Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Powerlines: Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Now THAT is how you rock a yellow scarf. Well done!

Down the stretch they come. The NFC is decided. The Packers, Vikings, Saints, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Eagles will vie for the NFC crown. The AFC is a bit more complicated. The four divisions are sown up, as the Patriots, Bengals, Colts, and Chargers are in. However, there are seven different teams that could potentially win the wildcards. Should be a fun final weekend. Here is how the power lies in one man's not so humble opinion...

1. Chargers - The Chargers have been red hot for the past two months, and right now I have them winning the Super Bowl. Yes, I know Norv Turner is in charge in San Diego, but I don't care. I think they can do it, and I think they will do it. There are many other teams who have garnered more press than San Diego, but they've won 10 straight and have looked impressive in doing so.

2. Colts - Peyton Manning wearing his helmet on the sidelines looking on helplessly as Curtis Painter and the Colts backups coughed up a lead and the perfect season in two quarters was a sad sight. Someone wins a Super Bowl every year, but a perfect season has only happened once. You need to go for immortality there, and Jim Caldwell's decision to punt away the game to the Jets made me sad. I think it also may have shifted the AFC karma to San Diego.

3. Eagles - If the Eagles can play the way they did in the first half against the Broncos, they could win the Super Bowl. If they play the way they did in the second half, they will lose in the first round. This team is very up and down. When they're up, they're very up. When they're down, they do things like lose to the Raiders. Philly feels like they may have revved it up at just the right time. I could see them making a run to the NFC Championship.

4. Saints - Losing to Tampa? I have to admit that I didn't see that coming. However, when a team has lost it's motivation to need to win, anything is possible.

5. Cowboys - The Pokes are looking strong, and with all that talent, Dallas sure has reason to feel good heading towards the playoffs. They'll have to win some big games on the road, but Dallas is definitely in the NFC mix.

6. Patriots - Like a bad guy from a bad horror movie, you have to cut the head off of the Patriots or else they just keep coming back. After seeming like they were dead for a large portion of the season, New England has done enough to win their division, and are one of those teams that no one will want to play in the postseason. I don't know if they have enough to win it all, but after doubting them all year...I'm beginning to fear them again.

7. Vikings - The Brett Favre implosion is happening, and not a minute too soon. It's possible that Minnesota is going to be able to put things together again and go on a run, but it's also possible that the constant attention that comes with having Brett Favre as your quarterback is starting to wear on this team. I'm rooting against Minnesota making the Super Bowl if for no other reason than I've already heard enough about #4, and if I have to endure two weeks of Super Bowl hype surrounding that man...I may lose it.

8. Packers - Green Bay is in the playoffs. Is it too much to hope that Aaron Rodgers and company get one more shot at Minnesota and make good this time? I'm definitely cheering for the Packers. They're probably not going to be able to make it all the way in a talented NFC field, but they are the team I'm pulling for.

9. Bengals - Cincinnati is a good team, but their method of winning games involves a very conservative game plan and just trying to get enough points and let their defense hold on to get the win. I don't think that's going to work against the Chargers, Patriots and Colts of the world.

10. Ravens - Baltimore controls their destiny, and with a win becomes a team that could put a scare into some favorites in the postseason. The problem with the Ravens is their propensity to drop games they should win with boneheaded mistakes. Never has that been seen in greater detail than against the Steelers on Sunday. The Ravens were the better team, but they buried their chances to win in an avalanche of mistakes.

11. Steelers - Pittsburgh looked dead a few weeks ago, but some gigantic wins against the Packers and Ravens have them back in the thick of things. They need some help to get into the playoffs, and you can be sure that the playoff favorites are hoping that they don't get that help. No one wants to play the Steelers in the playoffs.

12. Cardinals - This is about where the Cards were last season...they were winning the NFC North and heading into the playoffs with no one expecting much. The next thing you knew, they were a few minutes away from winning a Super Bowl. I doubt that kind of lightning can strike twice, but it's not impossible. The Cards are one of those teams that are better than everyone realizes.

13. Dolphins - Miami is a good team, but they will need a mountain of things to fall their way in order to make the playoffs. It's not going to happen, but they've done a good job in light of a mountain of difficulties which include losing their starting quarterback and best running back.

14. Broncos - The Broncos are probably about where they should be. They aren't eliminated from playoff contention, but it'll be unlikely that they get there. I'm hoping they get the bounces they need, but all in all, this kind of season has been far in excess of expectations and it's been fun. I'm guessing that a lot of playoff teams would rather play Denver in the playoffs than Baltimore or Pittsburgh, though.

15. Texans - Houston needs to beat the Patriots and get some help to make the playoffs. Not likely, but even if they fail, this will tie for the best season ever for the Texans. Yup, best season ever.

16. Giants - Needing a win in the final game at Giants Stadium to stay alive for the postseason, the Giants laid an tremendous egg. 41-9 to the Panthers? Poor way to say goodbye to the Meadowlands, Gigantics.

17. Titans - Tennessee is not going to advance, but what a crazy season they have had. The mere fact that they might finish at .500 after opening 0-6 is insane. Vince Young and Chris Johnson have turned a lot of heads this year, and the Titans look good for 2010.

18. Jets - It's pathetic to me that this team controls their own destiny for the playoffs. If they beat the Bengals, they're in. The Jets are not very good. In fact, if the Colts had done the rest of the AFC a favor and actually played the second half instead of basically punting the game away with something called "Curtis Painter" then we wouldn't even be talking about the Jets. It's possible that by the time this game rolls around, the Bengals will have nothing to play for and take it easy on the Jets...creating a scenario in which the Jets make the playoffs due to fortunate scheduling. In the name of justice, I demand that the Bengals beat the Jets.

19. Panthers - Matt Moore is 3-1 as an NFL starter now. Perhaps if John Fox and kicked Jake Delhomme to the curb earlier in the season, the Panthers would be in the thick of the hunt. Carolina has actually looked like a solid team since Jake got hurt and was finished for the year, and no, I don't think that is a coincidence.

20. Jaguars - I know I said that the Jets were bad, but thank God that the Jags have been taken care of for the most part. It's not impossible for them to make the playoffs, but it appears that the football gods are conspiring to make sure that it doesn't happen. The Jags would have been the worst playoff team in history.

21. Falcons - If Atlanta played in the AFC, they'd be in the heat of the mediocre wildcard team jamboree. Instead, they play in the much more sensible NFC where only good teams are making the playoffs.

22. Bears - If Jay Cutler had played all season the way he did against the Vikings on Monday night, the Bears might have been relevant in 2009. If nothing else, that performance has to give the Bears fans hope.

23. 49ers - After a first year that included publicly berating individual players and mooning his team during a postgame speech...Mike Singletary has been mostly dull and ordinary this season. A troubling series of events for people like me who prefer their coaches to be flamboyant. His boring coaching has also led to the Niners being a mostly boring team. They look destined to finish at 8-8. Zzzzzzzzz...

24. Raiders - You can accuse the Raiders of being a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. This has been a weird season for them, beating good teams like the Steelers, Broncos, Eagles, and Bengals, and yet only having won 5 games overall. In the cruelest twist of all...it appears that I will be cheering for them on the final weekend of the season, as the Broncos playoff chances are much greater if the Raiders beat the Ravens.

25. Bills - Move to Toronto already.

26. Redskins - I really hope that the Skins don't get Mike Shanahan, because I don't want a reason to like this team.

27. Browns - So, it's probably safe to say that no one expected the Cleveland Browns to mount a three game winning streak this season, and yet, remarkably that is what they have done and are riding into the postseason feeling at least a little good about themselves as a result.

28. Buccaneers - Another team that has reason to feel good about themselves. Despite the fact that they aren't very good, they've won their past two games, including a remarkable win in New Orleans.

29. Seahawks - No one throws in the towel like the Seattle Seahawks. Case in point, they have lost their last three games 34-7 to Houston, 24-7 to Tampa Bay, and 48-10 to Green Bay. It has become remarkably apparent that the Hawks just don't care anymore.

30. Chiefs - Look Kansas City, just do everyone a favor and lie down and let the Broncos beat you like they should. It's better for your draft position, and it's better for the Broncos playoff chances. No one wins should the Chiefs be victorious on Sunday, okay?

31. Lions - If you've been a Lion since 2007, that means that you have only won 3 of your last 39 games. That has to be a bit demoralizing. The Lions are just very bad.

32. Rams - The Rams are terrible. No reason to belabor the point. These aren't the droids you're looking for...Move Along, Move Along.


Unknown said...

Hello Mr. Dodge!
Just wanted to say that I think you seem like a knowledgeable, engaging and interesting guy.

I haven't started listening to your podcast yet but I intend to; however it was looking at your blog quite a while ago that I noticed you were a music lover and somewhat elitist as am I. I very much want to commend you on your choices for the 'recommendations of the week', as they are also some of the things I very much enjoy.

I am curious as to how much Australian modernish music you are familiar with and also if you are going to be giving out gems from less recent artists/groups/bands.

Vijay From Australia.

Craig Dodge said...

Vijay, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate the kind words and would love it if you checked out Vertically Striped Radio. (The Episode where Dave Dameshek is probably a great place to start, but that's because Dave is amazing.)

As for Australian music, I must admit to not being highly familiar to very much...although perhaps some of the groups I like could potentially be Australian. I tend to not know much about the history or components of bands and judge them strictly on whether or not I like their music. It's all about the music for me. The only band I can say without a doubt that I know is Australian is Men at Work.

As for my music recommendations, I just recommend stuff I like. Some of it is elitist, some of it is less so...I do tend to not like the stuff that is produced for the masses, but that is because I find most of it to be crap. If Lady Gaga or Nickelback actually released a decent song, I'd be on board...I just find that to be unlikely to happen.

If you're interested in some of the stuff I've recommended in the past, I have a blog that I don't really publicize at www.verticallystripedsocks.blogspot.com in which I have a sidebar that I post my past recommendations.

The whole blog is basically an archive of stuff I've done on the radio show and my show prep and whatnot. I don't know how interesting it is, but it's helpful to have a handy archive on the internet for me. The sidebar gives all the recommendations I've given on past shows.

Anyhow, thanks for reading and checking out verticallystripedsocks.com, which is definitely my first love when it comes to stuff I do online. And nice words are always pleasant, as they are few and far between.

Shalom to you, my friend!