Madden Ratings: Week 15 analysis, Week 16 predictions

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Best line of the day from Twitter on Thursday: Jay Cutler has won more press conferences than games this year. No, not from my Twitter feed. I wish I could be that smart. But the point is Cutler looked pretty good on Thursday morning when he had to deal with all of the fallout from being benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen. I mean, it's like Marc Trestman and the Bears coaching staff never even fired up a copy of 'Madden NFL 15'.

Or maybe they have.

The latest Madden ranking has Cutler locked in at a solid 79 OVR. A 79! He took major hits in ACC: 75 (-1); AWR: 70 (-3); THA: 79 (-2); ThrowAccuracyMid: 77 (-1); TAD: 72 (-2); PAC: 67 (-2). Wow. Cutler opened the season as an 86. So maybe the Bears know what they are doing after all. (If Madden does have a press conference rating next year, I expect Cutler to be near the top of that, too.)

So maybe it does make a little sense for the Bears to move on from Cutler. This is also a great opportunity for Trestman to heap some of the blame on to Cutler. If Clausen goes out there and "Josh McCowns" the Lions, then Trestman is once again the quarterback whisperer. Actually, that shouldn't be in dispute. Cutler even called Trestman a great "quarterback coach" during his presser. One of the all-time greatest backhanded compliments ever. It ranked up there with when one of my fantasy opponents tweeted me congratulations last year and then used #jamaalcharles like I had somehow been lucky Charles got so many points when I instead shrewdly drafted the guy back in August. (You know, some people always have to make excuses.)

Oh crap, where was I?

Oh yeah; if the Bears end with a mini two-game win streak and Clausen looks like a competent quarterback, Trestman will be in Chicago next season to guide this team. Jay Cutler? Not so much. Actually, it is probably too late for Cutler at this point any way. But he will have some value out there. Despite a low Madden rating, there will still be some teams who will be hyper to bring the quarterback in for a look. That's the deal with NFL coaches. They often rely on their initial scouting of a player. And most think they can "fix" any quarterback. Much in the same way men and women feel like they can "fix" their significant other.

So Cutler will find a new home. Tennessee will be a popular theory because Cutler played college football at Vanderbilt, which is always laughable to me. I'm not sure if many of you followed the Ken Whisenhunt and Matt Leinart saga when the two were intertwined in Arizona, but it didn't end well. I've spent limited time with Whisenhunt, but he strikes me as the kind of guy who wouldn't put up with Cutler. He's great with quarterbacks, but look at the guys he's had the most success with lately: Philip Rivers and Kurt Warner. I'm not sure Cutler fits that mold.

I could see the Titans sticking with Zach Mettenberger. Or they could go off-script with a top quarterback in the draft. I have to be very vague with the names here. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are underclassmen. If I throw their names around here in the Madden predictions, they might get the inclination that declaring for the NFL is a great idea. Then both Oregon and Florida State will be upset with me. But the draft is probably the most likely scenario for Tennessee.

So stay in school, kids!

As I look back, that was a long walk just to say Tennessee won't happen, even though he went to college and owns a house there. Seriously, is that what we base this on? What the (expletive) is that? How lazy are we as a society that this flies as analysis? How starved are we to needlessly speculate? Wait, this might be a lot of fun. Here are some possible landing spots Cutler could land this offseason.

(Editor Colin's note: Isn't it amazing we are doing this quarterback discussion and the Raiders are not being mentioned? It's a new world order.)

(Adam's note to the editor's note: Quit making better jokes than me. But here are the options.)

Cincinnati Bengals: Cutler once had chili. He felt it was all right. And Cincinnati is the home of Skyline Chili! Andy Dalton look out! Cutler is going to Cincinnati!

San Diego Chargers: Cutler's wife starred on MTV's "Laguna Beach," which is just minutes up the road from San Diego. So long, Rivers! Cutler is going to San Diego!

Carolina Panthers: Cutler is the star of a popular meme, "Smoking Jay Cutler." And the Panthers play on tobacco road! OMG, this all checks out! Cutler is going to Carolina!

There you have it folks, Cutler is going to Carolina. You heard it here first!

Just kidding. Cutler will end up back in Denver with the Broncos because they need a quarterback with a live arm.

Moving on up

I don't know if you kids play in daily fantasy leagues. You should really give it a shot; they are a lot of fun. I start my lineup every week with Odell Beckham Jr. The dude is pretty legit. He is up three points to 88 OVR. And that's with his STR being 49 (+1). This is woefully short, and you would know this if you caught any of his act at the combine.

Eli Manning is just along for the ride with an 85 OVR. Clearly OBJ has made him a much better player.

And if you are a fantasy player, you are very familiar with Josh Hill. You know, the tight end that has actually scored touchdowns for the Saints. He's up to a 74 OVR. But for those of you still in contention for a fantasy title and need Graham, good luck with all of that.

Moving on down

Colin Kaepernick has taken another hit this week. He's down two points to an 81 OVR. Shoot, if anybody wanted to take a chance on a young quarterback, this is the guy. He's not a lost cause.

Eddie Lacy is "nearly blind" but refuses to use goggles. This has to hurt his vision rating, right?

I'm not sure how Johnny Manziel did on Sunday. I spaced and totally forgot to look. But it must not have been too great because his rating took a two-point hit and is down to 75.

Yes, I'm being facetious. I did see Johnny Dumpster Fire out there. And yes, I'm trying to make that a thing. Fitting since Cleveland once set one of its rivers on fire. So maybe Johnny River Fire? We'll keep workshopping that one. Johnny Turnover is way too easy. Way too lazy. And, quite frankly, I've come to expect more from you people.

Great Caesar's Ghost

Pat McAfee is up two points to a 96 OVR! That's amazing and well deserved. Take some time to Google "young HHH" and notice how much McAfee looks like the early years King of Kings. Fine, I'll do it for you. Check it out. That's a young McAfee, right? All right, just a few more weeks to get him to Club 99. Let's keep the magic happening.

Great Caesar's Ghost II

Peyton Manning held strong at his current rating. So he's not losing any arm strength at all? All right, got it.

Six bold predictions for Sunday


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6. The San Diego Chargers will upset the 49ers. Call the 49ers Freddie Mitchell because they are going to mail this in via FedEx! Really, you guys don't remember Mitchell? That was just a decade ago, people. Read a book. But go with the Chargers in this one. I feel like the Chargers still have something to play for. I rarely check the AFC playoff picture because it seems like the only two teams eliminated played on Thursday night. And big ups to my friends down in Duval County, Fla., for looking AWESOME on Thursday night and coming away with the win. Some might knock the Jaguars for losing a draft slot, but the team already has its quarterback of the future. Not that there will be anybody available at the top of the draft. I am not insinuating anybody is going to leave college early to enter the draft. And clearly not any quarterback who has won the Heisman Trophy in the last two years.

And, for the record, last week was the best effort we were going to get from the 49ers in a long time. They tried their best in Seattle, came up short, and now the next big thing at Levi's Stadium will be WrestleMania XXXI.

5. DeMarco Murray will play for the Cowboys this week, and all of you fantasy enthusiasts will have him in your lineup. And Murray will kill it! We will all wonder what the fuss was about as Murray will now be viewed as the modern-day Emmitt Smith, who once played a game without a shoulder or something. He had an amputation at halftime. Something like that. I would go look it up (actually I don't have to), but I'm still on my heels after you guys got lost by my Freddie Mitchell reference. Have I become that old that Freddie Mitchell is an obscure player like Gaynell Tinsley? Yes, that was the dude's name.

4. The Packers win a close game against the Buccaneers. I mean a close one. Aaron Rodgers hasn't played well in his career against the Bucs. He is 1-2 against Tampa Bay as a starter with seven touchdowns, seven picks and a passer rating of 74.6. I know teams change and everything like that, so I don't want to put too much stock into it. But this will be less than a touchdown game.

It just hit me. The Broncos play on Monday night. I'm not going to be able to dazzle you with my Broncos prediction. Hit me up on Twitter on Monday, though. I won't let you down.

3. The Saints and Falcons will play a very close game that goes into overtime. This will be a very close game, and please don't walk away before it's over because it will be very fun. I still expect the Saints to prevail, though. I know, every time we believe in the Saints and things look like they are all set up for them, they find a way to pull the rug out from under us. But I still have to believe they win this game. And really, I just can't believe the Falcons are this good. Coach Mike Smith wore Tevas during Hard Knocks. *Sigh* here you go.

2. Ryan Lindley has thrown no touchdowns and seven interceptions in his NFL career. His Madden rating is 64 OVR. He's going up against the Legion of Boom. I still feel like the Cardinals can win this game. Carson Palmer threw four interceptions at Seattle last year and the Birds still won. So is it that outlandish they could win again?

Hey, what about Cutler to the Cardinals next year? I hear he's driven past a golf course before, and Arizona has a ton of golf courses. Cutler is going to Arizona!

1. The Bears shock the world and upset the Lions. This will be the Lions doing Lions things because they are the Lions. I know many of you won't know what that means, because if you don't know who Freddie Mitchell is, there is no way you know of the misery Lions fans have gone through during their history. Let's just say that Lions fans are often disappointed. They once went 0-16 in a season. I'm not making that up. Here, look for yourself. Yep, coach Rod Marinelli led the Lions to an 0-16 record. Yep, the same guy who has made the Cowboys defense awesome this year. I can't explain it, either.

But the quarterback whisperer lives to fight another day!

You can follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. Gamertag: KickedBoar591

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