- Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) – Last Week: 1
Went to the L.A Coliseum came away with the W in what was one of the best games of the season, and has solidified themselves at the top of my rankings for another week. Unfortunately, this game will not be remembered for the win but for the season-ending ACL injury to Carson Wentz that happened during a scramble TD. Backup Nick Foles will take play-calling duties from here on in, and it starts this weekend against the Giants.
- Minnesota Vikings (10-3) – Last Week: 2
They couldn’t get the job done in Carolina in what was another fun game to watch this past weekend, but it was a win at the right time in the lead-up to their inevitable playoff run. Adam Thielen has again proven to be the most consistent wideout in the NFL behind Antonio Brown.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) – Last Week: 4
Their win against Baltimore on Sunday Night Football was their fourth straight game with a walk-off field goal to win the game. We can go on and on about their offensive firepower, but some credit has to go to their incredible pass rush defense for their tremendous winning streak. T.J Watt looks to be one of the true steals of the draft.
- New England Patriots (10-3) – Last Week: 3
Yes, this game may not have meant much in the grand scheme of things, but a loss against an inconsistent Miami outfit is worthy of a worry or two. It is the first time they’ve conceded more than 17 points in a game since week 4, and they have a crucial AFC battle against the Steelers on Monday morning which could have huge repercussions in regards to their playoff seeding.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) – Last Week: 7
#Sacksonville finally jumped up from their seventh spot status and it was well deserved taking down a red-hot Seattle team in what is arguably their best win as a franchise in almost a decade. Blake Bortles continues to play it simple and feed it to star rookie Leonard Fournette, and Dede Westbrook has also proven to be quite a dependable option for his quarterback when healthy.
- Los Angeles Rams (9-4) – Last Week: 5
Their offense is still in my opinion behind the Steelers as the most productive offense in all of football, but their run defense is holding them back. They concede 124.1 yards per game on the ground (5th most) at 4.7 yards per attempt (3rd most), which cancels out their great work when defending the pass.
- New Orleans Saints (9-4) – Last Week: 6
Despite shutting down quarterback Matty Ryan and recording 3 interceptions, Brees and co couldn’t capitalise on their chances which opened the door for a late quarter surge. Alvin Kamara was a big loss in the first quarter, but looks to go through the mandatory concussion protocol successfully for their week 15 meeting against the Jets.
- Seattle Seahawks (8-5) – Last Week: 8
What I got out of this game from a Seattle perspective was how damn good Russell Wilson actually is. He was shut down completely against an elite Jacksonville pass defense, but a couple of hopeful downfield darts after scrambling away from the pass rush put them back in the game. However, without a run game or a consistent offensive line, there may not be enough there to warrant a true threat come playoff time.
- Carolina Panthers (9-4) – Last Week: 10
A huge win by the Panthers courtesy of a 3-TD effort by lead back Jonathan Stewart and their abilities on the defensive side of the ball to restrict damage in their own red zone. This big win gives them a huge chance of taking lead of the NFC South at the end of week 15 as they face the Packers who are more than likely to have star QB Aaron Rodgers back under centre.
- Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – Last Week: 9
The good? They put up over 30 points against their bitter rivals and came back after being down by a considerable margin throughout the first half. The bad? Their defense (especially their banged-up secondary) got exploited by Big Ben and Antonio Brown. They currently sit one spot out of the wildcard positions due to the Buffalo tiebreaker, and a trap game against a Browns team thirsty for win number one looks to be quite a divisional battle to watch this weekend.
- Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) – Last Week: 13
There is no hotter team in the NFL right now than the Chargers who continue to roll. Hunter Henry is finding his form again, Keenan Allen continues to be a stud, Rivers is showing his veteran experience at QB and their secondary never stops making big plays. They took care of Washington, and with three winnable games remaining many have them as a real playoff smokey. However, this is exactly the type of scenario that the Chargers stumble upon.
- Atlanta Falcons (8-5) – Last Week: 11
Their offense was far from impressive albeit against a strong Saints defense, and all of the credit must go to their defense for stopping Drew Brees from capitalizing. Devonta Freeman is finding form at the right time of the year, and Mo Sanu showed why he is one of the more underrated WR2’s in the league. A divisional game against the Bucs awaits in what will be an anticipated shootout.
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) – Last Week: 16
They finally got a win against a decent opponent, and it helps them considerably when considering playoff scenarios. The Chiefs are now undisputedly ahead in the AFC West due to a tiebreaker, and may have knocked Oakland out of playoff hopes in the process. There will be an even bigger task at hand as they face a red-hot Chargers team that will put one of these teams outright 8-6 in their division.
- Detroit Lions (7-6) – Last Week: 14
Okay, so they beat the Bucs (just), and if this team were in the AFC there could still be a sniff for them to make it in January… But that’s not the case. Matt Stafford has not proven to be worth $150 million, and their defense needs serious work. Is coach Caldwell out the door?
- Tennessee Titans (8-5) – Last Week: 12
Injury or not, that was the worst game I’ve ever seen Marcus Mariota play. Their ability to only score one touchdown against a vulnerable Cards defense shows that they really do lack that x-factor offensively, and can’t rely on the Murray-Henry combo in the backfield to get the job done for them every week. Crazily enough, they’re sitting as the number one seed in the wildcard bracket in the AFC, and faces a tricky opponent in San Fran next.
- Buffalo Bills (7-6) – Last Week: 16
It may have been low scoring, but that contest against the Colts in the snow was one of the funnest games I’ve watched all season. LeSean McCoy took advantage of the ‘running-friendly’ weather and accumulated 151 yards and the overtime touchdown that both won his team the game, and kept his team in playoff contention.
- Dallas Cowboys (7-6) – Last Week: 19
So… Maybe we all spoke too soon… Including me. Zeke comes back from suspension in week 16, and if they manage to come out of Oakland with a W this weekend they will be sitting at 8-6 with their star running back returning to face the Seahawks and the Wentz-less Eagles in the last game of the year. Can they do the impossible?!
- Green Bay Packers (7-6) – Last Week: 18
It’s confirmed that Aaron Rodgers will return this week, and it couldn’t have been planned any better! No, they will not win the NFC North crown, but if they get their run right they could be in the same ‘playoff miracle’ boat as the Cowboys. They have three HUGE matches against the Panthers (away), Vikings (home) and Detroit (away) to close the season, and if they can somehow manage to clinch a wildcard berth we will be talking about this for years to come.
- Miami Dolphins (6-7) – Last Week: 25
Say what you want about this team, but when they get it together they can really be a difficult team to deal with… Just ask Brady and Bellichik. Jay Cutler looked to finally give a damn on MNF, Xavier Howard is one of the most underrated secondary players in the league and Kenyan Drake is reaping the rewards of Jay Ajayi’s trade to Philly. I said in the pre-season that this team has a chance to snatch a wildcard spot, and I wouldn’t cross them off just yet.
- Oakland Raiders (6-7) – Last Week: 15
Yes, they went to Kansas City without Amari Cooper, but it was still quite a disappointing showing from a team that needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Derek Carr has seemed to stagnate in his development after his major contract deal, and their defense looks to be majorly inconsistent. It may not be the farewell fairytale Oakland has hoped before they jet off to Las Vegas…
AND THEN THERE’S THE REST…
- Arizona Cardinals (6-7) – Last Week: 23
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) – Last Week: 22
- Washington Redskins (5-8) – Last Week: 20
- New York Jets (5-8) – Last Week: 21
- Chicago Bears (4-9) – Last Week: 26
- San Francisco 49ers (3-10) – Last Week: 28
- Houston Texans (4-9) – Last Week: 25
- Denver Broncos (4-9) – Last Week: 30
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) – Last Week: 28
- Indianapolis Colts (3-10) – Last Week: 29
- New York Giants (2-11) – Last Week: 31
- Cleveland Browns (0-13) – Last Week: 32