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    bingo415

    [2022] Week 13 Power Rankings - The Return!

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    Sorry that it has been two weeks of NFLHC action since a Power Rankings has come out...my bad. But we're BACK! There's been a ton of movement over those two weeks, with some fortunes WAY UP (Colts, Saints, Seahawks!!) and some dreams dashed (Dallas, Houston, Baltimore). There are four more weeks of games that will inevitably come down to the very last snap of the season before the playoffs are set...what an exciting finish to the season this will be. Essentially, the NFC needs to shake out the seedings and pay attention to two key division races, but those teams are more or less identified. The AFC, on the other hand, has 7 teams that are 8-4 or better...what the hell is gonna happen there?!?! Let's see where it all falls, in this week's Power Rankings...

     

    Remember, if you don't like where you are in these rankings...play better!

     

    Power Rankings – Following Week 13

     

    1. Detroit Lions (10-2) :fibur:

    2. Green Bay Packers (10-2) :packers:

    The two best teams, currently, in the NFLHC come from the NFC North. Let that sink in for a moment. The NFC North has two Super Bowl-winning franchises (GB and MIN, though we’re quite a ways from the Vikes in SB1) and a perennial ‘contender’ in the Lions. So the division has been laudable for some time. Yet, we’ve never seen the type of juggernauts in the Ol’ North as we have with the Lions and Pack. Seemingly impervious to meaningful and lasting injury this season, these two have mostly taken care of business this season, albeit in very different ways: the Lions have been straight killing fools, with a high-flying defense matching a potent and diverse offense to overwhelm opponents; the Packers, alternatively, have mastered the close game, and have seemingly edged out most of their 10 wins (though, likely that’s just perception). Here’s hoping that they both stay healthy, at least at important positions, and that whomever survives into the #5 seed in the NFC playoffs has some sort of life insurance, cause the ‘loser’ of this division will be arguably the most ruthless #4 seed in NFC playoff history.

     

    3. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) :colts:

    4. Tennessee Titans (8-4) :titans:

    Not to be outdone in an exciting division race, these two similar squads have figured out how to win in the crucible that is the AFC this season. Now, I know that the Jacksonville Jaguars have a claim to this spot as well, but the Jags’ four losses have been slightly more perplexing (and recent) than the those by the Colts and Titans. So, for now, Indy and The Flaming Thumbtacks take the top spots in the Conference. The passing game is the conduit to success for both of these teams—IND is the top pass yards per game outfit in the League at 331.45 per, TEN is 4th, though TEN leads the League with a remarkable 48 TDs on offense—8 more than the 2nd place New Orleans/Philly. That’s complete insanity. It really is a passing league and these two have the benefit of fantastic quarterbacks throwing to able and willing receivers. Defensively, and this is where I might quibble with their chances in the playoffs, both teams are middle of the road in defensive efficiency. Tennessee does a much better job of limiting scores (26 to 33 TDs allowed) and forcing turnovers (17 INTS to 12), but Indianapolis has a better pass defense per game and commits fewer penalties. I’ve given Indy the slight edge today because they’re on a longer winning streak.

     

    5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-3) :eagles:

    6. Las Vegas Raiders (8-4) :raiders:

    7. Miami Dolphins (9-3) :dolphins:

    In truth, I feel that teams 3-7 are all pretty much interchangeable. MIA at 7 seemed like a sin a few weeks ago, but two straight losses have taken a little luster off the bulb. The Dolphins need to get healthy—Steven Gore is going to be a fantastic QB in this League, but is simply not at Brian Brown’s level, and that is going to cost them against teams like the Colts and Jets (upcoming). With the Eagles essentially locking down the AFC East, which seemed truly up in the air as of Week 11, the path for Philly to a first round bye in the NFC playoffs has cleared slightly. Small shout-out: Philly’s week 13 win over WAS was very impressive because WAS has been really good, and it was after losing Marshawn Miller to a concussion. The Raiders held off the Falcons for a nice win at home on Sunday afternoon, and did so in a game that was typical of their season as a whole: somewhat ugly statistically (Nick Hall went 33 of 61 (!!!), they got 25 yards rushing…total), some sort of injury on the Offensive Line (Kyle Will with a mild toe fracture), yet the Raiders somehow pull it out. They’ll win the West, maybe by 3 games with how badly everyone else out there is playing, and be the #2 or #3 seed. Ho Hum, Death Taxes and the Raiders in the playoffs.

     

    8. New Orleans Saints (9-3) :saints:

    9. Carolina Panthers (8-3-1) :panthers:

    10. Seattle Seahawks (6-5-1) :seahawks:

    Let’s call this pack the Accidental Division Leaders. Absolutely NO ONE saw Seattle coming out of the NFC West, but Holy Hannah here we are. Seattle is over .500 (come one, be honest, who would have even guessed THAT?!) and just tallied a very impressive draw on the road on Monday night in Carolina. The Panthers, meanwhile, are riding a League-leading YPA from Christian Skaggs and impact plays on defense to a very nice 4 game unbeaten streak. The overall strength of the CAR defense (5th in YPGA, 4th in defensive efficiency) pairs nicely with a battle-tested offense. I actually like them to edge out the Saints in the South. Speaking of the Saints, after their “We played teams with a pulse!” swoon, they’re now back to playing teams with no pulse, e.g. the Denver Broncos. Obviously, the Saints have a tremendous passing offense, and now you have to actively gameplan to stop THREE big wideouts with the emergence of Mike Miller and Jamal Brown-Sanderson. And New Orleans has done a nice job of stopping teams on a macro defensive level, but peering a little closer, their per-play efficiency on D is bottom third of the League. THAT does not bode well in the playoffs when you look at teams like Detroit, Green Bay, or Philly. I think the Saints will grab the 6th seed, which might mean they’re looking at a rubber match with CAR in Charlotte. Fun for neutrals, not fun for Aaron Devereaux…

     

    11. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) :jaguars:

    12. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-4) :steelers:

    The Steelers just won a game with Rory Weston under center. Perhaps the extreme cold this week is leaking into my brain and this bit of hyperbole is a direct result of that, but I think this win literally saved Pittsburgh’s season. Or, at least has the CHANCE to save the season. The Steelers, after looking like a bulldozer in the first half of the season, was on a precipitous fall capped off with an injury to MVP-candidate Norris Brooksheer. So to have Rory Weston of all people go and get the Steel Curtain a win was huge, and it keeps PIT in the thick of things in the AFC North. The Jags, meanwhile, just took one on the chin from the Bills…at home. It was the biggest upset of the week, if you don’t count SEA and CAR kissing their sisters on Monday night. I noted the offensive prowess of divisionmates the Colts and Titans above, but JAX is right there, too, especially in efficiency stats (overall efficiency and YPC are the strengths for the Jags). Their defense is serviceable, but a tendency to get too easily picked apart by accurate QBs has me worried whether the Jags can even GET to the playoffs with their remaining schedule, given the bevy of 8-4 AFC contenders. Check out this finishing quartet of games for JAX: @PHI, @IND, HOU, @TEN. Quadruple Yuck. If the Jags are going to get to the promised land, they are going to need Asante Sowell and Jay Wade to have incredibly productive games, every game.

     

    13. Atlanta Falcons (7-4-1) :falcons:

    14. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) :bengals:

    This is the corollary to the Accidental Division Leaders—welcome to the Holy Cow We’re Still In It! Club. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the Atlanta Front Office (a group of very nice gents) when I say that the Falcons are the worst “good” team in the League this year. They get mediocre play from the QB position, their best offensive player is in the middle of a VERY ho-hum season (Wallace, despite a sparkling 5.39 YPC, is currently 15th in the League in rushing), and they just can’t seem to knock off a top team when needed. The Falcons win all (or most) the games they SHOULD, and that’s the best we can say about them right now. Well, no, I take that back: ATL does do a number of things very well. Excellent 3rd down offense, few INTs thrown, and the #3 rushing attack in the League are offensive highlights. On defense, the Falcons are a good per-game yardage team, they get after the quarterback to the tune of 34 sacks (2nd in the League), and a strong YPAA leads to a top third defensive efficiency rating. So, in this case, perception does not equal reality. The Falcons SEEM like the worst “good” team, but the numbers tell a different story. The Bengals, however, have absolutely NO BUSINESS being 8-4. I can’t stress that enough: injuries, skill regression, a very tough schedule…all those things should equate to a 6-6 team, but you look up and the Bengals are one Rory Weston turn-back-the-clock win from LEADING the North. Granted, CIN has feasted on the bad parts of the AFC West as a cross-division series, but I’m not sure many expected them to be anywhere near the playoffs in week 13, so kudos to the coaching staff. The Bengals hang their hat on one giant stat: they lead the League in defensive efficiency points per play. That is HUGE.

     

    15. Washington Football Club (7-5) :ninja:

    16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) :buccaneers:

    17. Dallas Cowboys (6-6) :cowboys:

    Dreams of division titles are essentially over for this trio, but there is still quite a bit to be happy about, and striving for, in the last four games of the season. WAS, for me, has been such a pleasant surprise. One might have expected them to play well for a stretch, but they have mostly sustained that effort over the course of the season so far. Losing at PHI this weekend was likely the nail in the division title coffin for them, but in truth, WAS is only two games out of a playoff spot. They’re overall youth means that finishing in the top 15 of the year-end power rankings will be a huge springboard into the off-season and 2023 for this bunch. WAS is strong where it counts: on the offensive and defensive lines (top OL rating in football), and they are getting points consistently, with a top 10 OYPP ranking. Tampa Bay has been a mystery wrapped inside a riddle this season. To wit: top 5 offensive efficiency team, but negative on point margin; don’t give up many sacks (tied for 8th with 17 surrendered), but also don’t GET many sacks (3rd lowest with 17). I just don’t get this team at all. Yet both they and WAS are still in the playoff hunt, albeit outside looking in. For Dallas, the death knell really came in losing Graham Burnett to injury for a time. Yes, Luke Williams has played pretty well, but it coincided with three games against really tough competition. Emblematic of this tough stretch is the 9 to 3 loss at snowy Green Bay on Sunday: Williams showed up like a true back-up in throwing 2 picks and leading the Cowboys to 2/11 on 3rd down. I think the Cowboys brass knew this was going to be a transition year (1 AV = year one “after Vaughan”), and that’s exactly what we see at 6-6. Yet…somehow, Dallas is not mathematically out of the Playoff race, though this close to the season is going to be tricky: @IND, @NYG, @WAS, home vs. PHI to end. If they can knock off the division opponents in full, maybe, JUST MAYBE, Dallas can sneak in.

     

    18. Buffalo Bills (5-7) :bills:

    19. Cleveland Browns (6-6) :browns:

    BUF and CLE are the Splash Mountain franchises of the 2022 season. On a rollercoaster, there’s that slow climb upwards, inching and tantalizing, followed by the very fast descent. BUF started out with three wins and looked to have found all the answers with #1 pick Matt Jones + a revamped WR corps + and a sack-happy D. Buuuut that was the first few weeks. Since then…yikes. The Bills DID show up this week in knocking off the Jags, with Jones looking particularly dangerous throwing to Gary Faneca Sr. and Tyron Chambers. There is cause for much optimism in Buffalo, provided they address an OLine situation that has given up 30 sacks, or look to improve a pass defense that can’t get off the field (4th worst 3rd down defense) or pick off a QB (7 total INTs). Likewise, Cleveland started out 2022 felling giants left, right, and center to a surprising 4-1 start. 2-5 over their last 7 has evened out the Browns record. More damaging has been their position IN the division: the Browns sit one game ahead of 4th place BAL in the North, basically out of playoff position with two 8-4 teams ahead of them. CLE issues are not necessarily on the defensive side of the ball: the Browns are basically the 12th best defense in the League, owing to strengths in some areas, weaknesses in others. But, on offense, CLE is all over the map…dead middle in efficiency, bottom third in YPG, dead middle in PPG, bottom third in 3rd down %. And now with Sean Bell hurt, the offense becomes even MORE predictable. This may be the pot calling the kettle black, but CLE needs to decide what it wants out of the QB position. Ryan Clark (and his 84.97 QB rating…dead middle of the League) is only ever going to get you so many wins. Until they make a choice, CLE will be stuck in neutral for the foreseeable future.

     

    20. Los Angeles Rams (4-8) :rams:

    21. New York Jets (5-7) :jets:

    “We’re Not Dead YET!! We’re Not Dead YET!” comes the cry from New York and Los Angeles. Ladies and gentlemen, here come the RAMS!! They’ve won three in a row, are two and a half games behind the Seahawks in the West and are riding a resurgent Walt Peck to what could be the most interesting divisional race finish we’ve seen in some time. So bad for so long, the Rams have finally found some relief on the ground from Terrell Holland combining nicely with Daveed Knox. Neither guy alone will blow your mind, but the combination has been effective enough to give Darrell Murphy some time to look downfield. Murphy, quietly, is turning it on as well. 19 TDs to 6 INTs and a top third QBR shows that he’s not done QUITE yet. Now, the Rams have to shore up a defense that is getting gashed on the ground, can’t get off the field, and is sloppy in per-play scoring average. Can they get there? Probably not, but games against @ARI, @SF, BAL, and @ATL seem a slightly easier task than Seattle’s ending of CHI, PIT, @SF, and ARI. The Jets, too, are riding a wave of improved QB play to avoid a .500 finish in the brutal AFC. Fresh off a comfortable win at a terrible Vikings team, the Jets saw Erik Wegert as the team’s top performer on the day, a welcome sight for much-maligned former #1. While it looks like the uphill climb to a playoff spot will prove too steep, the Jets will be plenty happy to play the role of spoiler in this transition year of mass free agent losses. NYJ finish with games against all of their AFCE division mates and HOU, potentially setting up the week 16 game against MIA to have major implications on the AFC playoff picture. One serious area for improvement for the Jets to consider in the off-season: their pass defense is ugly, ranking 9th worst in the League at 257.42 yards per game allowed. That contributes to a similarly poor ranking in scoring defense and only slightly better in efficiency defense.

     

    22. Kansas City Chiefs (6-6) :chiefs:

    23. Baltimore Ravens (5-7) :ravens:

    24. New England Patriots (3-9) :patriots:

    What a strange grouping here. The Patriots are riding Luke Trickett’s hot hand at the moment for 2 wins in a row, including pretty fancy-schmancy win over the Bears at home this past weekend. Trickett, while not putting up eye-popping numbers, has put the Pats in position to score at a more manageable rate than Reggie Watkins had. Perhaps it’s actually just a positive regression to the mean: the Pats lost a TON of close games in the first 10 weeks of the season, so now they’re winning a few close games. Of course, Luke Trickett cannot play defense, which is the real culprit this season: NE ranks 30th in YPGA and 28th in scoring defense, so that’s pretty much the story right there. The Ravens, alternatively, have arguably the best defense in the land: 2nd in PPGA, 2nd in YPGA, 1st in sacks by a country mile. They just can’t figure it out on the other side of the ball (again, pot name-calling the kettle is not a good look, I get it). The Ravens are going to give Mikeal Black a shot this weekend against the equally-inept Broncos, which in truth couldn’t REALLY be any worse than what they got from Brett Fisher all season. But most troubling is the running game: Moussa Goode was a Top 5 back last season, only to completely fall of the face of the Earth into 16th in rushing, while only seeing paydirt five times. 5! Of course, the fault in that diminishment may truly lie with the poor showing of the Baltimore OLine, currently 30th in the League in rating with an 8.08 average. Ew. Kansas City, meanwhile, are hanging their hat on the play and development of Ryan Harris, who has actually been the equal of Matt Jones across the board this season. Here’s a look at the stats: Jones is at 2,983 yards, 23 TDs to 11 INTs, 61.5% passing, 7 YPA and 89.75 QBR; Harris is 2,810 yards, 21 TDs to 11 INTs, 59% passing, 7.15 YPA and 85.33 QBR. Jones has thrown the ball 14 more times, that’s it. Remarkably similar. Where it goes wonky is in looking at the help: Harris is playing behind a much better OLine (8.31 to 8.10, 20 sacks to 30 sacks). Both have had excellent help from running backs Terrence Rodgers and Marshawn Matthison, and one could argue that Jones’ receiving corps is more advanced than what the Chiefs can throw out there. Still, KC is sitting at 6-6 (and in the same group as the Patriots) because of their inability to do defend the run, which in turn has turned into 34 TDs given up, good for 9th most in the League. We knew that the Chiefs would be a work-in-progress with a rookie signal caller, but we didn’t expect that to be on the defensive side of the ball.

     

    25. Houston Texans (4-8) :texans:

    26. Denver Broncos (4-8) :broncos:

    27. Chicago Bears (3-9) :bears:

    28. Minnesota Vikings (3-8) :vikings:

    To some degree, this position has to be a complete surprise to each of these four teams, and their positions here are attributable to one particular failure in each team that has spilled over into a season of chaos across multiple platforms. For the Broncos and Bears, the answer is painfully simple: without a passing game that takes any pressure off the run game, the offenses are one-dimensional, leading to turnovers and then poor field position for a strung-out defense. With Houston and Minnesota, the reverse is true: no running game gives Vardell and company no time on the ball, thus minimizing the chances to score and take pressure off the thin defense. No, none of these teams are STELLAR defensively, but I contend that, in a vacuum, the defenses alone could be solid (in fact, Houston’s already is), but combined with poor offensive balance (or offensive ANYTHING in the case of Denver), the defenses are over-stressed and unable to sustain. As such, CHI is the highest ranking defense of this quartet, standing at 17th for scoring D. That is pathetic. And efficiency-wise, DEN’s 22nd ranked DYPP is the tops for this group. Again, pathetic. It all boils down to game plan tweaks, hopeful player progressions, and picking which one spot on the roster to improve in the off-season. Best case scenario for all these teams: balance and blend to .500 or slightly above for next season.

     

    29. Los Angeles Chargers (2-10) :chargers:

    30. Arizona Cardinals (2-10) :cardinals:

    31. New York Giants (1-10-1) :giants:

    32. San Francisco 49ers (1-11) :49ers:

    Not really a ton to say here, unfortunately. The Chargers are watching youth develop at some really key spots, especially Kenyon Justice. Ditto the Cardinals with Trevon Yeldon, currently leading the League in rushing (and fumbles) as a rookie. Those are positives!!! The Giants are finding slightly fewer positives, though Tevin Lattimore and Khairi Bryant certainly have flashed in spots this season, but are hampered by awful play along the OLine and in the backfield. The 49ers have somehow found even fewer positives, since they are not necessarily on a youth revolution like the other three teams. But, hey, Todd Lester is back now, and that’s something. Could the Niners spoil someone’s season in the NFC West? Sure, maybe. Here’s the real deal, however: the point made in talking about teams #1-4 in this Power Rankings is clear—this is an offensive League. And THESE four teams? All four are in the bottom 5 for scoring. Enough said.

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    Akili is only 15th in rushing because he was out for like 3 or so games.  He's right up there with the best of them in terms of season performance.  

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    We just aren’t quite there yet. Bowman and SHW are incredible talents but they can’t carry the offense by themselves. Royal has had a really positive rookie season overall but he needs some maturation. And we need some consistency from the rushing attack. 

     

    We are so young at the skill positions on offense and the secondary but severely aging in the trenches. If we can keep the trenches strong and let the skill positions grow up we could be really good. But that’s easier said then done. 

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    Don't think I should be above NO at this point since they beat me 2 weeks ago.  Pretty good otherwise though.

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    6 hours ago, bingo415 said:

    Dreams of division titles are essentially over for this trio,

     Plot twist, Dallas and I still somehow make it to the wild card round to play our yearly matchup

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    9 hours ago, bingo415 said:

    The Steelers just won a game with Rory Weston under center.

     

    Chester Henson had something to do with that too.  Hopefully getting Brooksheer and Charlie Johnson back this week gives us a spark.

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    TFW when your team is responsible for half of the losses of the top two ranked teams.

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    21 hours ago, bingo415 said:

    24. New England Patriots (3-9) :patriots:

     

    WE AREN'T #32! YES!

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