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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 9 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 It’s amazing to see how far New England has come after their first 4 weeks. They barely got by Oakland in Week 3 & then lost to Kansas City 41-14 in Week 4. Since the Patriots have won 5 straight including last week’s beating of the Broncos 43-21! In these past 5 weeks New England has averaged 40.2PPG! In his last 5 games, Tom Brady is 133/197 (67.5%) for 1601yds/18TD/1INT! You can definitely argue that the Patriots aren’t having a banner year on the defensive side of the ball, but if they can keep scoring 40PPG it won’t matter that much. The schedule gets tougher from this point forward, but this is the hottest team in the NFL currently.
#2 It’s worth noting that last season Denver went on the road to New England and lost 34-31 during the regular season. The Broncos would get a rematch with the Patriots in Denver in the AFC Championship game & beat New England 26-16. It’s extremely difficult to beat very good teams twice in one season so in some ways I’m sure Denver fans are a lot more appreciative of Denver losing this one if you follow that kind of logic. The only way the Broncos losing this game would mean anything is if they somehow find themselves with the same record as New England. Denver does not own the tiebreaker which means they could be in Foxboro again.
#3 Another week another win for Arizona. The Cardinals upended a Tony Romo-less Cowboys team 28-17 to improve to 7-1 which is the best record in the NFC. I’m impressed that Arizona got through Philly & Dallas with a couple of wins. Now they get home games against the Rams & Lions which could easily lead them to a 9-1 start before traveling to Seattle in Week 12. Arizona’s defense is really interesting. They have a pass defense that ranks 8th in opponents QB rating yet they have generated just 8 sacks. Only the Falcons are worse. They have picked off 12 balls which is #2 in the NFL. They are getting pressure, but not the sacks. Interesting.
#4 After suffering a big loss to Pittsburgh, the Colts got back to their winning ways in New York by giving the Giants a 40-24 beating which probably crushed all hope for the G-Men for making the playoffs. Indy has an incredible offense to be sure, but I wish the defense wouldn’t pull so many Jekyll & Hyde acts. In Weeks 1-2 they gave up 30.5PPG and went 0-2. From Week 3-7 they allowed 15.0PPG & went 5-0! Over the past two weeks the Colts defense has allowed 37.5PPG & they’ve gone 1-1. That’s 5 games of great defense & 4 games of terrible defense. Indy has 3 definite wins on the schedule which will be good enough for the AFC South crown.
#5 Yes the Eagles got a 31-21 road win over the Texans, but they lost Nick Foles in the process which means Mark Sanchez is now the starting QB for the first place Philadelphia Eagles! That’s a scary proposition to be sure & if you are a Jeremy Maclin owner in fantasy football (like me!) then you have to be doubly worried going forward! Foles is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. If he misses 8 then he’s out for the regular season but even if he misses 6, he’ll miss both games against Dallas and also games against Green Bay & Seattle. If the Eagles go 1-3 in those games at best they are 11-5. If Tony Romo comes back & is effective, Philly should be worried.
#6 The Packers were on a bye week last week following their 44-23 loss to New Orleans. At 5-3, the Packers are behind the 6-2 Lions which is amazing & even more so because Detroit currently owns the tiebreaker which basically puts GB 2 games behind the Lions. The Packers have one of the more favorable schedules going forward in the 2nd half of the season. They play some big games at home, but they are home games & their 3 road games are against Vikings, Bills & Bucs. Frankly the Packers should win out & finish 13-3. The NFC picture is extremely cloudy at this point but if you had to bet on an NFC team, I’d go with the Green Bay & Rodgers.
#7 As if the 51-34 win over Indianapolis wasn’t enough, Pittsburgh followed that big win with an even bigger win this past week in beating division rival Baltimore 43-23! The Patriots are the hottest team in football but Pittsburgh is a close 2nd! The Steelers have on their last 3 games & have averaged 41.3PPG doing so! The offense is for real. Roethlisberger is having the best year of his career by a wide margin. Le’Veon Bell is the best back in the AFC & Antonio Brown in on pace for 126rec/1771yds/14TD! That is the best 3-headed monster in the NFL right now. There are serious issues on defense but like New England, they are outscoring everyone!
#8 The Saint season turned around when they beat Green Bay in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago & this past week they established themselves at the top of the NFC South with a road win over Carolina 28-10! Despite the 4-4 record you can’t sleep on New Orleans. They are 1-3 in close games with a TO margin of -6. The Saints can easily argue they should be 7-1 & I wouldn’t bat an eye at the assertion. They have 5 more games at home meaning 5 more wins. Their road games come against the Steelers, Bears & Bucs. If they get 2 of those games they’ll finish the season 11-5. It won’t curry homefield advantage so they’ll have to win a road playoff game.
#9 Seattle picked up a 2nd win in as many weeks but is beating a winless Raiders squad 30-24 at home really anything to brag about? Seattle looked amazing opening the season at home with a convincing 36-16 win over Green Bay, but since then the Seahawks are 4-3 with a point differential of +8! Marshawn Lynch got 21 carries against the Raiders. He averaged just 3.19ypc which is brutal but he hadn’t had 20 carries since Week 3. Lynch is still on pace to rush for 1100yds/10TD which seems great. He’s even averaging the same yards per carry as last year, but something still seems amiss here. Lynch needs to be the focal point of the offense.
#10 It simply doesn’t get more impressive then taking a solid team like San Diego & beating them like a tight drum 37-0! That isn’t a typo! The Dolphins held a very good Chargers offense to a big donut while Ryan Tannehill orchestrated a beautifully executed offensive game plan for 37 points! The big question for Miami is whether or not Ryan Tannehill is making the leap. The Dolphins are 4-1 in Tannehill’s last 5 games & in those games Tannehill is 108/157 (68.8%) for 1283yds/10TD/4INT. Those are great numbers. This defense is SERIOUSLY FOR REAL and Lamar Miller can carry the rock. This week in Detroit is a huge game, but I think they win.
#11 Beating a Jets team mailing it completely in 24-10 isn’t amazing, but the bigger picture definitely is for Kansas City. The Chiefs are 5-1 in their last 6 games & have wins over the Dolphins, Patriots & Chargers with the Dolphins/Chargers wins coming on the road! They lost twice on the road to Denver & SF so who can blame them there. This adds up to a squad that is a borderline top-10 team in the NFL & given how the Chargers have been playing, KC is establishing themselves as the 2nd best team in the West. KC’s back end schedule is nasty so we’ll see how it plays out but they are playing well defensively & Alex Smith gets it done. Period.
#12 I’ve been pretty bearish on the Lions all season long, but at 6-2 it’s hard to keep ignoring them. Detroit is 5-1 in their last 6 and it’s safe to say the Lions field the best defense in the NFL. What’s amazing is that the offense is finally getting healthy. Matt Stafford should be getting Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Theo Riddick, Brandon Pettigrew & Eric Ebron on offense which gives Detroit their full compliment. Joique Bell & Golden Tate have to be happy as well. Miami this week is a massive test & that game is followed by 2 road games against Arizona & New England. If the Lions are 6-5 after those games, my doubt will have been well warranted.
#13 Like Detroit I simply don’t have much confidence in the Bengals. On the other hand, they just picked up their 2nd consecutive win & have beaten the Ravens twice this season. They are 5-2-1 & lead the AFC North. What’s amazing is that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they lost to Cleveland this week and tit also wouldn’t surprise me if they finished in last place in the AFC South by season’s end. The 2nd half of Cincinnati’s schedule is just nasty & it’s definitely possible for them to finish 1-7 or even 2-6. Either way they might not get to .500 so this ranking might be short lived. Something feels off about this team, but they are in 1st place at the moment.
#14 The Cowboys are on a 2-game skid at the moment with losses to Washington & Arizona, but those games have been largely without a healthy Tony Romo so I’m inclined to give Dallas a pass. I don’t want to drop the Cowboys completely out of the Power 15, but they need a win this week in London against the Jaguars which I think they’ll get to improve to 7-3. The Cowboys have to be careful here. They need Romo to get healthy & they do have a bye after the Jaguars game. Four of their final 6 games come on the road & they play some tough teams. The Cowboys have never started a season 6-1 & failed to make the playoffs. We’ll see.
#15 Like Dallas, I didn’t want to drop the 49ers completely out even if they lost two straight because I think San Francisco is better than their 4-4 record would indicate. Losing to the Rams is brutal. Especially when you consider that Kaepernick fumbled the ball when SF was just about to score a game winning TD. You simply can’t lose to a last place team at home. Not even a 13-10 nailbiter! Fans have to be worried the entire team is going to fall a part. They have a couple of road games coming up & I think they at least lose to the Saints & Seahawks. If that happens at best SF is 10-6. I don’t know if that will be good enough to get into the playoffs. No playoffs!?

 

DROPPING OUT

Baltimore Ravens (Last Week #6): I hate taking Baltimore down from #6 to not even ranked, but the Ravens have dropped two straight games & have given up 35PPG in the process! They are now in dead last in the AFC North with 2 losses coming at the hands of the Bengals!! Luckily they get a home game against the Titans this week before going on a bye, but their final 6 games aren’t particularly easy & it doesn’t look as if Cleveland or Pittsburgh are going away. The Ravens definitely have a chance to climb back up in the rankings & climb very high but they need to start winning games against tough opponents. What really decided them dropping so far is that I couldn’t in good faith put them above the Bengals & I wanted to keep Dallas & San Francisco in. Unfortunately it means the Ravens are on the outside looking in.

San Diego Chargers (Last Week #13): Miami might be a very good football team, but no way can the Chargers get hammered 37-0 & expect to stay in the Power 15! San Diego is on bye this week which helps and they follow up with 2 home games against the Raiders & Rams. They should be 7-4 after their first 11 games, but their final 5 games are ATROCIOUS! I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if the Chargers find themselves at 7-9/8-8 and out of the playoffs by the time the end of the season rolls around.

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November 8, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Power 15, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 15, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Week 9

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