2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 17

von-miller-broncosThe Carolina Panthers’ quest for an undefeated season is now over after a 20-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. But will this lone loss knock the Panthers from the top spot in our Week 17 power rankings? See below, and check out last week’s power rankings here.

1. Arizona Cardinals (12-2); beat Green Bay, up 1 spot – Arizona is riding a nine-game winning streak heading into their meeting with Seattle, which had a five-game win streak snapped.

2. Carolina Panthers (14-1); lost to Atlanta Falcons 20-13, down 1 spot – There’s no incentive for the Panthers to rest because a loss could allow the Cardinals to claim the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

3. New England Patriots (12-3); lost to NY Jets 26-20 (OT), same spot – This is the third loss in five games for the Pats. Are their injuries too much to overcome for a title shot?

4. Denver Broncos (11-4); beat Cincinnati 20-17 (OT), up 4 spots – After not scoring a second-half point in three straight games, the Broncos got 17 in the second half/OT to claim this contest.

aj-mccarron-bengals5. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4); lost to Denver 20-17 (OT), down 1 spot – The Bengals are only scoring on 30% of their possessions with AJ McCarron; they scored 43% of the time with Andy Dalton.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-5); beat Cleveland 17-13, up 3 spots – Along with the 1986 Jets, Kansas City is the only other team to win 10 games and have a five-game losing streak in the same season.

7. Seattle Seahawks (9-6); lost to St. Louis 23-17, down 2 spots – Seattle couldn’t overcome their bleak 3-point first half to beat the Rams.

8. New York Jets (10-5); beat New England 26-20 (OT), up 2 spots – The Jets got a huge victory over the Pats, but they must still win on Sunday to guarantee themselves a playoff spot.

9. Green Bay Packers (10-5); lost to Arizona 38-8, down 3 spots – This is the second time in the past four games that Green Bay has been shut out in the first half.

10. Minnesota Vikings (10-5); beat NY Giants 49-17, up 1 spot – While Minnesota’s offense has struggled at times, the 49 points here is their most since 1998.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6); lost to Baltimore 20-17, down 4 spots  – While Pittsburgh may no longer control their own playoff destiny, they at least face the 3-12 Browns in Week 17.

brandon-weeden-texans12. Houston Texans (8-7); beat Tennessee 34-6, same spot – The way Brandon Weeden played last week has to make the Cowboys wonder if they made the right move by cutting him.

13. Washington Redskins (8-7); beat Philadelphia 38-24, same spot – In the last nine games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 20 TD’s, 3 INT’s and completed 72% of his passes.

14. Atlanta Falcons (8-7); beat Carolina 20-13, same spot – Atlanta lost their way after a 6-0 start, but this huge victory helps make up for missing the playoffs.

15. Buffalo Bills (7-8); beat Dallas 16-6, same spot – If Buffalo beats the Jets, they’ll have strung together non-losing seasons for the first time since 1999-2000.

16. Oakland Raiders (7-8); beat San Diego 23-20 (OT), same spot – If Derek Carr gets three more passing TD’s in the final week, he’ll tie Daryle Lamonica’s franchise record of 34 TD’s.

17. Indianapolis Colts (7-8); beat Miami 18-12, up 2 spots – Indianapolis can still win the AFC South, but they need Houston and multiple other teams to lose to do so.

todd-gurley-rams18. St. Louis Rams (7-8); beat Seattle 23-17, up 2 spots – Todd Gurley is the first Rams running back to top 1,000 yards and score 10 TD’s since Eric Dickerson in 1983.

19. New York Giants (7-8); lost to Minnesota 49-17, down 2 spots – Eli Manning sure missed Odell Beckham since he completed just 5-of-14 passes to wideouts and had 3 interceptions.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (6-9); lost to Washington 38-24, down 2 spots  – The Chip Kelly era comes to a tumultuous end after he was fired yesterday.

21. New Orleans Saints (6-9); beat Jacksonville 38-27, up 3 spots – Drew Brees has been his old self the past three games, tossing 8 TD’s and zero interceptions while averaging 355 passing yards.

22. Chicago Bears (6-9); beat Tampa Bay 26-21, up 3 spots – Will Matt Forte be back next year? Jeremy Langford has equaled or out-snapped him three weeks straight.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9); lost to Chicago 26-21, down 2 spots – The Bucs were .500 three weeks ago; since then, they’ve allowed an 89.8 Total QBR to opponents and lost three straight.

24. Detroit Lions (6-9); beat San Francisco 32-17, up 1 spot – The Lions have committed just 4 turnovers in the last seven games, going 5-2 in this span.

allen-robinson25. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10); lost to New Orleans 38-27, down 3 spots – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are the first Jaguars receivers to top 1,000 yards since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell in 2001.

26. Baltimore Ravens (5-10); beat Pittsburgh 20-17 (OT), up 4 spots – Baltimore swept the Steelers for just the second time in franchise history.

27. Miami Dolphins (5-10); lost to Indianapolis 18-12, down 1 spot – Miami is 2-7 in this last nine games, losing by a combined 102 points.

28. San Diego Chargers (4-11); lost to Oakland 23-20 (OT), down 1 spot – San Diego lost eight times by eight points or fewer this season.

29. Dallas Cowboys (4-11); lost to Buffalo 16-6, down 1 spot – Dez Bryant has predictably been shut down for the season and will undergo foot surgery.

30. San Francisco 49ers (4-11); lost to Detroit 32-17, down 1 spot – DuJuan Harris led the rushing effort last week; he was working as a car salesman in 2012.

31. Tennessee Titans (3-12); lost to Houston 34-6, same spot – Tennessee has committed 32 turnovers this season, which leads the league.

32. Cleveland Browns (3-12); lost to Kansas City 17-13, same spot – Johnny Manziel is being evaluated for a concussion and might not play Sunday.

2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 15

aj-mccarron-bengalsThe Cincinnati Bengals’ season has taken a surprising turn after losing Andy Dalton for 4-6 weeks with a fractured thumb. The Bengals will now try to earn a first-round playoff bye with AJ McCarron under center, which, until further notice, puts a question mark on the team’s potential. See where Cincinnati ranks in our Week 15 power rankings, and you can check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Carolina Panthers (13-0); beat Atlanta 38-0, same spot – You can definitely see why Cam Newton is leading the MVP race when considering that in the last six games, he’s thrown for 14 TD’s, rushed for 2 TD’s and tossed just one interception.

2. Arizona Cardinals (11-2); beat Minnesota 23-20, same spot – Games against Green Bay and Seattle to close out the season will get Arizona playoff-ready.

3. New England Patriots (11-2); beat Houston 27-6, up 2 spots – New England halts a two-game slide, and suddenly they’re back in position to grab the AFC’s top seed again.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-3); lost to Pittsburgh 33-20, down 1 spot – Andy Dalton might not be back until the middle of the postseason. Can the Bengals last this long?

5. Denver Broncos (10-3); lost to Oakland 15-12, down 1 spot – Brock Osweiler has protected the ball well, but he’s getting sacked on nearly 9 percent of his drop-backs.

6. Seattle Seahawks (8-5); beat Baltimore 35-6, same spot – Seattle has been crushing opponents lately. But can they settle their running back position en lieu of all their injuries?

aaron-rodgers-vs-patriots7. Green Bay Packers (9-4); beat Dallas 28-7, same spot – The Packers racked up 251 rushing yards in this game, which is their most since 2004.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5); beat Cincinnati 33-20, up 1 spot  – Nobody can stop Pittsburgh’s offense right now. They’re averaging 494 yards in offense in the last five games while scoring over 30 points each time out.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5); beat San Diego 10-3, down 1 spot – Alex Smith threw his first interception in 312 pass attempts – ending the second-longest streak in NFL history behind Tom Brady (358).

10. New York Jets (8-5); beat Tennessee 30-8, up 1 spot – With 89 catches, Brandon Marshall needs just 5 more to break the Jets’ record for most catches in a season.

11. Minnesota Vikings (8-5); lost to Arizona 23-20, same spot – Teddy Bridgewater needs to get rid of the ball quicker; he’s been sacked on 8.4 percent of his drop-backs.

12. Buffalo Bills (6-7); lost to Philadelphia 23-20, same spot – The Bills’ biggest downfall has been penalties since they lead the league in penalties called (147) and penalty yardage (1,086).

khalil-mack-raiders13. Oakland Raiders (6-7); beat Denver 15-12, up 4 spots – With his five sacks, Khalil Mack tied Howie Long for the most in a single Raiders’ game.

14. New York Giants (6-7); beat Miami 31-24, up 4 spots – This is the sixth-straight game that Odell Beckham Jr. has had 100 receiving yards – the longest streak this year.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7); beat Buffalo 23-20, up 5 spots  – Sam Bradford is playing much better; he has 5 TD’s and 1 INT in the last four games, compared to 9 TD’s and 10 INT’s in the first 11 contests.

16. Houston Texans (6-7); lost to New England 27-6, up 3 spots – This is the fifth game in which Houston has replaced their quarterback; they’re 1-4 in these contests.

17. Indianapolis Colts (6-7); lost to Jacksonville 51-16, down 3 spots – For the first time since 1953, the Colts have allowed 45 points in back-to-back games.

18. Washington Redskins (6-7); beat Chicago 24-21, up 4 spots – Kirk Cousins should land a pretty big contract this offseason for his play.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7); lost to New Orleans 24-17, down 4 spots – Tampa Bay’s glaring weakness is their pass defense, as they’re giving up a league-leading 68.7 percent completion rate.

20. Atlanta Falcons (6-7); lost to Carolina 38-0, down 4 spots – Atlanta is on a six-game losing streak and they haven’t gotten one rushing TD during this period.

allen-robinson21. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8); beat Indianapolis 51-16, up 6 spots – The Jaguars have put up 90 points in the past two weeks – 11 more points than any other team.

22. New Orleans Saints (5-8); beat Tampa Bay 24-17, up 6 spots – Tim Hightower went from not playing a game since 2011 to rushing 28 times in this victory.

23. St. Louis Rams (5-8); beat Detroit 21-14, up 1 spot – The Rams are 4-1 when Todd Gurley rushes for at least 100 yards.

24. Chicago Bears (5-8); lost to Washington 24-21, down 5 spots – Chicago just can’t win at Soldier Field; they’re 1-6 at home, which is tied for worst with the Titans.

25. Miami Dolphins (5-8); lost to NY Giants 31-24, down 4 spots – With this loss, the Dolphins are guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the seventh-straight season.

26. Detroit Lions (4-9); lost to St. Louis 21-14, down 4 spots – This marked just the second time since 2010 that Calvin Johnson only had one catch in a game.

27. Dallas Cowboys (4-9); lost to Green Bay 28-7, down 2 spots – Matt Cassel has only completed 16-of-42 passes (38.1%) to Dez Bryant this year.

28. San Francisco 49ers (4-9); lost to Cleveland 24-10, down 2 spots – Yet again, Blaine Gabbert fails to win consecutive starts in his career.

29. Baltimore Ravens (4-9); lost to Seattle 35-6, down 2 spots – Baltimore was only losing by a 3.6 PPG margin before playing Seattle and suffering a 29-point loss.

30. Tennessee Titans (3-10); lost to NY Jets 30-8, same spot – At least QB Marcus Mariota caught a touchdown in this game…that was about it, though.

31. Cleveland Browns (3-10); beat San Francisco 24-10, up 1 spot – Johnny Manziel is now 2-2 as a starter. Austin Davis and Josh McCown are 1-8 combined.

32. San Diego Chargers (3-10); lost to KC 10-3, down 1 spot – This is the third time in four games that San Diego has been held to just a field goal.

2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Wild Card Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Cincinnati BengalsFew would have predicted that the Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers would still be among the unbeatens through six weeks of NFL action. But here we are and their records remain unblemished. See where Cincy and Carolina sit in our NFL Week 7 power rankings. Also, check out our rankings from Week 6.

1. New England Patriots (5-0); beat Indianapolis Colts 34-27, same spot – Through five games, New England has scored one more point (183) than they did in their 2007 undefeated season (182).

2. Green Bay Packers (6-0); beat San Diego 27-20, same spot – Green Bay’s undefeated record will face a serious test after their bye week; they meet Denver then Carolina.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-0); beat Buffalo Bills 34-21, same spot – Cincinnati looks poised to blow open what looked to be an extremely tough AFC North at the outset.

4. Denver Broncos (6-0); beat Cleveland Browns 26-23, same spot – Peyton Manning has 10 interceptions, his most at this point since his rookie season (14).

Cam Newton5. Carolina Panthers (5-0); beat Seattle 27-23, up 2 spots – Cam Newton has been masterful in the fourth quarter (94.1 QBR); but he’s been terrible in the first three quarters (37.1 QBR).

6. Arizona Cardinals (4-2); lost to Pittsburgh 25-13, down 1 spot – Arizona has lost the battle of turnovers in their two losses (-6 differential).

7. New York Jets (4-1); beat Washington 34-20, up 1 spot – Chris Ivory is having a career year so far, averaging 115.0 rushing yards per game.

8. Atlanta Falcons (5-1); lost to New Orleans 31-21, down 1 spot – The Falcons finally lost one of the four games that they’ve trailed entering the fourth quarter.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2); beat Arizona 25-13, up 1 spot  – Despite trotting out three quarterbacks so far, Pittsburgh only has 3 turnovers – best in the NFL.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3); beat New York Giants, up 4 spots  – Philly finally has that vaunted rushing attack going; they’re averaging 154.7 rushing yards in their three wins.

11. Buffalo Bills (3-3); lost to Cincinnati 34-21, same spot – Will Mario William’s complaints about the defense spark this team’s feared front four?

12. Indianapolis Colts (3-3); lost to New England 34-27, same spot – The Colts have yet to win a game outside their division, but the good news is that they only play AFC South opponents until Week 14.

kam-chancellor-seattle13. Seattle Seahawks (2-4); lost to Carolina 27-23, down 4 spots – Seattle has been really bad at holding leads; their -28 point differential in the fourth quarter is second worst in the league.

14. Minnesota Vikings (3-2); beat Kansas City 16-10, up 3 spots – Adrian Peterson managed just 60 rushing yards, his fewest in a Minnesota win since 2011.

15. New York Giants (3-3); lost to Philadelphia 27-7, down 2 spots – New York looked hot on their opening drive, then just fizzled the rest of the game.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3); bye week, down 1 spot – Dallas gets to debut their changes at various positions coming out of their bye week.

17. St. Louis Rams (2-3); bye week, up 1 spot – Todd Gurley could have his best game yet as he faces Cleveland, the worst rushing defense in the league.

18. San Diego Chargers (2-4); lost to Green Bay 27-20, up 1 spot – San Diego has been competitive all season, it just hasn’t resulted in wins.

19. New Orleans Saints (2-4); beat Atlanta 31-21, up 5 spots – The winning formula for New Orleans: don’t turn the ball over. They’re 2-0 when they do so.

20. Miami Dolphins (2-3); beat Tennessee 38-10, up 6 spots – Miami’s pass rush finally generated the pressure it was supposed to, tallying 6 sacks (4 from Cameron Jordan).

21. Cleveland Browns (2-4); lost to Denver 26-23, down 1 spot – Cleveland has to improve on the fact that they’re giving up an NFL-worst 149.8 rushing yards per game.

calvin-johnson-lions22. Detroit Lions (1-5); beat Chicago 37-34, up 5 spots – Calvin Johnson hadn’t caught a 30+ yard pass since last season, but that’s exactly what he did to give Detroit a win.

23. Chicago Bears (2-4); lost to Detroit 37-34, down 1 spot – If nothing else, Chicago is competitive. They’ve played three straight games that were decided by 3 or fewer points.

24. San Francisco (2-4); beat Baltimore 25-20, up 7 spots – The Niners have been playing some better offense, averaging 26 points and committing no turnovers in the past 2 contests.

25. Oakland Raiders (2-3); bye week, down 2 spots – If there’s some solace for the Raiders, two of their losses have come to Denver and Cincy.

26. Houston Texans (2-4); beat Jacksonville 31-20, up 2 spots – Houston will look to go 3-0 against Florida this week as they face Miami.

27. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5); lost to Minnesota 16-10, down 11 spots – No Jamaal Charles…Jeremy Maclin concussed, things are not going good for the Chiefs.

28. Washington Redskins (2-4); lost to NY Jets 34-20, down 3 spots – After leading the NFL in rushing through the first four games, Washington has only averaged 42.5 rushing yards per game.

29. Baltimore Ravens (1-5); lost to San Francisco 25-20, down 7 spots – While all of Baltimore’s games have been within a touchdown, they’ve been on the losing end too many times.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3); bye week, down 1 spot – Tampa Bay will look to even up their record against a tough Washington defense.

31. Tennessee Titans (1-4); lost to Miami 38-10, down 1 spot – After winning their first game by 28 against Tampa Bay, Tennessee has lost four games by a combined 45 points.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5); lost to Houston 31-20, same spot – Jacksonville still has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season.

Georgia Bulldogs Betting: Will Todd Gurley start when reinstated?

nick-chubb-georgia-startingIt seems a ridiculous question to many college football bettors, but we’re going to ask it anyways: when Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley comes back from his indefinite suspension, will he immediately step into his starting role or have to earn it back?

Before being suspended for possible NCAA violations related to the sale of memorabilia, Gurley was tearing up the competition. His stats through five games included 94 rushes for 773 yards (8.2 YPC) and 8 touchdowns. Given these numbers, it’s little surprise that the 6’1″, 226-pound back was a leading Heisman candidate. And while the Heisman Trophy is out reach now, he’s still one of the nation’s most talented players.

Unfortunately, he’s now at the mercy of the NCAA as they consider when to reinstate the junior. Could he be back in time for next Saturday’s matchup against the Florida Gators? Or will he be waiting until mid-November, when the 9th-ranked Bulldogs take on the 5th-ranked Auburn Tigers? This uncertainty has been haunting Georgia coaches and fans over the past two and a half weeks.

In Gurley’s place has stepped freshman Nick Chubb, who’s been a more-than-serviceable backup. In victories at Missouri and Arkansas, Chubb provided 143 and 202 rushing yards respectively and three touchdowns. Sure a lot of this can be attributed to excellent run blocking by Georgia’s line. But Chubb has flashed the skills that show he’s Georgia’s running back of the future.

We should mention, though, that this isn’t a question of if Chubb is better than Gurley. The latter is two years more seasoned and arguably college football’s best running back. Instead, it’s a matter of weighing if Chubb can be nearly as good as Gurley along with sticking to the university’s standards.

Several years ago, head coach Mark Richt started the foundation of a stricter approach to dealing with players after the arrests of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. No matter the talent level, Richt doesn’t let player skate by just because they’re good. So this brings us back to the original point of if Gurley will be starting right away.

We’re not being naive here because he gives this team the best chance to win when he’s on the field. However, it might send a good message to the entire team if Gurley loses a few carries and a little playing time to Chubb when he comes back. Of course, part of sending this message may depend upon when he’s reinstated too. If it doesn’t happen until around November 15th, when Georgia plays Auburn, standards may go out the window. But with winnable games against Florida and Kentucky, now would be the perfect time for Richt to uphold his standards.