Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters, PFWA Members 

NFL Power Rankings – Week 16

Rams at #12 - Chargers at #23

 

December 19, 2019

Jevone Moore

Runningback Austin Ekeler led Chargers with 132 total yards in loss to Vikings

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2): The Ravens had 12 players named to the Pro Bowl teams, tying an NFL record for most players on the Pro Bowl squad. Kicker Justin Tucker made his third pro bowl. Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, has made 23 of 24 field goal attempts this year, including two game-winners against Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Next: -10 at Cleveland Browns - Sun, Dec. 22

2. New Orleans Saints (11-3): On Monday Night against the Colts, the Saints let the NFL world know that they will be a tough team to beat if they get homefield advantage. Drew Brees set multiple records in the game, including the all-time passing touchdown record for a career and the new NFL record for highest completion percentage while throwing 29-for-30 passes, a 96.7% completion rate. Next: -3 at Tennessee Titans – Sun, Dec. 22

3. Seattle Seahawks (11-3): Wide Receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended by the NFL indefinitely for the fifth time since 2013, due to some form of substance abuse. Gordon started on Sunday at Carolina and caught a 58-yard bomb from Russell Wilson in the victory over the Panthers. Next: -9.5 vs Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Dec. 22

4. San Francisco 49ers (11-3): The 49ers have struggled recently on defense, with some big games from Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. They need to get cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive end Dee Ford healthy for the Seahawk game at the end of the season in Seattle. Next: -6.5 vs Los Angeles Rams – Sat, Dec. 21

5. New England Patriots (11-3): Soundly beating the Bengals does not mean that the Patriots are back. It just means they are better than the worst team in the NFL. Pats fans, you will be tested this weekend. Next: -6.5 vs Buffalo Bills - Sat, Dec. 21

6. Green Bay Packers (11-3): The Packers have been riding running back Aaron Jones this season and it has worked to this point. Jones leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 14 and has rushed for 830 yards and caught 45 passes. Oh, and they also have quarterback Aaron Rodgers, also known as the other Aaron. Rodgers was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 8th time in his career. Next: +5.5 at Minnesota Vikings - Mon, Dec. 23

7. Buffalo Bills (10-4): The Bills clinched a playoff berth with their win in Pittsburgh over the Steelers on Sunday Night. The Bills will likely end up as a wild card team and it would not be a surprise to see Buffalo at Houston in the first round of the playoffs. Houston should not be looking forward to that matchup. Next: +6.5 at New England Patriots - Sat, Dec. 21

8. Minnesota Vikings (10-4): The Vikings had an impressive win over the Chargers in Carson. The Vikings defense came up with seven turnovers and the special teams added a blocked punt in their 39-10 victory. Mike Boone, the third string running back, came in for injured Dalvin Cook and rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries and added two touchdowns. The Vikings look like a good playoff team. Next: -5.5 vs Green Bay Packers – Mon, Dec. 23

9. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4): For some unknown reason, the Cardinals decided to release veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs and he has landed with the Chiefs. Suggs had 37 tackles, 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles with the Cardinals and will be a welcome addition to the Chiefs defense. Next: -6 at Chicago Bears - Sun, Dec. 22

10. Houston Texans (9-5): Wide Receiver Kenny Stills had two touchdown receptions in the Texans huge road win over the Titans. Stills was included in the trade with Miami for left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The Texans sent a first-round pick in 2020 and first- and second-round picks in 2021 to the Dolphins. Tunsil was named to the 2019 Pro Bowl, so the trade has worked well for the Texans to this point. Next: -3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sat, Dec. 21

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6): The Steelers finally ran out of luck against the Bills. The Steelers had made a living off other team's mistakes this season. The Steelers came in with 34 turnovers for the season and collected two more in the game but committed five turnovers of their own on offense. Next: -3 at New York Jets – Sun, Dec. 22

12. Los Angeles Rams (8-6): The Cowboys ran all over the Rams in their pasting of the Rams. The Cowboys gained 263 yards rushing to the Rams paltry total of 22 yards gained on the ground. In last season's playoffs, the Rams defeated the Cowboys 30-22, rushing for 273 yards and holding the Cowboys to just 50 yards rushing. It seems the Cowboys were better prepared for the Rams this time. Next: -6.5 at San Francisco 49ers - Sat, Dec. 21

13. Tennessee Titans (8-6): Tight end Jonnu Smith caught all five of his targets for 60 yards and picked up 57 yards on his lone rush attempt during a 24-21 loss to Houston on Sunday. The 57-yard gain was the longest run by a tight end in 43 years. Next: +3 vs New Orleans Saints - Sun, Dec. 22

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7): Jameis Winston leads the NFL in passing yardage with 4,573 yards. He is on a pace to throw for over 5,000 yards, which would make him the 8th player ever to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season. Against the Lions, Winston threw for four touchdowns even though both of his pro bowl wide receivers were out due to hamstring injuries. Next: +3 vs Houston Texans - Sat, Dec. 21

15. Dallas Cowboys (7-7): Tight end Jason Witten caught four of five targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 44-21 win over the Rams. The future-hall-of-famer has 1,209 career receptions, 4th all-time on the receiving list and 72 career touchdown catches. Next: -2.5 at Philadelphia Eagles - Sun, Dec. 22

16. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7): The Eagles finally gave the ball to Miles Sanders and the results were an impressive performance for the rookie running back. Sanders had 122 yards and a touchdown rushing and 50 yards receiving and another touchdown. They need to make him their featured back in the final two games. Next: +2.5 vs Dallas Cowboys – Sun, Dec. 22

17. Chicago Bears (7-7): With their loss to the Packers Sunday and the Vikings' win over the Chargers, the Bears have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. This will make Raider fans happy, as their team owns the Bears first round draft pick in the 2020 NFL draft, due to the Khalil Mack trade. Next: +6 vs Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Dec. 22

18. Indianapolis Colts (6-8): A promising season fell apart on Monday Night in New Orleans, with the Colts getting crushed by the Saints, 34-7. Because of the loss of Andrew Luck to retirement before the season started, this was a team that needed to stay healthy to have a chance to make the playoffs and that just did not happen. Next: -7 vs Carolina Panthers – Sun, Dec. 22

19. Cleveland Browns (6-8): The Browns are a mess, but a talented mess. The Browns have victories over the Ravens, Bills and Steelers. They can beat good football teams, but as they showed on Sunday against the Cardinals, they can also lose to bad football teams. Next: +10 vs Baltimore Ravens - Sun, Dec. 22

20. Denver Broncos (5-9): The Broncos clinched a losing season. With a solid foundation and plenty of draft picks, the question going into the offseason will be, can quarterback Drew Lock be the answer? Next: -7 vs Detroit Lions - Sun, Dec. 22

21. Oakland Raiders (6-8): The Raiders had an inexcusable loss in their final game in Oakland. With a 16-3 halftime lead over the hapless Jaguars, the Raiders somehow managed to go scoreless in the second half, while allowing two Jaguar touchdown drives in the last six minutes of the game to limp out of the Oakland Coliseum losers, again. Next: +7 at Los Angeles Chargers - Sun, Dec. 22

22. Atlanta Falcons (5-9): The Falcons have won three of their last five games, including impressive road wins over the Saints and the 49ers. This is a difficult team to figure out from week-to-week. But they have not quit playing for their head coach, Dan Quinn. That is a good sign. Quarterback Matt Ryan stated: "He has the respect of the locker room and the guys play hard for Dan." Next: -7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Sun, Dec. 22

23. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9): Cornerback Desmond King was inactive against the Vikings, a coach's decision. This occurred one week after the Chargers sent home starting linebacker Denzel Perryman and defensive back Roderic Teamer from Jacksonville over a disciplinary matter. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery was also inactive vs the Jags, a coach's decision. What is going on with the Chargers? Next: -7 vs Oakland Raiders - Sun, Dec. 22

24. New York Jets (5-9): The Jets need to focus on offense in the 2020 NFL draft, in the hope of giving quarterback Sam Darnold as much help as possible. A good left tackle could be the pick, but Darnold needs a game breaker on the outside. Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma may be a good place to start in the first round. - Sun, Dec. 22

25. Carolina Panthers (5-9): Running back Christian McCaffrey was selected to his first pro bowl this week. He leads the NFC in rushing yardage with 1,307 yards. He may be taking hand offs from a new quarterback this Sunday, as rookie 3rd round draft pick Will Grier is expected to get the start over Kyle Allen. Next: +7 at Indianapolis Colts - Sun, Dec. 22

26. Arizona Cardinals (4-9-1): Running back Kenyan Drake is making himself some money with his recent performances. Drake rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns in the Cardinal victory over the Browns. Drake is a free agent in 2020 and should see a significant increase from his current salary of $1,072,059. Next: +9.5 at Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Dec. 22

27. Washington Redskins (3-11): Running back Adrian Petersen needs 216 yards rushing in the final two games to reach 1,000 yards for the season. In a record setting day on Sunday, he became the 10th player in NFL history to reach 3,000-career rushing attempts. He also tied Walter Payton for fourth in rushing touchdowns (110) and eclipsed Curtis Martin for fifth on the NFL's all-time rushing list (14,102). Next: -2.5 vs New York Giants – Sun, Dec. 22

28. Detroit Lions (3-10-1): Head Coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn will both be returning in 2020, much to the chagrin of Lions fans. The decision was announced by Vice chair Sheila Ford Hamp, who also added, "We expect to be a playoff contender and those are our expectations." Next: +7 at Denver Broncos – Sun, Dec. 22

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9): In a statement, the NFLPA wrote that more than 25% of all grievances filed by players in the league were filed against the Jaguars. The NFLPA even warned players to think carefully before deciding to sign with the team. This is a team that needs a total house cleaning. Next: +7 at Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Dec. 22

30. New York Giants (3-11): Quarterback Eli Manning led the Giants to a victory over the Dolphins in perhaps his final in MetLife Stadium. It will be interesting to see if Manning decides to retire. He does not want to be a backup and the starting opportunities are very limited for Manning. Next: +2.5 at Washington Redskins - Sun, Dec. 22

Jevone Moore

Tight end Tyler Higbee led Rams with 111 receiving yards in loss to Cowboys

31. Miami Dolphins (3-11): The Dolphins continue their improved play of late when they host the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, in the Crummy Game of the Year. The game will be televised on CBS in the local markets of Cincinnati and Miami, sparing the rest of the country of this travesty. Next: -1 vs Cincinnati Bengals - Sun, Dec. 22

32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-13): The Bengals need one more loss to clinch the top spot in the 2020 NFL draft. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman trophy, the award that goes annually to the most outstanding player in college football. He should be the first pick. This looks a lot like Carson Palmer, the first pick in the 2003 draft, which also belonged to the Bengals. Palmer also won the Heisman Trophy as USC's quarterback. Next: +1 at Miami Dolphins - Sun, Dec. 22

 

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