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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 9 2013

#1 In my opinion the best team in the NFL until things completely fall apart which I don’t think will happen. For as much hype as the Broncos have received, the schedule starts to get really good with their next 6 including games against the Chiefs (twice), Chargers (twice), Patriots & Titans. If Denver comes out at 13-1/12-2 then look out. If they come out 10-4/9-5? No Super Bowl in 2013!
#2 The Chiefs are starting to have some of that 2000 Baltimore Ravens feel to it where the defense is utterly dominating & the QB doesn’t make mistakes. KC is +10 in sack differential & +15 in TO Margin. Sure the TO margin could regress but maybe not this season. Like Denver, they haven’t played much but their next 3 games come against Denver (twice) and San Diego.
#3 Losing Reggie Wayne hurt the Colts quite a bit, but TY Hilton made up for the injury by catching 7 balls for 121 yards & 3TD in Indy’s 27-24 come from behind victory which only added to the legend of Andrew Luck! Even if the Colts lose on the road to KC & CIN, they should still be able to win out which would put them at 12-4. The Colts would certainly be happy with an overall #2 seed.
#4 Is there an easier route to the playoffs? Seattle got early games against Carolina & SF only to lose to Indianapolis. Since their 45-17 win over Jacksonville, the Seahawks average margin of victory in their last 6 games has been by 4 points. With Atlanta & Minnesota coming up, Seattle should get to 10-1 before the bye week. It’s an ugly 10-1, but 10-1 just the same and nobody will complain.
#5 Since starting the season 1-2, the 49ers have won 5 straight by an average score of 35-12. Seems impressive until you realize San Francisco’s last 5 opponents have been St. Louis, Houston, Arizona, Tennessee & Jacksonville. The 49ers are starting to get healthy. Aldon Smith is back. Mario Manningham & Michael Crabree aren’t far behind. Carolina & New Orleans up next will tell us a bit moving forward.
#6 New England has rebounded nicely since dropping a game to the Jets. They’ve beaten Miami & Pittsburgh in consecutive weeks & even though the Steelers aren’t what they used to be, it was nice seeing the Tom Brady of old throw for 400+ yards with 4TD. Has to feel good having Gronkowski back. After 3 games he’d be on pace for 101 catches for 1515 yards & 6TD over a full 16-games!
#7 Maybe losing to the Jets isn’t so bad? I get what the Saints are doing but it does seem that they put themselves at risk with turnovers. They were -2 in TO margin against the Jets which is problematic. Brees will throw a pick or two from time to time & if he’s throwing the ball 60 times a game you can guess he’ll throw one. If the defense can’t force turnovers then it’s hard to play catch up.
#8 Miami isn’t awful (they beat Indianapolis who I have ranked #3) and losing to the 5-3 Bears isn’t bad either. The Browns loss was a little puzzling but this is still a team who controls its own destiny in the AFC North. Losing Geno Atkins is killer & probably ruins their chances at winning a potential Super Bowl, but getting out of the first round of the playoffs would be a big move forward as well.
#9 The 31-30 come from behind victory over the Cowboys should galvanize the Lions. The Bears simply aren’t that good and now Aaron Rodgers might miss the rest of the season. Why not the Lions? At worst now if they win the North they’ll be looking at the #3 seed which is a home playoff game. I wouldn’t want Carolina, but Detroit’s D-Line is incredible & will create havoc for whoever they play.
#10 In their last 14 regular season games, the Panthers are 10-4. I consider the Panthers the most dangerous team in the NFC at the moment but they look a little bit like the 49ers. They are 4-0 in their last 4 by an average score of 33-12, but their last 4 opponents have been Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay & Atlanta! Carolina’s schedule is brutal down the stretch so they’ll have chances to prove they belong.
#11 The Bears are an extremely odd team. If you consider “close” games to be those decided by 8 points then Chicago’s 5-3 record has consisted of 8 close games. That means in a best case world the Bears would be 8-0 but in a worst case world they would be 0-8! The +8 in TO margin suggests they are getting lucky. Getting Jay Cutler back this week only adds to that luck.
#12 The Packers could be in trouble. They are 5-3 right now which isn’t awful but they are behind Detroit & Chicago with the tiebreakers. If Rodgers misses the next 6 games then he’ll miss road games against the Giants, Cowboys & Lions. Those are almost guaranteed losses. Losing to Philly this week puts GB with a minimum of 7 losses with a road date at Chicago left. An 8-8 record won’t get them to the playoffs.
#13 Three of the Cowboys 4 losses have come by a combined 5 points. That 5-4 record could just as easily be an 8-1 record, but the same works in reverse. The win over Minnesota was closer than it should have been & Dallas blew a victory against Detroit. I don’t know how Jason Garrett survives but if Dallas gets the #4 seed they’ll face either SEA or SF which means another playoff loss for Tony Romo.
#14 Are the Jets really a playoff team? If the season ended today they’d be the #6 seed traveling to Indianapolis. Even crazier? The Jets could get better. They have a bye this week but they have winnable road games against the Ravens & Bills. Win those & they get the Dolphins & Raiders at home. Could the Jets really get to 9-4 after 13 games? Everything would have to break right but they could end at 11-5.
#15 It’s interesting to note that the Dolphins have wins over the Bengals & Colts. If Miami didn’t lose home games to the Ravens & Bills, we’d be talking about a 6-2 team with road losses to the Patriots & Saints. You can’t hammer away at them for those losses. There is a lot of talk about the AFC West being the most brutal division but the AFC East shouldn’t be taken lightly with their top-3 teams.

November 8, 2013 - Posted by | Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL Power 15, Power 15, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks

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