When Kevin and I started rambling about ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings, we had a very specific idea for what we wanted to do. The problem is I’m not sure that I ever made what we were doing all that clear and lately there’s been some confusion. Allow me to take a moment to illuminate everyone who isn’t quite sure what the purpose of our rankings are.
The rankings that we crank out every week are identical in order to the nonsensical ones that ESPN spews out every week. This is partly because creating power rankings from scratch is a painstakingly lengthy process and Kevin gave me the death glare when I suggested that we come up with our own. However, the main reason we do it that way is because ESPN’s rankings are… well, they are just awful. You will seldom come across something as overly biased and ill-conceived as ESPN’s opinion on who the best teams in the league are. And it’s a lot of fun to call them out on this, so the point of our rankings is to rip on ESPN’s version as much as possible.
Or at least that’s how it started. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it’s been a fairly abysmal year for the NFL. Bad officiating, bad games and most importantly, bad teams. There are three squads in each conference who have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl, and after that it’s a whole bunch of meh. So while making fun of the Worldwide Leader in Sports and its rampant stupidity is always a good time, we can scarcely allow the league’s overall mediocrity to skid by unscathed.
Just in case you want to verify that we didn’t alter one spot on ESPN’s gleeful rundown of the teams it loves and hates, you can check out their rankings here…
…and then ours will seem even more entertaining to you. It’s Thanksgiving after all and if we can make you laugh or even force a slight grin, that’s a win for us. Enjoy.
- Dallas Cowboys, 9-1 (Last ranked 1) Kevin – I might be the only person not on the Cowboys hype train that ESPN is currently conducting. Look 9-1 is impressive but there’s a reason I call them the Dallas Cupcakes this season. Look at who they’ve played on their Cupcake schedule. Their most impressive win is…against the Steelers? Maybe? Or the week 2 against Washington? I think the train derails quickly in the playoffs.
- Seattle Seahawks, 7-2-1 (LR: 2) Jesse – Well now I have a feeling that Dallas is going to stumble a couple of times before the end of the year and Seattle is going to wind up with home field advantage in the NFC. This will result in someone getting screwed by the refs at CenturyLink Field in the NFC Championship Game, per orders from Emperor Goodell. I swear, the NFL makes me feel like I’m watching wrestling sometimes.
- New England Patriots, 8-2 (LR: 3) Kevin – Leave it to ESPN to tie in another Brady vs Manning comparison even after Manning has retired.
- Oakland Raiders, 8-2 (LR: 6) Jesse – You know how you can tell that
Vince McMahonRoger Goodell loves the Raiders? Look no further than some of the calls that the refs made during the game on Monday Night Football and TELL ME that the fix wasn’t in. (Incidentally, I’ll be seeing my cousin’s boyfriend today and he’s a big Raiders fan. Hopefully he’s not reading this. Talk about awkward…)
- Denver Broncos, 7-3 (LR: 4) Kevin – ESPN points out that the Broncos’ offense has been underwhelming this season. But then points out it’s better than last season’s underwhelming offense. Which means the Broncos’ offense has improved. Leave it to ESPN to twist that into a negative thing.
- New York Giants, 7-3 (LR: 16) Jesse – “Have the Giants ever fallen this far under the radar?” Oh probably not. Except, you know, those two times they fell under the radar, snuck into the playoffs and dashed the Patriots championship dreams. I guess there was that time, ESPN.
- Kansas City Chiefs, 7-3 (LR: 5) Kevin – “Alex Smith has as many touchdown passes as Case Keenum this season” Wait what? Case Keenum? Like the former QB of the
St LouisLos Angeles Rams? The same team that has won two games without scoring a TD? Does that mean Alex Smith has 0 TDs? Because that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
- Atlanta Falcons, 6-4 (LR: 7) Jesse – I guess since ESPN and the Cardinals isn’t working out, the Falcons are the next suitor up. I get it. Atlanta is close to Arizona in the alphabet, they both have birds as mascots and quarterbacks who are supposedly franchise players but have never really achieved anything noteworthy in their careers. That’s an easy transition!
- Washington Redskins, 6-3-1 (LR: 11) Kevin – My least favorite thing that ESPN does in these rankings is stats like this, “The Redskins are 6-1-1 since losing their first two games of the season.” What’s the point? Just cherry pick a random starting time and tell us their record to make it sound impressive. You might as well say, “The Redskins are 2-0 since tying with Cincinnati in Week 8”.
- Detroit Lions, 6-4 (LR: 12) Jesse – Whoa ESPN, I get that it’s a holiday but you want the Falcons AND the Lions? Don’t be greedy. In all fairness though, can you make a compelling argument for any of the other 22 teams being better than the Lions? I can’t, so we’re moving on.
- Miami Dolphins, 6-4 (LR: 17) Kevin – Okay ESPN, you’re drunk. You managed to refer to Peyton Manning AND Tim Tebow in the same column when neither are an active player in the NFL. I’m bewildered and impressed at the same time.
- Minnesota Vikings, 6-4 (LR: 15) Jesse – “The Vikings have played three games this season in which the defense and special teams scored as many (or more) touchdowns as the offense. That’s great for the defense and special teams but not a ringing endorsement for the offense.” I think Sam Bradford has enough money, ESPN. He doesn’t need endorsements too.
- Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-5 (LR: 9) Kevin – Fun fact, Ben Roethlisberger has more career wins against the Browns (20) than the Browns have had total wins in the past 5 seasons (19). See ESPN? I can cherry pick times to show meaningless stats too!!
- Baltimore Ravens, 5-5 (LR: 13) Jesse – “The Bengals are only 3-6-1 but should provide a tougher test this week.” See, you think that would be the case but there’s a reason they call them the Bungles. What’s that? Oh right, I’m supposed to be talking about Baltimore. They’re 5-5 dude. This seems pretty justified to me. What the hell is going on?
- Philadelphia Eagles, 5-5 (LR: 8) Kevin – “Less than 11 months ago, QB Carson Wentz was battling Jacksonville State.” I know what you’re thinking, Kevin’s about to take a cheap jab at the Jaguars like he does every week. And you’re right! What do the Jacksonville State players have in common with the Jacksonville Jaguars players? Both hope to play for an NFL team someday.
- Houston Texans, 6-4 (LR: 14) Jesse – Yeah Brent, I admitted that your team got screwed. That still doesn’t change the fact that you are 0-2 against the Raiders. Reason no. 36 that I’m glad that the Broncos didn’t pay you all that money.
- Buffalo Bills, 5-5 (LR: 21) Kevin – The Bills are .500 and in the middle of the rankings. This actually makes sense. Good job ESPN.
- Indianapolis Colts, 5-5 (LR: 27) Jesse – Seriously, three 5-5 teams are smack dab in the middle of the rankings. ESPN is less stupid than usual this week. I’m sure it won’t last.
- Tennessee Titans, 5-6 (LR: 19) Kevin – “The Titans have lost when they were 0-0, 1-1, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 this season, seemingly unable to get over the .500 hump”. Wow apparently Jeff Fisher still has influence over this team.
- Carolina Panthers, 4-6 (LR: 24) Jesse – “NFL FPI gives the Panthers only a 5.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, but stranger things have happened.” Like when the Broncos were supposed to get crushed in the Super Bowl but instead knocked Cam and his boys down a few pegs? I’m sorry Panthers fans. Actually, I’m not. That was freaking great!
- Arizona Cardinals, 4-5-1 (LR: 16) Kevin – It’s been a running joke in our column that ESPN is obsessed with trying to make the Cardinals (and the Bengals for that matter) happen. They were forcing them down our throats more than Gretchen was forcing ‘fetch’. But it seems they have finally listened to reason! Let’s see how long this lasts.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-5 (LR: 25) Jesse – What’s this? We almost have two Florida teams in the teens?! This has been a really strange year.
- New Orleans Saints, 4-6 (LR: 20) Kevin – ESPN points out that turnovers have been as disruptive to New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina. No really they said that! No, don’t go check, just trust me on this one, they totally said it.
- Green Bay Packers, 4-6 (LR: 22) Jesse – I bet Aaron Rodgers wishes that he was playing today so that he’d have a legit excuse for not showing up to family dinner today. Seriously man, I get that Olivia Munn is hot but you could get any girl. Why stick with one who divides your family? Sorry, I know that I’m supposed to try and be witty, but that has always struck me as odd.
- San Diego Chargers, 4-6 (LR: 23) Kevin – The Chargers play Houston this week which means they are taking a visit to see Brock Osweiler. Does anyone remember what happened the last time the Chargers faced Osweiler? Because I certainly do.
- Cincinnati Bengals, 3-6-1 (LR: 18) Jesse – This has to be the end for Marvin Lewis, right? Did you know that he’s the longest tenured coach in the league next to Bill Belichick? Because that fact absolutely floors me every time I think of it.
- Los Angeles Rams, 4-6 (LR: 26) Kevin – I feel like it’s only a matter of time before ESPN starts referring to the Rams as THE Los Angeles Rams à la Ohio State. It just seems like a fitting way the Rams move to be shoved down our throats even more.
- New York Jets, 3-7 (LR: 28) Jesse – Bryce Petty or Ryan Fitzpatrick? Jesus, are those still the only two options? There’s gonna be a lot of drunk people in New York today.
- Chicago Bears, 2-8 (LR: 29) Kevin – Good news Bears fans! You might never have to see Jay Cutler take a snap as a Bear again! Bad news Bears fans! You still have 6 games left in this miserable season.
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-8 (LR: 30) Jesse – Bad news Jaguars fans. Gus Bradley is still your coach. The good news? What good news?
- San Francisco 49ers, 1-9 (LR: 31) Kevin – Guys, hold on to your horses for this one. Let me clear my throat, ahem, San Francisco 49ers? More like San Francisco one and niners am I right? Thank you, it’s my best work yet.
- Cleveland Browns, 0-11 (LR: 32) Jesse – I’m thankful for the Browns today, if only because they are so terrible that it makes me realize just how good we have it as Broncos fans. Never change, Browns. I need that perspective.