Updated: Dec. 13
Cleveland Browns (0-13) - Previously: 31.
I still can't believe Hue Jackson was incompetent enough to start Robert Griffin. Wow. As I said in the NFL Game Recaps page, I've lost an enormous amount of respect for Jackson. There's no legitimate reason to start a bum who doesn't care about football. Imagine if you were in an office, and some guy who didn't do any work whatsoever was promoted over you just because the boss thought he'd be a highly productive worker five years ago. You'd search for another job, right? No wonder some Browns players checked out against the Bengals. I have no choice but to drop Cleveland back down to No. 32.
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: 858
Currently on Pace for: 1,056
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 314
Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I don't think these one-catch, three-yard performances are going to get it done.
San Francisco 49ers (1-12) - Previously: 32.
The 49ers held a lead throughout and were gashing the Jets, yet Carlos Hyde was given just 17 carries in five quarters of action. As I've said countless times before, Chip Kelly doesn't understand simple NFL concepts. Hey, Chip, if your team is ahead, you might want to run the ball with your top back. Just a free pro tip for you.
Oh, and you may want to bench your stupid quarterback who doesn't care enough about football to watch film. Colin Kaepernick was beyond dreadful after halftime despite playing one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. Then again, Kaepernick didn't quite look like himself versus the Jets...
Call me crazy, but Kaepernick suddenly seems prepared to accumulate 400 net yards against the NFL's No. 1 defense in a playoff game!
Los Angeles Rams (4-9) - Previously: 27.
"I can't believe I've been betting the Rams every week." This is what I wrote last week, and yet I did it again! I'm some sort of freaking idiot! The Rams were playing like they were intoxicated Sunday. I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: Hey... hey, Jeff Fisher? Can I ask you a question?
Jeff Fisher: Whhhatttsss gogoinn oonnn whhyyy yoouu nootot drururunkk?
Derek Anderson: I haven't taken a sip from my flask in a week. Something's been bothering me. How do you have your own magic flask? I thought I was the only person with a magic flask. My mommy once said I'm a special snowflake, and I thought by having my own flask, I really was a special snowflake.
Jeff Fisher: I'mmm notott tlleeliinn yoouu howow I goott thiiiss hic! Yoou''ree pisisisisnng memmeee oofff bututt luuccickllly Iddoonnt caanreee abooutt anyythinng ccuuzuz I juuuss gototo a 2-yeyaarr exxpeensison. Whhehreess yoouurr 2-yeyeaar exppensnssion paall?
Derek Anderson: Umm... I got a 3-year extension a year ago...
Derek Anderson: N-no... Jesus, is this what I sound like when I'm drunk?
Jeff Fisher: Ggeett thhehe heeellll aawwayay froromm mememee aasssskhooollelee!!! I nneeeed mmooroee drurunkkk ppeoeepplle aaroround mmee hic! Heeey Jjjarreed Goofoff ggettt innnn heerre I havevevsoomemethitngng fofoorr yooyuuu!!!
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) - Previously: 29.
The Jaguars lose yet again, as Blake Bortles' only touchdown drive was aided by 42 yards' worth of Minnesota penalties. Bortles is horrible, but not on the level of Goff.
The one thing that the Jaguars had going for them was their pool. That, however, is not the case anymore, as the Vikings raided Jacksonville's precious sanctuary:
If Ragnar Lodbrok managed to catch this game on DirecTV, I'm sure he was proud of his viking comrades for taking the pool as their spoils.
New York Jets (4-9) - Previously: 30.
I know the Rams beat the Jets several weeks ago, but I don't think they'd do that now with Jared Goff playing quarterback. I severely underestimated the difference between Goff and Case Keenum. I figured they'd produce the same results because Keenum was a bad quarterback, but Goff is much worse. In fact, there's no word in the English language that properly describes his play.
How about a sentence: Bryce Petty is a billion times better than Goff, and the Rams should consider trading Goff for Petty.
Is that bad enough?
All kidding aside, it was nice to see the Jets try hard after mailing it in Monday night. They could've easily quit after being down 14-0 early on, but I liked how they fought back and eventually won.
Chicago Bears (3-10) - Previously: 28.
Underrated NFL Team: Matt Barkley has somehow been pretty competent in his three starts thus far. In fact, he's been better than his stat lines indicate because of all the dropped passes he's incurred. Jordan Howard has been a forceful running back, while the defense has played very well. The Bears, who have been very competitive despite having no downfield play-makers, will be getting Alshon Jeffery back from suspension this week.
Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1) - Previously: 23.
I still have no idea who the impostor quarterbacking the Cardinals in their victory over the Redskins was, but it was nice to have Carson Palmer back under center against Miami. Palmer played just as horribly as he's been most of the year, so it was a relief to realize that I wasn't crazy and that Arizona did, in fact, have a ringer on the field versus Washington.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) - Previously: 25.
The Eagles were one of three teams screwed over by late scratches this week. The Raiders (Kelechi Osemele) and Bills (Kyle Williams) were wrecked by not having some of their best players and couldn't game plan around their absences, and the same thing occurred for Philadelphia when it was ruled that Brandon Brooks, the team's top lineman who isn't suspended, would be out.
Carolina Panthers (5-8) - Previously: 26.
The Panthers had no business winning Sunday, as Cam Newton didn't even complete 40 percent of his passes. Carolina was gifted a victory because of the countless injuries the Chargers sustained. San Diego lost its top offensive play-maker and best front-seven player in the first half, so the team didn't have much of a chance.
As for Newton, well, at least he wasn't benched this week. That said, his post-game attire was rather interesting:
New Orleans Saints (5-8) - Previously: 20.
Underrated NFL Team: Did you know that the last time the Saints were outgained in yards per play was Week 9? They've gotten very unlucky lately. For example, they dropped numerous touchdowns against the Buccaneers, and they may have been able to win had they secured just one of them. Their defense has been better recently as well, as Cameron Jordan is playing out of his mind and is worthy of All-Pro consideration.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1) - Previously: 24.
Underrated NFL Team: I downgraded the Bengals too much for their loss to the Ravens. They matched Baltimore in yards per play in that contest, and they've played very well since, though one of those games has been against the Browns. Still, Cincinnati's defense has been better following the bye, as it has surrendered just 16 points per game since compared to 23.6 beforehand.
Indianapolis Colts (6-7) - Previously: 19.
I think it could be argued that the Colts are underrated, as they lost to the Texans in part because they were missing numerous defensive starters. Then again, Indianapolis has too many bad players starting for them even when everyone's healthy.
Speaking of, here's a recent text exchange I had with Matvei regarding Ryan Grigson's antics:
Houston Texans (7-6) - Previously: 22.
I suppose I have to rank the Texans ahead of the Colts because of the season sweep...? It still doesn't feel right, especially since Houston was +240 on the moneyline at Indianapolis this past weekend. Oh, and then there's Brock Osweiler, who continues to be awful. Congratulations to the AFC wild-card team that gets to battle the Texans in the opening round of the playoffs!
Buffalo Bills (6-7) - Previously: 15.
The Bills are reportedly considering firing Rex Ryan soon so they can retain Anthony Lynn, who is apparently a hot head-coaching candidate. At this point, I don't care. I've lost 10.4 units on Buffalo the past two weeks, so I'm actually thinking about sending Ryan an invoice to compensate me for his team's incompetence.
San Diego Chargers (5-8) - Previously: 10.
I've been ranking the Chargers in the top 10 all year, but I've had to drop them because of all the injuries they sustained at Carolina. San Diego is a very good team, despite its 5-8 record, but it won't nearly be the same without Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa. The latter could return soon from his concussion, but by the looks of Gordon's injury, he could be done for the year.
By the way, guess who had Gordon going in a fantasy playoff matchup? FML.
Miami Dolphins (8-5) - Previously: 21.
I was glad to see the Dolphins win because I bet them for three units, but what the hell was Adam Gase doing at the end of the game by running the ball with Damien Williams? The clock almost ran out when they were in chip-shot field-goal range! How much scrutiny would Gase be under if time ran out in regulation before he was able to attempt the kick? Stephen Ross may have fired him on the spot!
At any rate, it sucks that Ryan Tannehill hurt his knee, but I wonder how much of a downgrade there is from Tannehill to Matt Moore. I used to like Moore, though we haven't really seen him play for an extended period of time in five years.
New York Giants (9-4) - Previously: 18.
Overrated NFL Team: The Giants continue to be extremely overrated, especially in the wake of their Sunday night victory. The Cowboys didn't look especially prepared for that game, as their stalwart offensive line surrendered pressures to some guy named Romeo Okwara. Meanwhile, the defense dropped countless Eli Manning interceptions. New York had one good offensive play all game, as its offensive line was once again a major problem, while the running game was non-existent. And for some reason, the Cowboys weren't smart enough to take advantage of the Giants' horrible linebackers. The Giants shouldn't be anything close to 9-4 right now; they would've lost to the Bears and Ravens had those teams not sustained major injuries during the game, and New York also struggled to put away the Browns and Rams. Prior to that, the Giants were not competitive against the Vikings or Packers.
Tennessee Titans (7-6) - Previously: 17.
I congratulated the team to play the Texans in the first round of the playoffs earlier, but I don't want to make it sound like I discounted the Titans from winning the AFC South. On the contrary, with a matchup versus Houston in Tennessee on the horizon, I consider the Titans the favorites. And I hope they get in because unlike Houston, they can actually beat the No. 5 seed they'll be battling in the opening round. If I were the Chiefs or Raiders, I would not want to go into Tennessee right now.
Minnesota Vikings (7-6) - Previously: 16.
The Vikings should've won by three touchdowns, but squandered countless opportunities inside the red zone. Still, they covered, and that's the most important thing.
By the way, Mike Zimmer looks rad as f*** with his eyepatch. It's not a hit with the ladies, but won't anyone f*** with him looking like that. No, sir.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) - Previously: 14.
The Buccaneers have beaten the Chiefs, Seahawks, Chargers and Saints in the past four weeks. Three of those teams were in the top 10 of these power rankings when the Buccaneers beat them (the Chargers dropped after losing Melvin Gordon). Despite all this, the Buccaneers are touchdown underdogs in Dallas this week, which doesn't quite seem right.
Detroit Lions (9-4) - Previously: 13.
Detroit fans have to be yelling, "Of course Matthew Stafford dislocated his finger!" Just as things were going so well, too. Then again, Lions supporters must be used to this. If there's a silver lining though, it's expected to be about 45 degrees in New York this Sunday, so Stafford may not share the same fate as Derek Carr, who couldn't throw in the cold.
By the way, someone passed along this graphic to me:
I'm all for advanced analytics, but I think they're taking it too far now.
Atlanta Falcons (8-5) - Previously: 11.
Overrated NFL Team: Atlanta nearly beat Kansas City, but was trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter against a team coming off a full overtime Sunday night game in altitude. I still can't get over how the Falcons were bullied in the trenches by a Philadelphia team that was stomped on by the Seahawks. I also can't get over how Bruce Arians refused to expose this liability by giving David Johnson only 13 carries. The Cardinals were outgaining the Falcons in yards per play throughout the afternoon. Even Atlanta's victory over Tampa wasn't overly impressive, as the Buccaneers were up, 14-13, prior to losing their starting center. Desmond Trufant is lost for the year, which is a huge injury, and now Julio Jones is hurt.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6) - Previously: 9.
Underrated NFL Team: The Ravens struggled earlier in the year, but they had so many injuries, it was ridiculous. They're mostly healthy now, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they've won and covered four of the five games prior to New England. The one exception was the loss at Dallas, but the Ravens hung around and even outgained the Cowboys by 0.9 yards per play. Plus, their victory over the Bengals looks so much more impressive in the wake of Cincinnati's blowout win over the Eagles. As for the New England game, losing Jimmy Smith was a huge deal, as the Ravens were putting the clamps on Tom Brady until Smith got knocked out.
Green Bay Packers (7-6) - Previously: 12.
Aaron Rodgers, despite ailing with various foot injuries, has promised that his team will win out the rest of the way. That's nice, but the problem is that the Packers aren't even guaranteed to make the playoffs if they win the remainder of their games. The good news, however, is that Matthew Stafford dislocated his middle finger. Assuming it finishes 10-6, all Green Bay needs is for the Lions to lose one more game (excluding the rematch) in order to win the NFC North.
Washington Redskins (7-5-1) - Previously: 8.
The Redskins won in Philadelphia to stay live, but it was a Pyrrhic victory in that they lost two inside linebackers in the process. They were already dealing with defensive issues. Now, opposing offenses will have even more success against them, which will put more pressure on Kirk Cousins. That could be too much, though Cousins could always overcome that by coming up with a new, fancy catch phrase.
Denver Broncos (8-5) - Previously: 7.
The Broncos lost, but at least their main competition for the second wild-card spot saw its quarterback sustain a knee injury. Given that Denver missed its starting signal-caller for a couple of games this year, I doubt it feels sorry whatsoever for Miami. Still, it's looking like the No. 6 seed will have to play at Pittsburgh in the opening round of the playoffs, which almost sounds like an automatic loss considering how hot the Steelers are right now.
Oakland Raiders (10-3) - Previously: 3.
I don't know where to rank the Raiders because of Derek Carr's dislocated finger. If things don't improve for him in that regard, the Raiders won't win another game this year. However, if Carr's finger heals completely, Oakland can rebound well. Because of this uncertainty, I don't know what to do with the Raiders, so I'll leave you with this image: One is of the Raiders' owner, and one is not. I'm not sure which is which, so perhaps you can help me:
Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) - Previously: 6.
Overrated NFL Team: The Chiefs may have won to take control of the AFC West, but they lost the heart and soul of their defense in the process. That's obviously a huge blow to their Super Bowl aspirations, and you can check out my Disaster Grades to see how I rated it. I have to say that I wasn't exactly impressed with the Chiefs. They won by just eight with the help of a punt return touchdown despite battling a quarterback who couldn't complete routine, 5-yard passes because of his dislocated finger.
Dallas Cowboys (11-2) - Previously: 2.
The Cowboys aren't overrated, but they haven't played a good game since beating Pittsburgh. They were floundering for a half against the Ravens; their defense couldn't do anything versus Washington's offense; the Vikings were winning prior to Adam Thielen's muffed punt; and the mediocre Giants pulled the upset over Dallas. The Cowboys can't convert a third down to save their lives, and Dak Prescott is struggling. As a result, I'm dropping the Cowboys to No. 4.
By the way, Dallas better hope that it doesn't have to battle the Giants again in the playoffs. New York just has the Cowboys' number. It doesn't help that Dez Bryant looks like this when battling Janoris Jenkins:
Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1) - Previously: 1.
I'm not going to get too down on the Seahawks. They still have tons of great defensive players, and I think Russell Wilson will rebound off the worst performance of his career. Besides, winning in Lambeau is no easy feat when the Packers are playing well, and Green Bay is hot right now.
That said, I nearly changed my mind and dropped the Seahawks to No. 32 as soon as I saw this:
No wonder Wilson threw five interceptions...
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) - Previously: 5.
Controversial Ranking Alert!!! The Steelers might be 8-5, but I think they're playing the best football right now outside of New England. Besides, if you think about it, they're actually 8-2 when Ben Roethlisberger has been healthy. Their defense completely clamping down on LeSean McCoy was very impressive to me, and as a result, the Steelers dominated in Buffalo despite Roethlisberger not having a good game because of the snowstorm.
New England Patriots (11-2) - Previously: 4. Overrated NFL Team: Think about what the Patriots have done the past three weeks. They struggled to put the Rams away, as they were helped by countless drops by Kenny Britt and company. They trailed the Jets in the fourth quarter. They were up just 13-10 at San Francisco in the third quarter. Those are the Patriots' previous three contests, and before that, they lost to Seattle. New England hasn't played a good game since Week 8, which was a victory over the Bills who didn't even have LeSean McCoy or Sammy Watkins!