against the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.

Week 17 Power Rankings

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Author: Joey Carr

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Denver Broncos
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Seattle Seahawks
  7. Cincinnati Bengals
  8. Minnesota Vikings
  9. New York Jets
  10. Green Bay Packers
  11. Washington Redskins
  12. Pittsburgh Steelers
  13. Houston Texans
  14. Atlanta Falcons
  15. Oakland Raiders
  16. St. Louis Rams
  17. Indianapolis Colts
  18. Philadelphia Eagles
  19. Buffalo Bills
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  21. New York Giants
  22. Detroit Lions
  23. Chicago Bears
  24. Miami Dolphins
  25. New Orleans Saints
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars
  27. San Diego Chargers
  28. Baltimore Ravens
  29. Dallas Cowboys
  30. Cleveland Browns
  31. San Francisco 49ers
  32. Tennessee Titans

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Score predictions for each week 16 game

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Author: Joey Carr

Redskins vs. Eagles: Saturday December 26th 8:25 p.m.
Prediction: WAS 30 PHI 22
Kirk Cousins: 280 yards 3 TD’s
Demarco Murray: 4 yards 4 carries

Colts vs. Dolphins: Sunday December 27th 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: MIA 20 IND 17
Lamar Miller: 115 yards rushing 1 TD
Matt Hasselbeck: 200 yards 2 INT’s

Bears vs. Buccaneers: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: TB 27 CHI 17
Jameis Winston: 250 yards passing 2 TD’s
Doug Martin: 100 yards rushing 1 TD

Browns vs. Chiefs: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: KC 34 CLE 20
Alex Smith: 300 yards 3 TD’s
Charcandrick West: 80 yards rushing 1 TD

Patriots vs. Jets: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: NE 27 NYJ 23
Tom Brady: 310 yards 2 TD’s
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 280 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT

Cowboys vs. Bills: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: BUF 20 DAL 13
Tyrod Taylor: 250 yards passing 2 TD’s
Sammy Watkins: 110 yards 2 TD’s

Panthers vs. Falcons: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: CAR 28 ATL 23
Cam Newton: 250 yards passing 3 TD’s
Julio Jones: 100 yards 1 TD

49ers vs. Lions: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: SF 23 DET 21
Blaine Gabbert: 200 yards passing 2 TD’s 1 INT
Calvin Johnson: 60 yards

Texans vs. Titans: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: TEN 21 HOU 20
Brandon Weeden: 180 yards 1 TD 3 INT’s
Zach Mettenberger: 230 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT

Steelers vs. Ravens: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: PIT 34 BAL 14
Ben Roethlisberger: 340 yards 4 TD’s
Antonio Brown: 170 yards 2 TD’s

Jaguars vs. Saints: 4:05 p.m.
Prediction: JAX 26 NO 24
Blake Bortles: 260 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT
Allen Robinson: 110 yards 1TD
Drew Brees: 250 yards 3 TD’s

Rams vs. Seahawks: 4:25 p.m.
Prediction: STL 24 SEA 23
Todd Gurley: 140 yards 2 TD’s
Russell Wilson: 230 yards passing 2 TD’s 1 INT

Packers vs. Cardinals: 4:25 p.m.
Prediction: ARI 31 GB 28
Carson Palmer: 300 yards 3 TD’s 1 INT
Aaron Rodgers: 280 yards 3 TD’s

Giants vs. Vikings: 8:30 p.m.
Prediction: MIN 25 NYG 20
Teddy Bridgewater: 210 yards passing 2 TD’s
Adrian Peterson: 105 yards 1 TD
Eli Manning: 230 yards 1 TD 3 INT’s

Bengals vs. Broncos: Monday December 28th 8:30 p.m.
Prediction: DEN 21 CIN 17
Brock Osweiler: 220 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT
A.J. Green: 80 yards 1 TD

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Pettine and the Browns dropped the ball by sitting Manziel:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cleveland Browns had a chance to go 2-1 this past Sunday when they took on the Oakland Raiders. They had just beat the Tennessee Titans 28-14 a week before and the Raiders were another winnable game on the schedule. That was before the Browns made the poor decision of starting Josh McCown as their starting quarterback for the week. The Browns have been 0-1 this season when starting Josh McCown at the quarterback position. While Manziel had just led the Browns to a 28-14 win over the Titans. It was clear who the better choice was to lead this team after last week, yet Mike Pettine has remained firm in his flat out dislike of Johnny Football. While all last year and even in the preseason this year it was clear Pettine didn’t like Manziel. This past Sunday marked the first time that Manziel had produced enough where it was undeniable that he was the better option. Pettine showed his stubbornness by neglecting to realize the situation and ultimately deciding to stick with McCown. That decision single handedly cost this Browns team a win. Putting the team at 1-2 with their backs against the wall, rather than 2-1 and feeling optimistic about the rest of the season. While Pettine has made it clear that he wants to put a lot of emphasis on leadership. It’s his poor leadership in the end that has the Browns playing below the level they are capable of. While all offseason and in the preseason it was discussed whether or not this team needs to make a quarterback change. It is clear now that the only thing the Cleveland Browns need is a head coaching change. The most important form of leadership in football. Browns fans deserve better and so does Johnny Manziel.

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The 0-2 Teams that are in the Most Trouble

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Author: Joey Carr

The 0-2 Teams that are in the Most Trouble No matter how you script it, there will always be teams that start the season slower than others. These sluggish starts sometimes can be attributed to injuries, personnel turnover, or just sloppy play. Many expected the Titans and Bucs to lose their first couple of games due to the fact that they have two rookies under center who are still trying to get the lay of the land. However, they’re both 1-1 and have looked decent thus far, with Jameis Winston outshining Drew Brees in New Orleans this past Sunday. The Titans and Bucs join a few other lower tier teams from last year in the 1-1 club, including the Jaguars and Browns. In fact, the only teams that are 0-2, with the exception of the Bears, had high playoff aspirations coming into this year. But after some turbulent starts, they’re just trying to stay afloat in their divisions. Out of the 0-2 teams, which include: the Seahawks, Colts, Eagles, Saints, Giants, Lions, Bears, Ravens, and Texans, there are a few teams in particular that should be hitting the panic button sooner rather than later.

Eagles- The Philadelphia Eagles are arguably the most disappointing team out of the gate. They have no running attack, even though they landed 2014 rushing champ DeMarco Murray in free agency, an average passing game with Sam Bradford, and a defense that has nothing too special about it. The additions of Bradford and Murray paired with the offensive mind of head coach Chip Kelly was supposed to elevate this offense to new heights but instead they’re ranked 25th in the league in total yards with 312.5. However, that number is a bit misleading due to the fact the Eagles have a pitiful 70 yards of rushing on the year. DeMarco Murray has 11 of those yards. 11. LeSean McCoy on the other hand has 130 yards rushing, who was traded by Philly to the Bills in the offseason for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is now out for some time with a partial ACL tear. To sum it up, the Eagles have nothing going on offense, looking stagnant most of the time due to the issue that the offense Chip Kelly wants to run isn’t working because he doesn’t have the right personnel to execute it. The defense is giving up an average of 377 yards per game, which isn’t going to cut it with the offense averaging a mere 17 points per game. If Philly can’t right the ship within the next couple of weeks, we might be seeing a roster overhaul come midseason. However, if they can turn things around, they have a decent shot at winning the NFC East with the Giants at 0-2 and the Cowboys without Tony Romo.

Ravens- Last year, the Ravens were one interception away from reaching the AFC Championship. This year, they’ve lost to an aging Peyton Manning in week 1 and the Oakland Raiders in week 2, resulting in an 0-2 record. Their defense looked tremendous against Denver, allowing only field goals and one touchdown late in the game. However, they lost their anchor on defense, Terrell Suggs, for the year with an achilles tear, which is a huge blow to morale and performance overall. The loss of Suggs really showed in their next game against the Raiders, when they allowed 37 points to last year’s 26th ranked offense. Derek Carr picked apart the Ravens secondary, passing for 351 yards and tossing 3 touchdowns in the process, including a 68-yard bomb to Amari Cooper. This is obviously a concern, as the Raiders shouldn’t be able to dissect a defense that was supposed to be top 10 in the league. The offense is also an issue, as it has been very inconsistent over the past two games. Justin Forsett, who was one of the top rushers a year ago, hasn’t been able to get anything going on the ground, managing only 111 yards on 29 carries. If the Ravens want to capture that elusive AFC North Title, they’ll have to shore up their defense and run game and find a way to start winning games, as they have suffered last minute losses in both of their games.

Colts- “Finally their year to reach the Super Bowl.” “Andrew Luck is the favorite to win the MVP Trophy this season.” “This offense could possibly be the best we’ve ever seen.” All of these were things we heard before the season about the Indianapolis Colts. Each year they’ve had Andrew Luck, they’ve progressed one round in the playoffs, and this year was their year to reach the Super Bowl after falling to New England in the AFC Championship last year. They added proven skill players in Frank Gore and Andre Johnson in the offseason, hoping age wasn’t going to be an issue with either of them. They would be getting Robert Mathis back, who in 2013 had 19.5 sacks but missed all of last season due to injury. They added a couple more players to their defensive and offensive lines and of course, still had Andrew Luck, who led all quarterbacks in yards last year. The talent on the roster seemed like it was a recipe for success and Indy could book a plane ticket to Santa Clara, California. But so far, the Colts are living a nightmare instead of a fairy tale. The offense that was believed to be one of the best in the league has only scrounged up 21 points in two games, almost getting shut out by the Jets on Monday night. Andrew Luck has thrown 5 interceptions and coughed up one fumble. Frank Gore has shown to be ineffective so far and even fumbled on the goal line in the loss against the Jets. The defense is letting the opposing offenses walk over them, as they are giving up 343 yards per game so far. The offensive line can’t protect Luck at all, causing him to throw erroneous passes into No Man’s Land half the time. This team is anything but a Super Bowl favorite right now. The high aspirations Colts fans had going into the season are disappearing and some fans are surely pounding the panic button. Some boos could even be heard from the crowd on Monday night. Indy has got to find a way to get their offense back on track otherwise they’ll let Marcus Mariota and the Titans steal away the AFC South from them.

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Roethlisberger and the Steelers give the San Francisco 49ers the juice:

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Photo credit: Steelcityhobbies

Author: Jon Kuzma

Even though the Steelers came up short against New England in their opener. Football analyst knew it was only a matter of time before the Steelers offense broke out and did great things. That finally happened in week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. In the match up which took place at Heinz field, the Steelers were able to get out in front early striking quickly against the Niners. Ben Roethlisberger looked in charge and in control all night and the Steelers had a commanding 29-3 lead at halftime. Roethlisberger would contribute 3 touchdown passes and 369 passing yards. Completing 21 of 27 passes and compiling a 155.8 passer rating. It was evident that his deep ball is a weapon to be feared at this point for the Steelers. Roethlisberger was able to complete a number of bombs against the 49ers really showing off his deep pass accuracy. He took advantage of the Niners secondary time and time again. Whether it was connecting with Darrius Heward-Bey on a 35 yard touchdown pass. Or hitting Markus Wheaton on a 48 yard strike which had Niners defensive backs arguing their assignments with each other. If you’re a Ben Roethlisberger fantasy football owner you’re likely going to be enjoying a fine year of production from the former Miami of Ohio Quarterback. Other notable performers for this Steelers offense were DeAngelo Williams who has been on fire for the Steelers so far. He has rushed for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns over the first two games of the season. Showing that maybe the Steelers ground attack is a result of the whole unit being strong rather than just Le’Veon Bell being the star. The offensive line seems to open holes no matter who is in the backfield. However Williams has been phenomenal with ball in his hands and has made the most of his opportunities. Antonio Brown was also a force for the Steelers in that match recording 9 receptions for 195 yards. Brown is showing yet again why he is one of the best receivers in the National Football League after his dominant performance in 2014. This season over the course of two games he has been able to haul in 18 receptions for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Good enough to have him right back in the hunt for the #1 receiver spot in the league. Keep an eye on all of these playmaker and what they are able to do throughout the regular season. Because of them they were able to finish this game against the Niners with a 43-18 victory. Thus far it’s been a lot of fun to watch!

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Manziel gets the nod for Sunday: Make or Break time

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Johnny Manziel will get his first start of the season after Cleveland’s starter Josh McCown was ruled out of the game this week with a concussion. Manziel enters the match up Sunday with 182 passing yards on the season. He also has 1 touchdown pass and one interception. His play hasn’t been outstanding but he does look noticeably better than he did last year during this time. Now being the starter and being in the game the whole time we should get a true assessment of what Manziel can do at the helm for the Browns. While it seems like many people are rooting against the second year pro. It should be noted that when playing at an optimal level Manziel could be an effective player for the Browns offense. Manziel has clearly made a commitment to becoming a stronger person at least mentally. His rehab stint was a step in the right direction as far as getting his personal life together off the field goes. Maybe that calmer lifestyle will allow Manziel to be more poised Sunday. We should definitely keep an eye on how well he commands the offense and how well he does with the leadership side of things. Those intangibles seem to be the thing holding him back the most in his progression. Last year a few players stated that “Manziel could barely call the plays in the huddle.” Something that is ridiculous when you think about how important Manziel is to that team. This year though he has actually won over a lot of his teammates in training camp and has even received praise from Joe Thomas. Who stated Manziel has “made a lot of progress.” Now it’s up to the second year player to go out and prove his worth. He will be going head to head against rookie stand out Marcus Mariota who is already proving his worth to the Titans. Adding a little more pressure to Manziel, it’s certainly make or break time for Johnny Football.

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Chiefs miss huge opportunity to elevate themselves:

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Photo credit: Jason Craven

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a great position to beat the Denver Broncos last night in Thursday night football action. Only to squander that lead late on a fumble by Jamaal Charles, which led to a Broncos scoop and score. The Andy Reid era in Kansas City seems to be a promising one. The Chiefs were on the cusp of dethroning the Broncos from atop of the AFC West standing. Now the Chiefs instead find themselves sitting in third place with a 1-1 record. The win would of been a huge step forward for the Chiefs, but still you have to admit that the Chiefs are heading in the right direction. A couple plays here or there and they are the leader of the that division. Which is a huge testament of the moves the Chiefs front office have made. Manning would praise the Chiefs’ defense after the game stating that “There defense is much better than last year.” The improved stoutness of the defense is a result of retaining their star player in Justin Houston. Houston was able to record 22 sacks last year for the Chiefs, and is one of the marquee defensive players in the league. The other factor in improving this defense was another year of being Andy Reid’s system. His approach to the game on offense, defense, and special teams are what have this team back on the right track. While this is a set back along the way, there are many things they can take away from this and try to improve on. A couple tweaks here and there and good things could be coming for this franchise. It’s good to see the Chiefs back having some good things going for them. It all starts with Andy Reid and his approach.

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Let it fly Ryan Mallett

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Photo credit: Brian Clark

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans finally made the right move going with Ryan Mallett as their starting quarterback. Mallett who is in his fifth year of pro football action was beat out for the starting job by Brian Hoyer. The situation was documented on the show Hard Knocks and it was clear in Mallet’s reaction that he wasn’t happy about coach O’Brien’s decision. Mallett even would miss the next day of practice after Hoyer was announced the starter making us feel like a complete meltdown was on the horizon for Mallett. Well it’s funny how fast things can change. Mallett since then has played well in his limited role and actually has been promoted to the starting quarterback job. Coach O’Brien stated that “Mallet provided a spark for the offense” when he got a chance to play. It became unavoidable for coach O’Brien not to admit that Mallett was the better option for the Texans offense. With the team already falling to 0-1 on the season there was little time for this team to wait for Hoyer to come around for this offense. While Hoyer is a good player, Mallet’s physical tools are a better fit for NFL success as a quarterback. Mallett is 6’6 and that allows him to see over NFL offensive lineman better than Hoyer can. His release is also from a higher point which allows less balls to get batted down, and it easier for him to make throws across the middle. While Hoyer has some better characteristics as far as leadership goes. The more talented of the two players was always Mallett. It’s good to see the right guy finally win the job. This is a league where the guy who wins more for his team should get the job. At the end of the day that guy is Ryan Mallett for the Houston Texans.

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Week 1 assessment: Patriots will repeat as Super Bowl Champions

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08/28/09

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

Now that week 1 action is complete we are now able to look back and reflect on all of the outcomes. While in the off-season you speculate who is going to have success and who won’t. Now we have tangible evidence of what some teams are going to do this upcoming year. Coach Mike Krzyzewski Duke’s basketball coach had a great quote that stuck with me one time “If a team can’t perform on a moments notice they probably won’t be worth much in the end.” If you take that quote and put it in context for the Patriots you would see the phrase matches up perfectly. The Patriots came into the opener and rolled the Steelers 28-21. While the score showed a closer game than there actually was. It was clear that New England has a better offensive system than the Steelers. Bill Belichick out coached Mike Tomlin for all four quarters of the game. Also collectively New England as a team is still the team to beat in the entire league. Brady with all of the off-season heat that he has been facing was magnificent for the Patriots offense throwing for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. One thing opposing defenses must truly respect is the Patriots passing system. Josh McDaniels has done a terrific job of pushing the offensive play calling envelope with a much more conservative Belichick at the helm. Together McDaniels’ aggressiveness as play caller, and Belichick’s conservative and calming demeanor they create a great balance for the Patriots offensively. When you have a talented cast like the Patriots do coaching wise, Tom Brady gets to focus more on the field playing wise rather than what play call should be made next. The formula was a Super Bowl winning one last year, and it looks like the Patriots will repeat again. “Remember if a team can’t perform on a moments notice it won’t be worth much in the end”. Well the Patriots just handled business in their opener with the black cloud of spygate hanging over their organization. A sign for good things in the Patriots future.

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Detroit lions suffer meltdown in first game against the Chargers:

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

The Detroit Lions had an outstanding start against the San Diego Chargers in their regular season opener before facing a catastrophic meltdown. The Lions would start the game 21-3 before facing 30 unanswered points and losing the game 33-28. The let down was clearly an example of the team’s lack of mental toughness. While some losses can signify that a team is doomed from the start, this was not the case with the Lions. The Detroit Lions are a talented team that have plenty of weapons to succeed. This was clear in the regular season opener because when they were playing at an optimal level they were handling the Chargers. They just have to mature and learn how to win or in other words learn how to close games out. Closing games out or finishing the game is what separates the good teams from the bad teams in the National Football League. Each week there are several games that come down to the very last possession. The teams that can learn how to execute in the clutch when the pressure is on are the teams that eventually become successful in pro football. The Lions have talent, Ameer Abdullah was playing phenomenally for the Lions before they decided to go away from him in the second half. Another problem you have to have with the Lions meltdown is the fact that they were winning the football game significantly at one point, so why not rely on your run game to shorten the game a little bit when you’re ahead? Bell has been banged up recently but 13 carries between both Bell and Abdullah is ridiculously low. Good backs in the league can handle 20 carries to themselves. Why not feed one of those guys and wear down the defensive a little bit? Even if Theo Reddick had to take some carriers, that’s fine but to instead “air it out” when you’re ahead is just bad football I.Q by the Lions coaching staff. Whether it’s playing the game or coaching the game if you use bad fundamentals you are going to lose the game and that was the case for the Lion in their meltdown in San Diego. Bad fundamentals.

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