NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
New England took advantage of the Steelers missing Ben Roethlisberger. LeVeon Bell was contained. As was Antonio Brown. Tom Brady continues to look sharp. This division looks like it still belongs to the Patriots.

Cowboys logo2. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 4)
Dallas moves up due to the ineptitude of the Seahawks and Vikings, even though they were on a bye. The Cowboys return to action Sunday night against Philly for a chance to control the NFC East.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 3)
It is hard to find too many positives from a 6-6 tie. At the same time, Seattle’s defense looked outstanding throughout the entire game. Limiting David Johnson’s big plays and making Larry Fitzgerald a non-factor. That defense will get tested again this week with a trip to the Super Dome to play the Saints.

Vikings logo4. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
The last of them falls. Minnesota is no longer undefeated and Sam Bradford looked mediocre this weekend. That does not wipe out what he has done to this point, but reminds us all that he is prone to this type of outing from time to time.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 6)
He didn’t need to say it this time around, but the Packers relaxed and turned in a phenomenal second half to soundly beat the Bears. Green Bay hasn’t solved everything, but they are suddenly just a game out of the NFC North lead though and look like they are heading in the right direction.

Denver_Broncos6. Denver Broncos (Last week: 8)
Denver got back on track Monday night with a quality win over Houston. The defense did not allow a touchdown. C.J. Anderson ran well and Trevor Siemian did just enough to propel the Broncos to a win. The AFC West looks deadly right now.

Chiefs Logo7. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 10)
Kansas City hung on for a solid home win over New Orleans on Sunday. Between Spenser Ware, Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, the Chiefs have an embarrassment of riches. Alex Smith is still driving this bus and its working for Andy Reid’s team.

Eagles Logo8. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 11)
Speaking of Andy Reid, his former offensive coordinator Doug Peterson just knocked off the last undefeated team in the league. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but that Eagles defense is looking better every week.

Raiders logo9. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 12)
It’s hard to place Oakland. They have a mediocre point differential, but lead the AFC West with five wins. If the season ended today, they would have a bye to the divisional round of the playoffs. With four divisional games left this year, the West if far from won.

Falcons logo10. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 5)
I gave Atlanta something of a pass last week following a two-point loss. This week’s loss was only three points, but it was at home having been outscored 16-3 in the second half and overtime. The Falcons aren’t in free fall, but they need to start closing out games.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)11. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 13)
Well not losing is better than losing. But winning is better than not winning. Arizona had a number of chances to win at home against Seattle. That would’ve been a huge win for divisional purposes. Instead, Arizona is .500 through seven weeks.

Lions Logo

12. Detroit Lions (Last week: 18)
That’s three straight for the Lions, who suddenly have a winning record. A trip to see a struggling Houston outfit gives Detroit a chance to stretch this win streak to four. Running back is still a revolving door, but the Lions have a shot right now.

Washington made up logo13. Washington (Last week: 7)
Like I said, Washington probably isn’t the number seven team in the league. They proved that this week with a fourth quarter collapse against Detroit. Matt Jones continues to be streaky and that Jordan Reed injury needs definitely limits this offense’s potential to be successful.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 14)
Now above .500, the Giants are still in the basement of the NFC East. Coming back from London with a gritty win is huge, especially heading into a bye. If anyone needs to get healthy it’s New York.

Chargers logo15. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 20)
Another week, another sign that the beginning of this season was just a fluke. Even without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen, San Diego is finding ways to win. This is easily the best team under .500 in the league right now.

Bills logo16. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 9)
Nothing like a road loss to a division rival to bring you crashing down to Earth. Buffalo has solid wins over New England and Arizona, but losses to the Jets and Dolphins now. The other two wins came against the 49ers and Rams. Not a great resume for the Bills.

Bengals Logo17. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 21)
It was Cleveland, but a win nonetheless. Cincy finally bounced back and got a big win. The Bengals are now just a game back of the AFC North lead with the Ravens reeling and the Steelers missing their quarterback. Cincy ranks fifth in total yards per game, but 23rd in points per game. The offense needs to start converting.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo18. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 16)
Landry Jones played about as well as Pittsburgh fans could have hoped once he settled down after his first quarter interception. The Steelers looked competitive for most of the game with a very good opponent. They still lead this division, but they are going to need to win some games before Big Ben returns.

Ravens logo19. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 17)
Six yards. That’s how many rushing yards the Ravens could muster this week in New York. Joe Flacco also tossed two picks against a weak Jets secondary. Baltimore has lost four in a row and has a lot of questions to answer going forward.

Buccaneers logo20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
Tampa Bay overcame a slow start to blowout San Francisco. The running game continues to thrive no matter who is taking the handoffs. The Bucs are just a half game back of the Falcons for the lead in the NFC South. Let that sink in.

Saints logo21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 19)
The Saints are third in the league in scoring offense, and last in scoring defense. New Orleans has been trying for years to fix this defensive unit. They are wasting away the last years of Drew Brees’ career as they continue to lose in shootouts.

Dolphins logo22. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 25)
Jay Ajayi is still running now as you read this. In the last two weeks, Ajayi has ripped off 414 yards and three touchdowns. Miami heads into a bye week only a game under .500 and with their backfield likely figured out.

Texans logo23. Houston Texans (Last week: 15)
That comeback win against Indy feels like a long time ago for Brock Osweiler. He has completed just 58 percent of his passes and owns a yards per attempt average of 5.7. Osweiler has also committed 13 turnovers in seven games. Houston, we definitely have a problem.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Indy has been far from perfect this year. They’ve frequently been far from good for that matter, but the Colts are just a game out of first place. If Chuck Pagano’s group makes the playoffs, it will be because they won the very weak AFC South. And based on how the offensive line and defense are playing, they won’t get very far.

Rams logo25. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 23)
It was a promising start in the new city. Now suddenly the Rams are back below .500. A week off after an unsuccessful trip to London gives Los Angeles time to recover, but it does not solve their quarterback issues. Case Keenum had four interceptions Sunday, including a pick six.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 26)
This is the best one-win team in football. It’s true because it means that Carolina is better than Chicago. Jonathan Stewart will be back but the real problems are on the defense. The Panthers are 26th in passing defense and 29th in scoring defense.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Well being .500 was fun while it lasted. Tennessee continues to struggle to take that next step. This is a very young team with a lot of building pieces. DeMarco Murray gives this chance to control games, but when you lose the turnover battle as the Titans have, it is really tough to win.

Jets logo28. New York Jets (Last week: 29)
It was a bounce back game of sorts for the Jets. The defense came up with some big takeaways and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith played mistake-free football. Fitz seemed pissed about being benched. That kind of fire could be good for New York going forward.

Jaguars logo29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
Will Blake Bortles of 2015 please show up? Through the first six games he has played, Bortles has nine touchdowns and interceptions. Through his first six games last year, Bortles had thrown 13 touchdowns to only seven picks. Jacksonville sinks and swims with their third year passer.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
A good start marred by a pathetic collapse. San Francisco has a lot of problems on defense. They are third to last in yards allowed and second to last in points allowed. The most staggering stat though might be that the 49ers are allowing 185 yards rushing per game. That is 45 more yards per game than Cleveland, who has the second worst mark. If Chip Kelly wants to find a place to improve, that would be a good one to start.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
The Bears were competitive in the first half with Green Bay, until Aaron Rodgers regained his form and tore the defense apart. Everyone knew that it was going to take a little time for John Fox to turn this team around, but there haven’t been many bright spots to point to a promising future.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
If you are still reading this, all you need to know is that the Browns lost again and that because the Cavaliers are back that Cleveland fans have stopped caring about football.

Advertisements

This One Hurts

I’m not mad. Just disappointed.

It’s that cliche line your parents used on you when you were a teenager to make you feel guilty about what you did. It also sums up how I feel about Kevin Durant heading to Golden State.

Kevin Durant
Durant was a 7-time All-star in his time with Oklahoma City. (Wikimedia Commons)

I get it. The chance to win a title is tantalizing. Playing with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green definitely seems appealing. The money was good too. That doesn’t mean I can’t be disappointed in the decision.

Durant came so close to knocking off the Warriors with his running mate Russell Westbrook. Blowing a 3-1 lead in the conference finals is about as close as you can get without sealing the deal. Durant gave up the chance to do something special in OKC for a perceived easy ring with the Warriors.

Signing with Golden State is similar to when LeBron James left the Cavaliers for Miami. But in reality it is even more of a cop out. James at least went to a building team. The Heat were good before he got there, but he arrived with Chris Bosh to make them a true contender. On top of that, Miami didn’t win the title until James’ second year in South Beach.

The Warriors are already well established, having gone to the last two NBA Finals and winning a championship. They already have an incredible core of guys who have fueled this mini dynasty. Durant joining this team is much worse than what LeBron did and it truly is disappointing. Had he signed pretty much anywhere else, even San Antonio, this wouldn’t feel like so much of a betrayal.

kevin_durant
With Durant joining the Warriors, the MVP from the last three years plays for Golden State. (Wikimedia Commons)

Durant’s signing in Golden State is also polarizing for fans. It will be nothing short of annoying to have another super team dominating the league. However, it will also cause fans to tune in to see what the group can accomplish. Nothing is guaranteed either. As I just said, the Heat didn’t win the first season they had their big three. The Warriors could slip up and choke again, like they did this year. That alone makes them worth watching.

If I’m honest, I don’t think this team is as much of a lock to be better than last year’s team. I don’t see them winning 74 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t win 70. Yes they will be good, but like all teams that have a mix of new pieces, there will be some growing pains. This is more turnover than the Warriors have seen in some time. Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezili are all gone. Durant and Zaza Puchillia just arrived.

In some ways, this creates new intrigue in the NBA season. The Heat used to be the villains of the league, which is the role the Warriors will now play. Millions of fans tuned into the NBA playoffs during those years in hopes of watching Miami thwarted in their attempts to create a dynasty. I have a feeling that the playoffs will do the same thing this year in the NBA, as all watch to see if Golden State falters. The regular season may not be great, but these playoffs will draw a lot of eyeballs.

While I am not a fan of the move, you can hardly blame Durant. Nothing is guaranteed, but this gives him the best chance to win a title, which we know is crucial in terms of leaving a lasting legacy in the NBA. Getting one puts you into the conversation of being great.

So yes, I understand why Durant did it. I respect his decision, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
The AFC East (other than the Jets) had a good weekend, and the Pats certainly led the way. There were some questionable miscues from the defense and special teams, but nothing to really be concerned about.

Vikings logo2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
A week off lets the Vikings bask in the glory of being undefeated. Leslie Frazier has this defense operating at a very high level and the offense is playing turnover free. That’s a winning formula.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
It was a win but Seattle almost blew a major first half lead against Atlanta. Arizona is on tap and a win there would put Seattle in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season in the NFC West.

Cowboys logo4. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 9)
Five in a row heading into the bye week is perfect for these red hot Cowboys. Dak Prescott finally threw an interception, but Dallas got a very solid road win at Lambeau. Oh and Zeke Elliot leads the league in rushing. Good draft class for Jerry Jones.

Falcons logo5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6)
Even with a loss, Atlanta actually moves up in the power rankings. The Falcons got the short end of the stick on a no-call at the end of the game in Seattle. You can’t blame it all on that, but Atlanta held their own in Seattle.

Packers logo6. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Another week another question mark for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks pedestrian at best. The running game has disappeared and that defense finally broke in an embarrassing home loss for Green Bay.

Washington made up logo7. Washington (Last week: 12)
Is Washington really the number 7 team in the league? Probably not but they’ve won four in a row, including two divisional games. With so many of the top teams losing, its hard to justify them anywhere else.

Denver_Broncos8. Denver Broncos (Last week: 7)
The Chargers are better than their record indicates, but the Denver offense had a poor showing this week. Denver would drop more if it wasn’t for the parity in the league right now.

Bills logo9. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 13)
Make that four in a row for Rex Ryan’s crew. An absolute thrashing of the 49ers this weekend moves the Bills to 4-2 with chances to climb higher.

Chiefs Logo10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 14)
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s just how the Chiefs play football. Kansas City silenced the division rival Raiders and even though Oakland has a better record, the Chiefs look headed in the right direction.

Eagles Logo11. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
Talk about coming back down to Earth. After a 3-0 start, Philly has dropped two straight. Both were by one score or less so no need to panic, but the expectations for Philly have been curbed.

Raiders logo12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 10)
I mentioned last week that Oakland’s defense was lackluster. Well this week so was the offense. A 16-point loss to the division rival Chiefs at home definitely stings. Oakland, despite it 4-2 record, has a point differential of -11. Not good.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 16)
Even if it was just the Jets, Arizona got back to .500 with a beatdown on Monday night. David Johnson scored three touchdowns and is third in the league in rushing. That defense had two picks and limited the Jets to three points. Now the real test comes with a visit from Seattle.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 18)
While still in the basement, the Giants got a big win at home this week. More importantly, Odell Beckham Jr. finally showed up. He had a career-high in yards and two 60-plus yard touchdowns, including the game winner. This was the type of win New York needed to banish some of their old demons.

Texans logo15. Houston Texans (Last week: 19)
Houston pulled off the comeback of the week with a home win over the Colts in overtime. Finding yourself down 17-3 at halftime isn’t reassuring, but a win is a win no less. It keeps the Texans atop the AFC South and knocks down their biggest challenger for that title.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo16. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 3)
It might be time for panic mode in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will miss an estimate 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus. And the Steelers got thoroughly beaten by Miami, whose only other win was against Cleveland. Not a great look, especially when you allow a 200-yard rusher either. Oh and the Patriots are visiting this weekend. Good luck Landry Jones.

Ravens logo17. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 11)
This time the offense showed up, and the defense dropped the ball. That’s two straight losses for Baltimore. Things would be worse if it wasn’t for the unexpected turn Pittsburgh just took. This could be the Ravens division now.

Lions Logo

18. Detroit Lions (Last week: 20)
After looking down and out two weeks ago, the Lions are suddenly at .500. Both wins were solid, but Detroit has yet to show any signs of stability. If we see that, then this might be a playoff contender.

Saints logo19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 24)
The Saints defense still looks terrible, so it’s a good thing that Drew Brees hasn’t lost a step. The New Orleans signal caller threw for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the defense also allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter. Sean Payton can’t win every shootout.

Chargers logo20. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 26)
San Diego got a much need win against division rival Denver, breathing some life into their playoff aspirations. That might sound crazy because they are 2-4, but Philip Rivers could carry this team into the wildcard conversation.

Bengals Logo21. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Another week another deflating loss for Cincy. The Bengals came out strong against New England, only to fade in the second half. Cincinnati has scored 109 points so far this year, tied for the third worse mark in the conference.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
A week theoretically let the Buccaneers get healthy, until word came out that Doug Martin suffered a setback. Jameis Winston needs to step up now and show that he has taken that step from his rookie to sophomore year.

Rams logo23. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 15)
Never doubt Jeff Fisher’s ability to coach his team to a .500 record. Two straight losses look bad, but Case Keenum had a good day and found Kenny Britt all day long. If Todd Gurley ever got rolling like he did last season, Los Angeles could hang around in this wildcard picture.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21)
The Colts had Houston right where they wanted them, and then blew it. A win would’ve put Indy in a three-way tie atop the division with the Texans and Titans. Instead, the Colts’ coaching staff still has to figure out how to close games and protect Andrew Luck, two things they have struggled with in the least three seasons.

Dolphins logo25. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 30)
After proclaiming that Miami hit rock bottom a week ago, the Dolphins came back and shocked the Steelers. Yes it was without Ben Roethlisberger, but Jay Ajai ran for over 200 yards and the ‘Fins can say they aren’t the worst team in the AFC East.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 23)
Carolina cannot seem to string together two consistent weeks of football. Cam Newton returned to jump-start the offense, but the defense allowed Drew Brees to have a field day. At 1-5, the Panthers look like they did two years ago where all Newton did was pout and walk out of pressers.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 29)
Don’t look now, but the Titans just hit the same number of wins through six weeks as they did all of last season. And they are only a game out of first place in the AFC South (man that division sucks). I’m not sold yet, because this was a two-point win over the winless Browns, but things are looking up for Tennessee.

Jaguars logo28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
They barely squeaked out a win in Chicago, but Jacksonville does move to 2-4. This team has struggled to find an identity so far, as it can’t seem to effective run the ball and continues to turn it over. Gus Bradley still has a lot of work to do with this group.

Jets logo29. New York Jets (Last week: 25)
If you didn’t think it could any worse, it did. The Jets mustered on a field goal and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith threw interceptions against Arizona. Smith is set to start this week at Baltimore, but it probably won’t make a difference for this floundering Jets team.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)
Back to the basement is where San Francisco finds itself now. A blowout on the road in Buffalo certainly was not the way Colin Kaepernick wanted to debut this season, but he was probably an improvement over Blaine Gabbert. Chip Kelly is searching for answers, but it is clear that this team is in full scale rebuild mode.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago blew another one against an AFC South opponent. Brian Hoyer continues to play mistake free, but the offense is still ineffective. At least they seem to have a couple of nice pieces in Jordan Howard and Cameron Meredith.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
It can only go up from here. Cleveland lost again, this time in a comeback attempt that just came up short. In other news, LeBron looks great in the preseason and the Indians are on the brink of a World Series appearance. And it’s not all bad for the Browns, they have Terrelle Pryor. Once healthy, this Cleveland team should be more competitive. Until then, it’s going to keep being ugly I think.

2016 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
He’s back and it was a scary look for sure. Tom Brady threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in his return from his four game suspension. Rob Ninkovich is back as well. Now the Pats are at full strength and rolling.

Vikings logo2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
We all thought that the Vikings, lead by Sam Bradford and Matt Asiata, would be the last undefeated team this season, right? Well they are and this Minnesota defense might be among the best units we have ever seen.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 5)
That meltdown in Philly seems like a distant memory now. Pittsburgh has won two straight by a margin of 74-27. Needless to say the Steelers are back on track.

Seahawks logo4. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
A bye week lets Seattle get healthy. Early season struggles seem to be Seattle’s MO at this point, but a big test looms as Atlanta visits this weekend.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 7)
Green Bay has to be happy with the final result, but the Packers’ offense still isn’t clicking like it used to. Eddie Lacy hasn’t found his groove and Aaron Rodgers is playing some of the most average football we have ever seen him play.

Falcons logo6. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 8)
Don’t look now but Atlanta has won four straight and knocked off both of the teams that played in Super Bowl 50. Heading into Seattle will give us a good sense if the Falcons are for real.

Denver_Broncos7. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
So this answers the question about Paxton Lynch being pro-ready. He isn’t. Lynch posted an 11.3 Total QBR in his performance against Atlanta. Denver fans will be happy to have Trevor Seimian back. (Never thought I would write that).

Eagles Logo8. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 6)
All good things must end. Philly sustained its first loss of the year against the Lions. Wentz threw his first career interception in crunch time and Ryan Mathews fumbled just before that to give Detroit a chance to take the lead. The Eagles can be good, but these mistakes are troubling.

Cowboys logo9. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 13)
After losing to the Giants to open the season, Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott have lead the Cowboys on a four-game win streak, even after losing Dez Bryant. Don’t look now but Dallas might have found the future of their team.

Raiders logo10. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 11)
The defense has been disappointing, but Derek Carr still finds ways to win games for the Raiders. If San Diego doesn’t botch that hold, this might be a very different story, but Oakland is rolling with a 4-1 record.

Ravens logo11. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 10)
Failing to beat Washington in the Battle of the Beltway has to leave a sour taste in John Harbaugh’s mouth. Baltimore is average just 18.8 points per game so far, which probably explains why offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was just fired.

Washington made up logo12. Washington (Last week: 16)
Even though Washington beat Baltimore, they sit below them in the power rankings. I trust Baltimore going forward much more than I do Washington. Keep in mind that this was exactly how they started last year though. Waiting to see what happens next.

Bills logo13. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 18)
Rough start, followed by three straight wins over teams that had better records than they did. Beating New England was big, even without Brady. Now a win in LA gets the Bills above .500.

Chiefs Logo14. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 12)
A week off let’s the Chiefs figure out how exactly they are going to get Jamaal Charles some touches. This backfield in Kansas City can be dangerous when Charles and Stephen Ware play together, we just haven’t really seen it yet.

Rams logo15. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 14)
Jeff Fisher strikes again. Just when it seemed like the Rams had found their stride, winning three straight, they drop one at home. This team might just be destined to go 8-8 for as long as Fisher is here.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)16. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 19)
Not the start the Arizona thought it would have, but a win over a divisional opponent with Drew Stanton at the helm is a good sign. Carson Palmer should be back this week and David Johnson looks like he is finding his groove.

Bengals Logo17. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 9)
Still waiting on the Bengals to look like the playoff team they were a season ago. Vontaze Burfict returned, but the defense still did not look much better. Cincy’s two wins this season are against the Dolphins and Jets, not exactly statement victories.

Giants Logo18. New York Giants (Last week: 17)
The Giants find themselves in the basement of the NFC East through five weeks. Injuries continue to plague New York, but so does the lack of consistency on offense. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. need to break out of this funk if the Giants hope to make this a successful season.

Texans logo19. Houston Texans (Last week: 15)
Maybe he wasn’t worth every penny. Minnesota has stifled pretty much everyone, but Brock Osweiler had a terrible outing against the Vikings. He has more interceptions through five games than touchdowns and is completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes. And yet they still lead the AFC South.

Lions Logo

20. Detroit Lions (Last week: 26)
Talk about a statement win. Beating the Eagles might not seem that way, but after seeing what Philly can do against Pittsburgh, Detroit held their own and got the victory. Still a lot of work to do but 2-3 is a lot better than 1-4.

Colts logo21. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 25)
Coming off a tough loss across the pond to Jacksonville, Indianapolis got a solid win over the Bears. Andrew Luck still hasn’t really found his form, but a win is a win and the Colts are right in the race for the AFC South.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 24)
After beating the Falcons, Tampa seemed to have taken it’s next step. Fast forward a month where the only other victory this team has is against a Cam Newton-less Panthers squad, the optimism for the Bucs has subsided.

Panthers logo23. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 20)
Carolina’s defense showed up on Monday night, but the offense could not do enough without Cam Newton and Johnathan Stewart. Carolina is in danger of being the first team to win 15 games in a season to not win 10 or more the following year.

Saints logo24. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 23)
A week off for the Saints hopefully gives them a chance to figure out how to play defense. Allowing 32.5 points per game, is not a winning recipe.

Jets logo25. New York Jets (Last week: 22)
Age and injury plus a tough schedule have shown that the Jets are not a contender in the NFL. The offense disappeared in the second half against Pittsburgh and the secondary continues to get burned by big plays. This zone concept Todd Bowles wants to run is not working.

Chargers logo26. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 29)
If there is a way to lose, the Chargers have done it. San Diego sits at 1-4 with a positive point differential. That is simply unheard of. At some point, you have San Diego is going to pick up a couple of wins.

49ers Logo27. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 21)
For the second straight year, the 49ers showed up week one on Monday night, only to look terrible in pretty much every game after that. Colin Kaepernick is set to start this week. San Francisco needs a spark from somewhere.

Jaguars logo28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
A week allows Jacksonville to regroup. One win in four games is not an aspiring start, but the one win was in the division and in the AFC South, you never know.

Titans logo29. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 31)
Marcus Mariota put on a show this week and the Titans actually used their ground game how they wanted to. Yes Miami is terrible, but the Titans are currently second in the AFC South, only a game out of first place.

Dolphins logo30. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 27)
The Fins have hit rock bottom. The offense is mediocre and the only win that Adam Gase has this year is over Cleveland. Ryan Tannehill needs to right the ship as soon as possible if he wants to keep his starting job.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 30)
Jay Cutler has lost his job. Brian Hoyer is outplaying him for sure. It hasn’t lead to many wins and the injury list continues to grow. John Fox has a lot of work to do before the Bears are a competitive team again.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
Five quarterbacks in five weeks. Only the Browns could pull off something like that. Tennessee might be Cleveland’s best chance to win a game all season. On the bright side, it’s only three weeks until the NBA season starts and the Indians are in the ALCS.

 

Good For Colin Kaepernick

Well, I’ve been away for a while (sorry Will), but I am back to talk about probably the most controversial issue in sports.

At some point, I knew I was going to have to weigh in on this one. He has quickly become the most polarizing person in America not named Donald Trump (cause no one is touching him in that category). He is making a difference and in many ways showing that there is still a lot of racism and social injustice in this country.

Colin_Kaepernick
Kaepernick has not played in a regular season game this season. (Wikimedia Commons)

His method hasn’t been perfect, but Colin Kaepernick is turning heads and igniting a conversation about social injustice in the United States. Not to mention that his jersey sales are through the roof. And rather than just pocket the gains, Kaepernick is pledging the proceeds to local communities.

In theory, Kaepernick shouldn’t be anything people pay attention to, but he has become the most polarizing player in the NFL since maybe Tim Tebow. Cops and military personnel around the country have been split on support or disdain for Kaepernick. San Francisco police unions even threatened to stop working 49er games.

Fan reaction overall has been very split. According to a survey of 1,100 NFL fans, Kaep was named the most disliked player in the league. However, his jersey sales led the league in the month of September. Kaep took the proceeds he received and donated it to local Bay Area communities.

Kaepernick definitely crossed the line a little bit with his choice of socks, but outside of that, I really feel that he has done nothing wrong. NFL players are not required, only encouraged, to stand during the national anthem.

All of us are familiar with the first amendment. Many of us cite it all the time as one of the greatest things about our country. It ensures that people like me can continue to pursue a career in journalism. Freedom of speech is an important thing in this country. People seem infuriated by Kaepernick doing one of the most American things possible. He is evoking his first amendment rights to spark a conversation about American society.

colin-kaepernick
A handful of Kaepernick’s teammates have joined him in the quiet protest. (Wikimedia Commons)

And Kaep has accomplished a lot of what he set out to do. He has started that conversation and it is being held by all of us across the country. Other sports leagues are taking notice. Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was under the spotlight when he said that MLB players weren’t doing enough. Several NBA teams are joining arms in a sign of unity during the national anthem, similar to how the Seattle Seahawks did when they played the rival 49ers. Even soccer got in on the action as Megan Rapinoe started taking a knee during the nation anthem while playing for the U.S. Women’s National team.

Several times in history, sports have been an area where social and political protests start. This is no different than any other protest in history. I applaud Kaepernick for what he has done so far in starting this conversation. I think it is one that needs to be had.

I get that a lot of people are not happy with his actions. I know that September 11 is a day that hits home for all of us and that NFL players protesting on that day is bordering on insensitive, but isn’t it more insensitive if we don’t listen? This is no secret that our country has issues with the way that police and minorities interact. It might be nobody’s fault, but that does not mean that the problem should be ignored. Kaepernick found a way to start the conversation. Now it is our job to continue it.