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Eli Manning

I’m an avid fan of Bill Burr and I never miss an episode of the Monday Morning Podcast. Despite Burr being from Boston and therefore, a Patriots fan, I love his take on sports. In his most recent episode he talked about how good the Seahawks are even though the Patriots are his team and if the two teams were to meet in the Super Bowl, he’d have no choice but to be nervous. He went on to talk about how the NFL is all about runs. The NFC goes on a run of Super Bowls, then the AFC goes on a run of their own. Back and forth, back and forth. Right now, we’re in an NFC run. Outside of the Ravens win two years ago, we’ve seen four of the last five Super Bowl winners come out of the NFC and this year is going to be no different. Whether its Seattle, Green Bay or maybe even Dallas, the NFC is winning the Super Bowl. Clearly Rob and I are on the same page because our power rankings reflect it.

We’re heading into Week 15 and it feels like the more things change, the more they stay the same. Inconsistent teams stay inconsistent, the good teams separate themselves from the pack and the pretenders start to get exposed for the frauds they truly are. When Rob and I first came up with the idea of doing joint power rankings, we assumed that we’d have a lot of differences but as you’ve seen, we’ve disagreed very seldomly. Even this week, the only differences between our rankings is where we rank the Raiders, the Steelers and the Lions. Every other ranking we have is pretty close to each other. So what does that tell you? I think it says that we’re both geniuses.


The “Play The Young Guys” Tier

32. Oakland Raiders – I don’t want to downplay what the Raiders did but I still think they’re one of the worst teams in the NFL. I think the 49ers are terrible offensively and they have huge issues in the front office. Coach Harbaugh will likely be gone and Colin Kaepernick is making entirely too much money. I will say this though…the Raiders might have something in Derek Carr.
31. Tennessee Titans – How about the Titans no-show against the Giants? The offensive line got destroyed and I’m pretty sure Zach Mettenberger is somewhere in the fetal position wishing he was back in Baton Rouge with Les Miles. The offense couldn’t do a damn thing and if not for a pick six on a terrible throw by Eli Manning, they’d have been shut out.
30. Washington Redskins – The best part of this game was the opening coin toss when Jeff Fisher sent out the players that were drafted with the picks sent to the Rams in return for RG3. While it was a little dickish to Jay Gruden (who had nothing to do with the trade), obviously it was a dig at Dan Snyder and Mike Shanahan.
29. New York Jets – Its kinda nice to see a team with no chance show some fight. They know Rex Ryan isn’t coming back. They know that they’ll be looking for a new quarterback, among other positions. But they still showed up and took a decent Vikings team to overtime. Too bad they still suck.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars – I hope the Jags don’t fire Gus Bradley. I think he’s building something down in Jacksonville and he needs time to put it all together. All their missing is a better offensive line, a better defensive line, a running game and some linebackers. Thats it though.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I hate Lovie Smith. I don’t think he likes having talented players. He wants to be that guy that makes everyone better except that he can’t make anyone better. I know he doesn’t have a good quarterback or running back but how do you have two monsters at wide receiver and lose? Literal monsters. Large, large men that move very quickly. And thats just the offense. What about Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David? I don’t get it.
26. New York Giants – So typical of the Giants to win when it doesn’t matter. On a lighter note, Odell Beckham can do anything and everything. They should line him up all over the field just to see what he can do. I’d like to see him play offensive and defensive line, just for sh*ts and giggles.

The “Show Some Pride” Tier

25. Chicago Bears – Everything I said about the Bucs can be said about the Bears except they also have a good tight end and a good running back.
24. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton had one of his best games of the season and the Panthers control their own destiny. Now its come out that Cam Newton got into a car wreck and will probably miss this week’s game. While I’m sure the Panthers are happy he’s alright, I doubt the Panthers are going to be able to win without him because they’ve barely been able to win with him this season.
23. Atlanta Falcons – Theres no shame in losing to the Packers. There is, however, shame in being a 5 win team that’ll probably win its division. Ugh.
22. New Orleans Saints – It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the entire NFC South is ranked 22nd and below. Drew Brees is the lone rose in the pile of turds called the New Orleans Saints. I have a good feeling they’ll hold on to Sean Payton but Rob Ryan’s gotta go. Beyond that, whats their plan? Brees is 35 and they don’t have a lot of money to throw around or a lot of time to build a winner. Fortunately the division sucks and they’ll be right back in the mix next season.
21. Minnesota Vikings – Man, I love this team. I think I’ll adopt them as my second favorite team next season. Whats not to love? A rookie quarterback that plays like a 10 year vet. A good head coach thats finally got a shot after too many years of being a solid assistant. A good defense. Aside from playing in a tough division and possibly losing the best running back in the league, being a Vikings fan can’t be that bad.
20. Houston Texans – I’ve been bringing up this point to anyone that’ll listen lately. I think that JJ Watt should win the MVP award. To me, an MVP is exactly what it says it is. The most valuable player. Here’s how you determine the MVP. You look at all the best players in the league. If you replaced that player with a mediocre player at the same position, would the team be as good? Take JJ Watt for instance. If you replaced him with a mediocre player at his position, the Texans would probably go 1-15. In fact, if you replaced him with the second best player at his position, they’d still probably go 1-15. But, alas…it’ll probably go to some quarterback.
19. Buffalo Bills – The Bills defense was a little disappointing. Even though they were playing the Broncos, I think the consensus was that they’d give up yardage and points through the air. Instead, they kept Peyton Manning in check and they allowed C.J. Anderson to run for three touchdowns. Disappointing.

The “Spoiler Alert” Tier

18. Cleveland Browns – BRING ON JOHNNY FOOTBALL!!!!
17. San Francisco 49ers – Navarro Bowman was just activated onto the 53 man roster but it might be too little, too late. This team is in utter disarray. I don’t think they’re a bad team necessarily but I don’t see how they can dig themselves out of such a big hole, especially in such a tough division. The Rams defense is playing out of its mind, the Cardinals are still finding ways to win without any of their best offensive players and the Seahawks have found their groove.
16. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are one of those teams I feel like are frauds. How can this team be legit if they haven’t thrown a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver? They obviously won’t win the division over the Broncos and with the AFC North so packed, they won’t make the playoffs. Typical Andy Reid coached team.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are the epitome of a Jekyll and Hyde team. Once they start to look good, they drop an easy game or struggle against a cupcake. Then when they look like they’re out of it, they score 25 straight points on a team like the Bengals, who may or may not be good.
14. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens got a quality win against a good team in Miami. Its amazing how they’re doing it considering they have the worst secondary in football. I don’t recognize one person in the Baltimore secondary. Is Matt Elam still there?

The “Close But No Cigar” Tier

13. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals might be the 49ers of the AFC. They have a solid defense (even though they haven’t looked like it) they usually run the ball well and they have a quarterback thats dragging them down after signing a huge contract…plus they play in a really competitive division.
12. St Louis Rams – The Rams defense is insane. 20 years ago if anyone had told you that the son of Howie Long and one of the guys from the Legion Of Doom tag team would be teammates on one of the best defenses in the NFL, would you believe them? Actually that sounds really plausible.
11. Philadelphia Eagles – You see what happens when you play against a defense that isn’t afraid of you? You get knocked around. Granted Mark Sanchez isn’t exactly a great quarterback, but he’d been alright lately. This is exactly why I can totally see Chip Kelly saying “Screw you” to the rest of the NFL and drafting his boy Mariota from Oregon. It won’t be easy but everyone’s got a price.
10. Miami Dolphins – This loss to Baltimore won’t kill their season. The Dolphins still have a scary defense and a capable offense. Joe Philbin is super boring though, isn’t he? He looks like the kinda guy that goes home and reads obituaries. He’s got a ship in a bottle and he listens to Chuck Mangione. Super boring. He eats plain oatmeal and washes it down with tap water.
9. Detroit Lions – The Lions are bound to implode but in the meantime they’re winning games and making a case for them to make the playoffs. Bell is running well, Stafford is getting the ball to where it needs to be (Calvin Johnson) and the defense is DESTROYING teams.
8. Arizona Cardinals – If Bruce Arians doesn’t win Coach of the Year, something’s wrong. Backup quarterback, backup running backs, no Larry Fitzgerald the last few weeks, decimated defense held together by bubble gum and they’re still finding ways to win? Top three coach, easily.
7. San Diego Chargers – I don’t think anyone expected them to beat the Patriots but they didn’t look very good at all. We’re still waiting for Keenan Allen’s body to wash up from Revis Island. Ryan Mathews might as well have stayed in the locker room. This is the most damning stat about Phillip Rivers. I had the choice of playing him or Ryan Fitzpatrick in fantasy football last week and I chose Fitzpatrick…and I won. Granted I would have won with Rivers too but it’d be way closer.
6. Dallas Cowboys – Man this offensive line is scary. The Cowboys converted what felt like 17 fourth down conversions against the Bears. The Bears defense is paltry but its a different feeling when you watch the Cowboys and you can tell they don’t give a damn who it is. They’re confident that the o-line is going to push everyone out of the way on any down and distance. I can’t belIeve I’m saying this but the Cowboys may have come up with a good team building model…offensively at least.
5. Indianapolis Colts – Jesus Christ wears number 12 and leads teams from huge deficits. Its what he does.

The “Don’t Bet Against Them”” Tier

4. Seattle Seahawks
3. New England Patriots
2. Denver Broncos
1. Green Bay Packers
These are the same four teams I had in the top four last week in the exact same order. It boils down to what I said in the intro. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Don’t be surprised if these four teams remain right where they are for the rest of the season. Don’t be surprised if these four teams are the representatives in their respective championship games.


The “Just Three More Weeks” Tier

32. Tennessee Titans

31. New York Jets

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Washington Redskins

I think the Titans have pretty clearly separated themselves as the worst team in the NFL. They blew out the Chiefs on the opening weekend, and have proceeded to go 1-11 since then, with their only win being a narrow two-point victory over the lowly Jaguars. Since the October 12th meeting, the Jaguars are 2-5 while the Titans are 0-7.

Really, we are splitting hairs between all five of these teams. These five franchises have sparse talent, horrific quarterback situations, and overall terrible coaching.

The “Hey, We’re Still Trying” Tier

27. Oakland Raiders

26. Carolina Panthers

25. New York Giants

The Raiders are not the worst team in the NFL Stan. You wrote a nice little paragraph about how we haven’t disagreed enough and I am taking you to task on it, because even though some teams we only have a small difference, those few spots matter to me.

The Raiders were a pretty good 0-9 team. They played the Patriots tough. They played the Seahawks tough. They played the Chargers tough twice. Then they beat the Chiefs and 49ers, two talented—albeit flawed—teams with playoff aspirations. You’re right; they may not have the talent. Still, they beat two teams in the playoff hunt. They have played above their heads all season. They beat two teams with winning records. The five teams below them have nine combined wins since week two, and have feasted on each other and the Steelers for six of those wins, with the most embarrassing losses of the season Cowboys, Browns, and Giants getting the number up to nine.

Derek Carr is still only okay to me, although he certainly looks like he has adapted better to football than Blake Bortles, selected a full round earlier. The Raiders could have very easily been a fantastic 0-16 football team with their schedule, and those wins make them worthy of far better than the 32nd ranked team in these Power Rankings.

Also the Panthers and Giants continue to frustrate their fans by flashing absolute brilliance this past weekend, even if it was against some underwhelming competition.

The “Race to Six” Tier

24. Atlanta Falcons

23. New Orleans Saints

Quick math: both the Falcons and the Saints are tied for the division lead at 5-8. The Falcons hold the tiebreaker because of a head-to-head win earlier in the year. I believe the division winner will win six games. They each have three games left, and play each other in Week 16.

Yes, that means a part of me believes that both the Falcons and Saints will lose out, and the winner of that game will be the division champion. Looking at the schedules you would think the Saints have an excellent shot at going 8-8 and salvaging some pride. I do not expect this to happen. They just got murdered by a terrible Panthers team. I am so over the NFC South.

The “Predictable Nightmare” Tier

22. Chicago Bears

21. San Francisco 49ers

This offseason, both the Bears and 49ers did two things. First, they seemed to put themselves in position for a deep playoff run. They gave money to their quarterbacks, made sure there were enough weapons on offense, and tried to patch up holes elsewhere with veterans and highly drafted rookies. All this was supposed to be enough to propel them and their beloved coaches into January.

At the same time, both offseasons brought up doubts for the 2014 season. Jay Cutler over Josh McCown was questioned, especially after former Bears’ coach Lovie Smith took over in Tampa Bay. The Bears also let Peppers go to their rival Packers, while then snatching Jared Allen from the Vikings. One of those two signings went well.

The 49ers had to deal with Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald this offseason. They also had the Jim Harbaugh to Cleveland rumors circling. With Navarro Bowman expected to miss most of the season, they had plenty of questions themselves.

Both teams playi in divisions that included juggernauts (Packers/Seahawks), frisky borderline contenders (Lions/Cardinals), and a pair of really frisky teams destined for fourth place (Vikings/Rams—both of which would have blown away the NFC South). The recipe was there for a meltdown season. Both teams obliged.

The “Scrappiest Emmineffin Teams To Miss The Playoffs” Tier

20. Cleveland Browns

19. Minnesota Vikings

18. Buffalo Bills

17. St. Louis Rams

Brian Hoyer may very well stink, but boy were the Browns scrappy this season. Wins over the Saints, Steelers, Bengals, and Falcons don’t look great in context, but all four teams had serious playoff hopes before the season and still now. The Browns only found themselves in contention after they were still standing after 11 games. The loss to the Colts after giving up that huge lead and the beating they took from the Jaguars will loom large for a team that had a chance to do something special, and for a quarterback who had a chance to revive his career.

The Vikings run was a little more expected. Unless you take into account a “bad pro day”, Teddy Bridgewater was a can’t miss kid. It is a travesty he lasted until pick 32. The Texans should be kicking themselves for not making the move up a few spots to grab him. The Bills made the moves to push the chips all in for this year and next year, moving up to grab Sammy Watkins and signing Kyle Orton as EJ Manuel insurance. The team looks good, and needs to make only a small improvement to be a legitimate playoff team next year, but they need to figure out the answer at quarterback. It is not Orton, and if it isn’t Manuel, then who takes snaps in what will amount to a critical 2015 campaign?


The Rams have been awesome to watch. Back-to-back shutouts is great, but that isn’t what got the Rams their own very special section here in the Power Rankings.

I don’t like Jeff Fisher. I do not think he is a good coach. Why do I think that? Because (assuming the Rams don’t finish the season 3-0) he has now coached 20 seasons in the NFL. He has won the division exactly THREE TIMES. He has finished with a winning record exactly SIX TIMES. He has made the playoffs exactly SIX TIMES. He has finished third or fourth in the division exactly THIRTEEN TIMES. All of those are out of twenty. This guy has grossly underachieved in terms of wins for a head coach who has had this many chances.


He pulled one of the greatest moves in my recent memory, openly trolling the Redskins by sending out all six players they acquired in the RGIII trade as captains. Nothing like finishing fourth in your division and still rubbing it in the face of your also fourth place opponent. Just classic. Second best moment of Fisher’s career after the Music City Miracle. Bravo.


The “Boo Andy Dalton” Tier

16. Cincinnati Bengals

Boo Andy Dalton.

The “Six Teams For Two Spots Tier

15. Miami Dolphins

14. Houston Texans

13. Kansas City Chiefs

12. Baltimore Ravens

11. San Diego Chargers

10. Pittsburgh Steelers

Okay Stan, this is the section where I think you continually fail to adjust based on what I see on the field. The Dolphins are might be a top ten teams in terms of talent, but they have bad coaching and they do not have the quarterback play to overcome it. Joe Philbin is the worst coach of these six teams, and it isn’t even close.

Now the Steelers have very good coaching, a great quarterback, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. The defense isn’t great, but the Dolphins’ offense isn’t great. I know they really just failed to show up against the Jets and Buccaneers, but at this point, I think you have to take them over the Dolphins. The Ravens just beat the Dolphins in a game where John Harbaugh completely out coached Philbin.

Also, the Chargers have been just as Jekyll and Hyde as the Steelers, and you have them all the way up at 7! I love the Chargers on offense, but that team is really frustrating for the spot you put them.

Also, J.J. Watt is so good and the Texans can make the playoffs by beating either the Colts or the Ravens, and they basically lock into a playoff spot if they beat them both. Leaving them at 20 would really make Watt angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

The “Finish Strong” Tier

9. Arizona Cardinals

8. Dallas Cowboys

7. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Indianapolis Colts

5. Detroit Lions

I think the Cardinals more or less locked themselves into the playoffs with a win. At 10-6 with tiebreakers over the Eagles, Lions, and Cowboys, I think their chances skyrocketed even if they lose out. The next four teams are very strange. All four of them seem like sure playoff teams, but none of them feel great about where they are despite strong records.

The “Cruise Control” Tier

4. Seattle Seahawks

3. Denver Broncos

2. New England Patriots

1.Green Bay Packers

I mean, come on. These guys are just taking care of business.

I know Stan is pretty depressed about his Giants, and probably about New York sports in general. Even still, I found it necessary to take a bunch of shots at the Giants, who might be in full tank mode. The Jets could also be tanking, after a deliriously fantastic game in which they threw the ball only 13 times. Now, in case you missed it, I will answer a few questions about that game.