Race for the bottom is on. So who is the biggest early-season fraud – Carolina or Jacksonville? Both started 3-1, and Carolina went on to 6-2. Neither has won since. You can make a case for Carolina losing every remaining game (I think they will). Jacksonville is on its own 8-game skid. With some immense talent on both rosters, will Doug Marrone and Ron Rivera be looking for work in January? Joining these teams in this race are losing streaks of 5 (Jets) and 3 (Bengals, Falcons, Cards).
On the other hand… how nice must it be to be fans of teams on epic winning streaks? The Aints (10), Texans (8), Bears and Colts (5 each), haven’t lost since Noah’s flood dried up. It seems like centuries since my team was on a roll like that. Okay, it’s only been 3 years, but it seems a lot further away than that.
About those “hot seat” rankings – I think we can take Frank Reich and Vance Joseph off that list. Their teams are rolling. I think it’s safe to add Marrone in there. Bowles (Jets), Koetter (Tampa) and Lewis (Cincy) seem to be running out of time. I think Shannahan (49ers), McDermott (Buffalo) and Quinn (Atlanta) can and should play the injury card in their post-season interviews. Gruden (Oakland), Shurmur (Giants) and Patricia (Detroit) can rightfully argue it’s too soon to ditch them.
What about Cleveland? You gotta admit that so far, Gregg Williams has been a smashing success in Cleveland, along with Kitchens as OC. Their 2 remaining home games are against a crummy Cincinnati team and a reeling Carolina squad. (The road games are brutal – Houston, Denver and Baltimore featuring their new franchise QB.) So what do you do if they end up improving from 0-16 to 6-8-1, including a 4-3 finish under Williams? I’d say you at least owe him a serious interview.
Power Rankings:
1. New Orleans – The offense simply cannot be stopped. I’m going to upchuck.
2. LA Rams – So is this the “greatest show on grass”?
3. Kansas City – Anticipating the KC offense against the Houston defense – very juicy indeed!
4. Houston – See #3 above.
5. Chicago – So they bring in an offensive guru to guide the young QB, and an elite defense breaks out.
6. LA Chargers – They really are the Clippers – move to LA, start irrelevant, then get good once the owner gets out of the way.
7. New England – Now they do just enough to keep winning. KC & Houston have enough to defeat them.
8. Pittsburgh – Was starting to really believe in them until they laid that egg in Denver.
9. Minnesota – Are pretty good as long as they aren’t playing the Bears.
10.Indianapolis – The difference between the first 6 games and the last 5 is stunning.
11.Dallas – Now probably the division favorite.
12.Seattle – Russell got his next bulk shipment of Jesus Juice.
13. Baltimore – OK, Lamar Jackson CAN play in the NFL. But it might be too late for them.
14.Washington – Despite Aikman’s praise for McCoy, these guys are dead without their real QB.
15.Carolina – The threat of an 8-game losing streak is very real. NO defense.
16.Denver – Not anywhere nearly as dead as we all believed a month ago.
17.Philadelphia – Just too many inconsistencies.
18.Tennessee – Getting better. Vrabel can also play the “too early to change coaches” card.
19.Miami – they will only fall further down the rankings from this point.
20.Cincinnati – See #19 above.
21.Cleveland – The draft picks & acquisitions since January 2017 have to leave the fans giddy.
22.Green Bay – See #20 above.
23.Buffalo – Got their rookie QB back and won. Still need more offensive weapons.
24.Detroit – See #9 above.
25.Tampa Bay – Two wins over SF and plummeting Carolina are just a mirage.
26.Atlanta – Doing a decent job of hanging around.
27.NY Giants – They have gotten competitive enough to be mocked less often.
28.NY Jets – They have gotten un-competitive enough to be mocked more often.
29.Jacksonville – Yet another example that you cannot play fantasy football with a real team.
30.San Francisco – Not enough playmakers.
31.Oakland – See #30 above.
32.Arizona – See #31 above.