Updated: Jan. 3
Los Angeles Rams (4-12) - Previously: 32.
I found these words in my inbox, as they were describing the Rams' performance against the Cardinals:
"Jared Goff is so bad that he makes Rams games entertaining from a comedic standpoint. Highlight reels of Goff should be prescribed as anti-depressants for fans of the Texans, Browns, and 49ers."
So true. In fact, I think that with Jared Goof, the Rams are the worst team I've ever seen. I'm not joking or exaggerating. I've been covering the NFL for nearly 20 years, and the Jared Goof-led Rams are the worst team I've ever seen, and I feel like such a fool for not making more money betting against them.
Cleveland Browns (1-15) - Previously: 31.
Congratulations to the Browns for not winning a meaningless game against Landry Jones! They tried their hardest, but the football gods intervened, with their voices booming through the heavens, "YOU IDIOTS, WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO WIN? WE'LL PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING, YOU DUMBA**ES!"
Anyway, let's do an update for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, was set to accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 1,007
Currently on Pace for: 1,007
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: Infinity
OHHH NOOO!!! Pryor was just 793 yards short. Almost got there!
By the way, check out what Brian Hartline had to say about Pryor:
"Is he my No. 1? God, I hope not. You don't know what you're going to get. You don't know who's going to show up. You don't know if he's going to get in trouble. You don't know if he's going to smart off. ... Is he a No. 2? I mean maybe. He kind of disappeared the last couple weeks. ... You're a flash in the pan. You're trying to tell me with a guy that had suspect personality characteristics, I'm going to go ahead and hand you a bunch of money but you're going to work harder? Uh, I think I'm going to bet against that if I'm a betting man."
Hmm... I'm guessing Hartline didn't think Pryor could get to 1,800 either...
San Francisco 49ers (2-14) - Previously: 30.
Check out my Coach Firing Grades page if you haven't seen grades for the 49ers letting go of Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke. Of course, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I tweeted out a link to this about 5,000 times.
Now that both men are gone, fake news stories are coming out. For example, Kelly apparently wanted to draft Dak Prescott, which I highly doubt because Kelly has no idea what he's doing. He's the man who drafted Matt Barkley and tried to turn Nick Foles into a scrambling quarterback. Naturally, the one well-known douche who steals this site's contents has tweeted that he can "confirm" Kelly's admiration for Prescott, even though he never reported it in the first place. By the way, I can confirm the sun rises in the east, for those wondering.
At any rate, I'll leave you with Trent Dilfer's immortal quote of the 49ers' roster, which Baalke did a poor job of assembling:
"The 49ers have a roster to die for."
New York Jets (5-11) - Previously: 29.
Congratulations to the Jets for 1) ruining their draft position with a meaningless win, 2) saying goodbye to their disappointing 2016 campaign, and 3) never having to start this dude again:
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) - Previously: 28.
I'm sure most NFL quarterbacks already have their offseason workout regimens prepared. That includes Blake Bortles. Here's his weekly "workout:"
Monday: Odyssey Nightclub
Tuesday: The Cell Block
Wednesday: The Roxbury
Thursday: The Peach Pit After Dark
Friday: The Moulin Rouge
Saturday: Winchester Tavern
Sunday: Mons Venus
Wow, how grueling! I just hope that Bortles doesn't overdo it.
Chicago Bears (3-13) - Previously: 27.
I once called the Bears underrated, and I do think that they're a lot better than their final record says they are. They have a very good defense, when everyone's healthy, and they run the ball very well. Now, if only they can find a quarterback who didn't turn the ball over 11 times in 12 quarters! First Jay Cutler, now Matt Barkley. It's almost like Chicago's opponents put magnets in the football. Or, maybe Cutler and Barkley just suck. Maybe.
Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Previously: 25.
What a horrible ending to a once-promising season. And I still don't fully understand the whole Tyrod Taylor thing. Sure, they'll be on the hook for $31 million if he gets hurt, but why wouldn't they want him to return? What other options do they have at quarterback? It really makes no sense, and it makes me think something else is afoot. I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Doug Whaley: OK, Rex Ryan was fired. Not sure how I feel about that. I honestly haven't thought about it at all, and I will never think about it ever. Now I need to hire a new head coach. Hmm... options, options... whoa, Jeff Fisher, what are you doing here!? And why is Derek Anderson with you?
Jeff Fisher: I'mmm heherree tooo intnterrviivew foforrr heheheasdd cocoahchciingg ppsossotoonn.
Carolina Panthers (6-10) - Previously: 20.
It was the season from hell for the Panthers, but it's finally over. Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly will be healthy next year, but the front office better find superior tackles so that Newton's shoulder doesn't explode again in 2017. Going into another year with Michael Oher and Mike Remmers again would be an outright disaster.
Indianapolis Colts (8-8) - Previously: 23.
Why was Andrew Luck so excited to beat the Jaguars? He literally lost his mind upon throwing the winning touchdown, almost as if he had just won the Super Bowl. This actually makes me concerned for Luck's health if he actually does win the Lombardi Trophy. He might get so excited that his brain blows up right on the spot. A proper reaction to a win over the craptastic Jaguars should be:
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) - Previously: 26.
The Bengals have been the team that has most befuddled me this year, by far. I have a record of how I do picking each team in my NFL Picks page, and my worst record, by far, is with the Bengals. How bad is it? I was 3-12 picking Cincinnati games this year!
When I saw this record Sunday night, I literally yelled out loud, "I DON'T F***ING GET THIS TEAM! WHENEVER I PICK THEM, THEY GET BLOWN OUT, AND WHENEVER I GO AGAINST THEM, ANDY DALTON TURNS INTO JOE F***ING MONTANA EVEN THOUGH HE'S THROWING TO NOTHING BUT BUMS!!!"
Minnesota Vikings (8-8) - Previously: 24.
I think Roger Goodell needs to step in and remove Sam Bradford's completion percentage record. Drew Brees set the record at 71.2 in 2011, but he actually threw the ball downfield. Bradford, on the other hand, just dinked and dunked, so he doesn't deserve any sort of acclaim. The Vikings, by the way, have to feel pretty s***ty about wasting a first-rounder on Bradford. They could have the 15th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft right now. Instead, they have their "record-setting" quarterback who is too much of a pansy to take chances downfield.
Houston Texans (9-7) - Previously: 22.
It's pretty depressing that we won't get to a superior Marcus Mariota-led Titan team in the playoffs instead of this crap Houston squad, which couldn't even beat Matt Cassel. And yes, the Texans sat some starters, but DeAndre Hopkins played the majority of the game.
Let me repeat that: The Texans couldn't beat Matt Cassel.
And yet, the Texans are favored in the first round of the playoffs!!!
San Diego Chargers (5-11) - Previously: 21.
There's talk that the Chargers are going to move to Los Angeles this offseason. You know, something just popped into my head. The Chargers, if they make the move, are going to share a stadium with the Rams. Since both teams don't have coaches at the moment, why don't they share coaches as well? It could really work out for them. The apathetic fan base in Los Angeles won't even have a clue that this is happening, so it'll be an opportunity for the Rams and Chargers to save money. Plus, the five people in Los Angeles who actually care about professional football won't be able to call for the coach's firing if one of the teams is doing well.
What? That doesn't sound like a good idea to you? Well, neither does any team moving to L.A., so I'm just following the pattern!
Denver Broncos (9-7) - Previously: 19.
E-mailer Nathan G. sent me a hilarious reminder. This is a hate post I received for not placing the Broncos atop my power rankings earlier in the year:
By the way, congrats to Gary Kubiak on his great career. I posted a Disaster Grade for the Kubiak retirement.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) - Previously: 18.
The Titans had a disappointing end to their season because of the Marcus Mariota injury, but they have to be considered the overwhelming favorite to win the AFC South heading into 2017. They have the best defense and running game in the division, and they also have the second-best quarterback behind Andrew Luck. Their secondary sucks, but they have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, including the No. 5 overall selection. Check out my 2017 NFL Mock Draft for more.
Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) - Previously: 17.
The Cardinals had an awful season, but they at least finished the year on a hot streak. I mean, sure, the Calgary Stampede would've defeated the Rams, but Arizona went into Seattle and won as well. Carson Palmer apparently dealt with an injury earlier in the year, so perhaps he can rebound a bit in 2017, though I'm still concerned about his age.
Miami Dolphins (10-6) - Previously: 14.
The Dolphins have 10 wins, but how impressive are they, exactly? They've beaten the Browns (thanks to a missed field goal), Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger got hurt in that game), Bills, Jets, Chargers, Rams (down 10-0 late in the fourth quarter), 49ers, Cardinals, Jets and Bills. Of those teams, not one has a winning record, except for the Steelers, who, again, saw Roethlisberger suffer an injury in that contest.
So, why aren't the Dolphins listed as overrated? Because everyone knows they suck! They're 10-point underdogs in Pittsburgh, for crying out loud.
Oakland Raiders (12-4) - Previously: 10.
I wrote that I dropped the Raiders considerably in the wake of Derek Carr's injury. Well, I don't think I dropped them far enough. I know the Broncos were playing out of their minds for Gary Kubiak, but Oakland's performance Sunday was absolutely embarrassing. It was so bad that the Raiders are listed as 3.5-point underdogs in Houston!
Washington Redskins (8-7-1) - Previously: 11.
I neither like nor hate the Redskins, but I did enjoy them losing because it spawned so many crying Jordan memes, including...
Ah, this will never get old.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Previously: 15.
The Buccaneers won, but they needed so many things to happen to reach the playoffs. The Cowboys had to beat the Eagles, the 49ers had to beat the Seahawks, the Redskins needed to tie, Mariah Carey needed her sound system to work, and 49ers owner Jed York needed to not sound like a douche in his Monday press conference. None of those things happened, unfortunately.
Still, 9-7 is fine for Jameis Winston's second year. It's a nice confidence builder, but the Buccaneers will now be expected to reach the postseason in 2017.
New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously: 13.
Underrated NFL Team: I know yards per play is not a concrete determination of how teams are playing, but it's still an important statistic, and the Saints happened to do very well in that regard. Did you know that they outgained their opponents in yards per play in six of their final eight games? The lone exceptions were at Atlanta and Arizona, and New Orleans won the latter contest. The Saints have had some bad luck. They had their game-winning extra point blocked versus Denver, and they also dropped numerous touchdowns in a loss at Tampa. The Saints had seven defeats this year of six or fewer points, so they could have gone much better than 7-9.
Detroit Lions (9-7) - Previously: 12.
"The Lions seem done to me. They tried their hardest, and even were up 21-14 with possession against the Cowboys, but they were ultimately blown out. Unless both Darius Slay and Travis Swanson return for the Green Bay game, the Lions won't have a chance."
I wrote this last week. And yet, I bet on the Lions against the Packers on Sunday night. Derp! At least it was only one unit, but still, derp dee derp on my part.
New York Giants (11-5) - Previously: 8.
Overrated NFL Team: People were asking me if I changed my mind about the Giants being overrated in the wake of their victory over Detroit. I haven't, and as a result, the Philadelphia loss didn't surprise me at all. The Lions lost the player they planned on covering Odell Beckham Jr. with in the first quarter, and Zach Zenner fumbled inside the 5-yard line. The Lions outgained the Giants in total yards and yards per play. This Giant team reminds me a lot of the 2013 Chiefs, who started 10-0. I called that Kansas City team vastly overrated, even when they were 10-0, and it lost its initial playoff game, which was hardly a surprise. Those Chiefs eked out close wins versus mediocre and bad teams and lucked out versus decent competition, and that's what this New York team has done. That Kansas City squad went 11-5, by the way. Coincidence? Probably, but it fits my narrative, so I thought I'd include it.
Baltimore Ravens (8-8) - Previously: 7.
Underrated NFL Team: The Ravens didn't put any effort into their loss to the Bengals, perhaps because they were bummed out after losing out on the playoffs. However, I still believe that they are the best team not to make the playoffs. They incurred some losses earlier in the year when they were banged up, but they played better when everyone returned from injuries. The only team I can definitively say is better than them in the AFC is New England; the Ravens and Chiefs appear to be pretty even, and Baltimore is very close to the Steelers as well, given that the Ravens were nine seconds away from winning in Pittsburgh. I would've listed the Raiders prior to the Derek Carr injury, and Miami can't be considered at all because the Ravens destroyed the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins in Week 13.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) - Previously: 9.
Overrated NFL Team: The Falcons are just 3-2 in the previous five games they've played against real NFL teams. Atlanta just defeated New Orleans and Carolina, but the Panthers looked too fatigued to tackle, given that they were playing on just four days of rest. Anyway, 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. The Falcons are a soft team that can be pushed around. We've seen physical teams have their way with Atlanta. The Chiefs also had a substantial lead against them in the fourth quarter, and that was at the Georgia Dome.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) - Previously: 16.
Underrated NFL Team: The Eagles finished the year 5-1 with Lane Johnson, and that record would be 6-0 if Ryan Mathews hadn't fumbled at the end of the Detroit game. That's one of many close contests the Eagles have lost this season, as six of their nine defeats have been within a touchdown, and that includes the loss at Dallas in which they were winning in the fourth quarter. With some positive adjustments this upcoming offseason, the Eagles will be in a position to make a run at the NFC East crown in 2017.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) - Previously: 6.
Overrated NFL Team: Everyone is going to be focusing on the wins against the Broncos and Raiders. However, Denver sucks, and Oakland didn't have its top offensive lineman, who was a surprise scratch, and Derek Carr was so banged up that he couldn't complete routine 3-yard passes. Meanwhile, the Chiefs lost to the Buccaneers and Titans at home recently, and let's not forget that they needed a miraculous comeback to win at Carolina.
Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) - Previously: 5.
Underrated NFL Team: The Seahawks haven't played a good game in quite a while. They eked out a win versus the 49ers; they lost to the Cardinals; they let the Rams hang around; and they got blown out in Green Bay. These are their previous four games. However, everyone knows this and they are projecting an early demise for them. Perhaps that'll happen, but the Seahawks have so much talent and one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, to boot, so I think they're definitely a candidate to turn things around and make a deep playoff push.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) - Previously: 3.
It seems like the Steelers are the only team capable of beating the Patriots in the AFC, thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and all of the talent he possesses. The problem(s)? The Patriots have had Pittsburgh's number, and as a whole, Roethlisberger hasn't been as sharp as usual since returning from his injury, though he was amazing in the comeback versus Baltimore.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Previously: 4.
I'm usually opposed to following the "hurr durr" national media narrative, but sometimes the media can be right, and their declarations of, "ZOMG NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY THE PACKORS NOW LOLZ" is actually true. Why would anyone want to go up against a healthy, red-hot Aaron Rodgers? Green Bay's defense still isn't very good, but the unit is at least a bit better than it was before.
Dallas Cowboys (13-3) - Previously: 2.
Ezekiel Elliott didn't play in Week 17, and rightfully so. There was no need to expose him to injury. In case Dallas fans forgot what Elliott looked like, here's a reminder:
Week 17 wasn't a complete waste though, as the Cowboys learned that Tony Romo seems fully capable of stepping in for Dak Prescott in the event of an injury.
New England Patriots (14-2) - Previously: 1.
Just going to amend something I wrote last week...
Before we crown the Patriots as Super Bowl champions, let's not forget that since Week 11, which was right after the home loss to Seattle, they've won four games against the Jets (twice), Rams and 49ers. Another victory of theirs was at Denver, which seemed somewhat impressive until the Broncos completely crapped the bed in Kansas City the following week. Another victory was at Miami, but the Dolphins secretly suck. I'm still ranking the Patriots at No. 1, but without Rob Gronkowski, they definitely are not as invulnerable as many think they are.
The good news? Tom Brady set another milestone in Week 17. Everyone talks about Brady's straight-up wins, but did you know that his double-digit victory marked his 150th spread victory in his career? To me, that's more impressive than the 200-plus outright wins he has. Covering the spread is much more difficult!