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Madden Ratings: Week 13 analysis, Week 14 predictions

I kind of like Rex Ryan's style. Back in the day when I first learned to play Madden against more skilled competition, I would bleed the clock with the run game, which would frustrate my opponents (especially with the default five-minute quarters). You could pretty much burn more than a quarter with a skilled drive. And I was good at making it look unintentional, too. I would scramble through the plays and make it look like I was indecisive. But really, I just wanted to make sure I used up as much clock as possible because I kind of sucked on defense.

Plus, college-aged kids get way too impatient when you do this. So every time they got the ball, they would make poor decisions like force a throw that would cause a turnover. And then, here I'd come with my so-called "snail offense" to go into halftime with a double-digit lead.

That was fun to my somewhat impaired mind. I never thought I would see it as an actual NFL strategy. But that's exactly what Ryan did on Monday night. (Expletive) nearly worked, too.

The talk this week was whether Ryan merely wanted to show up the Jets management who forced a quarterback on him. To which I say, "Duh." Of course he did. And as I suggested in Like/Dislike this week, Ryan should just have Geno throw on every play this week. That would be pretty amazing.

And it's clear Ryan probably won't be back with the Jets next season. It's obvious his players love him. That's why they played so hard for him on Monday night. When the players lose the fight and look listless on the field, that's when you can tell a coach has lost a locker room. That has not happened here. The Jets still play hard for him. In fact, if I was the Jets, I would keep Rex and find another general manager. Somebody who could stack this team with more talent.

If Rex goes, I expect him to be a head coach next season. Here are my top landing spots for him.

Oakland Raiders: This could be kind of a splashy landing spot for him, but I kind of don't see it. I have another coach pegged for Oaktown. You'll have to wait until the Six Predictions section to check that out.

Cincinnati Bengals: I could see the Bengals fed up with the lack of success in the Marvin Lewis era, but this is more of a pipe dream. I mean, a rational organization would see the need to mix things up. But this is the Bengals doing Bengals things because they are the Bengals. So this probably won't happen.

Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera seemed like he was going to be out of his gig when the Panthers stumbled early in 2013. Was last year's playoff appearance enough for him to keep his job, or did this year kind of cement his fate? Cam Newton could be mighty enticing for the next coach there.

Washington Redskins: But wait, Daniel Snyder would never fire a coach after one season. Hahahahahahahaha. Hold on, hold on. Hahahahahahahaha. Sorry. Um, this could very well happen. Ryan does have the kind of juice to get Snyder to at least think about the move, but it's still kind of doubtful.

Chicago Bears: A member of the Ryan family comes home to Chicago. If we could get a Ditka offspring to be a coordinator we could be on to something. What about a scenario where the Bears trade Jay Cutler to the Jets for Ryan? Huh?

Los Angeles Rams: Who better than Ryan to make a big proclamation on the rebirth of the Los Angeles Rams? Still wouldn't have a quarterback, though. But maybe Los Angeles can swing a deal with the Raiders for the No. 1 pick and their choice at QB.

Moving on up

Well, if you are going to throw six touchdown passes in a game, you're probably going to move up in the rankings. Ryan Fitzpatrick picked up three points to move to 82 OVR. But six touchdowns. Couldn't he have received a few more points?

Matthew Stafford also had a fine effort on Thanksgiving with a monster performance. He also received a three-point increase to 85 OVR. Is it weird to anybody else that Stafford is just three points better than Fitzpatrick?

Tre Mason crushed the Raiders with a huge performance. He got a two-point boost to a 79 OVR. I really like the way he runs. He should probably get a bigger increase, though. I mean, come on, he was awesome.

Moving on down

Tony Romo dropped two points to move down to 91 OVR. And then Thursday night in Chicago happened. So don't feel like you are going to miss those points, Tony. We were just holding those for you. And for the record, is anybody else bummed the Cowboys didn't drop the rest of their games to finish 8-8? Yes, I know it makes me a hater. Ask me if I care, though. (Spoiler Alert: I don't.) I feel the sports world is a better place when the Cowboys are mediocre, not miserable. The Raiders being miserable is awful for the league. Even their fans have given up. You want these fans to have just enough hope so they are still relevant, but bad enough for us to laugh at when they lose. So maybe the Cowboys are hitting the right note right now.

Colin Kaepernick fell two points to an 86 OVR. You might not want to hang your flat-billed cap here, Colin. This might be your high-water mark for a while. Not that it's your fault. I don't think you've received the instruction you deserve.

Geno Smith lost only one point to go down to 71 OVR. I guess that's one positive for your coach who gave you just like, what, four pass attempts on Monday night? You can't hurt your rating that way.

Great Caesar's Ghost

Coby Fleener up two to 82 OVR. Wait, what? Not only did his total improve, he received a one-point boost in CTH. Yes, his catch improved. After he did this. That's right. The guy who did this saw his catch rating increase.

Great Caesar's Ghost II

The Cowboys have gone into full Madden mode with DeMarco Murray. The running back had 41 touches on Thursday night, the first time a player had touched the rock that much since Larry Johnson in 2006. The Cowboys have certainly turned the injuries to OFF and are just going to run with this guy throughout the entire season. Good luck to the Raiders, who will break the bank to sign him next year.

Six bold predictions for Sunday


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6. Let's put this out there on Front Street: Jim Harbaugh is not going to coach the 49ers next year. One of the rumored landing spots is Oakland. But I don't think the brass in Oakland is going to be too thrilled when the 49ers struggle to put away the Raiders, who allowed 52 points last week.

5. The boys down in Duval County, Fla., win their second consecutive game. This time with a win over the Texans. Newsflash: Fitzpatrick plays like Fitzpatrick again. He has no touchdowns. Instead, J.J. Watt throws the team's lone touchdown pass. I almost feel like the Texans are just trying to find ways to showcase as many of Watt's skills as possible. I can't wait for him to return kickoffs.

4. The Steelers will beat the Bengals. Just when we want to believe in the Bengals, well, they are the Bengals doing Bengals things because they are the Bengals. So the Steelers will win this.

3. The Saints will notch win No. 6 and pretty much wrap up the NFC South.

2. The Legion of Boom is back, but Chip Kelly will devise a way to get it done. Mark Sanchez throws for two touchdowns as the Eagles win to stay a step in front of the Cowboys.

1. The Patriots spent the week in San Diego to get ready for the game. Apparently, the thought of having to take a chartered flight cross-country was way too awful, so instead they spent the week in San Diego. I'm not 100 percent positive if it will work, but at least taverns in the Gaslamp Quarter received a nice benefit because of the Gronkowski brothers. I'm going to say I expect this one to be really good, the scoring to be high, and the Patriots finding a way to pull out the win.

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

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