No Sleep Till Football

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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 16 2014

#1 Last Week: Beat NY Jets 17-16. Mission accomplished for the Patriots as their win over the Jets combined with the Bengals win over Denver gave New England the overall #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. It’s going to be next to impossible to beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game especially with such flawed teams heading into the postseason. It was a great effort by the Jets. It seems a foregone conclusion that Rex Ryan is going to be out as the Jets HC, but the Jets were 2-7 in close games & were -11 in TO margin. If you look at the Jets’ “Best Case” record, then it’s a team that would be 10-5 & in the playoffs. It’s cherry picking stats, but it also shows that the Jets essentially had no QB and no corners & yet still were a formidable team despite the final record. Sure the Patriots only won by 1 in New York, but the win was a lot bigger than it appears.
#2 Last Week: Beat Arizona 35-6. I don’t want to say you could see this coming a mile away because I want to respect the fact that Arizona was 11-3, but the Cardinals trotted out Ryan Lindley to take on a Seahawks defense that allowed 12.6PPG in their previous 8 games. Lindley was going to get hammered & it showed with him going 18/44 for 216yds/1INT. The Cardinals couldn’t run the ball & once again Seattle got back to more of their identity with grounding & pounding as Marshawn Lynch & Russell Wilson combined to rush for 201yds on just 16 carries including 3 rushing TDs! It’s really interesting to see Seattle make their passing game work with Doug Baldwin & Luke Wilson being the primary receivers. It’s not flashy & it somewhat reminds me of what New England is doing without a legitimate #1 receiver. Seattle is peaking at the right time.
#3 Last Week: Beat Tampa Bay 20-3. A hellish week for TB QB Josh McCown who suffered through 7 sacks & was picked off once as the Packers cruised to a 20-3 win over the hapless Bucs! I don’t want to say it’s a trend, but all of a sudden it seems like Green Bay is having trouble scoring points. Sure they blew up Atlanta for 43, but in the two games before the Falcons & the 2 games after the Falcons, Green Bay has averaged just 20.8PPG! In those 4 games, QB Aaron Rodgers is 91/149 (61.1%) for 1080yds/5TD/2INT. Not horrible numbers to be sure, but not exactly Aaron Rodgers type numbers either. Green Bay has a chance to win the North this week with a home game against the Lions. Detroit stinks on the road so Green Bay should come out with a win. As long as the defense shows up I think GB gets this done even if the offense doesn’t explode.
#4 Last Week: Beat Indianapolis 42-7. As a COMPLETE AND UNAPOLOGETIC Cowboys homer, I’ve been trying to stay bearish on my Boys all year because I can’t deal with the perpetual heartache any longer of being a Cowboys fan. However, after watching the Cowboys put a HAMMERING on the Colts this past week, I’m starting to believe the Cowboys are good enough to bring home our 6th Lombardi Trophy! If you don’t believe in the Eagles then you can argue that Dallas hasn’t played anyone in a while & Indy might not really be that good. All valid arguments in my opinion. On the other hand, the offense is for real & the defense isn’t horrible. Dallas is locked into the #3 seed in the NFC, but can move up to #2 if Detroit beats the Packers & Dallas can beat Washington. On the other hand, the #3 seed likely gets Ryan Lindley & the Cards! A win win!
#5 Last Week: Beat Kansas City 20-12. Great hard fought victory over a good Kansas City team. The Steelers can now win the North with a win over the Bengals in Pittsburgh. With all the talk about Denver & New England, I think people are forgetting about the Steelers. This is a team that if it wins on Sunday will going into the playoffs at 11-5 with a 4-game winning streak. They will be 8-2 in their last 10! They have arguably the best RB in the NFL right now. They have arguably the best WR in the NFL right now. They have a QB with 2 Super Bowl rings. They have a HC who has won a Super Bowl. The defense has played a lot better over the last 3 weeks. If win next week they’ll be the #3 seed which means they’ll play the Chargers or Ravens. A game to really look forward too is Pittsburgh/Denver if this all plays out. If Pittsburgh loses, it’s off to Indianapolis.
#6 Last Week: Lost to Cincinnati 28-37. If you are a glass half full guy then this game didn’t matter much anyway. New England isn’t losing next week to Buffalo so even if Denver wins, they are still the #2 seed. The Bengals had EVERYTHING to play for last night & still almost lost & needed a miracle interception to keep Denver from beating them at home! If you are a glass half empty guy then you have to be seriously concerned about Peyton Manning. In his last 8 games, Manning has thrown 17TD to 12INT & completed 65% of his passes. In his last 6 road games, Manning is 158/253 (62.5%) for 1890yds/13TD/10INT! The Broncos are 3-3 in those 6 games with losses to the Patriots, Rams & Bengals. This is worrisome because the Broncos are going to have to play a road playoff game if the Patriots keep winning. Even more worrisome is the thought nobody wants to have, Manning might really be declining and declining swiftly.
#7 Last Week: Beat Chicago 20-14. A terrible effort by Detroit this week beating Chicago 20-14, but it’s somewhat a step in the right direction as the Lions won their 4th straight game & actually won a road game which isn’t something that typically happens with the Lions. The Lions have a chance to lock up the North this upcoming week with a win over Green Bay in Lambeau. The playoff picture really is an interesting for the Lions. Let’s assume they can’t win a big game on the road. If they beat Green Bay, they’ll get the #2 seed which means a divisional game (likely Dallas) at home. A win there puts them in the NFC Championship game. A win & a Seattle loss gives Detroit the #1 seed. A loss likely puts Detroit as the #6 which means they’ll start the playoffs on the road in Dallas which probably means one & out. I have a hard time believing they’ll win in Green Bay but who knows?
#8 Last Week: Beat San Francisco 38-35. With so much crazy happening last week, the Chargers might still have had a chance to sneak into the playoffs even if they didn’t pull a come from behind OT miracle in San Francisco! With that win, the Chargers need to beat KC in Arrowhead to clinch the #6 seed in the AFC & return to the playoffs. If they lose it’s over because they won’t be able to jump the Chiefs in their own division! No pressure for the Bolts, but they’ve been under pressure for awhile & it doesn’t seem to matter. Philip Rivers was incredible down the stretch last Saturday & it’s worth remembering that the Chargers outscored SF 31-7 after halftime! Rivers looked unstoppable after having a brutal first half & the Chargers defense really stiffened up. An incredible matchup in the playoffs would be San Diego traveling to Pittsburgh! Can’t get much better than that!
#9 Last Week: Beat Denver 37-28. I’ve had trouble figuring out what to do with the Bengals all season long. I had them unranked last week, this week they are in the top-10! I guess at the end of the day this is a team that is 10-4-1 that has now beaten Denver & Baltimore twice. As much as I think they are paper tigers, the Bengals are winning games & a win this week against Pittsburgh gives them 11 wins & the #3 seed. That’s nothing to hang your head about. They needed Peyton Manning to play like complete garbage in the 4th quarter & then needed a pick-6 to seal the deal so it isn’t like the Bengals are rolling. Something to keep in mind with Cincinnati going forward is that they have the best road record in the AFC at 5-2. That’s a change for the Bengals in recent years as they usually have exploited home field advantage. Maybe going on the road for the playoffs it the right thing?
#10 Last Week: Lost to Dallas 7-42. Wow that was a humiliation! I didn’t think the Colts would go into Dallas and win, but 42-7 is downright horrible when you think about this Colts team gearing up for the playoffs. There are a couple of things to be worried about here in my opinion. The first is that Andrew Luck is playing like complete garbage over the past 3 games. Luck is 57/109 (52.3%) for 590yds/4TD/5INT! That’s not getting it done. Another problem in my opinion is wondering just how good Indianapolis really is. They haven’t beaten anyone of note outside of a couple of home games against Cincinnati & Baltimore. The win over Cincy was Week 7, Baltimore Week 5! Indy might get a break if Pittsburgh wins this week because they’d get the Bengals in Lucas Oil. I don’t think the Colts want to see the Chargers or Steelers at this point. They’d be one & done for certain.
#11 Last Week: Beat Minnesota 37-35. Maybe I’m the only won this bullish on the Dolphins, but Miami had every reason to quit on Sunday being down 17-7 at halftime to a surprisingly decent Vikings squad. Instead, Ryan Tannehill & the offense GO NUTS scoring 23 in the 4th & 30 in the 2nd half! The Dolphins improved to 8-7 & should finish 9-7! Stephen Ross came out & said Joe Philbin will be coaching the Dolphins next season & I think that’s a nice move. The defense is quality & remember that Tannehill has completed 67% of his passes this season! He’s made a significant jump from year 2 to year 3 & if he keeps improving the Dolphins will be the better team for it. They were 7-9 in Philbin’s first season. 8-8 in his 2nd. If he can get to 9-7 then I think Miami is a viable threat to win the East in 2015. It might not happen but things are improving drastically in South Beach.
#12 Last Week: Lost to Houston 13-25. On the one hand you have to give credit to the Texans defense for making life a living hell for Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Kudos to the Texans & JJ Watt for continuing to be the biggest beast in the NFL! On the other what in the world do you do with the Ravens? This is a team now that is on the outside looking when it comes to the playoffs. If the Ravens lose they are out. If the Ravens win & the Chargers win they are out. Baltimore is lucky in that they draw Cleveland at home while the Chargers draw Kansas City on the road. The Ravens can still find a way into the playoffs as the #6 seed which means a date with either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. It’s hard not to like the pieces in Baltimore but something simply doesn’t add up. They should be better than this & if they wind up missing the playoffs, we’ll miss out on a team that could make waves in January.
#13 Last Week: Lost to Seattle 6-35. That was a disaster & the Cardinals have to feel good about being 11-4 & definitely in the playoffs at this point. The amazing part is that there is a chance the Cardinals could get the #5 seed which if it happens, they’d have to travel to either Carolina or Atlanta. Look, both of those teams aren’t going anywhere, but if they have to play an Arizona squad featuring Logan Thomas at QB, we might very well have a 7-9 Falcons team heading to Seattle in the divisional round! How incredible would that be!? Arizona could still post an incredible 12-4 record if they manage to win in San Francisco this last week, which if the 49ers are really tanking & Harbaugh is out the door just might happen. The 12-4 record guarantees them the #5 seed & who knows. Maybe they beat a weak NFC South squad potentially wind up in Detroit with a chance to get to the championship game.
#14 Last Week: Lost to Pittsburgh 12-20. I’m not going to bang Kansas City too hard for losing at Pittsburgh. The Steelers are starting to play like one of the best teams in the NFL & going into Heinz Field and losing by just 8 is a pretty sound accomplishment even if KC didn’t get a win. They still have a chance at the playoffs if they beat SD this week while Baltimore loses to Cleveland and Houston loses to Jacksonville. It’s a long shot but a win puts KC at 9-7, a record not many people thought KC would finish the season with. I’ve said it before all year when talking about KC, but every week matters. The Week 1 loss to Tennessee was harrowing & losing to Oakland in Week 12 for the most part sealed KC’s fate. It sounds cliche but you have to win the games you are supposed to win if you want to get into the postseason. They can still play spoiler to San Diego.
#15 Last Week: Lost to Washington 24-27. The wheels have completely come off in Philadelphia. The Eagles have gone from penthouse to outhouse as they lost their 3rd straight game, this one coming to the woeful Redskins last Saturday! The Eagles can’t make the playoffs so no matter what they do against the Giants next week won’t matter. It’s helpful to think that something just wasn’t right with the Eagles all season long. Nick Foles wasn’t playing all that well & turning to Mark Sanchez is never the answer no matter what the question. LeSean McCoy took a bit to warm up this season. The Eagles struggled mightily with turnovers all season long although the defense definitely got after it and played extremely well for most of the season. If the offense would have been on par with the defense, I think we’d be looking at Philly as a playoff team right now instead of a team that could finish 9-7.



Buffalo Bills (Last Week #12): One week you are beating the Green Bay Packers & keeping your playoff hopes alive. The next week you are getting housed by the Oakland Raiders & your playoff hopes are left for dead. The Bills close out the season in New England. That’s a little stiffer competition than the Raiders, although New England might not play to their normal level considering the #1 overall seed is already locked up.


December 23, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, NFL Power 15, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 15, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Week 16

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