One of the most memorable Week 17s in NFL history didn’t disappoint from the opening snap at 1pm to the last whistle of Sunday Night Football. This has been a very competitive regular season, but now begins a whole new season of its own and if the regular season was any indication, this postseason should be one for the ages. On to the rankings.
32. Houston Texans (2-14) (32) – The Texans lost 14 straight to finish the season. They fired their head coach and are probably going to cut their starting quarterback in favor of the next fresh faced college kid…most likely Teddy Bridgewater. Rumor has it they’re prepared to hire Penn State head coach and former Bill Belichick progeny Bill O’Brien.
31. Oakland Raiders (4-12) (31) – The Raiders showed some promise early on but fall back down to earth. With a lot of holes going into the offseason, its a mystery what they’ll do in the draft or free agency but if theres anything I know about the Raiders, its that they’ll make a bad decision or five.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) (30) – Speculation says that Penn State is pushing for Greg Schiano to come to the Nittany Lions if Bill O’Brien takes the Texans job. I don’t know if thats a good or bad decision for him but whoever takes over the Bucs has a decent foundation to build on. Mike Glennon is a capable quarterback, Doug Martin will be coming back from injury and the defense has potential.
29. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) (29) – The Falcons will need to replace Tony Gonzalez. Or maybe they won’t. Who knows with this guy? Everyone knows he wants to win a Super Bowl and as I stated many times throughout the season, the Falcons and Chiefs missed a golden opportunity to make it happen. Once Julio Jones and Roddy White are healthy again, this team is going to be right back where they were last season.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) (28) – The Jaguars started out the season really bad. They’ll end the season only slightly better than the Texans. Thats saying something.
27. Washington Redskins (3-13) (26) – The only thing worse than finishing 3-13 and last in the NFC East is the fact that you traded away your first round pick to move up and take RG3. Now was it a gamble that was worth it? Maybe. But right now, Dan Snyder is looking like a fool. Lucky for him thats not new territory.
26. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) (27) – Way to end the season on a high note with a division win. Unfortunately, you’ll be looking for a new head coach and quarterback. No pressure though.
25. Cleveland Browns (6-10) (24) – Excuse me while I rant for a little bit. I like Rob Chudzinski. There’s a special place in my heart for all former Miami assistants, but aside from that how do you expect to build and improve if you fire your head coach after one season? Have you ever noticed that good teams don’t do that? Look at the Steelers, who were a Ryan Succop field goal away from making the playoffs despite starting the season 0-4. Did they fire Mike Tomlin? Nope. They’re patient. Even the Giants, who started 0-6, haven’t showed any signs that they’ll fire Tom Coughlin and they won 7 of their last 10 games. The point is that the reason the Browns are the Browns is that they cut and run whenever they can instead of building a winning culture.
24. Miami Dolphins (8-8) (23) – The Dolphins are another team that are disappointing this year. They started 3-0 and had a good shot to make a run for the division but they dropped the ball.
23. Detroit Lions (7-9) (22) – Jim Schwartz is another coach I like but his time is up. There’s no excuse to have such a talented team, start out 6-3 and basically have the division handed to you but the other three teams…only to go 1-6 in your last seven games and miss the playoffs. No excuse. Happy Trails, Jimmy!
22. Tennessee Titans (7-9) (25) – This Titans team is only a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender. Chris Johnson might not be back but they’ll still need to do something about the offensive line. The wide receiving corps is talented and the defense is solid.
21.Buffalo Bills (5-11) (20) – The Bills had injuries all around the team. EJ Manuel was hurt from the start, CJ Spiller couldn’t stay healthy and in the end, even Stevie Johnson couldn’t escape the injury bug.
20. St Louis Rams (7-9) (19) – Who wouldn’t want to be the Rams right now? The season wasn’t a total loss, they were competitive in a tough division and they have pieces in place to build on. On top of all that, they have the Redskins first round pick plus their own.
19. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) (21) – The Packers are dangerous man. Aaron Rodgers is back, Randall Cobb is back, they’re running the ball and they have momentum on their side. Don’t be surprised if they make a run.
18. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) (11) – The Ravens had a lot to deal with throughout the season. They got almost no production out of their star running back Ray Rice, Joe Flacco was wildly inconsistent, they suffered several important injuries and the defense didn’t live up to the Baltimore Ravens standards. They’re still a decent team and aren’t very far off from being a contender.
17. Chicago Bears (8-8) (10) – The Bears should let Jay Cutler walk and use the extra money they’ll save on Josh McCown and fix the defense, specifically the safety position.
16. New York Giants (7-9) (18) – The Giants have a lot of work to do. They’ll need help along the offensive and defensive lines, the linebacker corps and in the secondary. The wide receiving corps might take a hit and they need some insurance in the backfield. Other than that, they’re fine.
15. New York Jets (7-9) (17) – The Jets ended the season on a high note, winning their last two games and guaranteeing Rex Ryan’s return. Unfortunately, they pretty much took themselves out of the running for one of the two top wide receivers in the draft, Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins. Both those guys would help the team immensely. However, its early still. Who knows what can happen between now and April?
14. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) (7) – Had the Cards won this game, we might be talking about Bruce Arians for coach of the year. The Cardinals played very well and have a solid foundation to build on.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) (9) – The Chiefs have the 5th seed in the AFC locked up and will play the Colts in Indianapolis…a rematch of their regular season matchup from week 16.
12. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) (8) – Once again, the Cowboys found themselves in position to win the division and make the playoffs. Late in the game, they couldn’t convert a two point conversion but they managed to get the ball back and in typical Cowboys fashion, the quarterback (this time Kyle Orton) threw an interception to end the game.
11. San Diego Chargers (9-7) (16) – The Chargers owe Nick Novak their season. They went to overtime and Ryan Succop missed a field goal that allowed the Chargers to get the ball back, go down the field and kick a game winning field goal.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) (15) – The Steelers totally belong in the playoffs. They were literally an overtime field goal away in another game away from making the playoffs. Tough break. They’ve got some moves to make.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) (14) – The Eagles Romo’d their way into the playoffs. They’re playing well, led by Nick Foles (who should probably be in the Pro Bowl) and Shady McCoy. They’re going to be matched up against the Saints in Philly and if they play their cards right, could make a nice little run. Could you imagine media week if the Chiefs play the Eagles in the Super Bowl?
8. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) (13) – I love this Bengals team. I think this is a great opportunity to rally around Andy Dalton and that offense. The defense is a liability due to all their injuries but they’ve been playing well and they’ll host the Chargers at home. I’m really looking forward to this game.
7. New Orleans Saints (11-5) (12) – The Saints got the 6 seed in the NFC playoffs and will travel to Philadelphia to face a hot Eagles team. As a Giants fan I’m rooting for Drew Brees and Who Dat Nation. I think their defense is good enough to slow down the Eagles and Rob Ryan will use these games to propel himself to (hopefully) a head coaching job if he wants it.
6. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) (6) – The Colts found a nice rhythm at the right time of the season and have won 11 games for the second straight year with Andrew Luck under center. I think they found the blueprint to beating the Chiefs last week and will do a good job again in their house.
5. New England Patriots (12-4) (5) – The Patriots won their 11th division title with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm. They’ll have a first round bye and you know how successful Belichick can be after a week off.
4. Carolina Panthers (12-4) (4) – The likely coach of the year, Ron Rivera, turned the Panthers around clinched the NFC South and a first round bye. For Cam Newton and company, I’m sure its Super Bowl or bust but its difficult to call a 12 win season and division title a disappointment.
3. Denver Broncos (12-4) (3) – The team everyone expects to run through the playoffs and represent the AFC in the big game won a tuneup game in Oakland. Now they’ll rest up and get healthy.
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-5) (2) – The 49ers may be a 5th seed but I think they’re the team to beat in the opening round of the wild card round. Ever since Michael Crabtree’s return, this has been a more dynamic team and I think they’ll be a tough out. I know Aaron Rodgers is back but even in the cold, I think the Niners win this game.
1. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) (1) – The Seahawks were my pick to go to the Super Bowl all along. They do all the things that winners do well and most importantly, they don’t lose at home. Thats huge.
There you have it. Your final 2013 KIRS NFL Power Rankings. Its been fun doing these and I hope you’re looking forward to next season’s rankings as much as I am. As always, questions and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can tweet me and follow me on twitter @FunnyManStan