Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1 comments J.S.' NFL Power Rankings: Week Fifteen

I hate the new rules regarding physical contact in the NFL. I come from a country where this happens. There are 400 tackles in a rugby league match, on average, and while, yes, it is not of the "11 guys coming for one ball carrier" nature and there is no blocking, they also play 24 regular season games a year. Without protection, you may notice.

So spare me the sob stories for football players. They are well compensated, just like miners, or acrobats, or ice road truckers or whatever. They happily take on the risk for money, and it just so happens that unlike those professions, they also get fame, adulation, and a fundamentally fucking fun job. Some calls like facemasking and unnecessary roughness I can deal with. But the roughing the passer stuff is absolutely absurd at times. So is this new ridiculous "defenseless receiver" shit. If you have the ball in an NFL game, expect to get tackled. I'm so sick of people talking about the "toughness" of QB's, like we heard non stop with Favre. He's literally playing in the position with the least amount of physical contact on the field. To the point where they actually keep statistics on the amount of time he is literally touched. Iron man for playing 200 odd games straight? Talk to me abou the defensive tackles or running backs that do the same.

While I am on a rant, bitching about rules, the new kickoffs suck so, so hard. Initially we were told that it would be fine, that returners were getting more speed up and it might encourage returns, remember that? Kickoff TDs have been cut in half. The most exciting play in the game. I still cannot believe taunting is a thing, being too happy is actually a penalty in the NFL. Just absolutely absurd.

They also need to do something about pass interference. Should be 15 yards unless it's flagrant, in which case, spot of the foul. This "he did have his hand on the shoulder for a second and a half, 47 yards!" is just obviously stupid. Anyway, please, save me the bleeding heart Costas style monologues about what this says about society, they are grown men, making a consensual decision.


1 - GREEN BAY (-)
13-1, 1st NFC NORTH
L 14-19 @KC, next vCHI

Was Greg Jennings more important to this offense than previously thought? Green Bay's receivers were awful, giving away rarely spotted offensive pass interference calls, a whole bunch of drops, leading to Rodgers going 6/17 (seriously!) for just 59 yards in the first 35 minutes of this game. The Chiefs brought a shit ton of pressure (4 sacks, 9 hits), for those looking for blueprints, but I've seen pressure on Rodgers before with minimal impact. Ditto their terrible defense (cheated up all day, forgivable in the first half, but were beaten deep time after time in the second when it became a joke), that's always there (only redzone ineptitude made the score look reasonable, they gave up 438 yards to the Chiefs - the Chiefs!). They tried rollouts, way more play action than normal, a QB draw or two. I mean the Packers ran the Wildcat in this one! The fucking Packers! Utterly bizarre.

11-3, 1st NFC NORTH
W 42-20 @MIN, next vATL

This is the carnage (Brees went 32/40 for 412!!! yards and 5!!! TDs) that ensues when the second best quarterback in football meets the worst secondary in football (yes, even worse than New England's).

10-4, T-1st AFC NORTH
L 14-34 @SD, next vCLE

I really didn't think they played that badly, despite the score. My worry remains Flacco's ineffectiveness (is he really better than Sanchez? Sanchez 82.2 vs Flacco 80.0). A lot of poorly thrown balls out there. But this was just a bad day. I've been hard on Baltimore, but I won't crucify them for this effort.

11-3, 1st AFC EAST
W 41-23 @DEN, next vMIA

What's amazing is how unprepared New England appeared to be for Denver running the ball. I know the secondary is bad, but I'd prefer to live with being beaten with Tebow throwing it than allowing runs. Just terrible reads by the defense, especially the linebackers (even you, Jerod Mayo) on play recognition. Denver had 133 yards rushing on their first two drives! How is that even possible? Dudes were running into each other, grabbing at air, it was Three Stooges like stuff at times. Aaron Hernandez (9 receptions for 129 yards) was jaw droppingly amazing, including a 46 yard grab where he made three Broncos miss, a 4th down reception and a TD (and should have had two, I was amazed Belichick didn't challenge that catch). Defense really is a big, big problem, it's embarrassing, amateurish for too many plays of every game. Loss of Carter will not help.

5 - HOUSTON (-)
10-4, 1st AFC SOUTH
L 13-28 vCAR, next @IND

Glass half full? Arian Foster ran for 109 yards on 16 carries (he also had 5 receptions for 58 yards). I had been worried about him of late gaining just 217 yards on his last 68 carries (3.2YPC), although Carolina's defense is hardly the best test. On that point, the glass half empty is that Yates threw two picks into one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and were awful containing a *gulp* running QB (Newton had 55 yards on seven scrambles). Let's...let's just not even go there ok?

11-3, 1st NFC WEST
W 20-3 vPIT, next @SEA

Seven straight possessions for the Steelers started at their 20 or worse. Andy Lee was the most valuable 49er all night (he is 6th in the league in inside 20's and 1st in net yards this year). Couple the incredible field position with the turnovers (including one in the red zone) and a Suisham missed field goal and you had the difference between these teams. Special teams and turnovers is a somewhat unreliable formula for success...we'll see. The red zone problems (San Francisco is 30th in converting red zone trips to TDs) are real - especially for a team with so little offense (25th in YPG and 14th in the more forgiving PPG).

10-4, T-1st AFC NORTH
L 3-20 @SF, next vSTL

Roethlisberger probably shouldn't have played. Was seriously restricted in his movement all night. He threw three picks and was hit 11 times (9.5 alone by the incredible Aldon Smith).

8 - ATLANTA (+1)
9-5, 2nd NFC SOUTH
W 41-14 vJAX, next @NO

Better than enthusiasm is overwhelming.

9 - JETS (-2)
8-6, 2nd AFC EAST
L 19-45 @PHI, next vNYG

Some dumb mistakes (Santonio Holmes and Sanchez' fumbles in particular) along with some dumb luck (the Holmes drop that led to an interception) made this look worse than it probably was. But what I'm more concerned about is that they still, after 15 weeks, cannot run the football. They had just 3.5YPC in this game against a team that is 22nd in YPC against (4.3). They cannot win a playoff game (assuming they can even muscle past Cincy) unless they can run the football, and there's just no reason to believe they can.

10 - DALLAS (+1)
8-6, 1st NFC EAST
W 31-15 @TB, next vPHI

Sleep walked (slept walked?) through this one and were allowed to. Hold the advantage, not only with the win, but the Eagles next week are an easier draw than the Jets (yes, I still believe that). A see saw, fascinating battle.

11 - DETROIT (+1)
9-5, 2nd NFC NORTH
W 28-27 @OAK, next vSD

Calvin fucking Johnson (9 receptions, 214 yards, 2TDs, 69 yards on the game winning drive).

12 - GIANTS (-2)
7-7, 2nd NFC EAST
L 10-23 @WAS, next @NYJ

New York is not good enough to take mediocre or slightly below average teams lightly. Particulary in a divisional contest and particulary in the midst of what is probably the tightest of all the playoff races. It does show you just how bad they are, as foreshadowed, if their passing game (Manning 23/40 for 257 yards and three picks) and pass rush (1 sack against a team that surrendered 9 against fucking Buffalo, who by the way are last in the NFL in sacks) is not there. In short, an unmitigated disaster.

13 - SAN DIEGO (+3)
7-7, T-2nd AFC WEST
W 34-14 vBAL, next @DET

A truly brilliant performance from a patchwork offensive line. San Diego's offensive line coach, whoever he is, must be great, it's always really presentable at least, and against one of the best pass rushing teams in the league, it was superlative in this game (1 hit and no sacks!). Rivers (17/23 for 270 yards and a TD) took advantage, as did Vincent Jackson (84 yards on three receptions), who has been in the middle of anything meaningful San Diego have done this season. It is a shame that San Diego don't get to play Denver head to head for the AFC West title, they are matter/anti-matter like versions of each other. Rivers really has looked incredible recently (132.2 rating in his last three games! He hasn't thrown a pick in a month), it may be too late, but they are absolutely coming after a playoff spot.

14 - DENVER (-)
8-6, 1st AFC WEST
L 23-41 vNE, next @BUF

Elvis Dumervil's sack on Brady in the fourth quarter might have been the best hit I have seen all year. Just had me shaking my head muttering "that's a great hit". Anyway, a cautionary tale of what happens to this team when they do turn the ball over. New England might be the worst team in the NFL against which to have turnovers. Obviously their offense makes you pay, but it's crushing because you know the defense is so bad (much worse than Green Bay or New Orleans) you almost know you can get points on nearly every drive if you just hold onto the ball. New England scored 27 straight points on what was a previously excellent defense. It makes me laugh that the Broncos were so dominant early and terrible the rest of the game, I am absolutely bursting with schadenfraude. While, yes, perhaps I am a terrible person, give me a break, after what I've gone through the last eight weeks with this fucking team, I've earned it. If they can't beat a bad Buffalo team, they don't deserve to win, even the shitty AFC West.

15 - SEATTLE (-)
7-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
W 38-14 @CHI, next vSF

Marshawn Lynch now has TD's in 10 straight games (picking up two here, though he struggled generally with just 2.1YPC). I cannot believe I am typing those words, but he really seems to be...well...good now. David Hawthorne was also notable here, making a number of very big tackles (he had 6.5 in total). Who would have thought Seattle was in the top half of NFL teams at the start of the year (I had them as the worst team in the league after Week One)?

16 - ARIZONA (+2)
7-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
W 20-17 (OT) vCLE, next @CIN

Skelton (28/46, 313 yards a TD and a pick) does it again! Each week this becomes slightly less sarcastic and mean spirited.

8-6, 3rd AFC NORTH
W 20-13 @STL, next vARI

Honestly, with every passing game, Cincinnati looks more offensively inept. They have not passed 300 offensive yards in any of their last three games. Here, Dalton was 15/26 for 179 yards with a pick and Benson and Scott combined for 29 carries for just 96 yards (3.3YPC) against St. Louis of all teams (worst in total yards rushing against). Only the Rams inefficiency on third down (2/13) and the red zone (0/2) could save them.

18 - TENNESSEE (-5)
7-7, 2nd AFC SOUTH
L 13-27 @IND, next vJAX

While this game will be pointed to as the definitive reason the Titans are not going to the playoffs this year, Donald Brown (161 yards and a TD on 16 carries) is the symptom, not the cause. Tennessee has given up 545 yards rushing in its last four games at over 5 yards per carry. The pass defense (6th in YPA with 6.5) and Locker (108 yards on 16 throws with a TD, in what should be Hasselbeck's final game) make this team viable for future seasons.

19 - WASHINGTON (+1)
5-9, 4th NFC EAST
W 23-10 vNYG, next vMIN

I was genuinely surprised by how willing people were to look past the Redskins in this game. I guess the Giants were a party to that as well. As I said last week, Washington is a much improved football team. The secondary in particular comes in for congratulations, they had 10 defensed passes and three picks in this game.

20 - CAROLINA (+1)
5-9, 3rd NFC SOUTH
W 28-13 @HOU, next vTB

Only Wes Welker has more receiving yards than Steve Smith (1,217) this year. He is on pace to have his best year since 2005 (12 TDs, 1,563 yards). He's all the way back.

6-8, 3rd NFC EAST
W 45-19 vNYJ, next @DAL

Vick (15/22 for 274 yards a pick and a TD) looked amazing in this game, quick and back to his best. His game against Dallas back in Week Eight was officially the last
vestige of hope for this Eagles team. He threw for an outrageous 12.5 YPA into an exceptional (usually) pass defense. Still too late. Yes - it is, don't do this to yourself.

22 - MIAMI (+2)
5-9, T-3rd AFC EAST
W 30-23 @BUF, next @NE

Reggie Bush ran for 203 yards. Matt Moore passed for a 122.3 rating. The Dolphins scored 30 points despite being 0 for 4 in the red zone. Guess which defense is getting a Christmas card from Todd Bowles this week?

23 - OAKLAND (-1)
7-7, T-2nd AFC WEST
L 27-28 vDET, next @KC

Oakland have led the AFC in penalties every year since 2003 (they had their usual ten in this game for 86 yards). That's incredible. To the point where I literally wonder if anyone in their organisation actually knows the rules of the game. For all the smoke and mirrors of the Palmer trade, the speed outside, the allegedly dominant front four (who are last in the league in YPC against with 5.2) Darren McFadden, no Oakland Raiders.

25 - KANSAS CITY (+5)
6-8, 4th AFC WEST
W 19-14 vGB, next vOAK

Jesus Christ, how much of an epic fucking douchebag must Todd Haley have been?

26 - CHICAGO (-6)
7-7, 3rd NFC NORTH
L 14-38 vSEA, next @GB

Hanie really had his moments here, particulary outside the pocket (as the Bears old offensive line problems reappeared, conceding 4 sacks and 9 hits, as they do occasionally). The first half was his best of the season (7/13 for 94 yards a TD and INT and 21 yards rushing)...then the second half happened. It's easy to forget (I might be guilty of this) that he has no one to really throw to. It's a really bad set of receivers. They miss Forte more as a receiver than a running back, as Barber, Colorado insanity aside, has done a servicable job running the football, but he couldn't catch a ball to save his life. The Bears could have survived without Cutler, they might have been able to survive without Forte, but without both, they needed a couple of extra wins pre-injury to stumble into the playoffs. A sad story.

4-10, 3rd AFC SOUTH
L 14-41 @ATL, next @TEN

Atlanta was missing it's top corner, as well as its talented nickel back (I bet you've never read the words "talented" and "nickel back" in the same sentence before) in this game (Grimes and Hayden) and Jacksonville still had just 24 yards passing in the first half.

27 - BUFFALO (-1)
5-9, T-3rd AFC EAST
L 23-30 vMIA, next vDEN

Tarted up the final scoreline with meaningless points in the final 3 minutes after falling behind 30-13. CJ Spiller showed some development with 166 yards from scrimmage (including 7.6YPC against a team that is 3rd in YPC against with 3.6), but this has been an eye opening season for backers of Ryan Fitzpatrick. After opening with a 97.7 rating over the first seven games, he has a 66.2 rating since. Even New England might fancy stopping him in Week Seventeen.

28 - MINNESOTA (-1)
2-12, 4th NFC NORTH
L 20-42 vNO, next @WAS

Minnesota have a functioning offense (18th in YPG) which is something very few of the 5 win or less teams can boast. They have a top flight pass rush, led by Jared Allen (17.5), but with contributors from Brian Robison (6.0) and Everson Griffen (4.0) which ranks 4th in the league with 45 sacks. Despite losing Pat Williams, they are 6th in YPC against (3.8). The secondary is just that bad, even Tebow took them apart. Losing Winfield for the season isn't enough to explain, they were bad even when he was in there. The team should lose both him and Griffin (both were always overrated anyway), who are aging and rebuild from scratch, it's cost this team way too many games. They aren't a 2-12 team.

29 - CLEVELAND (+1)
4-10, 4th AFC NORTH
L 17-20 (OT) @ARI, next @BAL

If you feel like the Browns haven't played anyone of note this year, you're probably a hypothetical interlocular in my head I have fabricated to make a point. Outside their division, Cleveland has played Jacksonville, St. Louis, Seattle (in Ohio), Oakland, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Miami and Arizona. They have won their four games by a combined sixteen points.

30 - TAMPA BAY (-2)
4-10, 4th NFC SOUTH
L 15-31 vDAL, next @CAR

Where to begin? Were dominated in every facet of the game. Dallas had 90 yards rushing on 16 carries in the first half, Romo completed 18 throws on 22 attempts for three touchdowns and 189 yards. On the other side of the ball, they had 14 yards on 4 throws (they didn't throw the ball until they were down 14-0) and 1, yes, 1 first down in the first half. This game was over at 28-0, and yet probably the worst of it all was the red zone defense. Three different receivers, Austin, Bryant and Robinson, had TD receptions, and on none of those receptions, was a red shirt within about eight yards. Horrible, looked like the worst team in the NFL.

31 - ST. LOUIS (-)
2-12, 4th NFC WEST
L 13-20 vCIN, next @PIT

They are a Phil Dawson botched snap away from 1-13. It should be noted that Kellen Clemens (25/36 for 229 yards and a TD) passed for a higher rating (95.6, against a reasonably solid Cincinnati defense) than Sam Bradford has all year in 10 games. Hmm.

1-13, 4th AFC SOUTH
W 27-13 vTEN, next vHOU

I don't want to alarm you Colt fans, and I don't know what the tie breakers for draft picks actually are, but you are one Blaine Gabbert 10/29 day away from losing that number one pick you covet so badly. For what it's worth, I agree with Ben in that the Colts should trade the pick for multiple picks. I'm not sure why you would be so keen to kick Manning out on his ass...hasn't the lesson from this debarcle been that he's pretty good? This injury being some retirement level injury seems bullshit to me. It seems you could get basically an entire offensive line or new linebackers or functioning defensive tackles for trading Luck and having a superior QB come in anyway.


Bengoodfella said...

Defensive pass interference should be 15 yards just like offensive pass interference is.

I can't believe the Packers lost to the Chiefs. It just shows how great of a QB that Kyle Orton is, right?

I was shocked at how bad NE looked against a good running team. They need to fix that shit before the playoffs. I like the 49ers, but the fact they have red zone issues still concerns me. That and at some point Alex Smith is going to have to do more than manage the least I think so.

I have learned if Manning is off, then the Giants aren't winning the game. That's not a good defense. Rich was right about that.

The Redskins have a pretty good defense. Of course, Gregg Easterbrook thinks they should stop blitzing, which would take away a major strength. Of course he's an idiot.

In regard to Kansas City, he must have been an epic douchebag. Of course after starting fights with Terrell Owens and Anquan Boldin, we probably knew that already.

In regard to the Browns, what you just said is exactly why I am not on the "Colt McCoy bandwagon" with Peter King. I don't believe it is just McCoy's fault, but the Browns just aren't very good. They need a better QB me thinks AND weapons around that QB. I'm just not sure if McCoy is part of the solution.

Think the Rams are thinking of drafting a QB? Or would that be giving up on Bradford?

Thanks for agreeing with me. I think a cogent argument can made for the Colts (knowing Manning is healthy of course) drafting a quarterback high in the draft after trading back and giving Manning 1-2 more years and letting Barkley/Griffin have a few years to perfect the offense. I think a good argument can be made this would benefit the team now and in the future. They have more holes than just QB.