Tuesday, 4 December 2012
NFL POWER RANKINGS - WEEK 14
1 (1) Houston Texans (11-1) - The Texans are 11-1 after yet another win. They have now secured their playoff place and are two wins clear in the race for the AFC's number one seed. The Texans took a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, running out 24-10 winners. Matt Schaub threw for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. Arian Foster was restricted to just 2.7 yards per carry but he did get a touchdown. The Texans look like the cream of the AFC and it will take a team to be in top form to deny them their first Superbowl appearance.
2 (2) Atlanta Falcons (11-1) - The Falcons finally beat the Saints and that result combined with Tampa Bay's loss to the Broncos means the Atlanta Falcons are the 2012 NFC South winners. Next up for the Falcons will be sealing a first round bye in the playoffs. With the 49ers and the Bears losing, the Falcons should seal the number one seed within the next few weeks and then they can decide if they want to rest players or not. Matt Ryan threw for 165 yards and a touchdown. Tony Gonzalez was the star receiver, catching 4 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. Michael Turner had a good day, running for 83 yards and a touchdown.
3 (3) New England Patriots (9-3) - New England sealed their fourth consecutive AFC East title with a win over the Dolphins in Miami. The win also took the Patriots into the number two seed as they are winning the tie breaker with Baltimore and Denver. In a tie breaker between the Ravens and the Patriots, the Ravens would come out on top but because the three of them are tied at 9-3, the Patriots take the breaker due to their conference record. Tom Brady threw for 238 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Wes Welker was his leading receiver, catching 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Stevan Ridley led the rushers with 71 yards and a touchdown.
4 (6) Denver Broncos (9-3) - The Broncos clinched the AFC West title after a hard earned victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first half was tight and it wasn't until the third quarter that the Broncos were able to assert their dominance. The Broncos scored three unanswered touchdowns in the third to open an 18 point gap. The Bucs never gave up though and pushed the Broncos all the way. The Bucs got it back to a one score game but were unable to recover the onside kick and Denver picked up the first down they needed to enable Peyton Manning to run the clock out. Manning threw for 242 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Demaryius Thomas was the leading receiver, catching 8 passes for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns.
5 (9) Green Bay Packers (8-4) - The Packers returned to the top of the NFC North with a win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers lead the way thanks to their week 2 win over the Chicago Bears but the teams are due to meet again in week 15 and I'd go as far as to say, the winners of that will win the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers threw for 286 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Packers had a good day on the ground, picking up 152 yards from their rushers.
6 (4) Baltimore Ravens (9-3) - The Ravens suffered a poor defeat at home to divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers had Charlie Batch at quarterback so the Ravens really should have been winning this one. Baltimore held a lead until the fourth quarter and lost the game to a field goal as time expired. I have my doubts about this Baltimore team and the defeat means they are no longer in pole position for a first round bye in the playoffs. Joe Flacco threw for 188 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His leading receiver was Anquan Boldin who caught 5 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Ray Rice led the rushers, picking up 78 yards from just 12 carries.
7 (5) San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) - The 49ers lost to the St Louis Rams on Sunday to drop to 8-3-1 for the year. The only time the 49ers trailed in the game was when Greg Zuerlein kicked the game winning field goal with 26 seconds left of overtime. The 49ers weren't at their best and will need to improve if they are to make an impression in the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick threw for 208 yards and also led the rushers with 84 yards. Michael Crabtree was the leading receiver, catching 7 passes for 101 yards.
8 (7) Chicago Bears (8-4) - The Bears suffered an overtime defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. The defeat combined with the Green Bay Packers winning means the Packers return to the top of the NFC North and the Bears drop to the fifth seed. The game was tight throughout and there was never more than a touchdown between the teams. The Bears showed great resolve when they went behind with just 24 seconds remaining. Brandon Marshall caught a Hail Mary pass from Jay Cutler to set up a field goal to send the game to overtime. However, the Bears never touched the ball in overtime and the Seahawks won with a Sidney Rice touchdown. Cutler threw for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brandon Marshall caught 10 passes for 165 yards. The Bears rushers combined for 132 yards from 32 carries but it wasn't enough to get the win.
9 (10) Indianapolis Colts (8-4) - The Colts picked up a dramatic win in one of the best finishes to an NFL game in recent seasons. The Lions looked to have the game won and were leading 33-21 until late in the fourth quarter. The Colts weren't beat though and scored a touchdown with 2:39 remaining. The defense held firm and then on the final play of the game Andrew Luck found Donnie Avery who got into the end zone to seal a remarkable win for the Colts. Andrew Luck threw for 391 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. TY Hilton and Donnie Avery were the best receivers for the Colts. Hilton caught 6 passes for 100 yards and Avery caught 5 passes for 91 yards including the game winning touchdown.
10 (8) New York Giants (7-5) - The Giants never make things easy for themselves and they have done the same thing this year. A win here and the remainder of their regular season would have been spent jockeying for position in the NFC playoff bracket. Now they are potentially one loss away from being out of the playoffs completely. They lost this game by a single point after Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a fourth quarter comeback win. Eli Manning threw for 280 yards and a touchdown. Victor Cruz was the leading receiver, catching 5 passes for 104 yards. Ahmed Bradshaw had a good day on the ground, rushing for 103 yards.
11 (12) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) - The Steelers picked up a massive win in Baltimore to keep their playoff hopes on track. The game was as tight as it always is when these two meet. The Steelers defense played well and managed to restrict Joe Flacco and this week Charlie Batch was up to the task, leading the Steelers to a fourth quarter comeback. Pittsburgh tied the game midway through the fourth and then Batch led the team in a six minute drive which finished with Shaun Suisham kicking the game winning field goal as time expired. Batch threw for 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His leading receiver was Heath Miller who caught 5 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
12 (16) Seattle Seahawks (7-5) - The Seahawks picked up a huge win in Chicago to give their playoff hopes a massive boost. The Seahawks deserved the win and should have sealed it before overtime. When Golden Tate caught a 14 yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson with just 24 seconds left, the game should have been over but the Seahawks defense switched off to allow Brandon Marshall to catch a 56 yard pass from Jay Cutler to set up a field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime. Most teams would have struggled to come back from that but Seattle bounced back and scored a touchdown on the opening drive in overtime. Russell Wilson threw for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate led the receivers. Rice caught 6 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Tate caught 5 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch had a good day on the ground and ran for 87 yards and a touchdown.
13 (14) Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) - Cincinnati beat the Chargers, 20-13, to record their fourth consecutive victory. The Bengals are now 7-5 and that record means they are just outside the AFC's wildcard spot based on their head to head record with Pittsburgh. The teams still have to meet though and it looks like a winner takes all battle. On Sunday, Andy Dalton threw for 211 yards, a touchdown and an interception. AJ Green was once again the leading receiver, catching 9 passes for 85 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis kept us his recent good form, rushing for 118 yards at 4.7 yards per carry.
14 (17) Washington Redskins (6-6) - When the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III, I expected him to make the Redskins competitive in the future. As far as Washington are concerned the future is now and Monday nights win over the Giants puts them right in the middle of the playoff race. At 6-6 the Redskins have a great chance and their remaining schedule isn't too difficult. I would expect them to beat the Browns and the Eagles and their season will be decided on results against the Ravens and the Cowboys. Robert Griffin had a solid game in the air, throwing for 163 yards and a touchdown. He bettered that on the ground, picking up 72 yards from his 5 carries. Alfred Morris also picked up 124 yards on the ground and the Redskins ended up with 207 rushing yards. Pierre Garcon was the leading receiver, catching 8 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
15 (13) Minnesota Vikings (6-6) - The Vikings playoff hopes suffered a blow on Sunday after a loss to the Green Bay Packers. After going 10-0 down the Vikings came back to lead 14-10 at half time. They were unable to score again though and the Packers ran out winners. The defeat was harsh on Adrian Peterson who ran for 210 yards and a touchdown from his 21 carries. If he had got some support from his quarterback they might have won. Christian Ponder was only able to throw for 119 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions. When a running-back runs for almost double the yards that the quarterback throws for then the team have issues. Ponder started the season well but his form has dropped in recent weeks.
16 (15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) - The Bucs are now back to 6-6 after a defeat to the Broncos in Denver. The Bucs led at half time but conceded 21 points in the third quarter which left them trailing, 28-10. The Bucs came back in the fourth and outscored the Broncos 13-3 but they were unable to recover an onside kick late in the kick and the Broncos picked up the win. Josh Freeman threw for 242 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. His leading receiver was Mike Williams who caught 6 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos done a good job of restricting Doug Martin and he was only able to get 56 yards from 18 carries.
17 (18) Dallas Cowboys (6-6) - The Dallas Cowboys are suddenly, very much alive at 6-6 after the Giants lost to the Washington Redskins to make the NFC East a three horse race. The Cowboys done their bit by beating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-33 on Sunday night. The Cowboys were behind as the fourth quarter started but they outscored the Eagles 21-9 to take the win. Dallas' remaining schedule is tough but if they want to make the playoffs then they will have to win these games. Tony Romo threw for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. His leading receivers were Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. Witten caught 6 passes for 108 yards and Bryant caught 6 for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns.
18 (11) New Orleans Saints (5-7) - The Saints have dropped to 5-7 after a defeat to the Atlanta Falcons which leaves their playoff hopes hanging by a thread. The Saints got off to a bad start and went 17-0 behind. They fought back well though and got the score back to 17-13 but they ran out of steam and the Falcons scored two fourth quarter field goals to seal the win. Drew Brees was intercepted five times and his streak of 54 consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass came to an end. He threw for 341 yards but the interceptions killed the Saints. Lance Moore was the leading receiver and caught 7 passes for 123 yards. Pierre Thomas led the rushers, picking up 84 yards.
19 (23) St Louis Rams (5-6-1) - The Rams kept their playoff hopes alive with an overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The game was just 26 seconds away from ending in the second tie between the teams this season when Greg "the Leg" Zuerlein kicked a 54 yard field goal to win the game. Sam Bradford threw for 221 yards. The Rams running game was restricted to just 3.1 yards per carry. Chris Givens was the leading receiver, catching 11 passes for 92 yards.
20 (22) Buffalo Bills (5-7) - The Bills picked up a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep alive their slim playoff hopes. The Bills finished the first half well to lead 17-10 at the half. They then sealed the win by scoring the first 17 points in the second half. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for just 112 yards but made 2 touchdown passes and was also intercepted. The Bills won the game on the ground, rushing for 232 yards. Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller led the way with Jackson picking up 109 yards and Spiller got 77 yards and a touchdown.
21 (19) Detroit Lions (4-8) - The Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and it will almost certainly end their playoff hopes. The Lions led for most of the game and had a twelve point lead inside the final three minutes of the game. The Colts got a touchdown to reduce the arrears to five and then scored another touchdown as time expired to win the game. Matthew Stafford threw for 313 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Calvin Johnson was his leading receiver and caught 13 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. Joique Bell was the leading rusher and picked up 81 yards from just 7 carries.
22 (20) Miami Dolphins (5-7) - Miami's playoff hopes took a near fatal blow on Sunday after a defeat to the Patriots and wins for Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati who are all ahead of them in the wildcard race. The Dolphins kept the game close but were never able to reduce the arrears to less than a touchdown. The Dolphins will now require a minor miracle to see any action beyond week 17. Ryan Tannehill threw for 186 yards and also picked up a rushing touchdown. Brian Hartline was the leading receiver and caught 5 passes for 84 yards. Reggie Bush had a decent game, running for 64 yards from 15 carries.
23 (26) New York Jets (5-7) - The Jets picked up a narrow win over the Arizona Cardinals and the moment I've been waiting for all season finally happened. Mark Sanchez was having yet another nightmare and Rex Ryan finally looked to his backup. With Tim Tebow injured it was Greg McElroy who came in. McElroy done well, completing 5 of 7 passes for 29 yards and the game winning touchdown. Rex Ryan now has a big decision to make about the quarterback situation and in my opinion as long as he doesn't pick Mark Sanchez he will have made the right choice. The Jets had a good day on the ground and picked up 177 yards, 104 of which were from Shonn Greene.
24 (25) Cleveland Browns (4-8) - Cleveland picked up their first road win of the season in Oakland on Sunday after a 20-17 win over the Raiders. The Browns are now 4-8 and are showing signs of progress. They have been a losing franchise for a long time but they have a few good players and a solid draft and one or two free agent signings could see them push for a wildcard place within the next few seasons. Brandon Weeden threw for 364 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Josh Gordon was the leading receiver, catching 6 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Trent Richardson ran for 72 yards and a touchdown.
25 (21) San Diego Chargers (4-8) - The San Diego Chargers were beaten again, this time by the Cincinnati Bengals. The defeat leaves them almost definitely out of the playoffs and stretches their losing streak to four games. The Chargers led deep into the fourth quarter but the Bengals scored a touchdown with 4:11 left and followed it up with a field goal to seal the win. Philip Rivers threw for 280 yards and an interception. His leading receiver was Danario Alexander who caught 6 passes for 102 yards. the Chargers picked up 46 yards from 11 carries so the play calling has to be questioned, especially as the game was so close.
26 (24) Tennessee Titans (4-8) - The Titans lost to divisional rivals, the Houston Texans and it looks to have killed off their playoff hopes. The game was never really tight and the Texans had the game wrapped up from early on. Jake Locker didn't help things for his team by throwing 3 interceptions. Locker threw for 309 yards and a touchdown but he completed less than 50% of his passes and the 3 interceptions were costly. Chris Johnson only got 13 carries and ran for 51 yards. Nate Washington was the leading receiver and caught 3 passes for 96 yards.
27 (27) Carolina Panthers (3-9) - The Panthers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in a game between two of the NFL's weakest teams. The game was overshadowed by the tragic events on Saturday when a Chiefs player killed his girlfriend and then himself. Cam Newton threw for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. Steve Smith was the leading receiver and caught 5 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers also done well on tge ground, rushing for 165 yards but fate intervened and the Chiefs got the win.
28 (31) Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) - The Chiefs picked up the win in a game that will be remembered more for the tragic events of twenty-four hours earlier. Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself at the teams practice facility. The Chiefs players were probably still in shock and winning Sunday's game was a remarkable achievement. My thoughts and prayers go the families of Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins and especially baby Zoey who will never know her mum and dad. In the game, Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jamaal Charles had a huge day on the ground, rushing for 127 yards.
29 (28) Arizona Cardinals (4-8) - The Cards have now lost eight in a row after losing to the New York Jets. It was a poor game and the Cardinals only picked up 137 yards of offense. The Cardinals have suffered a dramatic decline since their 4-0 start and have the look of a team who are ready for the end of the season and don't have to endure the misery of playing football every day. Ryan Lindley completed less than a third of his passes for just 72 yards and an interception. Things are looking bleak for the Cardinals and changes will be required if they want to become a playoff contender again.
30 (29) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) - The Jaguars were unable to pick up back to back wins and slumped to a 34-18 defeat in Buffalo. The Jags took a 10-7 lead late in the second quarter but the Bills scored 27 unanswered points before Cecil Shorts III got a consolatory touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chad Henne returned to being the quarterback I remember in Miami, completing 18 of 41 passes for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Shorts III was the leading receiver, catching 7 passes fir 77 yards and a touchdown. The Jags rushers were restricted to just 50 yards from 18 carries.
31 (30) Oakland Raiders (3-9) - The Oakland Raiders suffered another defeat to drop to 3-9 for the season and they will miss the playoffs for the tenth year in a row. Progress had been made as they finished 8-8 for the last two seasons but they are a bad team and it looks like it's back to the drawing board again. Carson Palmer threw for 351 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Tight end, Brandon Myers, led the receivers, catching 14 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. The running game was having some success and the Raiders averaged 5 yards per carry. However, only the coach can explain why they only ran the ball 17 times.
32 (32) Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) - So the Eagles lost again. Anyone care? Not me to be honest. The players jacked this season in a long time ago so I'm not going to get myself upset over another loss. I'm more concerned about the future. I want Reid to go and would like to see a complete overhaul at the franchise from top to bottom. My hopes for the remainder of the year are for the Eagles to get as high a draft pick as we can and to find out who the next head coach will be as soon as possible. This is an exciting time for me as I've never been here before as an Eagles fan. We have always had Andy Reid and we have almost always been competitive. I've been lucky in my years of following the Eagles that I've not experienced the bad until now. However, I realise that American sports are designed in such a way that teams will go through good cycles and bad cycles and if I'm honest it's a big reason why I regard American Football as the best sport in the world.