To start, let me wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! We here at The Sports Guys are thankful for all of you who read here. So enjoy your day with family and friends celebrating with them and watching some football.
As for the power rankings, many NFL teams are thankful to have the division lead in late November. Others are thankful that they are still in the playoff race thanks to the parity that exists this season. And the teams at the bottom? Well, they’re thankful that the draft is coming up quick. Let’s get to the rankings.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (No Change)
2. New England Patriots (No Change)
3. New Orleans Saints (No Change)
4. Minnesota Vikings (+1)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (+2)
6. Carolina Panthers (+3)
7. Los Angeles Rams (-1)
8. Atlanta Falcons (+4)
Thoughts: The Eagles remain on top thanks to their drubbing of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Even as Carson Wentz struggled early, Philly still found a way to win in dominating fashion. The Patriots continue to get better on defense, while Tom Brady and company have the offense at peak efficiency. They made the Raiders look five steps too slow all day. The Saints kept their own win streak alive with a crazy comeback and finished it in overtime. Many forget that Drew Brees can take over a game if he needs to so. The Vikings did away with the Rams at home and tighten their grip on the NFC North, and Case Keenum continues to surprise this season. The Steelers did better offensively through the air against the Titans, and the defense continues to get better. The Falcons came away with a big win at the Seahawks Monday night, and kept their playoff hopes alive.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (+1)
10. Seattle Seahawks (-2)
11. Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
12. Dallas Cowboys (-1)
13. Detroit Lions (+2)
14. Los Angeles Chargers (+5)
15. Washington Redskins (-2)
16. Tennessee Titans (-2)
Thoughts: It wasn’t pretty for the Jags, but they got the job done on the road in Cleveland. The one thing that could hold this team back down the stretch is the sometimes-dormant offense. The Seahawks need a reality check, and they’ve become the team that needs to win shootouts now. The Chiefs take a massive tumble thanks to a loss against the worst team in the NFC. The secondary continues to be the problem for the Chiefs, and the offense is becoming less dynamic. The Cowboys have two important games in a row to determine if they can stay afloat in the playoff race. Getting Tyron Smith and Sean Lee back will help, but the defense has serious holes, even with Sean Lee on the field. The Lions survived again against the Bears and face the rolling Vikings on Thanksgiving. The good news is that they are continuing to win close games. The Chargers got a huge win over the Bills, and the defense took the game over, forcing five Nathan Peterman interceptions. If the offense can keep moving the ball on the ground, the Chargers are a very real threat in the AFC. The Redskins drop a bit after giving away the game at the Saints, but they still have a fighting chance as players continue to work their way back from injury. The Titans got it handed to them last Thursday, but they are still very much alive in the playoff race if they can continue to run the ball and open things up for Marcus Mariota.
17. Baltimore Ravens (+3)
18. Chicago Bears (+4)
19. Buffalo Bills (-3)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4)
21. Oakland Raiders (-4)
22. Cincinnati Bengals (+4)
23. New York Jets (+2)
24. Green Bay Packers (-6)
Thoughts: The Ravens defense proved they can keep Baltimore in games with a dominant performance in Green Bay. The Bears are continually in games and they are improving with Mitch Trubisky at the helm. The Bills continued their free fall with an awful half from Nathan Peterman. The good news is that they will play the struggling Chiefs Sunday to try to turn it around. The Bucs picked up another win with Ryan Fitzpatrick running the show. They are creating more turnovers on defense which has contributed to this little run. The Raiders didn’t look ready to play in Mexico City, which is what we’ve seen from them all year. The offense just isn’t the same this season. The Bengals did just enough to beat the Broncos. They have a better roster than people think, but that offensive line holds them back in a big way. The Jets continue to improve with their young guys on defense, but they won’t contend without a franchise quarterback and more playmakers. The Packers are not the same team with Brett Hundley, obviously. He holds the ball far too long, and commits bad turnovers.
25. Arizona Cardinals (-4)
26. Houston Texans (+2)
27. Denver Broncos (-4)
28. Miami Dolphins (-1)
29. Indianapolis Colts (No Change)
30. San Francisco 49ers (No Change)
31. New York Giants (No Change)
32. Cleveland Browns (No Change)
Thoughts: Not too much to say for an Arizona team that is missing its top players. They really don’t have much going for themselves except for a high draft pick. Houston got a key win over the Cardinals, but they won’t make the playoffs with all of their injuries. Denver will try Paxton Lynch this week, and most likely the rest of the year to find out if another quarterback is necessary. The Dolphins are not the team from last year. They don’t run the ball effectively to set their offense up and their defense lacks at every level. As far as Indy goes, they need more help in a lot of places. Hopefully they have a better roster when Andrew Luck returns. The Niners won’t turn to Jimmy Garoppolo this week, but they have the pieces for the long haul. The G-Men came out with some heart and put together a good performance in a win over Kansas City. They ran the ball more effectively and got after it on defense. Cleveland is still looking for their first win, and it may not come if they keep turning it over at the rate that they do.
A quick Thanksgiving treat for you all, my picks for today’s games are:
Vikings over Lions
Chargers over Cowboys
Redskins over Giants
Questions or comments about your team? Put them here or find Jake on Twitter @JSchyvinck13.