The Turkey Week NFL Power Rankings are in -- appropriate, following a weekend in which there were plenty of turkeys, including ...
And with that ...
@HarrisonNFL You should let Romo write the power rankings this week. He can finish it mid-play while that O-line blocks for him ??â Ali Rahimi (@TheAliRahimi) November 24, 2014
You ain't lying, Ali. Holy cow -- No. 9 in white certainly had some time to throw late in that game. And on that note, let's continue campaigning for an offensive lineman as Offensive Rookie of the Year. Zack Martin, the standout rook from Notre Dame, was one of the men responsible for all that time. Meanwhile, the Giants will have plenty of time to think about missed opportunities this offseason, starting Dec. 29.
OK, it's time to get into the updated pecking order. As always, feel free to share your take: @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Let the dissension commence!
(Note: Arrows reflect change in standings from the most recent Power Rankings.)
Message delivered. How about Tim Wright, huh? The throw-in -- or perceived throw-in -- to the Logan Mankins deal has made his presence felt, ringing up two more touchdowns Sunday. Consider him example No. 179 of a spare part suddenly taking a star turn on Bill Belichick's Patriots. Of course, that doesn't guarantee he'll get so much as a look next week. #JonasGray
It looked dicey there for a while, but you have to credit Denver for being clutch when the situation called for it. Offensively, the Broncos scored three straight fourth-quarter touchdowns, turning an 11-point deficit into an 11-point lead. Defensively, T.J. Ward made every junior high coach in America proud with his catch in a real-life tip drill. The way C.J. Anderson runs -- and Ronnie Hillman ran before getting injured -- I'm not convinced Montee Ball ever gets his job back.
Despite their sterling record, the Cardinals had to drop. If Arizona played Green Bay or Denver at the University of North Texas' field -- i.e., a neutral stadium -- I think the Cards would lose. Drew Stanton has done a solid job (we're not gonna have a knee-jerk reaction to the loss in Seattle, even if Stanton was no bueno), but he's not at a level where he doesn't need any help. The running game is averaging a robust 3.1 yards per carry -- dead last in the NFL.
Didn't you get the feeling that if Tony Romo didn't deliver, a bunch of "Tony Chokemo" tweets would come to pass, but if he did, the offensive line would get all the credit? Of course, the Dallas quarterback did receive enough time to scan the field, decide between Ginger and Mary Ann and learn how to say "single-high safety" in Spanish thanks to Rosetta Stone ... but still. Romo made pinpoint throws and avoided the happy feet that often come when a quarterback sits in the pocket for extended periods of time.
Wow. What else do you say? Soon as I started using #
in these rankings,
K.C. was doomed. Of course, that shoddy run defense in the first half didn't help matters. Kansas City finally gave up a rushing touchdown -- two, in fact. At least the wide receivers made up for it by not scoring (again).
Power Rankings side note: Heard the Eric Berry news, as did the rest of you, and it certainly struck me. You know, we wear the breast cancer awareness pins here at the NFL offices, and players wear the pink gloves, hand towels, shoes, etc. But seeing a young man with this much potential learn of something like this at midseason really affected me. Of course, it's nothing compared to what those who love Berry are feeling. But I want to convey how much I hope Berry gets healthier, and right quick.
Question answered. All the Lions fans who have been lighting up the Power Rankings comment section saw why we had them around No. 8 or 9 for so long. Detroit has now lost two straight to top teams. Once again, Matthew Stafford looked mediocre -- although it would help if the receivers made some plays and Joique Bell could average so much as 3.5 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh was off last week, but in the wake of the Week 11 win at Tennessee, we heard about a billion people (including head coach Mike Tomlin) say, "That's Steeler football." What is "that"? Apparently, it's Pittsburgh pounding the rock on the ground, with Le'Veon Bell eclipsing 200 yards against the Titans. Hold on, that's "Steeler football"? Riding the run game? This club hasn't been doing that for years. This season, Pittsburgh is 20th in run-pass ratio, employing the ground attack just 40.5 percent of the time. Last year, they were 25th. The year before that: 21st. In fact, they haven't finished in the top 10 since 2010, and even then, they weren't one of the teams that ran it 50 percent of the time.
So is it stating the obvious to say it's obvious Aldon Smith makes a real difference in the lineup? Couldn't help but notice that Jim Harbaugh gave Colin Kaepernick a huge vote of confidence postgame. Ironic, considering Harbaugh's adversary Sunday, Jay Gruden, did anything but that for his quarterback in the days leading up to the game. Gruden, unlike Harbaugh -- who has reportedly worn out his welcome with some players -- aired out his quarterback. Robert Griffin III did not respond well on the field. Niner fans aren't complaining.
An interesting note came out of the Ravens- Saints broadcast: Justin Forsett is one of three players who has had 65 yards from scrimmage in every game this season, joining DeMarco Murray and Antonio Brown. Last year, it would have taken Baltimore's starting back four games to match the 190 total yards Forsett gained Monday night. Nah, say five. Maybe six.
Give the Dolphins a lot of credit for giving the Broncos all they could handle Sunday in Denver. Ryan Tannehill showed fans what he can do when he plays with confidence and uses his legs. Taking a macro view here: If Tannehill can continue to improve, this is the only team in the AFC East that can challenge the Patriots for the next several years. Also, did you know that Tannehill was a wide receiver in college??? I've only heard it on every Dolphins broadcast for the past three years, but in case you missed it ...
Major gut-check time for the Chargers' defense after Shaun Hill improbably completed that ball to Kenny Britt. After Marcus Gilchrist made the interception at the goal line, tell me about 300,000 Chargers fans didn't freak out when it appeared for a split-second that Gilchrist was going to try to muster some kind of return. Guarantee you 299,998 of those fans all screamed the same two words: "GET DOWN!" Or maybe they said four words, with "get" and "down" still involved.
There is no overstating the importance of the Bills' win on Monday night. Wonderful for the community and huge for postseason hopes -- especially with Miami and Kansas City losing. In the post-Beckham-catch world we now live in, that Robert Woods beauty down the sideline just isn't getting the love it deserves.
Devastating loss for the Texans, who had an outstanding opportunity to gain ground on the Chiefs and Dolphins in the wild-card chase. Tell you what, though: Ryan Mallett threw some rockets on Sunday. All the reports about his arm being live were on point. Unfortunately, his accuracy wasn't. And now the season-ending pec injury means it's likely back to the "Amish Rifle."
Nice comeback win. Suddenly ... well, let's not get too carried away, but Chicago's playoff hopes do have a pulse. First, the Bears must win in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Then, if Philly falls in Dallas and Seattle loses at San Francisco that evening, the Bears will only be two games back of the Eagles and one back of the Seahawks. Bear in mind, Chicago owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over San Francisco. OK, so if I haven't lost you yet, the Bears just really need to win Thursday. Glad we got that straight.
Bless Shaun Hill's heart -- he never saw Marcus Gilchrist hovering near the goal line. If I were a Rams fan, I would have been nothing short of pissed about that call on Tavon Austin's punt return. Obviously, St. Louis got it back deep in Chargers' territory anyway, but what a huge turn of events during that sequence. There's not a fan or analyst around whom the Rams haven't surprised in the past month.
Clock specialists we're not, but any football observer knows -- or should know -- that the Falcons blew a surefire winning opportunity this past Sunday. Mike Smith needed to either a) conserve time to get closer or possibly go for a go-ahead touchdown, or b) run the play clock down so as to not leave Cleveland any time. Run 20 more seconds off, and that would have been a completely different situation. Especially when you consider how bad Browns kicker Billy Cundiff has been from 50-plus yards.
The Vikings played the Packers tough, but ultimately, 4-7 is exactly what this football team is. We are seeing signs -- signs -- from Teddy Bridgewater, but he's just not good enough yet to mitigate an average run game and mediocre defense. Nor is he good enough to lift "Signs" from the ranks of movie mediocrity.
The Giants battled their rivals, but don't you think Eli Manning would like to have that one red-zone throw back? (You know the one I'm talking about.) Meanwhile, that Odell Beckham Jr. catch rivals Antonio Freeman's "He did what?!" and this Joe Jurevicius ridiculousness among the best prime-time catches ever.
It's a sad day in the NFL when a 3-7-1 team that has dropped five in a row still has a legit shot at capturing its division. Of course, that would hinge on Carolina winning roadies against the Saints in two weeks and Atlanta in Week 17. The Panthers' other games -- at Minnesota, vs. Tampa Bay and vs. Cleveland -- are certainly winnable.
Merely a guess, but I'm thinking the Bucs would like to play that third quarter over again. Three turnovers and 21 unanswered points by the other guys kinda spoiled Lovie Smith's return to Chicago. The crazy thing is that a win there would have put Tampa Bay right back in the thick of the NFC South race at 3-8. Crazy.
Washington moves up because everyone else stinks more. On to the central topic in D.C. (other than immigration reform): Generally speaking, when a quarterback plays for a while, he begins to have pocket presence -- feels the pressure from the backside, makes the proper drop, steps into throws. Redskins fans, which of these is Robert Griffin III doing well right now? Taking a (very) informal Power Rankings poll (@HarrisonNFL).
Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! Sorry, Power Rankings faithful, but I've been looking for an excuse to move the Raiders up for some time now. How about a genuine win?! How about Latavius Murray?! And how about getting to write something positive in this space for a change?! Tell you what, Murray's runs looked like the scampers of another, more famous Murray. What nice vision -- and what a fine cut -- on that 90-yard rampage in the second quarter. That hole was almost as much of a double-trailer wide opening as the spaces DeMarco gets to run through.
Would it be possible for that offensive line and Bishop Sankey to deliver a 100-yard game on the ground? At this point, it seems we're more likely to see LenDale White come back out of retirement without the cookie belly than we are to see Sankey rush for even 80. As we detailed on NFL NOW, the Titans would be wise to give their young developmental quarterback a tinge of help. #pleaseandthankyou
Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.