Brady and Co. are rolling again
Week 11 was a fantasy football lover’s dream week, unless of course you were facing Greg Jennings or Steve Johnson. Twelve NFL teams scored over 30 points and numerous players scored ‘garbage time’ touchdowns, including Larry Fitzgerald (with no time remaining and down by 25) and Brandon Lloyd (down 28 midway through the fourth quarter). Both the NFL and fantasy leagues everywhere, teams’ playoff hopes began to get crushed after Week 11. Thankfully for fantasy owners, there is no such thing as ‘home’ and ‘away.’ This is the year of the away team in the NFL as seven more road teams won this week and three others came within seconds of joining that list.
The contenders and pretenders are becoming more well known each week, and that is reflected in this weeks’ rankings. Only one team moved more than three spots, and the top seven remained unchanged.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. New England Patriots (1): Losing to the Browns appeared to be just a hiccup for the Pats. At 8-2 there is no doubt they are once again a Super Bowl Contender. They are starting to get consistency in the running game; if they can get the defense to follow suit they will be scary.
2. Atlanta Falcons (2): Atlanta continues to roll. Let’s see how their defense performs this week against a hot Green Bay offense.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3): The Steelers steamrolled the Raiders making everyone forget their overall poor play in their previous three games. They face a trap game this week against the Bills; they need to make sure they aren’t looking ahead to their December 5 matchup with the Ravens.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4): The Eagles are 5-0 in games Michael Vick starts and finishes. If he can stay healthy the Eagles have to be a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.
5. Baltimore Ravens (5): The Ravens turned a close game with the 1-9 Panthers into a blowout in a matter of seconds. Back-to-back pick-6’s showed why the Ravens D is still a scary unit (facing Brian St. Pierre didn’t hurt either).
6. New Orleans Saints (6): The good news: New Orleans has won four of its last five and the offense appears to be clicking. The bad news: New Orleans plays four of its next five on the road including the Ravens and Falcons on December 19 and 27.
7. Green Bay Packers (7): Last year the Vikings went 2-0 against Green Bay and reached the NFC Championship game. This year the Packers are 2-0 against Minnesota and have looked outstanding. Is this the year they put it all together, despite injuries to numerous key players?
8. New York Jets (9): Since their Week 8 shutout loss to the Packers, the Jets have gone 3-0 winning all three games in dramatic fashion. The defense has given up at least 20 points in five of its last six games, but the offense has started to put it all together.
9. Indianapolis Colts (10): Peyton Manning’s late fourth quarter interception still has people scratching their heads. Should the Colts and Pats meet in the playoffs and Manning needs to lead the Colts on a game winning drive, don’t expect him to make that mistake again.
10. Chicago Bears (11): The Bears are 7-3 and tied in the NFC North for first place. However just one of their seven wins has come against a team with a winning record, and that came when Green Bay had 18 penalties.
11. New York Giants (8): It looked like the Giants were about to march down the field and score the game-tying touchdown when Eli Manning inexplicably fumbled on a scramble up the middle in which nobody laid a hand on him.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13): Yes they continue to win and are currently 7-3. However, their best win came against the Rams who are 4-6. The Bucs’ three losses have come against the Steelers, Saints and Falcons. To be talked about as one of the best in the league, you have to beat someone sometime.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (15): Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Last week the Jags won on a lucky hail mary deflection as time expired, and this week they won despite turning the ball over six times. A win is a win, and they’ve won six times and put themselves right in the middle of the playoff picture.
14. Kansas City Chiefs (17): Dwayne Bowe is the best receiver in the NFL. Even though that may not be true, you would have a hard time arguing it. The last time Bowe failed to find the end zone was Week 5 and he has 10 scores in his last six games overall, with multiple scores in four of those six games.
15. Oakland Raiders (12): Just when you thought Oakland wasn’t the same old Raider team, they decide to take an extra bye week. Except for Richard Seymour that is, who appeared to be the only Raider showing any passion against the Steelers, and even he didn’t show up for the whole game, as he was ejected for throwing a punch that knocked Ben Roethlisberger to the ground.
16. San Diego Chargers (19): The AFC West is about as middle-of-the-road as a division can get, seeing that three of its four teams are ranked consecutively in the middle of the rankings. Despite the awful start, it appears as if San Diego is the team to beat and Philip Rivers is the reason why.
17. and 18. Washington Redskins (18) and Tennessee Titans (14): The Redskins are lucky that the new overtime rule only applies to playoff games or their game with the Titans may have never ended. Both teams scored a touchdown in the first quarter, and one field goal apiece in the next three quarters. Both teams sit at 5-5 and remain on verge of playoff contention. The Titans however, look as if they will be relying on their third-string quarterback as starter Vince Young was placed on IR.
19. Miami Dolphins (16): The Dolphins continue their struggles at home and at 5-5 have lost hope of a division title and now must get on track if they wish to make a run at the wildcard.
20. Houston Texans (20): It looked like the Texans were going to make one last push at a playoff spot as they led the Jets by four with two minutes left. For the second week in a row Houston lost a heartbreaker and their playoff aspirations came to a screeching halt.
21. Seattle Seahawks (21): Seattle is one of the six teams currently sitting at .500 but in their weak division and a schedule that has only one elite team left on it, they are sitting in prime position to win the division.
22. Dallas Cowboys (27): Jason Garrett has won more games in two weeks than Wade Phillips won in two months. They’ve made it look easy so far but the Saints, Colts and Eagles are their next three opponents. If Garrett wins two of those games he is almost a lock to become the full-time head coach.
23. St. Louis Rams (22): St. Louise has struggled of late but remain just one game back in the division. Not time to panic yet for Rams fans.
24. Cleveland Browns (23): Apparently beating the Saints and Patriots was too easy for the Browns. They decided to take on a bigger challenge; win the turnover battle by five, and still lose. Mission accomplished.
25. Minnesota Vikings (24): The Vikings took a page out of the Cowboys playbook (which wouldn’t do them much good this year) and fired their coach after a blowout loss to the Packers. In my mind, there is no question this is Brett Favre’s last year and it would be nice to see him bounce back and end the season on a positive note.
26. San Francisco 49ers (25): I kept faith alive that San Fran would pull off a huge turnaround and win the division, even after a 1-6 start. A win against the Bucs would have put them just a game behind in the division but at 3-7 the need to win out to have a shot at the NFC West.
27. Denver Broncos (26): Getting outscored 35-0 after taking an early 7-0 lead shut the door on any playoff hopes the Broncos had. Kyle Orton has played well for most of the season, but don’t be surprised if Tim Tebow gets a little more playing time as the season winds down.
28. Detroit Lions (28): Another disappointing year for the Lions. Young talent provides hope for the future however.
29. Buffalo Bills (31): Trailing 31-14 at halftime, the Bills skunked the Bengals 35-0 in the second half to get their second win of the season. Who says Harvard quarterbacks can’t play in the NFL?
30. Arizona Cardinals (29): The Cardinals are 31st in overall offense this season. Pair that with the fact they’ve given up over 30 points five times this season and it’s almost impressive that they have even managed to win three games.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (30): How a team scores 31 in one half and gets shut out the next half, buy a below average team, is mind boggling. The only thing more mind boggling is that Terrell Owens has yet to throw his quarterback under the bus.
32. Carolina Panthers (32): The season can’t end soon enough for Panthers fans (or players for that matter). This team just doesn’t have any talent outside of Steve Smith right now.