Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Who Looks Super?

Week 15 is a good time to start doing power rankings, right?  Either way, The following are my power rankings in who is most likely to win the super bowl.  Overall win/loss record is one of the least heavily weighted stats that I am looking at for this (as you'll clearly see).

  1. New England Patriots (10-3): They are my preseason Super Bowl pick, and I'm certainly not wavering from that now.  Tom Brady now has 14 games with 4 (or more) TD and 0 INT, the most in NFL history.  Their offense remains as lethal as it's ever been (even has a running game), and their defense has gotten significantly better since last year (leads league in takeaways).  No reason why they can't get back to the big game, and win it this time.
  2. New York Giants (8-5): That's right.  An 8-5 team is ranked second.  When a team beats New Orleans, Green Bay, and San Francisco in the same regular season, that shows me all I need to know.  The Giants know how to beat the best teams.  No one has a better pass rush and, as much as it pains me to say it, they have one of the best 4th quarter quarterbacks in Eli Manning :::cringe:::.
  3. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1): I am all in on Colin Kaepernick.  Was high on him during the draft process, and will not waver from that assessment.  He is just as good of a runner, if not better, than Tebow, AND HE CAN THROW THE FOOTBALL AT AN NFL LEVEL.  With his arm, San Francisco can unleash this hidden weapon they've had all year, but never used with Alex Smith: Randy Moss.  Add a vertical element to their power running attack on offense, and that will provide leads that their elite defense will not squander.  Fun Stat: After playing San Francisco, the number of players landing on the injured list is higher than when playing any other opponent.  They are physical at every position on the field.
  4. Denver Broncos (10-3): Started the year against PIT, ATL, and HOU (1-2).  Since then, 9-1.  After Peyton Manning started to gel with his dynamic duo of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside and with familiar faces Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley in the slot, the Broncos offense is simply dynamic.  On the defensive side of the ball, Von Miller can't stop sacking quarterbacks and the unit, as a whole, looks very effective when playing with a lead.
  5. Green Bay Packers (9-4): When you have Aaron Rodgers and that offense, it can hide a lot of bad things defensively.  The Packers are missing their best defensive back (Charles Woodson) and pass rusher (Clay Matthews).  Once they return and are healthy, that defense can tighten up enough to make a run at the super bowl.
  6. Houston Texans (11-2): At one time, I thought they were one of the most complete teams in the NFL, but I can't back that up after looking at their schedule and seeing who they've beaten.  Their most impressive win against a team ranked ahead of them here is the week 3 win against a Denver team that had played Pittsburgh and Atlanta in the weeks leading up to the game.  Plus, Peyton had not yet gelled with his receivers.  This is largely a paper giant with the caveat that they are the best at tipping balls at the line of scrimmage, which can really neutralize any opposing offense.  Also, need to see Matt Schaub be successful in the playoffs.
  7. Atlanta Falcons (11-2): There is not one thing that the Falcons do that is "elite."  Furthermore, this is largely a finesse team with zero toughness on either side of the ball.  Cannot win big games away from home, either.  Lost @ New Orleans and @ Carolina (could have easily lost both games vs. the Panthers).  Credit to the Falcons, they have won a ton of close games and know how to close out teams.  Don't really see the Falcons winning a single game in the playoffs this year.  Highly doubt they'd be favored in the playoffs, even at home, against the Packers, Giants, or 49ers.
  8. Baltimore Ravens (9-4): There is no more fraudulent division leader than the Ravens.  @davegot astutely points out the Ravens ability to either play up or down to their opponents.  So much so, that they have fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron this week.  While watching their game against the Redskins, I was easily able to detect their playcalling tendency on important plays: throw the ball no more than five yards past the line of scrimmage to Ray Rice and have him do the rest.  Yikes.
  9. Seattle Seahawks (8-5): Almost slotted them above the Ravens, but their dependency on home field will not go far when they are likely are going to be a wildcard team in the playoffs.  Likely one year away from being a real threat in the playoffs.  Must improve passing game consistency.  Also, got gifted a win against the Packers.
  10. Chicago Bears (8-5): Remember when people thought they were the best team in the league?  Yeah, me neither.  When a team depends on its defense scoring points, that is NEVER a good thing.  Defensive touchdowns are nice, but are icing on the cake, not the cake itself.  Could easily drop out of  a playoff spot this week if they lose to Green Bay.
Others receiving consideration (in order): Washington Redskins (7-6), Indianapolis Colts (9-4), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6), Dallas Cowboys (7-6) 

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