This week there were some good games last Sunday, but it seems that most of the teams are grouped in together. At this point, there are only four or five teams that can be considered out of the playoff picture. This week should shape out the more of the playoffs even more.
1. New England Patriots (7-1; Prev. 1)
The Patriots had a bye week and hopefully they figured out a way to play better defense. They traded Jamie Collins to the Browns for a compensatory third round pick and it seemed like a message from Bill Belichick to his defense to play better. They have a tough game this week as the Seahawks come to town.
2. Dallas Cowboys (7-1; Prev. 2)
The Dallas Cowboys just keep rolling. They were able to just beat up the Browns and didn’t let Cleveland back into the game. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were both unstoppable and make it hard to think of a team that can beat the Cowboys at this moment. With their win on Sunday, the Cowboys are now two games up on the rest of the NFC and are in the driver’s seat to the playoffs. The most impressive person in this game was Jason Witten. He played in his record breaking 155th straight game and was able to get eight catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. They need to continue playing well this week as they will travel to Pittsburgh for a good matchup against the Steelers.
3. Oakland Raiders (7-2; Prev. 4)
The Raiders got their biggest win of the season on Sunday when they faced off with the Broncos. They were able to do it in a way that they hadn’t done so far this season, with their running game. Latavius Murray had his best game of the season, rushing for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns. Derek Carr only threw for 184 yards and no touchdowns. Their defense was able to hold the Broncos to 20 points, something that they haven’t really been able to do at any point this season. If their defense keeps improving, this could be a scary team to watch in the playoffs. The Raiders have a bye week this week; hopefully they don’t cool off like many other teams have this season, coming off of the bye.
4. Atlanta Falcons (6-3; Prev. 6)
The Atlanta Falcons were able to win a big division game against the Buccaneers. The Atlanta offense was able to do whatever they wanted against Tampa Bay and showed why Matt Ryan is an MVP candidate. He was able to throw for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Devontae Freeman was able to rush for 77 yards and didn’t get in the endzone, but he didn’t need to. Their defense could have played a little better, but given how dominant their offense was, they didn’t need to do much against the Buccaneers. This week, they are travelling to Philadelphia for a big NFC game against the Eagles.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2; Prev. 7)
The Kansas City Chiefs looked good against the Jaguars, given that they were using their backup quarterback and their third string running back. Nick Foles was only able to throw for 187 yards and a touchdown and the Chiefs as a team were only able to rush for 62 yards for the game, but that is all that they needed. Their defense was able to force four turnovers and they need to keep playing that well as they try to get healthy going into the homestretch of the season. They have a tough game this week as they travel to Carolina to face a surging Panthers team.
6. Denver Broncos (6-3; Prev. 3)
The Denver Broncos have a lost again to a divisional opponent and they did not look good. They were unable to get going offensively, and their stout defense wasn’t enough against a good Oakland offense. The troubling part is that they let the Raiders run the ball efficiently against them. Oakland has been a pass
7.Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1; Prev. 9)
The Seahawks looked dominant for the first time this season against the Buffalo Bills. Russell Wilson finally looked like Russell Wilson and he was able to connect with Jimmy Graham for 103 yards and two touchdowns. One of the concerning things about the Seahawks was their inability to run the football. They only had 33 yards rushing on 12 attempts and because of that, they only had the ball for just under 20 minutes. Their defense gave up 25 points to an offense that has not looked particularly good all season, but if both sides of the ball can play their best, then the rest of the NFC should be on notice. They have a tough matchup this coming week when they travel to Foxborough to face the Patriots.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-3; Prev. 5)
The Vikings are falling fast and hard as they have lost their third straight game and haven’t been able to score more than sixteen points in any of the games. Their offensive line hasn’t been able to protect Sam Bradford and they can’t protect for their running game. They need to turn things around quickly because their defense can only keep them in so many games. Their defense was able to hold off the Lions for most of the game, but just couldn’t hold on at the end. They are going to Washington DC to face off with the Redskins in what seems like a game that they need to win.
9. Houston Texans (5-3; Prev. 12)
The Texans had a good bye week this week in the sense that the Titans lost causing the Texans to grow their division lead. Hopefully, their defense was able to rest and they were able to figure out how to play better in the second half of their season. They have a division matchup in Jacksonville this week against the Jaguars.
10. New York Giants (5-3; Prev. 13)
The Giants won a huge NFC East matchup against the Eagles for second place in their division. Eli Manning had a good game throwing for 257 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. They were only able to rush 54 yards and were unable to get any touchdowns in that way. Defensively, they gave up two touchdowns on the ground, but were able to force two interceptions from Carson Wentz. They need to do a better job of controlling the ball because the better offenses in the league won’t let the Giants have the ball enough to make a difference. This week they are welcoming the Bengals to town for an interesting matchup.
11. Detroit Lions (5-4; Prev. 16)
The Lions won a huge game this week against the Vikings in dramatic fashion. Matt Prater’s 58-yard field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime was compelling to watch. Then Matthew Stafford looked really good driving the ball down and ultimately coming away with the victory. All nine of their games this season have been decided by a touchdown or less. They have a bye week this week where they can figure out ways to win that aren’t last minute comebacks.
12. Green Bay Packers (4-4; Prev. 8)
The Packers did not look good on Sunday against the Colts. Aaron Rodgers was able to throw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, but something just seems off with this team. They are still unable to really run the ball effectively. They had a decent game against the Colts, but the Colts haven’t been the best defense in the league to this point in the season. The Packers have a big game this in Tennessee that they need to win, especially with the Lions looking better and better with each week.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4; Prev. 10)
The Eagles didn’t look good against the Giants on Sunday. Carson Wentz doesn’t have the weapons that he needs to succeed and is unable to throw the ball deep because of that. He seems to throw the ball a little bit high for his receivers as well and threw two interceptions on Sunday. They relied on Darren Sproles as their primary rusher and it hasn’t worked out so far. Their defense showed some of their weaknesses, especially in the secondary, that other teams should take note of in the future. Their defense will have another challenge this week as the Falcons come to Philadelphia.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4; Prev. 11)
Ben Roethlisberger did not look good on Sunday against the Ravens. He missed several open targets that would have changed the game dramatically. He completed just over half of his passes for 264 yards, a touchdown and an interception. They only ran the ball 18 times for 36 yards and a touchdown. This is supposed to be one of the better offenses in the league and if they can’t function better, they could be in trouble. They have a tough game this week as they welcome their longtime rival, Dallas Cowboys, to town.
15. Washington Redskins (4-3-1; Prev. 14)
The Redskins had a pretty decent bye week this week. With the Packers and Eagles both losing, the Redskins are currently in the second wildcard spot. They need to build momentum coming out of the bye if they want to get to the playoffs though and that starts this week when they welcome the Vikings to town.
16. San Diego Chargers (4-5; Prev. 18)
The Chargers were able to win big against the Titans on Sunday. Philip Rivers was able to throw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and Melvin Gordon was able to rush for 196 yards and a touchdown of his own. Their defense almost let the Titans back in the game, but they were able to hold on with a couple of interceptions in the game to help the Chargers get the victory. They have an interesting game this week as the Dolphins come to San Diego.
17. Baltimore Ravens (4-4; Prev. 19)
The Ravens won a big game on Sunday against their AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and it wasn’t even close. The Steelers were able to score fourteen points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late. The Ravens didn’t run the ball very well at all, rushing for 50 yards on 29 carries. They were fairly lucky in the fact that something was clearly wrong with Ben Roethlisberger as he missed a lot of open receivers that most quarterbacks won’t miss. Despite the bad play from the Steelers, the Ravens were able to pull out the win and will use this to play better in upcoming games. This week they have a Thursday night showdown with the Cleveland Browns.
18. Buffalo Bills (4-5; Prev. 15)
The Bills had a rough game on Monday night against the Seahawks. They were able to move and control the ball considering the state of their offense going against one of the better defenses in the league. LeSean McCoy was able to move the ball without that much trouble and Tyrod Taylor kept being a playmaker despite the lack of weapons that he had to use. The fact that they were able to score 25 points and control the ball for 66 percent of the game on what is considered one of the best defenses in the league, should give Bills fans some sort of hope for the future. The defense, however, should give Bills fans nightmares. They allowed an offense that has had a lot of trouble scoring points lately to score 31 and win the game. This Bills team needs to turn everything around quickly as they now find themselves third in their division. They have a bye week this week and will hopefully have the opportunity to get healthy for their last seven games.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5; Prev. 17)
The Buccaneers did not look good against the Falcons last Thursday night. They couldn’t stop the Matt Ryan led offense in any way. They didn’t have a bad game offensively; Jameis Winston threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game with an injury. Then Mike Glennon came in and threw for 75 yards and a touchdown of his own. The problem was their inability to stop the Atlanta passing game. The Buccaneers are in serious trouble if they don’t figure things out on defense soon. They have a rested Bears team coming to town this week and if Tampa Bay can’t win this, they might as well start getting ready for the offseason.
20. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1; Prev. 20)
The Cardinals had a decent bye week with two of their divisional opponents losing. Unfortunately, the team that won was Seattle and the Seahawks looked good doing it. The Cardinals are a team that should know what they have to do in the second half if they want to meet their season goals. They have a good game to get them going out of the bye this week as the 49ers are coming to town for an NFC West matchup.
21. New Orleans Saints (4-4; Prev. 23)
The New Orleans Saints destroyed the 49ers on Sunday in Santa Clara. Drew Brees threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns, but the surprising thing was the New Orleans running attack. Mark Ingram was able to rush for 158 yards and a touchdown and Tim Hightower was able to rush for 87 yards and a touchdown of his own. For a team that is known as a passing offense, their ability to run the ball was spectacular. Their defense is still troublesome, but if their offense is this good consistently, they might be able to make a big second half run. They have a good matchup this week as their high powered offense is going up against the stout Broncos defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts (4-5; Prev. 25)
The Colts may have won their biggest game of the season as they went to Lameau Field. Andrew Luck didn’t have his best performance of the season as he threw for two interceptions, but he was still able to throw for 281 yards and a touchdown. The Colts running game had one of their better performances of the year as they were able to rush for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Their special teams was really good too as they were able to have a kick return for a touchdown. This should be a momentum building game, but they have a bye this week and hopefully they don’t cool off.
23. Miami Dolphins (4-4; Prev. 26)
The Dolphins were able to win their third straight game, this time against the Jets, thanks again to Jay Ajayi. He rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown against a fairly good defensive line. Ryan Tannehill only threw for 149 yards and a touchdown, but he didn’t make any costly mistakes and was able to manage the game. Their defense gave up two touchdowns throughout the game, but they were also able to get two interceptions as well. They did give up 140 yards and a touchdown in the game and need to improve their defense if they want to continue to contend in the AFC. They have a big matchup this week as they travel to San Diego to face the Chargers.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1; Prev. 22)
The Bengals had a bye week had luckily the Ravens beat the Steelers so the Bengals are only half of a game behind the two leaders. Their offense started to look good before the bye, but they were still lackluster on defense. Hopefully, they figured out some of their defensive woes because they are travelling to MetLife Stadium this week to face the Giants.
25. Tennessee Titans (4-5; Prev. 21)
The Titans lost a high scoring game against the Chargers on Sunday. Marcus Mariota was able to throw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions in the game. the biggest problem for this offense on Sunday was their ability to run the football. DeMarco Murray was only able to rush for 51 yards and a touchdown. That’s not a bad day, but when the defense gives up 43 points and 196 yards to the opposing team, it’s not good. Their defense needs to learn how to make some key stops if they want a chance at the playoffs. They are welcoming the Packers to town this week in what seems to be a must win game for both teams.
26. Carolina Panthers (3-5; Prev. 28)
The Carolina Panthers have won two in a row and have looked better since their bye week, but they still don’t look like the team that won fifteen games last season. Cam Newton threw for 225 yards and a touchdown, but they had trouble running the ball against the Rams defense. They were very fortunate that the Rams offense isn’t that good because if it were a better team then the Panthers might not have won. They have the Chiefs coming to town this week and they need a big win to show that they are still contenders in the NFC.
27. Los Angeles Rams (3-5; Prev. 24)
The Rams have lost four straight games and in the last two, they were only able to score ten points each. All ten points against the Panthers came in the fourth quarter and were incapable of making the comeback. Case Keenum threw for 296 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception. The season for Los Angeles is slipping away and it will be interesting to see if Jared Goff can get some experience before he enters his sophomore season. Their defense was good again, but the incompetence of the offense has limited the ability of this team. The Rams have a winnable game this week as they visit the Jets.
28. New York Jets (3-6; Prev. 27)
The Jets did not look good on Sunday against the Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty combined for 213 yards through the air with a touchdown and two interceptions, thrown by Fitzpatrick. It is interesting that the Jets didn’t just stick with Petty, he didn’t look too bad throwing the football and Fitzpatrick looked poor again. They were able to get 92 yards and a touchdown from Matt Forte, but that wasn’t enough to win the game. The Jets have an intriguing defensive matchup this week as they welcome the Rams to town.
29. Chicago Bears (2-6; Prev. 29)
The Bears had a bye week after their big win against the Vikings. They seem to finally be getting healthy on both sides of the ball and the bye week should have helped them more. They are going to Tampa Bay this week to face off against the Buccaneers in what could be a good matchup.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6; Prev. 30)
The Jaguars lost a close game against a team that had to play with their backup quarterback and third string running back. Blake Bortles threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw an interception. There were also three fumbles committed by their offense. It is hard to win a game when a team turns the ball over that frequently. The Jaguars were able to hold the Chiefs to nineteen points, but given how poorly they played on offense, it didn’t matter. The Jaguars need help if they want to make the playoffs and it will be interesting to see if Gus Bradley keeps his job after the season. The Jaguars are going to face the rested Texans in Jacksonville this week.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-7; Prev. 31)
The 49ers lost against the Saints this past week and it wasn’t even close. Colin Kaepernick was able to throw for 398 yards and two touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough for the win, thanks to their poor defense. Drew Brees was able to throw for 323 yards and three touchdowns. They also allowed 248 rushing yards against a team that isn’t known for running the football. It is safe to say that the 49ers are out of the playoff race at this point in the season. They are travelling to Arizona this week to face a rested Cardinals team.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-9; Prev. 32)
The Browns did not look good on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Cody Kessler didn’t look bad, completing 70 percent of his passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked four times. The return of Corey Coleman took some pressure of Pryor and allowed Pryor to score a touchdown, but that was all that was good for the Browns in this game. Their defense was abysmal, letting the Cowboys throw for 255 yards and three touchdowns and allowing them to rush for 168 yards and another two touchdowns. It’s hard for any team to win when their defense gives up 35 points like that. Unfortunately for the Browns, they have a quick turnaround as they travel to Baltimore for a Thursday night game.
My name is Sean, I have been a fan of the NFL for at least 25 years and want to get my thoughts out to the public. Please visit the main site for more posts