Saturday, December 17, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 14

Only 3 weeks to go in the regular season, and after the Packers, we have a logjam at the top of the rankings. I'll put my TJ Yates picture up again in honor of the Texans clinching their first ever playoff spot this week. They are still ranked at #2. The Ravens got their 4th win in a row and jumped 2 spots to #3, leapfrogging the Patriots, who moved up to #4. The Saints moved up to #5, replacing the 49ers in the top 5, who dropped down to #7 after losing to the Cardinals.

Speaking of that, I happened to attend that game this week and I realized something. Going to NFL games in person is not as much fun as watching on TV. I like going to MLB, NBA, and NHL games more than watching on TV, but NFL just doesn't do it for me. I get Sunday Ticket at my house, so for about $350 a year I can watch any game I want in my living room, which has comfortable seats, cheap beer, and good company. To go to the Cardinals game, which is about 40 miles from my house thanks to the geniuses who decided to build sports arenas way out in Glendale (its really worked well for the Coyotes, obviously), I had to leave my house around 11:30 AM and didn't get home until around 8 PM thanks to the drive, parking, and traffic, so I didn't see any other game that day other than the 2nd half of the Sunday Night game. At the game itself, I realized how many stupid people there really are in the world. Unlike a lot of other sports, I feel like the crowds at an NFL game are drunker, rowdier, and more hostile (NHL is close, but your average NHL game has less at stake so its a little more tame). I don't think I'd want to take my son around a crowd like that anytime soon. For example, in the 3rd quarter, there were a group of 6 huge 49ers fans that all looked like they just were released from prison trying to pick fights with any Cardinals fan that looked in their direction. It was kind of scary. Oh, and there is nothing more embarrassing to watch than a hardcore Cardinals fan. After almost 25 years of play in Arizona most still don't understand the rules and you have to realize that they are getting overly excited about easily one of the worst 5 franchises in professional sports history (I'd say the worst, but the Clippers exist, for example). Also, the price of NFL tickets is insane. NFL Sunday Ticket is basically the same price as going to just 2 of these lovely experiences each year.

Back to the ranks. The bottom 5 are unchanged. They all suck. Bad.

The biggest gainers this week were the Falcons and Chargers. The Falcons increased their chances of making the playoffs and the Chargers are hanging in the AFC West race. The biggest losers were the Bears and Raiders, who are both 7-6 but just seem like they are absolutely done.

Playoff Projections
AFC
1st Round Byes: #2 Texans, #3 Ravens
#8 Jets @ #4 Patriots
#6 Steelers @ #11 Broncos
Top 5 Out: #14 Titans, #16 Bengals, #17 Chargers, #19 Raiders, #21 Dolphins

NFC
1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #5 Saints
#10 Lions @ #7 49ers
#9 Falcons @ #12 Cowboys
Top 5 Out: #13 Seahawks, #15 Bears, #18 Giants, #20 Cardinals, #23 Eagles

Full Ranks:

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