Sports Opinion & Analysis

NFL Power Rankings: Part III

In NFL on November 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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Okay, so technically I was supposed to do the third installment of Power Rankings on Wednesday, but then Marvin Miller died and I got distracted.

While Atlanta and New Orleans played yesterday, that really doesn’t do much to change the overall order, so while I’m a little late, here are the Power Rankings, heading into week thirteen.

(Oh, and I totally disregarded the game last night, and just pretended it didn’t happen)

32. New York Jets (4-7) Previously Ranked (P): #25

There are teams with worse records than the Jets, but none of them had the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow quarterback controversy, the Ice Bath-gate, Rex Ryan as their coach, or the lofty and unhealthy expectations of being a New York team.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) P: #32

After Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, this is the least talented team in the NFL. Brady Quinn is literally a black hole for offense.

300px-BH_LMC

Scouting report for Brady Quinn.

 You know that saying, “there’s nowhere to go but up?” Even the Chiefs can’t say that.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) P: #31

It sure is tough being the Jaguars. You’re in a city that can’t support you, Blaine Gabbert is your quarterback, and when he’s out, Chad Henne is your supposed savior. If I was Maurice Jones Drew, I would still be holding out.

29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) P: #19

They haven’t won in two months, and are pretty much wasting time until everyone in Philadelphia is so distracted by the Phillies, they can cut Michael Vick and fire Andy Reid. You have to really have to wonder if Nnamdi Asomugha regrets leaving Oakland for this mess…

28. Oakland Raiders (3-8) P: #23

…probably not. The Raiders are actually worse than the Eagles, but that last joke wouldn’t have worked if I would have flipped their order. When you’re this low on the chart though, does it really matter?

A soon-to-be member of the fired Raiders Coach Club.

A soon-to-be member of the Raiders’ Fired Coach Club.

At this point it’s time to focus on rebuilding for the future, and start looking at who the Raiders are going to draft in the offseason. Good thing they have all those picks they gave up for Carson Palmer, right? Or Terrell Pryor.

27. Cleveland Browns (3-8) P: #30

In the first rankings, the Browns hadn’t won a game yet. During the next four weeks, they won two, and they’ve only won one since.

Insert another Brandon Weeden Is Old Joke here.

26. Carolina Panthers (3-8) P: #22

My prediction that Cam Newton would be even better than his rookie year was flat-out wrong.

On the upside though, he’s young, he’s only in his universally predictable (so I’ve been told) Sophomore Slump, and he’s extremely talented. This season will just have to be considered part of the learning curve for a future elite NFL quarterback.

25. San Diego Chargers (4-7) P: #24

Last rankings I recommended the Chargers trade Phillip Rivers to obtain as many high draft picks as possible. This time, I’m still suggesting adding Ryan Matthews, Melvin Ingram and Malcom Floyd as well.

Why? Because whomever the new coach is next year will need as many reconstruction pieces as possible.

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7) P: #28

It must be tough being a Bills fan. Your fondest memories include OJ Simpson, and losing Super Bowls. Just when you think your team is finally on the rise (like early last year), they go back to playing like the Bills you know. You go to home games and watch them play reasonably well, only to have them go out on the road and get slaughtered time and time again.

Question: What's the only thing to do in upstate New York? Answer: Be depressed.

Question: What’s there to do in upstate New York? Answer: Be depressed.

Hey, at least there’s not rumors the team will relocate to Los Angeles, right? Oh wait.

23. Tennessee Titans (4-7) P: #29

Keep on not expecting much. I’m sure there is a country music concert or something going on instead.

22. Arizona Cardinals (4-7) P: #16

After starting 4-and-0, the Cardinals haven’t won a game since. While there has been times when they have played like the worst team in the league (maybe not as bad as the Chiefs or Jags, but close), it’s their stellar defense that keeps them out of the bottom of the cellar.

21. Dallas Cowboys (5-6) P: #17

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin sure were a long time ago, weren’t they?

20. Detroit Lions (4-7) P: #20

The NFL really needs to do something about the tradition of the Cowboys and Lions always hosting the Thanksgiving games. Just because something is a tradition, doesn’t make it a good thing. Like, if I were to kick my friend Alex in the nuts every February 3rd, it doesn’t mean I should always be allowed to do  so. Things sometimes need to change, like the Early Thrown Challenge Flag Rule (or whatever it’s called).

"...but it's Thanksgiving..."

“…but it’s Thanksgiving…”

While the Lions/Texans game was the most entertaining of the day, it’s time for the people of Detroit to not start off their holiday season each year with more depression than the simple fact of living in Detroit already offers them.

19. St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) P: #21

Sam Bradford hasn’t lived up to the “Next Peyton Manning” billing that followed him into the draft, but he’s looking pretty capable lately, and with the return of Danny Amendola following a shoulder injury, he’ll become even more of an offensive threat.

Oh, and having Chris Long and Cortland Finnegan on defense doesn’t hurt either.

18. Miami Dolphins (5-6) P: #12

So maybe word of the Dolphins arrival might have been premature, but the current roster is better than almost any other in the post-Marino era. This team is a work-in-process, and in the future, will be much, much better.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) P: #13

Losing Ben Rothlisberger to a shoulder injury is tough, especially because we can’t make more jokes about how appropriate he looks in those’ prison stripe throwback uniforms.

"Where da women at?"

“Where da women at?”

It also doesn’t help that 37-year-old Charlie Batch is going to be the quarterback until Rothlisberger returns.

16. Minnesota Vikings (6-5) P: #9

Like the Dolphins, maybe news of the Vikings arrival was also premature. And without Percy Harvin, the team’s not going to do any better, no matter how freakishly good Adrian Peterson plays, even after returning from his knee injury. Like other teams, the Vikings are just chalking up 2012 as a learning process.

15. New Orleans Saints (5-6) P: #27

While their play has greatly improved since the last rankings, they are still a center-of-the-pack team, and are still just counting down the days until Sean Payton can come back.

14. Washington Redskins (5-6) P: #15

They don’t have a winning record, and when they do win it’s not always pretty, but this team is one game out of the playoff hunt, and their quarterback is Robert Griffin III. I wouldn’t bet against that.

13. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) P: #14

If it wasn’t for the refs and that whole Monday Night Football affair, this team would be a deserved 5-and-5. Leave it to Pete Carroll to add wins through sketchy practices.

"Just like at USC!"

“Just like at USC!”

Watching the Seahawks is like kissing your sister, or something like that.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) P: #22

The Bengals were ranked seventh in the first rankings, then twenty-second in the last rankings, now find themselves twelfth. How do I explain all of this this drastic shifting from one ranking to the next? By Andy Dalton and AJ Green only being in their second year. Like the Dolphins, Vikings, and maybe even the Seahawks, this team will continue to improve, and continue to become more consistent.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) P: #18

I keep saying it, and I still stand by it. The Bucs are the future of the NFC South.

10. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) P: #11

Andrew Luck is doing something even Peyton Manning couldn’t do; potentially taking the Colts to the playoffs in his first year. If this keeps up, the next highly recruited quarterback might be referred to as “The Next Andrew Luck.”

"I know, right?"

“I know, right?”

Also, don expect their new franchise quarterback to wait around a decade to bring Indy another Super Bowl championship either.

9. Green Bay Packers (7-4) P: #8

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Packers are in a fight for their playoff life, which, if that Monday Night fiasco would have been called right, they wouldn’t be. The Pack have no one but the replacement refs to blame for their circumstance. No one but the replacement refs and the Packers consistently inconsistent play.

8. Chicago Bears (8-3) P: #5

Da Bears got stomped by the 49ers in the Backup Bowl, but with Jay Cutler back in the lineup, you wonder how that game might have went. Da Bears are a good team, but it’s uncertain just how good they are. Is their record because of talent, or circumstance?

7. New York Giants (7-4) P: #4

Chicago and Green Bay may be better on paper, but the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs, and have proven they can slide through the season somewhat, and then win big games when it matters most.

"Hey Peyton, how many of these do you have again?"

“Hey Peyton, how many of these do you have?”

They are a good team, but consider their slightly inflated ranking due to a little Super Bowl bump.

6. New England Patriots (8-3) P: #10

Even with losing my highest fantasy scorer Gronk, the Pats are on a five game winning streak and blowing out the competition. Without Gronk though, I don’t see this team going far into the postseason, but I do expect them to play lights out until they get eliminated in the first round.

By the way, get better soon Gronk. Preferably before my league’s playoffs.

5. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) P: #3

I really have no idea about the 49ers. Before the season started, I thought they would play at a lower caliber than they did last year, but with some of the losses they’ve had, and the laughable tie with the Rams, they are performing even lower than I expected.

Now add in an unnecessary quarterback controversy (I did call for Colin Kaepernick to start, only because it was an issue. Jim Harbaugh should have never let it become so), and I really have no idea about this team. They may very well ground-and-pound their way to another Super Bowl, or they could get shut out in the first round. Who knows?

4. Houston Texans (10-1) P: #2

This was a tough call, because nothing has changed with Texans. They still have a great defense, and they still have one of the best run/pass combos with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. The only thing that has changed is the competition, and it did so by getting better.

If I were breaking up with the Texans, this would be a classic case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

3. Denver Broncos (8-3) P: #6

There is no doubt that the Texans are better than the Broncos.

"I am so going to make you forget about John Elway."

“I am so going to make you forget about John Elway.”

But as of right now, Peyton’s finally finding his groove, the team is on a convincible winning streak, and if I was an opposing NFL team, I would pick facing the Texans over the Broncos for the rest of the year.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-1) P: #1

How can I justify ranking the Falcons second best in the league? With Matt Ryan and that amazing offense? Because the Falcons have won games against bad teams by close margins. While they do have that X-Factor of  finding ways to win when they shouldn’t, those types of victories are unsustainable in the long run. The Falcons are only a bad play or two against a good team from finding themselves in a loss.

The poster boy for amazing skill, and insanely stupid dumb luck.

The poster boy for composure under pressure. And insanely stupid dumb luck.

And if they keep playing like this in the regular season, when the playoffs come around, that’s when they’re going to mess up. Just ask Green Bay from last year.

1. Baltimore Ravens (9-2) P: #7

How do you shoot up to the top of the list, after your two best defensive players went down for the season with injuries? Well, a 4th-and-29 first down in overtime can help. A good quarterback, receiving core and running back helps. Oh, and having Ray Lewis coming back December 16th helps, too.

The scariest man in the NFL, since January 31, 2000.

The scariest man in the NFL, since January 31, 2000.

Sometimes it isn’t always about the record, but the best personnel who gives the team the best chance to win. Right now, this team is quickly living up to my preseason expectations.

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