Stan here. I don’t really have a whole lot to say except that I finally got NFL Redzone and its worth every penny. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? I mean, I had always heard good things but they never did it justice. I was glued to my iPad the entire day. It was amazing. This weekend is going to be different…I’ve got a date. I know that has got nothing to do with football or the rankings but I’m excited about it.
Isn’t it crazy how I’m lower on the Giants than Rob is? Is it overcompensating? Maybe. I’m just really disappointed in my team and they have a really tough schedule ahead. Maybe I’m just bracing myself for the inevitable. I should be higher on the Bills like Rob because like him, I believe in their defense but I can’t have faith in a team led by Kyle Orton. But…I digress.
(Note from Rob: Stan left the Bears completely off his rankings this week, so only 31 teams were ranked. I am not sure if this was on purpose or if it was an honest mistake, but either way, it was the right move. Out of solidarity, I have also removed them from the rankings, however I left them in the tier I would have put them in. You can assume Stan would have had them quite low.)
The “We Can’t Even Take The Best Quarterback” Tier
31. Oakland Raiders – The funny thing is, there is some talent on this team.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars – Same here.
The “Fire Everybody” Tier
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Nah man, get Lovie Smith the hell outta here. I like the guy but this isn’t the team for him. If you can’t get a team with Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Alterraun Verner to play better, you shouldn’t be coaching. Maybe its the offense. Nobody told Mike Evans though.
28. Tennessee Titans – Alright so maybe its not totally the coach and GM’s fault that the players are terrible. Nope, it is. Bishop Sankey? Come on.
26. New York Jets – Fire. Idzik. Now.
The “Could You Imagine If This Team Had…” Tier
25. Carolina Panthers – More wide receivers and a secondary?
24. Atlanta Falcons – An entire defense?
The “Don’t Let Them Get Hot” Tier
23. Washington Redskins – They’re not totally out of it and we’ve seen them go on runs before.
The “Might As Well Play For Next Year” Tier
22. Minnesota Vikings – Its more about the division but these guys should develop into a better team. It’d be nice if they could figure out how to use Cordarelle Patterson.
21. Houston Texans – We’ll see how they look with their new quarterback in Ryan Mallett but overall its the offense thats really holding this team back.
20. Buffalo Bills – Rob and I have been saying it for weeks. This defense is legit. He’s got them a lot higher than I do because those 11 guys on defense don’t play both sides of the ball. They played the Chiefs tough and might have won this game but the Chiefs are just a little better than the Bills.
19. St Louis Rams – These guys are going to be something at some point. Jeff Fisher is too good not to build a good team there. This year though, they suck…offensively at least.
The “Stop Torturing Fans!” Tier
18. Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton continues to slowly kill Bengals fans one week at a time. He should be charged as a terrorist.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – How do you have two of the best back to back games in NFL history and then follow it up with a loss to the Jets? What are they trying to do to their fans? And yes, Justin Bieber was the reason they lost.
16. San Francisco 49ers – I know they won, but it was in OT and they could have lost. I’m sure they’ll look way better against the Giants next week.
The “Making Things Interesting” Tier
15. Baltimore Ravens
14. Cleveland Browns
As these two teams get closer and closer to the end of the season, they’re going to make the race for the NFC North really fun to watch. All four teams have a legitimate shot but these two teams look better than the others.
The “Keep Your Eyes On Em” Tier
13. New Orleans Saints – This was a game they let slip away. Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown, plain and simple. Had they won, they’d be well on their way to being everyone’s bandwagon team. Now they can kinda float under the radar, even though everyone knows they’re going to win the division easily.
12. Miami Dolphins – Cameron. Wake. That is all.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – The scariest part about this team is that they’re winning without anyone of their wide receivers having a touchdown. What if their wide receivers start catching touchdowns? I’d be scared. Then again, can they beat the Broncos or the Chargers?
The “It Doesn’t Matter Who Wins The Division” Tier
10. Dallas Cowboys
9. Philadelphia Eagles
Neither team is going to make a deep playoff run whether they win the NFC East or not. Still, its going to be fun to watch them play each other. Also, i’m really looking forward to Chip Kelly trading up in the draft to take Marcus Mariota.
The “I Was A Quarterback Drafted In 2004 Too!” Tier
8. San Diego Chargers – I think the Chargers have a real shot to win the Super Bowl if Phillip Rivers puts the team on his back down the stretch the way we know he can. And if he does, will the QB class of 2004 be the best of all time?
The “Defense Might Screw The Offense” Tier
7. Indianapolis Colts – The defense has let Andrew Luck down in the second half of the season. The Colts are going to win the AFC South no matter what, but what about the playoffs? The defense needs to step up and stop letting my man crush down.
The “Offense Might Screw The Defense” Tier
6. Detroit Lions – The Lions have one of the best defenses in the league and as long as Matthew Stafford doesn’t sh*t the bed, they’ll make the playoffs and make things fun to watch. Now that Megatron is back, the race for the NFC North is on.
The “This Will Be The NFC Championship” Tier
5. Green Bay Packers
4. Seattle Seahawks
The “I Can’t Believe The Season Rested On Carson Palmer” Tier
3. Arizona Cardinals – Sorry Cardinals fans, even though Drew Stanton is serviceable, serviceable might not be enough to take care of business. I do like this defense though.
The “This Will Be The AFC Championship” Tier
2. Denver Broncos
1. New England Patriots
Lets not kid ourselves here.
The “We’re Not Even Trying This Year” Tier
31. Oakland Raiders
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
That is right. These two teams are not trying to compete this year. I mean, they both probably thought they would be a little bit better, but at least they weren’t trying.
The “Believe It Or Not, We’re Trying Our Hardest” Tier
29. Tennessee Titans
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27. Carolina Panthers
The Chicago Bears
26. New York Giants
These teams however, they were trying. To be specific, they were trying very, very hard. All five of these teams thought they would be competing for playoff spots in 2014. The Panthers were coming off of one of the best years in franchise history, and the Bears were one fourth down prayer from Aaron Rodgers short of making the postseason despite losing their quarterback for the better part of six games. The Titans, Giants, and Buccaneers all play in weak divisions and were supposed to make a run at the leaders. None of them even came close.
The “Did You Just Meet Your Quarterbacks For The First Time?” Tier
25. New York Jets
24. St. Louis Rams
23. Washington Redskins
22. Minnesota Vikings
21. Houston Texans
Here are five teams that had moderate playoff hopes for the 2014 season, but pinned those hopes on Geno Smith, Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, Matt Cassel, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. It is as if they had no prior knowledge of any of their abilities whatsoever. Smith crashed and burned almost immediately, while Fitzpatrick more or less eroded over time. At least the Vikings had the sense to put Cassel on the bench before he embarrassed himself further, where he could play the role he was destined for as a reliable backup.
Speaking of reliable backups, you could make a case that both RGIII and Bradford have good abilities as NFL starters. Unfortunately, both are perpetually injured, and neither team seemed to prioritize or care about their own backup situations. The Rams backed up an always-injured Bradford with an always-injured Shaun Hill, and behind him was an undrafted free agent named Austin Davis, to go along with a great defense and improving offensive weapons.
The Redskins decided to move forward with the embarrassingly bad Kirk Cousins, and have only seen mediocre quarterback play intermittently on a few Colt McCoy drives. Who knows, maybe Ryan Mallett will change everything for the Texans and they can jump out of this group.
The “Law Of Inertia” Tier
20. Atlanta Falcons
19. Cincinnati Bengals
18. Cleveland Browns
17. Buffalo Bills
Here is a direct quote from the GM of the Falcons and Bengals that I just made up.
“Hey, we have a bunch of good players but we got our butts kicked anyway last year. Maybe we shouldn’t look to improve any position on the roster and hope that we just get better somehow. We probably just had bad luck.”
Here is a direct quote from the GM of the Browns and Bills that I also just made up.
“Oh crap, we have a bunch of good players but we got our butts kicked last year. Maybe we should try to improve every position on the roster, and if we can’t, let’s try to at least have a good backup plan just in case.”
Two of these coaches will probably be fired. Two of these coaches probably won’t.
The “Can Put Up 41 Points In A Road Wild Card Game” Tier
16. Kansas City Chiefs
15. Baltimore Ravens
14. San Diego Chargers
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
12. Miami Dolphins
Either the Steelers or Ravens will probably get a home playoff game, because I expect the Browns to fall off just a little as their schedule gets tougher (unless Josh Gordon comes back on fire, which he very well might). The rest of this group is really fighting for a road playoff game in round one. The good news? Every single one of these teams can put up a big number or play enough defense to slide into the divisional round anyway. All you have to do is get in.
The “Eight Teams For Six Spots” ” Tier
11. San Francisco 49ers
10. Philadelphia Eagles
9. New Orleans Saints
8. Detroit Lions
7. Seattle Seahawks
6. Dallas Cowboys
5. Arizona Cardinals
4. Green Bay Packers
The Cardinals have the best record, but as of this week now have by far the worst quarterback. The Eagles are fiery hot but are starting Mark Sanchez. The Cowboys have put a good record together but they are thin and injuries could destroy them. The 49ers were lucky to even get to 5-4 beating the Saints, but may have the best overall roster in this group. The Lions have squeaked to 7-2 but they’ve collapsed before. The Packers might be the best team in the NFC but as of right now they are on the outside looking in. The Seahawks are the defending champions, but even they can’t afford to lose much if they have dreams of repeating.
The “Glad The Fourth Best AFC Team Is The Dolphins” Tier
3. Indianapolis Colts
2. Denver Broncos
1. New England Patriots
This has officially become a three team race for two first-round byes. The Colts and Patriots both have a chance to take a commanding lead after their matchup this weekend, with the loser likely being relegated to the third seed in the conference. There will be plenty of chances for missteps for all three teams down the stretch, but don’t expect any other AFC team to jump into this conversation.