Updated: Jan. 2
Cleveland Browns (0-16) - Previously: 32.
The Browns did it! An 0-16 record! I never thought I'd see the day where I'd witness an 0-16 record, except for the time that the, uhh, Lions did it.
OK, maybe it's not worth celebrating, but that won't stop the Browns from throwing a parade:
Houston Texans (4-12) - Previously: 31.
Were the Texans the worst team in the NFL not named the Browns down the stretch? They weren't competitive to close out the year. In fact, I'm willing to say this - and cover your eyes, Houston fans...
I think the Browns would've beaten the T.J. Yates-led Texans had they played each other.
Green Bay Packers (7-9) - Previously: 29.
You know how the city of Green Bay names streets after Packer legends? Do you think the converse applies for the worst players in franchise history? Like, if there's a toxic waste dump in Green Bay, they can call it the Brett Hundley Toxic Waste Dump.
Not to pile on Hundley, but he was atrocious, and the Packers need to find a legitimate backup quarterback this offseason.
Indianapolis Colts (4-12) - Previously: 30.
Do you think that Jim Irsay realized that the Colts potentially hurt their draft positioning by winning? I could imagine him tweeting:
WE WONNN YEAAAH NOOWW WE HAVE THE 2ND PICK SUCK IT GOODEELL!!!"
At least he was actually lucid enough to fire Chuck Pagano this offseason. It appears as though his 2-year bender has come to an end.
New York Jets (5-11) - Previously: 28.
It should be apparent that the Jets need to find a franchise quarterback. If this wasn't obvious already, just take a look at this:
New York Giants (3-13) - Previously: 27.
The good news? The Giants preserved the No. 2 overall pick despite winning, thanks to Indianapolis' victory.
The bad news? Eli Manning didn't look too hot during the game:
Denver Broncos (5-11) - Previously: 26.
It's a shame the Broncos didn't get a better look at Paxton Lynch this season. They simply couldn't have because he was hurt so often, but they almost have to spend big-time resources on a new quarterback this offseason without fully knowing what they have in Lynch. I mean, sure, they probably have a pretty good idea, but it's not ideal that Lynch didn't have much of a shot.
Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Previously: 25.
It was nice of the Dolphins to give Jay Cutler the start so his spread record could worsen to 47-79, not counting Monday Night Football. What a truly prolific career.
By the way, teams should learn from Miami's mistake and not use a quarterback named Fales. David Fales is right up there with Billy Loss and Terry Interception.
Oakland Raiders (6-10) - Previously: 20.
I'm still in shock over the Jack Del Rio firing. Check here for my coach firing grades if you haven't seen them yet.
It would have been nice to know that Del Rio was on the hot seat more than 12 hours prior to kickoff, by the way. I hate betting on teams in Week 17 that will be firing coaches, and thus Oakland was the only wager I lost this past week.
Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Previously: 24.
Bruce Arians has announced his retirement, which I posted a rating for in my Disaster Grades page. Hopefully this doesn't mean Arizona will hire someone horrible like Jeff Fisher. I can't imagine a smart organization like the Cardinals doing that, unless, of course, they've decided that their new goal is to go 4-12 each year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) - Previously: 23.
"Will the Buccaneers ever stop making stupid mistakes? They need a better coaching presence, and Dirk Koetter is not the answer."
I wrote this last week, and the Buccaneers have since announced that Koetter will return next year for some reason. If there was any doubt that the Buccaneers organization was utterly clueless, there shouldn't be any now.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) - Previously: 22.
I had the Bengals listed as underrated last week, but I suppose I can't do that anymore after they upset the Ravens. That said, I was right for the wrong reasons. I suspected that Cincinnati would be better with Vontaze Burfict back on the field, but he didn't even play, and Baltimore won. Perhaps Burfict's presence, which would've allowed the team to clamp down on Alex Collins, would've meant that the Bengals would've won in a blowout.
Chicago Bears (5-11) - Previously: 21.
Underrated NFL Team: The Bears dropped four in a row prior to beating the Bengals, but they were without Danny Trevathan or top safety Adrian Amos for all four of contests. Trevathan is not only the heart and soul of Chicago's defense, but he also happens to be the brains of the operation. Amos, meanwhile, has been playing on a Pro Bowl level. The Bears frequently blow coverages with Trevathan being out of the lineup, so it's no surprise that their defense has been much better with him back on the field. They lost to the Lions and Vikings recently, but they outgained Detroit and averaged more yards per play. As for the Vikings loss, well, just chalk that up to Minnesota's dominance.
By the way, check this out from the Twitter trends:
See the "St" in Starting 2018? My mind keeps playing tricks on me, and I keep reading "Star Fox is out as Bears head coach." If only he did a barrel roll!
Washington Redskins (7-9) - Previously: 16.
There are lots of Redskin fans upset that their team lost to the Giants in Week 17. Why!? I'd be pissed if they had won! There's nothing good about ruining draft positioning in a meaningless game. The Redskins should be commended for showing up flat against the Giants.
Speaking of Terrelle Pryor (or not)...
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 240
Currently on Pace for: 240
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: Infinity
It's over. I can't believe Pryor once again failed to hit 1,800 receiving yards in a single season. Charles Woodson promised that it would happen, but yet it hasn't. How can I ever trust ESPN again after this!?
Detroit Lions (9-7) - Previously: 18.
Underrated NFL Team: The Lions seldom had anything close to a complete roster this season. In their most crucial game of the year, they were missing three starting offensive linemen. Detroit will be better in 2018 with improved injury luck.
Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) - Previously: 15.
People told me I was overreacting when I dropped the Eagles down from No. 1 to No. 15 in the wake of Carson Wentz's injury. Apparently, I didn't react enough. Nick Foles has gotten worse each week. The Eagles barely beat the Giants, and they posted just 13 real points against the Raiders. Foles was barely able to complete a forward pass versus Dallas. At this rate, it's going to take a miracle for the Eagles to win a single playoff game.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) - Previously: 19.
Legitimate question from Matvei: "Could Mike Mularkey be the first NFL head coach to be fired before a playoff game?" It may sound crazy to get rid of a coach prior to the postseason, but Mularkey is so awful that it would probably help Tennessee.
Dallas Cowboys (9-7) - Previously: 12.
It's hard to completely blame the Cowboys for the Seattle loss because they saw Tyron Smith get knocked out of the game on the very first drive. That just killed their game plan. There was no excuse, however, for nearly losing to a Philadelphia team playing its backups. The Cowboys need to be legitimately concerned about Dak Prescott's regression, as he's not a functional quarterback when missing one of his key offensive linemen.
Seattle Seahawks (9-7) - Previously: 10.
Had the Falcons lost to the Panthers, Blair Walsh would have garbage dumped on his lawn today. Fortunately, he gets to escape that.
While Walsh can avoid scrutiny, the other 52 Seahawks certainly cannot. They couldn't stop Drew freaking Stanton in a must-win game. In fact, they were so bad that my dad, a big-time Eagles fan, was devastated that Seattle didn't make the playoffs so that Philadelphia could beat up on them.
Buffalo Bills (9-7) - Previously: 17.
The last time the Bills were in the playoffs, I was a senior in high school. That was the year I started this Web site. So, for the first time since this Web site was three months old, I can say that the Bills are going to the playoffs!
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) - Previously: 14.
Overrated NFL Team: No one should be surprised that the Jaguars lost to the Titans, and that San Francisco demolished Jacksonville. The Jaguars prevailed over the Seahawks because Seattle lost both of its star linebackers. They beat the Chargers because Los Angeles made so many mistakes. Jacksonville had just one legitimate scoring drive in that contest. The Jaguars have otherwise beaten lots of bad teams, except when they lost to the Cardinals and nearly went down to the Browns, holding just a 10-7 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. They remind me of the Giants from 2016. They're overachieving, and they're likely going to make the playoffs, but they'll lose in the postseason right away and will win just 3-4 games next year once things stop going their way.
Doug Marrone should be fired for using his starters in such a meaningless game. He ended up paying the price, with Blake Bortles getting injured. What was he possibly thinking? Well, glad you asked...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Doug Marrone: I can't believe the regular season is over Sunday. Then, it's the playoffs. I can't believe I'll be in position to win in the postseason after sabotaging the team last year!
Baltimore Ravens (9-7) - Previously: 11.
I get the feeling that if the Ravens had to play the Bengals again tomorrow, and if Vontaze Burfict would once again be out, Baltimore would destroy Cincinnati. I think the Ravens took the Bengals lightly because they crushed them in a shutout victory in the season opener. It just goes to show that you can't ever take a team for granted - unless you're playing the Browns, of course.
San Francisco 49ers (6-10) - Previously: 13.
Underrated NFL Team: It's amazing what a competent signal-caller can do. The 49ers have had bad (Brian Hoyer) and abysmal (C.J. Beathard) quarterbacking this year, but Jimmy Garoppolo has been great against the Bears, Texans, Titans and Jaguars. With Garoppolo, the 49ers are so much better than 6-10. They have a solid running back, two talented tackles, and several impressive play-makers in the front seven. They still have some glaring holes at receiver, center and cornerback, but had Garoppolo started all year, I get the sense that the 49ers would be 11-5 or better right now.
Carolina Panthers (11-5) - Previously: 5.
The Panthers have struggled mightily recently, and they should've been labeled as an overrated team prior to last week. They barely snuck by the Buccaneers at home - they needed multiple Tampa mistakes to win - they were 28 yards away from going into overtime against the Packers, and they were blown out by the Saints. They beat the Vikings, but Minnesota was missing three starting offensive linemen.
Now, I'm not so sure the Panthers can be called overrated. They lost convincingly to Atlanta, and they're six-point dogs at New Orleans.
Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) - Previously: 8.
I loved how the Charger players said stuff like, "No one wants to see us in the playoffs." Uhh... how about the Chiefs, who destroyed you guys twice?
Still, there's some truth to that. The Chargers would be the fourth-best team on the AFC side of the playoff bracket had they qualified for the postseason. It's kind of ridiculous that the Bills qualified over them, if you think about it. The Chargers destroyed Buffalo, and they finished with the same record, so why can't common sense prevail and allow the Chargers to play in the postseason?
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) - Previously: 9.
Overrated NFL Team: The Falcons are two kicks on national TV away from being 8-8. They also beat Dallas when the Cowboys lost Sean Lee and already didn't have Tyron Smith or Ezekiel Elliott. This team is just not clicking like it did last year. They've been making way too many mistakes all season. Their win over the Panthers was seemingly impressive, but I don't know about Carolina either.
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) - Previously: 7.
Overrated NFL Team: The Steelers are definitely not the same without Ryan Shazier, as they couldn't stop Alex Collins runs and Joe Flacco passes without him. The freaking Ravens scored 38 points against them! They could've beaten the Patriots, but now Antonio Brown is also out.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) - Previously: 6.
I loved Patrick Mahomes coming out of college, and he did not disappoint at all. He played extremely well in his first start, especially considering that he was battling Denver's defense. If I'm the Chiefs, I might think of moving on from Alex Smith this offseason, barring a Super Bowl run.
Los Angeles Rams (11-5) - Previously: 4.
Poor Rams. They wanted the fourth seed so badly that they were the first team to announce that they'd be sitting all their starters. And yet, it backfired because the Saints lost to the Buccaneers! Now, they'll have the misfortune of going to Minnesota in Round 2.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) - Previously: 3.
I don't know what to make of the Saints' loss at Tampa. I definitely did not expect that to happen. New Orleans' defense has been tremendous for most of the season, but it looked utterly helpless against Jameis Winston, who helped the Buccaneers convert 13-of-18 third downs. The Saints couldn't get off the field at all.
Oh, and what's the deal with running fake field goals? If you have an offense with Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Michael Thomas, why not just have the offense go for it?
Minnesota Vikings (13-3) - Previously: 2.
The Vikings truly had a dominant performance in Chicago. The Bears didn't even cross their own 33-yard line until the fourth quarter, which is just absolutely insane!
Speaking of Minnesota's defense, Viking fans might be happy about the MVP race listed below...
New England Patriots (13-3) - Previously: 1.
Tom Brady hasn't posted good stats in a while. The last time he eclipsed both 225 passing yards and thrown multiple touchdowns was back in Week 12 against Miami. I can't wait until the national media points this out so we can bet on the Patriots at a reduced spread!
The MVP race:
1. Tom Brady
2. Cam Newton
3. Todd Gurley
4. Drew Brees
5. Harrison Smith
What the f***, did I just put a safety fifth in the MVP race!? Well, I had to move Russell Wilson off because his team didn't make the playoffs, and I wanted to include someone from the Vikings. It's not Case Keenum, as numerous quarterbacks can accomplish what he's been doing. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen cancel each other out. So, what about Harrison Smith, the best safety in the NFL, and the heart, soul and brains of the Minnesota defense? I wouldn't vote for him as MVP with Tom Brady and Cam Newton ahead of him, but I think he should at least be mentioned.