|NFL Power Rankings|
Cowboys have dropped yet again
The Ravens win over the Lions in Detroit was huge, especially after both Miami and San Diego took care of business earlier in week 15. The pressure was on Joe Flacco and that revamped defense to get the job done in the noisy Ford Field dome. Flacco was poised despite continuous pressure and the defense held Stafford, Megatron and Reggie Bush to a measly 16 points. The Ravens currently control their own destiny, not just for the playoffs but actually an NFC North division win if they win their final 2 games in which the finale against the Bengals could be for the division crown.
The biggest problems the Lions have is mostly off the field. I believe it's time for the Schwartz not to be with you (Spaceballs Reference) and find a guy who understands how to manage a game and adjust on the fly which is something Jim Schwartz clearly isn't capable of. Then there's Matt Stafford and while he is one of the better NFL quarterbacks in the league, he has a lot of Tony Romo type characteristics but worse. Stafford is inconsistent, off target and erratic with the football in any quarter as opposed to Tony Oh-No who just blows games in the 4th quarter. Chicago sits in 1st place in the NFC North and the Packers hope to get Rodgers back this week which means more trouble for the Detroit Lions.
You have to be impressed with the Dolphins. They were down 10 - 0 to their division rival New England Patriots before coming back led by Ryan Tannehill who threw 3 touchdown passes, the Dolphins scored a game winning TD with under 2 minutes to play and held off Brady from another comeback by picking him off in the end zone with seconds to play. Miami may finally have it together now and could be the team that gets hot at the right time. Much like the Chargers who need to win out and get some help from others in order to advance to the post season, they too defeated their division rival the Denver Broncos at Mile High and beat them soundly. The race is heating up with only 2 games remaining during the regular season. This should be great.
What wasn't great was the Dallas Cowboys performance in the 2nd half at home against back up Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers. We all know what happened by now and blame is being spread throughout. Most of it is naturally coming down on the quarterback and deservedly so. Romo is known for throwing a late game interception to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He did it twice against the Pack on Sunday. One was a misread or a bad route by the wide receiver and the other was a terrible pass by Romo which led to the Packers go ahead touchdown. How do you blow a 23 point halftime lead? Well you coach poorly, you play poorly and you get poor results. Jason Garret didn't make any necessary game changes as things began to turn in the 2nd half and allowed Dallas to keep passing the ball with the lead all game long as opposed to not only taking time off the clock with the running game, but for the simple fact that DeMarco Murray was running the ball at 7-8 yards a clip.
You don't have to be a genius to figure this one out. The Cowboys are stuck with Tony Romo, for better or for worse. He's better more often than not, but his worst comes at the worst times. Bottom line, like I've been saying since he was hired, Garrett's gotta go! The last thing about them Cowboys is that they still control their own destiny if they can beat the Redskins in Washington next week and then defeat the Eagles in the finale. You can't make this stuff up guys. Dallas has been knocked out in their season finale for the past 2 seasons. Last year they could have got in the playoffs with a win in Washington in week 17 and the year before that the Giants had the pleasure of taking out the Boys' in their week 17 match up. Could Philly pull off the clean sweep. Unbelievable stuff!
Looking around the rest of the league we've established that the entire AFC Conference is up for grabs with no clear cut favorite in my opinion. The Seahawks are the best team in football. Their division, the NFC West is the best in the league with the 2 main wild card contenders, the S.F. 49ers and Arizona Cardinals being (10 - 4) and (9 - 5) respectively. The Niners are hot right now winning their last 4 games and speaking of hot, how about Jamaal Charles and those Kansas City Chiefs!
|Is Jamaal Charles an MVP Contender|
The one big stunner that caught my eye was how bad the Saints were on the road against the Rams. No St. Louis is no push over, but the New Orleans Saints got beat up and beat down. They lost 27 - 16 and it wasn't even that close. It's amazing how they can tear apart a true contender like the Carolina Panthers a week ago and now get blown out by a team playing for nothing but pride. Apparently pride can go a long way and Jeff Fisher doesn't take days off so he had his team ready and they came through.
The last thing I'll say before giving my week 16 power rankings, is that the NFL truly needs to do something about the officiating on the field. I have an article coming up about this very topic but a quick prelude is that many of these referees are relatively older and it's natural that they can't keep up with the pace of the game and their eyesight may be a bit blurred as they approach their late 50's and 60's. The league needs younger referees who perhaps played the game as well. I'm not one to complain too much about officiating because it's an incredibly tough job and for 7 men to have to watch 22 players at a time is no easy task no matter the age of the individual. However, that doesn't excuse the league from attempting to to try and fix the issue. Whether they do it through more technology and instant replay or perhaps coaches challenges being permitted on certain penalties, something does need to be done.
Well, every team has now played 14 games and we know who's for real and who's not. With that here is my weekly segment of "POWER 32."