Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2020 NFL Power Rankings – Week 17

Rams and Chargers Finish Out of Top 10

 

December 31, 2020

LA Rams

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) - NFL's Top Defensive Player for 2020

1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1): Tight end Travis Kelce broke the NFL record for single season receiving yards by a tight end Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. The record of 1,377 yards was previously set by San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle last season. Kelce now has 1,416 yards on the season and has a chance to become the first tight end to lead the NFL in receiving yardage. Next: -3.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44 (ATS: 7-8 – O/U: 7-8)

2. Green Bay Packers (12-3): The Packers have had a great season but now will need to finish in Chicago. A win and they get homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. A loss and they could be playing a home playoff game next weekend. Next: -5.5 at Chicago Bears – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 52 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U: 8-7)

3. Buffalo Bills (11-3): Bills wide receiver Stephen Diggs has been named the AFC offensive player of Week 16 after making nine receptions for 145 yards with three touchdowns in Buffalo's 38-9 victory over New England. Since quarterback Josh Allen had won the award on four previous occasions this season, it was probably time to give it to one of his wide receivers. Next: -2 vs Miami Dolphins – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44.5 (ATS: 10-5 – O/U: 9-5-1)

4. New Orleans Saints (11-4): Running back Alvin Kamara tied a 91-year-old NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a game with six rushing touchdowns against the Vikings. Fullback Ernie Nevers scored six times on the ground for the Chicago Cardinals against the Chicago Bears in 1929. Next: -6.5 at Carolina Panthers – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 10-5)

5. Seattle Seahawks (11-4): The Seahawks clinched the NFC West title on Sunday, beating the Rams in Seattle, 20-9. If the Seahawks remain the No. 3 seed in the NFC, they will end up playing the No. 6 seed in Seattle, which would be the Rams for the third time this season if the Rams beat the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium next Sunday. Next: -5.5 at San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 46 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 6-9)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5): The Bucs are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007 after a 47-7 pounding of the Lions in Detroit. Wide receiver Mike Evans had 10 catches for 181 yards and two touchdown receptions in the rout. Next: -6.5 vs Atlanta Falcons – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 50.5 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 8-7)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3): The Steelers were circling the drain, trailing 24-7 to the Colts at home late in the third quarter, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suddenly got hot and carried the Steelers to victory. Big Ben threw for three touchdown passes to shock the Colts and clinch the AFC North division title and a home playoff game in the first round. Next: +10 at Cleveland Browns – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 42.5 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U: 6-7-2)

8. Baltimore Ravens (10-5): A victory by the Ravens on Sunday and the Ravens are in the playoffs. A win by the Titans and a loss by the Dolphins, and the Ravens will have a first-round matchup with the Titans in Nashville and a chance for some payback from last year's playoff loss to the Titans. Next: -12 at Cincinnati Bengals – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44.5 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U: 7-8)

9. Cleveland Browns (10-5): The Browns loss their entire wide receiver group to a Covid-19 contact and now are looking at a larger outbreak on the team. There are currently 10 players on the Browns' COVID-19 list and the Browns need to get them back to have a shot at winning on Sunday. A victory on Sunday would clinch the Browns first playoff berth in 18 years. Next: -10 vs Pittsburgh Steelers - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 42.5 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 8-7)

10. Tennessee Titans (10-5): The Titans needed a win at Green Bay and instead got a shellacking. Fortunately for the Titans, the Colts also suffered a loss on Sunday. The Colts play the Jaguars on Sunday, so the Titans better take care of business this Sunday or they may be on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Next: -7.5 at Houston Texans – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 56.5 (ATS: 7-8 – O/U: 11-3-1)

11. Indianapolis Colts (10-5): The Colts blew a 17-point lead at Pittsburgh on Sunday in the loss to the Steelers and will now need help to make the playoffs, even with a win. The Colts could become the first team since the 2008 Patriots to win 11 games and not make the playoffs. Next: -14 vs Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 50 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 9-6)

12. Miami Dolphins (10-5): The Dolphins are having a remarkable season and it will just get better in the offseason. Thanks to the trade of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans in exchange for draft picks, the Dolphins are currently in the No. 3 position in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and will also have a high second round pick from this trade. Next: +2 at Buffalo Bills – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44.5 (ATS: 11-4 – O/U: 6-9)

13. Los Angeles Rams (9-6): The Rams will be without quarterback Jared Goff this weekend due to a thumb injury that required surgery. Backup quarterback John Wolford will make his first career start with a playoff berth on the line. The Rams will also be without wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who tested positive for Covid-19. Next: +2 vs Arizona Cardinals - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 41 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 4-11)

14. Chicago Bears (8-7): The Bears just need to win on Sunday, and they are in the playoffs. If they lose, they are in if the Cardinals lose. The resurgent running game, led by David Montgomery, has the Bears offense clicking in the past three games. Next: +5.5 vs Green Bay Packers – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 52 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 7-8)

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-7): It is simple for the Cardinals this weekend. A win over the Rams and the Cardinals are in the playoffs. A loss to the Rams and the Cardinals do not make the playoffs. This is basically a playoff game for both the Rams and the Cardinals. Next: +2 at Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 41 (ATS: 7-8 – O/U: 5-10)

16. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8): The Raiders are a playoff team if they were decent on defense. The Raiders need a Defensive Coordinator that can teach and develop players, that can keep things simple and is aggressive on defense. Former Rams DC Wade Phillips would be a good fit for the Raiders. Next: -2.5 at Denver Broncos – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 51 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 11-3-1)

17. Minnesota Vikings (6-9): The Vikings were awful defensively in New Orleans on Saturday, losing 52-33 to the Saints. The Vikings allowed a franchise-worst 583 yards of offense and the 52 points were the most allowed since 1963, when the Vikings loss 56-14 to the St. Louis Cardinals. Next: -6.5 at Detroit Lions – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 54.5 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 10-5)

18. New England Patriots (6-8): The Pats clinched their first losing season since the 2000 season. The passing game is just not working for the Patriots this season. Over the past five games, quarterback Cam Newton is averaging 103 passing yards per game. Next: -3 vs New York Jets - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 4-11)

19. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9): Per Pro Football Focus, quarterback Justin Herbert leads the NFL in completions under pressure this season with 103. Josh Allen is second with 91. Herbert has had a banner rookie season for the Chargers despite the pressure and has led the team to three consecutive victories. Next: +3.5 at Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 8-7)

20. San Francisco 49ers (6-9): Running back Jeff Wilson rushed for 183 yards and caught one pass, a 21-yard touchdown pass in the 49ers upset victory over the Cardinals. Wilson has a good opportunity to become the starter in 2021 for the Niners. Next: +5.5 vs Seattle Seahawks – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 46 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 7-8)

21. Washington Football Team (6-9): The Washington Football Team decision to cut quarterback Dwayne Haskins came as a shock to many in the NFL world. The 2019 NFL first pick (15th overall) had struggled from the start on the field and his recent visit to a strip club without a mask in violation of team and NFL rules was the last straw. Next: -2 at Philadelphia Eagles - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 43.5 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U: 5-10)

22. Dallas Cowboys (6-9): The Cowboys have awoken from their deep sleep and are beginning to show their offensive potential. The Cowboys could still win the NFC East with a win over the Giants and a Redskins loss to the Eagles on Sunday Night. They are currently tied for first in the NFC east at 6-9. Next: -3 at New York Giants - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U 45 (ATS: 5-10 – O/U 9-6)

23. New York Giants (5-10): The Giants were helpless against the Ravens without a mobile quarterback, losing 27-13. Playing on a bad hamstring pull, quarterback Daniel Jones could not move well and was sacked six times and rushed for only three yards. Next: +3 vs Dallas Cowboys - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 45 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 3-12)

24. Carolina Panthers (5-10): DJ Moore and Robby Anderson both have over 1,000 yards in receiving, a reflection of the solid season at quarterback from Teddy Bridgewater. The Panthers would have been even better with a healthy Christian McCaffrey, who only played 3 games this season. The All-Pro running back was missed this season. Next: +6.5 vs New Orleans Saints – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U: 7-8)

25. Detroit Lions (5-10): The Lions got boat raced at home against the Buccaneers, 44-7. The Lions are last in points allowed per game at 32.1 points per game and second-to-last in yardage allowed per game at 413.9 yards per game. A good hire for their next head coach would be Robert Saleh, the current 49er defensive coordinator, who is a native of the Detroit area. Next: +6.5 vs Minnesota Vikings – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U 54.5 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 9-6)

26. Denver Broncos (5-10): The Broncos are last in the NFL in turnover ratio at a -20. They have lost five games by 18 points or more and have trailed by double digits in 9 of their 15 games. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, their first-round draft pick in 2020, dropped five passes on Sunday against the Chargers. This is not a good football team. Next: +2.5 vs Las Vegas Raiders - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 51 (ATS: 8-7 – O/U: 7-8)

27. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1): Quarterback Brandon Allen completed 29 of 37 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Bengals to a 37-31 victory over the Texans. Allen spent the 2017 season as the Rams' third-string quarterback behind Jared Goff and Sean Mannion. They could sure use him now. Next: +12 vs Baltimore Ravens - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 44.5 (ATS: 9-6 – O/U 7-7-1)

28. Houston Texans (4-11): It would be hard to leave the Texans in worst shape than Bill O'Brien did. The former Head Coach & General Manager has left the 4-11 Texans without a first or second round draft pick due to the Laremy Tunsil trade. Those picks belong to the Dolphins, a team with a record of 10-5. The Texans also do not have any salary cap space to sign free agents. Next: +7.5 vs Tennessee Titans – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 56.5 (ATS: 5-10 - O/U: 7-8)

29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1): Wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned after eight weeks on the injured reserve and instantly made his presence felt, taking a pass 81 yards for a touchdown. Even at age 34, when he is healthy, he is still explosive. Next: +2 vs Washington Football Team – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 43.5 (ATS: 5-10 – O/U: 7-8)

30. Atlanta Falcons (4-11): The Falcons rival the Raiders and Chargers for creative ways to lose football games and against the Chiefs on Sunday, they did not disappoint. The Falcons gave up a touchdown with less than two minutes to go and then missed a chip shot field goal to lose to the Chiefs, 17-14. Next: +6.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 50.5 (ATS: 7-8 – O/U: 6-9)

LA Chargers

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert - NFL's Top Rookie for 2020

31. New York Jets (2-13): Per overthecap.com, the Jets have about $45 million in salary cap space for 2021 and extra first, third and fifth round picks due to previous trades. The opportunity to turn the franchise around is there with a good draft and smart free agent signings. Next: +3 at New England Patriots - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 6-9)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14): The Jags have won the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes after the Jets defeated the Browns. The Jags will have two picks in the first round, two picks in the second round, two picks in the fourth round and two picks in the fifth round. They are set-up well for next season and in the future. They just need to hire the right GM and the right Head Coach. Next: +14 at Indianapolis Colts - Sun, Jan. 3 – O/U: 50 (ATS: 6-9 – O/U: 8-7)

 

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