I thought there was a good chance the Panthers would lose at New York, but Odell Beckham Jr. killed the Giants' chances with his antics. Now, it appears as though Carolina will go 16-0. And yes, Ron Rivera should play his starters. There have been 49 Super Bowl champions, but no team has ever gone 19-0. Doing so would make the people who think the Panthers are the worst undefeated team ever look pretty dumb.
Speaking of Beckham, what the hell happened to him? I think there's only one reasonable explanation...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Cam Newton: Derek, we need your help! The Giants might be our toughest challenge to get to 16-0. You spiked Matt Ryan's Gatorade last week. Do you think you could do the same to Elisha Manning's Gatorade?
Derek Anderson: I did not spike Elisha's Gatorade, Cameron. But only because I had someone better in mind...
*** Meanwhile, on the football field ***
Odell Beckham: Whatata thehe heellss gooinggn ooonn whhyy cann't Ii seee straaiigght oohh heherre coomemess a loongng tooouchchdwoonn ooohnnooezzz I dodororpp ittt!
Josh Norman: Wow, I thought you were going to catch that for sure, Odell.
Derek Anderson: I think I put too much of my magic flask into Odell's Gatorade.
Arizona Cardinals (12-2) - Previously: #2 - Tyrann Mathieu is out for the year. It's a shame that he tore his ACL. As I wrote in the NFL Game Recaps, I don't know why he was on the field in a 40-17 game with two minutes remaining. Teams that take their foot off the gas often lose early in the playoffs - see all of Peyton Manning's choke jobs - but taking it too far the other way can also have negative ramifications.
Seattle Seahawks (9-5) - Previously: #5 - I have to move the Seahawks up to No. 3, as they've been thrashing everyone. New England fans may wonder about this, as both teams won by the same margins, but the differences were: A) Cleveland has been more competitive since making the change to Johnny Manziel, while the Titans, who quit against the Jets the week before, didn't have Marcus Mariota for most of the game. B) Seattle is mostly healthy, while the Patriots continue to lose personnel.
New England Patriots (12-2) - Previously: #3 - Speaking of the Patriots losing more personnel:
Add Danny Amendola and Dont'a Hightower to the list; the former sprained his knee, while the stud linebacker aggravated his previous injury. The Patriots are disintegrating before our very eyes, which is a shame because Roger Goodell handing the Lombardi Trophy to Bob Kraft and Tom Brady would've been the most awkward moment in sports history.
Oh, and on that picture, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was on Nick at Nite recently, and I forgot how great of a show that was. The episode I saw was when Will took a bullet at the ATM for Carlton and then cried when asking for the gun Carlton purchased at the very end. If I had any sort of emotions, I would've cried for sure!
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) - Previously: #6 - Argh, did the Steelers really have to score a touchdown at the very end rather than kick a field goal? It completely blew the Denver cover, which looked like a lock when the score was 27-10.
By the way, cause for concern? I know the Steelers shut down Brock Osweiler in the second half, but Osweiler sustained a shoulder injury right before halftime, which may have been the primary reason he was struggling. He didn't play well at all after that. In consecutive weeks, the quarterbacks for both the Bengals and Broncos got hurt. Call me crazy, but I don't think injuring opposing signal-callers each week is sustainable.
Green Bay Packers (10-4) - Previously: #7 - The Packers still look very shaky to me, and it sounds like Aaron Rodgers feels the same way. Despite "scoring" 30 points, Rodgers expressed frustration during the post-game conference, and rightfully so. If it wasn't for Derek Carr's two early interceptions, the Packers would've posted just 16 on the scoreboard. Something's definitely wrong here, and time is running out for Green Bay to fix things.
Denver Broncos (10-4) - Previously: #4 - I defended Brock Osweiler last week, citing that he was a much better option than Peyton Manning. I still stand by that - but only if Osweiler is healthy. Osweiler hurt his shoulder right before halftime of the Pittsburgh game and was never the same afterward. This means Denver may have to turn to Peyton Manning, another signal-caller with shoulder problems - and only one leg to boot!
Speaking of Manning, he used his time off to shoot more commercials for DirecTV:
Cincinnati Bengals (10-4) - Previously: #8 - A.J. McCarron called himself the next Tom Brady last week. Both played very similarly in Week 15, believe it or not! Both quarterbacks spent the entire time checking down passes and not really doing anything downfield, and both won by double digits, narrowly covering the spread in the process. Actually, the only difference is that McCarron didn't have to go home to a wife that made him style his hair like a European lesbian. Winner, A.J.
In all seriousness, it feels like the Bengals are screwed. McCarron was just "meh," while A.J. Green aggravated his back. As a man with back problems, I can tell you that back issues take forever to go away. Mine has been hurting for seven years and running!
Minnesota Vikings (9-5) - Previously: #9 - The Vikings have made their blowout choke jobs/losses to the Packers and Seahawks look like a thing from the past recently. They nearly took down the Cardinals last Thursday, and then they beat down the Bears, thanks to a very impressive showing by Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe Bridgewater is ready for prime time after all. Then again, it's easy to throttle a team when the opposing quarterback is smoking cigarettes on the sideline...
Come on, Jay, look like you're putting at least some effort into the game!
Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) - Previously: #10 - Yet another unconvincing victory by the Chiefs, who were given the win on a silver platter, thanks to a dumb Timmy Jernigan penalty, a Buck Allen strip-six, a dumb fake punt, and a pick-six where the receiver fell down.
By the way, I can imagine Andy Reid reading this and shouting, "There was no silver platter! I had to go to the restaurant after the game to receive one!"
NFL Power Rankings: Week 16 - Bottom 10
32. San Francisco 49ers (4-10) - Previously: #32 - I've realized I've been making fun of the wrong person all along. Colin Kaepernick played like trash all year, but the mastermind behind all of this is Jed York, who single-handedly ruined this once-great franchise. It's a shame, though the one silver lining is reading all of the responses that York gets on Twitter.
For instance, this is Jed's latest tweet:
Seems simple enough, right? Well, here are some of the many venomous replies:
Keep it going, Niner fans! I don't know if there's a way to get this trust-fund douchebag out of the owner's box, but the more hateful tweets, the better!
31. Tennessee Titans (3-11) - Previously: #30 - The Titans may have lost by 17, but they were the real winners Sunday. The Chargers prevailed, meaning Tennessee will have first dibs on Laremy Tunsil, in all likelihood. Marcus Mariota has proven to be two things in his rookie year. One, he's a terrible actor, as we've seen in the Subway commercials where he says one line and awkwardly looks at the camera. Two, he's been brittle, so protecting him is paramount.
30. Miami Dolphins (5-9) - Previously: #25 - I was wrong about PC Principal dying in South Park this season, but it still doesn't appear as though PC Head Coach will be back next year. What an appalling lack of effort by his team at San Diego. It was ridiculous.
Then again, maybe the Dolphins would've tried if PC Head Coach hadn't been on one of his crusades during the week, as shown in this picture from a recent press conference:
29. Cleveland Browns (3-11) - Previously: #31 - I like how Johnny Manziel told the media that Mike Pettine needs to stick around next year for the sake of continuity. I actually completely agree with Manziel, but it's just funny to hear him say it. In a crazy world, the douche who rolls $20s in bathrooms and drinks himself into oblivion is sometimes the man with all the answers.
And yes, Pettine should not go anywhere. The Browns need to look at the other three teams in their division. Since 2008, the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers have had three combined head coaches. The Browns have employed five themselves! That's ridiculous.
Pettine has had just two years. How is that nearly enough time to prove himself? The Browns need to go the other way and give Pettine a 3-year extension. That way, they'll actually have continuity for the first time since the franchise reentered the league.
28. Baltimore Ravens (4-10) - Previously: #28 - It was nice of the Ravens to offer the blind guy in the front office a chance to pick the pants the team would wear for Sunday's game. Let's just hope they don't go with that mustard-puke attire again.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9) - Previously: #27 - Not to harp on this, since I never ever harp on anything, but Blake Bortles has now tied Joe Montana's career-high for passing touchdowns in a single season with 31. It's crazy what the NFL has evolved into. Teams even have pools in their stadiums now. This would have been blasphemous like two years ago!
26. Dallas Cowboys (4-10) - Previously: #24 - When Brandon Weeden took over the starting job, Jerry Jones called him a great quarterback. When Matt Cassel supplanted Weeden, Jones said that his team would've won every game Weeden had started if Cassel were under center. I wonder what Jones is saying about Kellen Moore now. Or is he not saying anything and just splooging over pictures of Moore?
Speaking of Weeden though, how pissed did Dallas fans feel when they watched Weeden lead the Texans over the Colts? That had to be completely infuriating. I wonder if Jerry thought that Houston would've won by more if Cassel happened to be the quarterback.
25. Chicago Bears (5-9) - Previously: #29 - The Bears deserve to drop into the bottom 10 after that ghastly performance by Jay Cutler. He completely mailed that in, and by mailing it in, I mean that he smoked 10 cigarettes while walking to the mailbox, repeatedly muttering, "I don't care" to himself.
We might have to go back to Cutler memes...
Hopefully this show doesn't have a s***ty ending that doesn't make any sense.
24. San Diego Chargers (4-10) - Previously: #26 - It was nice of all the Dolphins fans in the stands to give a standing ovation to Philip Rivers, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates when the three left the field at the end of Sunday's game. It was very heartwarming, as those Miami fans supported those three veterans for so very long.
Can anyone who knows Roger Goodell please convince him that moving a team to Los Angeles is stupid? Not to harp on this, since I never ever harp on anything, but people in L.A. don't care about anything besides their stupid acting careers. There's a reason having a team in Los Angeles has never worked. Moving a franchise to a place like Oklahoma City or Portland would pay huge dividends. Both cities would be big supporters of the Chargers. In Los Angeles, however, once the novelty wears off after a couple of years, people will stop showing up, and the Chargers will once again be playing in a half-empty stadium, and we'll all be wondering why they moved there in the first place.
23. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) - Previously: #23 - The Falcons won, but they were outgained and averaged fewer yards per play than the Jaguars, so, meh.
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: