NFL Power Rankings: 49ers move up; Raiders no longer Top 3
From 32 to 1...
There are only three weeks left in the regular season...
32) Los Angeles (4-9)
The Rams have more wins than many ranked just above them, but this is where they belong. On the rock bottom. The Rams got blitzed again this week by Atlanta, another home trashing that has already left Los Angelenos looking for another way to spend a Sunday. Jeff Fisher got canned Monday, an act that had to happen. Les Snead and Kevin Demoff should follow him right out the door. If the Rams hope to be relevant when their stadium opens, they need a quarterback whisperer and something a bit more complex than the “middle school offense” Todd Gurley has grown to hate.
31) Cleveland (0-13)
Terrelle Pryor apparently has an attitude problem, a fact unsurprising to Raiders fans. Anytime Adam Jones of all people calls you garbage and your coach doesn’t defend you, that’s a problem. Jones is still looking for him in the botton of a trash can. If you’re going to talk the talk, Terrelle, you’d better win. At least once.
30) 49ers (1-12)
The Santa Clarans had two chances to notch a win against terrible teams, and blew both opportunities. They wilted in the second half against the Jets in a sea of empty seats that has left many wondering if anyone’s job is safe. Trent could go. Chip could join him on the outs. Jed York’s job is secure though. Ain’t gonna fire himself, though he should be hiring a football man to make all football decisions.
29) Jacksonville (2-11)
The Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles at No. 3 overall in 2014. Seems likely they’re in the quarterback market this spring. And the head coaching market. Another regime change is in order.
28) Chicago (3-10)
Bears lost a nail biter to Detroit a week after demolishing the 49ers. The Matt Barkely, save-my-career tryout tour isn’t off to a great start.
27) N.Y. Jets (4-9)
If the Jets were led to victory by Bryce Petty and Bilal Powell, that’s a sign their season went horribly, horribly wrong.
26) Philadelphia (5-8)
This seems about right. The Eagles were never expected to be good, but a quick start fooled some folks. This regression is warranted considering their level of talent and a rookie quarterback’s predictable struggles on a bad team.
25) San Diego (5-8)
Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa sustained injuries in a loss to Carolina. At this stage, Philip Rivers is playing all by himself. That’s what it’ll feel like on Sunday when Raider Nation performs a hostile takeover of Qualcomm Stadium. Even his home crowd will root against him.
24) New Orleans (5-8)
The Saints have been given so many chances to get back in the NFC South race, and have blown every one. Another disappointing season for a team that doesn’t value defense.
23) Carolina (5-8)
Cam Newton celebrated a victory over San Diego with a new outfit. This time he rocked a bandana and a lime green cowboy hat, a look almost as ugly as his performance in this one.
22) Arizona (5-7-1)
Cardinals are ever-so-close to putting this season to death. Playoff hopes are essentially dashed. A preseason Super Bowl contender never lived up to the hype.
21) Cincinnati (5-7-1)
The Bengals are surging with two straight wins, but it’s likely too late to make impact required to qualify for the postseason and then lose in the first round.
20) Buffalo (6-7)
The Bills blew their chance to be a playoff contender with two straight losses. Now Tyrod Taylor’s future in Buffalo is in doubt. Gotta blame somebody when things go awry.
19) Indianapolis (6-7)
Colts had a chance to jump in front in this three-team race to win the putrid AFC South. Andrew Luck and Frank Gore are getting it done. Not sure about anybody else with horseshoes on.
18) Minnesota (7-6)
Mike Zimmer was back on the sideline, rocking a patch protecting a repaired retna. He only needed one eye to inspire the troops and get the Vikings back on the winning track.
17) Houston (7-6)
Texans hold onto a slim lead atop the AFC South with a rare road win. Lamar Miller negated some quarterback issues and Jadeveon Clowney made a huge play and is starting to justify his draft status. Bill O’Brien called him “disruptive.” That’s certainly accurate.
16) Tennessee (7-6)
Marcus Mariota hasn’t thrown an interception in the red zone. He wasn’t productive against Denver’s awesome secondary, but he didn’t put his team in trouble. Combine his smart play with a physical run game, and the Titans could be a tough matchup in the postseason should they make it that far.
15) Baltimore (7-6)
The Ravens fell behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Getting back on top is the only path to the postseason, which got rockier after Tom Brady worked his magic Monday night.
14) Washington (7-5-1)
The nation’s capital bears witness to some explosive offense. Kurt Cousins knows how to move it downfield and, this offseason, he’ll get comfortable cashing big, fat checks.
13) Miami (8-5)
The Dolphins squeaked out a late win, but they have bigger problems ahead. Ryan Tannehill sprained some knee ligaments, and might not be available down the home stretch. Can Matt Moore get Miami to the postseason?
12) Denver (8-5)
Cracks are starting to show in Denver’s offense. Their running game has gone south, and the end zone is getting tough to find. A team can’t live on defense alone. If they don’t right the ship right away, the Super Bowl champs might not have a chance to defend their title.
11) Atlanta (8-5)
Always easy to get right against the Lambs. The Falcons remain on top the NFC South, but they’d better keep winning. Tampa Bay is breathing right down their neck.
10) Green Bay (7-6)
The Packers have won three straight and are surging in a big way. Aaron Rodgers is locked in, and his receivers are in great sync. Nobody wants to play the Packers right now.
9) Tampa Bay (8-5)
Jameis Winston is really coming into his own this season. All his Florida State antics have been forgotten, and all that’s left is a supreme talent with enough skill players around him to make a significant impact. The Bucs have won five straight with more winnable games ahead.
8) Pittsburgh (8-5)
Le’Veon Bell did it all in the Steelers’ fourth straight win. That cat can put a team on his back and carry it. He won’t have to. Not with explosive weapons all over the place.
7) Seattle (8-4-1)
Life without Earl Thomas can be pretty rough. Facing Rodgers in their first game without him is a reality check. Their top flight safety will be missed.
6) N.Y. Giants (9-4)
Big blue is Cowboys kryptonite. They’ve beat Dallas twice in as many tries. This team doesn’t get much respect, but just keeps winning.
5) Detroit (9-4)
Matt Stafford for MVP. Gotta be the frontrunner at this point.
4) Raiders (10-3)
Derek Carr’s worst game of the year came on national television against the rival Chiefs. Look at it as an aberration. Carr will respond well and get the offense back on track.
3) Kansas City (10-3)
Alex Smith has more zip on deep passes than most give him credit for. This team is deep and versatile and well rounded. They could be in for a playoff run, especially if Arrowhead Stadium’s involved.
2) Dallas (11-2)
The Cowboys have lost twice, only to the New York Giants. They’ll be a tough out in a weaker conference thanks to a hulking offensive line that never takes a day off.
1) New England (11-2)
The Patriots are still dangerous, even without Rob Gronkowski. Patriots are always a favorite with Tom Brady under center.