NFL Top 15 for Week 15

After a week riddled with horrid quarterback play (i.e. Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Derek Carr), here is my first edition of the NFL Top 15 where I give you my ranking of the 15 best teams in the NFL.  Don’t agree? Leave a comment and share your own wrong opinion.  

 

1. New England Patriots (11-2)

Tom Brady just recorded his 100th career home regular season win in only 116 tries.  Unfortunately, the Patriots will travel to Mile High Stadium, where they have lost three straight, to take on the Broncos.  However, the Patriots are 6-0 on the road this year.  Brady generously spread the ball around in their 30-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens with four targets eclipsing 70 yards receiving.

2. Dallas Cowboys (11-2)

Rookie phenom Dak Prescott seems to be slowing down after his prolific start.  Prescott has recorded his worst QBR ratings of the season in each of his last two games including a dismal 14.8 in their loss to the Giants Sunday night.  Ezekiel Elliott has also been limited as of late averaging 4.3 yards per carry in his last four games compared to 5.1 in his first eight games.  The Cowboys will look to rebound from their loss to the Giants against the pesky 8-5 Buccaneers who have won five straight games.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

The Chiefs are the real deal.  They have won three straight against the formidable Broncos, Falcons and Raiders–all of which have eight or more wins this season.  The scrappy Chiefs can guarantee a playoff spot with a win next week against the Titans.  I would say something about how impressive it is for the Chiefs to be doing all of this without Jamaal Charles, but they have been without Charles for approximately the last 42 seasons.

4. Oakland Raiders (10-3)

Nobody wanted the number four spot.  Teams tried their best to stay away from it.  Heck, Russell Wilson threw five interceptions to avoid it.  But the Raiders accept by default.  I know that the Raiders have enjoyed some hype thanks to their most wins since 2002, but I do not believe that they can compete against any of the top tier teams in the NFL.  Their only quality win has come against the quarterback-less Denver Broncos, and they cannot move the ball at all against the Chiefs.  QB Derek Carr recorded his worst two QBR ratings of the year against the stingy Chiefs defense.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

Say it with me, “Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in the league.”  Bell exploded for 298 total yards against the Bills and has got the Steelers rolling with four straight wins.  Bell is fourth in rushing yards despite missing the first three games of the season and wideout Antonio Brown is torching defenses to the tune of 1,130 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Steelers have a solid shot at reaching the playoffs if they can take down the Ravens at home in two weeks.  Also, if Bell plays, look for him to get up to 500 yards on the ground against the Browns in Week 17.

6. New York Giants (9-4)

The Giants have beaten almost nobody impressive.  Obviously, they have beaten the Cowboys twice this year, but just about no one else.  It is unclear what their future holds due to their weak schedule this year.  One thing is clear: if the Cowboys plan on reaching the Super Bowl this year, they better plan to stay away from the Giants defense which obviously holds the key to crumbling Dallas’ rookie tandem of Dak and Zeke.

7. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)

The Falcons are such a fun team to watch.  Julio Jones has only hauled in five touchdowns this year, but he is catching everything in sight adding up to a league-leading 1,253 yards. Matt Ryan was looking like his time in Atlanta was winding down, but his surge this season might have saved his career for now.  However, the league’s best scoring offense gives up the fifth-most points in the league.  If the Falcons plan on a playoff run, they are gonna need someone other than Vic Beasley Jr. (13.5 sacks and six forced fumbles) to step it up.

8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)

The Seahawks are averaging a little over seven points per game over their last three contests, but in years past, that isn’t a problem thanks to Seattle’s merciless defense. However, last week against the Packers, the Seahawks recorded only one sack against a hobbling Aaron Rodgers who also torched their secondary only throwing five incompletions-the same amount of interceptions thrown by Russell Wilson.

9. Detroit Lions (9-4)

Matthew Stafford just keeps finding ways to win.  The Lions could very easily end the season 9-7, but they have been proving everyone wrong so far this year going 8-1 since week four.  The Lions just broke the record for the most fourth-quarter/overtime comebacks in NFL history, but their defensive efficiency is sputtering at 27th in the league.  We’ll see what the Lions do when they have to play stiffer competition than the Bears and Jaguars.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)

The Buccaneers defense has been phenomenal this year.  Well, not scoring wise.  And yardage wise, they’ve given up quite a bit.  But takeaways! That’s what wins games, right? The Buccaneers are tied for the most takeaways in the league at 25, and if they can prey on young Prescott and the Cowboys, Tampa Bay might just have themselves a statement win and a warning to the league that they are the real deal.

11. Green Bay Packers (7-6)

The Packers defense feasted on Russell Wilson’s errant passes and will look to do the same against the Bears’ Matt Barkley.  While the running game is all out of sorts, wide receiver Ty Montgomery has slid into the backfield nicely averaging 5.2 yards a carry.  If the Pack can win out and slip into the playoffs, they will be a dangerous draw for any contender in the NFC.

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-6)

The Ravens kept it close with the juggernaut Patriots.  Unfortunately, they compiled a mere 42 rushing yards leaving elite Joe Flacco to fend for himself–throwing 52 total passes.  They will look to rebound against the struggling Eagles–losers of four straight.  If Baltimore intends to rebound and save their defensive reputation, they will have to cut down on the deep ball: Tom Brady completed 8-of-10 passes over 15 yards for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Patriots 30-23 win over the Ravens.

13. Denver Broncos (8-5)

The Broncos lost to the Titans on Sunday and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of their season.  Denver concludes the season with three 10-win teams in the Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders.  I would recommend not calling for sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian to throw anywhere near 51 passes as he did in their 13-10 loss to the Titans. The Broncos will finish 9-7 as their best case scenario.

14. Minnesota Vikings (7-6)

Good news: Sam Bradford leads the NFL in completion percentage among starters.  Bad news: he ranks 21st and 22nd in passing yards and touchdowns respectively.  They also have the worst rushing offense in the league without Adrian Peterson.  Yet, they have a bleak chance to squeeze out an NFC North championship with a some help from the Lions and the Packers.  Okay, a lot of help.

15. Tennessee Titans (7-6)

The AFC South champion could very possibly be the Tennessee Titans which hasn’t happened since the legendary duo of Kerry Collins and Chris Johnson in 2008 (Yes, that actually happened–they started that season 10-0).  The Titans have not committed a turnover in their last four games and will look to continue that streak against the Chiefs who may or may not have 25 takeaways this year–tied for the most in the NFL.

Extra Tidbits:

  • Russell Wilson lost by more than 10 points for the first time in his NFL career.
  • A family of five can enjoy a Browns’ home game for $30 which is less than a Green Bay Packers parking pass.
  • Nike sent Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll a customized pair of Air Monarchs which he wears on the sidelines every week.  Look up “Nike Air Monarchs” and you will find what is commonly referred to as “dad shoes.”

 

 

 

 

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