No Sleep Till Football

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NFL POWER 32 – WEEK 13 2015

#1 Computer Hope You can’t hold a 41-38 win over New Orleans against the Panthers. In an odd type of NFL season, the Panthers remain the only constant, winning every week. It’s worth noting that the Panthers won their last 4 games in 2014 meaning they are 16-0 in their last 16 regular season contests! They are 31-12-1 now over since 2013 so it might be useful if we started to view the Panthers as one of the NFL’s elite franchises.
#2 Computer Hope After a few close calls over the past few weeks, the Cardinals got back to work hammering St. Louis 27-3. Carson Palmer broke Kurt Warner’s single season TD record for a Cardinals QB & Rams HC Jeff Fisher is probably a dead man walking in St. Louis. The easy talk is Carolina because they are 12-0 or New England because of Belichick/Brady, but Arizona is the most complete team in football. Palmer must stay healthy.
#3 Computer Hope Another week another win as this time the Chiefs went into Oakland & whipped the Raiders 34-20. Kansas City has won 6 straight games, outscoring their opponents 194-81! That is BY FAR the best margin in the NFL over the past 6 weeks! It’s almost as if Kansas City is playing college teams! Their schedule can’t get much easier so 11-5 should be in play which should give KC the #5 seed. I wouldn’t want to see KC.
#4 Computer Hope The 37-3 win over Cleveland is nice, but the Browns are probably the worst team in the NFL so really the Bengals were just doing what the Bengals should have done. Same goes for last week when Cincy destroyed St. Louis 31-7. Andy Dalton has taken a big step forward. Tyler Eifert being healthy for a full season makes this team significantly different, but with Cincinnati, all that matters is the playoffs. January is all that matters.
#5 Computer Hope In case you missed it, the Vikings are a playoff team & Seattle went into their homefield & HUMILIATED them 38-7! In his last 3 games, Russell Wilson has completed 77% of his passes for 879 yards with 11TD to ZERO picks! Wilson is the hottest QB in the NFL at this minute & if things stay even close to this the Seahawks look A LOT like they did when they won NFC championships the past couple of seasons.
#6 Computer Hope The Colts aren’t a great team, but they had been playing well & Pittsburgh made a statement with the 45-10 win Sunday night. Over their last 4 games, the Steelers have averaged 36PPG & the offense doesn’t seem to be cooling down at all. It’s worth mentioning that Pittsburgh is doing this without Le’Veon Bell! The defense has to hold up & Roethlisberger has to stay healthy but this looks like a Super Bowl team.
#7 Computer Hope The Chargers suck & Philip Rivers was off but Denver still managed to beat the Bolts by 14 points, 17-3. Things are riding high in Denver. The Broncos have won 3 straight. Brock Osweiler is 3-0 since taking over for Peyton Manning, but he’s getting worse by the week & the Broncos have two serious tests coming up with the Steelers & Bengals. It looks good now, but Denver has to hope that #18 is healthy in January.
#8 Computer Hope Is there cause for concern? I’d say there is. The Patriots have lost 2 straight, but in the 2 games before that, New England beat the Giants by 1 on a last second 54-yard FG  and then they beat the Bills by just 7 at home. In their last 4, New England is 2-2 & have been outscored by 5 points. Their injury list grows by the week, but the regular season doesn’t matter much to the Patriots. They simply need to get healthy in time.
#9 Computer Hope Aaron Rodgers’s Hail Mary not only beat Detroit on the last play of the game, but it also catapulted the Packers back into 1st place in the NFC North which right now is the #3 seed. You can look at Green Bay in a couple of ways. On the one hand they are 2-1 in their last 3 with a couple of road division wins. On the other they are 2-4 in their last 6. Maybe we should relax though because I can’t see them losing the North.
#10 Computer Hope The Jets have won their last 2 games against the Dolphins & Giants. In those two contests, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed 67% of his passes for 667 yards & 6TD with nary an interception. They needed OT to beat the Giants, but the Jets are a dangerous football team. They do everything rather well & if Fitzpatrick is on fire, they are terribly difficult to beat. I don’t think CIN, DEN or NE want the Jets as the #3 seed.
#11 Computer Hope The Bills flexed a little bit last week in taking down Houston 30-21. The Texans had given up 35 total points in their previous 4 games so the Bills posting 30 on Houston was impressive. It’s amazing that the weak link is still Buffalo’s defense when you look at advanced metrics. It makes no sense, but at 6-6, the Bills have an opportunity & the schedule to win out and finish 10-6. There are an awful lot of good teams in the AFC.
#12 Computer Hope Tampa Bay did a great job bouncing back after a road loss to Indianapolis by going back home & beating the Falcons 23-19 in a divisional matchup. The win pushed Tampa to 6-6 & in 2nd place in the NFC South & just one game behind Seattle for the #6 seed in the NFC. Tampa is 3-1 in their last 4. They are 4-2 in their last 6 & 5-3 in their last 8. In those 8 games, Jameis Winston has completed 61% of his passes with 11TD.
#13 Computer Hope Losing at home to the 49ers was the coup de grace of the season. Looking back at the Bears season has to cause massive nausea for Bears fans. Since their dreadful 0-3 start, Chicago is 5-4 with those 4 losses coming by a total of 14 points with 2 of the losses coming in OT & 3 of those losses coming at home! If the Bears win their home games they are 8-4 & in first place. They MUST win out to have a shot at the playoffs.
#14 Computer Hope How often does a team go down 14-0 to the Patriots in New England & come back to take a 35-14 early in the 4th quarter!? GOOD GRIEF! Philadelphia got a lot of help from their special teams & defense, but Sam Bradford played a solid game & Tom Brady was hurried throughout the game. Just like that the Eagles are 5-7 & in a tie for 1st in the NFC East. Now let’s see if the Eagles can keep this effort going forward.
#15 Computer Hope The Hail Mary is a BRUTAL way to lose especially because if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t complete the pass, the Lions would have swept the Packers for the first time since 1991 when Detroit went 12-4 and made it to the NFC Championship game. The Lions are now 3-1 in their last 4 and should be 4-0. Keep in mind that last week the Lions beat the Eagles by 31 and this is the same Eagles team that just finished waxing New England.
#16 Computer Hope In the last 3 weeks the Vikings have faced two playoff quality teams in Green Bay & Seattle. They’ve lost both by the combined score of 68-20! Minnesota isn’t a bad team, but they probably aren’t as good as their 8-4 record would indicate. They play Arizona this week which is probably another loss to a playoff opponent. The Vikings are a one trick pony with Adrian Peterson. Good teams simply take him away and win.
#17 Computer Hope Tough game for Houston to lose last week against Buffalo, but it was a road game against a solid team so there can’t be too much anguish. Houston was due for a loss after winning 4 straight & being 5-1 in their last 6. Luckily the Colts lost as well. This week’s game against New England is very interesting. The South is horrible so it’s not make or break, but New England is reeling & giving them a 3rd straight defeat would be nice.
#18 Computer Hope How much does one week change things in the NFL!!!??? Last week at 5-6 & coming off a win over the Giants, the Redskins looked like they were the odds on favorite to win the East. A week after losing to the Cowboys, Washington is 5-7 with 3 remaining road games against the Cowboys, Eagles & Bears! Philly & Dallas looked like wins a week ago. Now they seem like certain losses! I still like this team, but they might lose out.
#19 Computer Hope Embarrassment. Losing on national television to the Steelers 45-10 was complete & total embarrassment & if Chuck Pagano doesn’t right the ship quickly, he might have lost his job as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The problem in Indianapolis is the same as it ever was. The lure of Peyton Manning or now Andrew Luck makes building on the defense irrelevant. It’s not & Pagano will pay the ultimate price.
#20 Computer Hope Close only gets you so far & while you can certainly make an argument that this is one of the best teams in football based on margin, at the end of the day wins & losses are all that matters and Lady Luck has spurned the G-Men in the worst way. New York lost yet another OT close game, this week to the Jets. Six of New York’s 7 losses have come by 6 points or fewer. They’ve lost 3 straight & are 2-5 in their last seven!
#21 Computer Hope Since beating the Chargers & Jets in weeks 7 & 8 respectively, everything has gone down hill for the Raiders. This past week it looked like they had a good shot to beat Kansas City, but Derek Carr melted down in the 4th & KC got the win. The Raiders are 1-4 since Week 8 & their playoffs hopes are essentially gone. The Raiders could play spoiler though. In their last 4 they play Denver, Kansas City & Green Bay! Tough road.
#22 Computer Hope Just when I thought I was out……THEY PULLED ME BACK IN! Dan Bailey kicks a 54 yard game winning FG in the waning seconds & all of a sudden the 4-8 Cowboys are 1 game out of first place having just beaten the division leading Redskins in Washington! The Cowboys were even -2 in TO margin & 1 for 9 on 3rd down conversions for the game! It’s incredible to think the Cowboys might actually win this division!
#23 Computer Hope How did that happen? Maybe Blaine Gabbert really is the answer at QB & the 49ers have found a way to win games. The 26-20 OT win at Chicago is bordering on miraculous given how well the Bears have been playing recently & San Francisco at 4-8 is tied with St. Louis for 3rd/4th place in the division! Imagine the 49ers not finishing last! With the Browns, Lions & Rams left, it’s possible the 49ers end the season 7-9!
#24 Computer Hope Beating the Ravens 15-13 is hardly cause for celebration, but the Dolphins are 5-7 and not completely out of the playoff picture. Statistically the Dolphins were destroying by a decimated Ravens team playing without QB Joe Flacco, but with Derrick Shelby’s pick-6 & a stingy Dolphins defense, Miami was able to hold on. At best Miami wins two more games which gets them close at 7-9, but falls probably a couple games short.
#25 Computer Hope Well that didn’t go well. Baltimore probably blew their last chance at a win dropping their 8th to the Dolphins. The Ravens get 3 of their last 4 games at home, but those last 4 games come against Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh & Cincinnati. I think it’s safe to say the Ravens are finishing the year 4-12. The Ravens are -11 in TO margin & 4-7 in close games. Injuries have destroyed this team, but Lady Luck hasn’t been kind either.
#26 Computer Hope The Titans can always count on beating Jacksonville at home to ensure the local faithful get to see their beloved warriors of the gridiron emerge victorious each season! I can never bring myself to rank the Titans down in the 30s because I believe in the young talent too much. Down the stretch could be nasty but improved play from Mariota would be enough & they’ll get another high draft pick to build around. Solid work.
#27 Computer Hope It’s hard to lose to the Chargers & Titans in back to back weeks and not fall in my power rankings but the Jaguars are getting better surely albeit slowly. Jacksonville has indeed last 2 straight but they are 3-3 in their last 6 games & those 3 losses have come by a combined total of 14 points. Throw in close losses early in the season to Indy & TB and the Jaguars could theoretically be 9-3! Not a good 9-3, but 9-3 none the less!
#28 Computer Hope The Bolts ended their 6 week losing streak to Jacksonville a week ago but got right back on board dropping a home game to the Broncos 17-3. I’ve been saying this with Cleveland all year with Mike Pettine, but it’s the same with San Diego. Mike McCoy & Philip Rivers deserve better than this. The offense is decimated with no real running threat. The defense is atrocious. They have a lot of work to do this offseason & Rivers’ window is closing.
#29 Computer Hope Let’s just call it like it is. This team is terrible. The lost to Tampa is their 5th straight & the Falcons are 1-6 in their last 7. The Falcons have legitimate issues with their pass rush. Atlanta so far has accumulated just 13 sacks in their 12 games which is the lowest total in the NFL! First round draft pick Vic Beasley was supposed to help with this but he hasn’t had a sack since Week 3. Can you imagine Atlanta grabbing Joey Bosa?
#30 Computer Hope It’s amazing to think that the Saints have lost 4 straight games since winning the thriller over the Giants 52-49 in week 8! At the time the Saints improved to 4-4 & I thought they would be a factor come playoff time. Instead, the Saints have lost 4 straight & might finish last in the South now that Tampa Bay is surging. The Saints could win out though & finish 8-8. I don’t know if that is going to be good enough however.
#31 Computer Hope Over the last 2 weeks, the Rams have lost to the Bengals & Cardinals by the combined score of 58-10! Jeff Fisher is a certain goner, but at least he won’t be alone as Indianapolis is going to get rid of Chuck Pagano as well. I’m not sure Fisher is a good HC, but at the same time, he has no QB & hasn’t had one since taking over the coaching duties in St. Louis. Regardless, this is an awfully talented team seemingly missing one vital piece.
#32 Computer Hope The worst team in the NFL, the Browns are 2-10 & have lost 7 straight games. It’s great they are letting Johnny Manziel take over the starter’s spot again. They need to see what he has. I’m not a huge fan of Manziel myself, but it does seem counter intuitive to spend a 1st round pick on a player & then never really give him an opportunity to lead the team & get signficant reps on game day when it matters most. Good job Cleveland.

December 13, 2015 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 32, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Week 13

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