No Sleep Till Football

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NFL POWER 32 – WEEK 17 2015

#1 Computer Hope Winners of 10 straight, Kansas City is without a doubt the hottest team in the NFL so it’s interesting to see so many other teams are getting more publicity than the Chiefs. The NFC seems to have the big names this year so KC is flying under the radar but they were +150 in that 10-game winning streak! That’s amazing because they didn’t jus win, they won by an average of 2+TD! Andy Reid & Alex Smith could create a legacy with a Super Bowl victory.
#2 Computer Hope Only the 1984 49ers, 1985 Bears, 1998 Vikings, 2004 Steelers, 2007 Patriots, 2011 Packers, and now the 2015 Carolina Panthers have had a season at 15-1 or better. The bad news is that only the ’84 49ers & ’85 Bears won the Super Bowl, but I’m glad the Panthers didn’t take the season finale off & secured an historic season! Football Outsiders states that Carolina faced the easiest schedule of any team in the NFL this season. There won’t be easy teams in the playoffs.
#3 Computer Hope Peyton Manning is a game changer here. The Broncos secured the #1 overall seed because Manning came off the bench & beat the Chargers. That makes him 8-2 this year as a starter. If Manning is truly healthy & he can plant off his foot, then Denver is going to be hard pressed to beat. The defense is amazing, but I think the running game found an identity in Manning’s absence. Denver’s offense had 31 turnovers this season! That can’t happen.
#4 Computer Hope Kansas City’s run to end the season is the most impressive of the season, but Seattle’s 6 wins in their last 7 games to end the season is nothing to laugh at. Seattle’s scoring margin in those 7 games was +126 or +18 per game which is 3 points higher than KC’s +15 per game! In those 7 games on average, Russell Wilson completed 71% of his passes for 272 yards & 3TD/0INT. Wilson passed for 4000+yds with 34TD to 8INT. Why isn’t he getting more MVP love?
#5 Computer Hope With Carolina winning, the game didn’t matter much, but losing 36-6 at home to your biggest division rival is crazy & can’t bode well for Arizona entering the postseason. Luckily for the Cardinals, they won’t have to face Seattle again unless it’s in Phoenix in the NFC Championship game & hopefully by then Arizona will have a big division round game under their belts. This still feels like the most completely team in the NFL so the loss isn’t that horrible.
#6 Computer Hope A few factors contribute to the belief the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC. The Tom Brady/Bill Belichick combination is first & foremost but Peyton Manning being off is another factor as well as the QB situations for the AFC teams who made it. What people should be noticing is the fact that New England is 2-4 in their last 6 & don’t look like their usual selves. The bye week really helps as this team has been injury ridden all season & they need health.
#7 Computer Hope You can be sure that Steelers fans around the world are sending Rex Ryan thank yo cards! Pittsburgh is a dangerous team in the playoffs. The offense is almost unstoppable although the loss of D’Angelo Williams hurts a bit because it compromises Pittsburgh’s running game. On the other hand, you have to love having a 2-time Super Bowl champion at QB with the weapons Pittsburgh has. If the defense plays to potential, they win the AFC.
#8 Computer Hope The good news is that Andy Dalton might be ready to go in the divisional round which would be a huge boost for the Bengals offense & their morale. The bad news is that it looks like Dalton won’t be ready for the Wild Card game against Pittsburgh meaning Cincinnati might not even get a chance to have Dalton suit up in the playoffs. The Bengals are 4-4 in their last 8 which isn’t great but a 1 & done postseason would feel horrible after and 8-0 start to the season.
#9 Computer Hope Big kudos to the Vikings who went into Lambeau on the last week of the season AND TOOK the NFC North crown from the Packers. This was Minnesota’s first division title since 2009 when Brett Favre was wearing the purple & gold! The problem is that winning the North meant a date with the Seahawks! Don’t count out the Vikings though. They can run behind Peterson & play solid defense. They are also a good special teams team. The can win!
#10 Computer Hope Nobody is going to give Kirk Cousins MVP consideration but consider that in the Redskins’s last 10 games, Cousins led them to a 7-3 record while completing 72.4% of his passes for 2746 yards with 23TD to 3INT. In Washington’s last 3 games, Cousins completed 73% of his passes for 860 yards with 11TD with nary a pick. You have to give A LOT of credit to Jay Gruden who bet on Cousins & won. Washington can beat Green Bay this week which is amazing.
#11 Computer Hope You could see it coming a mile away. There was no way Rex Ryan was going to lose to the Jets with their playoff life on the line. It was too poetic for Sexy Rexy to ruin the chances of his former team. The Jets have to feel great about their first season with HC Todd Bowles. I think coming into the season most people thought the Jets might be behind both Miami & Buffalo, but it turns out they were a 10-6 team on the cusp of a playoff berth.
#12 Computer Hope Green Bay didn’t exactly back into the playoffs but there isn’t a team on a bigger slide than the Packers. Green Bay is 4-6 in their last 10 games. Two weeks ago Green Bay was humiliated in Arizona 38-8. They then come back home to lose the division to arch rival Minnesota! Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been the same player either. In those last 10 games, his completion % is 57%! He’s not turning the ball over, but he’s not completing passes either. Eek!
#13 Computer Hope To cement the AFC South championship the Texans most likely needed to win their last 3 games, all against AFC South opponents. Houston vanquished all 3 by the combined score of 80-22! Houston ripped off a 7-2 record in their last 9 after starting the season 2-5. Given their QB situation & the absence of Arian Foster, I’m not sure how Bill O’Brien doesn’t win coach of the year. O’Brien is a beast & so is the defense. If this teams gets a QB……..
#14 Computer Hope If you want to know how important turnovers are to a team’s overall success then look no further than the 2015 Detroit Lions. In the first half of the season, Detroit went 1-7 & committed 20 turnovers. In the 2nd half of the season, Detroit’s offense committed just 4 turnovers & the Lions went 6-2! The 4 turnovers in the last 8 games was the lowest margin in the NFL  & Detroit’s 6-2 record was the 4th best record in the NFL in that span. Great 2nd half.
#15 Computer Hope The worst news I heard this week was Buffalo owner Terry Pegula coming out and saying HC Rex Ryan & GM Doug Whaley have one more season to turn the Bills around or they are both gone. When Chip Kelly was fired, Bill Belichick came out & said he didn’t feel comfortable until having 4 years under his belt. Buffalo has went through 8 head coaches since Marv Levy. I like the Bills. I really like Rex Ryan, but this ownership is clueless.
#16 Computer Hope According to Football Outsiders, New Orleans had an historically bad defense. In fact, the last time we had a defense this terribly bad was in 2008 when Detroit couldn’t stop anyone & even that defense ranks better than the 2015 Saints version. Amazingly enough, that Lions team went 0-16. The Saints finished 7-9 which begs the question of how good New Orleans could have been this season if they fielded even a league average defense?
#17 Computer Hope Anytime you don’t make the playoffs it seems disappointing, but Oakland took a HUGE leap this year going from 3-13 last year to 7-9 this season. Derek Carr made tremendous strides. Amani Cooper looks like a legit #1 WR and Khalil Mack is making a good case for being the best defensive player in the NFL. Another 4 win jump & the Raiders are 11-5 & likely in the playoffs. I hope it happens as the NFL is at its best when Oakland is good.
#18 Computer Hope It’s tough to come back after an incredibly emotional win over the Panthers that ended their perfect season & expect to beat a Saints team with Brees on fire. Almost impossible to believe this team started the year 5-0, but Atlanta fell into the tank going 3-8 in their last 11. When you think about it, it’s a surprise Atlanta won 8 games. From a talent perspective Atlanta isn’t awful but they need a lot of upgrades at WR and at edge rusher.
#19 Computer Hope The Eagles are starting over after firing Chip Kelly but take a look at Sam Bradford. In his last 7 starts, the Oklahoma product completed 68% of his passes for 1959 yards with 10TD to 4INT. That’s isn’t horrible & it’s not like Philly was way out of contention at 7-9. Weeks 11 & 12 were disasters for Philly but Bradford wasn’t in those games & Philly had wins over NE, BUF, NYJ, DAL & swept the Giants. Feels like the Eagles made a mistake here.
#20 Computer Hope In his first 9 seasons starting, Eli Manning averaged completing 59% of his passes for 3811 yards along with 25TD to 18INT. In his last 2 years under OC Ben McAdoo, Manning has averaged completing 63% of his passes for 4423 yards along with 32TD to 14INT! The Tom Coughlin era is over in the Big Apple, but I can’t fathom a scenario in which the Giants fail to keep McAdoo around. MANY teams are relieved the G-Men aren’t in the playoffs.
#21 Computer Hope Instead of thinking Indianapolis’ season was a disaster because the Colts finished 8-8 & failed to make the playoffs after getting to the AFC Championship game, let’s look at how amazing of a season it was. The Colts had to deal without their star QB for 9 games. They couldn’t run the ball. They had a defense that in now way could stop the run. The O-Line is horrible. Yet Indy goes 6-3 without Luck & with those obstacles! Give Pagano a raise!
#22 Computer Hope It really looks like the Rams are a decent QB and a #1 WR away from potentially being one of the NFL’s truly elite squad, but I’ll throw something else out there. What if they need a new head coach? I don’t know how he’s done it, but Jeff Fisher has been a HC in the NFL for 21 seasons! In those 21 seasons he’s had 6 winning seasons & 6 playoff appearances. Chuck Pagano was 33-15 in his 1st 3 seasons & almost got canned. Fisher is safe yet again!
#23 Computer Hope Chicago couldn’t find a way to close out games going 2-5 in their final 7 but with 4 of those losses coming by narrow margins. The Bears lost a lot of close games this year but also dealt with quite a few injuries. I would really like Chicago next year if OC Adam Gase stuck around. The Bears had a lot of offensive weapons not see the field this year & Jay Cutler would be in Year 2 of Gase’s systems. I hope the Fox-Gase-Fangio team gets more than 1 year.
#24 Computer Hope I’m surprised Tampa Bay cut ties with Lovie Smith after just two seasons especially given that I think Tampa exceeded expectations this year going 6-10. Jameis Winston had a great rookie campaign & the Bucs actually have a pretty nice roster. I won’t be surprised if OC Dirk Koetter gets the job to give some continuity to Winston as he progresses. Even so, Lovie saw a 4-game increase in wins from year 1 to year 2. This is another firing that is puzzling.
#25 Computer Hope The Dolphins were 4-8 against non-playoff teams but 2-2 against playoff teams including a season ending win over the Patriots. Miami didn’t make any sense all season long in not giving the ball to Lamar Miller, but just as damning might be Miami’s inability to beat the teams they should have beaten. This year they had losses to JAX, DAL, SD & IND. Those 4 games if they turn put Miami at 10-6. A home win over Buffalo & NYJ puts them at 12-4.
#26 Computer Hope I’m glad the Chargers decided to keep HC Mike McCoy because I think he could do great things in San Diego. The Chargers were HAMMERED by injuries to their receivers this year & Philip Rivers still almost threw for 5000 yards! The Melvin Gordon pick was a disaster & the rush defense is atrocious! Nine of SD’s 12 losses were by 8 points or less. The team needs to get a lot better on defense & if that happens, they’ll be A LOT better than 4-12.
#27 Computer Hope The Jaguars sort of toyed with entering the AFC South picture for awhile but lost 5 of their last 6 games to end all hopes of making a surprise run at the division title. A lot went right with Jacksonville this year. Allen Hurns & Allen Robinson taking huge steps forward as did Blake Bortles. TJ Yeldon looks like he can run in this league but the Jaguars have got to fix their secondary. This was a terrible pass defense & it needs to be addressed.
#28 Computer Hope The Ravens were ravaged by injuries this year so they are hard to figure at 5-11. The only offensive players to start all 16 games this year were RT Ricky Wagner & RG Marshal Yanda. That’s the definition of inconsistency! Another interesting storyline from Baltimore is their inability to close out games. The Ravens started the season 1-6 with 6 close losses. They ended the season 4-5 which isn’t great obviously but Lady Luck hated them in 2015.
#29 Computer Hope When you look at advanced metrics, Dallas’ defense in 2015 wasn’t that different from the defense in 2014. In fact, Dallas’ defense might have actually been a tick better. The run game? It averaged 4.6ypc in 2014. It averaged 4.6ypc in 2015! The O-Line? Just as good. What was different was the absence of Tony Romo. Romo missed 12 games but was 3-1 in the games he did start. You can’t take away the franchise & expect to win games.
#30 Computer Hope The 5-11 season is an extreme disappointment but what did San Francisco think was going to happen when Jim Harbaugh was forced out? Harbaugh won twice as many games at Michigan this year as did the 49ers despite SF getting 3 more games than the Wolverines! Regardless of what happens, the 49ers need to get an overhaul on talent. They need to find a QB & get better in all phases of the game. They can’t compete in the West.
#31 Computer Hope He missed 4 games & you certainly don’t like the knee problems to end the season, but Titans fans have to be thrilled with how well Marcus Mariota played this season. Jameis Winston had an incredible year for the Bucs and the more I watched both QBs, the more I liked Mariota. Tennessee needs to find a decent run game & get a lot better in the secondary, but they aren’t that far away from the playoffs is Mariota keeps progressing like he should.
#32 Computer Hope HC Mike Pettine was screwed the minute Cleveland took Johnny Manziel. It’s hard to know exactly how the draft process went for Manziel but Pettine was tied to the Texas A&M QB and both are going to be gone from Cleveland. So is GM Ray Farmer. I have no idea where Cleveland goes from here, but the fans deserve SO MUCH better than this. The Dawg Pound is amazing & the NFL is better when Cleveland is a really good team. This horrible.

January 8, 2016 - 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 17

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