NGSC Sports

EJ’s Notepad: Week 14 NFL “The Strength Of Ten” Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

LAST WEEK: 2

I honestly considered keeping New England at the top spot because:

A) I like to be a jerk like that.
B) Because I truly believe the Pats are the best team in the league still.

But it would be far too mean and hypocritical (like I really cared about those things) on my part. Besides regardless of personal opinions, individual match ups should still hold most weight and the Packers successfully passed vs. a potential Super Bowl opponent.

I won’t lie, I am not as gung-ho on the Green Bay Packers in the long term as most buying the national narrative but the more the NFC stays a proverbial cluster-f*ck with also rans and phonies, the more the road paves well for Green Bay. Plus it’s also hard to bet against a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers who is playing the most awesome sauce of a stretch I have ever seen a guy in his position play these past 2 months.

SIDE NOTE: Is it wrong to say that I truly believe in my heart that Aaron Rodgers might be the most talented quarterback to ever play this game or that I’ve at least ever seen. The word “talented” of course being the operative word.

2. New England Patriots (9-3)

LAST WEEK: 1

I feel like Pats fans should feel good coming off this loss. My estimation of this game was simply that Green Bay couldn’t have played any better at home and yet Belichick and company were literally a dropped 4th quarter Rob Gronkowski catch in the end zone from extended their winning streak to 8 games and a strangle hold on the best record in the league. On a neutral field I still take Brady and the Pats and after Sunday I still feel the same way.

3. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)

LAST WEEK: 4

I got teased on my podcast for weeks when Seattle was treading mud at 3-3 and dealing with the prolonging soap opera that included in-house turmoil/Percy Harvin/devisive locker room/Skittles (Marshawn Lynch) refusal to talk and yet week after week they stayed in these rankings. And as expected by ME their defense that led the charge to the Super Bowl last season have returned to form holding their last two opponents (Cards and Niners) to THREE points each. THREE! In a span of 4 days.

Also worth noting Seattle does control their own destiny in terms of winning the NFC West and are one Green Bay loss (alongside winning out) away from grabbing home field advantage throughout.

A scary proposition for the rest of the NFC.

4. Denver Broncos (9-3)

LAST WEEK: 5

Things seem to be back on track for Peyton and the boys. Plus they caught huge break with New England losing at Lambeau Field to pull back even for the best record and home field advantage in the AFC. I canont stress enough how important home field advantage is for the Broncos in the postseason

5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
LAST WEEK: 7

Chip Kelly should win coach of the year solely for rehabbing Mr. Butt Fumble himself Mark Sanchez. The Iggles can go a long way toward changing long term perception by beating Seattle at home this Sunday.

6. Detroit Lions (8-4)
LAST WEEK: UNRANKED

Every week they are gaining my trust. And every week Detroit wins and Arizona begins to fade I start to charge up the “Jim Caldwell for Coach Of The Year” bandwagon up.

Still a game back in first in the NFC North they actually do control their own destiny for the division title and with a somewhat passive schedule ahead (TB, Minny, at Chi) leading up the big Week 17 showdown at Green Bay, Detroit needs to stay on the gas.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)
LAST WEEK: 8

I still don’t get this Bengals team.

I still don’t get Andy Dalton.

Remember his dismal performance 3 weeks ago on Thursday Night Football vs. Cleveland. How as this team responded since? Three straight road wins at New Orleans, a competitive Houston team still in a playoff race and the frisky Tampa Bay Bucs.

Clearly not the Bungals but too be trusted? Let’s see how the 2014 campaign ends and revisit this.

8. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
LAST WEEK: 3

Humbling and embarrassing loss at home at the hands of division rival Philly. On Thanksgiving no less.

Also it’s December Cowboy fans! (queue evil laugh)

First things first….the remaining Dallas schedule looks like this:

at Chicago (could be dangerous),
at Philly (will likely decide NFC East)
Indy (who’s playoff fate may actually be totally wrapped up so who knows)
at Washington (remember what happened earlier this season)

I’ve already placed the NFC magic number at 11 wins to secure any kind of playoff spot (unless you’re the laughable NFC South which in this case….6). Asking the Cowboys to win 3 of their last 4 may be asking for the world especially when you consider most of the games are on the road and given their recent history.

It will be a fascinating stretch to a season which has already provided much surprises from this team. Can they surprise me once more and open a postseason path?

9. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
LAST WEEK: 10

So lucky this team plays in the AFC South. Or else….

10. Arizona Cardinals (9-3)
LAST WEEK: 6

Two weeks ago when I said that even at 9-1 I could see a easy path where this team can miss the postseason EVERYONE laughed at me. Well, so far I’m 2 of 2 and the schedule doesn’t get easier for the Cards. Plus CB Tyrrann Mathieu will miss a few weeks due to injury.

Im not wanting to gloat. In fact the NFL cinderella fan in me wants Arizona to clinch a postseason berth mainly cause I am a huge fan of Bruce Arians. But I also know and have watched too much football for years to see the obvious. This team peaked weeks ago and with two straight unimpressive losses in Seattle and Atlanta, no Carson Palmer, no Larry Fitzgerald, ‘Zona’s wiggle room is shrinking. And FAST!!! They could honestly end this season losing out and missing the playoffs entirely. Check the schedule…..(I love schedule checking)

Week 14: Kansas City: Captain check down Alex Smith may give them a shot. Oh yeah…I forgot he doesn’t throw to actual wide receivers.

Week 15: at St. Louis: The 2014 spoilers of the year. Almost beat Arizona earlier this season

Week 16: Seattle: Only positive here is this is a home game. Otherwise barring a major injury on the ‘Hawks end, don’t see the Cards winning this one. Seattle has hit its stride.

which now leads us to Week 17

at San Fran: This one is tricky cause I truly believe the Niners have quit on Jim Harbaugh. No sources here. Im just going by the old fashioned eye test and at this point in the season I think all parties involved will probably want to just get the season over and done with. Could be an opportunity for the Cardinals to steal a game they’ll probably need..

Good luck Arizona and God speed.

Author Profile

Earnest Christian
Nicknamed 'EJ', Earnest hosts the Earnestly Speaking Podcast. He also covers the Miami Heat for SB Nation's Hot Hot Hoops. He spends nearly all of his downtime with his wife Lauren and son Eli.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: