Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 NFL Week 10 Power Rankings

By Brad Oremland

Week 10 Game Balls

Offense — DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans. Rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown, against one of the league's better run defenses. Threw a 10-yard touchdown pass. Caught two passes for 33 yards. Teammates Marcus Mariota and Delanie Walker had big games, too, but Murray contributed in all phases of the offense.

Defense — Darian Stewart, DB, Denver Broncos. Stewart got three of Denver's four takeaways: 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Special Teams — Johnny Hekker, P, Los Angeles Rams. In a game with only 15 points total, his 50.3 net average, 4 punts down inside the 20, and no touchbacks were critical. Hekker pinned the Jets at the 1-yard line and the 5-yard line.

Rookie — Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys. Gained a career-high 209 yards from scrimmage, and scored 3 touchdowns.

Honorable Mentions — RB Ezekiel Elliott, DB Eric Berry, ST Will Parks

Lou Cordileone

Lou Cordileone was the 12th pick in the 1960 NFL Draft. A lineman, he appeared in 75 games and played for five teams during his six-season career. His teams had a combined record of 37-51-8, and he was never an all-star, or close to it.

In 1961, 49ers coach Red Hickey was looking to unload four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Y.A. Tittle so he could play the more mobile John Brodie. Hickey traded Tittle to the Giants for Cordileone. When told that Tittle had been traded for him, Cordileone asked, "And who else?" It defied belief that the Giants had acquired Tittle by trading an unknown guard. Cordileone played only one season for the 49ers, while Tittle led the Giants to three straight NFL Championship Games, made two all-pro teams, won league MVP, and earned election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is among the most lopsided player-for-player trades in the history of the National Football League.

So if you heard Sean McDonough say on Monday night that many people consider the Giants trading Philip Rivers and the draft picks that produced all-pro linebacker Shawne Merriman and all-pro kicker Nate Kaeding, all in exchange for Eli Manning — if you heard McDonough say that many people consider trading away those three for Eli the most important trade in the history of the New York Giants franchise, just realize those people don't know the history of the New York Giants franchise.

Okay, class dismissed. Here are the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings; brackets show last week's rank.

1. New England Patriots [1] — They lost at home, and Rob Gronkowski's status for next week is unclear. I still think they're the best team in the league. They're 13½-points favorites at San Francisco in Week 11.

2. Dallas Cowboys [2] — Prior to Sunday, there were no games this season with seven lead changes. Then Cowboys/Steelers and Seahawks/Patriots both featured seven lead changes. Pretty exciting day of football.

3. Seattle Seahawks [6] — The most interesting coaching move I have seen in years: they were up 25-24, and with 4:24 remaining, they scored a touchdown. It's now 31-24. Conventional wisdom says you kick the extra point to go up by 8, so New England needs a two-point conversion to tie. Instead, Pete Carroll went for two.

The try didn't succeed, but I think that's really, really smart. If you make it, you have a two-possession lead, likely clinching the win. If you miss, the Patriots still need a touchdown and extra point to tie. The downside is that New England can tie with a kick instead of a two-point conversion, but that's not a huge difference. The upside is almost certain victory. I'd never thought about it before, but teams should always go for two in that situation.

4. Oakland Raiders [4] — They're on bye this week, ahead of next week's Monday night game in Mexico City. But I wanted to write about this last week: in the second quarter against Denver, Latavius Murray broke off a 42-yard run before going out of bounds. But he wasn't forced out of bounds, he ran out on his own, untouched. Man, you're 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and you're scared of defensive backs?

5. Denver Broncos [5] — Led 23-17 at the two-minute warning. The Saints scored a game-tying touchdown at 1:22, but Justin Simmons blocked the go-ahead extra point, and Will Parks recovered the ball and ran down the sideline for two points. Demaryius Thomas recovered the Saints' onside kick, and Denver won, 25-23. I think that's the most improbable — and thus, most exciting — end to a game this season.

6. Kansas City Chiefs [7] — They're 5-0 since the bye, but I have trouble believing in a team that ranks 26th in yards per game (333) and 28th in third down percentage (35%). On Sunday, Kansas City went 2-of-12 on third down and 0-for-3 in the red zone. (They did successfully convert a fourth down.)

7. Atlanta Falcons [3] — Julio Jones has 1,105 receiving yards. He's on pace for 1,964. That would tie Calvin Johnson's single-season record.

8. Buffalo Bills [8] — Played just as well against the Seahawks in Seattle as the Patriots did in New England.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers [10] — First team all season to score 30 points against Dallas. Their remaining schedule looks very manageable.

10. Philadelphia Eagles [12] — Combined with the Falcons for four missed kicks: three field goals and an extra point. In the middle of the game, the teams went 35:27 without a touchdown, attempting eight field goals in the meantime.

11. Washington [11] — Six players with more than 25 receptions. The leader is second-year WR/PR Jamison Crowder, who leads the team in receiving yards (535), touchdowns (5), and receptions (44, tied with Jordan Reed). Crowder also has a punt return TD.

12. Miami Dolphins [20] — Kiko Alonso scored the game-winning 60-yard touchdown on an interception return in the fourth quarter. Alonso, who also leads the Dolphins in tackles this season, was the key piece in the trade that saw Miami move down in the draft from 8th to 13th and still select starting left guard Laremy Tunsil.

13. San Diego Chargers [9] — Philip Rivers threw 4 interceptions, including a game-deciding pick-six, and ended up with a 61.4 passer rating. In standard fantasy leagues, he scored 21 fantasy points, more than the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill (2 TD, 0 INT, 130.6 rating), who tallied 19.2 fantasy points. Standard fantasy scoring is idiotic. If you're a league commissioner and your league only counts interceptions as -1, you're an idiot.

14. Carolina Panthers [13] — On NBC, Rodney Harrison complained about the interception to Eric Berry, "Why are they passing?! Run the ball!" The Panthers led 17-14 with 10:51 left. They're supposed to not throw any passes for the last 11 minutes of a tight game? Come on.

15. New York Giants [21] — Four wins in a row. No opponent all season has scored 30 points against them.

16. Detroit Lions [15] — Only NFC North team not to lose in Week 10.

17. New Orleans Saints [17] — Third straight season with a record of 4-5. For once, their offense cost them the game. The defense sacked Trevor Siemian 6 times and intercepted him twice, but the offense committed 4 turnovers. The Broncos had two scoring drives on which they didn't get a first down. One of their two TDs was a 27-yard drive set up by a fumble, and the game-winning points came on special teams.

18. Arizona Cardinals [19] — Next four opponents all have winning records, and three of those games are on the road, all in different time zones.

19. Houston Texans [22] — They're 6-3. They have a good defense and an easy schedule. But they rank dead last in passing offense. Against Jacksonville, Brock Osweiler had 27 attempts for 99 yards and a sack for -7 yards. That's 92 yards on 28 plays, an average of 3.29 net yards per pass play. The league average is about twice that.

20. Tennessee Titans [25] — Huge offensive game, but they also forced 5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Brian Orakpo has 9 sacks this season, only one off the league lead.

21. Cincinnati Bengals [14] — Andy Dalton and A.J. Green both appeared to get banged up in the fourth quarter. Assuming they're healthy, this rank is probably too low. I still think getting Tyler Eifert back in the lineup revitalizes their offense, and they're a contender in the AFC North.

22. Green Bay Packers [16] — Update from last week: when Jordy Nelson has fewer than 40 yards, they're 3-0. When Nelson has more than 40 yards, they're 1-5. Their best offensive lineman, T.J. Lang, left Sunday's game with ankle injury. His status going forward isn't clear at this writing, but it looked serious.

23. Minnesota Vikings [18] — 5-0 before the bye, 0-4 since. They're underdogs, at home, against the .500 Cardinals in Week 11.

24. Baltimore Ravens [23] — Break out the champagne, they swept the Browns! The Ravens are over .500, but I bet they finish the season 7-9. They might be underdogs in every game for the rest of the year.

25. Indianapolis Colts [24] — 30th in yards allowed (403/gm), and every opponent has scored more than 21 points.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [29] — Four takeaways and a safety. They allowed a season-low 10 points and scored a season-high 36.

27. Los Angeles Rams [26] — Third straight game scoring 10 points or less.

28. New York Jets [27] — Over the past decade or so, several QBs have earned the derogatory nickname "Captain Checkdown". It's too early to bestow any nicknames on Bryce Petty, but ... holy cow. He had a 52-yard completion to Robby Anderson in the first quarter. Other than that play, Petty's 18 completions — keep in mind we're talking about completions, not attempts — averaged 6.2 yards. His next-longest completion went for 11 yards, most of which was run after the catch. Six of the Jets' seven longest plays were runs. That's Tebow-esque. Hell, if that's all Petty can do, they might as well sign Tim Tebow and put him in there.

29. Chicago Bears [28] — Successful Hail Mary at the end of the first half. Other than that, Jay Cutler went 15-of-29 for 132 yards, no TDs, 2 interceptions, a 35.4 rating, and 4 sacks for 21 yards, including a safety.

The league suspended Alshon Jeffery (PEDs) for four games; he'll return in Week 15. Kyle Long, who was carted off the field on Sunday, will miss the rest of the season.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars [31] — Fourth straight loss. They move up a spot because they're not the Browns.

31. Cleveland Browns [30] — There have been 16 NFL games this season decided by at least 20 points. Three of the 16 losses are by Cleveland.

32. San Francisco 49ers [32] — Colin Kaepernick is obviously outplaying Blaine Gabbert, though that's a pretty low standard.

Kaepernick, in four starts, has 1,099 total yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 turnovers. He's averaging 6.1 net yards per attempt and 275 yards per game.

Gabbert, in five starts, had 1,022 total yards, 7 touchdowns, and 6 turnovers. He averaged 5.3 net yards per attempt and 204 yards per game. To be fair, Gabbert faced substantially better defenses.

The Niners have lost eight in a row.

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