Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 15

As wild as Week 14 was on the field, it was the exact opposite in the Top 12.  The Saints and Panthers swapped places, as did the Eagles and Colts.  Other than that, everyone decided to stand pat.  Have I suddenly figured this league out?  My Pick 'Em record would suggest otherwise.  We'll see what craziness awaits this coming week.  There are strangely enough, no head-to-head battles among the Top 12 teams, but nine of them are on the road this weekend, all but ensuring there will be some suprises.


#1 - Seattle Seahawks

A two point loss on the road to a team like San Francisco?  Not enough to drop the Hawks from the top spot.  Not when the teams below them have all had similar bad outcomes that were worse and more frequent.

Last Week: 1      Change: 0       Record: 11-2       Next Game: @ Giants


#2 - New England Patriots

I thought about putting the Pats up at the #1 spot following Seattle's loss.  You could make a case for them, seeing that they were the #2 team last week and won their game.  I felt it might be a way to honor the heart they displayed in pulling off yet another improbable win.  However, if I put them that high, I will almost certainly need to drop them at some point, so I'll let them stay put at #2.

Last Week: 2      Change: 0       Record: 10-3   Next Game: @ Dolphins


#3 - Denver Broncos

Looks like Denver decided to follow the Patriots recipe of a bad first half, followed by an explosive second one. 

Last Week: 3      Change: 0       Record: 11-2      Next Game: vs. Chargers


#4 - New Orleans Saints

New Orleans shut the door on the Panthers for all intents and purposes this week, meanwhile, they opened a door to the #2 seed and a bye week.

Last Week: 5      Change: +1       Record: 10-3     Next Game: @ Rams


#5Carolina Panthers

The Panthers went from a potential bye week to now being a mistep away from being shut out in the tight NFC playoff race.  The Cats will need to keep up their torrid pace to ensure they're playing in January.

Last Week: 4      Change: -1       Record: 9-4      Next Game: vs. Jets


#6 - San Francisco 49ers

That was a pride game for the Niners, splitting the season series with their biggest nemesis.  It was also a survival game as the NFC race is so close right now.  There will be at least one team on the Top 12 list who doesn't make the playoffs.

Last Week: 6      Change: 0       Record: 9-4       Next Game: @ Buccaneers


#7 - Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were THIS close to taking the #2 seed from the Patriots until their long-suffering rivals, the Browns blew the game.  Come to think of it – do you think there's any chance that Cleveland laid down at the end and let the Patriots win to screw Cincy?  Yeah, me neither. 

Last Week: 7      Change: 0       Record: 9-4      Next Game: @ Steelers


#8 - Kansas City Chiefs

With the way the Colts are playing, KC could easily be moving on to the divisional round as the de facto #5 seed in the AFC.  

Last Week: 8      Change: 0      Record: 10-3   Next Game: @ Raiders


#9 - Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles and the Eagles are suddenly making the NFC East respectable.

Last Week: 10     Change: +1       Record: 8-5  Next Game: @ Vikings


#10 - Indianapolis Colts

A Colts/Chiefs Round 1 matchup seems all but assured right now.  The Colts have some serious reason to worry that they'll be one and done yet again this year.   Playoff wins for Mark Sanches in his first two years: 4.   Playoff wins for Andrew Luck in his first two years: 0?

Last Week: 9      Change: -1       Record: 8-5    Next Game: vs. Texans


#11 - Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals may just be the girl left out of the dance this January, which is a shame seeing as they so rarely get the opportunity to play in the post-season.

Last Week: 11      Change: 0      Record: 8-5     Next Game: @ Titans


#12 - Baltimore Ravens

If the Patriots can pull away with a win in Miami, it's going to be the Ravens who pose the biggest threat to hand them that 4th loss and take away their bye week.

Last Week: 12     Change: 0       Record: 7-6       Next Game: @ Lions


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 15

I love weeks like the one coming up.  Ten of our Top 12 teams are pitted against each other in battles that will send teams flying up and down the board or cementing their spot as we head towards the post-season. 


#1 – New England Patriots

I've had the Patriots up here for several weeks now.  Finally the rest of the world is catching up to me.  I'll knock this team down when it deserves to be knocked down, but since Week 12, this team has been playing lights-out football.  The scary part is that they've been doing it largerly without Rob Gronkowski.

Last Week: 1      Change: 0     Record: 10-3       Next Game: vs. 49ers


#2 – San Francisco 49ers

A lot of teams could have taken this spot.  But I decided to make things interesting by setting up a #1 vs. #2 battle on Sunday Night.  A bit fabricated?  Maybe.  But tell me which other team deserves to be sitting here instead of the Niners?

Last Week: 6   Change: +4      Record: 9-3-1     Next Game: @ Patriots


#3 – Denver Broncos

Denver has yet to beat a truly legit team, which is why I just can't put them at #2.  They have yet to beat a team currently in the Top 12.  I have a feeling that will change this week in Baltimore.

Last Week: 3    Change: 0       Record: 10-3       Next Game: @ Ravens


#4 – Green Bay Packers

The Packers took care of the Lions, but not as handily as they should have.  Now they can take care of the NFC North by snuffing out Chicago this week.

Last Week: 5      Change: +1     Record: 9-4     Next Game: @ Bears


#5 – Atlanta Falcons

Some of those shaky wins look even shakier when you're dropping games to the Carolina Panthers.

Last Week: 2     Change: -3   Record: 11-2      Next Game: vs. Giants


#6 – New York Giants

Who knows what to make of this team?  I actually don't think they're better than the Texans, but I had to give them a rise after their drubbing of the Saints.  I think it's fair, considering the Giants won by 25 and the Texans lost by 28.

Last Week: 7      Change: +1       Record: 8-5       Next Game: @ Falcons


#7 – Houston Texans

Monday Night was a demoralizing loss for a team that hasn't looked so hot the past few weeks.  They need to right the ship against Indy or they may end up losing, not just the #1 seed, but the division as well.

Last Week: 4     Change: -3       Record: 11-2      Next Game: vs. Colts


#8 – Seattle Seahawks

I can't believe they aren't going to rise after a 58-0 win.  But I can't drop the Texans to #8 in good conscience, and it was against the Arizona Cardinals.

Last Week: 8     Change: 0      Record: 8-5    Next Game: @ Bills


#9 – Indianapolis Colts

Sunday is one of the rare instances where you will find me rooting vehemently for the Colts.

Last Week: 9     Change: 0   Record: 9-4   Next Game: @ Texans


#10 – Baltimore Ravens

I've been tough on the Ravens the past few weeks, so it feels strange to raise them after a loss.  However, I think they'd take both the #11 and #12 teams on a neutral field.  Still, it's been an ugly four weeks for Baltimore.

Last Week: 11   Change: +1      Record: 9-4       Next Game: vs. Broncos


#11 – Chicago Bears

Chicago is reeling.  They desperately need to win on Sunday to have any shot at winning the NFC North.  More importantly, they need to win on Sunday to keep ahead in the chase for the wild card playoff spots.

Last Week: 1      Change: -1       Record: 8-5     Next Game: vs. Packers


#12 – Washington Redskins

I hesitated to put Washington here given the uncertainty of RGIII's knee situation.  Still, no other team is giving me a good reason to put them here over the Skins and so I'll give them the nod for knocking off Baltimore and clearing the way for New England to get a bye week.


Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 7-6       Next Game: @ Browns


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 15

With eight of last week’s twelve teams going head to head, the rankings were sure to get switched up this week.  And did they ever!  Not a single team stood firm, which I believe is the first time this year, and maybe the first time in Top 12 history.  (You’ll have to pardon me for not looking the data up.)  This week should be a bit calmer with only Falcons/Saints and Jets/Bears on tap. 

The big riser this week includes last week’s big faller, the Bears.  Chicago bounced back big from their awful loss to New England and share a three position rise with San Diego, who crushed the Niners last Thursday.   Technically the big faller is the Steelers, dropping four spots.  But in reality, the Giants should really hold that title as they went from #7 last week to off the board after their epic collapse against the Eagles.

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 2 1 12-2 vs. Saints
Atlanta has the league’s longest winning streak and they cruised to victory in a tough road venue this week. It’s hard to come up with a reason why they shouldn’t be #1 at 12-2.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 1 1 12-2 @ Bills
I hemmed and hawed about what to do with the Patriots this week.  Overall, I just don’t like the fact that they may have lost this game to a team with a backup QB if not for Dan Connolly’s epic kickoff return.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 5 2 10-4 @ Browns
The Ravens won’t play many teams tougher than the Saints the rest of the way.  That they got the W this past week speaks volumes about their ability to contend in the playoffs.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 3 1 10-4 @ Falcons
Can’t fault them too much for losing to one of the best teams in the league on the road.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 6 1 8-6 vs. Giants
The Pats win and drop a spot.  The Pack lost and rise one.  It just goes to show how much I respected the effort put forth by the Green Bay defense Sunday Night.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 9 3 8-6 @ Bengals
The Chargers should have never gotten themselves into this hole.  You’ll have to pardon me if I really, really hope they don’t dig themselves out of it.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 10 3 10-4 vs. Jets
Looks like Chicago CAN play in a snowy, bad-weather environment.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 4 4 10-4 vs. Panthers
I don’t think the better team won on Sunday, which is why they’re still ahead of the Jets.  Still, a home loss in a big game like that has to be concerning for the Steelers.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 11 2 10-4 @ Bears
The win was big, but Mark Sanchez needs to turn it around fast or the J-E-T-S will be D-O-N-E.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 12 2 8-6 @ Raiders
You can’t kill Peyton Manning.  The man is a real-life zombie.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 8 3 10-4 vs. Vikings
That could have been the biggest regular season win in Eagles history.  Still, I’m dropping the Eagles three after their victory.  They should have never gotten into a massive hole like that in the first place.  The Giants lost the game more than Philly won it.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 9-5 vs. Titans
Matt Cassell and the Chiefs need to win two games and they’ll have their AFC West title.  It’s two home games vs. an inferior Tennessee and Oakland.  I like their chances.
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 15

Very surprisingly, two of last week’s top four teams took a tumble in Week 15.  That means that the Patriots, who I assumed would be stuck at the #5 spot for the rest of the year will now get an opportunity to move up a bit.  That’s the good news for New England.  The bad news is that their path to the Super Bowl now likely runs through the teams that hold the #1 and #2 spots in our rankings.  The Pats certainly were able to overcome their woes on the road this past Sunday against Buffalo, but that’s a whole lot different that winning in San Diego and Indianapolis.  Onto the rankings…

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 2 1 14-0 vs. Jets
The Colts get the #1 spot in the rankings by virtue of being the only undefeated team remaining.  I’m really pulling for the Jets or Bills to end this thing once and for all.  When the Pats went 16-0, they had one close call. Indy’s had about 7 by my count.  
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 3 1 11-3 @ Titans
The best team in football right now.  However, undefeated is undefeated. I’ll give Indy their week in the sun, but don’t be surprised to see SD at the top of the pile when everything is said and done. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 4 2 13-1 vs. Buccaneers
Losing a game could be the best thing for the Saints.  Trust me, that pressure can be brutal and probably wouldn’t help New Orleans’ Super Bowl chances.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 5 1 9-5 @ Jaguars
The Patriots are looking better every week.  That trend better continue if they hope to make it past the divisional round of the playoffs.  Baby steps are the key for this young defense.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 6 1 10-4 vs. Broncos
This could certainly be a Super Bowl season for the Eagles and their potent offense.  The question is whether their D is championship-caliber.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 4 2 11-3 @ Bears
It’s been two very ugly losses in the past three games for the Vikings.  That’s not something you want to see as the playoffs approach. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 7 N/A 9-5 @ Chiefs
The Bengals held serve with the Chargers last week. They probably lack the polish for a long playoff run, but that didn’t stop Arizona last year.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 11 3 9-5 @ Redskins
That loud noise you heard last Saturday was a collective sigh of relief from the Cowboys nation when their season was saved by defeating the previously undefeated Saints.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 10 1 9-5 vs. Seahawks
The Pack lost a close contest to Pittsburgh, which kept hope alive for a Green Bay/Minnesota divisional round game.  In my book, there are nine teams with a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl this year.  The Packers are the last in the crop.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 8 2 9-5 vs. Rams
The Cardinals followed a loss to the Niners with a non-dominant effort against the Lions.  They can try to reverse the trend against the Rams this week.  All I can say is that struggling against the bottom-feeders is not a good sign for your chances in the playoffs against the league’s elite.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 12 1 8-6 @ Steelers
I’d rather see the Patriots fall to #4 and play the Colts in the second round over San Diego.  On the other hand, I’m not overly happy about playing Baltimore, who legitimately seems on track for the top Wild Card spot..
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 7-7 vs. Ravens
Pittsburgh kept its ailing season alive last week.  This Sunday, Baltimore is on tap.  Not only will one of these teams be bounced from the Top 12 by next week, but one may also be dropped from the playoff picture as well. Regular season games don’t get much bigger than this! 
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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