What could have been…

That is how so many teams are waking up feeling this morning. But really, that is how I am feeling. I went 4-10 in my picks(shout out to the Steelers, Panthers, Jaguars, and Patriots for coming through for me this week), and eliminator did not go well. This week had a string of surprising games, ranging from the Lions beating the Packers to Peyton Manning doing… whatever the hell that performance was(more on that later).

Before diving into my power rankings, I want to give some of my NFL thoughts for this past week or so because this was a crazy week.

  1. Dear Peyton, I get that you want to help your team win and you personally probably really wanted that record, but at this point you are hurting your team if you are going to keep trying to play through injuries like a torn plantar fascia. It is very sad to see him go out this way. At the beginning of the year I thought that this would be like the ending of Jordan’s career. Would we rather forget his Wizards days? Of course we would. But at this point, Manning is not even close to what Jordan was in the early 2000s. At least Jordan averaged 20 points per game and made it to two all star games in his final two seasons, Manning can’t even keep his TD-INT ratio above one. Hell, he has almost thrown twice as many INTs as TDs. Peyton should retire after this year(I feel like that goes without saying) but it is a shame that this will be how many people remember one of the best to play at his position
  2. Get well soon Victor Cruz. One of the best things about fantasy football is that it sometimes creates
  3. fandom between fans and the players on their teams. I’ll honestly always be a fan of Cruz simply because I picked him up for his breakout year, and I have been a fan ever since. Hopefully we will see him on the field next year.
  4. Interesting stat I found from Twitter: right now there are 21 teams at or below .500. This is incredible simply because it shows how there are so many average or just below average teams in the league. It also shows how, unlike in years past, there is not really that middle group of teams that are good but not great. This year, that group of teams are top ten because the group of teams that are average and below is 21! There is wasteland after the top eight teams or so.
  5. Every year it feels like the NFL just sticks an awful game on TNF just to stick it to fans. Titans/Jaguars is that game. Sure the Jaguars could be on the upswing, but this is not a exciting game. Of course it will get about 15 million viewers, and be one of the highest rated programs for the day. That’s the power of the NFL right now, even Titans/Jaguars can be a highly rated program.
  6. Who is the best team in the NFC? The easy answer right now is the Panthers, but I have some concerns about that team. Their receiving corps is concerning, and it really isn’t going to get any better between now and December. I have been on the Cardinals are the best bandwagon this year, and they rewarded my faith by beating Seattle in Seattle Sunday night(even though I picked the Seahawks). I think that the Cardinals are the most complete team in the NFC, especially with the Packers recent struggles. I am still waiting for the Seahawks to go on a run, but it is looking less likely by the day.
  7. The Patriots will continue to be my top team in the league, despite losing Edelman, Lewis, and a couple OL in the last few weeks. This speaks to a couple of things:
    1. That is how good Brady has been this season. It does not matter who his receivers are, he is just going to go out and dominate.
    2. How well Belichick and company have drafted over the last couple of years. Guys have stepped in and have done well enough to keep the ship afloat. This Patriots team is something else.
  8. Um… What the hell is up with the Packers. Losses to the Panthers and the Broncos can be explained as both teams are among the best in the league, but the Lions are not in that group. The Packers were only able to score 3 points against a poor Detroit Lions defense ranked 31st by football outsiders. The Packers have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFC, and the entire league honestly, but the last few weeks they have not looked the part at all. With a game this week against Minnesota, and then a game on Thanksgiving against the quietly in contention Bears, the Packers will show us if this was a three week slip up, or something that is gong to be a theme going forward.
  9. Speaking of the Bears, ESPN has them sitting at 12th in their playoff standings, but in terms of records the Bears are tied for 7th(tiebreakers account for them being 12th). They are only two games back of the Packers and the Falcons who each sit at 6-3(the Bears are currently 4-5. Their remaining schedule has a record of 33-30, but if you remove their next two against the Broncos and the Packers(both look like winnable games as of right now), their remaining schedule has a record of 20-25. When I look at their schedule, every single game looks winnable. I don’t want to say that the Bears control their own destiny, but there is a world we live in where the Bears could be playing postseason football
  10. I didn’t really think that I would have been saying that as we near thanksgiving honestly. I was wrong.

Now for the power rankings, with a little different feel this week:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Denver Broncos
  6. Minnesota Vikings
  7. Green Bay Packers
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers
  9. Buffalo Bills
  10. Atlanta Falcons

next up: Jets, Rams, Giants, Bears, and Raiders(no order)

My thoughts on the power rankings:

  1. Don’t question it, the Patriots are still the best team.
  2. The Cardinals answered some of my questions by beating the Seahawks on Sunday, I would like to see them play strong against the Bengals again this week before moving them past the Panthers
  3. The Broncos can’t get any worse with Osweiler in right? Nothing against Peyton, but it can’t be any worse right?
  4. The Vikings have a shot to beat the Packers, especially if Bridgewater gives them a decent performance. The Packers defense has not been great recently, and the Vikings defense should be able to shut down the Packers WRs.
  5. The Steelers, Jets, Bills, and Raiders are probably going to be all competing for two wild card spots, and it is going to be fun down the stretch. I’ll take the Steelers and the Bills today if you put a gun to my head and made me choose.

Finally, my non-NFL thoughts for the last week or so:

  1. The Warriors might be one of the greatest teams of all time, and nearly everyone slept on them. That includes me. I thought that they would be the top team in the West again, but I certainly did not think the would look like this.
  2. Wow that was a crazy weekend in college football. 4 teams in the top 10 of the CFB lost. At this point it appears that as long as Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State win out that they will make the playoff. That is a big if. For the fourth spot, I like Notre Dame. It will be interesting to see if the committee would put a one loss ND team in over an undefeated Oklahoma State team. I think they would, but I am not the committee.
  3. I didn’t do this part last week, but man does Greg Hardy just no get it. Thanks for that nothing apology, although I guess we should not be surprised by anything he does at this point. How many fights does he have to cause on the sideline before he gets cut. Unless he injures Romo he is probably on the team no matter what.
  4. I was going to write a whole thing about why I’ll always like Ronda Rousey more than Floyd, but then he actually offered to help her and actually appeared to be one of her biggest supporters. I’ll just say this, regardless of what he says I will always remember Rousey more for this picture:

while Floyd makes me think of this picture:

just saying, you may not like Rousey, but Floyd is probably 10x the jerk that she will ever be.

check back Thursday night for a biggest a-holes in sports power rankings, feel free to tweet suggestions to me @TVG_5. I am thinking about the biggest a-holes in sports right now.

Ted Van Green(@TVG_5)

Spark Sports NFL Analyst