1. Carolina Panthers (1) – The Panthers do seem to be quasi mailing this in but they have a small lead and are doing just enough on O and D to be ahead in a highly competitive matchup. The Panthers seemed to have woke up and tried in the second half and put the game away on the back of Caaaaaaaam! A pretty hard fought win that looked easier by the final score. 9-0 and a very, very tough team to beat. Balanced, powerful and the best in the NFL. (They don’t cheat).
2. New England Patriots (3) – New England does have kryptonite and it wears Giant uniforms. The Pats have battled to get 10 points in the first half and they are just being bedeviled by the Giants. Brady was even sacked! Can they find a way to get past the Giants? The Pats did all they could within and without the rules and were down by 2 points until Brady managed to get them to a chance to win and they did. They cheat and they win and they cheat and they cheat and they cheat.
3. Minnesota Vikings (4) – The Vikes have used some lucky bounces and decent effort to get out to a nice early lead and they are in a tough battle in a very tough environment. Well the Vikings brought their #2 D to Oakland boy did it put on a show in the 2nd half. Concentrating on using the Run, some on and off special teams and solid D the Vikes have taken sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Great win Minnesota and next you take on the beast to show who is King!
4. Arizona Cardinals (5) – Arizona came to the house of horrors and shut down the crowd with a stupefying 19 straight points to start the game. The O found the holes in the Seahawk D and the game seemed over at the half. The loss of a key O lineman would be a telling blow as in the second half the Seahawk rush was able to get to Palmer and forced multiple fumbles. Before the smoke cleared from the half time the Cards were down to Seattle. They rallied, marched the field, took the lead and then held it for rest of the game. A gutsy win that defines how tough this team is. They now control their division.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (12) – The Steelers keep facing adversity on all fronts. Trying to get Big Ben healthy they had Landry Jones starting until he got his ankle injured and now hobbled Ben is working some magic against a bad Brown D and the Steelers have a decent lead at the half. Their playoff hopes lay in the hands of a crippled QB. Big Ben showed amazing heart and drove his Steelers to a division win. They actually won it going away. This team is noted for its heart and you can’t underestimate the value of courage to a team’s chances. Great win.
6. Buffalo Bills (17) – The Bills came out a bit flat and were able to play decent D but couldn’t get the O working, thankfully their special teams got the job done with a golden forced turnover. The second half was superb for the Bills, Taylor showed his mettle at QB and the D made the difference with key turnovers and stops and the Bills outcoached the Jets and won. A win that vaults the Bills into a playoff spot (as of Thursday night!)
7. Indianapolis Colts (14) – On the bye and look ma we moved up 7 places! They probably aren’t this good but Lord Almighty the teams that were up here looked horrible this week. Ok Indy, win a game…
8. Kansas City Chiefs (18) – The Bye must have really helped KC as their D is on fire and for the most part of the first half they are shutting out the Broncos. About as good a start as they could ever have scripted. Kansas City played amazing D and actually drove Manning out of the game with 4 pickoffs. The Chiefs were up to a huge shutout lead and then played a little prevent and won it going away. A great win for KC.
9. Houston Texans (19) – The Texans brought out a D that I don’t think has been seen once this year. The Pass D was excellent; the run D was solid. The Texans throttled the Bengals in the first half and kept themselves just down 3 points. In the second half TJ Yates appeared and all he ever does is beat Bengals. He led the Texans on one great drive and hit Hopkins for the catch of the year. The Texans played their best D game of the year and stole a win and now are tied for their division lead. Can they do this again?
10. New York Giants (9) – A great start for New York. They are pressuring Brady, have scored a bit and are in a real battle against New England again. Can they do this for 60? The Giants were able to play it hard for 58 minutes but that last 2 minutes got them and they lost a tough one. This loss is doubly bad as it gives Cowboys apologists hope. Bad loss.
11. New York Jets (7) – Everyone talked about how hard it would be for Rex Ryan to return to this game. No one realized that Todd Bowles put enormous pressure on himself to beat Rex. Bowles made at least 3 key coaching mistakes that in the end cost his team the game. Fitzpatrick was the bad Fitz and turned the ball over 4 times (3 times his fault) and that contributed to the loss. The Jets really weren’t so much beaten as they beat themselves. Now they are still in the running for the playoffs but this loss hurts the overall record and is a lost chance for this team.
12. Seattle Seahawks (6) – Oh my…where did the Seahawk secondary go? They were taken down by the same old plays as before and Wilson was hurried, harried and sacked and fumbled and tossed a pick. The Seahawk front 7 were able to mount a comeback but in the end the D and the O couldn’t answer Arizona and now if they can’t crawl into a wildcard…they will be sitting at home in the second week of January.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (2) – Well it finally happened. The Bengals looked like the Bengals. Dalton, the Red Rider BB Gun himself, looked like Dalton the water pistol. He was hurt by many drops and when that started to wear on him he returned to his old haunt and over threw to AJ Green. The Bengals never managed to get any O working at all and the D let in one big drive and there went the undefeated season. The Bengals better be careful because they could emulate KC from last year and be lucky to win 10. A bad loss by a team that looked like they always look.
14. Denver Broncos (8) – Has anyone seen the Bronco Offense? Um Congrats Peyton, you have your yards record and you are being shut out and picked off and sacked and humiliated in the game. Should we have a parade at half time? Can Denver score today? Peyton Manning never scored. He threw 4 gold turnover picks and he was benched. Brock Osweiler actually scored 13 points. The D couldn’t stop KC and the O was basically non-existent. A terrible loss by a team that looks severely beatable. They look like a toy drum.
15. Green Bay Packers (11) – The problems in Green Bay seem much deeper than anyone could have thought. No offense at all. Rogers looks lost and frustrated. To be nearly shut out for another ½ is mind boggling. This matchup was supposed to right the ship and get them back in order. A terrible start and now we have to see if Green Bay has just become a shadow of their former self. Well that was a second half. The Packer D let Detroit put up a TD and the Packer O had severe issues getting any points until the last drive. They were criminally aided by highly questionable ref calls in their favor. In a moment of Karma, having been given a shot on a platter, their vaunted FG kicker missed and they lost. 3 in a row and a loss at home too. I don’t think I have laughed that hard at GB since before Brett Favre became a Packer. Aaron Rodgers is doing his best Don Majkowski impersonation and I hope he R-E-L-A-X-S and enjoys it!
16. St. Louis Rams (10) – Bears fans had hoped St. Louis might play one of their ‘bad’ games today and lo and behold they are. Terrible D, making huge mistakes; turnovers on O, mistakes on O. The Rams find themselves down 2 scores and needing to really rally to get back in this game at the half. The Rams never really got it going on O or D or anything. A really poor effort, at home, that doomed them from the start. A blowout loss that hurts their chances in a tight division race.
17. Oakland Raiders (13) – Full credit to the Raiders for falling down 13 early but battling back to make this a game by the half. The Raiders were never really in sync on D and that hurt them over and over. By the time they let Peterson gash them for 80 it was pretty much over. A game that Oakland just got overwhelmed by a better D. They need to regroup as they have a string of winnable ones coming up. This team is still in the running.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20) – Tampa has had trouble dealing with the Cowboy pass offense. The Buc O is having trouble keeping the ball in their hands. Down at the half they need to really go hard to win this game. The Bucs turned the ball over twice with Winston throwing picks. What Winston showed today is that he has grown as he didn’t allow his mistakes to create a hangover for him and he in the end scored the game winning TD. A great win for a young team.
19. Washington Redskins (21) – Cousins is having another of his ‘great’ games and is hitting all his key throws and has the Redskins O keeping the team in this game and has them out to a nice lead. The D isn’t playing like it had in the first half of the season and Washington needs better D to keep them ahead in this game. The Redskins rode a tough D through the second half and combined that with a great effort by Cousins and they blew New Orleans away. A great win by a team that still needs to find consistency in their week to week efforts.
20. Chicago BEARS (28) – What a superb start for the BEARS. Cutler has been on fire and Langford is the future and present at RB for Chicago. Pretty decent D, getting good plays and a key turnover along with excellent O and the BEARS have a nice lead at the half. The BEARS expanded their lead and then used – it’s hard for me to type this – great D to win this game going away. The BEARS run D held Gurley to 45 yards only!!!!! Cutler was extremely efficient and Langford dominated. A seminal win and the way everyone but Minnesota is playing perhaps Chicago ain’t dead yet!
21. Philadelphia Eagles (15) – The Eagle O has been rocking it out in the first half. The D does have issues but that is the definition of Eagle D. Out to a big early lead, they now just need to keep ahead and pull out a much needed win. Philly didn’t have the D to keep them in the lead and then when Bradford got hurt they had to put all their faith, hope and charity in the hands of #Buttfumble. The one broadcaster said that Sanchize doesn’t make good decisions late in games. I think that’s not fair. The San-chize doesn’t make good decisions at any point in the football game! He played as good as he could so the Eagles lost. If Bradford is badly hurt…Philadelphia needs another QB because #Buttfumble is not the answer. Bad loss.
22. Miami Dolphins (23) – Tannehill has shown amazing incompetence and some not bad plays too. The D has been shredded from the get go. Miami is keeping themselves in the game somewhat but it could get out of hand quickly in the second half. The Dolphins seemed to be playing just bad enough to lose this game but then they caught a huge break. They injured Sam Bradford and that brought #Buttfumble into the game and that was all she wrote! A nice victory that the Fins hung on to win. They couldn’t have done it without the Sanchize’s help! A nice win.
23. Atlanta Falcons (22) – On the bye, this team was once undefeated. The questions are now how many games will they finish behind Carolina, how many yards can Devonta Freeman end with and how on earth did people ever consider this team better than Carolina and can they mail me their professional football analysis checks please???
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (25) – The Jag offense is as advertised with Bortles using all of his weapons to keep the Raven D on their back feet. The Jag D have been marginally successful in the first half but they need a lot more consistent D play to have a shot in this game. The Jaguars battled through a couple of turnovers and kept the game close. They led late and then allowed a score that normally would have doomed this young team. Jacksonville had one shot left and Bortles drove them to nearly getting it and all seemed lost until a defensive penalty gave them one untimed down and a 50+ yard FG try. With that FG it was a superb win for Jacksonville. When this offense gets some D help they will be a very tough team to play. Super win!
25. Detroit Lions (32) – A team struggling for a sign of life they have brought their A game on D today. Superb shutdown D has allowed them to keep this game way closer than anyone thought it would be. If they had any offense and any sort of NFL QB they could be winning this game huge. We will see if the D can play hard for 60 and if they can get any O. The Lions D bent and nearly broke many times. Matt Stafford actually impersonated an NFL QB and put the Lions in a late lead. That their kicker can’t impersonate an NFL kicker is another story. The Refs seemed to turn on the Lions late but they hung in and in a magical moment they watched a field goal miss and they won. First win in Geek Bay since 1991. Way to go Detroit, you officially aren’t worse than all the other teams anymore!
26. New Orleans Saints (16) – Brees has the O working like clockwork and the Saints D is sucking like no one’s business. If the Saints can score more and more then it may come to being the last team that scores is going to win this barn burning, bad D game. Well the Saints O decided one quarter effort was enough and then their D simply showed how bad a D can be. If Ryan the other isn’t fired this week I will be surprised (I wrote this late Sunday evening and he was gone by late Monday!). Horrible loss by a horrible team who fooled everyone a couple of weeks ago by making us all think they had a shot this year. They are done.
27. Cleveland Browns (24) – Manziel must be driving Pettine crazy in the first half. He is running all around and throwing on the run. He did complete 80% of his passes at one point but that wasn’t done in the pocket so it barely counts to Pettine. The D is having some serious problems covering receivers and the story of this game will be whether Cleveland can stop anyone in the second half. The Browns only managed to get a 6 more points but their D just couldn’t stop the Steeler passing attack. This game was over. Their D is really lacking talent and that kills any chance they could have.
28. Tennessee Titans (26) – The Titans are playing with abandon on O and D and are giving all they have for the first half. A sold performance but the issue all year (last year too) is can they do this for 60. We will see. The Titans couldn’t maintain their effort in the second half and once the game got away from them they let their frustrations show with some bonehead plays on the field. Another loss for a team that is undergoing bad growing pains.
29. San Francisco 49ers (29) – on the bye…they have been pretty awful all year and they come off the bye to take on hated rival Seattle. It will be interesting to see if they can muster any effort or will they just keep playing for a new QB.
30. San Diego Chargers (30) – on the bye…they seem to be playing for a nice stadium in Los Angeles. I do not remember seeing a Charger team this bad and I have watched the NFL intently since 1985. What a mess. McCoy is a certain member of Dead man coaching.
31. Baltimore Ravens (27) – The Ravens have to consider themselves lucky to be leading at the half. Their D has been terrible and their secondary either can’t cover or interferes. A missed FG, several missed opportunities, the Ravens need better D and better O to avoid a loss today. Baltimore struggled to get any edge in this game. A late drive got them a one-point lead and then it was up to the D to seal the deal. The Ravens seemed to have stopped Jacksonville as time expired but for Elvis Dumervil doing his part for the nominee of stupidest play of the year. A 15-yard personal foul face mask gave up the yards that cost his team the game. A horrible loss for a horrible team. It doesn’t matter how close your losses are when you can’t count your losses on one hand.
32. Dallas Cowboys (31) – How ‘Bout them Cowboys??? The Cowboys are getting good play from Cassel. I am waiting for his inevitable pick 6. The D is harrying the rookie QB and the Boys have a bit of a lead. Can they hold on? This was the gut grabber of the day. The Cowboys had a lead and then the stat showed that Dallas had never lost 4 games in a row they had lead in the 4th quarter. Until today. Really bad defensive techniques led to the goon of the year Heath giving TB new life at the goal line and then they let in a TD and lost. They couldn’t have lost if Cassel hadn’t finally thrown that game losing pick. A horrible loss, 7th in a row, for a team that is dead. We will know if Garrett has nude pictures of the Jones family if he survives not being fired after the mess of this year. Wonder how happy Dez will be in the locker room this week? Couldn’t happen to a more deserving team.
As always, I love all thoughts, comments, arguments or agreements. I appreciate someone reading my views. I would also offer my analysis work to ESPN as some of theirs need help or I will take cash, preferably tens and twenties!
Mr. N the BEARS Fan