St. Louis Rams: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#21)

Last week: 26 (+5)

Record: 5-6

The Rams have won their last 2 games by 21+ to put them at 5-6, but they’re not as good as their record. The way they’re winning is unsustainable. Since 1989, there have been 25 instances of a team winning by 17 or more despite losing the first down battle by 9 or more. The Rams have done that 3 times this season (and one of their other wins came against Jacksonville). Teams tend to struggle after such a game, going 6-18 ATS since 1989. I expect the 49ers to put the Rams in their place this week.

Week 12 Studs

LT Jake Long

RG Rodger Saffold

TE Jared Cook

RE Robert Quinn

DT Kendall Langford

Week 12 Duds

CB Brandon McGee

SS TJ McDonald

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#22)

Last week: 29 (+7)

Record: 3-8

It’s very clear now that the Buccaneers are better than their 0-8 start would have suggested. They have two All-Pro caliber players in Darrelle Revis and Gerald McCoy and another borderline All-Pro in Lavonte David, so, ever since Mike Glennon took over under center, they’ve been no pushover. However, I don’t feel like they’re underrated like they used to be anymore thanks to last week’s fluky win. The reason I call Tampa Bay’s win in Detroit last week fluky is because they won the turnover battle by 5. That’s really inconsistent on a week to week basis. In fact, teams who have a turnover margin of +5 in a game have an average turnover margin of +0.0 the following week. We’ll see how they do against Carolina. The Buccaneers scored 24 points despite just 10 first downs last week. Teams are 16-34 ATS since 1989 off of a game in which they scored 21+ points despite 10 or fewer first downs.

Week 12 Studs

LOLB Lavonte David

DT Gerald McCoy

Week 12 Duds

LG Jamon Meredith

RG Davin Joseph

RE William Gholston

DT Akeem Spence

CB Danny Gorrer

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New York Jets: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#23)

Last week: 16 (-7)

Record: 5-6

The Jets broke their pattern of alternating wins and losses last week, getting destroyed in Baltimore. The Jets seem to lose big and win small this season and they have the NFL 2nd worst point differential at -101, only ahead of Jacksonville. Geno Smith seems to have hit a rookie wall, completing 25 of 64 (39.1%) for 345 yards (5.39 YPA), no touchdowns, and 5 interceptions over the past 3 weeks. However, they’re still right in the playoffs mix and can position themselves even better this week with a win over Miami if their dominant defensive line can completely overpower Miami’s. I think there are better teams in the AFC wild card mix though.

Week 12 Studs

LE Sheldon Richardson

RE Muhammad Wilkerson

DT Damon Harrison

Week 12 Duds

QB Geno Smith

FB Tommy Bohanon

LG Brian Winters

MLB Demario Davis

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Miami Dolphins: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#24)

Last week: 22 (-2)

Record: 5-6

Of all of the 5-6 teams in the AFC, I think the Dolphins are the worst and the least likely to make it to the playoffs. They are moving the chains at a 70% rate, thanks to large part to a dysfunctional (in more ways than one) offensive line. Defensively, they are allowing opponents to move the chains at a 76% rate, as their retooled defense has not lived up to expectations. That’s a differential that is 30th in the NFL. They could definitely lose in New York to the Jets this week, especially if the Jets Pro-Bowl defensive line (Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison should all get Pro-Bowl consideration) completely overwhelms the Dolphins’ weak offense.

Week 12 Studs

LT Bryant McKinnie

Week 12 Duds

MLB Dannell Ellerbe

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New York Giants: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#25)

Last week: 24 (-1)

Record: 4-7

Over the Giants’ 4 game winning streak, they beat 4 quarterbacks who currently no longer have starting jobs (Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, Terrelle Pryor, Scott Tolzien). Once they dealt with a real quarterback in Tony Romo, they had a bit of a tougher challenge. Now at 4-7, 2.5 games back of Dallas, who holds the tiebreaker, the Giants are effectively dead, even in the easiest division in football. They have a lot of building around Eli Manning to do this off-season.

Week 12 Studs

C Kevin Boothe

CB Terrell Thomas

Week 12 Duds

RE Mathias Kiwanuka

MLB Jon Beason

CB Prince Amukamara

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Houston Texans: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#26)

Last week: 28 (-2)

Record: 2-9

The Texans somehow dropped back-to-back home games to the Raiders and Jaguars, but I’d still argue they are better than their record. They’ve just been killed by turnovers (-12) and return touchdowns (-6 touchdowns) and by a 2-6 record in games decided by a touchdown or less. However, it would be beneficial for them to lose out and get the #1 pick. They have a lot of talent around the quarterback position. If they could get someone like Teddy Bridgewater, they’d be back in the hunt very quickly. They’re in a much better position than any team with 2 or 3 wins, save for maybe Atlanta and that’s a maybe.

Week 12 Studs

LT Duane Brown

RG Brandon Brooks

C Chris Myers

ROLB Whitney Mercilus

SS DJ Swearinger

Week 12 Duds

MLB Joe Mays

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Cleveland Browns: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#27)

Last week: 23 (-4)

Record: 4-7

At one point, the Browns were 4-1 when Brandon Weeden didn’t start. Now they are 1-7 when Brian Hoyer doesn’t start and look who is going to start the Browns’ next game for them. It’s Brandon Weeden, with Jason Campbell nursing a concussion. The Browns should beat the Jaguars, but you can’t take any win for granted with Weeden under center. Weeden has been a special kind of terrible this season, completing 51.5% of his passes for 6.00 YPA, 6 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. If the Browns don’t win this week, I don’t know when else they’d win down the stretch as their remaining 4 opponents after Jacksonville are a combined 24-19 and 3 of those 4 games are on the road. Of course, it’s probably beneficial for the Browns to lose out to give themselves the best chance at a real quarterback. The one positive of this season was the Trent Richardson trade. Now if a non-quarterback needy team like Atlanta ends up picking #1, the Browns would have the assets necessary to move up.

Week 12 Studs

WR Josh Gordon

LT Joe Thomas

Week 12 Duds

QB Brandon Weeden

WR Greg Little

TE Jordan Cameron

MLB Tank Carder

FS Tashaun Gipson

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Washington Redskins: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#28)

Last week: 25 (-3)

Record: 3-8

Any talk of the Redskins benching RG3 is just absurd media sensationalism. This is what the media does. They build players up to undeservedly high levels and then destroy them when they fail to meet those expectations. RG3 isn’t even having that bad of a season, completing 59.8% of his passes for an average of 7.12 YPA, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, to go with 372 rushing yards on 70 carries. The Redskins’ offense is moving the chains at a 75% rate. The defense is a much bigger problem. For a 2nd year quarterback 10-11 months removed from an ACL tear, that’s not bad. Even Tom Brady wasn’t the same the year after his ACL tear and he had 4 extra months to recover, less dependency on athleticism, and no prior knee injury history. This is just something Griffin will have to play through. He’ll have his legs back under him by next year. Shutting him down will just delay his recovery. The Redskins still made the right choice trading for him and need to continue making the right choice by letting him play and keeping Mike Shanahan.

Week 12 Studs

None

Week 12 Duds

CB Josh Wilson

TE Logan Paulsen

QB Robert Griffin

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Oakland Raiders: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#29)

Last week: 27 (-2)

Record: 4-8

Matt McGloin has been decent through 3 games, completing 62 of 109 for 799 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, stealing the starting job away from a struggling Terrelle Pryor. However, Raiders fans anointing him a starting caliber quarterback need to remember that they did the same thing with Terrelle Pryor a few weeks ago. I’ll need a few more weeks to be sold on McGloin, especially since he’s 7 months removed from no one drafting him. The Raiders may once again find themselves in need of a quarterback this off-season.

Week 12 Studs

RE LaMarr Houston

DT Pat Sims

DT Vance Walker

MLB Nick Roach

Week 12 Duds

LG Lucas Nix

CB Tracy Porter

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Atlanta Falcons: 2013 Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#30)

Last week: 30 (+0)

Record: 2-9

Coming into this week, 24 of the NFL’s 32 teams were either in a playoff spot or within 1 game of a playoff spot. Of the 8 who weren’t, 4 of them made the playoffs last year, including this Falcon team. The Falcons, Texans, Vikings, and Redskins combined to go 45-19 last season, but now sit at a combined 9-32-1. Meanwhile, the Chiefs, Lions, Cardinals, and Eagles combined to go 15-49 last year, but now sit at a combined 29-16. Add in the previously 7-9 Saints and Panthers who will probably make the playoffs and you have the definition of a parity league.

Week 12 Studs

None

Week 12 Duds

RT Jeremy Trueblood

LOLB Sean Weatherspoon

FS Thomas DeCoud

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