1. Carolina Panthers (1) – Guess they learned the lesson playing the Saints. They brought their A game and stomped a mud hole in their division opponent. Caaaaaaaaaam was amazing. Ted Ginn even caught some balls. The D was magnificent pitching a shutout. The team to beat in the NFL, no Michael Silver that is not Seattle…it is CAROLINA. Great win by the best team in the NFL.
2. Arizona Cardinals (2) – The Cards had a tough effort with O efficiency to start but the D played well. They got an early lead and then let Minnesota back in it. A late turnover recovery was golden and that propelled them to victory and a locked up playoff spot. I can’t anoint them anything as Carson Palmer still has the ability to throw golden picks and that could kill them in the playoffs.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4) – They kind of cruised through the start of this game and they lost their young starting RB. Wilson then turned it on and tore Baltimore a new one. 5 passing TDs, good defense that stuffed the run and got key turnovers and this was a laugher. A good win. They look good but I don’t know how good they would look facing Carolina.
4. New England Patriots (7) – The Patriots came out with an aggressive defensive plan and totally disrupted Hoyer from the get go. It was as if Belicheck had every move that Hoyer could do on tape *he does* and the D harried and stopped Houston cold. Gronk’s return opened up the safety valve for Brady and the Pat O just had to do enough to seal this win and re-take first over all in the AFC playoff race. No doubt they won’t let this one slip away again. It was a win.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (5) – KC has the playoffs in their hands and they had a hard time showing anyone they cared today. The rain and muck didn’t help but there was little energy shown. KC managed to keep San Diego basically shut out and cobbled together one TD. The game came down to a defensive stand to keep KC in control of their own destiny and they got it done. It was kind of defining as KC got it done. A great defensive stop and they are still in control of their own destiny. Good win.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6) – Pittsburgh went on the road with a great game plan. The gashed the Bengals D with solid rush and when it drew up to stop it, Ben ripped them with deep passes. The Steeler D was flying all over the field. The simple fact was that Pittsburgh was in control before Dalton and Eifert got hurt. They rolled over the Bengals and have put themselves a step closer to the playoffs. They need help.
7. New York Jets (8) – The New York Jets will not go quietly. They stormed all over the Titans. Solid Rush, good and effective passing. Pretty good D and before you knew it this game was over. A pretty easy win for a team that is trying to keep itself alive in the hopes one of the ones in front of it will lose. This win keeps them alive.
8. Denver Broncos (3) – Wow, so much for controlling their own destiny. The Broncos could not manage anything but field goals. Osweiler looked short and pedestrian today. The mistakes, flubs, drops, fumbles, turnovers…so un Denver like. A terrible effort. For a team who had the capability of making their shot at home field advantage a lock…they stunk it out. Terrible effort. A deserved loss. Cut Vernon Davis.
9. Green Bay Packers (10) – The Pack turned to McCarthy calling the plays and he brought them balance and good rush O. Solid line play on both sides and the Pack put this game away pretty easily. They are almost guaranteed the division now. It is very unlikely they will meet any real opposition that counts until the playoffs. A good win.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (19) – The Jags came into this key division match up with lots of O and little D. The first half found them stifled by the Colts and they were barely able to keep themselves in the game. What a locker room speech that must have been. Bortles came out and lit up the scoreboard and scored points upon points upon points. Great passing, super rushing, awesome D and 50+ points later and Jacksonville is 1 game out of first with 3 to play. If they can have a little D they could be a tricky team to play.
11. Washington Redskins (22) – The Redskins were able to ride effective and accurate passing by Kirk Cousins to a good early lead. The traditional Redskin D collapse had them fall into a tie later in the game. With the ability to run their offense against a D that didn’t seem to care, Washington was able to get a FG and that was the margin of victory. A win that keeps Washington in first place in the NFC Least and they still hold their destiny in their hands.
12. Minnesota Vikings (11) – The Vikings came out slow and seemed to struggle to get the O going and the D making good stops. They drove forward better in the 2nd half and brought the game to a winnable spot and AP the Child Beater fumbled and cost them the game. The Vikings still can make the playoffs. They need to beat Chicago and the G-men. They don’t want the season to come down to a game in week 17 facing Green Bay.
13. Indianapolis Colts (9) – Indy was leading this division when this started. Hasselbeck looked good in the first half and the Colt D had some rhythm and was able to hold back the Jag offense. Unfortunately for Indy they had to come out for the second half. The D collapsed and they were butchered pillar to post. You name it and he scored for Jacksonville. No offense could be found to answer any of it and in the end it was a 50 burger. An ugly loss by a team that often looks like they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. Lose a few more and maybe Jacksonville will steal the division.
14. New York Giants (17) – The Giants took a floundering season and faced Miami. It was not a brilliant game for most of the 60 minutes. The Giants D gave up points to match everything Eli could muster. The see saw went on and on and it seemed like OT was in the cards. The Giants, buried at their own 16 had to get anything to change the field position battle. They sent ODB on an up and out and alas he went alone and 84 yards later the G-men had the lead and won. In the NFC Least any win is good.
15. Oakland Raiders (18) – The Raiders need to figure out where they keep a defensive effort like this. If they brought this to every game this year, at least to the last 5 or 6, then we would be talking about how far they could go in the playoffs. Oakland’s D, led by the prolific Khalil Mack, shut down the Broncos every way possible. They didn’t get many points but they got enough points and that gave them a very improbable victory. A superb win for a team that could have been something but there is always next year.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12) – The Rookie wall seemed to be hit by Mariota and Winston in the same game. Winston wasn’t at his best and he missed many an opportunity with over throws, high throws and bad throws. The D has been lost since Alexander got suspended *you heard about this impact here first* and they were unable to make the key stops. They found themselves down late and couldn’t make it happen. They are technically still alive but they need to win out and have Minnesota lose out and that is a tall order.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (13) – Cincinnati seemed to be trying too hard to stop the Steelers and opened themselves up for mistakes. By the time Dalton broke his hand it was already over. The Bengals got defeated in all three phases of the game and it might have been closer had Dalton been there but a loss is a loss and that opens up the home field potential for the Cheatriots again. It will be interesting if they can win another without Dalton this year.
18. Buffalo Bills (14) – The Bills had every opportunity in this game to put the hurt to Philadelphia. They misplayed on D, they missed plays on O. When it came down to it and they were down by 3 late with the chance to tie they either went 3 and out and/or turned it over. They had to have this win to keep their hopes legit this year and they lost and their year is effectively over. They need to get this D in order so it can be more than its reputation.
19. Detroit Lions (15) – Detroit was shut out for a long time in this game. Stafford couldn’t seem to find Megatron. The O finally got a few things going in the second half but it was too little and too late. The D missed a few key stops and they found themselves down 7 with time running out. Once more with a game on the line the Lions simply couldn’t do it. Another loss in a lost season.
20. Houston Texans (16) – Houston never had a chance. They were stopped on every offensive series, they couldn’t run, pass or anything. The D couldn’t stop Brady when it counted. They only managed 2 FG and that won’t get it done. The chance to take over the division with the Colts being dismantled was right there…Houston let that get away again. They seem perennially close but no cigar. They have a shot to play a really bad Colt team…can they win that game? This was an ugly loss.
21. Philadelphia (31) – The Eagles are still alive in their terrible division and they brought a pretty good effort. Bradford made some dumb plays but they did play hard on D more than they usually do. They had a lead for most of the game and only when kinda playing prevent did they fall into a tie. They got the lead again and then were able to make stop after stop to seal the win. Philly is still alive but they need to keep winning and hope some others lose.
22. Miami Dolphins (21) – The Dolphins season has tested the mettle of every Dolphin fan. They have had a win or two and have been destroyed more than once. This game they took on the Giants and for most of the game they gave as mediocrely as they took. For most of the game it looked like they had a shot at stealing a victory. Then in the 4th quarter they had the Giants pinned deep in their own zone and a 3 and out might give them a FG shot at a victory. What did they do? They lined up with no one covering Odell Beckham Jr. He ran free up the field and caught a deep ball and went untouched to the end zone. How can you not cover the only weapon on New York? Incomprehensible but this kind of mistake to lose a game is symptomatic of the Dolphin season.
23. St. Louis Rams (25) – The Rams D played pretty good for 30 minutes. The Rams O does what it can with a pretty dysfunctional group. The O managed to score 3 TDs which is pretty good for St. Loo. That their D let only two in is a solid moral victory for them. It was a victory for a team that once could have made noise this year but now they need to find more consistency in their defensive play. It has to be solely about attitude since they still have a talented group.
24. New Orleans Saints (27) – Brees was able to play a strong game and he didn’t turn it over today. The Saints D was able to bother Winston and make him look like a rookie sometimes. A solid performance on O with good passing and rushing and the D was able to make the stops to get them a good meaningless win. Wonder where Payton will be working next year? Will Brees enjoy retirement?
25. San Diego Chargers (24) – San Diego came to KC with nothing to play for and found a monsoon. The horrendous weather really hampered both teams. It was a wet defensive struggle for most of the afternoon. San Diego allowed a TD and then had to battle through terrible field conditions and almost, ALMOST got it done. A game effort but down went San Diego again.
26. Cleveland Browns (32) – Evidently the spark Cleveland needed wears number 2 on his back. John Manziel was back under center and his energy and escape ability was key to the Brown success today. The rush attack was dominant and the Brown D actually played pretty well. For Cleveland this was one of the cleanest, best played games of the year and they got a good win. What will next week bring?
27. Baltimore Ravens (20) – I hope Baltimore will talk about how much they lost this game by. I grow weary of how they have lost 217 games this season but every one of them by 7 or less. They had no O and BAD D and got destroyed. An ugly loss.
28. Chicago BEARS (23) – Well this should put the BEARS off the list of teams on the bubble. They had a shot here to get back on the road to .500 if they could just put together a coherent Defensive stand. The D was terrible. I had hoped the changes being made via free agency and the draft (and via coaching style) would start to gel in the last quarter of this season but alas no. Terrible D, bad effort on coverage, tackling, rushing, lane dedication… you name it. A terrible D output. Cutler did get a few good drives but his turnover was gold and they can’t win when he makes these kind of mistakes. 5-8 may not mathematically eliminate them but they are eliminated. Everyone condemns Robbie Gould for the miss but the D never should have had it come down to a kick to tie. A bad loss.
29. Atlanta Falcons (26) – The Falcons brought chippiness and little else to this matchup. I did see Matty Melt get sacked and make bad throws. I did see Atlanta hit Caaaaaaam late for penalties. I did see the Falcon D not cover any long passes or seem to stop any runs. Does anyone remember when “experts” stated this team at 5-0 was one of the best in the NFL? This team sucks, it sucked before they got a new coach and they suck with their new coach and they may just suck till Matty Melts out of the NFL. An UGLY ugly loss.
30. Tennessee Titans (29) – Mariota seems to have hit his rookie wall and that turnover really hurt what little pressure they were bringing on O. The D lacking one of their best LB and that really hurt their ability to tackle and or stop the run. In the end they were simply rolled over and we will have to see if they have any heart to play in three more meaningless games. An ugly loss.
31. Dallas Cowboys (28) – How ‘bout Dem Cowboys? Pummeled and punished on the line of scrimmage. Dez was a non-entity, Cassel was Cassel, Greg Hardy? Oh, he is a scumbag. They lost, they lost badly. They looked flaccid, useless and darn funny. Some say the math says they are alive. They smell like rotten ground meat left in the sun for 5 days. That is how alive they are. It was fun to watch.
32. San Francisco 49ers (30) – The Bad Niners were so bad that they couldn’t take advantage of multiple turnovers. No one less than Joe Montana was singing Gabbert praises after the win over Chicago. Today he threw for less than 200 and couldn’t inspire his team to do much more than field goals. The lack of effort on D combined with bonehead penalties and cheap shots *especially by Ahmad Brooks who played like a punk today* all combined to send this hapless team to another loss. It is days like this which makes you wonder how they manage to win any games.
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!