It was Statement Sunday in Week 15 and a couple of teams in need of said statement did something they probably shouldn't have done.
This was not the time of year to mistakenly win a game, guys. You lose focus in the NFL just for one week, and an inexplicable win could, in fact, derail your hopes to be No. 1. (Looking at you Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders.)
Instead, we will celebrate those teams who were willing to go that extra yard.
Undaunted, we will continue our look at those teams competing to have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, no matter who the top dog is. And until we have a better name, we will continue to refer to this space as the Fans for Barkley.
And without further ado ...
When the story of the 2012 Jets team is told, it is going to be a tale of missed opportunities. Wins at the wrong time, and an incredible performance in Week 15 which was too little, too late. A mini-skid with wins against the Cardinals and Jaguars -- two highly losable games -- doomed the Jets in the end. Now the team might part ways with Mark Sanchez in the offseason, which will completely cripple their chances to make a run for No. 1 in 2013.
When A.J. Smith looks back over his tenure with the Chargers at the end of the season, he should be proud of the great running backs he unearthed -- for other teams. Darren Sproles, Michael Turner, Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert all scored on Sunday, in cities other than San Diego. Well, except for Tolbert who score in San Diego (twice) for the Panthers. Smith's prized guy, on the other hand, left the game with a busted shoulder.
It's easy to overlook the effort the Eagles put in on Thursday night, but it was one of their better performances of the season. The Eagles had a shaky second quarter, where they scored 13 points to take the lead. But nobody makes better second-half maladjustments than Andy Reid, who again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Nick Foles has thankfully shaken off his one good start to perform at a level befitting a team in the Eagles' position.
The Lions have a very basic defensive philosophy which has served them well throughout the years: Find out what your opponent is good at and do nothing to stop it. If you need no further evidence, check out the way the Lions defensed the Saints in last year's playoffs. But this week, the Lions went up against the least successful quarterback of the year and totally neutralized him as they allowed Beanie Wells to have the game of his career. Yes, Beanie Wells. Well played, Detroit.
There are some who feel the Jags might really use the race for No. 1 as a means to leave town. I just don't see it. Jacksonville can be a good market. No, the Jags seem intent to make their race for No. 1 be the catalyst to get Tim Tebow for next season.
The Chiefs once again own the top spot because they did the little things they needed to do to lose to the Raiders. Now, it would have been easy for the Chiefs to put up any sort of offensive effort to beat the Raiders. But Jamaal Charles put in a herculean effort with just 10 rushing yards on nine attempts. That's not easy to do against the defense like the Raiders. How bad was this game? Even the birds couldn't be bothered.
Got a comment or a question? Don't waste your brilliant, biting flame in the comment section, hit Rank up via Twitter or via Facebook. Also be sure to catch the latest on the "Dave Dameshek Football Program".