CSN's NFL Power Rankings: Here come the Giants and Packers

CSN's NFL Power Rankings: Here come the Giants and Packers

Two weeks remain in the regular season and playoff races are as hot as ever.

With Week 16 upon us, here's a look at CSN's latest NFL power rankings, compiled by Derrick Gunn and John Boruk, ahead of all the big games.

1. New England (12-2)
Time to start giving the Patriots’ defense some props. The D allows only 16.6 points per game best in the league. - Gunn (1)

As far as I’m concerned, the Patriots have lost just one game — can’t count the loss to Buffalo in Week 4 with a third-string QB. - Boruk (1)

2. Dallas (12-2)
All you Cowboys fans screaming for Tony Romo, stop it! Dak Prescott went 32 of 36 vs. Tampa Bay. - Gunn (2)

Loved how Prescott responded (32 of 36, 279 yards) after two bad weeks. Still think he’s the team MVP. - Boruk (2)

3. Oakland (11-3)
The Raiders are back in the playoffs for first time since 2002, looking to make some noise. - Gunn (3)

WR Amari Cooper has under 30 yards in three of the past four weeks. Oakland needs to find a way to get him the ball. - Boruk (3)

4. Kansas City (10-4)
Losing to Tennessee was a real stunner. But a win this weekend over Denver and the Chiefs are postseason bound. - Gunn (4)

Some bad home losses to Tampa Bay and Tennessee by identical 19-17 scores. That’s how close the Chiefs are to 12-2 record. - Boruk (4)

5. Pittsburgh (9-5)
Look out, the Steelers are rolling with five wins in a row. Antonio Brown is second in the league with 11 TD receptions. - Gunn (5)

From 4:30-8 p.m. Christmas Day, the family is not to bother me with the AFC North title on the line. - Boruk (7)

5. N.Y. Giants (10-4)
The G-Men have won eight of their last nine and the defense is getting better. - Gunn (6)

Have won eight of their last nine coming to Philly. The injury to CB Janoris Jenkins could be a concern. - Boruk (6)

7. Seattle (9-4-1)
Rock solid at home but on shaky ground on the road. All four losses away from home. - Gunn (9)

Host the Cardinals this week — a rematch of the 6-6 tie in Arizona back in October. Somebody make a field goal! - Boruk (5)

8. Atlanta (9-5)
Matt Ryan has league-best QB rating of 114.8. - Gunn (7)

Atlanta has put up 40-plus points in back-to-back games without Julio Jones. A surprise team in the NFC. - Boruk (8)

9. Green Bay (8-6)
From losing four in a row to winning four in a row, and now the Pack control their own destiny. - Gunn (8)

Ty Montgomery just became the Packers’ leading rusher this season … with 390 yards. - Boruk (11)

10. Baltimore (8-6)
The Eagles gave the Ravens a gift win, now let’s see if Baltimore can cash in on it against Steelers this Sunday. - Gunn (10)

The Ravens have won the last three meetings against the Steelers in which they were underdogs. - Boruk (10)

11. Detroit (9-5)
Could this be the beginning of the end for the Lions? Their last two games are at Dallas and vs. Green Bay. - Gunn (12)

The Lions have given up 20 or fewer points in seven straight games in one season for the first time since 1961. - Boruk (9)

12. Miami (9-5)
QB Matt Moore starts for first time since January 2012 and the Dolphins don’t miss a beat. - Gunn (11)

I know it’s the Jets, but I like Moore as Miami’s QB more than Ryan Tannehill. - Boruk (14)

13. Denver (8-6)
Defending champs have lost two in a row and locker-room bickering doesn’t help. - Gunn (14)

Denver’s entire season rides on winning in Kansas City. The Chiefs beat the Broncos, 30-27, in Week 11. - Boruk (12)

13. Tampa Bay (8-6)
Despite loss at Dallas, the Bucs hold No. 6 seed in NFC but need to win out. - Gunn (13)

Where have you gone Mike Evans? One hundred thirty-nine yards receiving in his last three games combined. - Boruk (13)

15. Houston (8-6)
The $72 million man Brock Osweiler finally gets benched, but is Tom Savage truly the answer to the Texans’ QB woes? - Gunn (17)

Osweiler is finally where he belongs — on the bench. DeAndre Hopkins could put up big numbers now. – Boruk (15)

15. Washington (7-6-1)
Maybe the ‘Skins shouldn’t play at home on Monday nights. With loss to Panthers, Washington is 1-16 in last 17 games on its turf for Monday Night Football. - Gunn (15)

Just a bad, bad loss to the Panthers. The Redskins are now 1-16 on Monday night at FedEx Field. - Boruk (17)

15. Tennessee (8-6)
How many of you were willing to bet the Titans would be tied for AFC South lead at this point of the season? Be honest. - Gunn (16)

Has won four of five against the Packers, Broncos and Chiefs. That’s quality football. - Boruk (16)

18. Indianapolis (7-7)
Impressive beatdown of the Vikings, but might be too little, too late to save the Colts’ season. - Gunn (18)

First time this season Andrew Luck wasn’t sacked. The Colts gained franchise-record 21 first downs in first half. - Boruk (18)

19. Minnesota (7-7)
Not even the return of Adrian Peterson could jolt the Vikes. - Gunn (19)

Remember when the Vikings were 5-0, and there was all this foolish talk about the Super Bowl? Neither do I. - Boruk (21)

20. New Orleans (6-8)
Offense is No. 2 in points per game with 29.0, but defense is 30th, allowing 28.0. - Gunn (22)

Drew Brees on pace to win triple crown for QBs — first in yards, touchdown passes and completion percentage. - Boruk (20)  

21. Cincinnati (5-8-1)
The Bengals have scored only 11 fourth-quarter points in last six games. - Gunn (21)

Cincinnati needs a workhorse running back. Somehow, I see Leonard Fournette wearing Bengals stripes. - Boruk (23)

21. Carolina (6-8)
The Panthers that beat the ‘Skins on Monday night — where have they been all season? - Gunn (20)

Cam Newton’s QB rating has plummeted from 99.4 last season to 78.9 this season. An unbelievable drop. - Boruk (24)

21. Buffalo (7-7)
Last eight games, the Bills are 3-5. - Gunn (25)

LeSean McCoy closing in on 9,000 career yards rushing. Averaging 5.5 yards per carry this season. - Boruk (19)

24. Arizona (5-8-1)
Still can’t figure this team out. How does the Cards’ fourth-ranked defense give up 48 points to the Saints? - Gunn (23)

The Cards are officially eliminated from the postseason race. - Boruk (22)

25. San Diego (5-9)
Second straight losing season is getting to Philip Rivers. - Gunn (24)

Rivers completing just 61.5 percent of his passes, the lowest of his career since 2007. - Boruk (25)

26. Eagles (5-9)
The effort is there but the wins are not. Five losses in a row. - Gunn (26)

Have allowed no more than 15 points in their five wins, and no less than 23 points in their nine losses. - Boruk (26) 

27. N.Y. Jets (4-10)
Have spent a lot of money on players and have gotten little in return. - Gunn (28)

Good to see undrafted Temple rookie Robby Anderson get some targets in this Jets offense. - Boruk (28)

27. Los Angeles (4-10)
QB Jared Goff is a major project. Rams’ next head coach better have plenty of patience. - Gunn (29)

Todd Gurley hasn’t had a 100-yard game all season. Hosting San Francisco will present, by far, his best chance to do that. - Boruk (27)

27. Chicago (3-11)
The Bears’ last three losses have been by a total of 12 points. - Gunn (27)

The Eagles need a WR. Alshon Jeffery will be a free agent. He has size (6-foot-3) and speed to stretch an offense. - Boruk (29)

30. Jacksonville (2-12)
A .226 winning percentage will get you fired. Just ask Gus Bradley. - Gunn (30)

Bradley fired. Remember, he would have been the Eagles’ coach had Chip Kelly turned them down. - Boruk (30)

31. San Francisco (1-13)
Does anyone feel sorry for Kelly and the Niners? Uhhhhh no! - Gunn (31)

Allowing a league-worst 176 rushing yards per game — 21 more yards than the next worse team. - Boruk (31)

32. Cleveland (0-14)
The Browns are staying committed to RG3, who in last two starts has zero passing TDs and one INT. - Gunn (32)

Fourth team in NFL history to start the season 0-14. Only the 1980 Saints were able to win one of their final two games. - Boruk (32)

Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

It was late last Thursday night in Charlotte, well after the celebrating in the locker room subsided and well after most of his teammates had already gotten on the bus to take them to the airport. 

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, with a heavy brace on his right leg, emerged from the visitors' locker room and limped through the cement bowels of Bank of America Stadium. The pissed off look plastered on his face as he left the field after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter had given way to a look of resignation. He knew. 

Maragos was officially placed on injured reserve on Thursday, which means the Eagles will have to continue what they hope will be a magical season without one of their unquestioned leaders. 

"It was rough, man," said fellow special teamer Najee Goode, who collided with Maragos on the play that injured him. "That's my dawg. Chris is a beast. He brings a lot of energy to special teams. But we're going to replace him. He's still going to be there, making sure we do what we need to do." 

If any team is prepared to get over the loss of a player like Maragos it might be these Eagles. They've already survived — thrived, really — after losing Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood for varying lengths of time. 

But like when they lost Sproles for the season, the Eagles are going to miss more than just Maragos' on-field play. He's also the captain of Dave Fipp's excellent special teams group. Maragos, one of five captains on the team, said at the time he was voted a captain that it meant more to him than any other accomplishment in his career. 

And that's saying a lot. Maragos' story is pretty amazing. He was originally a wide receiver in college until then-Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw Maragos track down a DB after an interception and moved him to defense on the spot. Eventually, Maragos worked his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before coming to Philly. 

Early in his time with the Birds, Maragos actually played a significant role on defense. But when the new coaching staff arrived, it was clear his role would be on special teams, so he threw himself back into it. And he's been incredible. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year, $6 million extension that goes through the 2019 season and was already off to a good start in 2017. He led the Eagles in special teams snaps with 126 (74 percent) and was tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with six. 

How the heck do you replace that? 

"I don't think you'll ever be able to fill Chris' role," tight end and special teamer Trey Burton said. "He plays such a big role on special teams. He was able to do so much, but we're going to have to do something. Everybody's going to have to step up."

Head coach Doug Pederson said it will be "tough" to replace Maragos, but the team will probably do it with a committee approach at first. That means more Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Even recently signed draft pick Nate Gerry will have a role if he's active. 

Perhaps the bigger loss will be Maragos' leadership. He's one of just five players on the team who has won a Super Bowl, and he's always happy to answer any questions his teammates have — about football or life. 

In his absence, Goode said he and Burton will attempt to fulfill that leadership void as much as possible. 

"It's really tough," Burton said. "That's my best friend. Him not being here, being around as much. It's tough for him too because he's out of the loop on things and doesn't really know. He would love to be here and in meetings and stuff but he's not going to be able to."

While Maragos won't be around for a while, Burton expects him to visit more once he's healed more. And he'll certainly be watching. 

"Heart's heavy, but I lift my eyes," Maragos tweeted on Thursday. "I'll miss being out there with my brothers but I promise you this, I'll be back stronger!"

That's good news for 2018, but the Eagles will have to go the rest of the season without him. Maragos apparently had a message for his teammates. 

"He knows injuries happen," Goode said. "We play full speed and that's something that comes with the game. His whole thing — Chris is a great team dude — was that we keep propelling and keep getting better for the future." 

Eagles Injury Report: Ronald Darby practices for second straight day

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Eagles Injury Report: Ronald Darby practices for second straight day

Ronald Darby is practicing for the second straight day. 

The Eagles' cornerback, who missed the last five games with a right ankle dislocation he suffered in the opener, was back on the field on Friday afternoon after being a limited participant in Thursday's practice. 

During the portion of practice open to reporters, Darby went through warmups and individual drills. He also spent some 1-on-1 time working on technique with defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. It's likely Darby will be listed as a limited participant on Friday afternoon when the official report comes out. Earlier in the week, head coach Doug Pederson said the "stars have to align" for Darby to play on Monday night. 

In addition to Darby, it looked like every other member of the Eagles' 53-man roster was on the practice field Friday. While the Eagles have dealt with plenty of injuries this season, they seem pretty healthy heading into Monday's game against Washington. 

Beau Allen (foot), Jordan Hicks (calf) and Tim Jernigan (ankle), who were all limited on Thursday were practicing at the start of Friday's session. 

So were all the full participants from Thursday: Fletcher Cox (calf), Brandon Graham (shoulder), Lane Johnson (concussion), Wendell Smallwood (knee) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist). 

Pederson said on Thursday that the plan for Smallwood was to start him off slow this week and ramp it up, so it was a little bit of a surprise that he was a full participant to begin the week. The Eagles will throw him back into the mix immediately on Monday. Expect him to be their third-down back.