2017 Power Rankings: Week 12
There is about as big a difference between the AFC and the NFC that we’ve seen in recent years. The NFC is fighting it out for potential playoff spots, where as the AFC (bar a couple of obvious competitors) seems to be falling over themselves to be completely irrelevant.
Let’s start with an unsurprising entry at no. 32 (although this is the 1st time I’ve had them there).
32) Cleveland Browns: They’re 32 because they’re clearly the worst team in the NFL. What’s particularly sad is that this team doesn’t feel any better than they did last year, outside of a few key players. The Browns just can’t catch a break. That being said, every team I’ve had at 32 has then gone on to win their next game.
31) San Francisco 49ers: This team is definitely heading in the right direction. We just won’t see it this year. Expect a strong draft from the Niners, maybe using Garappolo as bait to gain picks.
30) Indianapolis Colts: Another season of injuries for a paper thin Colts team that have seen them fail outside of a couple of scrappy performances. This team is long overdue some big coaching changes.
29) New York Giants: I can’t not move them up. I still don’t like them, but they got a scrappy win. With new coaching , a new GM that has even the slightest interest in improving the offensive line and a new QB, they could return to relevance very quickly.
28) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Well it looks like another disappointing year for the Buccaneers, on and off the field. Even without the allegations against Jameis, this team has been disfunctional. I would imagine the Bucs will be joining the long list of teams looking for a new Head Coach.
27) Miami Dolphins: It’s been a rough year for Adam Gase. The return of Jay Cutler meant that Gase saw not the Pro Bowl calibre QB he’d worked with before, but instead the mistake prone QB that everyone else has seen since he entered the league. Gase deserves another shot, but he’d better hope that Tannehill can pull it together next year.
26) Arizona Cardinals: We have at least seen a couple of stand out players of the future in the last couple of games and the return of Larry Fitzgerald next season should mean a smoother transition to a new QB than they were expecting. Regardless, this team needs some serious work. Don’t expect to see Arians there next year to shepherd in a new era.
25) Chicago Bears: It must seem pretty obvious that the Bears prime focus in next years draft should be wide receiver. The Bears however are much further than a wide receiver away from being relevant. If anything I’d say a standout cornerback is actually more important. The Bears need to get off the field on 3rd down, or we’ll see the injuries start to pile up on defence again in 2018.
24) Green Bay Packers: Any faith I had in Brett Hundley (and there was definitely some) has now gone out the window. So now I’m left wondering how a team that prides itself for building through the draft, is in a situation where they have a paper thin roster, led by some awful coaching. This team has had Rodgers cover for them for far too long and it’s time for some big changes.
23) Denver Broncos: John Elway was widely praised for bringing Payton Manning into the organisation. Since Manning has retired though, the Broncos have put together a who’s who of average at best QBs. Currently they have a QB that wasn’t good enough for the Browns lining up under centre, behind an offensive line that has been awful this year. This team is a mess and you can’t heap all the blame on Mike McCoy.
22) New York Jets: Regardless of their record, I think it’s fair to say this team has performed far better than anyone expected. The Jets have a decent defensive core and some play makers on offense and are definitely on the up.
21) Buffalo Bills: I can’t tell what had me shaking my head more. That this team would bench a solid QB when they still stood a chance at a play off spot, or that they’d throw Peterman to the wolves in the way that they did. Despite a performance from this team that exceeded expectations, moves like this raise some serious questions.
20) Houston Texans: What the Texans wouldn’t do to have a chance to start Tyrod Taylor right now. Once again the Texans are hamstrung by poor QB play. The future is bright though with the return of Deshaun Watson next season.
19) Cincinatti Bengals: Everything you need to know about the general calibre of the league can be summed up by the fact that the worst Bengals team in recent years is at 19 on this power rankings. Probably just good enough to keep Marvin Lewis in a job.
18) Dallas Cowboys: Yes the loss of Zeke is massive for the Cowboys, but also the loss of their best offensive lineman and Sean Lee is a game changer. Not a good year for the Cowboys who are all but out of the running.
17) Kansas City Chiefs: Remember when everyone thought this team was unstoppable? Yeah well the league sussed them out. The Chiefs seemed to get hot too soon. The Chiefs should take advantage of a weakened AFC West but will no doubt limp into the playoffs rather than charge into them.
16) Oakland Raiders: Another team from the AFC West that has been nothing short of a little disappointing. The Raiders much like the Chiefs seem a little predictable. Oh and the defence, despite Khalil Mack is still just awful. A real shame for a team that looked like a genuine contender to the Patriots.
15) Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens offence is one of the worst in the league. The Ravens defence is one of the best. The result? Mediocrity.
14) Tennessee Titans: I think the Titans have been a little disappointing too. In fact I think the same thing I thought last year. The Titans simply can’t get any better than this with Malarkey in charge.
13) Seattle Seahawks: Neglect to the offensive line, running backs and depth in the secondary mean that this is looking like a lost season for the Seahawks.
12) Altanta Falcons: It definitely feels like this team is heating up a little. Matt Ryan seems to be getting the most from his weapons and the defense despite a lack of decent pass rush talent, seems to be mimicking last seasons success. The only question is, is it too late?
11) Jacksonville Jaguars: They might have the best defense in the league, but they also have Blake Bortles. Okay that’s a little unfair, Bortles has had his moments this season, but the fact remains that without a decent QB, the Jags will probably struggle in the playoffs (if they make it).
10) Washington: Despite a loss they continue to move up this power rankings. Washington will probably miss out on the playoffs, but they have a few decent pieces for next season… If they can keep hold of their QB.
9) Carolina Panthers: Carolina look beatable week in, week out, yet they continue to get results. Now it finally looks like Christian McCaffrey might be hitting some form and actually be helping out Cam Newton, who desperately needs it.
8) LA Chargers: This team does have a few flaws, but I still really like them. If the Chiefs continue their form and the Chargers continue to string together decent performances they could sneak into the playoffs in a year where it’s all up for grabs.
7) Detroit Lions: With the form that Matt Stafford is in, making use of every weapon he’s got, The Lions could challenge any team in the league. This week’s game will be a fantastic metre stick for just how good the Lions are. One final point. Darius Slay might be the best cover corner in the league at the moment. Slay is covering up for a few defensive issues.
6) LA Rams: A loss to the Vikings is really nothing to be ashamed of. The Rams have a tough run at the moment playing some of the best teams in the NFC. At the end of this run we should get a decent idea of just how good this team is. Expect the Rams to be a top pick for the Super bowl next season.
5) New Orleans Saints: The best defense they’ve had since they got in trouble for being a little “over zealous”. The run game we’ve been promised for several years (not seeing nearly enough Alvin Kamara on offensive rookie of the year lists). Drew Brees. Why not the Saints for the Super bowl?
4) Pittsburgh Steelers: I still don’t really know what to make of this team. They have the best running back and best wide receiver in the league, the best defence since their last Super bowl run, but it still feels like we’ll see them struggle in the Playoffs and I can’t put my finger on why. I now think Mike Tomlin might not quite be the right guy any more for the Steelers.
3) Minnesota Vikings: Simon mentioned it on this week’s pod. What makes Pat Shurmur a legitimate coordinator of the year contender is his ability to change up his game plan to take full advantage of smaller Rams defensive front. Shurmur has breathed a breath of life into the Vikings offense, which is evident by the rise of Adam Thielen. Oh and the defense is still great too.
2) New England Patriots: Every. Single. Year. The Patriots start slow, but eventually find their form on both offense and defense. Patriots have to be favourites for the Super bowl and Tom Brady a favourite for MVP. I have nothing else to say on this team.
1) Philadelphia Eagles: I see the Pats and Eagles really as a 1a and 1b and both have to be favourites for the Super bowl. Wentz is playing exceptional football right now thanks in no small part to a revamped run game, offensive line and receiver corps. On defense, outside of the Vikings they are the deepest team in the league with a very much next man up attitude. Whether they will be come time for the Super bowl, this is currently the best team in the league.
Have a great week!