NFL rankings: A new No. 1 in town


NFL rankings: A new No. 1 in town

After the 49ers' showing in New England, we have a new No. 1 atop the NFL power rankings. In fact, there was a lot of shuffling in the Top 5 this week while the Raiders ended their six-game losing streak and moved out of the bottom 3…

1 (3) 49ers (10-3-1) Colin Kapernick threw 4 TDs against Patriots. Alex Smith has never thrown 4 TDs in a game.
2 (2)  Denver Broncos (11-3) Since opening season 2-3, Broncos have outscored opponents by 12.3 points per game.
3 (5) Atlanta Falcons (12-2) Think Matt Ryan wants home-dome advantage in playoffs? He is 33-4 at home in career.
4 (4) Houston Texans (12-2) Arian Foster has rushed for 100 yards in 46.9 percent of his games, third-best percentage in NFL history, beind Barry Sanders and Jim Brown.
5 (9) Seattle Seahawks (9-5) First since 1950 Giants to drop at least 50 points on consecutive opponents in same season.
6 (6) Green Bay Packers (10-4) Bad omen for postseason? Mason Crsoby has missed field goal in eight straight games.
7 (1) New England Patriots (10-4) Wait, wasn't Bill Belichick a defensive mastermind? Pats' D ranked 27th overall.
8 (7) Indianapolis Colts (9-5) Andrew Luck or RG III? RG III or Andrew Luck?
9 (12) Washington Redskins (8-6) RG III or Andrew Luck? Andrew Luck or RG III?
10 (13) Minnesota Vikings (8-6) Is Adrian Peterson NFL MVP, or "merely" Offensive Player of the Year?
11 (14) Dallas Cowboys (8-6) December struggles? What December struggles? Tony Romo suddenly 3-0 in season's final month.
12 (15) Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) Trying for consecutive playoff appearances for first time since Ken Anderson's mustache was under center in 1981 and 1982.
13 (8) New York Giants (8-6) The 34-0 shellacking ties 1981 Raiders for worst margin of defeat by defending Super Bowl champ.
14 (10) Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Only in NFL would three-game losing streak culminate with clinching of playoff spot.
15 (11) St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) Lambs 0-4 vs. NFC North; Rams 6-3-1 against everyone else.
16 (16) Chicago Bears (8-6) Jat Cutler just 1-7 against the Packers, including playoffs, with the Bears.
17 (17) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) Big Ben has thrown for 300 yards three times this season. Steelers are 0-3 in those games.
18 (19) New Orleans Saints (6-8) So either there WAS or there was NOT a bounty run by the Saints, right?
19 (18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) Doug Martin's 1,647 yards from scrimmage second-most in franchise history.
20 (23) Miami Dolphins (6-8) By air -- a 123.2 passer rating -- and by ground -- 52 yards rushing -- Ryan Tannehill sets career highs.
21 (25) Carolina Panthers (5-9) Cam Newton attempting to join Bobby Douglass, Randall Cunningham (four times) and Donovan McNabb as QBs to lead team in rushing.
22 (27) Tennessee Titans (5-9) Blame the schedule-makers for putting this product on national television.
23 (20) New York Jets (6-8) Would be funny were it not so sad…or somesuch.
24 (21) Cleveland Browns (5-9) Trent Richardson's 28 rushing yards only his third-lowest total of season.
25 (23) Buffalo Bills (5-9) Setting pro football back in Canada more than 1994 Las Vegas Posse.
26 (24) San Diego Chargers (5-9) Ryan Mathews breaks left clavicle, to join right clavicle he broke in preseason.
27 (29) Arizona Cardinals (5-9) The Cardinals have now won a game more recently than the Diamondbacks. 
28 (30) Raiders (4-10) And the Raiders have now won a game more recently than the San Francisco Giants.
29 (26) Philadelphia Eagles (4-10) Iggles' pratfall on national TV a clarion call for change in Philly.
30 (28) Detroit Lions (4-10) At least Calvin Johnson continues to play -- his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game ties NFL mark co-held by Michael Irvin and Charlie Hennigan.
31 (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) Cecil Shorts 75 yards shy of becoming first Jag with 1,000 yards receiving since Jimmy Smith in 2005.
32 (31) Kansas City Chiefs (2-12) As someone tweeted after watching Brady Quinn on Sunday, they would STILL draft JaMarcus Russell over Quinn. Ouch.

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors


DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

Following Toronto's 127-125 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wasn't happy.

His team had almost erased a 27-point deficit and he felt like the officials were helping the Warriors.

"It's frustrating being out there feeling like you're playing 5-on-8. Some of those calls were terrible, period," DeRozan told reporters after the game.

As you might imagine, the NBA wasn't thrilled with thoses comments and fined DeRozan $15,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.

DeRozan's incident is the latest in a long list of greivances between the players and the officials. The two sides met face-to-face in late December and plan to meet again during All-Star weekend in February to discuss the growing tension.

Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?


Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

Earlier we discussed how the Golden State Warriors have seemingly moved beyond hating on NBA officials (three technical fouls in 18 days is a stunning reversal of their formerly disputatious form), but we may have forgotten one new reason why they have found a more Buddhist approach to the cutthroat world of American competitive sport.

They lack someone new to hate.

Their much-chewed-upon rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers actually lasted two years, and now the Clippers are busy trying to prevent military incursions into their locker room from the Houston Rockets. Their even more famous archrivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be imploding – with the total connivance of the Cavs themselves – before our eyes. Even cutting off their hot water made them laugh when two years ago not letting the Warriors' wives get to the game on time torqued them mightily.

And since we know that you locals desperately need a bête noire for your heroes (even though their biggest foe is actually their own attention spans), let us consider the new candidates.


The Rockets have been among the Warriors’ most persistent contender/pretenders, having faced them in both the first round of the 2017 postseason and the conference finals in 2015. Both ended in 4-1 Warrior wins as part of a greater piece – Golden State is 19-4 against the Rockets in the Warriors’ bad-ass era, 10-2 at home and 9-2 on the road, and has finished an aggregate 59.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the past three and a half years.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include James Harden and Chris Paul, while Rockets fans loathe Draymond Green and Kevin Durant and work their way down from there.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 32,353): 19. The Rockets need to win a playoff series before even matching the Clippers, who as we all know came and went in a moment.


The previous platinum standard in Western Conference basketball, the Spurs have never really gone away, though they have aged. Their pedigree is not in dispute, and Steve Kerr has essentially become the next generation of Gregg Popovich. It is hard to create a rivalry out of such shamelessly mutual admiration.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include . . . uhh, maybe Kawhi Leonard for winning two Defensive Player Of The Year Awards instead of Draymond Green, though that’s not much to go on, frankly. Spurs fans hate Zaza Pachulia for stepping beneath Leonard and ending last year’s series before it started.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 23): 1. If they didn’t have to play against each other, I suspect these two teams would date.


The Thunder’s 3-1 collapse in 2016 is all but ignored now because the Warriors did the same thing one series later, but lifting Kevin Durant was quite the consolation prize for Golden State, and the definitive finger in the eye for the Thunder, who turned their team over completely to Russell Westbrook, for good and ill. Even with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to relocate their stride.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Westbrook and Anthony for defining the I-need-the-ball-in-my-hands-to-function generation, and owner Clay Bennett for Seattle SuperSonics nostalgics. Thunder frans hate Durant, followed by Durant, Durant, Kim Jong-un, Durant, leprosy, Draymond Green’s foot, and Durant.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 440): 220. Westbrook is a human lightning rod, Anthony is the antithesis of what Warriors now regard basketball (they’d have loved him a quarter-century ago), and Stephen Adams for getting his goolies in the way of Green’s foot. Plus, some savvy Warrior fans can blame OKC for extending their heroes to seven games, thus making the final against Cleveland that much more difficult. This could work, at least in the short term.


Damian Lillard is a much-beloved local. Plus, the Blazers have never interfered in the Warriors’ universe save their 1-8 postseason record. There are no truly hateable players on either side, though Stephen Curry threw his first mouthpiece in Portland, and Green is a perennial.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 1): 0.


The new pretender to throne, with the Eastern Conference’s version of Kerr in Brad Stevens. Even better since taking advantage of Kyrie Irving’s weariness with LeBron James, and until proven otherwise the team the Warriors should most concern themselves with.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Irving, who made the only shot in the last five minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, while Celtics fans hate Durant for not signing with them.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 67.7): 26, though this will rise if the two teams meet in the Finals. The last time they did, Bill Russell owned basketball.


Still too remote to adequately quantify, though Toronto, Miami and Milwaukee are clearly difficult matches for the Warriors. If you put them together, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Hassan Whiteside with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe coming off the bench, coached by either Eric Spoelstra or Jason Kidd, would make a fun team for the Warriors to play against. Probably not functional, but fun.

And finally:


Some decade the two teams’ geographical proximity will matter, but for now, they remain essentially two full professional leagues away from each other. We just mentioned them so Kings fans wouldn’t feel any more slighted than they already do.