Del Pilar’s Diatribe: NFL Power Rankings Week 13 Broken Down!

NFL Power Rankings

Our NFL Power Rankings Week 13 had a huge upset to get things going, with the Detroit Lions still unable to win on Thanksgiving. We ended with the referees screwing it up again on Monday night, this time correctly calling an intentional grounding penalty on the Minnesota Vikings BUT ignoring it when Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields did the same thing! That allowed the drive to continue, propelling the Bears to victory.

Their last win was 2016 seven years ago, and they beat the Green Bay Packers 16-13. The Packers took it to them this year to show they’re not ready for prime time. Some fools, oops, analysts, had them ranked as high as No. 1 on their power rankings – a mistake, as they are at least a year away.

Our weekly reminder: we are coming to the end of the Bye Weeks (weeks 5-14) soon, but they’re still with us for now. No teams were on a bye this week, but those that get them at this time of the season know they’re a Godsend to these gridiron warriors.

That brings up a point: calling athletes warriors truly is stupid, as they’re nowhere near understanding killing and life and death. They’re not! That said, it’s been used to describe men in sports as far back as possible. Now, the original athletes in the first Olympics were warriors. They died if they lost! Let that sink in Tom Brady! Okay, people, let’s get to it.

Note: Numbers in parentheses by team name; note their ranking last week.

The Elites

1. Philadelphia Eagles (1) Record: 10-1 (win vs. Buffalo Bills 37-34) – Everyone says the Eagles don’t look invincible, and they aren’t. However, they have the winning mentality, whether getting physical or playing finesse and, most importantly, playing controlled under pressure and not panicking. That’s QB Jalen Hurts, who went 18 of 31 for 200 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. It was solid but not an elite day, you would think. However, he also chipped in 14-65-2 rushing – a monster fantasy football outing. He is the epitome of a franchise quarterback! The rushing attack combined for 185 yards.

This game had two high-powered offenses, and defense only mattered if they got sacks or forced a turnover. These two teams combined for 883 offensive yards. For those who will nitpick and talk about how the defense gave up that many points and yards and only got to Allen once in 51 pass attempts, I say, who cares? This game was an offensive outing between two behemoths, and especially in this era, you have to accept that no matter how good a defense is, it will get rolled. The key is for a big play, and the Eagles had more than the Bills.

Overall, the Eagles rank No. 26 in passing (a shocker) and No. 10 in rushing over their past three games but still keep winning. They’re the team that hangs around and finds ways to win. It’s reminiscent of the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry – frustrating to opposing fans, and Eagles fans are as close to living on the edge as possible. They’re a heart attack like any fat man in a pizza joint!

 They have one loss but must still face the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and, to a lesser degree, the Seattle Seahawks. They control their fate, and you can be sure the games against the Niners and Cowboys will find their way to prime time.

2. San Francisco 49ers (2) Record: 8-3 (win vs. Seattle Seahawks 31-13) – The Niners faced a Seattle Seahawks team in free fall. They’ve lost three out of their last four and aren’t playing physical Seahawks football. That said, the Seahawks offense had no answer to the Niners’ defense, and they held QB Geno Smith (elbow) to 18-of-27 for 180 passing yards and one interception with a total in rush yards of 88. To say that’s paltry is putrid. It’s worse and indicative of why they lost. While San Francisco managed to get two turnovers, the six sacks helped shut the Seahawks offense. I must mention Smith’s elbow isn’t 100 percent, but that didn’t have much to do with this beating.

Offensively, QB Brock Purdy did his job, going 21-of-30 for 209 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while RB Christian McCaffrey went 19-114-2 rushing and 5-25-0-6.

Here’s the bottom line: the Niners are fifth in passing and sixth in rushing the past three games and are trending where they need to be. However, their dominance is only there if their key players are healthy. The moment they lose anyone of importance, any playoff-worthy team can beat them. If they stay healthy, they are a legitimate Super Bowl favorite, with only the Eagles likely to take them out.

Their schedule will help answer that question, too. Next week, they face the Eagles and the Ravens on tap. Those two games should tell us where this team stands entering the playoffs.

They genuinely are dominant and one of the best-coached teams on offense and defense, with an understanding of the importance of timing in their version of the West Coast offense. For those wondering, timing is what drives the West Coast offense. Most fanboys have no clue or complete downplay timing, but in this day and age, that surprises no one.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (3) Record: 8-3 (win vs. Las Vegas Raiders 31-17) – The Chiefs took care of business. Nothing more, nothing less. The one negative is that they started slow again, going down 14-0 to start the game. Then something happened. Maybe the fact they lost to the Lions and Broncos and how they lost to the Eagles has them fuming – disrespected, no longer the elite team, etc.

In their last three games, they’ve averaged 211 passing yards. Well, under their season average of 258.5. Well, against the Raiders, QB Patrick Mahomes lit them up, going 27 of 34 for 298 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. More importantly, are we watching the emergence of a new top wideout?

WR Rashee Rice went 8-107-1-10, whereas the goat, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, saw one target for a -1-yard gain. Is the writing on the wall? He has speed galore, but come on – his quarterbacks are Aaron Rodgers and now Patrick Mahomes, and he can’t maximize those opportunities. We’ll see him again, but he’ll have to prove himself between now and the end of the season, or he’ll eventually start to become a healthy scratch. That’s how vicious his drops are.

In a nutshell, that’s what the Chiefs are about – Mahomes. When he’s at his best, he’s unbeatable, but Mahomes has looked human, and with a receiving corp of one that he can count on, TE Travis Kelce, they look human and beatable. This game was a must-win for them, and despite starting slow again, once they got rolling before the second half, they showed the Raiders what an offense should look like.

With the surging Packers, who’ve won three of their last four, the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers on tap, they control their destiny and should be favored every game the rest of the season. The fact that the Denver Broncos are only two games back and the battle for homefield advantage in the playoffs continues will keep them playing hard. The Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars have only three losses. For those wondering, goat is about the saying, “from hero to goat” not the greatest of all time)

Elitism is on their Radar!

4. Baltimore Ravens (4) Record: 9-3 (win vs. San Diego Chargers 20-10) – This team faced the hapless Chargers. The Ravens are the better team, and this game should have been a great tune-up against an inconsistent offense that can claim to be high-powered against lesser defenses. The Ravens were lights out statistically, holding the Chargers to 279 offensive yards, specifically, the passing attack to 193 yards and the rushing attack to 86 yards. They also forced four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception) and sacked Herbert three times, including during Los Angeles’s final drive.

Offensively, it was a different story. QB Lamar Jackson went 18 of 32 for 177 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, but he had help as the rushing attack went for 197 yards, with RB Zay Flowers garnering a touchdown. One must wonder if Jackson’s ankle injury from last week limited him. One of the appropriate knocks on Jackson is his ability to play at a high level when nicked up. It’s something to keep an eye on even if the media doesn’t.

Over the past three games, they’re ranked No. 19 in passing and No. 5 in rushing. One note here: for the season, the Ravens average 207.5 passing yards per game but have seen that drop to 204, and that’s negligible, but Jackson had a terrible statistical outing, and for the season, the Chargers rank No. 31 against the pass. It’s something to be aware of. Defensively, they’re No. 6 against the pass and No. 15 against the run; thus, they have room to improve.

This game was or should’ve been an expected win, and the Ravens delivered. They’re 9-3, one game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns but don’t have a friendly schedule remaining. They must face the Jacksonville Jaguars, 49ers, Miami Dolphins and the Steelers. It’s going to be a barn-burner finish and fun to watch!

The Ravens can be dominant but inconsistent; therefore, they can beat anyone but have also lost to lesser teams.

5. Dallas Cowboys (6) Record: 8-3 (win vs. Washington Commanders 33-10) – This is a repeat of last week, with the Cowboys dominating lesser teams. The Commanders, once competitive, have mailed it in. Once the trade to giveaway former first-round picks and defensive ends Montez Sweat and Bryce Young, the Commanders’ season ended. Since the trades, they’ve been playing at their lowest, and we’ve seen it progressively getting worse.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is on fire, with four of the last five games throwing for over 300 yards per game. He’s averaging 320 passing yards and three to four touchdowns in that span. Also, in that period, he’s thrown only two interceptions. Remember, he’s slinging the rock an average of 36 times per game. However, they’re still deficient with the rush attack and are well below last year’s average.

Right now, they’re rushing much better over the past three games, with an average of 125 per game versus their season average of 115. The point is that they’re starting to trend positively, but there’s bad news here. They’ve beaten the Commanders, Panthers, Giants, and Rams in the past five weeks with a combined record of 12-31. Ironically, their loss is against the only winning team out of the bunch, the division-leading Eagles (9-1). They haven’t proven anything but that they can beat up lesser teams.

They still have the Seahawks, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Lions on tap, so we’ll know who they are from those matchups. Stats and wins don’t matter until they get through that part of their schedule.

6. Miami Dolphins (7) Record: 8-3 (win vs. New York Jets 34-13) – Let’s be honest here, people. This game was never in doubt, as the Jets are flailing with coaching and offensive coordinator incompetence. This team took advantage of the No. 31 ranked run defense for the season and No. 29th over the past three games. They lit up this worn down and out defense for 167 rushing yards.

They got to new Jets starter, QB Tim Boyle, seven times and controlled the clock from 35:41 minutes to 24:19 for the Jets. This victory showed dominance in every facet of the game, outside turnovers. The Dolphins haven’t beaten anyone over .500, but they’re coming together and understand they must beat down and put away mediocre teams like the Jets.

QB Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have a sparkling night with two interceptions as he went 21-of-30 for 243 passing yards, one touchdown, and, again, two interceptions. When you add in a fumble lost, you realize this team isn’t perfect, and against an equal team, that could change the win into a critical loss. In other words, they still have work to do, but for now, they look impressive.

Over the past three games, they’re ranked 10th in rushing and passing, so they’re up there, but the offense is so high-octane they can improve on that. In that same period, defensively, they’re 7th against the pass and No. 1 against the rush in that span. They’re playing lights-out football. With their final three games being the Cowboys, Ravens, and Buffalo Bills, we’ll see if they can beat a team over .500. The playoffs aren’t a lock yet, but they’re trending in the right direction.

Better than Average but Still has Kinks to Work Out.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (10) Record: 8-3 (win vs. Houston Texans 24-21) – The Jaguars were in a must-win game against the Texans. This season is supposedly where Jacksonville finally improves to where they can compete with the big boys. Yet the upstart Texans, who went 3-13-1 last year, have already whacked them once, 37-17. The win wasn’t easy, thus questioning how good the Jaguars are if the Texans can take them to the wire.

Two takeaways – the Texans are simply that good because of coaching and drafting the best quarterback out of the NFL 2023 class, and so are the Jaguars. They came in with their backs against the wall and responded through perseverance, never quitting and playing 60 minutes. Both teams are the real deal.

QB Trevor Lawrence had a solid but not elite game, going 23 of 38 for 364 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also chipped in a rushing touchdown. I state, great and not elite because we’re still waiting for him to hit another level of play. We’re not sure he will, but he’s progressing. Now, the rushing attack was a disgrace, and as a team, they only amassed 81 yards for a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. In their defense, the Texans have the No. 8 rush defense this season. Regardless, they must improve their rush attack, as it’s worsening.

Over the past three games, their passing offense ranks No. 6, an improvement on their season rank of No. 12. However, on the rushing side, they rank No. 26, well off their season ranking of No. 18. They have to figure out a solution here as they average 106.2 per game and are currently barely getting over 89 yards per game in their past three games.

The lack of an ability to consistently power it in between the tackles is why they called an outside run play on fourth and one that miserably failed before the first half ended. Once playoffs begin, you must have a ground game to control the clock when needed. They don’t, as they rely too much on outside speed.

Defensively against the rush, they’re not playing as well as earlier. They rank No. 15 down compared to their last three games from their No. 4 season ranking. However, the Niners’ beatdown helps make it look worse than it is. That said, if they have Super Bowl aspirations, they have to be able to stop teams like the 49ers. Against the pass the past three games, they rank No. 22, up from their season rank of 28.

They now look to win the division and lead the Texans and Colts by two games but have two brutal games left in the final stretch. They face the Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Bucs, Panthers and Titans. As you can see, they have a lot of room to improve, i.e., they still have a high ceiling they can grow into, and their status in our NFL power rankings remains relatively the same – the cusp of being a top-tier team.

8. Detroit Lions (5) Record 8-3 (loss vs. Green Bay Packers 29-22) – The Lions are out of sync, and QB Jared Goff is playing horrific ball right now. He has five turnovers (three fumbles, three interceptions), and teams are rattling him with a pass rush from hell with five sacks and heavy pressure. Goff has to get himself back under control. While he still plays with confidence, he’s reckless and, despite that confidence, makes some poor decisions in ball handling. This week, he went 29 of 44 for 332 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. However, his legs and decision-making killed this team with those three fumbles.

This defense is crashing back down to Earth, and over the past three games, they’re in the bottom 10 in rush and pass yards allowed per game with 130 rushing and 247 passing yards allowed per game. Worse yet, they’re in the bottom three in scoring allowed, with 31 points per game in the past three. This team is crashing at the wrong time, and only they can get out of this funk.

That begins with leadership, and Goff may not be the leader to step up, but head coach Dan Campbell. Can he motivate them enough to get this? With a schedule that includes the Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings (twice), a resurging Denver Broncos, and a Chicago Bears team that almost beat them, this team could collapse. Moving forward will tell us if they’re a team on the cusp of elitism or another better-than-average team that doesn’t know how to overcome and win.

NFL Power Rankings: Pretenders or Contenders?

9. Denver Broncos (12) Record: 6-5 (win vs. Cleveland Browns 29-12) – Talk about a statement game! Not only an upset of the Browns, but QB Russell Wilson showed us moves we haven’t seen since his days as a Seahawk to buy time to make key throws and run when needed. While the numbers don’t look pretty, he did his job effectively. The real stars were the rushing attack and defense.

The Broncos ran all over a supposed elite run defense. However, the Browns’ defense has fallen back to Earth in their past three games, and the Broncos took advantage. As a team, they ran for 169 yards for a 4.3 yards per carry average and two touchdowns, including one by Wilson. Defensively, this team held the Browns to 12 points, well under their season average of 21.7 per game. They also forced three fumbles and sacked the quarterback four times. It was a dominating performance.

Over their past three games, offensively, the Broncos rank No. 21 in passing, a slight tick up from their season ranking of No. 25 and No. 17 in rushing, actually a few ticks down from their No. 12 season ranking. Defensively, this is where we see the dominance emerging. Over the past three games, they’re ranked No. 8 in pass defense, well above their season ranking of 23! In that span against the rush, they rank No. 26, up from their dead last season, No. 32. They’re improving and must continue if they even think of sniffing the playoffs.

However, the decision-making and efficiency have improved over the past five-game win streak. That includes wins over the Chiefs, Bills, Vikings, and Browns. They are for real, and we wonder what Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Nathanial Hackett (Jets offensive coordinator) supporters would say. Hackett likely was one of the worst head coaches in Broncos history.

Yes, the Broncos are moving up our NFL power rankings in an impressive way and aren’t out of the playoff hunt. They get a crack at teams they’re battling against. It starts with the Texans, then the Chargers (twice), Lions, Patriots and Raiders. Every game is winnable, but not without a battle. If they win out, how impressive would that be? Remember, that’s what this season is about – implementing a new culture of toughness, fundamental smash-mouth football with a quarterback who can sling it when needed, and a winning attitude that they can beat anyone they play.

10. Cleveland Browns (8) Record: 7-4 (loss vs. Denver Broncos 31-21) – Most saw this game against the Broncos as a “W” in the Browns column. Well, I constantly tell my podcast co-host, Eddie Aparicio, on Points on the Board that the Browns can play and beat an elite team and then lose a game they should dominate. However, the numbers tell us a different tale.

Over their past three games, the much vaunted, elite defense is ranked No. 25 in rush defense, allowing 149 yards per game, about 45 yards higher than their season average (105.9). In that span against the pass, they rank No. 24, hence, perception versus reality. The Broncos rush attack gashed them for 169 yards and two touchdowns for 4.3 yards a pop.

They couldn’t contain QB Russell Wilson, who posted mediocre passing numbers but used his legs to buy time and chipped in 11-34-1 rushing. The key here is reminiscent of his days with the Seahawks. Wilson was the first young quarterback to enter the league, understanding he wouldn’t tuck and run and, instead, do what former rush-first veterans eventually learned. Use the legs to buy time and only run when necessary.

DE Myles Garrett’s (shoulder) nicked up, and how he goes, this defense shall. He’s reminiscent of LB Ray Lewis, whose sheer will could get the team to stay focused, play above their talent, and dominate. Keep an eye on the wear and tear of this defense.

Then there’s Amari Cooper (ribs), and even though he’s okay, it’s an injury that needs rest because bruised ribs can re-aggravate easily. However, their real long-term problem is at quarterback. They’ve lost an ineffective Deshaun Watson (shoulder) and are playing with rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion). They may be forced to go with P.J. Walker, or will they? The Browns signed former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. However, they signed a 38-year free agent off the street who will be making his fifth stop with a team (Broncos, NYJ, Eagles, NYJ again) since leaving the Ravens speaks volumes to what the Ravens face. They’re in dire straits.

The Browns’ playoff opportunity took a hit as does their NFL power rankings standing, but they’re not out of it yet but face the Rams with a rejuvenated Matthew Stafford then the Jaguars and Texans as major challenges. They also play the Bears, Jets, and Bengals – three games they should be able to manage. Then again, on any given Sunday.

11. Houston Texans (9) Record: 6-5 (loss vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21) – This team succeeds because of the arm and legs of likely rookie of the year QB C.J. Stroud. He went 26 of 36 for 304 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also chipped in 6-47-1 rushing. It was a phenomenal pro and fantasy football day for Stroud again. However, the rushing attack failed with only 91 yards for a 5.1 yards per carry average. That’s deceptive because removing Stroud’s numbers drops to 3.7, which isn’t bad, but they need more to help take pressure off Stroud.

Speaking of pressure, the Jaguars were able to harass and pressure Stroud and get to him four times, and that was a big key to their victory. On the flip side, the Texans’ pass rush couldn’t get to Trevor Lawrence, not once, despite solid gains the past few weeks with the pass rush.

Over the past three games, the Texans are No. 7 against the rush, and they held the Jaguars to 91 yards, but what will spell their doom – in that same span, they’re No. 31 against the pass and looking toward the playoffs, outside a few teams, the quarterbacks are gunslingers. They’re allowing almost 300 yards (291.3) per game.

Offensively, it’s a different story – over the past three games, they’re ranked No. 2 in passing and No. 10 in rushing, but they faced the Bucs, Bengals, and Cardinals in that span. Three teams with a combined record of 11-23. It faltered when facing a better defense and aligned with their season ranking of No. 24.

Regardless of what happens, this season has been a tantamount success for this team. Houston’s still in the playoff hunt but faces the red-hot Broncos, Jets, Titans (twice), Browns, and Colts. It’s a winnable schedule – even the Browns, but it’s not a walk in the park.  

12. Buffalo Bills (11) Record: 6-6 (loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles 37-34) – Chokers! When I think of the Bills, I think of losers. They choked against the Chiefs a few years ago with 13 seconds left. The Cincinnati Bengals upset them last year, winning by double-digits and holding the Bills to 10 points. Fanboys will talk about how the offense is back, and while that’s true, this team still lacks discipline, as shown by the play in overtime where Allen and WR Gabe Davis miscommunicated.

In a must-win for the Bills, fans and analysts will still poo-poo that belief and view it as an outlier. No, the Bills have a problem during crunch time, when players and coaching staff panic. The referees routinely ignore calling penalties on the Eagles, and yes, they’re blatant about it, as we’ve seen in two nationally televised games, but that wasn’t the case this week.

The Bills had 11 penalties to the Eagles four, thus showing you which team kept it cool and calm, while the Bills lacked any discipline and missed two field goals.

Are the Bills done? Well, at 6-5, they still have a shot with five games remaining. However, they face the Chiefs, Cowboys, Chargers and Dolphins. They’re three games behind the division-leading Dolphins. Officially, we can’t say put a fork in them, but statistically speaking, I’ll say put a fork in them. That’s a brutal schedule, and you add inept coaching, choking under pressure, and a head coach in Sean McDermott who talks a great game but has tossed his coordinators under the bus for his mistakes.

The final caveat is that new offensive coordinator Joe Brady only has two games under his belt, and analysts are already claiming he has them back on track. Technically accurate, but he’s 1-1, and we’re seeing the same mistakes from this offense that we have over the past three seasons. We need more time to evaluate his impact. Playoffs or bust!

The Rest of the Best or Pretenders

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (14) Record: 7-4 (win vs. Cincinnati Bengals 16-10) – The Bengals, minus stud QB Joe Burrows (wrist), was the medication the Steelers needed. The Bengals’ pass defense over the past three games ranks No. 32 – dead last, with the rush defense not far behind, ranked No. No. 29!

The Steelers fired their offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, but the jury is out on whether it was his play calling or QB Kenny Pickett’s inability to play at an NFL level. The first test shows it’s Canada. Picket went 24 of 33 for 278 yards no touchdowns or interceptions. Before this game, Pickett, over the past four games, averaged 116 passing yards. To state what this game means to his psyche and the team overall is monumental, considering over the past three games, the Steelers ranked No. 30 in passing offense.

The rushing attack? Over the past three games, they’re No. 1, and over the past season, No. 16, so they have the potential to be a workhorse, physical team, as their 153 rushing yards against the Bengals attest.

This firing had to happen, and Tomlin named Eddie Faulkner interim coordinator, with Mike Sullivan calling the plays. Believe it or not, this team is now a work in progress as head coach Mike Tomlin must reset his offense and use this game as momentum because as ugly as they’ve played, they’re 7-3 in the battle for the division and a playoff spot. The new-look offense worked for one week, but with the Colts, Seahawks, and Ravens on tap, they’ll have to earn it.

The good news is that it’s a manageable schedule with winnable games. Tomlin’s teams have a history of improving as the season progresses. Can they get this offense up to playoff caliber? I believe so, and with the Ravens set for the final game of the season and the Steelers one game back of them, it could be an exciting finish. It appears as if the Steeler NFL power rankings could see them moving up in the next few weeks.

14. Indianapolis Colts (16) Record: 6-5 (win vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20) – So the Houston Texans and QB C.J. Stroud are getting all the love, but the Colts, who should be 7-4 and one game back of AFC South-leading Jaguars, are 6-5 because the referees decided they wanted the Browns to come away with the victory.

The offense, as always, was inconsistent, with QB Gardner Minshew going 24 of 41 for 251 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. However, RB Jonathan Taylor finally decided to show up, going 15-91-2 rushing to pace the team. However, the Colts won with defense as they harassed Mayfield and kept the pressure on the entire game. They also got to him six times (sacks) and forced two turnovers. The Colts do just enough to win when they do win, and this season, with a rookie head coach and a backup quarterback, a strong coaching staff keeps them competitive with the play calling and schemes. It’s incredible, considering expectations.

Statistically, the team, over their past three games, ranked offensively No. 20 in passing and No. 23 in rushing. Defensively, in that span, they’re No. 4 against the pass and No. 23 against the rush. These aren’t numbers that will get them deep into the playoffs, but they’re still in the hunt. More importantly, despite these numbers and the fact they’re in a rebuild, they compete against bad teams and elite teams. They are fun to watch.

They’ll need help but are still hunting for a playoff spot. They will have to win the division outright, as five losses may not be good enough to get in. Their upcoming schedule is winnable as they face the Titans, Bengals, Steelers, Falcons, Raiders, and Texans, whom they have already beaten once.  

NFL Power Rankings: Get it Together and Overachievers

15. Los Angeles Rams (18) Record: 5-6 (win vs. Arizona Cardinals 37-14) – Did we have a flashback? The Rams were dominant and reminiscent of their Super Bowl run with all the mercenaries they bought. They went down to Arizona and lit it up with 457 offensive yards, including a rushing attack that garnered 228 yards. Outside one turnover by Matthew Stafford, this team was all-world against the hapless Cardinals.

The bright spot at running back is Kyren Williams, 16-143-0 rushing and 6-61-2-6, and fantasy football owners love it. Stafford looked like his younger self, going 25 of 33 for 229 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Defensively, they controlled the game outside two drives by limiting the Cardinals’ passing attack to 219 yards and shutting the rush attack down by holding it 73 yards.

However, we know the Rams have talent. Still, this team put itself in a hole between age, injuries, bad play calling, and an inconsistent rushing attack (No. 15). You can put a fork in them as they’re three games behind the division-leading San Francisco and with the Browns, Ravens, and 49ers yet to play, let’s not fool ourselves. It’s time for this team to begin looking toward a franchise quarterback and other areas of need. While competitive, they are nowhere near the top-tier teams, even when fully healthy.

16. Seattle Seahawks (13) Record: 6-5 (loss vs. San Francisco 49ers 31-13) – I said earlier the Seahawks are in a free fall, and they are. Right now, over the past three games, they’re only averaging 92 rushing yards, and this team is a smash-mouth unit that wants to be very physical and use the run to open up the pass. When that fails, losses mount, as we’ve seen, and while still dominant passing in yardage, with a ranking of No. 11 over the past three games, that’s not a positive from a team that doesn’t want to have QB Geno Smith throwing every other play.

However, there weren’t many passing yards for Smith on Thanksgiving day, as he went 18 of 27 for 180 yards and one interception. Combine that with 88 rushing yards, and you do the math. Add a turnover and six sacks, and the Seahawks never stood a chance. 

However, without RB Kenneth Walker III (oblique), the team lost about 58 percent of its rushing attack. They desperately need him back, but until then, someone will have to step up. This week, the rookie RB Zach Charbonnet went 14-47-0 rushing and 4-11-0-4 receiving – minimal impact. This team isn’t playing well and is ranked 11th-worst in points scored against them the past three weeks. In that span, they’re also the sixth-worst rushing attack, averaging 92 rush yards per game, while defensively sporting a No. 16 pass and 14 rush defense.

Their problems are on offense right now, and they still have to face the Cowboys, Niners (again), and Eagles. If the Seahawks can win out, you can say they’ve earned their way into a playoff spot – if Seattle can catch the help they need now that they’re

17. Atlanta Falcons (22) Record: 5-6 (win vs. New Orleans Saints) – What the hell, people? One week, we get a Falcons team that looks moribund and a lower-tier team lucky to be in a weak division. Let’s look at this: The Falcons are 5-6, tied for first with the Saints, but with their win against them this week, they take over first.

Over the past three games, the Falcons rank No. 2 in rushing yards but a pathetic No. 27 in passing. Not shockingly, the team ran for 228 yards against the Saints’ No. 22-ranked rush defense this season. While QB Desmond Ridder didn’t light it up, going 13 of 21 for 168 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, the rushing attack came through. He is led by RB Bijan Robinson, with 16-91-1 rushing and 3-32-1-6 receiving to have one of his best, if not his best day as a pro.

This team will begin to push the rush harder, and now that they’ve settled back in with Ridder as the starter, they’ll have to figure out how to keep his head in the game, not get down with the moronic social media fans and to play as mistake-free as possible.

Defensively, they’re No. 22 the past three games against the rush and No. 25 against the pass in that same span. One bright spot is that they’re No. 8 in scoring offense the past three games. While this team is technically still rebuilding, they’re also trending in the right direction. However, they’re not a threat at all to any top-tier team. More importantly, winning the division sets the tone for growth and improvement and knowing they can win. With three division games left, they control their fate, and out of the schedule, the Buccaneers, Colts, Bears, and Saints will give them fits, but they can defeat these teams.

As usual, the weak NFC South gives mediocrity hope, but this analyst has no clue where this team will end in our NFL power rankings.

18. Green Bay Packers (23) Record: 5-6 (win vs. Detroit Lions 29-22) – The Pack have won three of their last four. Here’s a reminder: Aaron Rodgers’s first season was in 2008, and he went 6-10. Brett Favre’s first season was in 1992, and the Pack went 9-7. It’s not like they lit their teams on fire.

It takes time to build chemistry and implement a playbook from the classroom onto the field as a starter. That’s what’s happening here. While this win is due to an ineptitude of errors by the Lions, elite teams and good teams pounce on those errors to put games away. They did that this week – a great win that helps with a team and player’s growth. They’re learning how to win.

The No. 11 ranked pass defense and No. 30 ranked rush defense took it to Lions QB Jared Goff and never let up keeping the momentum and control throughout the game. They got to him three times (sacks), and he fumbled three times, losing two, and could never gain the composure to lead a comeback. Regardless of this win and excellent defensive play, you can see where their defense ranks, but they’re improving. Over the last few weeks, their defense has improved to the point where they’re playing well above that No. 30 ranking. Hence, the future is bright here too!

Love is coming into his own, and as an example, he has ten interceptions this season, but in the last four games, he has had only two. Right now, Packer Nation, that’s all that matters. They’re rebuilding, and your team is improving on all fronts, especially quarterback; thus, the outlook for 2024 is good.

19. Los Angeles Chargers (19) Record: 4-7 (loss vs. Baltimore Ravens 20-10) – Come on, people, I can’t be the only one wondering how head coach Brandon Staley still has a job! Honestly, we know. The Chargers are too cheap to part ways with him and pay his remaining millions while having to pay whoever they brought on board to replace him.

The other issue is QB Justin Herbert, who looks terrible. They’re paying this young man $262.5 million over five years, and he’s never won anything. We haven’t seen him put his team on his back. He posts stats against mediocre teams or when playing catch-up. I’m not doubting his talent, but his contract will set this team back from signing quality starters and depth. The Chargers are not only soft, they lack fundamentals. Hence, they’ll likely have a new head coach next season. Outside of Bobby Ross (1992-1996), this team hasn’t had a quality head coach of that caliber.

This pathetic excuse for a coaching staff extends onto the play of this team. Over the past three games, all losses, they offensively rank No. 9 in passing and No. 18 in rushing, however, back to Herbert. He miserably failed in a must-win against an elite team where he could show the world he could beat top-tier teams and put a team on his back. He went 29 of 44 for 217 yards, one touchdown, and one interception and looked terrible.

Defensively, it’s even worse as they rank No. 31 against the pass and No. 13 against the run. Remember, in the past few seasons, on paper, many predicted a deep playoff run. Little do they know you can build a Super Bowl roster on paper, but it’s much more challenging in reality, as the sad sack Chargers can tell you.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20) Record: 4-7 (loss vs. Indianapolis Colts 27-20) – What a loss for the Buccaneers. They could’ve won this game, but they’re not very good, and neither is the coaching staff. They started the season 3-1 and are now 4-7 and not improving. Again, a lack of quality coaching pushing players, demanding improvement, and challenging them. They look like a team that is going through the motions right now.

Over the past three games, offensively, they rank No 14 in passing, and while respectable, that’s due to QB Baker Mayfield making great use of WR Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and the rest of the receiving corp. The receivers are a positive because of the talent on that side, but the rushing attack is disgraceful, and in that same span is the No. 27 ranked rush attack, and that’s an improvement over their No. 31 ranking for the season – that’s sarcasm, people!

Defensively, they can’t stop the pass with a No. 30 ranking for the season, but the rush defense isn’t bad at all as they’re No. 10. Remember, one profound weakness means opposing teams will focus on that, and in this case, that’s the pass versus the run.

Surprisingly, this team is still in the playoff hunt. They’re 4-7 but only one game back of the Falcons and Saints – what a mess that division is. They still control their destiny. They face the Falcons and Saints again and are lucky to have the Panthers on tap for two games. However, the surging Packers and the AFC South division-leading Jaguars are also on tap. It won’t be easy, but they can make the playoffs and save head coach Todd Bowles’s job. Will wonders ever cease?

21. Minnesota Vikings (15) Record: 6-6 (loss vs. Chicago Bears 12-10) – First, the referees helped gift the win for the Bears by not calling intentional grounding on the final call, allowing the Bears to go on and win the game. Typical, pathetic referees, again, fail to do their jobs. What’s worse is that the announcers didn’t talk about that play specifically, but rather a different one. Sigh, we’re only human, but it drives us nuts when our fellow humans are playing the role of referees that screw teams over. Mark my words, with gambling on the rise, we’re eventually going to have a scandal – there’s too much money involved.

All that said, you don’t turn the ball over four times and expect to win. The Vikings aren’t good enough to overcome that with the current team they have. Also, as I’ve stated repeatedly to my Points on the Board co-host, Eddie Aparicio, there’s a reason why QB Joshua Dobbs has traveled so much in the NFL. He’s a great kid to root for, but he is what he is. Let me explain that.

Dobbs is incredible when not under pressure, but once he starts feeling it, mistakes happen in the way of horrific throws. Can he grow into a better quarterback? Yes, but Dobbs needs stability for that, and the reality is we don’t even know if he’ll even be the starter next week, much less remain on the Vikings roster long term.

Dobbs went 22 of 32 for 185 yards, one touchdown, and four brutal interceptions! He chipped in 2-11-0 rushing but looked like the mediocre quarterback who traveled the NFL because he’s good enough for a team to bring in short-term but appears not good enough to find an NFL home. At least not yet.

The rushing attack saw Alexander Mattison post a 5.2 yards per carry average, going 10-52-0, but 73 total rush yards is partly the reason for this loss. With the passing attack failing, why did Mattison only see ten carries? Come on, people, this is the problem with some of these whiz kid play-callers. They’re stubborn, and that’s why most get fired or never sniff a Super Bowl or, even worse, get to a Super Bowl and play-call like this.

Entering the Bye Week, this team has questions. In the past three games, they rank No. 16, averaging 214 passing yards per game, a massive drop off from Kirk Cousin’s numbers. They’re ranked No. 6 in passing for the season and dropping weekly. The rush offense in the past three games ranks No. 15 with 124.3 per game, well above their season ranking of No. 29, 92.1 per game, and this must continue. They lost when they chose not to run more, especially with Dobbs struggling.

Defensively, in the past three games against the pass, they ranked No. 17 and are playing relatively the same all season – about 223 yards allowed per game. Their rush defense is outstanding, and in their last three, the Vikings rank No. 3, which is not far off from their No. 10 ranking. This result is a product of defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ constant blitzing – when you blitz, odds are someone’s open for a big play, and that’s the consequence if you don’t get to the quarterback.

For the record, where the hell was the blitz on that final drive? In the NFL, you lose when you rush three and go prevent, which Flores did on the drive, and his defense failed to stop Fields. They lost. Technically, Minnesota’s still in the playoff hunt and has a winnable schedule. Still, it won’t be easy, especially with the Lions twice, a surging Green Bay Packers and the Raiders and Bengals. With their quarterback woes right now, who knows if they can start another run after dropping two in a row?

22. New Orleans Saints (17) Record: 5-6 (loss vs. Atlanta Falcons) – Talk about mediocrity. Those screaming for QB Jameis Winston to replace Derek Carr are idiots. They’re not far apart, but Winston will lose more games for you. He averages an interception every 29 attempts, which puts him in competition for most INTs every season.

The real problem is offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, and this offense has been struggling since he took over after former head coach Sean Payton retired. In the past three seasons, counting this year, they ranked 19th, 22nd, and 19th, and sadly, this offense shows no sign of improving.

Over the past three games, the rush attack ranks No. 24, the passing attack No. 11, and again, No. 19 in scoring. These results are from a team that has fielded the same offensive playbook since 2009. A new coordinator should be on top of the priority list after Payton left and the offensive prowess and statistics dropped massively. Remember, Payton called the plays, not Carmichael.

Implementing a system is the first step, but you must still be adept at play calling by understanding the opposing defense’s schemes and player nuances you can exploit. Carmichael lacks that trait, which is why this offense is consistently struggling.

This team will not improve with him calling the plays, and the team is making too many mistakes. We’re still not seeing chemistry building with these players and adding WR Michael Thomas (knee) on injured reserve, and this team is squandering opportunities to dominate a weak division. For the record, it’s time to move on from a player who has been injury-plagued the past four seasons, and he’s now hitting 30; thus, his future is no longer bright.

What happened to the vaunted elite defense? They’re ranked No. 7 this season against the pass, which is outstanding, but No. 22 against the rush and lo and behold. The rush destroyed them this week as the Falcons gashed them for 228 yards.

While we want to say, “put a fork in them,” we can’t because of the weak NFC South, and tied for first with the Falcons. However, the Falcons hold the tiebreaker. The Saints have the talent to beat top-tier teams, but they’re beating themselves with bad management decisions and play calling. We’re likely looking at a regime change if they don’t win the division. With the Lions, Panthers, Rams, Buccaneers, and Falcons to close it out, they can win their division, but it won’t be easy, as four of those five teams can beat them on any given Sunday. This team is slowly dropping overall in our NFL power rankings and continues this week.

NFL Power Rankings: Rebuild and Retool Teams

23. Las Vegas Raiders (21) Record: 5-7 (loss vs. Kansas City Chiefs 31-17) – The Raiders aren’t playing much better than they were under former head coach Josh McDaniels regarding wins, losses, and how they lose, but they have made a return to the defense that helped them get into the playoffs

Over their past three games, they’re ranked 28th in points, averaging 15.3 per game. For the season, they’re 16.8, but in positive news, in that span, they’re averaging 309.3 offensive yards per game, up from their season average of 284.0. Their pass attack is relatively the same – over three games, 207.0, a slight tick up from their season average of 201.3.

However, the real difference is defense, as the past three games have them ranked No. 8 with 92 rushing yards allowed per game, well below their season average of 127.0 – which is a massive improvement. The pass defense not so much – in that span, they’re ranked a pathetic 29, allowing 290.3 passing yards per game, which is well above their season average of 216.8. It’s a mixed bag, but Pierce does have them playing with greater passion and enthusiasm.

That doesn’t guarantee wins, and they’re 2-2 under Antonio Pierce, and with the Vikings, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, and Broncos to come, none of those games will have them as heavy favorites. That’s also understanding that at 5-7 and four games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West, there will come a point where the front office will tell Pierce to start playing younger players for evaluation purposes.

Pierce wants to win so he can be a viable head coach candidate. He’s in a challenging position, and we’ll have to wait and see how they fare moving forward and in our NFL power rankings. Raider Nation, the moment owner Mark Davis fired McDaniels, was also time for you to let go of the 2023 season.

24. Chicago Bears (24) Record: 4-8 (win vs. Minnesota Vikings 12-10) – In what was a game from hell or watching two NFL teams pretend they’re JV squads in high school just learning to play together, the Bears, with the help of the referees came away with an ugly win that showed nothing overall in a team looking to grow. A win is a win, and they’ll take it, but this game was a setback to this team’s growth. Specifically, QB Justin Fields, who has been showing improvement weekly, went 27 of 37 for 217 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He did chip in 12-59-0 rushing, but overall, it was a poor showing as he lost two fumbles.

The rushing attack garnered 118 yards for 4.2 yards per carry, with the only highlight offensively being WR DJ Moore going 11-114-0-13 receiving, including a clutch throw and catch to set up the game-winning field goal. Also, while the Vikings are a blitzing team, they showed too much respect to Fields by not blitzing, especially in the final drive, and Fields kept his cool and set up the game-winning field goal.

Offensively over the past three games, this team ranks No. 25 in passing, which is in line with their season rank of No. 24, and in that span, their rushing attack ranks No. 6, again in line with their season ranking of No. 5. Still, the difference comes in the growing chemistry with Fields and his players. More importantly, Fields is finally developing into a quarterback who can drop back and accurately sling it versus tucking it and running every other play without going through his reads. That’s where the growth is offensively.

Defensively, they traded for DE Montez Sweat, who is elevating the defense, so they’ve already grown there. Over the past three games, they rank No. 10, a massive increase over their season ranking of 25. They rank No. 4 in stopping the run, a minor tick down from their season ranking of No. 1. Finally, their sack totals have jumped, and in the three games, they’re averaging 2.3 per game versus a season average of 1.4. This team is trending in the right direction, and they’re a far cry from the sad sacks that started the season.

With the Panthers giving them their first-round pick and appearing to be the overall No. 1 as it stands now, the future is bright, and they can parlay that into an impact player or multitude of picks via trade. We like what we see, but the next five games will tell if next year has a new franchise quarterback and coaching staff.

25. New York Giants (29) Record: 4-8 (win vs. Patriots 10-7) – I must confess, our owner, Big John, is a die-hard Giants fan who loathes QB Daniel Jones. I constantly remind him how he’s the franchise and future of this debacle. I’m giving him a break because now it’s Tommy Devito, third-string quarterback and undrafted free agent who still lives at home with his mother. He’s the future!

Too much?, Okay, but he’s been at the helm for back-to-back wins for the team. He wasn’t lights out, going 17 of 25 for 191 passing yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. However, he did lose a fumble. In his defense, it was bad weather with rain; thus, those numbers, specifically, no interceptions, are enormous.

While you may look at those numbers as paltry, RB Saquon Barkley was no better, going 12-46-0 rushing – a 3.83 average. Per every report and those who watched, rookie WR Jalin Hyatt was a revelation, finally breaking out and going 5-109-0-6 receiving with some big plays. It’s something to look forward to in 2024.  

The defense was the bright spot, holding the Patriots to 136 passing yards, but they did falter with 136 rushing yards given up. Then again, over the past three games, they’re No. 27 against the run and No. 28 against the pass, so this week, they overcame their passing deficiencies by playing the No. 23 passing offense this season.

The truth is, head coach Brian Daboll may have had a magical run last year only to have a reality check this season, which includes the potential of losing players as he plays the part of a dolt and bully on gameday with sideline antics that’s likely helping to create lousy morale. Not to mention, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports is reporting Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale aren’t getting along. The irony is that all reports are that Martindale is well-liked by his players, but you rarely hear anything about Daboll from either side of the ball.

Big Blue, changes are coming in the offseason, and Daboll is lucky his team’s now won more than two games because his name was on some lists as a possible firing if things didn’t improve. They have, as is their standing in our NFL power rankings.

26. Tennessee Titans (31) Record: 4-7 (win vs. Carolina Panthers 17-10) – The Titans fought not to drop to dead last in our NFL Power Rankings. Well, maybe I’m embellishing, but this week’s game pitted two of the four worst teams in the league. However, you can attribute this win to RB Derrick Henry, 18-76-2 rushing and defense. That defense lit the Panthers up, and in Week 12, the Titans ranked No. 5 in yards allowed for Week 12. They also got to Panthers QB Bryce Young four times and forced a fumble.

The Titans needed this win as they were on a three-game losing streak. Their season is over, so it’s about player evaluation now, and the focus is on QB Will Levis, who went 18-of-28 for 185 passing yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. However, while that looks subpar, and it is, he distributed the ball to eight players, thus showing an ability to read the field. For an NFL quarterback, that’s the most important trait to success – the ability to go through your reads quickly.

Most can’t make it through, but while starting well, he petered out in the second half with poor decisions and bad throws. That’s growing pains as he learns to put a complete game together, and the fact they faced the Panthers means their defense was able to make up for the lack of offensive firepower. This team stays out of the running for the worst team in our NFL Power Rankings!

27. Washington Commanders (17) Record: 4-8 (loss vs. New York Giants 31-19) – Commanders head coach Ron Rivera states he’s not concerned about his job. He should be, but defensive coordinator Jack del Rio is taking the fall with his firing. Folks, he’s a premiere coordinator. Therefore, you know this team is devoid of talent on defense and, indeed, traded their two top pass rushers and former first-round picks in Montez Sweat and Chase Young. They’re in a rebuild, as the trades signify, and now have three picks in the top 50 and five in the top 100.

But let’s blame Del Rio and his schemes. Rivera should not be the current head coach, and the decision to fire him should’ve happened a few weeks ago. Then, elevate offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to see what you have or manage the team until they can begin a legitimate coaching search.

Over the past three games, the Commanders have allowed 35 points per game. If you can’t create a pass rush, high scores will accumulate against you. Sure, get rid of the pass rushers and then blame Del Rio. He’s been handicapped since he’s been there. Why he took the job is beyond my thoughts.

Sam Howell is regressing after averaging 307 passing yards in his first six games and now 250 passing yards. He’s also leading the league with 53 sacks, including 24 in the past four games. That’s six sacks per game. This team stated it’s in a rebuild when it traded Sweat and Young. They’re playing like, and human nature dictates some of these players have checked out. Many will slowly return from injury and are ready to start the offseason now.

For the record, they’re dead-last at No. 32 against the pass and No. 25 against the run this season with no hopes for playoffs and not much in quality depth; this team is in a complete rebuild and will have a new regime in place for 204.

Playing for Draft Positions: NFL Power Rankings Worst of the Worst

28. Cincinnati Bengals (27) Record: 5-6 (loss vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10) – Let’s keep it simple here, dammit! Without QB Joe Burrows (wrist), the Bengals are a subpar team with subpar coaching. This team let the Steelers, who just fired their offensive coordinator, gain over 400 offensive yards. These players likely already checked out and are waiting for the season to end. Your stud quarterback is gone, and you have a head coach, Zac Taylor, who is nothing outside of ordinary and doesn’t understand how to balance an offense to maximize your air superiority.

The Bengals’ pass defense over the past three games ranks No. 32 – dead last. The rush defense isn’t much better in that time – No. 29! Maybe we shouldn’t be shocked at what the Steelers did. This team is a façade of what many expected, but not this analyst. I’ve had no confidence in their head coach since their Super Bowl loss. That game signified incompetence in play calling, and it continues.

QB Jake Browning isn’t the problem here. This team needs to help him. That comes in the way of a strong rushing attack and play calling that utilizes quick passes, the tight end, and the running back with screens and dump-off passes. In facing the Steelers’ 20th-ranked rush defense, they could only muster 25 yards, and Browning was responsible for nine yards. That left RB Joe Mixon with nothing, going 8-16-0 rushing and 2-44-0-6 receiving. Browning went 19 of 26 for 227 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. With that type of balance and a backup starting, you’ll lose more than you win.

Put a fork in this team, and with the Jaguars, Colts, Vikings, Steelers (again), Chiefs, and Browns, they may lose them all. At No. 27 last week, they will make a play to drop further in our NFL power rankings as the season progresses.

29. Arizona Cardinals (26) Record: 2-10 (loss vs. Los Angeles Rams 37-14) – What happened here? A few weeks ago, I stated they’re the hardest playing 2-8 I’ve ever seen on our Points on the Board podcast. Yet, here we go, a dud of a game. Rookie head coach Jonathan Gannon was honest about it. The 4-6 Rams entered Arizona with greater desire and effort to win.

Have the Cardinals checked out? I wouldn’t have said that a week ago or any time this season. Ironically, this dud came in Week 3 of QB Kyler Murray’s return. The young man’s not a leader but a whiner and victim, and one must consider the difference in personality, work ethic, and desire to study and succeed when compared to former starter Joshua Dobbs, now with the Vikings. Yes, Murray’s that much of a cancer and non-leader.

Murray went 27 of 45 for 256 passing yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, but the yardage is an aberration – a product of falling behind. The real kicker, but not surprising, is the Cardinals 31st ranked rush defense allowing the 17th-ranked Rams rush attack this season to destroy them on the ground with 228 yards. The sad story behind this is that the Rams averaged 114 rushing yards per game over their last three – 118 yards above that average – beyond words!

Defensively, this team plays hard, but despite a defensive-minded head coach, they’re not very good. They’re ranked No. 23 in passing and No. 31 in rush defense; therefore, we know one area they must begin evaluating because Gannon wants a fast, physical defense, which he doesn’t have.

This game was a setback to what Gannon’s trying to accomplish. The final five games should determine if Murray’s really the quarterback they want, evaluate younger players, and begin the front office duty of determining team needs. Put a fork in your Cardinals, and as you annually do minus a few seasons, you can dream about next year. This team has hovered near the bottom but has yet to hit it. Is this the start of their challenge to be the worst team in our NFL power rankings? We’ll see.

30. New York Jets (28) Record: 4-7 (loss vs. Miami Dolphins 34-13) – The Jets have a new look: another quarterback doomed to mediocrity with the disgrace we call offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett calling the shots! Yes, this team’s offensive woes are partially on QB Zach Wilson. Let’s not forget he’s had no mentoring to adapt to the NFL game. Mike LaFleur was his offensive coordinator his first two seasons, and LaFleur has an 11-23 record with this team and currently a 4-6 record with the Los Angeles Rams. That’s a combined record of 15-29. Now add current coordinator Nathanial Hackett; without the man who made his career, Aaron Rodgers, they’re at 4-7 and getting worse.

So, this team trots Tim Boyle out to bail them out, but the reality is that it was a bush-league move by head coach Robert Saleh pretending to be trying something, knowing they would go down hard without a miracle. No, Robert, as we saw, new QB Tim Boyle was pathetic, going 27-of-38 for 179 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Now, fanboys and idiots will claim the rush attack couldn’t happen because they trailed early. That is not true, and only morons believe that. This team went 10-29-0 rushing, and that alone should get Hacket fired outright. He only wants to pass even when there is no viable passing game. This lack of a rush attack is an extension of what Packer Nation loathed about Rodgers before – he and the offensive coordinator don’t believe in a rushing attack. 

Over the past three games, the Jets rank No. 28 in passing and 32, dead last, in rushing. How does a team with a work-in-progress to horrific passing attack have a rush attack ranked No. 32 the past three games? Yes, they’ve played the Bills, Dolphins, and Chargers, but this defense held tough early, and the team should’ve played to slow the games down, but they haven’t.

Jets Nation, your team is toast, and even Rodgers won’t save them with Hackett calling the shots. Then again, making the playoffs is critical, and Rodgers can do that, but that’s it, as his playoff record is dreadful and one more final caveat. Hackett never called the plays for Rodgers. Head coach Matt LaFleur did.

To the Jets faithful, your defense this year is ranked No. 8 against the pass but second-to-last at 31 against the rush. Your defense isn’t elite but better than most, and to have a coach work against you by not helping the offense should have you livid and wanting his head! The final caveat is that with this loss, most players will begin checking out, not returning quickly from injury, and just waiting for the season to end.

31. New England Patriots (30) Record: 2-9 (10-7) – This team’s quarterback woes don’t seem to want to end. Inept coaching by the supposedly legendary Bill Belichick, who continues his losing ways without Tom Brady, is a topic many aren’t talking about but should. To make matters worse, this team came off a Bye Week and still lost to the lowly Giants, fielding a third-string, undrafted quarterback who still lives at home.

It’s becoming clear that Mac Jones isn’t the answer at quarterback. His career may not end, but it will no longer be in New England. Backup Bailey Zappe is likely in his final season, too. He was cut at the end of training camp as the team looked toward Matt Corral, who, it turns out, has mental health issues. Jones played the first half, then got benched for Zappe, who didn’t fare much better. He’ll always have “Zappmania,” but sadly, that brief love is no more within the team or the fans.

The Patriots rank No. 23 in passing but No. 27 in touchdowns with only 10. We all thought offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien would fix the ship, but it’s worsened! It’s not like the rushing attack is moving any needles. After the supposedly “big get” in RB Ezekial Elliott, their rush offense ranks a paltry No. 24 with an average per game of 99.6 yards. The final caveat is that this team is dead last, at No. 32  in points per game with 13.5.

With an inept offense, one would hope the defense could offset it, but it can’t; despite a No. 8 ranking against the run and No. 14 against the pass, this defense can’t win games because the offense is so inept. Asking a defense to keep high-powered offenses to 13.5 points is unrealistic when you’re facing the Dolphins (lost twice), Eagles (lost), Cowboys (lost), and still to play, the Chargers, Chiefs, and Bills. It’s just not possible in this league. The Patriots drop but aren’t yet the worst team in our NFL Power Rankings.

32. Carolina Panthers (32) Record: 1-10 (loss vs. Tennessee Titans 17-10) – Head coach, now former head coach Frank Reich, was fired and then joked that special teams coach Chris Tabor will be the interim head coach. Oops, that’s not a joke. Then again, owner David Tepper is one of the vilest human beings you’ll ever hear about – Daniel Snyderesque-type bad. He’s a moron, and let me preface that with discussions we always have, and it’s the same dilemma.

How can a businessman who built a billion-dollar empire be so inept and stupid when owning a sports team? Tepper’s fired four head coaches as he owns the Charlotte FC in MLS (Major League Soccer), thus proving he’s an idiot only looking at short-term success versus the fact it takes time to build something. Even in business, you expect your first three years to be lost as you develop your business into something viable.

This team is terrible, and the first overall pick, rookie QB Bryce Young, simply isn’t developing. Now, that said, this team is in a complete rebuild, regardless of what a moronic wants to believe. They have screwed up trade deals, traded top-tier players, and let players walk because of money. For the most part, the players were asking their worth.

This team is ranked No. 29 in total offense, No. 30 in passing, and No. 29 in rushing offense. They have no playmakers at the key positions, quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Their best wideout is a 33-year-old Adam Thielen. Defensively No. 30 overall and No. 4 in pass defense because they’re No. 23 in rush defense. This team needs help in every facet, and they don’t have an overall No. 1 pick in a season where they’re likely to have the overall No. 1 pick. This team is the worst in the league and our NFL Power Rankings!

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