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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 10 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 The hottest team in the NFL & deserving of the #1 spot after dispatching the Broncos at home 43-21 in Foxboro a couple of weeks ago. The road gets quite a bit rougher for the Patriots starting this week. Outside of Denver, New England really hasn’t beaten anyone, but now they play the Colts, Lions, Packers, Chargers & Dolphins in 5 straight weeks before ending with the Bills & Jets. The Patriots have the ability to go 5-2/6-1 in their remaining 7 .At 7-2 that means they’d get to 12-4/13-3 by season’s end. I don’t know if it will be enough to wrestle the #1 seed away from Denver, but the Patriots should finish ahead of the Colts for the #2 seed which helps immensely.
#2 Peyton is on pace to throw 52TD after he tossed 5 in Denver’s 41-17 rout of the Raiders last week in Oakland. The Broncos have the Rams this week & Jeff Fisher has said he thinks Peyton is better now than he was when he was with the Colts. It’s a good statement that bears out just a bit. If Peyton keeps up his pace so far he’ll finish his 2012-2104 campaign with Denver completing 68.2% of his passes for 15313yds/144TD/33INTs. His best 3-year run in Indy was probably 2004-2006 where he completed 66.6% of his passes for 12701yds/108TD/29INTs. If you normalize for pass attempts he’s still better in Denver but just barely. It’s nuts but Manning is getting better.
#3 It was bad enough for the Packers to beat the Bears 38-17 at Soldier Field back in Week 4, but last week’s COMPLETE HUMILIATION of the Bears in Green Bay on Thursday night has to have Bears fans reeling! Green Bay torched the Bears 55pts en route to a 55-14 win that saw Aaron Rodgers throw 6TD passes in the 1st half as GB took a 42-0 lead into halftime! Rodgers is playing out of his mind at the moment & is on pace for 4279yds/44TD/5INTs while completing 67.5% of his passes. Not as gaudy as Manning or Luck but MVP worthy. It’s worth noting that GB is 4-0 at home & 2-3 on the road. They have the ability to run the table to 13-3 & they need that #1 seed given their road woes.
#4 I dropped Arizona a spot even though they defeated St. Louis handily 31-14 last week. Losing Carson Palmer for the rest of the season is a daunting task & you have to feel bad not only for Palmer but the entire organization given that the Cardinals are 8-1 & Palmer just signed a 3-year extension. It’s possible Arizona doesn’t drop off that much. The defense is for real & Stanton QB’d the Cards past both the Giants & 49ers. Andre Ellington is staying healthy & Stanton has no shortage of weapons to use at his disposal. I think we’ll find out a lot this week when the Cardinals host the Lions. If Arizona can get to 9-1, I can’t see them missing the playoffs. We’ll see.
#5 If you combined Ahmad Bradshaw’s & Trent Richardson’s numbers this year you’d have a RB with 191 carries for 812yds & 4TD. The rushing TD’s aren’t all that great, but that’s a back that would be on pace for 1444yds rushing with a 4.3ypc average. The 812yds rushing right now would rank 3rd in the NFL behind DeMarco Murray (1233) & Arian Foster (822). Indy’s rushing offense doesn’t grade out that well in terms of advanced metrics, but I wonder why that is? The only thing I can figure is that the 4.0ypc average for the team must not be so high? This week’s game against NE is huge. Indy has a #1/#2 seed on the line meaning a win here could mean facing NE in Indy for a divisional game.
#6 No Nick Foles. No Problem! Mark Sanchez stepped in and led the Eagles to a 45-21 win over the Panthers on Monday night this past week to improve the Eagles to 7-2 just a game behind Arizona for the #1 overall spot in the NFC. It’s fairly interesting to note that the Eagles are 7-2 despite Nick Foles sucking for most of the year & LeSean McCoy having somewhat of a down year. Because it’s Chip Kelly you think offense & the Eagles do score 31PPG which is 4th in the NFL, but this is a defensive team who hasn’t failed to create a turnover in a single game this season. Going on the road to Green Bay this week is a huge test & one in which I don’t think the Eagles will fare well in, but you never know.
#7 The Seahawks finally got around to convincing us this past week that they are still a good football team. They started the year thrashing the Packers 36-16 in the season opener but then have played close games throughout until last week when they hammered the Giants 38-17 at CenturyLink Field. Like New England to a degree, the rest of Seattle’s schedule is HAIRY. Their next 6 games come against the Chiefs, Cardinals, 49ers, Eagles, 49ers & Cardinals. It’s unique that the Seahawks haven’t even played the 49ers or Cardinals yet this season which of course is going to lead to fireworks down the stretch. Seattle seems to be righting the ship at the right time with 3 straight wins.
#8 Back when Detroit was 4-2 coming off a 17-3 win over Minnesota in Week 6, I figured the Lions would start shooting themselves in the feet. They had 3 games against the Saints, Falcons & Dolphins & I assumed Detroit would figure out a way to lose one or two. Instead the Lions have 4 straight & 6 of their last 7. At 7-2 they lead the NFC North & even have a win over Green Bay! The 20-16 win over Miami is impressive & like the Eagles, Detroit is more defense than offense despite the big names on offense. It’s interesting that Matt Stafford is on pace to throw the least amount of passes in a season since he became a full time starter. Like Tony Romo, it’s possible he’s learning less is more.
#9 The Chiefs dispatched the Bills last week 17-13. Don’t look now but Kansas City has won 4 straight games & 6 of their last 7. Take away the head scratching 26-10 loss to Tennessee in Week 1 & the only losses KC claims are those to the 49ers & Broncos! I keep looking for ways to knock the Chiefs just a bit but they have a TO margin of zero & their close game record is 2-2. For all intents & purposes this is truly a 6-3 team. Kansas City welcomes in Seattle this week & this should be a good test for the Chiefs. This isn’t quite last year’s Chiefs who boned up on weak teams. KC has wins over the Patriots, Chargers & Dolphins. Still, they could use another quality win on the schedule.
#10 Just when you think things are trending south for the 49ers & Jim Harbaugh might not make it through the season, the 49ers pull off a huge win in New Orleans by taking down the Saints 27-24 in OT. Now the 49ers might get OLB Aldon Smith back this week after he’s served a 9-game suspension. With 2 games against the Giants & Redskins on the schedule, the 5-4 49ers could turn into the 7-4 49ers getting Seattle twice & Arizona once the rest of the way. I want to mention LB Chris Borland & how well the rookie is playing. Borland was an all-world player out of Wisconsin but being about 5’10/250lbs probably soured some people on him. The kid can flat out play football.
#11 Meet your AFC North division leaders! With the Bengals & Steelers falling this past week, the Browns moved into 1st place in the North with their 24-3 beating of the Bengals in Cincinnati! The loss to Jacksonville seems non-existent right now. Cleveland has won 3 straight games & 5 of their last 6. One thing to note about the Browns is that they have a TO margin of +9! That’s a huge margin for an NFL team & has Cleveland on pace to finish +16. Sometimes Lady Luck smiles. The Browns have a real chance to give themselves an advantage with their schedule. They get the Texans this week followed by the Falcons & Bills. They should get to 9-3. Let’s see if they take advantage of these opportunities.
#12 The loss to Detroit hurts quite a bit. They are now 2 games behind New England in the East. The Dolphins get Buffalo this week in Miami so they should be able to take care of business & get to 6-4. If New England loses to Indianapolis then Miami gets back to just 1 game back. The road is pretty harrowing for Miami though. Every team in the AFC North is playing for a playoff spot. Three of the 4 teams in the West are. While the top of the conference is pretty must settled, the other spots aren’t as clear. Miami is a helluva football team. They can argue being 8-2 & the defense is tremendous. Even though they are 5-4, this is a pretty complete team. I’d like to see them in the playoffs.
#13 Sure Dallas was able to go over to London and beat the Jaguars 31-17, but this win only underscores just how vulnerable the Cowboys are should they have to rely on Brandon Weeden at QB if/when Tony Romo gets hurt again. The Cowboys are on a bye week this week which is much needed. If anything Romo needs the time off & don’t forget about DeMarco Murray who is on pace to rush the football 390 times for 1973yds! The 390 rushing attempts would put Murray in a tie for 9th for most attempts in a season. Dallas still has the Eagles twice after the bye so like past seasons, the Cowboys are going to be playing potential division winning games down the stretch. Maybe they’ll win this time.
#14 Lucky for the Saints, the NFC South completely & totally sucks. Losing to the 49ers last week in OT in the Superdome was crazy & I really thought this was a time for the Saints to put some distance between them and the rest of the South. It didn’t happen although Carolina losing allowed the Saints at 4-5 to stay in the #4 seed! It’s hard to be hard on New Orleans given how their season as gone so far. The team is 1-2 in OT games & 1-4 in close ones. Despite the 4-5 mark, the Saints could argue being a ridiculous 8-1. If that were the case they’d be the #1 seed in the NFC & we’d all be talking about how the Saints were a shoe in for the Super Bowl because they’d get all their playoff games at home.
#15 It’s almost impossible to believe that the Steelers went into New York & dropped a game to the Jets after being so hot for so long. I suppose teams cool off after awhile & that game did have just a hint of upset brewing about it. The loss dropped the Steelers to 6-4 which is still right in the middle of the mess that is the AFC North. This week they travel to Tennessee before going on a bye. The Steelers can’t over look Tennessee because this game too has the hint of being somewhat of a trap game. The Steelers have losses to the Bucs & Jets. Those teams are a combined 2-0 against Pittsburgh but 1-16 against every other team they’ve played! Pittsburgh should be 8-2. Those losses could haunt them.

 

DROPPING OUT

Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week #13): The Bengals are reeling. They were blasted at home by the Browns this past week and if you believe in advanced metrics, then the Bengals are not only the worst team in their own division, but there are 11 teams in the AFC who are statistically better than Cincinnati! This week they travel to New Orleans were they are probably going to get beat as I don’t see how the Saints lose 2 in a row at home. I think the situation is so dire, that if the Bengals can’t win a home game, they might not win another game left on the schedule which would put them at 5-10-1 for the season! I don’t think that will happen but it’s a lot more likely than I thought it would be just a couple of weeks ago.

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November 14, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, 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 Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Week 10

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