Updated: Nov. 8
San Francisco 49ers (1-7) - Previously: 32.
"If you're Chip Kelly, you gotta be resolute and figure out what you have with this team." - Ronde Barber.
Umm... I think he knows, Ronde. It's astonishing that the 49ers haven't even covered a single point spread since that inexplicable Week 1 win. I don't care if they have one more victory than the Browns; they are definitely the worst team in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns (0-9) - Previously: 30.
The Browns, despite their winless record, have been competitive in numerous games this year. That was not the case this past Sunday, but I think that was more about the Cowboys being great than the Browns being awful. It was just too much of a talent mismatch, and Dallas was inexplicably focused despite coming off an overtime victory and having the Steelers on the horizon.
Still though, the loss to Dallas was so ugly that NFL.com put the Browns on a 10-game losing streak despite being 0-9:
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: 579
Currently on Pace for: 1,029
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 174.4
I wonder if Woodson thinks Pryor still has a chance.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) - Previously: 31.
The Jaguars fired their offensive coordinator and then went on to score seven points until garbage time. Nice work. Apparently, firing the only good coach on your roster is not such a great idea. Oh well. At least Jacksonville fans still have their lovely pool.
New York Jets (3-6) - Previously: 25.
Underrated NFL Team: I can't believe I'm writing this, but the Jets are underrated. We've seen them lose some ugly games earlier in the year, but here's the thing: Their schedule was absolutely brutal, and most of the teams they've lost to are ranked in the top 10. Beginning in Week 3, the Jets lost to the Chiefs, Seahawks, Steelers and Cardinals, and yet they were competitive in three of those contests. I think that's pretty impressive, and in hindsight, it's not surprising at all that they've begun playing well against lesser competition. This includes the Miami game, where they outgained the Dolphins in terms of yards per play, 6.1-4.4. They may have won if it wasn't for Kenyan Drake's kickoff return.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) - Previously: 23.
If we needed any evidence of why Thursday night games should be abolished, the Buccaneers-Falcons game provided great reason. The game was a mess; there were so many penalties because both teams weren't completely prepared, and you can't tell me that all of the injuries that were sustained happened to be a coincidence. At the end of the game, Mike Evans basically jogged down the field and tried to catch a touchdown, but didn't have the energy to get there. He was gassed, and he wasn't the only one. These Thursday games need to come to an end.
Indianapolis Colts (4-5) - Previously: 29.
The Colts may have won in Lambeau, but they were outgained by nearly a yard per play, and it could be argued that they would've lost if it weren't for the kickoff return to open the game. Still, Andrew Luck's ability to convert some key third downs at the end of the contest was pretty impressive, and it was a reminder of how good the Colts could be if it weren't for Ryan Grigson's incompetence.
Chicago Bears (2-6) - Previously: 28.
Underrated NFL Team: It almost hurts my insides to praise a Jay Cutler-led team, but this underrated designation doesn't really have anything to do with Cutler. It's the defense I want to discuss, which welcomed back Pernell McPhee last Monday night and was able to dominate the Vikings as a consequence. Chicago's stop unit looks like it's going to be very good in the second half of the season as long as the key players stay healthy. The offense, meanwhile, suddenly has some play-makers with Jordan Howard and Cameron Meredith stepping up to complement Alshon Jeffery.
Houston Texans (5-3) - Previously: 24.
Overrated NFL Team: The Texans are definitely not a 5-3 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 and Lions. 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 on a 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 3-5 or worse right now, which is saying a lot considering how easy their strength of schedule has been.
New York Giants (5-3) - Previously: 26.
Overrated NFL Team: When an overrated team keeps winning, they become more overrated. Or, the person generating the list is stupid. But I think it's the former in this case. The Giants definitely do not deserve to have a winning record. They were outgained by a whole yard per play against the Eagles, but were able to win because of Doug Pederson stupidity. 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 2-6 or 3-5 right now, as they can't block, run the ball or get to the quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens (4-4) - Previously: 27.
Overrated NFL Team: The Ravens were lucky to get a Steeler team that was quarterbacked by a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger, and yet they averaged the same yards per play as Pittsburgh - and that includes a fluky 95-yard touchdown in the early going! The Ravens are tied for the AFC North lead, but they don't really deserve it.
Los Angeles Rams (3-5) - Previously: 19.
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 and Lions. 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. Los Angeles was the better team against the Giants, but just killed itself with dumb mistakes. The same thing occurred versus the Panthers, whom they outgained in terms of yards per play, 5.1-3.9. For that reason, I believe the Rams will provide quality betting opportunities going forward.
Miami Dolphins (4-4) - Previously: 21.
The Dolphins have rallied back to 4-4 and now have a legitimate chance to make a run at the playoffs. That's pretty incredible considering where they were after five games. People thought they were the worst team in the league! Now, they have their entire offensive line back, and they're running the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, they still have Ryan Tannehill, who completed just five passes after halftime against the Jets. The Dolphins were lucky they scored on the kick return because I had no confidence in Tannehill driving down the field and either tying or winning at the end of regulation.
Tennessee Titans (4-5) - Previously: 18.
Underrated NFL Team: I think we can say that the Titans are slightly underrated. It's pretty remarkable that they've been in every single game this year. They led the Vikings in the opener. They had a chance to beat the Raiders at the end of the game in Week 3. They lost in Houston because of a punt return the following Sunday. They made some mental errors in their loss to the Colts. They played evenly with the Chargers even though they lost by eight. Tennessee has either won or lost by single digits in every contest this year, and unlike all of the other teams in the AFC South, it actually has an identity. The Titans run the ball well and get to the quarterback effectively with their front seven. They have some glaring issues - poor receivers, struggling secondary - but they do a number of things extremely well.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) - Previously: 16.
Underrated NFL Team: The Eagles have played better than their recent 1-4 record indicates. They've endured some horrible luck, though Doug Pederson's awful play-calling on fourth down didn't help. Philadelphia outgained the Giants by more than one yard per play this past week. Before that, the Eagles had a 10-point lead versus Dallas in the fourth quarter, which was pretty impressive. Philadelphia also should've beaten the Lions, but Ryan Mathews' fumble set up a game-winning Detroit field goal. The Eagles could easily be 6-2 or maybe even 7-1 right now.
Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) - Previously: 15.
Arizona's three victories this year have been against the Jets, 49ers and Buccaneers. Combined record: 7-18. Not good. The Cardinals have some major blocking issues, while Carson Palmer, as I've been saying since August, doesn't appear to be the same. I won't completely write them off yet, but I'm getting close to doing so.
Carolina Panthers (3-5) - Previously: 14.
Panther fans may have been wondering what the hell the Rams were doing in terms of their quarterbacking situation. The Carolina players were even more confused, since they heard chants of "We want Goff!" and "Te-bow!" from the crowd. Why didn't Jeff Fisher make the change? I think it's pretty obvious. I think you know what it's time for...
Case Keenum: Are you sure coach? I suck. Maybe Jared should play.
Jared Goff: Yeah, coach, let me play!
Jeff Fisher: Whhooo theheheh ffuuukkkckcc arreee yooiuuu hic! Hheeey Casssee geeettt bbabackck ooutut thehehre anndndn geett mmeeme to 8888--andndndnd-8888 agaiaian!
Detroit Lions (5-4) - Previously: 20.
The Lions have been removed from my overrated list in the wake of their victory at Minnesota. I did not see that coming at all, and the win was completely legitimate; it's not like they prevailed because of fluky special-teams plays and fumbles. Amazingly, the Lions are just half of a game out of first place in the NFC North, which is remarkable because they've missed their top three defenders (Ezekiel Ansah, DeAndre Levy, Darius Slay) for most of the year.
Buffalo Bills (4-5) - Previously: 17.
Any Bills fans who haven't jumped into oncoming traffic yet can read my NFL Game Recaps for a detailed write-up of Seahawks-Bills. Included is my take on the officiating...
If Bills fans think this corruption was bad, just wait until they get a whiff of what George Soros has in store for the American people on Tuesday night!
New Orleans Saints (4-4) - Previously: 22.
The Saints were once 0-3, but they've rallied back to 4-4. The defense is a major problem, but Drew Brees is hot, while Michael Thomas is emerging as a dominant force despite being just a rookie. It also should be pointed out that the Saints lost at the very end in the opening two weeks of the season to the Raiders and Giants, so how different would our perception of them be right now had they won those games and were sitting at 6-2 instead of 4-4?
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) - Previously: 13.
The Bengals had a poor start to their season, as I'm sure the coaching staff didn't envision a 3-4-1 beginning to their campaign. However, the good news is that they're just half of a victory out of first place in the division, and given that it plays Pittsburgh again and Baltimore twice, Cincinnati controls its own destiny. Also, Tyler Eifert is going to make the Bengals more potent going forward for sure. He's the red-zone threat they've desperately been missing, so I think they'll be more consistent in the second half of the year.
Washington Redskins (4-3-1) - Previously: 12.
Underrated NFL Team: I listed the Redskins as overrated a couple of weeks ago, but I'm more than willing to admit when I've made a mistake. The Redskins are underrated, as evidenced by the fact that many people thought that the Bengals were more than three points better than them on a neutral field. Washington was the superior team in London and should've won that contest. The Redskins also should've beaten the Lions the week before, but Matt Jones fumbled three times. Washington had some shaky victories earlier in the year, but Kirk Cousins is playing better now, and it can definitely be argued that the Redskins could be 6-2 at the moment.
Green Bay Packers (4-4) - Previously: 10.
Should the Packers relax or panic? Perhaps the latter, as losing the Colts at home is inexcusable...
It's crazy how the Lambeau Field mystique has disappeared. Aaron Rodgers was once unbeatable at home, but that's not the case anymore.
Minnesota Vikings (5-3) - Previously: 5.
I've defended the Vikings all year - when their offensive starters got hurt early, and when they lost to both the Eagles and Bears - but the Detroit defeat is difficult to justify. Great teams tend to have a bad week once in a while, and when they do, it's often followed by one other dud performance. Three losses in a row is a major red flag, especially when the third is to a Detroit squad missing two of its top three defensive players.
Atlanta Falcons (6-3) - Previously: 9.
I still think the Falcons are a bit overrated, but I'm not going to designate them as an overrated team. The victory over Tampa wasn't overly impressive, as the Buccaneers were up, 14-13, prior to losing their starting center. I don't think the Falcons will be going into a tailspin like last year, or anything, but their wins have been questionable, and I don't think they're as good as people think they are.
San Diego Chargers (4-5) - Previously: 8.
I can't list the Chargers as overrated anymore, given how the public is betting on them this week. However, it still must be noted that they've had horrible luck this year and could easily be 7-2, 8-1, or even 9-0 right now. That misfortune continued at Denver last week, where a couple of tipped passes and bad goal-line play-calling decided the game. San Diego's defense is much better now with Joey Bosa on the field, as he has been absolutely dominant.
Denver Broncos (6-3) - Previously: 3.
Overrated NFL Team: I'm pissed at myself for not seeing this earlier, though Matvei did help me avoid a five-unit loss. The Broncos became known as a great team because of two marquee victories to begin the season. The first was against the Panthers, who started 1-5. Graham Gano whiffed on a kick, which would've given Carolina the victory. The second was at Cincinnati, a team that has been a disappointment this year as well. Plus, the Bengals had to play in four days. Since then, the Broncos won at Tampa (everyone does that), beat the Texans in a game that was 14-9 late in the third quarter prior to a Houston fumble deep in Denver territory, and avenged a loss to the Chargers with the help of numerous tipped interceptions and bad goal-line play-calling. The Broncos are a good team because of their defense, but they were never great.
Oakland Raiders (7-2) - Previously: 11.
I've been asked if I'll stop listing the Raiders as an overrated team. Facebook friend Willie B. even created this:
I considered it, but it needs to be noted that they have just one victory over a team with a winning record, and that would be the Broncos, who were missing several starters on defense. Plus, I think Denver is overrated as well. The Raiders have gotten very lucky in some of their victories earlier in the season; the Ravens were a drop away from kicking a game-winning field goal, while the Chargers' holder dropped the ball on a late kick. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, could've won, which looks bad now after what the Falcons did to them Thursday night. Plus, let's not forget what the Chiefs did to Oakland. Save for that Tampa game, the Raiders have been outgained in terms of yards per play in every single contest this year.
The Raiders were definitely overrated earlier in the year. Their defense has been much better lately, however, and it began ever since Perry Riley became a full-time player. Riley, who once played well for the Redskins before they moved to a defensive scheme that didn't fit his skill set, has been a revelation for Oakland. He's helped their once-anemic run defense tremendously, shoring up a huge weakness at linebacker. Thus, I'm willing to concede that Oakland is not overrated anymore even though the team most definitely once was overrated.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) - Previously: 4.
The Chiefs barely did anything against the Jaguars. All they did was take advantage of Jacksonville mistakes. Kansas City could've literally ran the Bobby Boucher offense - kneeling down on every single play to avoid turnovers - and still prevailed. Still, it wasn't the most convincing victory, but the good news for the Chiefs is that Justin Houston has been activated off the PUP list.
Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) - Previously: 7.
I had the Seahawks listed as overrated a week ago, but Russell Wilson looks much healthier now. Plus, Seattle will be getting Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett back from injury soon. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the offensive line still remains a major concern.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) - Previously: 2.
Chris Boswell's attempted onside kick was emblematic of how horrible my handicapping was in Week 9. Then again, it wasn't completely Boswell's fault that he screwed up the attempt. Take a look at what happened to the ball:
How the hell did a Jordan head get there? Wow. And the Ravens had the gall to accuse Tom Brady of cheating!
In all seriousness, I'm not dropping the Steelers at all. It was clear that Ben Roethlisberger wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent, though he looked better at the end of the game. The Steelers, who also have Cameron Heyward back, will return to dominant form once Roethlisberger is completely healthy again.
Dallas Cowboys (7-1) - Previously: 6.
Dallas' domination over Cleveland was unreal. That may not mean much to most people because they see the Browns as just a miserable 0-9 team, but Cleveland has been highly competitive in many games this season. The Cowboys went in there and stomped all over them in the final three quarters. They even limited the Browns to just 14 offensive snaps in the second half. That's insane! That was impressive enough for me to propel Dallas to No. 2 in my power rankings.
New England Patriots (7-1) - Previously: 1.
I almost called the Patriots overrated. Almost. I didn't do so because I'd still rank them No. 1 in my power rankings, so it wouldn't make the most sense. However, let's delve into their wins with Tom Brady, shall we? They began by beating the Browns, who lost Cody Kessler at the end of the first quarter. They then beat the mediocre Bengals, who actually had a 14-10 lead in the third quarter. They followed that up with an 11-point victory at Pittsburgh, but the Steelers started Landry Jones. And prior to the bye, New England avenged its loss to Buffalo, but the Bills didn't have LeSean McCoy.
My point? The Patriots are a great team, and it's likely that they're the best team, but I don't think they're an invincible team that will win the rest of its games.