Well, that was one of the most depressing weeks of football ever. After watching the performances of the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, I am seriously considering never watching football again. It was that bad.
This weekend made me wonder if the NFC North is really that much better than the NFC West. The entire division managed to score 20 points in week 14. 20 points!
Anyway, I guess it is time for this week’s power ratings. No, the Packers will not be ranked No. 3 like they were last week.
First, here is how the NFC teams still alive for the playoffs currently rank:
- Atlanta Falcons
- Chicago Bears
- Philadelphia Eagles
- St. Louis Rams
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Seattle Seahawks
- San Francisco 49ers
- Arizona Cardinals
Here is how I rank these teams. Please argue with me. Call me names, insult my family, do whatever. This weekend sent me into a severe state of football depression and I need something to snap me out of it (I’ve also added each team’s remaining games in parentheses).
1. Atlanta Falcons (@Seahawks, Saints, Carolina)
We know how good the Falcons are at home. Now they are winning on the road too. Since 2000, only four of 35 teams have won three consecutive road games. With a win over the Seahawks Sunday, the Falcons can become the fifth.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (@Giants, Vikings, Cowboys)
I was going to put the Eagles first this week because their offense is crazy talented, but then the injury bug hit their defense. Defensive end Brandon Graham is done for the season and linebacker Stewart Bradley might be finished too. Is the offense good enough to cover for these injuries? I think so, especially if LeSean McCoy continues playing like Brian Westbrook in his prime.
3. New Orleans Saints (@Ravens, @Falcons, Buccaneers)
The Saints have a tough schedule the rest of the way, but unlike the Packers, they have some wiggle room because they’ve taken care of business before hitting the tough home stretch. The Saints can clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday and a losses by the Packers and Bucs. Even if the Saints win out and finish 13-3, chances are high that they still won’t win the division and will have to defend their Super Bowl title in three road playoff games.
4. Chicago Bears (@Vikings, Jets, @Packers)
It hurts me to put the Bears this high, but I think it has to be done. They have not been hit hard with injuries, their front seven is still rock solid, and everybody think they stink after getting run out of their own stadium by the Patriots. The Bears seem to play best when everyone thinks they stink.
5. New York Giants (Eagles, @Packers, @Redskins)
Why aren’t the Giants in front of the Bears? Injuries. And turnovers. Eli Manning already has thrown 19 interceptions. Turnovers are not the automatic team killer many people think they are, but they certainly don’t help your team’s cause.
6. Green Bay Packers (@Patriots, Giants, Bears)
What does it mean when your team loses a late-season game to the Lions during the playoff chase? The chorus to this Danzig song answers that question. The Packers were third in my power rankings last week. I could not justify keeping them in that spot, but according to the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, the Packers are the third best team in the NFC. Is it too late to ask Roger Goodell to use DVOA ratings instead of win-loss records to determine playoff berths?
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Lions, Seahawks, @Saints)
The Bucs have struggled to stop the run all season. Maybe the Lions can run on the Bucs like they ran on the Packers and pull out another win. Oh, and the Bucs are also ravaged by injuries.
8. St. Louis Rams (Chiefs, 49ers, @Seahawks)
I would take my chances with Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and this defense in the playoffs. I’m not predicting the Rams will win a first-round game, but it would not be a colossal upset if they do (well, maybe if they beat the Saints).
9. San Francisco 49ers (@Chargers, @Rams, Cardinals)
10. Seattle Seahawks (Falcons, @Bucs, Rams)
11. Arizona Cardinals (@Panthers, Cowboys, @49ers)