Updated: Oct. 25
San Francisco 49ers (1-6) - Previously: 32.
The 49ers have the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst head coach in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst run defense in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst receivers in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst rushing attack in the NFL (when Carlos Hyde is out). The 49ers have the worst new stadium in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst general manager in the NFL. The 49ers have the worst owner in the NFL.
Other than that, things are going OK!
Chicago Bears (1-6) - Previously: 26.
I listed the Bears as an underrated team last week, but that was assuming Brian Hoyer wouldn't break his arm at the beginning of the second quarter. Fortunately for Bears fans, they get to avoid having a quarterback in Matt Barkley who throws interceptions by accident, and instead, they'll have a quarterback in Jay Cutler who throws interceptions on purpose. This is good news, as it'll help Chicago in positioning for the 2017 NFL Draft.
New York Jets (2-5) - Previously: 31.
The Jets finally played a team that sucks as hard as they do. But at least the Ravens have an excuse, given that half of their roster is on the injury report. New York is missing players, too, namely Eric Decker, but the situation is obviously not as dire.
Facebook friend Andrew M. passed along this lucrative betting situation:
And yes, I'm laying the 999 with the Browns. Because the Jets are that bad.
Cleveland Browns (0-7) - Previously: 30.
The Browns once again get screwed out of a potential victory, as they had the lead following the drive in which Cody Kessler got knocked out. Let me stress that again: They had the LEAD when Kessler left the game with a concussion. By my count, the Browns have had a legitimate chance to beat the Ravens, Dolphins, Redskins and Bengals. Even if they had just won two of those contests, people wouldn't consider them to be the worst team in the league. They most definitely are not the worst team - though I'll reconsider that if they trade Joe Thomas for a second-round pick.
Anyway, let's do an update for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, will accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 431
Currently on Pace for: 985
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 152.1
To be fair, I don't think Woodson expected Pryor to play just 30 or so snaps in Week 7...
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) - Previously: 28.
Got a great text from my former picks podcast co-host Matvei during Sunday's games:
"Why did Gus Bradley even bother winning that London game? Could've gotten fired earlier and still gotten paid. He could be in the Jags' pool right now, the fans wouldn't even recognize him."
So true, as I, too, have aspirations to bathe in that pool. The Jaguars are a mess, and you have to wonder how much longer they'll tolerate Blake Bortles' regression.
Indianapolis Colts (3-4) - Previously: 29.
The Colts tried their hardest to lose to the Titans, but Tennessee prevailed in the "I'm Going to F*** This Up" department. As a result, Indianapolis is now 3-4 despite having the worst overall roster in the NFL, save for the 49ers. If the Colts somehow make the playoffs, Andrew Luck will need to be considered for MVP, because he's playing out of his mind to have his team in the hunt.
New Orleans Saints (2-4) - Previously: 27.
I'd like to thank Drew Brees for throwing a back-door cover in the fourth quarter, though he did put himself in position for needing one with his pick-six in the first half. It just goes to show that no matter how vast of a mismatch there is between two teams, one will usually stay within striking distance if it has a great quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens (3-4) - Previously: 25.
What I wrote last week still applies (with obvious adjustments): The Ravens weren't as good as their 3-0 record indicated four weeks ago, but they're not bad enough as they've looked in their four-game losing streak, either. What is clear is that they need some of their important players - C.J. Mosley, Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Marshal Yanda, etc. - to return from injury.
Joe Flacco's shoulder is also a concern. The good news, however, is that the Ravens have a week off for some of their players to heal. Getting back three of those players and having Flacco back to 100 percent will allow them to be competitive again.
New York Giants (4-3) - Previously: 24.
Overrated NFL Team: The Giants definitely do not deserve to have a winning record. They only won in London because the Rams wrecked themselves with dumb mistakes, and they probably wouldn't have prevailed against Baltimore had the Ravens not lost Jimmy Smith and Terrell Suggs in the second half. Prior to that, the Giants were not competitive against the Vikings or Packers. It would make more sense to me if they were 2-5 right now, as they can't block, run the ball or get to the quarterback.
Tennessee Titans (3-4) - Previously: 22.
How discouraging was that loss for the Titans? They had some serious momentum going after beating the Dolphins... and the Browns... wait, never mind, why did people think they were good, again?
That said, all of these AFC South teams suck, and at 3-4, the Titans are still very much in the mix. Plus, of the four teams, I feel as though Tennessee is the only one that has a true identity, so that has to count for something, right?
Houston Texans (4-3) - Previously: 21.
Overrated NFL Team: The Texans are definitely not a 4-3 team. Not even close. Their victories have all been unimpressive wins against middling or horrid opponents. They trailed the Bears in the third quarter. They struggled to put away the Chiefs. They needed a punt return touchdown to defeat the Titans, whom they were tied at 20 with at the end of the third quarter. And Sunday night, the Colts led by two touchdowns, but blew the lead because of injuries and abysmal decision-making by Chuck Pagano. The Texans could easily be 2-5 or worse right now, which is saying a lot considering how easy their strength of schedule has been.
Miami Dolphins (3-4) - Previously: 23.
Underrated NFL Team: Many were confused by Miami's blowout victory over Pittsburgh, and they might feel the same about its victory over Buffalo. Part of that had to do with injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and LeSean McCoy, sure, but I think the Dolphins would've been competitive regardless. The injuries had nothing to do with Miami's running game. The reason the Dolphins were able to pound the rock so effectively was because its offensive line was completely intact for the first time all year. That'll be absolutely huge going forward, and I think the Dolphins will be competitive with most teams as a result.
Detroit Lions (4-3) - Previously: 19.
Overrated NFL Team: There might be some hype surrounding the Lions, but I don't think it's completely deserved. They've won three games in a row, however, all three victories have been at home, and all three contests could've swung the other way. The Redskins lost because of their three fumbles. The Rams went down at the very end, and they outgained Detroit by more than a yard per play. And the Eagles, of course, fumbled the game away when they were running out the clock. I must remind you that before the Lions' three-game home stretch, they had a legitimate defeat at Chicago.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) - Previously: 20.
I really want to believe in this Buccaneers team. Mostly because I have an Over 6.5 ticket on them, but I still want to believe, regardless! They're only a half game out of the division lead, and they've already beaten the Falcons, so they currently own the tie-breaker. However, I can't help but think that they're always going to screw up. I didn't even wager on them versus the worst team in football because I thought they would turn the ball over five times and screw themselves out of a victory!
Carolina Panthers (1-5) - Previously: 18.
Underrated NFL Team: I've been thinking about it, and I think the Panthers can be called underrated. Sure, they're 1-5, but their losses aren't as bad as they seem. They had the Saints tied at the very end in New Orleans, which is a very difficult place to play. Before that, they lost to the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football by a field goal, but it's safe to say they would've won had Cam Newton been able to suit up. Before that, Carolina dropped games to the Vikings and Falcons, two of the best teams in the NFL. I'm not saying the Panthers are great, or anything; they're nearly not as good as they were in 2015. However, they're not a 1-5-caliber squad either. I think they're more of a 9-7-type team that has endured some bad luck.
Los Angeles Rams (3-4) - Previously: 15.
Underrated NFL Team: Casual bettors miss injuries to significant role players. Part of the reason for that is ESPN focusing on stars and not spending enough time talking about actual substance. Thus, most people may have missed the fact that the Rams were without two of their defensive studs, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers, against the Bills. Despite this, Los Angeles and Buffalo were tied at 16 late in the game when Case Keenum lofted a horrible pick-six. Keenum is obviously not any good, but the Rams weren't themselves because they were missing half of their awesome defensive line. The same thing occurred against the Lions; Quinn was out, and Brockers left the game early. Los Angeles was the better team against the Giants, but just killed itself with dumb mistakes. For that reason, I believe the Rams will provide quality betting opportunities going forward.
Buffalo Bills (4-3) - Previously: 14.
I can't believe that Rex Ryan jeopardized LeSean McCoy's health like that, and for what? Eleven yards on eight carries? Great going, Rex. What's next? Are you going to have some cancer-stricken orphan line up at defensive end? I thought Ryan was supposed to be a players' coach, so why did he endanger a player's health like that? I'd say that's a fireable offense, but Ryan was already guilty of one when he hired his brother this offseason.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) - Previously: 17.
The good news is that the Eagles managed to beat the best team in the NFC despite Carson Wentz playing very poorly. The bad news is that Wentz played very poorly. That said, the Vikings have made every quarterback they've battled this year look horrible.
The Eagles are now 4-2, but their offensive line and secondary still have to be major concerns. The Vikings never got a chance to take advantage of Philadelphia's blocking because they were trailing throughout the afternoon, but they probably won't be as fortunate against the Cowboys.
Washington Redskins (4-3) - Previously: 16.
I listed the Redskins are overrated last week, but that was the team I felt least-strongly about in that regard. Now, I think there might be some sort of an underrated factor, as Washington definitely would've prevailed at Detroit had it not literally fumbled the game away. I find it odd that the Redskins are three-point underdogs to the Bengals in London; the teams are pretty comparable, assuming that Josh Norman is in the lineup.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) - Previously: 12.
I've been giving the Bengals the benefit of the doubt this entire season, but it's difficult to be encouraged by Sunday's victory. Sure, they beat the Browns by two touchdowns, but they did so thanks to an A.J. Green Hail Mary reception and a Cody Kessler injury. As mentioned earlier, the Browns had the lead following the drive in which Kessler got hurt. I don't know if Cleveland would've won the game, but the team would've been way more competitive. The good news, however, is that Tyler Eifert is back, and he could be 100 percent following the Week 9 bye.
Oakland Raiders (5-2) - Previously: 13.
Overrated NFL Team: The Raiders are basically the opposite of the Chargers. They've been close in every game, but they've just been great in the final two minutes. The question needs to be asked, though: Why are they having so much trouble putting away bad teams like the Saints and sub-par ones like the Titans? The Raiders did win at Baltimore, but they were outgained by about 150 net yards and lost the yards-per-play battle, 5.2-4.8. The Ravens were a drop away from attempting a field goal to win the game. San Diego, meanwhile, would've tied the game had the holder not bobbled the ball. It's no surprise that the Raiders were blown out by the Chiefs at home, Andy Reid coming off a bye or not. This is pretty telling, too: The Raiders have been outgained in terms of yards per play in EVERY SINGLE GAME THIS YEAR (including at Jacksonville!)
Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) - Previously: 11.
What a horrible way to lose. The Cardinals should've prevailed, but their kicker f***ed up. Or, did he? I thought he did, but after seeing this picture, I've changed my mind:
I guess Bruce Arians did, too, given that he supported Chandler Catanzaro on Monday.
Green Bay Packers (4-2) - Previously: 9.
Aaron Rodgers posted a nice stat line, so MS-ESPN will shut up with the "What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers?" questions and move on to either, "What's Tim Tebow up to now?" or "Let's talk about how much of a hero Colin Kaepernick is!" Rodgers still didn't look right to me, and if Brian Hoyer hadn't gotten hurt, that game would've been way more competitive.
I found Rodgers' post-game press conference more revealing. Take a look:
I imagine Rodgers answered that question by saying, "I can't be bothered by that s**t, life goes on, man."
Atlanta Falcons (4-3) - Previously: 5.
I've heard some talking heads on ESPN and NFL Network begin referencing the Falcons' 2015 collapse in relation to this one. Atlanta, in case you've forgotten, was 5-0 last season, but finished the year at just 8-8. I don't like that narrative too much. This Atlanta team is much better than it was in 2015; that squad got super lucky with some bogus victories early in the season. The Falcons have been much better in 2016, and I don't get what's so bad about losing to the Seahawks and Chargers, as both qualify as top-10 teams to me. That said, I think they've been a bit overrated lately.
San Diego Chargers (3-4) - Previously: 10.
Underrated NFL Team: The Chargers may have beaten the Broncos and Falcons the past two weeks, but it doesn't seem like the public is giving them the respect they deserve. San Diego has had horrible luck this year and could easily be 6-1 or even 7-0 right now. The defense is much better now with Joey Bosa on the field, as he has been absolutely dominant. I know it might seem strange to praise the defense, given that the Chargers just surrendered 30 points to the Falcons, but keep in mind that seven came on a Philip Rivers strip-sack, and Atlanta mustered only three points after halftime! The Chargers limited the Falcons to 6.1 yards per play, which is pretty low considering some of Atlanta's other results this year.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) - Previously: 8.
If you were to tell any Kansas City fan that their team would be 4-2 after seven weeks without Justin Houston, they would've taken it in a heartbeat. Houston will be back soon, which should be able to put the Chiefs' defense back to 2015 form. I still don't trust Alex Smith whatsoever, but if the Broncos proved anything last year, it's that we now live in an era in which bad quarterbacks can now win Super Bowls as long as they're backed by stellar defenses and rushing attacks.
Dallas Cowboys (5-1) - Previously: 7.
I think we're going to find out a lot about the Cowboys this week. They've had some great victories already, but how will they perform following a layoff in which they've all been hearing about how great they are?
I think Dallas fans should feel optimistic in that regard about Dak Prescott, as he has shown some major intelligence despite the fact that he's just a rookie. If you didn't hear, Prescott refrained from going to a Kanye West concert because he thought it would be more responsible to watch football instead. Prescott showed major smarts here, as he recognized that Kanye West is a crappy musician, and his concerts should be avoided at all cost.
Denver Broncos (5-2) - Previously: 6.
The Broncos weren't very impressive in their 27-9 victory over the Texans. It was just a 14-9 contest in the third quarter, and Houston was in the red zone. Had Alfred Blue not fumbled, what would've happened? I have more here in my NFL Game Recaps.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) - Previously: 4.
I appreciate the Steelers trying hard in a game in which they barely had any chance to win. However, the fact remains that it was completely irresponsible of the front office to not have a better plan than Landry Jones as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. Jones is an anemic quarterback, and anyone else would've been better. I don't get it. Was Charlie Batch not available? Couldn't they get him to come out of retirement? As for younger options, here are 2017 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings for the Steelers to consider next offseason.
Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) - Previously: 3.
I don't know what was wrong with Russell Wilson in the Arizona game, but if it doesn't get corrected, the Seahawks are going to lose some games.
Anyway, I've obviously seen missed chip-shot field goals in overtime before, but two!? How does that happen? I think you know what it's time for...
Minnesota Vikings (5-1) - Previously: 1.
I'm not going to bump the Vikings out of my top two. I have too much faith in their defense and coaching staff, so I believe they'll recover and begin a new winning streak. That said, the Vikings should seriously consider trading for Joe Thomas. The sickly looking man on NBC's pre-game show noted that Thomas could be available for a second-round pick. Minnesota would surrender that in a heartbeat in an ideal world. Thomas turns 32 in December, but he's still one of the top left tackles in the NFL, and he should be able to hold that distinction for three or four more years. The Vikings' greatest problem right now is at tackle, so Thomas' presence would definitely remedy that. Unfortunately, I wrote "ideal world" because I'm not sure the front office will be able to find the cap space for him.
New England Patriots (6-1) - Previously: 2.
The Patriots have looked great with Tom Brady, but I wouldn't say they're unstoppable, or anything. Two of their three victories have been against Charlie Whitehurst and Landry Jones, while the other win involved the Bengals self-destructing.
By the way, as an impartial observer - I had no units on the game - I felt as though the Patriots were trying their hardest to allow the Steelers to cover. They had weird drops, strange fumbles, missed kicks and shady holds. Matvei took notice as well:
"Belichick must be buying houses somewhere in Barbados this year with a lot of backdoors."