Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters, PFWA Members 

NFL Power Rankings – Week 15

Rams and Chargers Move Up

 

December 12, 2019

Jevone Moore

Keenan Allen - Chargers top receiver - 81 receptions - 947 yards - 5 touchdowns

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2): The Ravens moved one step closer to controlling homefield advantage for the AFC playoffs with a win over the Bills in Buffalo. Lamar Jackson went over 1,000 yards in rushing and is averaging 78.2 yards per game rushing, which if maintained would break the record set by Bobby Douglass of the Bears of 69.1 per game set in 1972. Next: -17 vs New York Jets - Thu, Dec. 12

2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2): Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 14 for his performance against the Saints in New Orleans. Garoppolo completed 26-of-35 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns for a 131.7 passer rating inleading the 49ers to a come-from-behind victory. Next: -10.5 vs Atlanta Falcons – Sun, Dec. 15

3. New Orleans Saints (10-3): The Saints loss to the 49ers, in a terrific game, has put them behind the 49ers in the standings and behind if they tie for best record. The Saints need to make up a two-game difference with three games to play. They need help. Next: -9 vs Indianapolis Colts – Mon, Dec. 16

4. Seattle Seahawks (10-3): Running back Rashaad Penny is out for the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury sustained on his first play of the game, a 16-yard reception. Perry had become a more significant part of the offense in recent weeks and he will be difficult to replace. Next: -6.5 at Carolina Panthers – Sun, Dec. 15

5. Green Bay Packers (10-3): The Packers rank 23rd in total offense and 22nd in total defense. On paper, this does not look like a playoff team. A +11 turnover ratio has helped and having Aaron Rodgers at quarterback does not hurt, either. Rodgers has thrown for 23 touchdowns and has only two interceptions in 13 games. Next: -4.5 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Dec. 15

6. New England Patriots (10-3): The Pats have loss three of their last five games and are struggling to score points. They have not been able to find a replacement for Rob Gronkowski, their recently retired superstar tight end. Look for the Pats to make a run at Charger tight end Hunter Henry, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Next: -10 at Cincinnati Bengals - Sun, Dec. 15

7. Buffalo Bills (9-4): Despite their loss to the Ravens on Sunday, all the Bills need to do is win one of their final three games of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. They could clinch the playoff berth on Sunday Night, in a nationally televised game at Pittsburgh. Next: +2 at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sun, Dec. 15

8. Minnesota Vikings (9-4): Wide receiver Adam Thielen could return this weekend for the Vikings after missing four games with a hamstring pull. Thielen, who made the NFC Pro Bowl team in both 2017 & 2018, is needed for the final three games if the Vikings are going to stay in the playoff hunt. Next: -2.5 at Los Angeles chargers – Sun, Dec. 15

9. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4): Travis Kelce needs 11 receiving yards to hit the 1,000 mark for the 4th consecutive season. The veteran tight end would become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Next: -9.5 vs Denver Broncos - Sun, Dec. 15

10. Tennessee Titans (8-5): Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, for his performance in a win over the Raiders in week 14. Tannehill was 21-of-27 passing for 391 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. The Titans have won six of the seven games since he took over as their starting quarterback. Next: -3 vs Houston Texans - Sun, Dec. 15

11. Los Angeles Rams (8-5): Tight end Tyler Higbee went over 100 yards in receiving for the second consecutive week and the second time in his NFL career in the Rams 28-12 victory over the Seahawks. Higbee, a 4th round draft [pick in 2016 out of Western Kentucky, also caught his 100th career pass in the NFL in the game. He had 68 receptions in four years at Western Kentucky. Next: -1 at Dallas Cowboys - Sun, Dec. 15

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5): Against the Cardinals on Sunday, the Steelers added three more defensive turnovers to their league leading total, which now stands at 33. They also lead the NFL in sacks with 48 and in the win on Sunday, had a punt returned 85 yards for a touchdown. Next: -2 vs Buffalo Bills – Sun, Dec. 15

13. Houston Texans (8-5): If you are a playoff team, you don't get hammered at home by the Broncos. If you are a playoff team, you don't allow rookie quarterback Drew Lock, playing in his second career start, to complete 22 of 27 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. You have to be better than that if you are really a playoff team. Next: +3 at Tennessee Titans – Sun, Dec. 15

14. Chicago Bears (7-6): Quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw for three touchdowns and ran for one touchdown in the Bears easy win over the hapless Cowboys. Trubisky has now led the Bears to three consecutive wins. Next: +4.5 at Green Bay Packers - Sun, Dec. 15

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7): If there is one thing to learn from the Bucs, it is that you can never have enough good wide receivers. On Sunday in their win over the Colts, the Bucs lost star wide receiver Mike Evans to a hamstring injury and with Scotty Miller out with an injury as well, turned to Breshad Perriman and 2nd year wide receiver Justin Watson. Both caught a touchdown pass in the victory. Next: -3.5 at Detroit Lions - Sun, Dec. 15

16. Cleveland Browns (6-7): The Browns have won four of their last five games and still have an outside shot at the AFC playoffs. After this week, they get the Ravens at home and that could be a game that defines their season and postseason. The Browns easily defeated the Ravens in Baltimore and a second win could decide the fate of players and coaches in the offseason. Next: -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals - Sun, Dec. 15

17. Indianapolis Colts (6-7): Wide receiver Zach Pascal has emerged as a reliable receiving option for the Colts, especially with the injuries to T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Pascal has 35 receptions for 547 yards and five touchdowns, with 26 of his 35 catches being converted to first downs. Next: +10.5 at New Orleans Saints – Mon, Dec. 16

18. Denver Broncos (5-8): In a very impressive victory, the Broncos went on the road to Houston and just hammered the Texans. The Broncos took a 38-3 lead into the third quarter before they finally let up and won 38-24. Next: +9.5 at Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Dec. 15

19. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7): The Eagles gutted their way to a victory over the Giants in overtime on Monday Night. With only one wide receiver healthy, the Eagles went with a three tight end lineup and to the surprise of many, were able to move the ball and win the game. The Eagles do not play a team with a winning record for the rest of the season, which should help them win the NFC East. Next: -4.5 at Washington Redskins – Sun, Dec. 15

20. Dallas Cowboys (6-7): The Cowboys have not beaten a team with a winning record this season. At this point, the conclusion has to be that the talent is not nearly as good as many experts thought it was. Things have never clicked in Dallas. Next: +1 vs Los Angeles Rams - Sun, Dec. 15

21. Oakland Raiders (6-7): The Raiders have hit a wall in 2019 and look finished for the season. The defense has struggled to stop anyone lately and with that, they cut three defensive players off the roster after their third consecutive embarrassing loss. They also need help at wide receiver. Alabama has a better group of wide receivers than this current group with the Raiders. Next: -6.5 vs Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Dec. 15

22. Los Angeles chargers (5-8): The chargers are on a pace to have the sixth trio of wide receivers in history with over 1,000 yards in receiving. Keenan Allen has 947 receiving yards, Mike Williams has 841 yards and Austin Ekeler is at 830 yards. The first trio to accomplish this feat were the 1980 chargers receivers, with John Jefferson, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner all going over 1,000 yards. Next: -2.5 vs Minnesota Vikings - Sun, Dec. 15

23. New York Jets (5-8): The Jets have won four of five and have a shot at ending 8-8. More importantly, with the last three games against the Ravens, Steelers and Bills, they will have a chance to measure their 2nd half success against three of the best teams in the AFC. Next: +17 at Baltimore Ravens - Thu, Dec. 12

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-9): For the second time in five weeks, kicker Younghoe Koo has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Koo was perfect on all four of his field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder, and recovered a fumble after a kickoff. He has definitely improved from his days with the chargers. Next: +10.5 at San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Dec. 15

25. Carolina Panthers (5-8): Running back Christian McCaffrey needs 54 yards of offense to hit the 2,000 mark in yards from scrimmage for the season. The NFL record belongs to running back Chris Johnson, set with the Titans in 2009, with 2,509 yards. McCaffery has a chance to break that record. Next: -6.5 vs Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Dec. 15

26. Washington Redskins (3-10): Running back Derrius Guice was placed on the injured reserve with another knee injury, this one an MCL injury. This means the ageless Adrian Petersen will become the primary running back. Petersen carried 20 times for 76 yards and one touchdown in the Redskins loss to the Packers. Next: +4.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles – Sun, Dec. 15

27. Arizona Cardinals (3-9-1): The 2017 Heisman trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, meets the 2018 Heisman trophy winner, Kyler Murray, in Arizona this weekend. Both played at Oklahoma and were teammates in 2017. Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury coached Mayfield at Texas Tech in 2013. Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma after losing his starting job to Patrick Mahomes. Next: +2.5 vs Cleveland Browns - Sun, Dec. 15

28. Detroit Lions (3-9-1): Head Coach Matt Patricia is getting strong odds to be the first head coach fired at the end of the season, if not before. This could be Ron Rivera's job if he wants it. Rivera, who was recently let go in Carolina, has the street cred to come in and turn this around. He has a winning record in the NFL as a head coach and he has taken a team to a super bowl. Next: +3.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sun, Dec. 15

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9): Major changes are needed in Jacksonville. Trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams did not help the Jags this season. They look like a team that has just given up on their head coach and their season. The Jaguars have lost five consecutive games. There will be a lot of activity in Jacksonville once the season ends. Next: +6.5 at Oakland Raiders - Sun, Dec. 15

30. Miami Dolphins (3-10): Kicker Jason Sanders, the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in week 13, continued his hot kicking, connecting on a team record seven field goals in the loss to the Jets. He did miss a kick, a 34-yard attempt in the third quarter, that cost the Dolphins the game and cost Sanders a chance to tie the NFL record for field goals in a game at eight. Next: +3.5 at New York Giants - Sun, Dec. 15

Jevone Moore

Robert Woods - Rams top receiver - 71 receptions - 933 yards - 1 touchdown

31. New York Giants (2-10): Quarterback Eli Manning started and played the entire game in the overtime loss to the Eagles. He showed that he could still play, throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He will likely start again this week. Next: -3.5 vs Miami Dolphins - Sun, Dec. 15

32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12): The mystery of wide receiver A.J. Green continues. Green has been dealing with an ankle injury the entire season. He has yet to play and probably should have been put on the injured reserve, instead of taking up a roster spot. Green is an unrestricted free agent after the season and their next quarterback (Joe Burrow) would probably love to have him healthy and on the field. Look for Green to get the franchise tag in the off-season. Next: +10 vs New England Patriots - Sun, Dec. 15

 

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