The AFC is home to the best quarterback play, and the strongest conference in the NFL. There are my picks to win each division in 2022 (Playoff teams in bold)
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Denver Broncos
- Las Vegas Raiders
The winner of the Super Bowl is more than likely going to come out of this division, and I’m just going to come out and with my boldest prediction right out of the gate.
When the dust settles on the 2022 regular season, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to be in first place.
Justin Herbert is ready to make a leap to NFL MVP, and the Chargers have the most dangerous wide receiver room in the NFL. Brandon Staley won 9 games last year despite having the fourth-worst scoring defense, and you know that’s been eating at him after using his credentials as the top defensive coordinator in 2020 with the LA Rams to land this gig. There’s a lot of pressure on Khalil Mack to help get this defensive line over the hump, because Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery weren’t doing enough to get it done without him.
Patrick Mahomes is still that dude, and they might win the Super Bowl without winning the division, but Tyreek Hill was a vital part of their offensive success. Do you really think 8.6 yards per reception JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to replace that production? We’ll just have to see.
I think the Broncos get in with the addition of Mr. Unlimited, Russell Wilson. That leaves the Raiders on the outside looking in- and don’t try and tell me the Silver and Black are going to build on last year’s surprising rally behind interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia. He’s up in the freezing cold frozen tundra now, and the Raiders chances of making the 2022 playoffs went with him.
I’m not saying the Raiders can’t make some noise this year, but they have the bad fortune of taking a minimum of four losses in conference play.
So to recap, your MVP and Super Bowl champion are likely both coming out of the AFC West.
- Tennessee Titans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Houston Texans
- Jacksonville Jaguars
I believe Ryan Tannehill is closer to the 2021 version than the 33 Touchdown, 7 interception 2020 version that had Dolphins fans ready to walk into the ocean.
But I also believe it doesn’t matter. The strength of the Titans is their running game behind Derrick Henry and a finally-healthy offensive line. If they do what they are supposed to in the running game, and the defense continues the massive leap forward it made in 2021, they’re going to win the division.
The Colts are continuing their end of career Las Vegas residency QB carousel, this time with Matt Ryan. And if you consider that Matt Ryan has had one good season every three years for the past 14 seasons, he’s probably due for a decent year. But just like the Titans, this is a team built on running and defense, and the superstar pair of Johnathan Taylor and Darius Leonard are probably enough to put Indy on the playoff bubble.
The Houston Texans and my old team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, are both much improved, and I expect them to be in a lot of games until the bitter end, but those endings will be bitter. I expect 5-6 win seasons for both squads.
For any of these teams to make the leap to Super Bowl contender, they’re going to need to have a sure-fire franchise QB, but I can’t say with a straight face that any of them have one at the moment.
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Cleveland Browns
If you don’t think Lamar Jackson is worth $250 million guaranteed, you will by the end of the season. This division is about to be all Baltimore, all the time.
John Harbaugh is coming off only his second losing season as the Ravens head coach in the last 14 years, and the worst team defense we’ve seen from Baltimore since 2002. Not only are we going to see progression to the mean, if this team stays healthy, we might see dominance. In my opinion, the Super Bowl champ is coming out of the AFC West, but if it’s anyone else, this is the team to watch.
I’m not a Cincinnati Bengals hater, but let’s be honest. They got hot at the right time last year, but in the Super Bowl, the better team won. I do have them making the playoffs in 2022, and while that should be enough for Bengals fans that went 31 years between playoff victories, a taste of success can make you greedy. Be patient with Joe Burrow and Zac Taylor, and you’ll get back eventually.
I have the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing third in the division and contending for a playoff spot. Yes, even with Mitch Trubisky taking snaps. I could come out of retirement to play QB for the Steelers and Mike Tomlin is still going to find a way for my old ass to drag them to 9 wins. The problem with this is that it keeps you out of range to take a shot on a top QB in the draft, so this might be something they have to reconcile in free agency this offseason. I hear their rival has a QB with a suspect contract situation…
Last, and definitely least, the Cleveland Browns decided to waste a perfectly good roster on a suspended QB. If Deshaun Watson wasn’t being held out for you-know-what, this is a Super Bowl contending roster. And maybe that’s why they’re willing to take all the heat that comes with this decision, and punt their success until 2023.
And if the Ravens don’t handle things with their QB’s contract situation, these standings could flip next year.
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- New England Patriots
- New York Jets
The division belongs to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. I’ve always been a Josh Allen fan, and you definitely don’t need to look up any of my takes about him prior to the 2020 season because I’m telling the truth. You believe me, right? Anyway, if the Bills have a non-QB scramble oriented running game, it’s a wrap.
Miami is not going to be as good as some prognosticators think, but I do have them finishing second,and likely making the playoffs. When your own owner is trying to move you off the team for Tom Brady or Deshaun Watson, you aren’t that guy. I’m talking to you, Tua. But enjoy additions like Tyreek Hill and Chase Edmonds, they’re definitely the type of guys that can mask arm strength issues with playmaking ability.
Recycling failed head coaches onto the offensive staff might work for Nick Saban, but do we really think Bill Belichick is going to get away with using Mat Patricia and Joe Judge to replace the entire offensive staff that Josh McDaniels took to Las Vegas? I think the Patriots will be good enough to finish third in the AFC East. Without Tom Brady, years of bad skill position drafting by Belichick is the ultimate reason the Patriots have fallen off, and should not be considered legit contenders.
And last, as usual, the New York Jets. Do I really need to explain why? Or can I just say that Joe Flacco is 2-12 in his last 14 starts, and Zach Wilson is only slightly better, going 3-10 as a rookie.
Just like when Tom Brady ruled the division, the only team with a legitimate QB remains king of the mountain.
George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.
Josh Allen just signed a six-year, $258 million dollar extension with the Buffalo Bills, with $150 million guaranteed. The debate on whether the 7th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft even belongs at the quarterback position, much less as an NFL starter, should effectively be settled.
I’ve been a Josh Allen defender since week 2 of the 2016 college football season. Sure, there’s nothing about a five interception performance against the Nebraska Cornhuskers that screams “first round pick and franchise cornerstone,” but your average observer wasn’t 1) watching that game live, 2) a longtime Wyoming football supporter, and 3) expertly-versed on what a good quarterback on a bad team looks like.
It’s not easy to convince good high school football players to attend school in Laramie. During Josh Allen’s final season in Laramie, the team had only managed to sign seven 3-star recruits in the previous four combined recruiting classes- compare that to Nebraska, who signed 41 combined 3-star or above players to the 2015 and 2016 classes. Of course Josh Allen wasn’t going to look like a superhero against that Cornhuskers roster, in Lincoln no less.
But what Josh Allen did show in that game, aside from his very obvious size and ability to sling the ball to the moon, was an escapability and short memory after his mistakes. It was more than clear to me at that point that if he was put in the right situation, he had all the tools to be a star.
Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve certainly got the receipts of some lofty early claims about Allen’s early comps:
One of the main reasons I was so confident in Allen’s ability to adapt to a better situation was a tortured childhood fandom spent rooting for the Arizona Cardinals. Jake Plummer’s stint as a Rose Bowl-bound Sun Devil won me over, and so when the Arizona Cardinals made him a second round pick, and quickly gave him the reigns to the team, it resulted in me spending the next six years believing that if the Cardinals had given him any support in the form of an offensive line or a running game, he’s have ascended far beyond the 114 interceptions and 52 losses he amassed in his first six seasons.
The Denver Broncos believed what I believed, and they took a “Josh Allen at 7 overall” level risk by offering Plummer a seven year deal despite having only one season with more TDs than INTs. The result? Plummer would win 40 total games in three and a half years for the Broncos, and lead them to three playoff appearances before being benched for a young Jay Cutler.
I’m not bringing up Jake Plummer as an example of my infallibility as a QB prognosticator, in fact, my favorite QB from the stacked 2018 draft class wasn’t even Josh Allen, it was Josh Rosen, who is currently fighting for a roster spot on his fourth different team.
I bring Jake Plummer up to say that so many QBs are completely dependent upon outside factors in order to see their true potential fulfilled. Josh Allen’s supposed accuracy issues had as much to do with the talent gap Wyoming faced with most of their opponents not allowing him the time to consistently set his feet and find his guys downfield… and the insane, perpetual wind of the high plains in Laramie wasn’t much of a help either. I knew what Mike Shanahan knew about Jake Plummer back in 2003- if he was put in the right situation, his natural gifts would prove his worth.
But now Josh Allen’s worth has been quantified. The man who had no offers coming out of high school, and only one coming out of junior college, has 258 million additional reasons affirming that he belongs on this stage.
Now he just has to work on earning the next extension, which is something George Wrighster and I got into on the latest episode of Wrighster or Wrong (listen on iTunes or watch on Periscope below)
Do you agree that this contract extension is proof that Josh Allen is the real deal, or do you think he has to repeat/exceed his 2020 performance to be considered legit? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll read your take on a future podcast.
Five Up Five Down The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL teams week 12 is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week 12 has already kicked off with the Bears, Cowboys, and Saints all enjoying Thanksgiving with big wins! What did we learn from Week 11? The Steelers are serious contenders in the AFC even without a franchise RB, Colts are better then we think, and the Chiefs and Rams are the most exciting teams in football! Do you like that? Does your team sadly qualify for worst teams for Week 12?
Leave a comment, share, and email us: ImMad@UnafraidShow.com.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week 12 Gobble, Gobble!
1. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-1) Last Week: 1st
Drew Brees, is not going to win the MVP but he should. The Saints destroyed the Falcons yesterday and continue to roll past everyone they face. Drew Brees put up big numbers again in what has been a perfect season (3,135 Yards 29 TDs 2 int 127.3 Rating). What is more disturbing for those is the Saints are starting to play excellent defense. If they continue to play like they have the past two weeks, then all other teams are in trouble. The Saints are like the perfect deep fried Cajun Turkey. It melts in your mouth, and you always want seconds on Thanksgiving.
2. LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-1) Last Week: 3rd
Coach McVay is the most exciting play caller in the game. The Rams were fun to watch in a 54-51 win over the Chiefs, but that defense is still a concern. Jared Goff (3,547 yards 26 TD’s) and Todd Gurley (1,043 Yards 13 TDs) are the kingpins of what has become an unstoppable machine. The only thing slowing down this team is the Bye Week on the schedule. These Rams are those amazing sweet potatoes that a Thanksgiving Dinner cannot be without.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-2) Last Week: 2nd
The Chiefs created history! First team to lose a game scoring over 50 points. It was a fun game to watch but also a reminder that the defense still is swiss cheese. Patrick Mahomes II had six touchdown passes and over 400 yards passing, but it was those three costly interceptions that cost them the most. He will learn from it and is on his way to being the league’s MVP. The Chiefs barely lost to the Patriots and Rams on the road, which makes them a trendy choice to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. It’s sort of sad that they won’t be playing this Sunday enjoying the Bye Week. Oh! The Chiefs are that amazing gravy that makes everything pop and is a fan favorite.
4. CHICAGO BEARS (8-3) Last Week: Unranked
It’s time to stand-up and recognize the Chicago Bears. A 23-16 day victory in Detroit for Thanksgiving with Chase Daniel at QB is impressive. This team has yet to be behind at halftime all year. The defense is just superior creating points on turnovers and won the game with an INT returned for a score the second straight game they have done that. They are the mashed potatoes that are always a strong choice to be the 2nd best item on your Thanksgiving plate.
5. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-2-1) Last Week: Unranked
The Steelers are in Denver this week after one of the most impressive comebacks in team history overcoming the Jaguars on the road. Big Ben was awful in the first half of that game, but he came on and led the team to what he described as the best comeback of his career. The Steelers will be on the road challenging the Denver Broncos (4-6) who are coming off a big win over the LA Chargers. Pittsburgh is like that consistent Pumpkin Pie you want to devour on Thanksgiving Day with extra whipped cream!
Closing in on the top 5 this week:
New England Patriots (7-3), Houston Texans (7-3), LA Chargers (7-3).
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week 11 The Turkeys of the NFL
28.BUFFALO BILLS (3-7) Last Week: 28th
I kind of look at Buffalo as the cranberry sauce on a Thanksgiving Day table. You look at it but have no interest in it. The Bills will be looking for two in a row with Matt Barkley at the helm. As bad as the offense has been most of the year, the defense is a respectable two overall allowing just 302 yards a game. The Bills will host Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) who are trying to recover from a devastating loss against the Steelers.
29. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-7) Last Week: Unranked
Tampa is that dessert that your Aunt brought over for Thanksgiving that looks good but tastes awful. The Bucs are hopeless trying to defend the field of play. They rank 27th in the league in yards given up. Combine that with the uncertainty at the QB position with Fitzpatrick and Winston back again throwing brutal interceptions its a recipe for disaster. I will be shocked if Head Coach Dirk Koetter survives this season. The Bucs have so many offensive weapons but will be lucky to win 1 or 2 more games. Tampa will host the (2-8) San Francisco 49ers.
30 SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (2-8) Last Week: 29th
The 49ers, due to injuries, are the stuffing that is ok, but you avoid putting on your plate during Thanksgiving. This team will put up a fight but most likely will come up short due to a lack of healthy players. The 49ers will play the (3-7) Buccaneers in Tampa
31 OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-8) Last Week: 32nd
Well, the Raiders are peas you never eat on Thanksgiving. It’s been a gross season though they pulled out a win in Arizona that saw Jon Gruden and Derek Carr get into it often. Oakland is probably better off losing every game from here on in, but they won’t even do that right. The Raiders will be in Baltimore to battle the Ravens (5-5).
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-8) Last Week: 30th
Brussel Sprouts! The Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL right now and the last thing you would pick to eat on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to watch this team from the coaching and the hopelessness of the offense which is ranked dead last in the National Football league. This season cannot end fast enough as the Cardinals will travel to LA to battle the (7-3) Chargers.
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
N.Y. Jets (3-7), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7), Detroit Lions (3-7).
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 13. Be blessed and safe during this Holiday Season.
Five Up Five Down The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL teams week 11 is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week 11 is hours away from kicking off in Pittsburgh on this crunchy groove Thursday. What did we learn from Week 10? The Saints offense is insane in the membrane. Chiefs and Rams continue to roll, which makes this weeks match-up must-watch TV. The Raiders are horrible, and the Jets should really be embarrassed! Does your team sadly qualify for worst teams for Week 11?
Leave a comment, share, and email us: ImMad@UnafraidShow.com.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week 11
1. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8-1) Last Week: 2nd
This team got a terrific defensive performance that held the Bengals to 14 points on the road. The Saints still give up 23.6 a game and 376.2 yards a game, which still needs improvement and ranks 20th, but last Sunday is something to build on. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas did it yet again as the Saints electrifying offense put up 51 points against Cincinnati. New Orleans has the highest scoring offense in the game averaging 36.7 and 6th overall in the NFL. The Big Bayou will welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to town. Saints are heavy nine-point favorites. In the 30 previous meetings between the two franchises, Eagles have a 17-13 lead with the most recent match-up coming in 2015 (Eagles win 39-14).
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-1) Last Week: 3rd
They didn’t destroy the Cardinals, which I thought was going to happen, but the Chiefs still put up 26 points in an impressive win. Patrick Mahomes II kept it going but was mortal with only 249 yards which snapped his 300-yard streak. The Chiefs still rank 31st in total team defense which is a major concern especially this week against the Rams. Kansas City has the #1 point differential in the NFL with +113 points. The Chiefs travel to LA to battle the (9-1) Rams in a Monday night contest that was slated to play in Mexico City. The two teams combined are 18-2. Rams are 3.5 favorites, and in the 11 meetings between the two sides, Chiefs have a 7-4 record with the last meeting being in 2014.
3. LOS ANGELES RAMS (9-1) Last Week: 4th
The Rams scored 36 points but barely beat Seattle once again. LA has the #1 offense in the NFL averaging 448 yards a game and the 3rd most points at 33.5. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley both had huge days which is nothing new for them. The defense is still a concern ranked 23rd in the NFL. In a weather break, the Rams get a home game in LA (fires withstanding) due to field issues (rain destroyed the field in Mexico City) on Monday night. This could be a preview of SB 53 in Atlanta. Rams could clinch a playoff spot with a win.
4.LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (7-2) Last Week: 5th
The Chargers have won 6 straight games, and the defense keeps getting better and better. Here is the good news. Joey Bosa practiced this week for the first time since week 1. The trifecta on offense of Philip Rivers (2,459 yards 21 TD 4 Int 67% 115 QB rating), Melvin Gordon (672 Yards 5.38 AVG. 7 TD’s), and Keenan Allen(53 Catches 687 yards 2 TD’s) are producing big numbers. I have said this all along this team could be the most complete in the NFL ranking 11th in Offense and 12th on defense. The Chargers will welcome the Denver Broncos (3-6) to town. Broncos lead the all-time series 65-51-1 with both teams splitting last year. The Chargers will be 7 points favorites this Sunday.
5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-3) Last Week: 1st
Well, prosperity did not last long for the Patriots who looked like a banged-up team in Tennessee and lost 38-24. Fortunately for the Pats, they get a bye week perfectly placed to allow Gronk, Julian Edelman, Sony Michel, and many more to heal-up. New England might have an issue with an offensive line that looked overmatched for the first time since early in the year. New England will return on the 25th, with the perfect get well card, a battle versus the (3-7) N.Y. Jets.
Closing in on the top 5 this week:
Houston Texans (6-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1), Chicago Bears (6-3), Washington (6-3)
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week 11
28. BUFFALO BILLS (3-7) Last Week: 30th
What a great week the Bills had. They throttled the Jets on the road and cut Nathan Peterman. It was like Christmas came early for Bill fans! The Bills will enjoy a week off and have turkey and the carryover of the team’s 3rd win of the year. Somehow Matt Barkley looked like Jim Kelly but then again the QB play was so bad that anyone would have looked competent over Derek Anderson and Nathan Peterman. Buffalo ranks 31st in offense but an NFL respectable 7th overall on defense. The Bills will have a chance at another win as the sinking Jaguars come to Buffalo on the 25th of November.
29. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-7) Last Week: 31st
For what its worth, the Giants got a gutsy win on the road on a game-winning drive late. Eli had 3 TD passes with no turnovers, and OBJ had a big night. The defense is still 25th in the NFL, and it just doesn’t seem like Pat Shurmur is Head Coach material. The dysfunction on this team is still evident. Whether Giants fans want them to tank or not, New York has another winnable game this Sunday against the defensively inept Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) at home. Giants will be 1.5 point favorites and have won 14 of the 21 contests between the two franchises (Tampa won last year 25-23).
30. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-7) Last Week: 28th
If only they could play the 49ers for 16 games, a perfect season would be in store! The Cardinals were respectable in Kansas City. It’s quite apparent they will be offensively challenged all year long, ranking dead last in the NFL. David Johnson did have a good game by his standards (98 yards on the ground and 85 through the air), but Josh Rosen throwing 2 more interceptions looks every bit as an unpolished rookie can look. The Cardinals have a very winnable game at home against the worst team on our list, the 1-8 Oakland Raiders. The Cards are 4 point favorites, and in nine meetings between the two franchises, the Raiders have won 5 and the Cardinals 4. This is my nomination for the early Turkey Bowl (3-15) record between the two squads.
31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (2-8) Last Week: 29th
They played another solid game but came up short against the Giants. Nick Mullens had 2 big interceptions which offset a terrific performance from Matt Breida who had over 100 yards on the ground. Say what you will about the record, this team comes to play no matter who is healthy or who is not which is a credit to Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers will enjoy an off week and return on the 25th playing the Buccaneers in Tampa.
32. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-8) Last Week: 32nd
When your QB throws the ball away on 4th down, you realize what a train wreck this season has been. The one positive is all the first round picks they have stockpiled. That’s it. Is Jon Gruden the man you want leading this franchise forward? The team ranks 23rd on offense and 24th on defense which actually is better than I thought. How happy is Khalil Mack in Chicago and Amari Cooper in Dallas? A commitment to chaos seems to be the Raiders way. Vegas are you ready for this trash?
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
N.Y. Jets (3-7), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6), Detroit Lions (3-6)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 12.
Five Up Five Down: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL teams week 10 is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week 10 is hours away from kicking off in Pittsburgh on this crunchy groove Thursday. What did we learn from Week 9? The Saints offense with Drew Brees and Michael Thomas is unstoppable, Patriots, with major injuries and mediocre three-quarters of play, can still beat you by 14 points, The Oakland Raiders are the laughingstock of the league, and Jason Garrett might actually be on borrowed time. Does your team sadly qualify for worst teams for Week 10?
Leave a comment, share, and email us: ImMad@UnafraidShow.com.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week Ten
1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-2) Last Week: 4th
As the legendary Boston band Aerosmith would sing, the train kept a rolling all night long in Week #9 win versus the Packers. It seems like an eternity since that embarrassing loss in Detroit, and they are now winners of 6 straight. I figure I’ll get some heat and be very unpopular that I put New England in the number one spot with two losses, deal with it. They are better than anyone right now. It wasn’t pretty versus the Packers, but they beat them by 14 when the clock struck 00:00. Tom Brady (2,494 Yards 17 TDs 7 Int 97.6 QB Rating) is still the best at getting everyone involved, and his comfort level with Josh Gordon ( 5 catches 130 Yards TD) is growing. Cordarelle Patterson (11 carries for 61 Yards 1 TD) was converted into a “Big RB” and looked like a playmaker a typical Patriots move that works. Julian Edelman is the best do everything guy in the NFL.
The Patriots defense made Aaron Rodgers look mortal, which is another reason for all other teams in the NFL to be concerned. Defensive end Trey Flowers caused constant pressure vs. a beleaguered Packers offensive line. Bill Belichick is the master at getting it right. He sculpts whatever the talent he has into a cohesive, reliable defensive unit. Alex Cora brought the World Series trophy to Gillette Field. Will it be any surprise if Bill Belichick brings the Lombardi Trophy to Fenway in April? No! The Patriots travel to Tennessee to take on the feisty Titans (4-4) and former teammate Malcolm Butler. Mike Vrabel a former longtime Super Bowl-winning (2 TD catches in SB) Patriots LB is the Tennessee Titans Head Coach. The Pats will be 7 point favorites and hold a 26-15-1 record against the Titans/Oilers franchise.
2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1) Last Week: 3rd
Oh, the Saints went marching into the end zone a lot this past Sunday afternoon in the marquee match-up of the day. They hung the first loss on the Rams ledger by outscoring LA, 45-35. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas might be the most lethal combo in the league. With Mark Ingram back healthy with the combination of Alvin Kamara, it’s just not fair to try and stop that running duo. The offensive line does a fantastic job of creating time and space for Brees and the running backs. New Orleans just signed WR Dez Bryant to add to an embarrassment of riches.
The defense is still the teams Achilles heel. Only nine teams have given up more points. The Saints D ranks 28th in the red zone. The good news for the Saints is the Chiefs and Rams are equally as inept at stopping opposing teams. In fairness to the Saints, they have suffered some injuries but if they want to be favorites to win the SB in Atlanta that D has to shore up some gaping holes in the secondary that Eli Apple will not cure. Sean Payton’s crew has now beat the Ravens, Vikings, and Rams in consecutive weeks. It’s the simple reason why I leapfrogged them over KC. This week is another tough test going to Cincinnati to take on the (5-3) Bengals. The Saints are 4.5 favorites over the Bengals, but Cincy leads the series 7-6.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-1) Last Week: 2nd
Chiefs fans might be unhappy with me. Hey, you still have the best barbecue in the nation and time to move up our Unafraid rankings. Sure the Chiefs are 8-1 and just blew out the Cleveland Browns, and they get moved from two to three in my weekly rankings? What the heck am I thinking? I’m just more impressed with the Patriots and Saints. Chiefs have big wins (Steelers, Chargers, Jags, Bengals) but they still have major defensive concerns giving up 226 points. Good news for the defense, safety Daniel Sorensen was activated from the IR.
The offense is just playing Madden 19 on the easy level with a league-leading 101 point differential. Patrick Mahomes II is just insane with what he is doing (2,901 yards, 29 TD’s 7 INTs 116.7 QB Rating) though his consecutive 4 TD passes streak ended he has now thrown for 300 yards in 8 straight games. He is that good. Travis Kelce has been a stud all year long (51 catches 741 yards 6 TDs). Kareem Hunt has also been playing at an All-Pro level and torched the Browns (17 Att 91 yards 2 TD’s 5.4 AVG). The Chiefs have the (2-6) Arizona Cardinals coming to town which should be another blowout win. The Chiefs are 18.5 point favorites (the Biggest spread of the year), and KC has won 8 out of the 12 contests with one ending in a tie between the two squads.
4. LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-1) Last Week: 1st
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! From first to fourth in a brutal knockdown. I have preached all year long that the defense will be the downfall for Los Angeles. They skirted defeats to Minnesota, Denver, Seattle, and Green Bay with below average defensive display. Is Aaron Donald one of the best defensive players in the league? Yes, he is, and you could argue the best, but the LB core Dante Fowler or no Dante Fowler and that secondary is a sieve. Will Talib’s return help? It should, but what the heck has happened to Marcus Peters? Wade Phillips has to improve the defense if the Rams want to get back to the top spot in our rankings.
The offense once again put up some big numbers. Jared Goff led a massive comeback with a tremendous performance (391 Yards 3 TDs 70% and a 115.7 QB Rating). Todd Gurley was shut down and held to 68 yards vs. the Saints, but Brandin Cooks was a monster with 114 yards and TD. Why is Brandin Cooks on his third team in three years? What a player! The roadblock to Atlanta and SB 53 for LA could be the play of the defense. Rams will be home to Seattle (4-4) this week. The first meeting between the two teams was close; a 33-31 Rams NFC West win in October. Los Angeles are heavy favorites at 11.5 points, but Seattle has a 23-18 advantage in the all-time series.
5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-2) Last Week: 5th
The Chargers went up to Seattle, and they balled. LA both defensively and offensively did what they needed to win in a 25-17 victory over the red-hot Seahawks. Melvin Gordon was special and ran for 113 yards. Keenan Allen looked like a top 10 Wide Reciever hauling in 6 catches for 124 yards. This offense led by Philip Rivers has so many weapons and will get better when Tight End Hunter Henry returns in December. Sure they are not seeing a lot of people show up at the StubHub Center, but this offense should be drawing more fans into those empty seats!
Why I think the Chargers could be the most complete team in our top 5 and my darkhorse SB entrant is because of the defense. They have only allowed 180 points this year. Joey Bosa is closing in on a return which led to an ESPN analyst to take an ill-advised swing at him. This unit is loaded with playmakers and a stout secondary. If you haven’t recognized Desmond King and what he is doing at the CB position check this out! The Chargers get to travel North with a divisional showdown against the woeful Oakland Raiders (1-7). LA is a strong 10 point favorite and beat Oakland 26-10 earlier this year. The Silver and Black do lead the all-time series 63-53-2.
Closing in on the top 5 this week:
Carolina Panthers (6-2), Houston Texans (6-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1)
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Ten
28. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-6) Last Week: 28th
Arizona did not move down or up our rankings due to enjoying a Bye Week. The Cardinals have two wins both against the equally inept San Francisco 49ers. Sam Bradford was released, which makes you wonder why he was even signed in the first place. 2018 has been a complete failure. You have to wonder if the Coach and GM won’t be getting a pink slip at the end of the year. One must feel for the future HOFer Larry Fitzgerald. You were hoping for a better year, but the Cardinals are falling apart at the seems. Do you miss Bruce Arians yet?
When you talk Worst teams NFL week 10, Arizona must be brought up. Cardinals rank 32nd in offense, and the defense is not far behind in being woeful. Josh Rosen continues to learn (1,072 yards 10 TDs 12 INTS). as well as be more accurate. The Cardinals after the Bye Week have to figure out a way to slow down the most prolific offense in Kansas City (8-1) as Patrick Mahomes II looks to make it 9 straight games throwing for over 300 yards. I see a colossal blowout in the making.
29. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (2-7) Last Week: 32nd
Well, for a team completely devastated by major injuries everywhere, how refreshing was Nick Mullins last Thursday evening. He put up a brilliant performance against the Oakland Raiders in a 34-3 win the 49ers second of the year. One must wonder if the team should tank it yet could Mullins change that philosophy? Let’s temper the appearance with the fact the Raiders have the 2nd worst defense in the NFL. One guy who always shows up is Greg Kittle another gigantic performance (4 catches 108 yards with a TD).
The defense was impressive as well against the Raiders. They collected eight sacks and were constantly disrupting the running game. It was the best performance of the year from the defense that was spearheaded by Cassius Marsh and Deforest Buckner. San Francisco will get a chance to build on its successful performance on Monday Night against a struggling N.Y. Giants (1-7) team at home. The 49ers are 3 point favorites at home, and the series is dead even at 20 games apiece.
30. BUFFALO BILLS (2-7) Last Week: 29th
Oh, Nathan Peterman strikes again! If you can select a fantasy defense off of the waiver wire going up against Peterman, do it. Let’s now role the interceptions reel. What’s really crazy is Peterman has 11 INTs in his last 95 passes, whereas Aaron Rodgers has 11 interceptions in his last 993 pass attempts. It’s simply ugly. The Bears thrashed Buffalo 41-9. It was a forgettable game in what is turning into a forgettable season. It’s surprising that the Bills have two wins this year (Tennessee and Minnesota should be ashamed) and I think that Buffalo should just go all out tank mode. Why put Josh Allen back in behind an offensive line that is simply horrendous? He could get seriously hurt and has been sacked 21 times even with his mobility.
Buffalo has a short road trip to New Jersey as they take on the (3-6) N.Y. Jets. The Jets are favored by 7.5 points, but the Bills lead the all-time series against there AFC East rivals 61-54.
31. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-7) Last Week: 31st
Good news, the Giants didn’t lose or fall to 32nd in the rankings. Though the Cowboys are gaining ground in whacked out franchise mode N.Y. Giants are still #1 in dysfunction. It’s such a messed up situation, I don’t know where to start! I thought with all the moves this team made in the offseason they were going to compete in the NFC East and be a playoff team. Lord was I wrong! Pat Shurmur looks lost, Eli looks like he should be in a retirement home, OBJ should be frustrated, and that offensive line with the high priced addition of Nate Soldier is a pile of dog crap. The Raiders at least realized it needed to tear it down. The Giants didn’t do anything at the trade deadline, which was a big mistake.
The off-season for this franchise is going to be critical and the teams most important. When watching a Giants game, other than Barkley, you wonder why a total rebuild has not already begun. The Giants will face the 49ers on Monday Night. Eli will start versus the 49ers, which just makes you wonder does this organization get it. The combined record of these two proud franchises is (3-14). Shouldn’t the league be able to flex this turkey bowl?
32. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-7) Last Week: 30th
Laughingstock, unwatchable, miserable. Add a derogatory word, and it works describing the Silver and Black’s 2018-19 season. This is the worst team in the NFL. How happy is Khalil Mack in Chicago to be out of this mess? Jon Gruden, are we tanking yet? Well, they should. Actually, the Raiders really need to tank next year as well to get Tua. I don’t even know where to begin when you lose 34-3 to a (1-7) 49ers team its ugly. Derek Carr was sacked eight times, and nothing about the Oakland Raiders looked competitive last Thursday night.
The franchise should start prepping draft needs and continue unloading players in the off-season and be in full rebuild mode. Oakland will face the red-hot Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) at home this Sunday. Expect the team to be dealing with its eighth loss of the year. The Silver and Black are the leaders of the worst teams NFL week 10.
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
Cleveland Browns (2-6-1), N.Y. Jets (3-6), Dallas Cowboys (3-5)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 11.
Five Up Five Down
Five Up Five Down: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Eight is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week Eight is hours away from kicking off in Houston. What did we learn from Week 7? Kicking woes impact even the best in the game in 2018, The Chiefs can play defense, Drew Brees is so underappreciated, Adam Thielen is historically good, Jags QB position is a mess, and rookie quarterbacks will be rookie quarterbacks.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week Eight
1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-0) Last Week: 1st
The Rams finished up a three-game road trip undefeated with a comfortable victory over the 49ers. Los Angeles is pacing the NFL with the most yards per game. Only the Chiefs and Saints average more points per 60 minutes. Todd Gurley is the centerpiece of the offense (686 yards 11 TD’s 4.8 Avg.) as he ran for two more touchdowns versus the 49ers. Jared Goff rebounded from two subpar weeks with a very efficient 75 % completion afternoon with 2 TD’s against San Francisco and no turnovers. Jared now has put up (2,130 Yards 14 TD’s 5 INT 112.7 Ratings) and gets a chance to battle Aaron Rodgers and a Packers secondary that is a pure mess.
The defense had a statement game creating four turnovers and shutting down a 49ers team that looked very well last week in Green Bay. Rams cashed in with 24 points on four turnovers which made Wade Phillips very happy. The Rams will welcome the Packers at home and are 9.5 point favorites against the (3-2-1) Packers. How close is the all-time series between the two teams? In 94 previous meetings, they are dead even 46-46-2 with the last meeting coming in 2015. The Packers have won five in a row in this match-up. Let’s hope the Rams are finished with those hideous uniforms, which were the worst in the league last Sunday.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-1) Last Week: 2nd
After a heartbreaking loss to New England, the Chiefs came home and put on a beatdown of epic proportions on the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mahomes II is putting on a show that we have never seen before. He has started eight games in the NFL, has a QB rating of 109.4 and has thrown 22 TDs compared to 6 ints. On Sunday night, he lit up a Bengals defense that looked lost trying to defend him throwing for 358 yards and 4 TD’s while running for another 45 yards. He is making the QB position look easy, and this reminds me of Dan Marino’s rookie year as far as putting up video game numbers. Another positive for the number one scoring offense in the league is Kareem Hunt (15 carries 86 Yards 5.7 AVG and a hurdle that will be a highlight forever) had another fantastic week totaling 141 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns.
The Chiefs defense was embarrassed versus the Patriots, and they took it out on the Cincinnati Bengals. They held the Bengals to 10 points and stuffed Joe Mixon all night long. Kansas City also dared Andy Dalton to beat them, and the Bengals quarterback threw for a meager 148 yards with an interception. The only thing that drives Chiefs Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, crazy is the stupid penalties. The Chiefs defense is the most penalized team in football, and within 5 minutes they were called for 12 men on the field twice. Chiefs this week, are 10 point favorites against the Denver Broncos (3-4) at home against a team they just beat in week four (27-23). Broncos lead the all-time series 62-55, but the Chiefs have won the last six against there AFC West rivals.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-1) Last Week: 4th
Thanks to a missed kick and the fact Drew Brees is a defies father time, the Saints got a huge win over the Baltimore Ravens on the road. Drew Brees is now one of only 4 quarterbacks to throw 500 touchdown passes in the NFL. The Saints high powered offense is led by Drew Brees, but Alvin Kamera (363 Yards rushing and 362 yards receiving with seven total TD’s) and Michael Thomas (588 4 TD’S) are two lethal weapons that defenses are having a hard time stopping. Sean Payton has done a masterful job of spreading the wealth around in his play calling and confusing defenses with unique looks.
New Orleans defense played better in Baltimore this past week but still rank 28th overall in the NFL. They will need to shore things up playing a Minnesota Vikings offense that has found a running game recently and are on a three-game winning streak. Minnesota is a 1-point favorite over the Saints and has a 22-11 series lead over the Saints. Last season the Vikings beat the Saints twice, including this one which is known as the Minnesota Miracle.
4. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-2) Last Week: 5th
The Patriots are back but are still giving up way too many points. Thanks to a goal-line tackle on a hail mary attempt, they escaped Chicago with a 38-31 win. Tom Brady was solid again (277 yards 3 TD’s) and is gaining trust with new addition Josh Gordon (4 catches for 100 yards). A concern in the Windy City was the knee injury that rookie RB Sony Michel suffered. The good news is it’s not season-ending. What’s impressive is RB James White comes into a game and defenses still for whatever reason don’t guard him or can’t guard him. The Patriots offensive line has done an excellent job recently protecting Brady and creating running room for the backs.
A Bill Belichick defense that is ranked 28th in the NFL would have everyone panicking if they didn’t understand the history of the Patriots. If this team is not in the Top 10 come December then maybe those in the Foxboro offices should be concerned. No coach is better at improving a defense when deep into the winter months. The best way to cure a defense is a trip to Buffalo to battle the (2-5) Buffalo Bills. Tom Brady has already called out the Bills Mafia, and New England is 14 point favorites against Buffalo. The Patriots have dominated the series vs. AFC East rivals (72-43-1) and have won 5 out of the last six contests
5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-2) Last Week: Unranked
The Chargers enjoyed tea and crumpets in England and hanging onto a dramatic 20-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans who decided to go for the game-winning two-point conversion. Philip Rivers was solid again, and he is having a tremendous start to a season (17 TD’s 2,008 Yards 17 TD’s and 3 INT’s 117.8 Ratings). The QB needed to be good because Melvin Gordon was out nursing his hamstring. The Chargers have quietly one of the best wide receiving cores in the NFL and when this offense is entirely healthy, watch out! This offense is the real deal and a Rams vs. Chargers Super Bowl a very realistic possibility.
The defense is about to get a lot better. It’s not like they have been bad and unlike teams above them, the Chargers have a solid defense. Joey Bosa, arguably the team’s best player will be back after the Bye Week. Bosa will add more to a pass rush that has missed him since his injury. San Diego has still managed to sack the quarterback 18 times, but with Bosa back they will be more lethal. A rookie in the NFL not getting enough love? Chargers S Derwin James is an absolute stud! Chargers will enjoy a bye week and when they get back for week #9 will travel to Seattle to battle the Seahawks.
Closing in the top 5 this week: Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1), Washington Redskins (4-2), Carolina Panthers (4-2)
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Eight
28. BUFFALO BILLS (2-5) Last Week: Unranked
This team is a disaster! Buffalo is lucky that the Cardinals and Raiders have been more inept, but each of those teams will be better by the end of the year. The Buffalo Bills are starting Derek Anderson. WTF is going on? Anderson hasn’t started a game since 2016, and it looked that way vs. the Colts throwing three interceptions. This team went from the playoffs to rebuild in eight months. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to Coach McDermott, but he needs to go and NOW! First, it’s one thing to know that Nathan Peterman stinks but then to put him back in and then tell the fans that Derek Anderson will be the guy? Inexcusable! I realize Josh Allen got hurt, but he should never have been put behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
Someone is making abysmal decisions and why did they ever trade Tyrod Taylor? It seems like whenever Buffalo is about to take a step in the right direction they shoot themselves in the foot. The defense has battled its ass off, but this team needs to take a chapter out of the Raiders page, trade anyone of value for picks. The Bills are looking at a double-digit loss to the Patriots coming up this weekend in upstate New York. Tom Brady is 28-4 against the Bills. When’s the Draft?
29. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-5) Last Week: 32nd
Good News! They didn’t lose this past week, but the bad news is they didn’t play. Well, Jon Gruden said his team is not tanking. That’s great. Gruden grinders getting up at 4 am to put together a dated offensive system. I like Coach a lot. He is a stand-up guy, but this team is brutal and close to being one of the worst in the NFL. If this team is not tanking, they are putting up star players for sale. Carr, Conley, and Cooper who was moved to Dallas for a first round pick are all available. For Oakland, it was a good move getting a first round pick for Amari Cooper, but Derek Carr looks like a lost soul. Is he fixable? Well, that is what Jon Gruden is supposed to do.
As far as the defense, they are minus 66 point differential – 3rd worst in the league. It’s ugly, and the lack of depth is the fault of the entire organization. Hey, Khalil Mack says hi from Chicago. The good news for the Raiders is that they have the (2-5) Indianapolis Colts in town. It will be a chance for the Silver and Black to get a win. Oakland leads the all-time series (9-7) but are 3 point underdogs at home.
30. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-6) Last Week: 29th
The Giants offense should not be this bad. Any team that allows the Atlanta Falcons to look like a good defensive squad has to be horrible. Pat Shurmur who was really good designing a terrific gameplan in Minnesota as an offensive coordinator seems to be making all the wrong calls in New York. He got upset with Eli in Atlanta for not getting OBJ the ball. It would help if Coach had an offensive line that would play better. Rookie Will Hernandez is struggling and Eli Manning might be slow, but he has barely any time to make medium to deep throws. With these names: Barkley, Beckham, Engram, Shepard and Soldier things should be better than this. How bad has the offense been? They have trailed for over 280 minutes this season – the worst in the NFL.
The defense is trying to battle but because the offense cannot sustain drives, they are on the field way too much. They contained Atlanta for 3 quarters then got tired when the Giants could not get anything going offensively. Way too many 3rd down conversions are being given up the New York who should consider making moves for draft picks. The Giants will be at home this Sunday as the first place Washington Redskins (4-2) come to MetLife Stadium in an NFC East rivalry game. Giants have lost 19 of there last 24 games. Giants lead the all-time series (100-68-4)
31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-6) Last Week: 30th
After a tough loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers came home to challenge the undefeated Los Angles Rams and got blown out. C.J. Beathard had Aaron Donalds named tattoed to his chest as the All-Pro DT sacked him four times. Four turnovers (2 INT and 2 Fumbles) had Head Coach Kyle Shanahan upset after the game. The only player who performed well on Sunday was Tight End Greg Kittle (5 catches 98 yards TD).
The defense actually showed well versus the high powered Rams offense. What killed them were the 4 turnovers that the offense gave the Rams. They held Goff to 202 yards and Gurley to 63 yards on the ground. The 49ers have been undermanned with a lot of injuries but this should now be a tank job. The 49ers travel to Arizona to battle the equally inept (1-6) Cardinals in an NFC West battle. 49ers lead the all-time series (29-25).
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-6) Last Week: 31st
What momentum the Cardinals gathered from a decent showing in Minnesota they lost entirely in one of the ugliest performances ever seen on an NFL field. Arizona got battered, bruised, and manhandled in Denver 45-10 and it wasn’t that close. Josh Rosen threw two pick-sixes which capped a miserable evening from a rookie quarterback who was under pressure all night (21-39 194 Yards 1 TD and 3 INT’S). David Johnson’s poor season continued with just 39 yards vs. Denver. He has (335 Yards 5 TDS at a 3.2 AVG) not been given much help with an offensive line that gets beaten and pushed back on a regular basis. It didn’t take long after the game for the team to hand offensive coordinator Mike McCoy his walking papers. The question is how much time will rookie head coach Steve Wilks get?
As if things can’t get worse in the desert, Cardinals All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson has asked to be traded. The team has said they have no interest in moving Patrick, but if offers do come in, it will start with a first and 4th round pick in any discussions. The Cardinals will be home to face the (1-6) 49ers. They beat San Francisco 3 weeks ago (28-18) so a chance to get a win and move out of the 32nd spot in our rankings.
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
Indianapolis Colts (2-5), Cleveland Browns (2-4), N.Y. Jets (3-4)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 9.
It sucks when your team is inching closer to being part of the 5 Worst NFL Teams as Week Five is closing in. Thanks, Minnesota, close to being part of the five worst teams are you kidding me? What happened to that vaunted Mike Zimmer defense? Better get it right in Philly, or I cant save you next week for being in the five down, the five worst NFL teams oh my! I need a drink.
Ah yes, it’s that time of the week for 5 Up 5 Down: The five best and five worst teams in the NFL. We are Unafraid to piss you off by adding clubs who probably don’t belong in the Top 5. Sorry, Jacksonville at least your team doesn’t stink right now! Week 5 is here as the Colts and Patriots kick things off tonight. As always, There are some movers and shakers in our rankings, but we also have the Bills and Cardinals who are staples at being part of the Worst 5 in the NFL. What did we learn in Week 4? The Titans have a head coach with brass balls, seeing Quarterbacks with 50 or 60 passes and 400 yards is becoming a typical thing, Earl Thomas has a unique way of saying goodbye, Patrick Mahomes II is a star, and the Rams are the ultimate show in the NFL.
5 UP: The Five Best NFL Teams
1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-0) Last Week: 1st
No surprise here these Rams could overtake, “The Greatest Show on Turf” soon with the numbers they are putting up. I think the Rams just scored another touchdown against the Vikings while you were reading this. My question was, could Jared Goff take the next step? He has climbed over that step and is now atop the mountain. In my mind, Jared joined the elite in the NFL as witnessed by these picture-perfect passes vs. a shell-shocked Vikings defense. Goff tossed a perfect game (158.3 Rating) and has amassed some fantastic numbers so far this year (72.4 % 1,406 Yards 11 Td’s just 2 INT’s with a stunning 127.3 OBR). The Los Angeles Rams are the best team in football right now, but they are not as complete as I thought they were.
The defense has real issues at the LB position, and the secondary got torched by Kirk Cousins. The Rams are number one in our 5 Up due to the perfect record, high octane offense and an impressive plus 73 point differential. What is scary is they can be much better than this. A battle with division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks (2-2) on Sunday afternoon in the Emerald City is next. Las Vegas has the Rams at 7.5 favorites, and the all-time series stands at 23-17 for Seattle (they split both games last year). For the Rams, this kicks off three straight weeks on the road against some stiffer defenses (Seahawks, Broncos, and 49ers), but I fully expect them to win all of these game. Congrats Rams, two straight weeks atop our five up rankings.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-0) Last Week: 2nd
We wanted to see Patrick Mahomes II (1,200 Yards, 14 Touchdowns, 126.5 QBR, with zero INT’s) get tested and he did in Denver on Monday night. I’m going to call him “Kid Dynamite,” found a way to get his 2nd win in the Mile High City (won last year in his first start as a Pro). The Broncos had some pressure on Patrick who once again used his feet to buy time to make big plays. He showed us some rookie throws which were fortunately not intercepted, but when the team needed him in the 2nd half, he delivered. This kid has that Brett Favre quality with improvising ability like changing hands to make a key play. He is pure excitement at the highest level becoming my favorite QB to watch in the NFL.
The Chiefs defense which has struggled a lot this year (ranked 32nd coming into the match-up) made some big plays as well. That interception by Eric Murray was a thing of beauty. An aspect that the “D” has done well all year is making some key stops on third down. They prevented another Keenum miracle at the end of the game to keep the record perfect. K.C. will have its toughest test of the year so far as the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) come to town. The Chiefs are 3 point favorites, but the Jags lead the all-time series six games to five.
3. TENNESSEE TITANS (3-1) Last Week: Unranked
I had to bump Jacksonville out of our Top 5 this week since they won ugly on Sunday (plus the Titans beat them). A team that won me over for having the gutsiest coach in the NFL are the Tennessee Titans. What a dramatic call against the Eagles to go for the win and sidestep the tie. A huge 4th down conversion with game-tying FG in reach. Thank you, Mike Vrabel we hate ties! That win vs. the defending Super Bowl Champs is one that builds team unity, confidence and a season of epic success. You don’t believe me watch this postgame speech by my new favorite Head Coach. Oh, by the way, Marcus Mariota is growing into an amazing leader, and we might have also seen the birth as well of an elite wide receiver, in Corey Davis.
Tennesee is quickly becoming a team that many around the NFL don’t want to face. The Defense is playing great, and a dramatic gutsy overtime victory versus Philly is why the Titans hold the third position in our 5 Up rankings. The Titans will travel to Buffalo (1-3) to battle the Bills. Tennessee is 3 point favorites to get the road win, and they lead the all-time series 28-17. One can never forget the Music City Miracle between these two teams in 2000 one of the great endings of all-time.
4. CHICAGO BEARS (3-1) Last Week: Unranked
So I am mixing it up in my five up. This team deserves a chance to be here since they should be (4-0) right now. Mitch Trubisky had a career day throwing for six touchdowns and the Bears receiving core (Robinson, White (amazing at blocking), Gabriel, and Miller) is improving right before our eyes. Some things the Bears need to do better is run blocking and running the ball. Neither Howard or Cohen have been consistent and with a young QB that is still developing that needs to improve. I like how Matt Nagy goes after it very aggressive, similar to Sean McVay.
The biggest monster of the midway is Khalil Mack. He is the first player since Robert Mathis (2005) to record a sack and force a fumble in four straight games. It’s incredible to watch the rest of the defense pick up its energy level and try to emulate the play of the defensive MVP of the league right now. Chicago Bears fans should be very excited with a young team on the rise, and they will get a week off to enjoy it and root against the NFC North rivals.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-1) Last Week: Unranked
It’s all about the spectacular Alvin Kamara who created history on Sunday. He was a monster last week, and he can beat you in so many ways. The Saints offense keeps getting more creative. Sean Payton might be the best play-caller in the business. Drew Brees is on the verge of becoming the all-time leading passer in NFL history. We don’t talk enough about him, but we are watching one of the all-time greats continue to play at a very high level.
If the defense can get its act together (allowing 30 points a game), then this team could represent the NFC in Atlanta for Super Bowl 53. The Saints battle the Redskins on Monday Night at home and are currently 7 point favorites. Washington leads the all-time series 17-9, but the Saints beat the Skins last year in OT, 34-31.
Closing in or falling out of our top 5 this week: Honorable Mention
Miami Dolphins (3-1), Cincinnati Bengals (3-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1), Baltimore Ravens (3-1), Philadelphia Eagles (2-2).
5 DOWN: The Five worst NFL teams
28. HOUSTON TEXANS (1-3) Last Week: Unranked
The Houston Texans should send Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich a thank you card. Thanks to a horrible decision to go for it in OT on their side of the field, the Texans were able to end a horrific 9 game losing streak. DeShaun Watson played well (375 Yards 2 touchdowns) despite being sacked seven times and hurried on numerous occasions. Like many offensive lines in the NFL (Vikings, Cardinals, Bills) the Houston Texans Big Boys up front stink right now! I realize that Patrick Mahomes II is the new fancy toy to drool over but watching DeShaun versus the Colts, you know he is going to be a Super Star.
The defense needs to get its act together. When you have Watt, Clowney, and Whitney things shouldn’t be this poor (every game they have allowed 20 or more points). A Battle of Texas this Sunday Night as the Cowboys (2-2) come to town. Houston is favored by three and a half points, but the Cowboys lead the all-time series three games to one. I’m going to go on a limb to say; the Texans will not be part of the five worst NFL teams next week.
29. N.Y. JETS (1-3) Last Week: Unranked
Well after week one, New York Jet fans were thinking Super Bowl. Okay maybe that is a little much but a road win in Detroit by a ton of points this might be a 9 or 10 win season. Nope, rookie quarterback falls back down to Earth, but it’s not all his fault. Sam Darnold has been okay, but the offense is so intricate without any stars that things need to be simplified quicky. The bigger issue might be developing on the other side of scrimmage.
The defense is holding a players-only meeting to talk about eliminating miscommunications. The Jets are making way too many mistakes, and this is squarely on Todd Bowles shoulders. An ominous sign for a Head Coach who is already on the hot seat. New York will welcome the Denver Broncos to MetLife Stadium. The Jets will be two-point favorites, but Denver leads the all-time series 20-15-1. How long will the J-E-T-S be part of the five worst NFL teams, this week will be a true indicator.
30. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-3) Last Week: 30th
The Raiders are fortunate to have won on Sunday against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. They came within an inch of being 0-4. In a must win, the offense got it done. Derek Carr put up huge numbers (437 yards 4 TD’s 2 INTS), and Jared Cook is becoming an unstoppable weapon. The offense has been putting up big numbers, but the problem is on the other side of the ball.
While Khalil Mack is doing things we haven’t seen since 2005 in Chicago, The Raiders defense can’t stop the run, pass, or opposing teams from scoring. Only Tampa Bay has given up more points. One shining star has been the play of rookie Maurice Hurst who has shown on tape over and over. Oakland’s defense needs only to be average for this sinking ship to float again. In four games though that defense looks like it will keep the Silver and Black in the five worst teams in the NFL. The Raiders will play what seems to be a home game in LA versus the Chargers (2-2). San Diego will be 6 point favorites, but the Raiders lead the series 63-52-1.
31. BUFFALO BILLS (1-3) Last Week: 28th
After shocking the world with a huge upset the week before in Minnesota, the Bills true colors came out as they got embarrassed 22-0 to the Packers at Lambeau. Josh Allen, as our George Wrighster has pointed out on many occasions, was very inaccurate on Sunday. He looked like a deer in headlights thanks to an offensive line that allowed seven sacks. LeSean McCoy returned and ran for a paltry 24 yards. The Buffalo Bills showed us all at Lambeau field why they might be picking first in the 2019 NFL Draft. An awful football team who will use this year to gain experience. Hopefully, Josh Allen’s confidence won’t be destroyed.
The Bills will always be part of the 5 worst NFL teams here in 2018-2019. Arizona is somehow below them right now in our rankings, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cards overtake Buffalo at some point this year. The Good news for the Bills is they are home this Sunday, but the bad news is it’s against the red-hot Tennessee Titans. Hey, at least the Buffalo Wings are really good, and the Sabres drop the puck this week.
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (0-4) Last Week: 32nd
The Cards look to be a staple in the 5 worst NFL teams. Another week and another poor outing by the Cardinals offense. In four weeks of play, this team has put up an NFL worst 37 points. I am guessing soon the defense might take out some anger on that offense in practice. The Cardinals have shown some fight the last two weeks, but 0-4 is pathetic. Josh Rosen did provide a glimmer of hope (180 Yards 1 TD’s no interceptions), but this offense is just brutal. Please set Larry Fitzgerald free. He deserves a chance to finish his career with something better than this. What is going on with running back David Johnson? Fantasy owners are going crazy!
The Cardinals travel to San Francisco to battle division foes the (1-3) 49ers. Niners are 4 point favorites at home and lead the all-time series 29-24, but the Cards have won the last six match-ups.
Teams that are Knocking on futilities door:
San Francisco 49ers (1-3), N.Y. Giants (1-3), Detroit Lions (1-3), Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down, The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 6.
Five up Five Down: 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week. There are some significant changes in the rankings. What did we learn in Week 3? The refs hate Clay Matthews and the new roughing the passer rule is a joke. Many teams have not invested in an offensive line properly. Baker Mayfield might be the answer in Cleveland. We also learned that being heavy favorites doesn’t guarantee anything in the NFL, costing some of us some money in Vegas. Just ask the Vikings, Jaguars, and Patriots fans about that. Minnesota was a 16.5 point favorite on Sunday and lost by 21 points at home, a historic upset indeed.
5 UP: 5 Best NFL Teams
1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-0) Last Week: 2nd
The Los Angeles Rams are the most complete team in the NFL. The Rams are number one in our 5 Up due to an NFL best, plus 66 point differential. They dominated the Chargers in winning the Battle of Los Angeles. Todd Gurley broke out for 156 total yards including 105 on the ground, and Jared Goff continues to get better (80 % completion level vs. Chargers 354 yards and 3 TD’s), which is scary for opposing teams. The Rams did suffer some devastating injuries losing both stud Cornerbacks Marcus Peters (might miss 1-2 weeks currently a game-time decision vs. Vikings) and Aquib Talib (for 4-6 weeks). If the team has a weakness right now, it’s stopping the run (giving up 5 yards a carry). Next up: a battle with the Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1) on Thursday night, who come into L.A. with all kinds of red flags. Some viewed this game as a possible NFC Championship preview. The Rams want revenge for a 24-7 loss last year in Minnesota. L.A. is currently 6.5 point favorites with an 80% probability win rate against the Vikings even though Minnesota leads the all-time series 27-16-2 with five straight wins against the Rams.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-0) Last Week: 4th
Patrick Mahomes II (896 Yards, 13 Touchdowns, 137.4 QBR, with zero INT’s) is just awesome! If you have him on your fantasy team, you are winning a lot. After three weeks he is not only the best QB in the NFL, he is the league’s best player. Check out this TD pass by Mahomes against the 49ers, which is utterly ridiculous. I still think after three weeks the Chiefs defense is soft (allowing 472 yards per game). How long can this last? Lots of pressure on the 7th ranked offense to make-up for the 32nd ranked defense. The Chiefs need more out of RB Kareem Hunt and his 3.2 yards average, but then again Andy Reid is not a running back guy (runningbacks under Reid are not in the top 20 in looks since 2013). Chiefs are 4.5 point road favorites against AFC West Divison rivals the Denver Broncos (2-1) on Monday Night. Kansas City leads the all-time series 61-54.
3. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-0) Last Week: Unranked
Indeed one of the best surprises this year has been the Miami Dolphins. Some experts did think that Adam Gase was going to get this team headed in the right direction, but 3-0 no way! Well, the fins are a perfect 3-0 and leading the AFC East. Let’s check it a bit. They have beaten the Titans, Jets, and Raiders (teams with a combined 3-6 record), but they are doing the little things right and are having fun as witnessed by this TD vs. the Raiders.
The loss of DE William Hayes is going to hurt. Hayes tore his ACL on this play trying to avoid getting a penalty for roughing the passer. Ryan Tannehill is playing within the system, and it’s paying off (73% completion ratio, 7 TD’s only 2 INT’s with a 121.8 QBR). Miami can make a believer out of all of us with a win in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon against the suddenly desperate (1-2) New England Patriots. This game is at Gillette Stadium, where Tom Brady is 14-1 vs. Miami and the Dolphins and despite being unbeaten, will be heavy underdogs by getting 7 points. Vegas wants a show me win as well, but hey, maybe Tom’s daughter, Vivian will be pulling for Miami! The Patriots lead the all-time series 54-51.
4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-1) Last Week: 3rd
Well, the Jaguars were ranked number one by many in the power ranking, but not mine. I still think the Jaguars will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, but some red flags have developed. The loss of LT Cam Robinson could be huge, and the lack of depth at the WR position is very concerning. After a huge week against the Patriots, Blake Bortles came back to earth vs. the Titans (155 yards, zero TD’s). The Franchise is fully invested in #5, who they feel is a “champion.” Look, Jacksonville’s defense will continue to be strong, but the offense needs to pick up the pace. If they can put up 17 points, the defense will win most games by themselves. The Jags only move down one spot in our Five Up, but they better take care of a rookie QB and the (1-2) N.Y. Jets on Sunday at home. Vegas has the Jags as 7.5 point favorites but the Jets hold a 7-6 series lead, including last years dramatic 23-20 win in overtime.
5.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (2-1) Last Week: Unranked
Carson Wentz is back! The future NFL MVP makes all the difference in the team’s chances at repeating. The Eagles defense is still excellent and can cause nightmares for opposing teams offensive lines. The running game has room for improvement, but RB Wendell Smallwood might become a new Philly favorite (17 carries 84 yards 1 TD 4.9 avg). What makes the Eagles so tough is that the offensive line has been so strong and underrated. The offense is going to get a lot better, and that defense is just incredible! Philly will be in Tennessee to battle the stingy Titans on Sunday as 3 point favorites. The Eagles are 0-2 in Nashville but are 7-4 vs. Titans/Oilers all-time.
Closing in on the top 5: Honorable Mention
Baltimore Ravens (2-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
5 DOWN: 5 worst NFL teams
28. BUFFALO BILLS (1-2) Last Week: 32nd
Oh my, how one week can change everything! The Bills were the NFL’s worst team last week. It looked hopeless. I bought into an on-air host from a big network saying the Vikings were going to cover easily. Buffalo, not only beat the heavily favored Vikings (-16.5), they embarrassed them 27-6. Josh Allen (196 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions, numerous big runs) showed some serious athletic prowess and bravery with this effort on Anthony Barr that sparked the Bills to a big win.
The Bills defensive line lead by Jerry Hughes terrorized the Vikings offensive line all day, creating three critical turnovers. The Bills will try to make it two for two over the NFC North as they battle the Green Bay Packers (1-1-1) at Lambeau. Vegas isn’t buying the Bills colossal upset over the Vikings. The Packers are 10-point favorites, but the Bills hold an impressive 8-4 advantage in the all-time match-up vs. Green Bay.
29. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-2) Last Week: Unranked
This has been a disastrous stretch for the San Francisco 49ers. Fans must be in a deep depression. They have played okay, but losing your starting RB before the season starts and now losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn ACL is a nightmare no team can recover from. This ranking is more about the future of this season than it is reflective of how they have performed so far. When your season is in the hands of C.J. Beathard or someone from off the streets (Tom Savage gulp!), it’s a recipe for failure. They will travel down the coast to play the (1-2) Los Angeles Chargers. Vegas sees this as a blowout and have made the Chargers 10.5 point favorites. The series is tied at seven games apiece. The Chargers have won 4 in a row, but the 49ers have the biggest win in the series with a 49-26 win in Super Bowl XXIX.
30. OAKLAND RAIDERS (0-3) Last Week: 29th
31. HOUSTON TEXANS (0-3) Last Week: Unranked
What is going on with The Houston Texans? I thought this team would be ready for a significant turnaround. Unfortunately for Houston fans, losing has been very prevalent with the team now holding an ominous streak of 9 straight loses dating back to last year. Many are getting restless and tired of Head Coach Bill O’Brien (31-36) and his generic play calling. Will he become the latest Patriots assistant to fail as a Head Coach?
The key to this team’s issues has been the play of the offensive line and defensive secondary. DeShaun Watson, who is back after devastating injury, has been sacked ten times already and has run away from pressure on numerous occasions. He is not at the level he played at last year (871 yards 5 TD’s 3 Int’s 89.9 QBR) but is getting closer. A tough match-up against the Colts (1-2) in Indy is up next on Sunday. The Texans will be 1.5 point underdogs and, unfortunately, historically are woeful vs. the Indianapolis Colts (7-25). They lost both contests to Indy last year.
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (0-3) Last Week: 31st
Awful! At one point, the Cardinals were beating the Chicago Bears 14-0. It appeared that the Cards were going to get out of the Five Down list. Nope! They scored no points in the 2nd half. Sam Bradford continued to look awful (3 turnovers), which lead to the Josh Rosen era beginning. With a talented roster, Arizona should be better than this. I feel the Cardinals are making a huge mistake putting Rosen behind this weak offensive line (6 sacks numerous pressures). Somehow, RB David Johnson, the Cardinals best player, is averaging just 3.4 yards and the team needs more from him in the running game. The Cardinals rank dead last in every offensive category with a date against a very aggressive defense looming. The Cardinals are an NFL worst, minus 54, which makes new Head Coach Steve Wilks cringe. The Cards have another home game coming up against the Seattle Seahawks, and it will mark the 39th meeting between the two clubs. The Cardinals have a slight 19-18 lead in the series. Seattle is favored by 3 points on Sunday afternoon.
Knocking on futilities door:
N.Y. Jets (1-2), Seattle Seahawks (1-2), New England Patriots (1-2)
Come back next Wednesday for Five Up Five Down, The 5 best NFL Teams and the 5 worst NFL Teams Week 5.