New England Patriots (10-3) - Previously: #2 - The Patriots are the new No. 1 team (more on that in a bit). Their defense is sick.
Have you noticed that Tom Brady is super pissed and curses a lot lately? I think it's because he saw these shirts:
The Golden Boy is just a stickler for correct spelling.
Seattle Seahawks (9-4) - Previously: #4 - The Seahawks just beat teams that were 7-4 and 9-3 on the road. While they're more dominant at Century Link, I think they're the one team in the NFC that can go into Lambeau and prevail in the NFC Championship. I'm not saying they'll do that for sure, but they present the same problems that the 49ers used to for the Packers.
Green Bay Packers (10-3) - Previously: #1 - The Packers drop to No. 3 because they will not win the Super Bowl unless they do something to improve their horrid secondary. That performance on Monday night was a disgrace.
Here's my NFL Game Recaps page where you can find analysis of the Packers-Falcons game.
Denver Broncos (10-3) - Previously: #3 - No one wants to say anything negative about Peyton Manning. Seriously, no one. The following exchange actually took place on GameDay Final on NFL Network:
Michael Irvin: No one wants to talk about what's going on with Peyton, and I... don't want to say anything about that.
Host: You can say whatever you want!
Michael Irvin: No, that's OK.
Crazy. People are actually terrified of offending Prince Peyton. I don't get it. What's he going to do, ban analysts from co-starring in all of his cool commercials? Use telekinesis to make them jump off a building? I don't get it.
Here's what no one on ESPN or NFL Network will say: Manning has sucked the past two weeks. He went 4-of-14 for 43 yards in the second half versus Kansas City, and then tossed two picks that were ugly ducks against the Bills. The Broncos still should have covered, but ugh...
Indianapolis Colts (9-4) - Previously: #5 - I should just say that Andrew Luck is No. 5; not the entire Colts' team. Luck is ridiculously amazing; I have no idea how he pulled out that victory despite having multiple pass-rushers in his face on almost every single snap and Reggie Wayne inexplicably drop tons of passes.
Jim Irsay has been able to tweet again, but not all of his tweets made it on to Twitter, as he was forced to delete some of them. I managed to capture these before he erased them:
hey @JManziel2 can u answer me
hey @JManziel2 plz can u answer me plz
hello @JManziel2 i saw u tweet can u plz answer me plz ill give u free things
@JManziel2 sorry bro i was being cool wuz up >> ur cool can we hang out l8r
hey @JManziel2 u didnt answer my tweet
hey @JManziel2 i no u didnt answer my tweet just making sure u got it
i think it would be kewl if @JManziel2 and i hung out
hello @JManziel2 i know ur busy but i have drugs to give
@JManziel2 u just peaked my interest! >> well have fun 2night i can be in ur ontorage
@JManziel2 ehh dunno bro >> cmon man im kewl like u & i have kewl drugs & hookers
@JManziel2 what drugs >> every kind ever made
RT @JManziel2 ok heres the dilly-yo. u can drop the drugs off say wuz up to every1 and then sit in the car
that sounds good to me @JManziel2 can the car at least face ur house
RT @JManziel2 nah the other way cuz theres just no space for u in my cool entourage now
can i see bye to everyone to @JManziel2????
@JManziel2 nah ur pushin it but if i get in2 a fight get my back ok >> YES!!!
I'LL DO NETHIING FOR U @JManziel2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
San Diego Chargers (8-5) - Previously: #6 - The Chargers' defense is now back where it was prior to all of their injuries, given that they have most of their players healthy again. Philip Rivers, however, just couldn't get anything going against a Patriots' stop unit that is infinitely better.
The Chargers took the Chiefs' spot in the top 10 last week. I'm just saying that because it's time for the Andy Reid meme of the week!
Last week: How could I bet seven units on this guy?
This week: More on the Denver-Kansas City game: Andy should have utilized this strategy against the Broncos:
Baltimore Ravens (8-5) - Previously: #9 - The Ravens have an awesome offense. Their defense has a major liability with its secondary, but Haloti Ngata returning for the playoffs will certainly help matters. Baltimore should definitely be in the postseason, as it has the Jaguars (home), Texans (road) and Browns (home) remaining. The Ravens could definitely win all three, but securing two victories should be good enough.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, will be winning out as well. According to John Harbaugh, at least. "These guys will probably win out," he said after the game. Uhh... Harbs, you do know that Miami has to go to New England next week, right?
Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) - Previously: #7 - I've seen people make excuses for the Eagles like, "they let the officiating get to them" and "if it wasn't for that one pass interference they would've won!" No. The Seahawks are just a lot better. Philadelphia has built up wins by dinking and dunking versus mediocre and poor opponents, and it won't be going very far with Mark Sanchez (or Nick Foles, for that matter). Seattle dominated that contest - and it was in Philly. Imagine what'll happen in Seattle during a possible second-round matchup.
Detroit Lions (9-4) - Previously: #10 - Detroit's win over Tampa was more impressive than it looked. The Buccaneers have been playing close games all year - save for two losses versus Atlanta and Baltimore - so the fact that the Lions were able to dominate and prevail by 17 was pretty telling. More importantly, they snapped their dubious, winless December streak.
Miami Dolphins (7-6) - Previously: #8 - It's amazing how poorly the Dolphins perform in the role of a favorite. Underdogs are now 57-28 against the spread in Miami's previous 85 games. Just in case you're a degenerate gambler like me, and you were interested in such a cool stat.
Let's play "Why is Team X Not in the Top 10 Rabble Rabble Rabble!"
Cincinnati Bengals: I wonder how much longer Bengal fans will troll the comment board below. Their posts have been entertaining, but it might be time to say goodbye soon.
Dallas Cowboys: The Thursday win was nice, but the Bears simply couldn't do anything offensively until garbage time once Brandon Marshall went down during a 7-7 tie. If Marshall stays healthy, Chicago puts more consistent drives together, keeps Dallas' offense off the field and perhaps even wins the game. The Cowboys can convince me that they belong in the top 10 with a victory at Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers will be in the top 10 with a victory next week. They need to start beating some NFC South teams before I have any faith in them. That loss to the Saints still bothers me, though Ben Roethlisberger's hand injury may have been the reason. Still though, the Saints have played like a giant heap of flaming garbage against everyone except for Pittsburgh.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 15 - Bottom 10
32. Tennessee Titans (2-11) - Previously: #31 - The Titans are one of the least-competitive teams I've ever seen. They just really suck.
Speaking of really sucking, check out this Rotoworld blurb on Shonn Greene:
A non-factor in real life? That kind of sucks. I wonder if Greene's own family ignores him because he's such a non-factor in real life.
31. Oakland Raiders (2-11) - Previously: #32 - I had the Raiders beating the 49ers on my NFL Picks page because the Raiders would get up for a declining and unfocused San Francisco team in its Super Bowl. For those of you who don't know, the Raiders hate the 49ers more than any other team, except for maybe the Broncos. But that's only because they play Denver twice per year. San Francisco and Oakland used to play in the preseason every August, but the NFL stopped those meetings because of all the violence in the stands. Naturally, a fight broke out on Sunday:
I wonder what prompted that...
49ers Fan: Hey Raiders fans, you're poor lol!
Raiders Fan: Well, you're gay!
49ers Fan: At least I don't live in a cardboard box!
Raiders Fan: At least I don't bang dudes!
49ers Fan: But I make $500,000 more than you! And my salary is $500,000!
Raiders Fan: Well, you're gay!
Argh, why can't these teams play in the preseason again?
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) - Previously: #30 - My LVH Supercontest partner Matvei sent over this hilarious text recently:
Exclusive: Jags announce spa package ticket sales have doubled now that the pool no longer faces the field!
29. New York Jets (2-11) - Previously: #29 - E-mailer Joe B., meanwhile, sent over the following when the Jets recorded their ninth loss:
Here's one for you from Spero Dedes:
"Muhammad Wilkerson is having an MVP-type season."
Yep, I'm sure a defensive tackle on a 2-9 team is very deserving of the league MVP.
Speaking of defensive players being MVP, I would not give that award to J.J. Watt. He's not even the MVP of his division. If you swapped Watt and Andrew Luck, the Texans would be better than the Colts. Luck has to be considered MVP for carrying this dreadful team, but I'd give it to Aaron Rodgers. Remember what the Packers looked like without him last year?
28. Washington Redskins (3-10) - Previously: #25 - What the hell is going on in Washington, outside of our government screwing up, as usual? Jay Gruden may now be fired after one year, so I think this calls for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: It's been 14 weeks now since I've last had a drop from my precious magic flask. Maybe I've should've been hunting in Washington all along. The Redskins suck just as much as the politicians, so one of them must be drinking out of it. Hey, Colt McCoy, you looked like you were drunk on Sunday!
Colt McCoy: Not drunk. I don't drink. My dad says it's against the rules. I was just playing my heart out as hard as I could, and I was showing lots of fight, but then I got dinged up and my dad said I couldn't play with my friends anymore.
Derek Anderson: Wow, what a p***y. Oh, it's Robert Griffin. Surely you drank because you didn't have to play.
Robert Griffin: No, I didn't drink but all of my teammates did because they suck lolololololol!!! They all were at fault for the loss but not me lololololol!!! I'm the greatest and it sucks I have to play with these bozos lolololololol!!! Now, if you'll excuse me, Daniel Snyder has to feed me grapes.
Derek Anderson: Wow, what a douche. Hmm... maybe Jay Gruden is the one drinking.
Jay Gruden: YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT!
Derek Anderson: See what? What was that paper you were writing on?
Jay Gruden: It's my manifesto to kill Robert Griffin. If I get fired because of that f***tard, I'm going to slit his throat!
Derek Anderson: Wow, isn't that a little extreme?
Jay Gruden: A little extreme!?!?! He's lucky I'm not eliminating his entire bloodline buhahahahaha!!!
Derek Anderson: Looks like no one in Washington is drunk. They just all suck.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) - Previously: #27 - What is up with these NFC South teams? Last week, we had this:
And this past week, we had this (thanks, Doug R.):
We might just have the first-ever 1-1 tie in the history of the NFL when the Buccaneers and Panthers battle next week!
26. Chicago Bears (5-8) - Previously: #23 - The Bears drop even further into oblivion with Brandon Marshall out for the year. Chicago, of course, has seen many other players go down. My girlfriend actually delivered the line of the night when Chris Conte had to go to the sideline:
Me: That guy is always hurt.
Girlfriend: He looks like a p***y.
25. New York Giants (4-9) - Previously: #28 - Joe B. also mentioned something that Dedes' partner, Solomon Wilcots said:
"This was the catch that broke Twitter. Now everyone knows the name Ladell Beckham Jr."
Apparently everyone except Solomon...
Everyone except Solomon and the Titans, who refused to cover him.
24. New Orleans Saints (5-9) - Previously: #19 - I interviewed Rex Ryan last week, so it's only fitting that I talk to Rob Ryan before he's fired as well. In fact, I talked to both Ryan and Sean Payton to find out what their differences are. Here's the transcript:
Me: Hey Sean and Rob, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
Ryan: WOOOOO WHERE ARE THE SHOTS!?!?
Ryan: YOU SAID THIS WAS A PARTY RIGHT!?!?!? WOOOOOOOOO!!!
Me: Party? I just said I wanted to ask you a few questions.
Ryan: YEAH I KNOW BUT WHERE ARE THE MOTHEF***ING SHOTS!?!?!?
Payton: See what I have to deal with, Walt? This guy is drunk all the time. I can't control him, and it's ridiculous.
Me: What happened though? You guys had a top-10 defense last year with pretty much the same personnel.
Payton: Yeah, I know. I promised Rob that he could have a liquor bottle - ONE liquor bottle - in his office if we had a top-10 defense, and he's transformed into this. We couldn't even contain Andy Dalton!
Ryan: WHO THE F*** IS ANDY DALTON!?!?! IS THAT THE DOUCHE WHO BEAT ME AT BEER PONG!?!?!?
Payton: No, he's the quarterback... ugh, never mind.
Ryan: DUDE YOU'RE TOTALLY KILLING MY BUZZ RIGHT NOW, YOU'RE THE WORST COACH TO PLAY FOR!!!
Payton: Stop drinking on the job, you f***ing a**hole!
Ryan: YOU'RE THE A**HOLE!!! NOW WHO'S READY TO DO SOME SHOTS AND THEN PLAY FLIP CUP!??!? WOOOOOO!!!
Me: I'm beginning to see why I've lost so much money on you guys this year.
23. Carolina Panthers (4-8-1) - Previously: #26 - I need to see one more win like that from the Panthers, but they sure as hell looked great with Cam Newton being mobile and cocky again.
Here's some hate mail this week from the comment board below:
Congrats you got one pick right on the Bengals this year back in week 5. I wish I had a cookie to give you.
Me too. I love cookies.
The Ravens lose at home, I should move them up 5 spots. Why exactly? Because there win at NO looks better now.
Well I guess the Bengals 27-10 victory THE WEEK BEFORE at NO doesn't look better since they are now 6 spots behind a team they SWEPT!
What a joke saying the ravens are the most talented team in the AFC North. Their most impressive win is something the Bengals also did, but better. Not to mention THEY SWEPT THEM THIS YEAR
You think I'm a joke? Well, I have a joke for you: Andy Dalton.
So the Ravens are getting moved up because NO won a game? Are you forgetting the Bengals beat NO the week before? How do you continue to be so biased in your rankings it makes no sense
You know what makes no sense? Your undying devotion toward Andy Dalton. You know he really sucks, right?
Walt it was already official, but I'll put another stamp on it - you have the worst power rankings by a landslide.
That's what I was going for. It's landslide or nothing for me.
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5). Previously: #14
12. Dallas Cowboys (9-4). Previously: #11
13. St. Louis Rams (6-7). Previously: #16
14. Arizona Cardinals (10-3). Previously: #12
15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6). Previously: #13
16. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1). Previously: #15
17. Buffalo Bills (7-6). Previously: #17
18. Houston Texans (7-6). Previously: #20
19. Cleveland Browns (7-6). Previously: #21
20. Minnesota Vikings (6-7). Previously: #24
21. San Francisco 49ers (7-6). Previously: #18
22. Atlanta Falcons (5-7*). Previously: #22
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: