Home > NFL > Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Scoring and Not Scoring

Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Scoring and Not Scoring

Dec 5, 2010; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Louis Murphy (18) reacts after a 37-yard reception in the fourth quarter as San Diego Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason (20) looks on at Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13. Photo via Newscom

Let’s go ESPN.  Those are some horrible rankings, based on little beyond record and head to head results.  They have a place where they replicate these power rankings: it’s called the standings.  ESPN has voted and decided on “accomplishment rankings.”  They’re like standings, just less accurate.

Here’s a more objective power rankings, based on the Simple Rating System (SRS in above link), simple margin of victory (or defeat) against the strength of schedule.  I will manipulate subjectively for quality of recent performance.  But the only thing that matters here is the score of the games, and who you’ve played this season.  I don’t care who beat who, nor do I care about the current record of the team: I’m already using points.  Those are the things on the scoreboard, you know.

1. New England Patriots (12-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (8-6) This is not a team that has played that well of recent, but it’s terrible that they wouldn’t be in someones top ten.  They’re getting Rodgers back, so I don’t feel the need to penalize them for playing 6 quarters of football with Matt Flynn and nearly beating the Patriots.  Note: if the Packers had actually beaten the Patriots, they still would be going back to Aaron Rodgers.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) The loss to the Jets was a big accomplishment for New York.  That’s why the players and coaches for jumping around after the game.  It was an upset, people.  A very important, gratifying upset is still an upset.  There’s no other objective reason to put the Jets ahead of the Steelers.  So don’t do it.

4. San Diego Chargers (8-6) This team features a defense that is stronger than it’s offense, which is where all of our predictions for them went so horribly wrong.  Unfortunately, it’s defense AND special teams that prevent points, and sending their defense on the field in a position to prevent points has been a trouble for the Chargers.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) Every team 2-5 has a claim at being the no. 2 team in power rankings.  The Eagles just might not have the defense to make a long playoff run.  If the Packers lose this week and are eliminated from playoff contention, they become the favorite in the NFC.  But without both the Packers and the Giants, the NFC is a much weaker playoff field than it’s been all year.  It’s concievable that the Packers and Giants could BOTH miss the postseason, if the Bucs win out.

6. Baltimore Ravens (10-4) I like this team’s offense a lot more than I liked it at this time last year.  The defense is very problematic, but gets a huge boost from it’s punter, Sam Koch.

7. Atlanta Falcons (12-2) The Falcons are clearly a top 8 team, but boy, has this been a soft schedule with an unimpressive result.  The Falcons defense is a bad defense.  They don’t really have much of a passing game, but Matt Ryan has come through in all the clutch moments.  If they run into the Eagles or Giants or Packers in the playoffs, it’s going to be a massacre.  We’ll learn a lot about them this week.

8. New York Giants (9-5) I’m putting this New York team above the other because the Jets so badly need LaDainian Tomlinson to be the player that he was in the first five games, which he simply is not.  The Giants have two guys more valuable on the ground than the Jets best.  I also trust Eli Manning in a down year more than I trust Mark Sanchez in a down career.

9. New York Jets (10-4)

10. Chicago Bears (10-4) This week’s game between the Bears and Jets will tell us a lot about the qualities of the two conferences.

11. New Orleans Saints (10-4) It’s been a really soft schedule for the defending champs, but they are winning by much wider margins now than they had been.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) Matt Cassel is getting the credit, but Jamaal Charles needs to be mentioned in the MVP race.

13. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) Another loss probably drops the Colts out of playoff contention, and this is going to be a long trip to Oakland to play a team that’s playing as well as any who missed the postseason last year.  The Colts need to make Oakland pass, but can they?

14. Tennessee Titans (6-8) These guys aren’t unfamiliar to a good 6 game losing streak, but before you write them off, look at how hard they came out of it last season.  Since dropping to 5-7, the Titans came within two points of the Colts and then blew out the Texans.  This will be Kansas City’s toughest test.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) They’re playing much better of recent, but their offense is the only thing they have going for them, and we saw that against the Colts.

16. Detroit Lions (4-10) These guys are still here.  And now featuring a two game winning streak!

17. Miami Dolphins (7-7)

18. Oakland Raiders (7-7)

19. Buffalo Bills (4-10) Pretty much all issues with this team stemmed from playing horrible 3-4 defense for about six games.  Their defense has caught up to the level that their offense has been playing at since Week 3.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)

21. Cleveland Browns (5-9)

22. Dallas Cowboys (5-9) They’ve really been the same team all year since the bye.  Horrendous defense gave up a 20-point lead to a hapless Redskins team, and then mistakes by the Redskins offense gave them the field position to win it at the end.

23. Houston Texans (5-9)

24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) The Bengals have been playing at a consistent level most of the year.  With the Browns defense in decline due to injuries, their win last week was pretty easy to see ahead of time.  They have a better chance of playing the Chargers tight than you’d think.

25. St. Louis Rams (6-8) Holy crap! An NFC West team!

26. San Francisco 49ers (5-9)

27. Washington Redskins (5-9) On pace for a 1-8 finish under Mike Shanahan in his first year.  Jim Zorn eat your heart out: that would be the worst 9 game stretch for the Redskins under Dan Snyder.  Seriously.

28. Denver Broncos (3-11) Worst in the AFC: they’ll probably come off the mat this week to win a game with Tim Tebow as starter.  The Texans pass defense reaches a new low.

29. Minnesota Vikings (5-9) Two losses to finish the year will make for a very ugly offseason.

30. Seattle Seahawks (6-8)

31. Carolina Panthers (2-12)

32. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

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