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Sunday, November 23, 2014

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 6

1. New York Jets (4-1, +1)

Mark Sanchez has gotten very good at managing games and the defense continues to play the way we expected it to. Many expected the Vikings to go off after acquiring Randy Moss, but the Jets were able to beat them in a huge Monday night game. The Vikings were dealing with distractions, but the Jets look like the best team in the NFL after losing a one-point game to Baltimore week one.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1, -1)

The Steelers drop one spot after the bye week only because the Jets continued to impress. Adding Ben Roethlisberger to an offense that hasn’t been able to throw the ball — although it hasn’t needed to — should be a huge shot in the arm and only make them better.

3. Baltimore Ravens (4-1, +1)

The Ravens took care of business at home with a convincing victory over the Broncos. More importantly, Ray Rice proved he’s perfectly healthy with over 100 yards and two scores. We’ll find out even more when they travel to New England next weekend.

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-1, +1)

Michael Turner appears to be back on track and the Falcons are quietly emerging as the best team in the NFC. Their schedule has been somewhat soft, but any 10-point road victory in the NFL commands respect — even if it’s over the Browns.

5. New England Patriots (3-1, -2)

Maybe the Patriots will drop more after trading away Randy Moss. Maybe they’ll somehow get better after re-acquiring Deion Branch. The same that we said about the Ravens goes for New England: we’ll know a lot more this Sunday. We’ll leave them just about where we had them before the bye week for now.

6. Indianapolis Colts (3-2, +2)

The Colts are truly one of the mysteries of the NFL this year. They’ve looked great, they’ve looked terrible, and they’ve looked so-so. We expected them to hand Kansas City it’s first loss of the year, but by more than 10 points. It’s tough to tell whether that says more about the Colts or the Chiefs at this point.

7. Chicago Bears (4-1, +9)

The Bears are big movers this week, but why not? The Panthers gave the Saints a tough game last Sunday so it was reasonable to assume they’d beat the Cutler-less Bears at home. Chicago’s defense answered the call in a huge way and as a result they’re one of only two 4-1 teams in the NFC.

8. Washington Redskins (3-2, +3)

Washington is climbing up the ranks quickly and a win over the Packers certainly proves they’re legit. Donovan McNabb has taken Santana Moss and this entire offense to the next level. They’re a missed field goal away from 4-1 and are a definite playoff contender.

9. New Orleans Saints (3-2, -3)

We thought they’d roll through their next few games, but a loss to the Cardinals really hurts. We’ll leave them in the top-10 for now with the assumption that their offense has yet to click. If this is as good as it gets, they could be falling fast.

10. Tennessee Titans (3-2, +8)

After a tough home loss to a Denver team they should have killed, the Titans bounced back with a huge road win over the Cowboys. Dallas doesn’t look very good, but the Jerry’s House is as tough a place to play as any in the league. They should beat Jacksonville next week but the schedule gets a lot tougher after that.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2, +4)

We dropped Philadephia in the rankings once Michael Vick got hurt. Then, they went to San Francisco and beat the 49ers. Their defense is on point and if they can get some consistency from Kevin Kolb, they’ll survive the Vick injury better than we thought.

12. Green Bay Packers (3-2, -5)

The injuries the Packers suffered against Washington make them a huge wild card heading forward. They already weren’t playing as well as we expected and I can’t imagine it getting any worse than losing Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and Jermichael Finley in one week.

13. New York Giants (3-2, +4)

The defense continued to look great during a road win over Houston. The difference this time — so did the offense. They manhandled the Texans while keeping one of the league’s best offenses in check. Hakeem Nicks is a true No. 1 wide receiver.

14. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1, -1)

We expected the Chiefs to lose their first game of the season by a large margin at Indianapolis, but that wasn’t the case. They hung with a good Colts team and proved their defense is a force to be reckoned with. With the way the Chargers are playing, they’re still in line to make a run at a division title.

15. Miami Dolphins (2-2, -1)

The bye week came at a good time for the Dolphins as they were smoked by the Patriots in their own house last Sunday. They’d better iron out their special teams kinks or the Jets and Patriots will leave them in the dust.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1, +8)

How are the Tampa Bay Bucs 3-1? A road win over the Bengals is nothing to turn your nose up at. The Bucs will really get a chance to show whether or not they’re for real when the Saints come marching in next weekend.

17. Houston Texans (3-2, -8)

A road win over Oakland last weekend was nice, but the Texans are looking more and more vulnerable as the weeks pass. Andre Johnson’s injury may have something to do with it, but their game against the Giants was over in the first quarter. Matt Schaub needs to play a lot better.

18. Arizona Cardinals (3-2, +10)

Max Hall turned his first NFL start into a win over the defending Super Bowl champions. Not bad. We fully expect him to have some difficulties going forward but their defense looks very sharp in the early going.

19. San Diego Chargers (2-3, -9)

I still believe in the offense and Malcolm Floyd has shown he can replace Vincent Jackson, but the Chargers could be the most inconsistent team in football. They’re 0-3 on the road after losing to Oakland. Obviously, they’ll have to straighten out that issue if they intend to make the playoffs.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2, +3)

The Jaguars followed up a huge win over the Colts by winning a game they had to have in Buffalo. They aren’t a playoff team by any means, but they’re headed in the right direction after getting off to a horrible start.

21. Dallas Cowboys (1-3, -9)

We expected the Cowboys to make a statement after beating a hot Houston team in a must-win game before the bye. They proceeded to let the Titans come to their house and slap them around. The loser of their match-up with Minnesota next weekend is done.

22. Minnesota Vikings (1-3, -3)

It’s tough to drop the Vikings after they acquired Randy Moss and hung with the Jets at the New Meadowlands, but the Brett Favre sexual harassment saga could be a huge distraction heading forward. Moss doesn’t do well with distracted quarterbacks who aren’t at the top of their game.

23. Denver Broncos (2-3, -2)

The Ravens handled Denver but the Ravens are very good. It was probably a good idea to give Knowshon Moreno another week to recover, but they need him back badly if they want to make noise in a somewhat weak AFC West.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3, -4)

Two straight huge weeks for Terrell Owens and absolutely nothing to show for it. It looked like the Bengals improved in the draft and free agency but they haven’t been able to win. With the Ravens and Steelers in the same division, it’s looking like they don’t stand a chance.

25. Oakland Raiders (2-3, +1)

You’d expect a win over the Chargers to move the Raiders up a bit more, but unfortunately for them San Diego is horrible on the road right now. The win probably says more about the road struggles of the Chargers, but the Raiders are certainly competing.

26. Seattle Seahawks (2-2, -1)

The Seahawks drop one spot after their bye week because of how much of a bad contract they admitted Deion Branch was when they dealt him to New England for a 4th round pick. We’ll see how their offense looks without him.

27. Detroit Lions (1-4, +2)

They surprised plenty of people — us included — when they steamrolled the Rams to pick up their first win of the season. Matthew Stafford is obviously the future, but Shaun Hill has been plenty effective during the interim.

28. St.Louis Rams (2-3, -6)

The Rams somehow still have a chance to win the NFC West, but their loss to the Lions was embarrassing. The loss of Mark Clayton could be costly as he had become a favorite target for Sam Bradford. They’ll likely get blown out by the Chargers next weekend.

29. Cleveland Browns (1-4, -2)

The Browns lost to a tough Falcons team at home on Sunday. It looks like Colt McCoy is going to start on Sunday against the Steelers. I can’t think of any better way to demolish a rookie quarterback’s confidence.

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5, –)

It’s gotten to the point where Niners fans are booing Alex Smith in favor of David Carr. They had a chance to beat the Eagles at home with Vick injured and couldn’t get it done. I don’t see how Mike Singletary can possibly keep his job with the way things are going.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5, –)

Carolina looked pretty good against the Saints last Sunday and had a great opportunity to pick up their first win of the season against Todd Collins and the Bears.  Instead, their offense completely laid an egg and they remain winless.  They let a quarterback complete 6-of-16 passes for 32 yards and somehow come away with a win.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5, –)

There’s not much to be said for the Bills at this point.  One would expect them to win a couple of games this year, but if one of those wins doesn’t come at home against Jacksonville I don’t see when they’re going to come.



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