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NFL POWER 32 – 2016 WEEK 9

#1 Computer Hope New England was on a bye this week and the only thing of note that came out of Patriots camp was Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s support of Donald Trump! All those guys do is win. Whether it’s Super Bowls or presidential elections! What is becoming more clear is that there isn’t a team in the AFC that is really going to challenge the Patriots and that might even include the NFL. Peyton Manning left a huge void when he left, but the biggest void might have been leaving no foil for Brady.
#2 Computer Hope The Cowboys hammered away at Cleveland 35-10 which is precisely what a Super Bowl contending team should have done. It’s worth noting that while Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are getting a tremendous amount of attention, the Dallas Cowboys defense ranks 4th in the NFL in scoring defense! Everyone thought Dallas’ defense was a weakness coming in, but it hasn’t worked that way. The rush defense is solid and the pass defense is above average. This is a contending team for sure.
#3 Computer Hope Another week, another opportunity for Matt Ryan to put on a clinic. This past week Ryan torched the Bucs defense for 344 yards & 4TD without a mistake and completing 74% of his passes. Ryan has been almost perfect over the last two games against Green Bay & Tampa Bay. He’s having the best season of his career by far and is on pace to finish the season with 5300yds/41TD! It would be one of the greatest historical seasons of all time. Is Ryan ready to take over as the NFL’s #1 QB?
#4 Computer Hope The Bills can be scary good at times but they do just enough things wrong to prevent them from being a legitimate Super Bowl threat. The Bills DOMINATED every phase of the game against the Seahawks, but give Seattle credit in that they made enough big plays escape with a victory & maintain their lead in the NFC West. The Seahawks have legitimate problems going forward. They flat out can’t run the football. I’ve been saying it all season, but that needs to be fixed and it needs fixing now.
#5 Computer Hope The Chiefs did what they continue to do which is not beat themselves. Kansas City barely got by a bad Jacksonville team 19-14, but the key stat here is that KC was +4 in TO margin! Did Kansas City run the ball particularly well? Nope. Did Alex Smith play? Nope. Did Jamaal Charles play? Nope. Did Spencer Ware play? Nope. Did Kansas City win the turnover battle? Yep. Did Kansas City win time of possession? Yep. Did Kansas City win another game? Yep. Andy Reid is doing a great job.
#6 Computer Hope I’ve been a little hesitant to rank Oakland high just because the defense and Khalil Mack haven’t played that well so far in 2016, but at this point what more can the Silver & Black do? The 30-20 win over Denver was a statement and I’m starting to think that Oakland is what we all thought Pittsburgh was going to be. Oakland’s set of triplets aren’t as good as Pittsburgh’s set of triplets individually, but the sum of the three in Oakland is playing better. Oakland is 6-1 in their last 7. I don’t see a fall.
#7 Computer Hope The Bolts recovered from a disappointing win in Denver to put up 40 on Tennessee in a 43-35 win over the Titans. Melvin Gorden WENT OFF rushing for 196 yards & a TD while also catching 4 balls for 65 yards. Gordon was ELECTRIC at Wisconsin & is a true 3-down back in the making. He leads the NFL with 9 rushing TDs and while his ypc is 4.0, it’ll keep increasing. If Gordon has broken through & Rivers can go full on “F YOU MODE” then San Diego is the biggest threat to the Patriots.
#8 Computer Hope What more can you ask for? The Giants have won 3 straight to get to 5-3 and the defense is playing like a top-10 unit. The 28-23 win over Philadelphia was a big one as it basically establishes the Giants as the biggest threat to the Cowboys. What I like about New York is that there is still quite a bit of upside here. Their pass rush hasn’t played up to its capabilities & Eli Manning is still throwing too many picks. If both of those things improve then New York will be a difficult out in January.
#9 Computer Hope Sounds wild putting the 4-4 Saints in the top-10 but when Brees is throwing for 320+ and Mark Ingram is running for 150+, does it really matter if the defense isn’t as special as you want it to be? I know beating the 49ers 41-23 isn’t a fantastic win, but at this point do you bet against Drew Brees? With the way the Steelers, Bengals & Packers are playing, I’d take Brees over all of them regardless if New Orleans’ defense isn’t playing well. They still have work to do but they are in the playoff hunt.
#10 Computer Hope If you believe in Oakland then losing to the Raiders on the road 30-20 isn’t that bad of a defeat and the Broncos are still 6-3 with a comfortable lead for a Wild Card spot. At the same time I think we are beginning to see Trevor Siemian’s demise. He’s not looked good in his last 4 games since coming back after missing a game & if not for Philip Rivers throwing a ton of interceptions, they’d be 1-3 in their last 4. Four of their next 6 are on the road & their remaining home games are KC, NE & OAK.
#11 Computer Hope OUTSTANDING road win over the Vikings 22-16 in OT! I thought Detroit showed incredible resolve in this game. They held a lead for most of the game, but it got away from them and the Lions needed a 58-yard FG to get the game into OT. Once OT the Lions went to work and got a quick TD to pull it off. I thought Matt Stafford looked incredible on that game tying drive & then again in OT. They are 4-1 in their last 5 and will have 2 home games after the bye. They MUST build off this win!
#12 Computer Hope The Redskins were on bye last week but with the losses by Minnesota, Green Bay, Philadelphia & Tampa Bay, the Redskins sticking at 4-3-1 have them knocking on the Wild Card door. The emergence of the Giants is tough to see, but remember that Washington already beat them in New York. These next two weeks are super important for the Redskins as they get back-to-back home games against Minnesota & Green Bay. Wins are crucial here regarding playoff tiebreakers in a crowded NFC.
#13 Computer Hope Destroyed the Seahawks in every meaningful way except the scoreboard. The problem for the Bills is that they let Jimmy Graham make too many acrobatic plays with one hand and also didn’t prevent big plays in general from the Seattle offense. The Bills and Chargers are two of the best 6 teams in the AFC, but unfortunately both are on the outside looking in right now. Sometimes learning how to win is the most difficult obstacle even if you have all the talent in the world. This was a tough loss.
#14 Computer Hope It wasn’t a great win, but a win is a win and the Dolphins will take them however they come. I thought it a good sign that Jay Ajayi didn’t have to run for 250 yards & Miami still get a win. Ryan Tannehill played efficient if unspectacular football and the Dolphins relied on Ryan Fitzpatrick being Ryan Fitzpatrick to eek out a 28-23 win. The Dolphins have now won 3-straight games to get to 4-4, but remember that 5 of their next 8 games are on the road & so far this season Miami is 0-3 on the road.
#15 Computer Hope Carolina won their 2nd straight game going into Los Angeles and beating the Rams 13-10. It wasn’t particularly pretty, but Cam Newton didn’t make any mistakes and the Panthers dominated time of possession to get a close win. The win moved them to 3-5 and while the playoffs are still seemingly a long shot, Carolina gets two home games against KC & New Orleans that could push them to 5-5 and likely 2nd place in the South. The defense is starting play better which is a good sign.
#16 Computer Hope At this point who knows? Indianapolis has alternated wins and losses for 8 straight weeks now so it’s unlikely we can guess which Colts team will show up. Going into Green Bay was a ready made game for the Colts to get slaughtered. Instead they win 31-25 despite the team not playing all that well. The O-Line wasn’t awful. Special teams played extremely well. The Colts are probably the best team in the South because of Andrew Luck but they need to find some type of consistency.
#17 Computer Hope Carson Wentz was terrible and the Eagles still almost upended the Giants in New York before falling 28-23. The shine has come off Philadelphia as the Eagles have gone 1-4 in their last 5 games, but the 4 losses were all road games. In their final 8 games, the Eagles only get 3 road games. If they defend home turf, at worst the Eagles will finish 9-7. That might be good enough for a Wild Card spot, but even if it isn’t, is anyone really going to complain about going 9-7 in Wentz’s first year as QB?
#18 Computer Hope In 6 of Pittsburgh’s first 7 possessions, they went 3 and out. The Ravens have a pretty good defense but Pittsburgh’s offense is supposed to be outstanding and they can muster only one first down in the entire first half? The Steelers essentially gave up 10 points on turnovers and then let Mike Wallace get loose for a 96-yard TD catch which gave the Ravens a 21-14 win. The Steelers have now lost 3 straight and are 2-4 in their last 6. They get Dallas next week so the hole could get deeper.
#19 Computer Hope Losing to the Colts at home is brutal. Whatever was ailing Aaron Rodgers is definitely gone. Over his last 4 games, Rodgers has completed 69% of his passes for 1163 yards with 11TD to 2INT. Over a 16 game season Rodgers would rack up 4700yds/44TD at this pace. The Packers are 1-3 in these games!? The troubling part is that none of the regression stats show Green Bay in for a move up. Rodgers is great no question, but what is becoming more clear is that team around him isn’t so good.
#20 Computer Hope The Bengals are coming off a bye this past week which is much needed after a 3-4-1 opening for the first half of the season. One thing that really sticks out to me over the first half of the season for Cincinnati is their sack differential. Andy Dalton is on pace to be sacked 50 times this year while the Bengals pass rush hasn’t yet materialized. Even when Cincy didn’t pass rush great, Dalton wasn’t taking so many hits. When you can’t get pressure & can’t prevent pressure, you wind up 3-4-1 to start.
#21 Computer Hope Like Indianapolis, the Texans have been alternating wins & losses for the past 7 weeks. I think the Texans have to be feeling pretty good to be 5-3 and in the AFC South lead at the half-way point of the season. Brock Osweiler hasn’t been fantastic and not having the heart & soul of your team in JJ Watt obviously hurts. Lamar Miller needs to be focal point of the offense going forward & it’ll be interesting to see how Houston adjust as they start with 4 of their next 5 games on the road after the bye.
#22 Computer Hope Arizona is coming off bye after finishing their first half of the season exactly as Cincinnati did at 3-4-1. The Cardinals are probably one team outside of San Diego that could have a dramatic impact on the 2nd half of the season, but in my opinion it’ll depend on Bruce Arians figuring out that the offense needs to run through David Johnson and not through Carson Palmer. The Cardinals are better than they’ve played and the coaching staff is a lot better than they’ve shown so far in this season.
#23 Computer Hope This is what you call an implosion and I’m not sure it gets much better. The Vikings gave Matt Stafford less than a minute to get into field goal range and then Matt Prater kicked a 58-yard FG that could have been good from 65 to send it to OT. The Lions get the ball, score a TD & it’s over. That’s demoralizing. The offense has disappeared scoring 12PPG in the last 3 games & Minnesota cannot run the football. I think Mike Zimmer is an outstanding football coach but the Vikings look way off now.
#24 Computer Hope I’m not going to be too difficult on Tennessee for falling to the Chargers in San Diego. The Titans had no answer for Melvin Gordon and Philip Rivers was on his A-Game yet the Titans were able to score 35 points and lose by just 8, 43-35. Giving up 40 isn’t the greatest sign but I still think the Chargers are one of the best teams in the AFC so the loss isn’t that bad. The Titans are right on the cusp of taking over the AFC South in my opinion. They need to get on a roll and the rest will follow.
#25 Computer Hope Is there a less impressive division leader than the Ravens at this point? Give it up to John Harbaugh and his staff for having the Ravens sitting pretty at 4-4 at the halfway point and still leading the AFC South over Pittsburgh due to their 21-14 win over the Steelers this past week. Baltimore is living on the edge. Every game they’ve played this year has been decided by 7 points or less meaning “best” case they are 8-0, but “worst” case they are 0-8! What kind of upside does this team have?
#26 Computer Hope Chicago was on bye last week but it’ll be interesting to see what they do with an extra week’s rest coming off a big win over the Vikings. I thought Chicago would be a lot better than they’ve been, but there are certain signs point up. Over their last 5 games, Chicago has allowed only 19.2PPG. In their first 3 games they allowed 27.7PPG! Jordan Howard, not Jeremy Langford, was the RB they were looking for & maybe Jay Cutler can have a great 2nd half. Fox & Fangio are too good to be this bad.
#27 Computer Hope It looks good that the Bucs scored 28 on Atlanta but it was actually 40-14 late in the 4th before the Bucs put in some garbage time TDs. Despite the losses, Tampa has to be pretty excited about the consistency that Jameis Winston has been showing lately. His accuracy isn’t the best and it might never be, but in his last 4 games, Winston has thrown 9TD to only 1INT. I’d take that all day. Mike Evans is having a great year on pace for 110rec/1500yds/16TD. Pass rush & defense need to get better.
#28 Computer Hope The 13-10 loss to Carolina hurts obviously but what hurts even more is the fact that the Rams started off 3-1 and have dropped 4 straight with 3 of those 4 losses coming at home. There is now talk of Jared Goff finally making his debut at QB. It makes sense. The Rams are for the most part out of it so why not get Goff some experience before trying to improve in 2017? I tell you what I’d like to know: 1)Why is Todd Gurley playing this awful, and 2)How does Jeff Fisher still have a job?
#29 Computer Hope And Ryan Fitzpatrick goes all Ryan Fitzpatrick again! The Jets are the on team in the NFL that there really is no storyline to. The QB issues are front and center but does anyone really believe in Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenburg? The Jets don’t seem to or else they’d cut ties with Fitzpatrick all together and just roll with one of the young guns to see what they can and can’t do moving forward. At least they are on bye this upcoming week. Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t throw any interceptions!
#30 Computer Hope Losing to the Chiefs 19-14 is tough especially considering the Jags were -4 in TO margin but look on the bright side. Only one of those turnovers came at hands of Blake Bortles throwing interceptions. Over the last two games, Bortles has thrown 1 pick in 95 pass attempts! Last year Bortles threw 606 passes & was picked up an NFL leading 18 times. If he were to throw 606 passes at the rate he’s thrown them over the last two games, Bortles would only have thrown 6-7 interceptions! Progress!
#31 Computer Hope Cleveland had no shot at beating Dallas and was hammered 35-10. It was what we expected so there is no reason to move Cleveland down just because they lost their 9th straight game. The real problem for the Browns is that I don’t see a win on the schedule now. I think 0-16 is a real possibility so the #1 pick is in their hands. What’s interesting about that is I’m not sure there is an overwhelming #1 QB to be taken in the 2017 draft which means Cleveland could be looking to stock picks again.
#32 Computer Hope As if the negative attention couldn’t get any worse for the 49ers. All of Colin Kaepernick’s bluster about the state of the nation and the dummy doesn’t even have the decency to go vote in the election! Talk about crazy. It takes all credibility away from him and not only is Kaepernick a joke of a football player, but he’s now a joke of a human being. This is the team of Joe Montana & Steve Young for crying out loud? How in the world is Kaepernick still allowed to walk around in a 49ers jersey?

November 13, 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, Los Angeles Rams, 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, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Week 9

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