Philip Rivers Could Be NFL MVP: Just in Case You Didn’t Know

Patrick Mahomes is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP, but there is one player that is gaining ground quickly. It’s not Drew Brees. It’s not Andrew Luck. It’s not Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack. Philip Rivers is that player!

Why is Philip Rivers all of a sudden on MVP ballots? Beating the division-leading Chiefs on the road in primetime to keep the Los Angeles Chargers in the hunt not just for the AFC West, but home field advantage throughout the playoffs is a good start. Also, this throw helps…a lot.

Rivers is capitalizing off of the “what have you done for me lately,” theory. Recency bias tends to happen with awards and although Mahomes has had a spectacular season, Rivers recently shined when the lights were brightest. In the biggest game of the season on the biggest stage, it was Rivers, not Mahomes, who delivered late. Down 14 points in the fourth quarter, Rivers led the Chargers on two straight drives that ended in touchdowns with the exclamation point coming in the form of a 2-point conversation with 4 seconds left to give the Chargers their first lead of the entire night, which ended up being the difference over the Chiefs. Also, keep in mind that Rivers did not have his top wide receiver, running back, or tight end in the lineup in the 4th quarter.

Although Drew Brees is second in the odds for MVP, the Saints QB has struggled in his past three games with only 531 yards, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs. If Brees struggles again this week at home against the Steelers, his decline in the MVP race will continue.

However, while we’re on the topic of the last three games, let’s take a look at the numbers from both Mahomes and Rivers.

Mahomes: 915 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INTs

Rivers: 832, 5 TDs, 2 INTs

Mahomes’s numbers are better on paper, but they don’t really tell the story during that three game stretch. Mahomes struggled against Baltimore the entire game and had it not been for a miraculous throw to Tyreek Hill; the Chiefs would have been losers of two straight games, bouncing them from the top of the AFC to the 5th seed. The yards and touchdowns favor Mahomes tremendously, but if you take a closer look at the completion numbers and records of each team, the race is not as wide as portrayed by the oddsmakers.

Also, if you can believe this, Rivers has more games with multiple touchdowns (13), which is first in the NFL, than Mahomes (12). Plus, voters are more likely to remember Rivers’ late-game comeback win over Mahomes than Mahomes’ 4 TD performance Week 1 over the Chargers.

There is no doubt in my mind that if the season ended today, Patrick Mahomes would win the MVP (and rightfully so). However, there are still two weeks left with huge playoff implications on the line. The Chiefs and Chargers are currently tied for first in the AFC West with 11-3 records. The Chiefs currently hold the tiebreaker so if both teams win out, the Chiefs would not only win the AFC West, but they would earn the #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. One misstep by Mahomes and it could result in the 5 seed.

Rivers is going to have to play out of his mind these next two weeks to gain momentum for his MVP campaign. First of all, Mahomes will have to struggle mightily, which hasn’t happened all season long. Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Seattle on Sunday night, which is no easy task, and finish off the season at home against the Raiders. If Mahomes throws multiple interceptions in both games with little to no touchdowns, Rivers has a chance to steal votes away. With a game at home against Baltimore and a game on the road against Denver, if Rivers can light up the scoreboard and throw for 6+ touchdowns that result in two wins, Rivers will have a legitimate case to win the MVP.

Philip Rivers is not a traditional long shot since he is third in the MVP odds. That being said, Mahomes has been at the top of the ballot all season long while Rivers has not even been in the top 5 for most of the season. Can Rivers actually unseat Mahomes from the MVP race despite? It seems impossible, but with the ball in his hands, Rivers won’t go down without a fight.

Five Up Five Down The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week 11

5 Worst NFL teams week 11

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

Worst NFL teams week 10

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: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Nine

5 Worst NFL teams Week nine

Five Up Five Down: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week nine 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 nine is hours away from kicking off in Santa Clara. What did we learn from Week 8? The Rams can win the close games. Saints are better than we all think, Jameis Winston is not long for the NFL, and the Seahawks are better than we thought they would be. Does your team sadly qualify for worst teams for Week 9? Give us your take who should be on the list and who shouldn’t.

5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week Nine

1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-0) Last Week:  1st

The Rams proved that they even need luck once in awhile beating a very game, Green Bay Packers team at home. A Field Goal followed by a late fumble kept the perfect season alive. Jared Goff threw for 3 TD’s, and Todd Gurley ran for 114 yards and 81 yards. (800 yards 11 TD’s 4.7 Avg.) The Rams will need to tighten up the defense on the road against the New Orleans Saints (6-1). The Saints are the biggest threat and best opponent that LA has faced this year. The Saints are currently favored by one point, but the Rams lead the all-time series, 41-33.

2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (7-1) Last Week: 2nd

Kansas City keeps rolling along, and Patrick Mahomes II keeps making big plays. Mahomes II threw for 4 TDs and 300 yards (2,526 Yards 26 TD’s 6 INT 115.3 Rating) in another big division win over the Denver Broncos. The defense is never going to be top 10 worthy, but they make key stops on 3rd down.  Kansas City should have more success this Sunday when they challenge the Cleveland Browns (2-5-1). The Chiefs are 8.5 favorites and hold a slight lead in the head to head matchups 12-11-2.

3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-1) Last Week: 4th

Call it revenge but the Saints exorcized the Minnesota Vikings Miracle with a big 30-20 win on the road. The score could have been higher if a few players caught passes instead of bad drops. This team is rolling through its toughest stretch. I still have concerns with that defense, but like the Chiefs, that high octane offense covers a lot of pimples. No rest for Drew Brees and crew the next challenge will be the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at home. Sean Payton talks about this matchup and a chance for the Saints to claim the top spot in the NFC.

4. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-2) Last Week: 5th

Who’s the hottest team right now? Might be the Patriots. As the leaves fully turn and the winter weather rolls in the Patriots are getting closer to taking their spot as the best team in the NFL. With the Red Sox winning the World Series it’s now up to the Patriots to add to the City of Champions. Sony Michel will be back, and the defense only allowed 6 points last week. Tom Brady does what he does best, beating Buffalo. Now we get the showdown that we have all been waiting for, Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady. It’s an opportunity for Tom to let everyone know, who is still the best QB in the NFL. Aaron already has said who he thinks the best Quarterback in the NFL is.  Patriots are 6 point favorites over Green Bay (3-3-1) at home. Packers lead the all-time series 6-5.

5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-2) Last Week: Unranked

The Chargers enjoyed a Bye Week after a dramatic win in London. They will have a huge test coming up this Sunday against Seattle. Philip Rivers is playing at a high level (2,008 Yards, 17 TDs 3 INT 117.8 RTG). Head Coach Anthony Lynn thinks better days are ahead, “We definitely have a lot of improvement and things we can focus on and get better at,” Lynn said. “Seven games, we’re not there yet. But I do feel like the guys are moving in the right direction.” That’s a very dangerous thought since this team has Super Bowl talent at every position.

Joey Bosa and Melvin Gordon, the team’s two best players might be back.  This is my team to watch as the 2nd half of the NFL season takes place. The LA Chargers will travel to the Emerald City to battle the red-hot Seahawks (4-3) and will be 1.5 point underdogs. Seattle leads the all-time series 26-24.

Closing in on the top 5 this week:

Washington Redskins (5-2), Carolina Panthers (5-2), Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Nine

28. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-6) Last Week: 32nd

The Cardinals got a reprieve and doubled up against the 49ers. They have two wins both against San Francisco who unfortunately can’t play every week. 2018 has so been a complete failure. 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? 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 can’t lose this week they are on a Bye week so they might be safe from sinking in the rankings for now.

29. BUFFALO BILLS (2-6) Last Week:  28th

It was nice to see Thurman Thomas get his due at halftime during the Pats vs. Bills game on Monday Night. What was utterly unpleasing to the eyes was watching Derek Anderson trying to play QB with an Offensive Line that is the worst in football. First of all, Derek should be golfing somewhere enjoying retired time and now Bills fans you will get Nathan Peterman. Peterman! What does that guarantee? A chance to finish the season as the worst team in the NFL.

Enjoy the Buffalo wings and the commissioner in April saying, “With the first pick the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select! Great move Buffalo getting rid of Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo will most likely lose to the Chicago Bears (4-3) at home this Sunday. Chicago will be 10 points road favorites and have won 7 of the 12 contests between these two teams.

30. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-6) Last Week: 29th

The Raiders should be in full tank mode sorry Jon Gruden your commitment to excellence is in question. On a positive note, the team realized it needed to tear it down. Derek Carr played better on Sunday (244 yards 3 TD’s), but it was not enough to combat what is a horrible defense that yielded 461 yards in a brutal 42-28 loss to the Colts at home. Let’s face it Khalil Mack will not walk back through those doors but all picks acquired from getting him better be used on defense. Oakland will have a chance to win tonight as they battle the 49ers in Santa Clara. The Raiders are 2.5 underdogs, but they do lead the all-time series 7-6.

31. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-7) Last Week: 30th

They might not be ranked 32nd in our rankings yet, but they are #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, what the Giants did was sit pat.

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 are mercifully off this week.

32. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-7) Last Week: 31st

As much as I wanted to put the Giants here and those in New York wanted me to do so, the 49ers on paper and in results are the worse team in Football. It wouldn’t have been the case, but when you lose so many players to injuries, it was bound to happen. They should tank and get the top pick in the draft. With Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, and a healthy Jimmy G this organization will be on the verge of big things soon. 49ers get a chance to climb out of the 32nd ranking tonight by beating the Raiders at home. They will be hoping to move out of the label of being the worst team in the NFL for week nine.

Teams that are knocking on futilities door:

Indianapolis Colts (3-5), Cleveland Browns (2-5), N.Y. Jets (3-5)

Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 10.