Updated: Nov. 29
Cleveland Browns (0-12) - Previously: 31.
Never betting the Browns again. Never. Except that they'll have two weeks to prepare for a dreadful Cincinnati team... ugh... arghh... OK, maybe I'll bet them one more time!
Anyway, let's do an update for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, will accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 855
Currently on Pace for: 1,140
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 236.25
Only four games left. Pryor doesn't even have 1,000 yards yet, but maybe, just maybe he'll get to 1,800 yards!!!
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) - Previously: 32.
No, 49er fans, you're not dreaming. Your team is out of the No. 32 spot for the first time all year. Congratulations! Let me know how the parade is!
In all seriousness, the 49ers have been more competitive than the Browns lately, so that's the reason why they've surpassed Cleveland. It may not seem like a big deal, but this might be the best thing to ever happen in the Chip Kelly era.
Oh, and before I forget, we got a live shot inside Colin Kaepernick's house on Thanksgiving. This is what he was doing one day prior to mourning the death of an evil dictator:
Chicago Bears (2-9) - Previously: 30.
Here's a detailed recap of the Bears-Titans game if you're too lazy to go to my NFL Game Recaps page:
Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1) - Previously: 27.
I'd come up with something creative to say, but this guy wrote it perfectly:
Seriously, how many times can one quarterback get a pass batted at the line of scrimmage in a single game? Andy Dalton must have set some sort of record. And also, how great is A.J. Green to make Dalton look functional?
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) - Previously: 29.
The Jaguars are a tough team to rank. On one hand, they've been pretty competitive in some of their recent games. They've played the Bills, Lions, Jaguars and Chiefs very closely ever since they were crushed on a Thursday night. However, they've found ways to blow each game, thanks to Blake Bortles' incompetence. If the Jaguars had just an average quarterback, I think they could make a playoff run, considering how great their defense has been playing. That's how bad Bortles is. How the hell do you take a delay-of-game penalty on a fourth-and-4 on the final drive!? Blake, at least put forth some effort into your career!
New York Jets (3-8) - Previously: 28.
Underrated NFL Team: Did you know that the Jets have outgained their opponent in yards per play in four of their previous five games? They won jut one of those four contests, beating the Ravens. In the others, they led the Patriots for most of the afternoon before self-destructing; they were beating the Dolphins before a late kickoff return; and they couldn't get much going with Bryce Petty against the Rams.
Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1) - Previously: 25.
It was reported that Bruce Arians was hospitalized with chest pains last Monday, but I think he may have sustained a concussion instead because he came up with one of the worst offensive game plans of all time, rivaling Brian Schottenheimer's "run every single first down" strategy on a Thanksgiving about a decade ago.
So, let me get this straight: Arians thought it would be a good idea to give David Johnson just 13 carries against a defense that is soft up the middle against the run, and he also figured he should have Carson Palmer shy away from throwing to Larry Fitzgerald with Desmond Trufant out? Huh?
I used to think Arians was a great coach, but I've definitely downgraded him this year. That game plan of his against Atlanta was very baffling.
Houston Texans (6-5) - Previously: 24.
Many people yelled at me for placing the Texans 24th last week. As it turns out, I was too high. Their defense is just "meh" and Brock Osweiler might just be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL not named "Josh McCown." And yes, I'm including Ryan Fitzpatrick. I still can't believe the Texans gave Osweiler $72 million, and I still can't believe I graded them positively for doing so!
Los Angeles Rams (4-6) - Previously: 20.
Underrated NFL Team: I don't know what the hell happened in the Saints game. I think we'll one day find out that New Orleans knew all of Los Angeles' defensive signals, given how constantly out of position Gregg Williams' players were. I don't see how one of the NFL's best defenses can surrender 49 points. At any rate, the Rams were the better team in their matchup against the Dolphins - until the final five minutes when they began self-destructing with stupid penalties. Earlier, most people may have missed the fact that the Rams were without two of their defensive studs, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers, against the Bills and Lions. Despite this, Los Angeles and Buffalo were tied at 16 late in the game when Case Keenum lofted a horrible pick-six. The same thing occurred against the Lions. Los Angeles was the better team against the Giants, but just killed itself with dumb mistakes. After that, the Rams outgained the Panthers in terms of yards per play, 5.1-3.9, but some blunders ended up costing them.
Carolina Panthers (4-7) - Previously: 23.
The Panthers nearly beat the Raiders, but let's not forget that they were down 24-7 before Derek Carr sustained a finger injury. Carr had a great matchup versus Carolina's secondary, but couldn't really take advantage of that liability very often in the second half. The game easily could've been an ugly blowout, so let's not lose sight of that fact.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) - Previously: 26.
I wrote last week that I was pessimistic about the Buccaneers getting two more victories with their remaining schedule in order for me to hit the over 6.5 wins I wagered on prior to the season. Well, Tampa needs just one more victory now, and I'm still not overly confident. The Buccaneers are playing well right now, but they tend to get cocky at times and make mistakes as a result. Thus, it wouldn't shock me at all if they dropped each of their final five games to drop to 6-10. Then again, if the Buccaneers actually play up to their talent level, they could go 10-6. Nothing would surprise me.
Indianapolis Colts (5-6) - Previously: 22.
Underrated NFL Team: I think the Colts are trending into underrated territory. Indianapolis has gotten some of its better players back from injury. This includes Mike Adams, a stellar safety, and Jack Mewhort, the team's best offensive lineman. Also, some of the Colts' young players have been playing better than some of the veteran scrubs they replaced, which includes speedy linebacker Edwin Jackson and cornerback Rashaan Melvin. The Colts have been pretty impressive ever since their blowout home loss to the Chiefs, upsetting the Packers and handling business at home versus the Titans. They were also competitive on Thanksgiving despite missing Andrew Luck.
New York Giants (8-3) - Previously: 19.
Overrated NFL Team: The Giants might just be the worst 8-3 team of all time. I don't understand how they keep lucking out like this. They had major problems putting the Browns away. They would've lost to the Bears had Chicago not seen Josh Sitton, Zach Miller and Tracy Porter all get knocked out before the halfway point of the third quarter; Chicago was winning at halftime, but then the injuries happened. The Giants trailed for most of the second half against the Bengals at home. They were outgained by a whole yard per play against the Eagles, but were able to win because of Doug Pederson stupidity. They only won in London because the Rams wrecked themselves with dumb mistakes, and they probably wouldn't have prevailed against Baltimore had the Ravens not lost Jimmy Smith and Terrell Suggs in the second half. Prior to that, the Giants were not competitive against the Vikings or Packers. It would make more sense to me if they were 4-7 or 5-6 right now, as they can't block or run the ball, and their linebackers suck.
Tennessee Titans (6-6) - Previously: 15.
It's weird that both the Titans and Browns are on a bye this week after no team was off in Week 12. If you think about it, Tennessee and Cleveland played each other in Week 6, so couldn't they have been on bye then and battled in Week 13 instead? I wonder what the reasoning behind this is. Unfortunately, we may never know.
At any rate, the Titans are in a tremendous spot. Assuming the Texans lose to the Packers and the Colts beat the Jets, there will be a three-way tie atop the AFC South following Week 13, and Tennessee will be the most rested of the trio. Unfortunately for the Titans, they'll need the rest, because they'll be taking on the Broncos and Chiefs following their week off.
Baltimore Ravens (6-5) - Previously: 16.
Overrated NFL Team: It's a nice thing that the public and media is going to be distracted by John Harbaugh's brilliant abuse of a loophole at the end of the game. People might forget that the Ravens let the A.J. Green-less Bengals hang around the entire afternoon. Baltimore and Cincinnati averaged the same exact yards-per-play figure in that contest, but the difference proved to be all of the dumb mistakes the Bengals made throughout the day. Also, remember that two weeks ago, the Ravens were trailing the Browns, 7-6, at halftime, and were only able to win because Hue Jackson inexplicably inserted Josh McCown into the lineup.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) - Previously: 11.
Underrated NFL Team: The Vikings are once again underrated in the wake of their Thanksgiving loss. They were missing Stefon Diggs, Captain Munnerlyn and Terence Newman, plus they lost stud center Joe Berger to a concussion. Despite all this, the Vikings were winning in the fourth quarter against the Lions, and they may have prevailed had Cordarrelle Patterson not lined up incorrectly on the final offensive drive. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings will be playing better when everyone returns from injury, and it sounds like the team will have some reinforcements available in Week 13.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) - Previously: 13.
As I mentioned in the NFL Game Recaps, Doug Pederson might have been responsible for the worst successful challenge of all time. He won the review, but he simply turned a second-and-8 into a second-and-10 in the third quarter, and he used up his final challenge in the process.
To quote Matvei, "The spirit of Andy Reid still haunts the stadium."
This is true, though it spends most of its time at the concession stands.
Detroit Lions (7-4) - Previously: 18.
The Lions improved to 7-4 with a victory on Thanksgiving. It's just too bad that many old Detroit fans didn't make it through Chef's mom's Aretha Franklin's rendition of the national anthem...
For those Detroit fans still alive, I have to once again mention that I'm keeping the Lions out of the overrated designation because DeAndre Levy is due back soon, perhaps as early as next Sunday. The Lions have trailed in every single game this year and have been very lucky in some of their victories. However, Levy's presence will be a huge boost.
Miami Dolphins (7-4) - Previously: 21.
I listed the Dolphins as overrated last week, but only because casual bettors weren't acknowledging the fact that Miami was missing three of its best offensive linemen. However, it sounds like Branden Albert and Laremy Tunsil could be back for the Baltimore game, so I'm going to remove the "overrated" designation I had for the Dolphins and move them way up, despite the close call with San Francisco.
New Orleans Saints (5-6) - Previously: 14.
The Saints had an inexplicable blowout victory Sunday against the Rams. Los Angeles has an excellent defense, but was constantly out of position, as Gregg Williams didn't appear as though he knew what he was doing. I've been trying to come up with what happened, and I realized who's to blame. I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Gregg Williams: Wow, preparing for my former team is extra hard work! I have some great players, but Drew Brees is just so good.
Green Bay Packers (5-6) - Previously: 17.
Note to self: When ESPN spends two hours discussing how an elite quarterback's team is struggling prior to a big game, bet that team. The Packers beat the Eagles by two touchdowns and effectively control their own destiny as long as the Lions lose one other game. They're far from done, though Aaron Rodgers' hamstring could be an issue.
Atlanta Falcons (7-4) - Previously: 10.
Overrated NFL Team: I still can't get over how the Falcons were bullied in the trenches by a Philadelphia team that was stomped on by the Seahawks. I also can't get over how Bruce Arians refused to expose this liability by giving David Johnson only 13 carries. The Cardinals were outgaining the Falcons in yards per play throughout the afternoon. Even Atlanta's victory over Tampa wasn't overly impressive, as the Buccaneers were up, 14-13, prior to losing their starting center. Prior to that, the Falcons beat the Packers in the final minute, but that's looking so much less impressive in the wake of Green Bay's struggles since that game. Desmond Trufant is likely lost for the year, which is a huge injury.
Buffalo Bills (6-5) - Previously: 12.
The Bills may get some flak for barely beating the Jaguars, but Jacksonville has been very competitive against decent teams recently, so I wouldn't downgrade Buffalo for that. If anything, the Bills are getting better with Sammy Watkins quickly returning to full strength and LeSean McCoy clearly healthy. Buffalo will be dangerous down the stretch.
San Diego Chargers (5-6) - Previously: 9.
I've been listing the Chargers as underrated for a while, but all I heard this weekend was "You don't want to be playing this team at the end of the year!" I think every single announcer on every single network said this, almost as if they were contractually obligated to do so.
I suppose it's true. Philip Rivers is capable of pulling the upset against anyone. Then again, the Chargers have found so many creative ways to lose this year that maybe it's a good thing to battle them.
Denver Broncos (7-4) - Previously: 6.
I listed the Broncos as overrated last week, as they've been able to beat overrated teams and pull wins out of their a**es like champs throughout the season. Things were different Sunday night, so perhaps that's a sign that things will change going forwa... never mind. I just remembered that Denver plays the Jaguars in Week 13. It's OK. They're fine.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) - Previously: 8.
It's crazy that the Chiefs were outgained by 2.4 yards per play against the Broncos, yet were still able to win. I guess that's the power of Justin Houston, who scored nine points by himself and pretty much disrupted every single Denver offensive drive in the first half before altitude sickness got to him and his defensive teammates. Still, with Houston back, the sky is the limit for the Chiefs, as the Broncos proved last year that in this day and age, you can win with a pedestrian quarterback as long as you run the ball well and play great defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) - Previously: 7.
The Steelers have improved to 6-5, and they are now 6-2 with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. However, I wasn't impressed by how they played on Thanksgiving. They should've mopped the floor with the Andrew Luck-less Colts, but Indianapolis was able to hang around. The score was 28-7, but had the Colts not passed on two field goals, it would've been a 21-13 affair in the fourth quarter.
Washington Redskins (6-4-1) - Previously: 5.
The Redskins may have trailed by double digits for most of the second half, but it wasn't completely their fault. After all, they were going up against a greater force than they ever could've imagined:
So, with that in mind, I won't penalize the Redskins at all. There's no shame in losing by five to the sun (and a 10-1 squad on the road).
Oakland Raiders (9-2) - Previously: 4.
If you didn't see it, here's a close-up of Derek Carr's dislocated finger. I noticed it at the time, but wasn't completely sure, so I scoured the Internet for a screenshot. Here it is:
Oakland fans better hope that Carr is OK. It appears as though he probably is, but Matt McGloin's drive against the Panthers was a stark reminder of where the Raiders would be right now if it weren't for Carr.
New England Patriots (9-2) - Previously: 3.
The Patriots have some glaring issues on defense, while their offensive line isn't looking too hot either. Add in Tom Brady's knee issues and Rob Gronkowski's back problem, and there's some definite cause for concern.
The Gronkowski injuries are concerning, as he's been tested for back issues and a concussion in consecutive weeks. By the way, how do the doctors determine if Gronk has a concussion or not?
Doctor: Son, what is your name?
Gronkowski: GRONK WANT PLAY FOOTBALL.
Doctor: Are you saying your name is Gronk, or your name is "Gronk want play football?"
Gronkowski: GRONK LIKE TO PARTY.
Doctor: Let's try another question. What day of the week is it?
Gronkowski: GRONK GO ON BOAT AND PARTY AFTER GRONK PLAY FOOTBALL SUNDAY.
Doctor: Guys, I can't tell if he has a concussion or not!
Dallas Cowboys (10-1) - Previously: 2.
The Cowboys are back to winning on Thanksgiving, though I'll admit that I am a bit nostalgic...
It could just be the 'member berries, but those turnovers were just so good! Anyway, the Cowboys appear to be unstoppable, but I'd still favor the Seahawks on a neutral field. During Thanksgiving, I talked to my dad, who is an Eagles fan. He said it best: The Eagles played at Dallas and Seattle. The Eagles almost beat the Cowboys, leading by 10 in the fourth quarter. However, the Eagles had absolutely no chance at Seattle, as the Seahawks dominated them from start to finish.
Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) - Previously: 1.
I'm still ranking the Seahawks over the Cowboys. As noted last week, there are two things that separate the two squads. The first is Seattle's defense, which will be even better once Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas return from injury. The second is experience. Dak Prescott has been amazing this year, but Russell Wilson is the more-seasoned version of Prescott. The Cowboys run the ball better, but the Seahawks have the personnel to limit Ezekiel Elliott.
I know the Seahawks lost at Tampa, but they were missing Bennett, Thomas and center Justin Britt. Plus. they've had to fly across the country in two of the past three weeks, so I don't think they were 100 percent.