• Top 10, Bottom 5: Week 11



    Things got kind of weird last week. The Texans and the Lions were ranked #30 and #32 respectively last week, and not only did they both win this past weekend, but they won games over the teams that were ranked #2 and #6 in the Bengals and Packers! Also every single team ranked #6-#10 lost. Football gets away with being so dumb because of one game sample sizes, and it's kind of great sometimes.

    Top 10:

    1) New England Patriots - The Giants came oh so close to knocking off the undefeated Patriots; because, you know, that's kind of their thing. A few dashes of luck went their way though, Landon Collins was apparently stricken with frostbite at a very unfortunate time, and New England comes away unscathed once more. There are still a few more tests left on the schedule, including one this Monday night against the Buffalo Bills who played them pretty close way back in the second week of the season. (PR: 1)

    2) Carolina Panthers - I haven't been shy about praising the Titans' defense at times this year, but man the Panthers made them look really pedestrian this past week. Cam Newton in particular may have had his best game of the season, and the defense looks like it's continuing to improve with every passing game. Marcus Mariota didn't even play that poorly, but Tennessee's ground game was completely buried by guys like Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short. A glance at Carolina's remaining schedule also doesn't show a ton in the way of difficult hurdles left to clear. (PR: 3)

    3) Arizona Cardinals - All those nice things being said about the Panthers, I can't help but feel more and more like Arizona should be the favorite to come out of the NFC. They looked really strong against the Seahawks in primetime on Sunday Night Football; getting loads of pressure on Russell Wilson and making Seattle's vaunted secondary look rather mediocre with Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald doing work. Carson Palmer is looking like an MVP to me. (PR: 4)

    4) Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals drop a couple places in the rankings after an ugly performance and a loss to the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. Andy Dalton may have had his worst game of the year so far, uncharacteristically missing on passes and just looking out of sync with his receivers all game long. The defense at least still looked rather formidable, though against Houston's offense I suppose I'm setting a low bar for success. (PR: 2)

    5) Pittsburgh Steelers - I still don't quite understand why Ben Roethlisberger was the backup on Sunday if the team determined that he was healthy enough to play anyway, but it all ended up working out for the Steelers as Big Ben checked in and put up a pretty solid performance once Landry Jones was knocked out of the game. A healthy Roethlisberger down the stretch could make all the difference between whether or not the Steelers are able to make a run in the postseason; if they can though, they might end up being the most dangerous team to play with the threat of Antonio Brown in a one game sample. (PR: 5)

    6) Green Bay Packers - So normally when you lose to the Lions and you were the #6 ranked team the previous week, you can generally expect to fall in the rankings the subsequent week. Not the case for the Packers, seeing as how every other team in the top ten ranked below them were also kind enough to fail! Aaron Rodgers was passing the ball to Davante Adams so much in that game that it looked like the Packers were running the Bel-Air Academy offense. I don't know if there is actually anything wrong with the Packers or if this is an unfortunate string of samples, but I believe in Aaron Rodgers. (PR: 6)

    7) Minnesota Vikings - Hey! The Vikings finally get into the Top Ten! I've been skeptical of their performance for a while now, but with everyone else in the back half of the rankings losing last week, the Vikings get to burst down the door and join the party for a change. A win over the Raiders is nothing to sneeze at in 2015, and their win earlier in the season against Kansas City is looking better and better, but it's worth remembering too that this team lost to the 49ers. For all the outrage at Greg Hardy, we seem to be pretty cool with Adrian Peterson leading the league in rushing. Just an observation. (PR: NR)

    8) Seattle Seahawks - It wasn't actually doom and gloom for Seattle, despite all the nice things I said about Arizona earlier. Actually, the Seahawks averaged 6.6 yards per play on Sunday Night compared to just 5.4 for the Cardinals, though the Cardinals ran about thirty more plays on offense than the Seahawks did. If it wasn't for some untimely turnovers, Seattle may very well have won that game. This is still a team that I think can sneak into the postseason as a Wild Card and stick around. (PR: 7)

    9) Buffalo Bills - Rex Ryan and the gang are back in town after eking out a five-point win over the Jets. LeSean McCoy finally seems to be hitting his stride in Buffalo, and Ronald Darby is playing like a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Darby was targeted five times against the Jets and he surrendered just one completion...which resulted in negative yardage for the offense. The AFC Wild Card race is becoming suddenly much more crowded than it was a couple of weeks ago, and the Bills seem like just as good a bet as any other team to grab one of those coveted spots. (PR: NR)

    10) Kansas City Chiefs - I suppose in all likelihood, this Chiefs team will be primarily remembered in the annals of history for being the team that Peyton Manning broke the all-time passing record on. They might also be remembered as the team that effectively ended Peyton Manning's career; which I suppose is weird considering that both of these things happened in the same game. Either way, the Chiefs have steadily been improving ever since a sluggish start to the season, Charcandrick West has ended up being able to carry the load in place of Jamaal Charles, and Justin Houston continues to be a terrifying force of nature off the edge. (PR: NR)

    Honorable Mentions:

    - The Denver Broncos fall out of the Top Ten this week after losing to the Chiefs and benching Peyton Manning in favor of Brock Osweiler, signaling that they have no confidence in what they're doing right now and that we probably shouldn't either.

    - It was kind of tough determining who should get into the bottom part of the Top Ten this week, so I nearly put the New York Giants in even despite a loss to the Patriots and the fact that they weren't ranked the previous week.

    Bottom 5:

    28) Tennessee Titans - The glory of the Mike Mularkey era in Tennessee was short lived; shocking, I know. After riding high with an upset victory of the New Orleans Saints, the Titans got stomped on by the Panthers in terribly predictable fashion. Mariota looks alright though, and the defense is still a solid unit. (PR: NR)

    29) Detroit Lions - Up until this previous weekend, there were Lions fans who could legally purchase alcohol and had never seen the Lions win a game at Lambeau Field. Rejoice! (PR: 32)

    30) San Diego Chargers - On a Bye this past week, but still dropped a couple spots because the Lions and Texans were inexplicably successful for a change. This week they get the surging Chiefs, so...I mean let's face it, this sport is dumb and San Diego will probably win.

    31) Cleveland Browns - So Johnny Manziel wasn't even actually that bad despite the Browns getting creamed by the Steelers this past week, and now the team has officially backed him as the starter going forward. I like that. It's finally time to see if they have a quarterback or not. Really though, they should have treated Landry Jones as if he was wearing one of those red, no-contact, practice jerseys. (PR: 29)

    32) San Francisco 49ers - Our Lord and savior Blaine Gabbert and the rest of his Bayside apostles took the Sabbath this past week. (PR: 32)

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      I don't like what is happening with the Seahawks. They have chemistry issues that keep starting to crop up. They seem like sore loosers who can't believe the league and the salary cap might have finally caught up to them. Its started with Michael Bennet's cheap shot in the end of the Superbowl, continued with all the rumors surrounding the last play call (some players believe the idea was to showcase Wilson versus Lynch to avoid paying). The legion of boom is griping an sniping at each other, and I haven't heard Sherman mouth off in weeks. The Chancellor hold out must have bothered some of the guys.

      On the other hand, they have an awesome LB corps that get's overlooked behind of their DL and secondary. So they might adjust and help chancellor on his coverage with more Wagner and Wright.
    1. xmenehune's Avatar
      I would place NO in bottom 5, at least until their D shows up..if ever...

      and bump TEN...
    1. Nancy's Avatar
      2) Carolina Panthers - I haven't been shy about praising the Titans' defense at times this year, but man the Panthers made them look really pedestrian this past week. Cam Newton in particular may have had his best game of the season, and the defense looks like it's continuing to improve with every passing game. Marcus Mariota didn't even play that poorly, but Tennessee's ground game was completely buried by guys like Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short. A glance at Carolina's remaining schedule also doesn't show a ton in the way of difficult hurdles left to clear. (PR: 3)
      I think you are far too impressed with the Panthers. Their offense is inconsistent, they have injuries, and they still have 4 division games left, plus Dallas featuring Tony Romo on Turkey Day. No, the Panthers are highly overrated here. I've heard that Cam is too busy practicing his TD dance to worry about prepping for the Redskins, and that Kuechly is so distracted by the upcoming BC/Notre Dame game that he forgot to show up for practice. Really, it's terrible!!

      Reverse jinxing aside, I am very worried about the Redskins. They are fiesty. The Panthers are not going to go undefeated and they are at that point where they (like the Bengals last week) are due for a letdown.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by xmenehune View Post
      I would place NO in bottom 5, at least until their D shows up..if ever...

      and bump TEN...
      The Saints were the last team out of the Bottom 5 this week, so don't think I somehow missed their dreadfulness.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
      I think you are far too impressed with the Panthers. Their offense is inconsistent, they have injuries, and they still have 4 division games left, plus Dallas featuring Tony Romo on Turkey Day. No, the Panthers are highly overrated here. I've heard that Cam is too busy practicing his TD dance to worry about prepping for the Redskins, and that Kuechly is so distracted by the upcoming BC/Notre Dame game that he forgot to show up for practice. Really, it's terrible!!

      Reverse jinxing aside, I am very worried about the Redskins. They are fiesty. The Panthers are not going to go undefeated and they are at that point where they (like the Bengals last week) are due for a letdown.
      The Panthers will probably drop a game or two at some point, as that's just the nature of the sport. I was skeptical of them a few weeks ago though, and I'm gradually coming more around on the idea of them being a serious contender in the NFC. I might still pick the Cardinals to win if the two teams were to face off on a neutral playing field, but the gap between them is a lot smaller than I initially assumed it to be.