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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Final

Happy New Year, everyone!  Now that all 17 weeks of the regular season have been completed, it's time for the final Top 12.   It's been a fairly crazy season with no team really dominating and lots of teams flying up and down the board.   

Overall, six of our Top 12 managed to make it onto this list after starting the season here as well – Seattle, San Fran, New England, Denver, Green Bay, and Cincinnati.   The six who are no longer with us?  Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, and Houston.  At least the first three that I just listed were potential playoff teams as of Week 17.  As for the other three…  yikes!   Just goes to show that you can never predict what will happen in the NFL. 

Eleven of our twelve will continue onto the post-season.  Philly dropped off the board as a result of Aaron Rodger's return catapulting the Packers back into the Top 12.  Arizona is the lone team on the list without a playoff dance partner.  


#1 – Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have been the best team in the league seemingly from start to finish.  That being said, they're going to face two brutal tests to make it to New York.  Don't be surprised if it's someone else representing the NFC in New Jersey.

Last Week: 1      Change: +1       Record: 13-3       Next Game: Bye Week


#2 – San Francisco 49ers

San Fran finished strong, knocking off the determined Cardinals.  If the Niners and Seahawks meet in the playoffs, it will be a battle for the ages.

Last Week: 4      Change: +2       Record: 12-4   Next Game: @ Packers


#3 – New England Patriots

The X-factor for the Patriots: LeGarrette Blount.  He has come on strong the past two weeks and could run this team to the Super Bowl. 

Last Week: 3      Change: 0       Record: 12-4      Next Game: Bye Week


#4 – Carolina Panthers

With so much on the line, a mere 1-point victory over the lowly Falcons did little to inspire confidence in this team moving forward.

Last Week: 1     Change: -3       Record: 12-4     Next Game: Bye Week


#5 – Denver Broncos

They put on a clinic against the Raiders, but whoever comes to Mile High next weekend won't already be checked out and on vacation.

Last Week: 5      Change: 0       Record: 13-3     Next Game: Bye Week


#6 – Indianapolis Colts

Nobody's picking them, but you can't count out a team with a solid QB.  The Colts have one.

Last Week: 6      Change: 0       Record: 11-5       Next Game: vs. Chiefs


#7 – Cincinnati Bengals

I don't see Andy Dalton winning two road playoff games, if they survive the charging Chargers on Sunday. 

Last Week: 7      Change: 0       Record: 11-5      Next Game: vs. Chargers


#8 – New Orleans Saints

It will be four straight road games to the Lombardi for the Saints.  At Philly will be the easiest of the four, without a doubt.  

Last Week: 9      Change: +1      Record: 11-5   Next Game: @ Eagles


#9 – Arizona Cardinals

Nothing but respect for the heart the Cardinals showed down the stretch with the odds stacked highly against them.  Almost every year there's a Top 12 team on the outside looking in.  It's unfortunate.

Last Week: 8     Change: -1     Record: 10-6  Next Game: None


#10 – Green Bay Packers

They fell off the Top 12 when Rodgers went down.  Now that he's back, so are the Pack.  I have major concerns about that defense, though.  The Niners will not be an easy first-round draw.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 8-7-1   Next Game: vs. 49ers


#11 – San Diego Chargers

The biggest compliment I can pay to San Diego, is that out of the three potential teams, they are the one that I hope ends up going to Mile High.  If I were a Broncos fan, I would have real concerns that Philip Rivers and this team could upend Denver on the road again.

Last Week: 12      Change: +1      Record: 9-7     Next Game: @ Bengals


#12 – Kansas City Chiefs

I think the Chiefs peaked a few weeks ago.  That may be an understatement when they've followed a 9-0 start with a 2-5 finish.  They're going to have a difficult time ending that long playoff-win drought.

Last Week: 10     Change: -2       Record: 11-5       Next Game: vs. Chiefs


 

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 17

For the second straight week, not a single team held its position.  That's fitting considering that any one of the twelve teams who qualify for the post season could easly end up playing in the Super Bowl.  So what do these rankings then matter?  Pretty much not a thing…


#1 – Carolina Panthers

Nobody had a bigger win this week than Carolina.  They are a win against the hapless Falcons away from claiming a bye week that nobody saw coming.

Last Week: 2      Change: +1       Record: 11-4       Next Game: @ Falcons


#2 – Seattle Seahawks

In all fairness, the Cardinals had much more to play for than the Seahawks, who will likely wrap up the division in relatively easy fashion against the Rams.  Still, that loss definitely took the "invincibility" angle away from Seattle.  Now any playoff foe will feel like they have a legit shot of knocking off the Hawks.

Last Week: 1      Change: -1       Record: 12-3   Next Game: vs. Rams


#3 – New England Patriots

That was a major statement game from New England.  Here's hoping that it set the bar for the rest of the season.  If they continue to perform like that, there's absolutely no reason that they won't be playing in New Jersey in February. 

Last Week: 5      Change: +2       Record: 11-4      Next Game: vs. Bills


#4 – San Francisco 49ers

San Fran wasn't the most impressive last week against the Falcons.  They can have a good playoff-level test this week against the desperate Cardinals.

Last Week: 3     Change: -1       Record: 11-4     Next Game: @ Cardinals


#5 – Denver Broncos

The loss of Von Miller could be extremely damaging to this team and their already-leaky defense.

Last Week: 4      Change: -1       Record: 12-3     Next Game: @ Raiders


#6 – Indianapolis Colts

Colts got a good look at their likely first-round foe.  They aced the test.

Last Week: 8      Change: +2       Record: 10-5       Next Game: vs. Jaguars


#7 – Cincinnati Bengals

I punished Cincy a bit too hardly for their dismal performance against the Steelers.  When they hang 40 like they did last week, and several times previously this season, they're a scary-looking team. 

Last Week: 12      Change: +5       Record: 10-5      Next Game: vs. Ravens


#8 – Arizona Cardinals

Gotta love the fight that the Cardinals are showing.  Their odds are slim for making the post-season.  A win on Sunday would likely put them with the 2008 Patriots as the only 11-5 teams to miss the playoffs in the current playoff format.  

Last Week: 9      Change: +1      Record: 10-5   Next Game: vs. 49ers


#9 – New Orleans Saints

New Orleans will likely need to win four road games to hoist the Lombardi.  That loss to Carolina may have been a season-killer.

Last Week: 6     Change: -3     Record: 9-5  Next Game: vs. Buccaneers


#10 – Kansas City Chiefs

Will anybody back KC in the playoffs given their awful performances against the league's elite teams?  Now watch them end up in the AFC Championship game…  You know it's gonna happen.

Last Week: 7      Change: -3       Record: 11-4    Next Game: @ Chargers


#11 – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles get the playoffs a weak early.  Can't ask for a much better setup than playing the choke-prone Cowboys without Tony Romo.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 9-6     Next Game: @ Cowboys


#12 – San Diego Chargers

San Diego has a puncher's chance at the playoffs.  I doubt they get in, but they should if there's any justice.  Between Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh, and the Bolts, I think the Chargers deserve that last spot the most.

Last Week: N/A     Change: N/A       Record: 8-7       Next Game: vs. Chiefs


 

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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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 17

This is it, the final Top 12.  After seventeen weeks of rankings, it's time to put this meaningless exercise to bed and let the players do the talking on the field.  


#1 – New England Patriots

The Patriots are healthy heading into their playoff bye week and coming off a shut-out performance.  How much more could you ask for at this point? The only team beating New England this post-season is themselves.

Last Week: 3      Change: +2     Record: 12-4       Next Game: Bye Week


#2 – Denver Broncos

I have respect for their streak as rolling off 11-straight wins in the NFL is no small task.  Still, I have a hard time envisioning this team making it 14-straight and hoisting the Lombardi.  The first good team they beat all season will be the next team they beat.

Last Week: 4   Change: +2    Record: 13-3   Next Game: Bye Week


#3 – San Francisco 49ers

After a tremendous first half against the Patriots, San Francisco hasn't played the most inspiring ten quarters to end their season.  Still, I like them to win the NFC.

Last Week: 2    Change: -1       Record: 11-4-1      Next Game: Bye Week


#4 – Atlanta Falcons

Not a fan of Atlanta tanking down the stretch, especially when they are the team that needs to be playoff-ready the most.

Last Week: 1      Change: -3     Record: 13-3     Next Game: Bye Week


#5 – Green Bay Packers

Will the Vikings upset the Packers in back-to-back weeks?  I think not.  If it isn't the Niners coming out of the NFC, then my next guess would be the Pack.

Last Week: 5     Change: 0   Record: 11-5      Next Game: vs. Vikings


#6 – Seattle Seahawks

They were a single victory away from a bye-week and a divisional round home game.  You put the Seahawks in that situation and there's a good chance they could be New Orleans bound.  Having three straight road games, however, makes it much, much less likely.

Last Week: 6      Change: 0       Record: 11-5       Next Game: @ Redskins


#7 – Indianapolis Colts

Don't look now, but the Colts may be able to rid Chuckstrong all the way to the AFC Championship game.

Last Week: 9     Change: +2       Record: 11-5      Next Game: @ Ravens


#8 – Houston Texans

This team has not looked very good for about six straight weeks.  I don't like their odds of turning things around in the playoffs.

Last Week: 7     Change: -1      Record: 12-4    Next Game: vs. Bengals


#9 – Washington Redskins

RGIII leading the Skins to the playoffs is a great story.  However, I'm not sure this team is ready to hang with the NFC Elite.

Last Week: 8     Change: -1   Record: 10-6   Next Game: vs. Seahawks


#10 – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have a hot hand and could slow down Houston's offense.  I'm just not so sure that Andy Dalton will be able to lay the wood on the Houston D.

Last Week: 11   Change: 0      Record: 10-6     Next Game: @ Texans


#11 – Baltimore Ravens

You would think that Ray Lewis should win his final home game in Baltimore, but the eyeball test the past 5-6 weeks makes me think the Colts are the better team right now.

Last Week: 12      Change: +1       Record: 10-6     Next Game: vs. Colts


#12 – Minnesota Vikings

Usually, the 12th team at this point of the season is on the outside looking in, while an inferior team sneaks into the playoffs by virtue of a weak division.  This year, however, I think the Top 12 teams all made the playoffs.  Congrats to Minnesota.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 10-6       Next Game: @ Packers


 

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 17

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 – Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta has laid down total spankings of their opponents in back to back weeks.  However, as we've been saying all season, it's their first home playoff performance that will truly matter.

Last Week: 2      Change: +1     Record: 13-2       Next Game: vs. Buccaneers


#2 – San Francisco 49ers

I won't kill the Niners for losing to the Seahawks on the road, especially after toppling the Pats on the road as well.  San Francisco is still the most complete NFC team in my book.

Last Week: 1   Change: -1      Record: 10-4-1   Next Game: vs. Cardinals


#3 – New England Patriots

The win was lackluster, but people are overlooking the fact that New England was resting a bunch of banged up starters.   I could drop them a spot since it was still a game against a 2-win Jaguars squad, but I refuse to put the Patriots below the Broncos…

Last Week: 3    Change: 0       Record: 11-4       Next Game: vs. Dolphins


#4 – Denver Broncos

..because Denver still hasn't beaten a single "elite" team and has lost to three of them.  Suddenly a win at home against the Browns has everyone touting them as the best team in the NFL?  It's moments like this that make it clear the media has lost their collective mind.

Last Week: 4      Change: 0     Record: 12-3     Next Game: vs. Chiefs


#5 – Green Bay Packers

The Pack can thank Seattle for opening up a path to a first-round bye.  After Week 3, it's the least the Seahawks could do.

Last Week: 5     Change: 0   Record: 11-4      Next Game: @ Vikings


#6 – Seattle Seahawks

Unless the hapless Cardinals pull off the upset against San Fran, the Seahawks will likely be spending the entire playoffs on the road.  Still, no playoff foe should take this team lightly.

Last Week: 7      Change: +1       Record: 10-5       Next Game: vs. Rams


#7 – Houston Texans

If Houston doesn't notch its very first franchise win at Indianpolis on Sunday, they may drop all the way from the #1 seed to the #3.

Last Week: 6     Change: -1       Record: 12-3      Next Game: @ Colts


#8 – Washington Redskins

The Cowboys are all that stands between RGIII and Washington's improbable run to a division title.

Last Week: 8     Change: 0      Record: 9-6    Next Game: vs. Cowboys


#9 – Indianapolis Colts

For three hours on Sunday, all of New England will be doing the unthinkable and rooting for the Colts.

Last Week: 9     Change: 0   Record: 10-5   Next Game: vs. Texans


#10 – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have little to play for other than pride against the Ravens.  Will they show up or rest their players for a likely trip to New England?

Last Week: 11   Change: +11      Record: 9-6     Next Game: vs. Ravens


#11 – Dallas Cowboys

Once again, it's all or nothing for Dallas in Week 17.  Will Tony Romo and his teammates be able to finally make the leap this year?

Last Week: 12      Change: +1       Record: 8-7     Next Game: @ Redskins


#12 – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens make it back onto the Top 12 list after knocking out the Giants.  Will they be able to recoup for a playoff run or will this injured team be one and done?

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 10-5       Next Game: @ Bengals


 

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 17

With Week 17 bringing us a slate of tanking teams or resting starters, there wasn’t much activity in the Top 12 this week.  Six of last week’s twelve teams held firm. 

The big riser was the Jets, who went up a whopping two slots, while the Chiefs were the big fallers, dropping two as well. 

Eleven of the twelve playoff teams were represented on the rankings this week, with 7-9 Seattle being the only ones not on the list.  The Seahawks, by the way, haven’t cracked the Top 12 all year. 

The top seeds in the AFC and NFC hold the rankings top two slots.  Interestinly enough, the #2 seeds are ranked sixth and seventh.

Interestingly enough, each of the lower seeded road teams in this weekend’s four games are ranked higher in the Top 12 than their opponents.   The tightest is the #8 Jets at the #9 Colts.  Green Bay holds a five spot advantage over Philly, Baltimore is ranked seven spots higher than Kansas City, and the Saints come in at #3 with the Seahawks not even on the board.

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 N/A 14-2 Bye Week
The Patriots had absolutely nothing to play four and still hung their second largest victory of the season on Miami.  This is a very focused football team.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 3 1 13-3 Bye Week
Will Atlanta’s dome field advantage be enough to get them to their 2nd Super Bowl?
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 2 1 11-5 @ Seahawks
The 2-3 spot was a toss-up last week.  The Saints loss to the Buccs in Week 17 made this an easy decision.  Still, this is one defending champion that won’t go down easily.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 4 N/A 11-4 @ Chiefs
There is one team in the AFC that really gives me pause as a Patriots fan.  Pats have won three of the last four against the Ravens.  All three wins were super-tight.  The loss was a horrific blow out.  It will not be any easy first game for New England if both Baltimore and Indy win in the Wild Card round.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 5 N/A 10-6 @ Eagles
The Packers had everything to gain.  Chicago had nothing to gain.  I would’ve liked to see Green Bay dominate their Week 17 match-up a little more.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 6 N/A 11-5 Bye Week
The Bears having a bye week in the playoffs may be the most surprising standings result of the seaosn.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 7 N/A 10-4 Bye Week
Pittsburgh is finishing the year strong.  I definitely won’t be surprised to see them in the AFC title game.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 10 2 11-5 @ Colts
After limping through the last quarter of the season, the Jets came on strong in Week 17.  Yeah, it was against the Bills, but a dominating game is a dominating game.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 8 1 10-6 vs. Jets
Yes, the Jags bailed them out anyway, but Indy was pretty close to losing a game that could have determined their post-season fate.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 10 N/A 10-6 vs. Packers
The Eagles are a tough team to figure out.  They have the ability to catch fire and end up in Dallas, or they could fizzle out in the Wild Card game.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 9 2 10-6 vs. Ravens
I really don’t like the way KC finished the year, getting pummelled at home by Oakland.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 10-6 Next Season
Buccs are 10-6 and at home, while the Seahawks are 7-9 and in.  I feel your pain, Tampa.  The Pats were 11-5 in ’08 and got left out in the cold while the 8-8 Chargers were in.  The solution:  Two divisions per conference with the winners getting the first round byes.
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 17

The NFL regular season is officially over!  While the only rankings that truly matter are the ones in the standings, the Top 12 returns for one final rendition.  After all, making the playoffs is important, but entering the playoffs with some real momentum can be even more vital.  We we prepare for the most exciting time of the sports year, here’s how we see the league’s Top 12 teams stacking up.  And as for the Patriots, well, let’s just say that after this past week, their final position won’t be very pretty..

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 N/A 13-3 Bye Week
My pick for the Super Bowl.  They’re the hottest team in the league, and perhaps the one with the least big weaknesses.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 5 3 11-5 vs. Eagles
My pick to lose the Super Bowl.  Nobody’s playing better in the NFC right now than Dallas.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 4 1 14-2 Bye Week
The loss of Welker has shifted the power in the AFC.  As much as it pains me to say, a San Diego/Indy AFC Championship seems nearly inevitable.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 6 2 13-3 Bye Week
Can the Saints regain their prior form and shake off the rust from three pathetic losses?  No team in the league is more dangerous, but few have to make a bigger turnaround than New Orleans.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 10 5 12-4 Bye Week
I became pretty disenchanted with the Vikings, but they did flex their muscles in Week 17.  They certainly could make the Super Bowl.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 2 4 10-6 vs. Ravens
New England is going to have to play out of their minds to overcome the loss of Welker.  The one and only upside is that the mentality of this team just changed.  No longer are they “great in their own mind”.  They can’t ever become complacent.  Every man on that roster is going to have to take their game to the next level. Perhaps that’s exactly what they needed.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 7 N/A 10-6 vs. Jets
Yes, they’re back in the playoffs, which is cause for celebration in Cincy.  But I can’t say this team has been lighting it up lately…
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 8 N/A 11-5 @ Cardinals
Can’t put much stock in the Pack’s win agsinst the tanking Cardinals.  However, this ranking is based of their strong second half of the year.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 3 6 11-5 @ Cowboys
When you can secure a bye week, and you don’t even show up, you deserve the 6th seed, and a 6 place drop in the rankings.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 9 1 10-6 vs. Packers
Arizona could be frisky.  I don’t see it happening, but nobody should sleep on them.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo N/A N/A 9-7 @ Patriots
Baltimore took care of business and did what they needed to make the playoffs.  I’ve been saying they were a good team all season.  Let’s also say that I’m less than overconfident about the Patriots chances next week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 11 1 9-7 Eliminated
The Jets had the playoffs handed to them on a silver platter.  Pittsburgh was the true #12 team this year. While certainly not as inequitable as last year’s debacle where the 11-5 Pats were out and the 8-8 Chargers were in, it’s a shame the Steelers aren’t in the post-season.
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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