Saturday, November 19, 2016

NFL 2016: Week 11 Power Rankings (Check-In)


The "2017 is Only Ten Months Away" Trio

16.) Cleveland Browns  (0-10  =  175-301)
15.) Jacksonville Jaguars  (2-7  =  174-239)
14.) New York Jets  (3-7  =  179-244)

I was surprised to see that the Jaguars actually had a better point differential than the Jets. The Jets are really, really bad. I guess all they are really missing is a QB and some corners. It is amazing how corner has gone from such a strength through much of the Rex Ryan era (even after Revis left) to a glaring weakness. The Browns may easily go winless, but I actually see more hope, in terms of a plan, here than I did in Detroit. Granted, with drafting Stafford and Suh, the plan in Detroit coalesced quickly. As with any rebuild, it will come down to the value they get on the draft capital they have built up. As for Jacksonville, I really don't know what to say. It will come down to Bortles, and whether he can amount to anything. And if he can't, it will come down to how quickly and expediently the Jaguars get rid of him.

The "Worse than they look or Better than they look 8-8" Duo

13.) Houston Texans  (6-3  =  161-188)
12.) Buffalo Bills  (4-5  =  237-203)

The Texans are one of the worst 6-3 teams I have ever seen. How this team managed to beat the Chiefs is beyond me. Amazingly for them they may have enough of a lead to hold onto the division, but we may be in store for another 30-0 wildcard loss. It is amazing how bad Osweiler has been, and how much it shows the Broncos were absolutely right to both get rid of him and ensure Peyton started in the playoffs. As for teh Bills, they are the opposite. This is a team that gave Seattle as good of a game as New England did, and did it in Seattle. But also a team that blew games to Miami and were spanked by New England themselves. The Bills are a good team, but way too streaky and in a really tough AFC Wildcard picture, they may have already lost too many.

The "Please can one of you win the AFC South" Duo

11.) Indianapolis Colts  (4-5  =  239-256)
10.) Tennessee Titans  (5-5  =  264-251)

There are going to be two divsion winners with 10-6 or worse records (unless the Texans somehow go 11-5). That said, I can confidently say the AFC North winner, be it Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, will give their wild card opponent a good game. Houston will not. The Colts can, as their offense is good enough to potentially hang with most teams. The Titans not only, we have to start thinking they may actually be good. This is a team that just rolled Green Bay from snap one, winning without even letting Rodgers get good garbage time scoring to make it look closer. The Titans weird 'exotic smashmouth' has calmed down the 'exotic' part since their early season struggle, and the smashmouth part is still humming. Maybe, just maybe, Mike Mularkey knew what he was doing.

The "Playoff Periphery" Trio

9.) San Diego Chargers  (4-6  =  292-278)
8.) Cincinnati Bengals  (3-5-1  =  187-210)
7.) Miami Dolphins  (5-4  =  204-206)

Despite San Diego and Cincinnati both being two games under .500, I would pick both of them to beat the teams I put below them today. The Chargers still have that magician in Rivers. The Bengals still have loads of talent. Their drop in play comes down mostly to the shocking dropoff in the level of their OL. They had a clear Top-5 OL the last few years, and now it is bottom ten. Still, the Bengals are just one loss behind Baltimore (with both games against the Ravens still to come), and tied on losses with the Steelers with the game in Cincinnati still to come. There is a path to victory here. For San Diego, less so, but I have a hard time putting them further back. As for Miami, four straight wins have them right there in the playoff hunt. The division is likely gone unless the Pats collapse, and the Wild Card is a stretch, but there seems to be a bright future in Miami all of a sudden.

The "Sadder version of 2008, 2010 and 2011" Duo

6.) Baltimore Ravens  (5-4  =  182-160)
5.) Pittsburgh Steelers  (4-5  =  214-206)

In 2008, 2010 and 2011, the Ravens and Steelers staged epic battles for the AFC North. In 2008, the Steelers led wire-to-wire, but it only ended in Week 15, when a 10-3 Pittsburgh team went into Baltimore and beat a 9-4 Ravens team 13-9. In 2010, it was something similar, when an 8-3 Steelers team beat an 8-3 Ravens team 13-10. In 2011, the Ravens finally struck back, ending the division when they swept the Steelers with a draamtic 23-20 win in Heinz. Those were incredible divisional battles, the AFC's version of Seahawks-49ers which really only lasted from 2012-2013. A few years later, these two will battle it out, but when you are trying to see who goes 10-6 to win the division, it doesn't seem as fun. The Ravens have a superb defense and the Steelers a potentially dominant offense, but the other factors are just not there.

The "The AFC West Escalated Quickly" Trio

4.) Kansas City Chiefs  (7-2  =  205-168)
3.) Oakland Raiders  (7-2  =  245-223)
2.) Denver Broncos  (7-3  =  239-189)

Remember when all of a sudden the NFC West was the best division in football after being absolute garbage for six years? This isn't as extreme, as the AFC West did send three teams to the playoffs in 2013, and has had at least two winning teams for a number of years (getting Manning in there helped), but all of a sudden the AFC West has the second, third and fourth best teams in the conference. There are all legitimate teams as well. The Chiefs defense is fantastic. The Raiders offense is excellent. The Broncos defense, at the very least the pass defense, may be the best unit in the entire NFL. It is hard to say any of them are a favorite. The Raiders still have to play all their divisional road games (they are 5-0 on the road so far). The Chiefs and Broncos have to play each other twice. It will be a crazy mad dash to the finish line.

The "Yeah, let's just accept they're winning the AFC Again" Uno

1.) New England Patriots  (7-2  =  241-163)

Despite the public perception, I've enjoyed a lot of this season. I have squarely not enjoyed the Patriots still being really good. Let's just move on.


The "So, So, So, Bad" Duo

16.) San Francisco 49ers  (1-8  =  187-283)
15.) Chicago Bears  (2-7  =  141-215)

I get that the 49ers have very little talent, but I'm shocked about how little criticism Chip Kelly is getting on what a disaster the 49ers have been. His offense has not been good. His offenses have not been good for a while now. At least in Philadelphia the record was decent. Analytics and film guys will slurp him to no end, but at this point I'm just not sure what makes him the visionary people think he was. As for the Bears, what a disaster the season has become. Injuries have just piled up, and while they have a clear path to start the rebuild by getting rid of Cutler, there is so much more to do at this point.

The "Muddled Mess" Trio

14.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (4-5  =  216-242)
13.) Los Angeles Rams  (4-5  =  139-173)
12.) New Orleans Saints  (4-5  =  265-263)

The NFC has a far more messy middle than the AFC, which is why teams that can still claim to be in the playoff race are so low in my mind. The Buccaneers will hit a few splash plays, and you can see the makings of a very good team, but there is a lot to clean up from a cosnistency and protecting the ball standpoint. The Rams offense is what we all thought the Titans offense would be, a boring, slog focused on the run in a passing world. Maybe things change with Goff? At the very least they become 5% more interestign to watch. The Saints are somewhat unlucky in that they've lost two games they easily could have won (Denver, Oakland), but they've also won games they easily could have lost (Carolina, San Diego). The Saints are what they are, a .500 type team that has lost whatever aura they used to have regarding their ability to play really well at home.

The "It Wasn't Supposed to go this way" Trio

11.) Carolina Panthers  (3-6  =  221-226)
10.) Green Bay Packers  (4-5  =  223-234)
9.) Arizona Cardinals  (4-4-1  =  202-160)

The best three teams in the NFC for most of last season were the Panthers, Packers and Cardinals. Of course, the Packers slide started in the middle of the season and by the end they were easily behind Minnesota and Seattle, but either way, these are three somewhat preseason favorites. All three have a serious question about their ability to make the playoffs. The Panthers have been mightily unlucky, losing a bunch of close games. The Packers have been incredible frustrating, wasting Aaron Rodgers (who admittedly has been poor himself). The Cardinals are the worst because it seems there is no way back up. They put all their eggs in this 2014-2016 basket, and now the long slide back down begins. The Panthers can at least say things will get better next year when the corners are more ingrained, when they focus resources on the OL. For the Cardinals? What is there? Maybe get a 3rd old QB and get Romo?

The "Periphery Playoff Contenders" Trio

8.) Washington Redskins  (5-3-1  =  212-209)
7.) Detroit Lions  (5-4  =  205-206)
6.) Minnesota Vikings  (5-4  =  175-152)

The Redskins are the forgotten team in that NFC East (despite being by record better than Philadelphia). It is probably due to the 2-0 start, and the fact Cousins has been merely pretty good instead of the awful he was in the 1st half of last season or brilliant in the second. That team has a lot of talent and is 5-1-1 in their last 7 games. They have what it takes to sneak back in. The Lions and Vikings have a momentary edge on the Packers and both would do good to start adding to it. The Lions have been very inconsistent and the Vikings just a disaster over the last month, but there is still time for them to build a gap in that division and send their hated rivals home.

The "High Upside Frightening" Duo

5.) New York Giants  (6-3  =  182-184)
4.) Atlanta Falcons  (6-4  =  320-283)

I'm surprised the Giants don't have a positive point differential. Their offense should be better (and again, the problem is the run game and Eli's scattershot play) and their defense has been legitimately really good all year, one of the few cases where loads of FA money works out. They have two gimmes coming up, and while the schedule gets much harder later in the season, with the Cowboy game in New York still to come, there is a path to a division title, somehow. For the Falcons, they are lucky the Panthers have been so unlucky, as their freefall is close to what happened last year (5-0 start, 3-8 finish), but there is no 15-1 juggernaut to deal with. The Falcons offense is great. The defense is bad. On days where Ryan gets some time, they can knock off anyone.

The "They Just have to get in the game" Uno

3.) Philadelphia Eagles  (5-4  =  226-160)

By Football Outsiders DVOA, the Eagles are the most efficient team in the NFL, this on the backs of their top-ranked defense and special teams. Carson Wentz's level has not really improved the last couple weeks, but the run game has turned a corner and that defense remains among the NFL's best as Jim Schwartz continues to prove what a great defensive coordinator he is. If they can sneak into the playoffs, they can make noise, but the Eagles have put themselves in a really tough position losing multiple winnable games already.

The "Can we fast-forward to the NFC Title Game" Duo

2.) Dallas Cowboys  (8-1  =  258-170)
1.) Seattle Seahawks  (6-2-1  =  193-158)

Two years ago these two teams played in Seattle and the Cowboys came in and dominated the Seahawks up front and won the game. It was a huge statement game that in many ways has set the tone for the Cowboys ever since (aside from the injury-riddled last season). At this point, we would all like a rematch, be it in Seattle or in Jerryworld. I have a few concerns about Dak if the Cowboys were to ever go behind by 10+ in a game, but with that OL and a defense that is far better than the sum of its parts, maybe they don't actually get behind by that much anwyay. It would be a fantastic game, and certainly be a ratings giant, as much as we have to suddenly care about these things.

Playoff Projections


1.) New England Patriots  =  13-3
2.) Oakland Raiders  =  11-5
3.) Pittsburgh Steelers  =  9-7
4.) Indianapolis Colts  =  9-7
5.) Denver Broncos  =  11-5
6.) Kansas City Chiefs  =  11-5


1.) Seattle Seahawks  =  12-3-1
2.) Dallas Cowboys  =  12-4
3.) Atlanta Falcons  =  10-6
4.) Minnesota Vikings  =  9-7
5.) Philadelphia Eagles  =  10-6
6.) New York Giants  =  10-6

About Me

I am a man who will go by the moniker dmstorm22, or StormyD, but not really StormyD. I'll talk about sports, mainly football, sometimes TV, sometimes other random things, sometimes even bring out some lists (a lot, lot, lot of lists). Enjoy.