROGER GODEALL AND HE TOLD ME TO BE MORE POLIGHT ON TWITTER BUT THIS IS SUCKS
GODEALL SAID MAKE IT YOU'RE NEW YEAR REVOLUTION OR WHATEVER BUT F*** THAT GUY I HATE EVERY1 TO MUCH TO BE NICE ON TWATTER GET IT TWATTER
Check out my @FanDuel Lineup and use promo code HOOKER for 25% bonus
F*** GODEALL IM GONNA BE A DICK HEY CHAD METTENBURGLER I BET YOU STOLE A LOT OF THINGS BECAUSE YOU ARE A METTENBBURGLAR HAHAHA GET IT
OH AND CHAD METTENBURGLER YOUR MOM IS A WHORE I SLEEPT WITH HER LIKE 20 TIMES LAST NIGHT HAHAHAHAHA
"@ColtsFan511 Can you stop being insensitive like Goodell asked?" OK FINE YOU'RE MOM IS A HOE TOO & IT WAS A 3SOME WITH COKE!!!!
"@NFLCommish Seriously, Jim you need to stop" WHAT DO YOU THINK I AM A RED OCTOBOX IM NOT A STOP SIGN DEAL WITH IT LOOSER!!!
"@NFLCommish The other owners really have a problem with your tweets." F*** THEM I DONT NEED THOSE JERKOFFS THEY CAN SUCK MY PENUS
"@NFLCommish You actually do need them if you want to keep your team." YOUR A REAL TWATTER YOU NOW THAT GODEALL A REAL TWATTER F*** FACE
"@NFLCommish Jim, one more and you're done for good." FINE I'LL STAY QUITE FOR THE SUMMER BUT BE WARNT ILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR, DOUCHE!!!
"@CoachPagano Hey boss, am I coming back next year?" IDK I DONT CARE I'M SO PISSED ILL SIGN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW HERES MY SIG NOW GO AWAY
31. Cleveland Browns (3-13) - Previously: #28 - I've been writing that the Browns may want to think about keeping Johnny Manziel and eschewing a quarterback at No. 2 overall. In the wake of Manziel's recent drunken escapades, I don't think they can do that anymore. Check out my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft on Wednesday.
Speaking of Manziel, I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: Cameron Newton told me that my services wouldn't be needed against the stinky Bucs, so I decided to fly out to Vegas to party with my good friend Jonathan Manziel! Hey, Jonathan, how are you?
Johnny Manziel: Heeyeyy brroro whhhyyy arreenn't yoouuu waasssteeed?
Derek Anderson: Those bastards confescated my magic flask while I was trying to board the plane! Can I have a sip from your magic flask?
Johnny Manziel: I gogoottttss soommemtthingngn beeettrerr bbrbrooo.
Derek Anderson: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG LET'S GO PLAY POKER LET'S GO PLAY BLACKJACK LET'S GO BET ON SPORTS GO SPORTS GO SPORTS GO YEAH YEAH YEAH!
Johnny Manziel: Duuudde calallamm thhree ffruruuckck doodownwn.
Derek Anderson: I WANNA BET ON THE PANTHERS NO I WANNA BET ON THE BUCS I MEAN THE PANTHERS CUZ I'M ON THE PANTHERS AND I'M LIKE PETE ROSE GO PANTHERS GO PANTHERS GO PANTHERS YEAH YEAH YEAH!
Johnny Manziel: Ohh maannan I thinkk I crreeaattedd a mmonnsnstterr.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - Previously: #29 - I'm so excited that the Jaguars aren't going to be playing anymore. That's because I was 2-13-1 against the spread picking Jacksonville games this year. You read that right - 2-13-1 ATS!
I couldn't read the Jaguars at all, so forgive me if I've misranked them. I'm just glad I won't have to pick a game of theirs for nine months.
29. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Previously: #31 - It's only Jan. 5, yet Jim Harbaugh has already won the Tweet of the Year Award:
Wow. Well done. And yes, the 49ers look incredibly stupid right now, as I wrote in my Coach Fire-Hire page.
With that in mind, I'll leave you San Francisco fans with one final quote as we head into the offseason:
"The 49ers have a roster to die for." - Trent Dilfer, Week 1, 2015
28. Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Previously: #30 - I'm shocked - SHOCKED!!! - that the Dolphins showed heart in the season finale after quitting in a few games beforehand. Ndamukong Suh seemed especially motivated to break Tom Brady's legs.
Miami pulled out all the stops to beat the Patriots. They even messed with the first-down line:
How does something like that even happen?
27. Dallas Cowboys (4-12) - Previously: #27 - It took a ton of work, but the Cowboys finally did it:
They might as well have been on their couches against the Redskins. What a ghastly performance.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) - Previously: #26 - The Buccaneers were so disappointing in their final game that I just had to slot them somewhere in the bottom 10. I really thought they'd keep it close against a flat Carolina team, yet Jameis Winston turned the ball over too much.
Speaking of Winston, he had a semi-decent rookie campaign, but now the real test begins. Will he stay out of trouble in Tampa's crazy environment during the offseason? This is the greatest concern that most people had with him, so his 2015 season will mean nothing if his off-the-field issues start popping up.
25. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Previously: #25 - The same applies to Ryan Mallett, who has apparently turned his life around despite not hitting rock bottom yet. I'm not buying it, but fortunately for the Ravens, Mallett is just a backup at best.
The Ravens are going to be a great bounce-back candidate next year. They sustained so many injuries this season that they never had a chance. I'll probably bet the Over for their season win totals, whenever that comes out.
24. Atlanta Falcons (8-8) - Previously: #24 - How many years does Matt Ryan have to suck in the red zone before the front office gives him a potent tight end, exactly?
Oh, and it wouldn't surprise me if there weren't any Falcons fans remaining. And no, it doesn't have to do with the fact that one of them switched sides, as I pointed out a few weeks ago:
It's that the commentary during the Falcons-Panthers game was so terrible that the fans may have wanted to commit suicide. Matt Millen was the color analyst, and he actually said this:
"There's the difference between a good play and a great play. That was a good play. A great play would've been intercepting that pass. That's the difference between a good play and a great play."
He didn't even reference kielbasas and 100-percent USDA Men, yet I want to slit my wrists.
23. San Diego Chargers (4-12) - Previously: #23 - The Chargers finished with a terrible record, but most of their games were close. Like the Ravens, they'll be a nice bet-on team next year, provided most of their players don't get hurt again.
Besides, it's not like San Diego had much of a chance when Peyton Manning entered the game. How could they possibly beat a quarterback who looked like this?
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. New York Jets (10-6). Previously: #10
12. Washington Redskins (9-7). Previously: #12
13. Houston Texans (9-7). Previously: #15
14. Indianapolis Colts (8-8). Previously: #13
15. St. Louis Rams (7-9). Previously: #16
16. Detroit Lions (7-9). Previously: #17
17. Buffalo Bills (8-8). Previously: #18
18. Oakland Raiders (7-9). Previously: #14
19. New Orleans Saints (7-9). Previously: #19
20. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9). Previously: #26
21. New York Giants (6-10). Previously: #21
22. Chicago Bears (6-10). Previously: #24
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: