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Week 13 Sweet 16

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by ivanvamp, Nov 26, 2012.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp Rookie

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    Given that tonight's matchup is between two teams nowhere near the upper half of the NFL, I'll post my Sweet 16 a day earlier than normal. After this week's action, I'm going to shake things up a little bit.

    1. San Francisco (+2) - Impressive win against New Orleans. When that defense is going, and they make some offensive plays, they're extremely tough.

    2. New England (+3) - I'm moving them up because they are just destroying people these days. They don't have the best record in either the league or their conference, but nobody is playing better football right now. Last four games, wins by 38, 6, 35, and 30. Best point differential in the league by a mile. They're absolutely rolling. We always wonder what teams might be the "team nobody wants to face", but right now, it has to be New England. Who wants to play them (ugh...except maybe the friggin' Giants)?

    3. Atlanta (+1) - Shaky win, but a win.

    4. Houston (-3) - Wins, but drops three spots? Yes, because they won thanks to a horrible call/challenge rule. They have really struggled lately.

    5. NY Giants (+3) - What a wipeout of the Packers. Here they come, folks.

    6. Denver (--) - Winning six straight gets my attention, but they really struggled beating the Chiefs.

    7. Green Bay (-5) - Got blown out by the Giants, and they're really banged up.

    8. Chicago (+1) - When Cutler plays well, they're a handful.

    9. Baltimore (-2) - Wins, but drops two spots? Yes, because they won thanks to a horrible spot/call. That's two wins they have this year that are the direct result of terrible officiating.

    10. Cincinnati (N/A) - Big move up...they've won 3 straight in impressive fashion.

    11. Indianapolis (+4) - In control of that first Wild Card spot in the AFC. Who'd have imagined that?

    12. Tampa Bay (--) - At 6-5, still a tough opponent to play.

    13. Seattle (--) - Who knows with this team?

    14. Pittsburgh (-3) - Losers of two in a row, really need Roethlisberger back.

    15. Minnesota (-1) - In trouble.

    16. New Orleans (-6) - Still has a shot at the playoffs.

    Moving up: SF, NE, Atl, NYG, Chi, Ind
    Moving down: Hou, GB, Bal, Pit, NO
    Moving in: Cin
    Moving out: Dal
  2. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not a big fan of rankings. IMHO there are 9 teams right now that could be serious contenders. Factors that I'd consider would be roster strength, won-loss record, won-loss over past 5 games, recent play, injuries and head-to-ahead against other teams in the top 9. Based on those factors, I'd rank them roughly as follows, in inverse order, as of right now:

    9. Chicago Bears (8-3)

    Last 5 games: 3-2 (+18 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 0-3 (losses to Houston, San Francisco and Green Bay)
    Injuries: significant (Cutler concussion risk, injuries to Lance Briggs)
    Remaining games against top contenders: Green Bay
    Achilles heal: offensive line can't protect Cutler against any team with a decent pass rush

    The Bears have a dominant defense against lesser opponents, but haven't matched up well against good teams.

    8. Denver Broncos (8-3)

    Last 5 games: 5-0 (+75 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 0-2 (losses to Patriots, Falcons)
    Remaining games against top contenders: NY Giants
    Injuries: The loss of Willis McGahee hurts their run-pass balance on offense.
    Achilles heal: I'm just not sure the Broncos have enough firepower to play with the Big Boys.

    The Broncos have beaten the teams they should and feasted on a weak division, but they haven't shown they can beat a contending team yet. But they're improving steadily, and have the 2nd best scoring differential over the past 5 games of the teams on this list.

    7. Green Bay Packers (7-4)

    Last 5 games: 4-1 (+20 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 2-2 (wins against Houston and Chicago; losses to San Francisco and New York)
    Remaining games against top contenders: Chicago
    Achilles heal: Lack of running game, OL protection, defense

    The Packers looked hot until yesteday, when they got blown out and were dominated physically by the Giants. They appear explosive, but to lack the balance that is usually necessary to win a championship.

    6. Atlanta Falcons (10-1)

    Last 5 games: 4-1 (+20 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 1-0 (win against Denver)
    Remaining games against top contenders: NY Giants
    Achilles heal: Soft schedule

    The Falcons have been feasting on a diet of weak teams, but it's questionable how they would match up with the heavyweights come playoff time.

    5. Baltimore Ravens (9-2)

    Last 5 games: 4-1 (+21 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 1-1 (1 point win at home against NE, blowout loss on the road to Houston)
    Remaining games against top contenders: Denver, NY Giants
    Injuries: CB Lardarius Webb out for year; Ray Lewis out but designated to return if able)
    Achilles heal: Poor road team; Joe Flacco inconsistent

    The Ravens have squeaked out a lot of close games. They haven't looked impressive at times, but keep on winning. They are a much different team at home than on the road. Denver and the Giants will be good tests of how playoff ready they really are.

    4. NY Giants (7-4)

    Last 5 games: 3-2 (+15 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 2-0 (wins against Green Bay and San Francisco)
    Remaining games against top contenders: @Atlanta, @Baltimore
    Achilles heal:

    Wins over SF and GB give the Giants an edge over their record, but they have been inconsistent.

    3. New England (8-3)

    Last 5 games (+112 in those 5 games)
    Head-to-head: 1-1 (1 point loss on the road to Baltimore, win over Denver)
    Remaining games against top contenders: Houston, San Francisco
    Injuries: Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer - no one lost for the season, but very banged up.
    Achilles heal: the secondary, but it seems to be getting better with Talib and Dennard outside and McCourty at FS

    The Pats have been the hottest team over the past 5 games; they host the 2 teams that I currently rank ahead of them. They are banged up, but have proved resilient in the face of injuries.

    2. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1)

    Head-to-head: 2-1 (wins against Green Bay and Chicago, loss to the Giants at home)
    Remaining games against top contenders: @New England
    Achilles heal: QB situation

    The 49ers get the #2 spot by virtue of their dominant defense and wins over Green Bay and Chicago. Their offense is balanced but has been limited in its firepower. The question is whether Colin Kaepernick can take it to the next level, or whether they will end up with a QB controversy.

    1. Houston Texans (10-1)

    Last 5 games: 4-1
    Head-to-head: 3-1 (wins against Denver, Baltimore and Chicago; blowout loss to Green Bay)
    Remaining games against top contenders: @New England
    Injuries: Brian Cushing lost for year; injuries to Jonathan Joseph, Brady James, Brooks Reed, among others
    Achilles heal: Injuries, playoff inexperience

    The Texans get the top spot by virtue of their record, their toughness over the past 5 games in the face of injuries, and their record against the other top contenders. They are very balanced on both offense and defense. If they beat the Patriots they will have beaten the likely winners of the other 3 divisions. But they are banged up, and have needed to OT wins in the past 5 days, with a lot of help from the refs.

    Denver is something of a wild card in this group, because they haven't beaten any significant teams, but they are 6-0 over their past 6 games winning by an average of almost 15 PPG, including 4 road games.
  3. fxkane

    fxkane Rookie

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    my top seven

    1) Pats
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    3) Giants
    4) Falcons
    5) Texans
    6) Broncos
    7) Bears
  4. dannydyn

    dannydyn PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  5. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Rookie

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    I think you're a little harsh on the Falcons there suggesting their schedule is weak. I'd far rather be playing the Jets, Bills, Rams than the Redskins, Cowboys, Bucs, Saints. Their SOS is weaker than ours but that's only because they're playing in the more balanced NFC than the useless AFC.
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Falcons also benefit from their out of conference games being against hte pitiful AFC West. The Falcons lost to the Saints, who have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, giving up over 450 YPG and almost 28 PPG. They've played 1-10 KC, 2-8 Carolina, 3-8 Oakland (who they barely beat at home) and 3-7 Philly, 4 of the worst teams in the NFL. Whereas the 49ers, Giants, Packers and Bears have all had to play each other, the Falcons haven't had to play a single other top team in the NFC so far. They're a top team by virtue of their record, consistency and winning close games, but they just haven't been that impressive.

    The Pats' schedule hasn't been brutal, but we will have faced at least 4 playoff teams by the end of the year (Ravens, Broncos, Texans, 49ers), including the likely 3 other division winners in the AFC, so there will be some indication of how we stack up against the other top teams in our own conference. The only top team in the NFC who the Falcons play this year is the Giants, so it's just less clear how they compare. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them end up with the #1 seed and a bye, only to get mauled at home by a lower seed the way they were mauled by the Packers in 2010.
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