2017 NFL power rankings week 12

2017 NFL power rankings week 12

There are only six weeks remaining in the regular season and teams are beginning to take their place in the standings. Only one team has officially been eliminated, and you guessed it, the Browns are that team. There are a ton of questions still left to answer but here are how the teams rank currently.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-10)

Last ranking: 32 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Cincinnati

The Browns are heading toward a 0-16 season which has only been done once before by the Detroit Lions. Looking at their schedule, there are two games in which they have a shot at winning. December 17th versus Baltimore and on Christmas Eve at Chicago. Now just because they are winnable doesn’t mean the Browns will pull off the win, everything about the Browns this season is totally embarrassing. No matter what happens the rest of the season it is hard to envision a scenario where they ever move out of this spot.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

Last ranking: 31 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

Since the rankings were done the 49ers have won a game but they didn’t move up because the Giants won another game as well. The 49ers are in prime position for a top three pick but if they start Jimmy Garoppolo they have a better shot to win more games. Because he could win them some games, it makes sense that they haven’t started him yet.

San Francisco is looking toward the future and adding another top three pick to this roster could give them the talent to be competitive for the next 10 years with the other moves they have made. This season though they are stuck in this spot in the rankings.

30. New York Giants (2-8)

2017 NFL power rankings week 12

(Photo Credit: BILL KOSTROUN/AP)

Last ranking: 30 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Washington

In a big surprise, the New York Giants upset the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime. It was only the second win of the season for the Giants. The win doesn’t do much for the Giants other than pushing them from the second overall pick to the third. It could have been the win that forces the Giants to keep Ben McAdoo which would be disastrous for the future of New York.

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

Last ranking: 29 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

The last time we saw the Colts play they blew a chance to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their next game is a divisional contest against the Tennessee Titans. The game will likely be close because divisional games are always more difficult. Jacoby Brissett is doing a solid job since being traded but he is struggling to put points up as the Colts are only averaging 17.9 points per game. Indianapolis will remain competitive but they too are preparing for the NFL draft.

28. Denver Broncos (3-7)

Last ranking: 28 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

At one point the Denver Broncos were 3-1 and looked like a formidable team. Since then the Broncos have lost six straight games and have fallen into the top five of the draft. The quarterback situation is a mess and can be considered the worst in the NFL. The defense is no longer fearsome and elite. Everything is crumbling in Denver and it may be time for a complete rebuild.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-6)

Last ranking: 27 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New England

Similar to the Broncos, the Dolphins were once in a great position in the standings. Miami was sitting at 4-2 but has lost four straight games. The Jay Cutler experiment has been a total failure as he has only thrown for 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also been in and out of the lineup because of injury. Miami has also traded away their starting running back. The season is going to continue to nosedive and the season is all but over.

26. New York Jets (4-6)

Last ranking: 19 (-7)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

The New York Jets are stuck completely in the middle of mediocrity. They win just enough games to not get a top three pick and lose enough games to not make the playoffs. This week they get the Carolina Panthers who are one of the top teams in the NFL. They will have trouble scoring as they average just 20.1 points per game and the Panthers are giving up 18 points per game. The Jets will likely lose this game to remain mediocre.

25. Chicago Bears (3-7)

Last ranking: 24 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

Chicago was a missed field goal away from playing in overtime against the Lions. It led to a kicking change that might make a difference throughout the rest of the season. At worst the Bears are competitive but still a few pieces away from becoming a legitimate contender. This season they are playing for the development of their players and pride. Chicago will end up with a top 10 pick to continue their rebuild.

24. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

Last ranking: 25 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

Despite the major injuries, and using their third quarterback of the season, the Cardinals are still fighting. Arizona is sitting at 4-6 and still have a slim possibility of making the playoffs. Blaine Gabbert got his first start in the last game throwing for 257 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He will be starting this week against the Jaguars in what will be his chance at revenge. It will likely hurt the Cardinals and possibly push them lower in the rankings.

23. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

Last ranking: 20 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

The Packers are hanging around at 5-5 but a shutout loss at home to the Ravens doesn’t look promising. Aaron Rodgers is truly the only reason the Packers have been good in recent years and without him, the entire offense is lost.

The Packers’ brass needs to really think about finding a new general manager and coach that can build the rest of this team so that losing Rodgers doesn’t mean they get shutout. The season doesn’t get any easier this week with Pittsburgh on the schedule next.

22. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Last ranking: 26 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Houston

Baltimore is fresh off a 23-0 win in Lambeau and now have positioned themselves for a run at a wildcard spot. The Ravens continue to do it with defense. Baltimore ranks third in points allowed per game with 17.1. They also rank second in pass defense allowing 185.2 yards per game. If they are able to put up 20 points in the rest of their games they should have a great shot at one of the two wildcard spots.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

Last ranking: 22 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Cleveland

Just like Baltimore, Cincinnati is still fighting for a berth in one of the wildcard spots. The Bengals are fresh off a 20-17 win against Denver. Their remaining schedule has three divisional games and three games against the NFC North, the Packers not one of them. The schedule will be tough but winning five of these six games will give them a chance. Will the Bengals step up to the plate or miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season? My money is on the latter.

20. Houston Texans (4-6)

Last ranking: 21 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Baltimore

Poor Houston is just dealing with countless injuries or they would be one of the best teams in the AFC. Somehow they still managed to win last week against the Cardinals. Houston is still mathematically in the playoff race. The problem though is their remaining schedule is littered with tough tests including road games at Jacksonville, Baltimore and Tennesse. They also have to play the Steelers in Houston.

Houston will finish somewhere between five and seven wins which will leave them out of the playoffs. The good news is they will have a draft pick within the top 15 and therefore add talent to a team that is loaded with tons of talent already. The only thing that can stop the Texans in the future is bad health.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)

Last ranking: 23 (+4)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

The Bucs have won two straight games with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center but the opponents have been the Jets and the Dolphins. This won’t keep up over the final six games with four divisional games still remaining. Tampa Bay has underperformed all season and it is unclear in which direction they are heading. They don’t have an identity. Dirk Koetter needs to use the rest of the season to form an identity to take into next year that way the Bucs can become a playoff team.

18. Buffalo Bills (5-5)

2017 NFL power rankings week 12

(Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Last ranking: 15 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Kansas City

A few weeks ago the Bills looked like one of the top 10 teams in the NFL. The butt whooping they just received from the Chargers, and their other recent losses show otherwise. In a head-scratching move, the Bills decided to start rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman from Pittsburgh. That didn’t turn out all too well as he threw five interceptions in the first half, more than Tyrod Taylor had on the entire season. Taylor finished the game but it was out of reach. This week they head to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs in a game that both teams desperately need.

17. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

Last ranking: 17 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Denver

It is somewhat puzzling to see how bad the Raiders are this year after such a successful 2016 campaign. The offense went from averaging 25.3 points per game down to 20.4 points per game this season. Derek Carr needs to step it up if the Raiders are to turn this season into a successful one. The defense also needs to pick it up, they are the only team without an interception yet this season. Oakland should have no trouble this week with Denver to pick up some confidence and momentum.

16. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

Last ranking: 18 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Dallas

Do not sleep on the Chargers in the AFC playoff picture. This team is a few close losses from having a much better record and the defense is beginning to play at a high level. Los Angeles is giving up less than 20 points per game this year and has the fourth most interceptions on the season. As long as Philip Rivers protects the ball and they continue to feed Melvin Gordon then the Chargers will win most of their remaining games.

15. Washington Redskins (4-6)

Last ranking: 12 (-3)

Next game: home vs. New York Giants

Washington was in two close games against in the past two weeks against the Vikings and Saints, both of which resulted in a loss for the Redskins. Washington is a tough out for whoever they play but they won’t make the playoffs. The defense needs to be loaded with more talent to help an offense that ranks 12th in scoring and ninth in yards. If they can commit to Kirk Cousins and improve the defense then the Redskins can be dangerous next season. Right now though they must focus on playing spoiler.

14. Detroit Lions (6-4)

Last ranking: 14 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

Detroit has a massive test this week with the Vikings coming into town on Thanksgiving but the Lions already beat the Vikes in Minnesota, 14-7. This game will likely be different because the Vikings have a lot of momentum and confidence due to a six-game win streak. Detroit needs to win this week to keep the division title within reach. The Lion’s defense will be key like it was in the first matchup with Minnesota.

13. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Last ranking: 13 (no change)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

It is quite admirable how well the Seahawks performed despite losing two members of the Legion of Boom. If Blair Walsh could have put a little more power into his attempted game-tying field goal then the Seahawks might have gotten a win against the Falcons. With the injuries, the Seahawks are going through and their subpar offensive line, it will be a tough go for the Seahawks the rest of this season. Looking at their schedule though they should win around three more games putting them somewhere around 9-7. The Seahawks will not make the playoffs season.

12. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Last ranking: 8 (-4)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Dallas is another team that shouldn’t be slept on in the playoff picture. Right now they are missing Ezekiel Elliot but if Sean Lee can get healthy then the defense becomes formidable. If the Cowboys can start playing solid defense they will make the playoffs. They can still run the ball effectively no matter who their back is. Once the offensive line becomes healthy again then Dak will feel more comfortable and play better. The Chargers will be a huge test and this is a must-win game.

11. Tennessee Titans (6-4)

Last ranking: 11 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

Not many people are talking about the Titans but they still have a shot to be a dangerous team. Marcus Mariota hasn’t fully hit his stride yet this season but the Titans have found a way to win six games stills. They run the ball well averaging 117.5 yards per game. Tennessee needs to unleash Mariota and let him sling the ball around. The Titan’s should get back in the win column this week against the Colts and would keep them in control of their destiny.

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

Last ranking: 16 (+5)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Currently, Atlanta sits in the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs with the Lions, Seahawks, Packers and Cowboys right on their tail. Getting to the playoffs is going to be extremely difficult with their remaining schedule. They still must face the Panthers, Vikings and both the Buccaneers and Saints twice. All six games will be battles and the Falcons will likely lose half of these games putting them somewhere around 9-7. It may or may not be enough to sneak into the playoffs.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

Last ranking: 6 (-4)

Next game: home vs. Buffalo

No team has cooled off quite like the Chiefs have. At one point they looked like the most dominant team in the NFL. They are the only team this season to hand the Eagles a loss who most view as the best team in the NFL. Kansas City has floundered offensively and that is why they are losing games. Over their last three games, they are scoring just 18.3 points per game, eight points less than their season average. If the offense can get rolling again then the Chiefs will become dangerous again.

8. Carolina Panthers (7-3)

Last ranking: 10 (+2)

Next game: away vs. New York Jets

The media loves to talk about the bad things that Cam Newton does but the fact of the matter is he has led the Panthers to a roughly quiet 7-3 start. A bad loss to the Bears is the difference in this team from being the second seed as opposed to their current fifth seed ranking. Carolina will continue to play stifling defense and Cam will lead the offense. The Panthers should easily get to 8-3 this week with a road game against the mediocre Jets.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)

Last ranking: 9 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Jacksonville is the most dangerous team to the Patriots throne. Yes, you read that right. They have the defense that can actually cause problems in the postseason for the great Tom Brady. Playoff football becomes about who can punch who in the mouth defensively and who can run the ball. Well, the Jaguars can do both. Offensively the Jaguars average 160.6 yards per game, the best mark in the NFL. Defensively, Jacksonville is first in scoring defense, total defense and passing defense. Come January nobody is going to want to face the Jags and their elite defense.

6. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

Last ranking: 4 (-2)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

There is no shame in losing to the Vikings on the road but the shame does come from being the number one offense in the league and being held scoreless for the final 55 minutes of the game. Minnesota bullied the Rams and that is why the Rams fell two spots in the rankings. The road remains diffcult with the Saints coming into town. A loss here would put the Rams even lower in the rankings and out of contention for a first-round bye.

5. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

Last ranking: 7 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

With an eight-game win streak, many believe the Saints are the only threat to the Eagles in the NFC. They are ranked fifth though because they did lose to the Minnesota Vikings in week one. Many want to discredit that because of how early it was in the season and that the game would be much different if they played now. That may be the case but that fact is they still lost to the Vikings.

Even so, the Saints have the makings of a Super Bowl contender. A win against the Rams could vault them higher into the rankings even if the top four teams end up winning this week. The Saints are marching right now, but what happens when adversity strikes? We will have to wait and see.

4. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Last ranking: 5 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Detroit

Minnesota fans, the Vikings aren’t getting much love right now but don’ let that worry you. These Vikings are great and are a team nobody will want to play in the playoffs. Minnesota’s defense isn’t ranked first in scoring defense but alot of points against them have come in garbage time.

Case Keenum is also being overlooked and he is the most improved player in the NFL this season. If you look at his stats last year, in Los Angeles, they were atrocious. The Vikings have a big game this week in Detroit. They will be looking for revenge from an earlier loss, but more importantly, they are looking to strangle their hold on the divisional lead they own. Getting to 9-2 will be a huge checkpoint in the race for the division title and a possible first-round bye.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

Last ranking: 2 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

Pittsburgh is winning but they don’t always win pretty. Two weeks ago they barely scraped by the Colts. The Steelers made everyone forget that performance with an annihilation of the Titans. The offense is rolling putting up 26.7 points and 352.3 yards per game in their last three. Pittsburgh is succeeding though because of their defense. The Steelers rank second in points allowed at 16.5 points per game. The Steelers are going to have a lot to say in the playoffs because of their play on both sides of the ball. This week they get the undermanned Packers.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

Last ranking: 1 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Chicago

Before you grab your pitchforks and attack me for putting the Eagles at two in the rankings hear me out. The Eagles are a great team with an explosive offense that is soaring but they haven’t played the hardest of schedules. Eight of their nine wins have come against teams with a .500 record or worse. Being 9-1 is still impressive but would you take them to beat the Patriots, I wouldn’t. The Eagles are a great team, but they aren’t the best.

1.New England Patriots (8-2)

Last ranking: 3 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Miami

New England is the best team in the NFL, not the Eagles. New England is on a roll winning six straight games by an average of 14.3 points. The defense has become extremely hot giving up just 12.5 points per game during this six-game winning streak. There is no reason to think they won’t keep this up under the direction of Brian Belichick. Because the defense is rolling and they have the great Tom Brady it is safe to assume the Patriots will end up in the AFC Championship game and most likely the Super Bowl. Boston is home to the best team in the NFL.

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Chris Thompson fantasy

Fantasy options to replace Chris Thompson

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson was carted off with an air cast on his leg after he got rolled up on at an awkward angle against the Saints. It was reported after the game that he suffered a fractured fibula and will miss the rest of the season.

Thompson has emerged as a quality running back this season, especially in fantasy. He was 10th in fantasy points in standard scoring at his position as well as 11th in PPR with his ability to both run and catch out of the backfield.

This comes at a big point of the fantasy season with the playoffs coming up because of his versatility as a fantasy running back. It’s time to look at the next man up for Washington to fill the void for both the Redskins and your fantasy team.

The next man up: Samaje Perine

The Redskins will now be on their third running back due to injuries to Thompson and the original starter Rob Kelley (ankle). They will now run with rookie Samaje Perine.

Chris Thompson fantasy

Samaje Perine (Photo from NFL.com)

Perine becomes a priority pickup after the injury to Thompson. The rookie out of Oklahoma had a lot of hype early in the preseason as a candidate to take the starting job, but struggled early on with fumbles and lack of production.

But he has turned the page in the second half of the season. On Sunday, he had a career day against the Saints in relief, as he ran for 117 yards and a score on 23 carries.

Perine will mostly get his opportunities on the ground as he is more of a power back at 236 pounds, which is his strength. He can be in passing situations, but he will mostly be pounding the ball on the ground, especially on the goal line.

They will also mix in rookie Byron Marshall, who they picked up from the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad.

Flex option: Josh Doctson

From the passing game perspective, Redskins receiver Josh Doctson could be someone to look at to replace both Thompson and Terrelle Pryor.

Chris Thompson fantasy

Josh Doctson (Photo from detroitnews.com)

He is finally showing the production the Redskins had hoped for from their 2016 first-round pick. With Jordan Reed struggling with injuries and Pryor now out for the season, it has led to an increase in targets to Doctson. He tied his career high with seven in each of the past two weeks. This also included a solid game against the Saints as he caught four passes for 81 yards. He brought in several 50-50 balls, and Kirk Cousins seems comfortable passing to him.

Doctson’s upside and big-play ability have expanded his role as a top option in their offense.

Other options

This is a big blow, especially at this point of the fantasy season with a guy like Thompson. With the amount of injuries this season, there aren’t a lot of big names out there that are consistently producing. But there are a couple of options for the playoff push.

Fantasy owners in need of a running back should look to Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers and Danny Woodhead of the Baltimore Ravens. As for the flex position, Corey Coleman has been a big name in the wavier wire as well as Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who could return from his broken foot.

 

Featured image from thecomeback.com.

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Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 11

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the No. 1 priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it is by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 Week 11 NFL picks.

Last week: 12-2

Overall: 86-59

Teams on byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, New York Jets, San Francisco

Thursday Night

Tennessee Titans (6-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2):

 

Sunday Morning

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

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Detroit Lions (5-4) 27 @ Chicago Bears (3-6) 16: When the Bears finally decided to start Mitchell Trubisky some thought they would make a run at the playoffs because Aaron Rodgers went down. The Bears are not going to do that and will be lucky to win six games this season but the future is bright. Matthew Stafford should have a field day at Soldier Field to send the Bears to 3-7.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) 23 @ Cleveland Browns (0-9) 6: Cleveland will get another step closer to 0-16 this week as the Jaguars come to town. Jacksonville’s defense could force a shutout this week as they are allowing the fewest points per game at 14.9 while the Browns are averaging just 15.9 points per game. It would be a major upset if the Browns found a way to win.

Baltimore Ravens (4-5) 20 @ Green Bay Packers (5-4) 22: Neither team is really good but the Packers are struggling because they lost Aaron Rodgers. Baltimore is struggling because they have no offense. The edge should go to Baltimore because they are coming off a bye but they have to travel to Lambeau. I have no clue what will happen in this game but I have a feeling that Brett Hundley will have a big game.

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) 23 @ Minnesota Vikings (7-2) 24: This is the best game of the week and it should be in primetime. Both teams are 7-2 and in a battle for the second seed in the NFC. It is also a clash of styles with as the Rams have the third-ranked offense and the Vikings have the fifth-ranked defense. Typically in the past, when top defenses square off against top offenses the defenses win. That, paired with the Vikings playing at home gives Minnesota the edge. The Vikings win to continue their path towards a Super Bowl run.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) 27 @ Miami Dolphins (4-5) 26: These two teams are playing the game they missed in week one due to Hurricane Irma. Both teams were expected to make a playoff appearance but now it looks like neither will as both have looked horrible this season. This will be a dull game that is watched by few. Heck, picking the winner might come down to a coin toss. Actually, it will be a coin toss. Heads Tampa wins, tails Miami wins. It was heads.

Washington Redskins (4-5) 21 @ New Orleans Saints (7-2) 37: When looking at Washington all you can see is an average team which is why they continue to float around .500. Their loss to the Vikings all but ended their season. Traveling to New Orleans is going to make it even more unlikely that Washington makes a run at the playoffs. New Orleans, on the other hand, is on a seven-game win streak. Many are picking the Saints as the favorite to win the NFC. Washington will not be able to keep up with the Saints’ offense and fall in the Superdome.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) 27 @ New York Giants (1-8) 20: Kansas City is in need of a confidence builder and this is the perfect opportunity. The Chiefs have lost three of their last four games but are still one of the top teams in the AFC. The Giants are fighting for the top overall pick in the draft and are in tank mode. When this ends the score may be close but the game will never be in question. Kansas City will get back to their winning ways.

Arizona Cardinals (4-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (3-6) 21: Two or three weeks ago this would be an easy game to pick. Without DeShaun Watson, the Texans are struggling. The defense is banged up as well which means the Texans have nothing to rely on. The Cardinals are also banged up but are more prepared for the injuries they have. Arizona will ride Adrian Peterson to a win.

Sunday Afternoon

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

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Buffalo Bills (5-4) 14 @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) 24: Buffalo has made a quarterback change in the midst of a playoff race. This tells us one thing, they truly don’t believe they can make the playoffs. They are trying to get their young quarterback ready for the future with game time experience. Los Angeles plays good defense and will make it a huge challenge for Nathan Peterman. Los Angeles will win this game with a great defensive performance and two touchdown day from Melvin Gordon.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) 21 @ Denver Broncos (3-6) 20: Cincinnati and Denver are both 3-6 but the Bengals have looked better thus far. Cincinnati is still playing great defense while the Broncos have stopped excelling at everything. Denver will not be able to win this game because their offense is anemic. Andy Dalton will have one of the best games of his career to give the Bengals a win.

New England Patriots (7-2) 27 @ Oakland Raiders (4-5) 24: It seems like each week Oakland is playing in a must-win game. Once they get to six losses they will really be in must-win games if they want to make the playoffs. New England is still hot and rolling like they typically do. This game is in Mexico City and the Patriots have prepared for it by practicing in Denver all week. New England will win because they are going to be more prepared than Oakland.

Sunday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) 24 @ Dallas Cowboys (5-4) 27: This is an obvious trap game for Philly. All divisional games are difficult but this one will be even more difficult. The Eagles will be traveling to Jerry World to face the Cowboys who will be without Ezekiel Elliot or Sean Lee. Everyone is expecting the Eagles to win because they are both good and Dallas is banged up. If Dallas is going to win this game they are going to need a huge night from Dak Prescott. They will get it and Dallas will upset Philadelphia.

Monday Night

Atlanta Falcons (5-4) 24 @ Seattle Seahawks (6-3) 20: A win by the Falcons and they could throw themselves right into the thick of the wildcard race again. Atlanta has been struggling on offense this season but they will be able to score this week. Seattle just lost Richard Sherman for the season. He is the heart and soul of the defense and without him, the defense will lose their spark. The offensive line is also the weak unit of the offense and the Falcons will feast on it. Atlanta will win this game behind their defense.

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NFL Week 11 picks

Week 11 NFL picks against the spread

After going 5-8-1 against the spread last week, my record for the year now sits at 64-76-6. The climb back towards a respectable record starts this week. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Thursday Night

Titans at Steelers (-7) – Tennessee is on a four-game winning streak, but three of those wins were Indianapolis, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Steelers are a significant step up. The emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster has made the offense all the more dangerous, and being at home seems to shield them from slow starts like last week.

NFL Week 11 picks

Photo: from cincyjungle.com

The Titans may need to put up over 30 points in this one, something they haven’t done since the start of their winning streak. Pittsburgh is just a little more consistent on both sides of the ball at the moment. They will pull away late. Pit 31 Ten 21

Sunday

Cardinals (-1.5) at Texans – This game will feature a quarterback duel between Tom Savage and Blaine Gabbert. How can you not be pumped up for that?

Sarcasm aside, Arizona has at least shown an occasional ability to let Adrian Peterson carry them to victory in recent weeks. With Deshaun Watson hurt, Houston has not managed to come close to finding a similar winning formula. Ari 16 Hou 9

Ravens (-2) at Packers – This is a coin flip. The Packers finally figured out how to look like an NFL offense without Aaron Rodgers last week, but the injuries are piling up. The offensive line and backfield are now affected. It is easy to say “next man up,” but a team can only overcome so much.

Baltimore’s offense was not playoff worthy early in the year, but all the teams in the AFC Wild Card race have the same issue. The spark provided by Alex Collins in recent weeks has at least made them a realistic part of that conversation. In a game of struggling offenses, Baltimore’s defense is better. Bal 23 GB 20

Lions (-3) at *Bears – The Bears are undermanned and have serious limitations on offense, but they continue to manage it pretty well. Even though it is not showing up in the form of wins, John Fox may need to save his job. Chicago can run the ball and play defense against anyone.

The one thing Chicago cannot do is fall behind early. The good news this week is Detroit waits until the fourth quarter to start playing almost every week. The Lions are in the playoff hunt and every game is big. They tend to struggle in that situation. Chicago is just a bad matchup for them this week. Chi 19 Det 16

Jaguars (-7.5) at Browns – For the first time in a long time, Jacksonville is in the thick of the playoff hunt. Doug Marrone and his players deserve a ton of credit. However, the offense is still a one-man show centered around Leonard Fournette. Surprisingly, Cleveland’s run defense is top five in the league. With the offense coming off its best game of the year, the Browns should keep this close, and getting their first win is not out of the question. Jac 19 Cle 14

Chiefs (-10) at Giants – Kansas City has lost three of its last four after a 5-0 start. However, the Giants just lost to the hapless 49ers and are growing more dysfunctional by the hour. Additionally, Andy Reid is 16-2 in games following a bye week during his coaching career. There is absolutely nothing to suggest this game will be anything other than a bloodbath, which should make anyone who bets it nervous. KC 30 NYG 13

*Rams at Vikings (-2.5) – Two of this year’s most pleasant surprises face off here. The Vikings defense is very good, but the Rams have gashed every defense they have faced this year. So, it may not matter.

Teddy Bridgewater is a fantastic story. However, the fact that there was even a discussion about him replacing Case Keenum this week makes you wonder if Mike Zimmer is looking to fix something that isn’t broke. It is the kind of delicate situation that can ruin a team if it isn’t handled properly.

In the short term, the Rams offense is in touch more explosive. That gives them the edge here. In the long-term, Minnesota had better be very careful in regards to its quarterback situation. LAR 28 Min 27

Buccaneers at Dolphins (-1) – This game is taking place 10 weeks later than originally scheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Both of these teams have been disappointments this year. Last week aside, Miami has been better at winning ugly.

The Dolphins defense got absolutely leveled in Carolina last week, but the Bucs offense has not shown the capability to put up 45 points on anyone this year. The Dolphins defensive unit is actually pretty good and will be eager to bounce back from last week’s embarrassment. Mia 20 TB 17

Redskins at Saints (-7.5) – This season, the Saints have totally reinvented themselves on the fly. Their bread is now buttered via the running game and defense. Drew Brees may not be what he once was, but the 38-year-old quarterback is still plenty good enough to get the job done.

New Orleans has destroyed some really solid teams over the last seven weeks. Washington is not a terrible football team, but they don’t have the horsepower to keep up here. NO 30 Was 20

Bills at Chargers (-4) – Buffalo is panicking. After two straight blowout losses, they are turning to rookie mid-round draft pick Nathan Peterman at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has not been the problem for the last two weeks. The problem has been giving up 81 combined points.

NFL Week 11 picks

Photo from si.com

For a team that still has a realistic shot at ending a 16-year playoff drought, the move is stranger than strange. The Chargers found yet another way to lose a close game last week. With Philip Rivers in concussion protocol, Kellen Clemens may get the call here. Even if that is the case, the Los Angeles pass rush should be enough to overwhelm the rookie signal caller on the other side. LAC 27 Buf 19

Bengals at Broncos (-2.5) – The seasons for both these teams have gone off the rails in a big way. Denver is at home and some of their struggles have come against three of the best teams in football. Moreover, Brock Osweiler and the offense made some strides last week. It is hard to come up with any positives like the ones above for the Bengals. Denver should benefit from a much needed step down in opposition. Den 28 Cin 21

Patriots (-6.5) at Raiders (Mexico) – New England has become the well-oiled machine we are used to after a slow start. They are doing everything well right now. The Raiders high-powered offense has disappeared. They have scored fewer than 20 points in five of their last seven games.  Especially since this is not a true road game, the Patriots should keep rolling here. NE 34 Oak 20

Eagles (-3) at *Cowboys – It is rare for a home team to be an underdog in a rivalry game. When it applies, taking the points is always wise.

Too much is being made of what happened to Dallas in Atlanta last week. The Falcons are built to play in their building. They make a lot of teams look bad there. The same thing happened to Green Bay earlier this year. The Packers turned out fine until their Hall of Fame quarterback got hurt.

The Cowboys have had another week to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. The loss of Sean Lee on defense may be tough to overcome, but they match up well with all of their division rivals.

As good as the Eagles are, they are still a pretty young football team. Going on the road to face the defending division champions is their toughest test yet. It is hard not to have serious doubts about whether any young team is ready for something like this. Dal 24 Phi 20

Monday Night

Falcons at Seahawks (-3) – Both of these teams are very talented, but this is a pretty simple matchup. Seattle is the better team and has lost just two home games in two years. Atlanta has struggled on the road as of late and has had a hard time scoring on a consistent basis this year. Seattle is not the place to go to fix those issues. Sea 22 Atl 14

 

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Stack your money Sundays: Week 10

Week 9 Review (1-1-1) Overall: 16-9-2

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ New York Giants

Los Angeles Rams 51 New York Giants 17

What a romping. Once New York gave up a 52-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-33, this game was over. The Rams continue to run the ball with ease, and had their second game of the season in which they did not turn the ball over. Jared Goff threw for over 300 yards, his first time eclipsing 300 passing yards since week one. This was also Goff’s first career four-touchdown game. Los Angeles’ offensive line continues to dominate, as they did not allow a sack.

Not sure if this game was more about the Rams dominance or the Giants struggling. Ben McAdoo might lose his job, and Eli Manning will most likely be gone after next season. If the Giants continue their poor play, they will be in line for a top pick in next year’s draft, in which they could draft a future quarterback. No offense to Davis Webb, but I don’t see him as the future of this team.

Atlanta Falcons (-2) @ Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers 20 Atlanta Falcons 17

This is now two weeks in a row in which the Falcons have failed us. Atlanta is suffering from a serious Super Bowl hangover. A team that finished fifth in rushing yards a season ago, ran for a grand total of 53 yards against Carolina. The Falcons offense struggled on third down, and were unable to convert on all three of their fourth down conversion attempts.

MJ or Cam Newton? (SB Nation)

Cam Newton had a beautiful rushing touchdown in which he pulled off his inner MJ and dunked the ball as he crossed the goal line. However, this win was more about Carolina’s defense. They completely shut down the run, and now have the number one ranked defense in terms of yards allowed. They are allowing the fourth fewest points, second fewest rushing yards and sixth fewest passing yards. In other words, Carolina’s defense is elite.

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

Tennessee Titans 20 Baltimore Ravens 17

Our second push of the season. It really looked like the Titans had the cover in the bag until they gave up a last-minute touchdown, which cut their lead down to three. Going into this game, the Ravens were allowing over 130 yards on the ground, and all of a sudden, they limited the Titans, a powerful run team, to only 71 yards. Just shows how hard it is to predict some of these teams.

Solid win for Tennessee, as they move to 5-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC South. If they want to make some noise, the Titans defense needs to defend the pass better, and Mariota needs to step up his play.

WEEK 10 PICKS

Time to get back on track!

Minnesota Vikings (-1) @ Washington Redskins

PICK: VIKINGS TO COVER

WHY THE VIKINGS WILL SUCCEED

Case Keenum, average but efficient (Houston Chronicle)

  • Coming off a bye, extra week to prepare
  • Sixth in the league in third down conversions
  • Defense is legit: third fewest points per game allowed, fourth fewest yards, second fewest yards per play, second in opposing third down conversion percentage.
  • Allowing the fewest touchdowns per game, also rank third in opposing red zone scoring percentage on drives ending in a touchdown
  • Defend the run well, third fewest rushing yards allowed per game
  • Offense is efficient, seventh in completion percentage, fourth fewest turnovers.
  • Kai Forbath: 21/22 on FGA

WHY THE REDSKINS WILL STRUGGLE

  • 24th in opponent points per game
  • 19th in opposing third down conversions
  • Allow 4.2 yards per carry on the ground
  • Allow 6.7 yards per pass (20th in the NFL)

 

New England Patriots (-7.5) @ Denver Broncos

PICK: PATRIOTS TO COVER

WHY THE PATRIOTS WILL SUCCEED

  • Extra week to prepare because of bye
  • 12-5 under Belichick in game after a bye (Outscoring opponents 436-285 in those games)
  • seventh in points per game
  • third in the league in third down conversions
  • third in the league in yards per pass
  • fifth in completion percentage
  • Second fewest turnovers in the NFL

WHY THE BRONCOS WILL STRUGGLE

  • They don’t have a QB
  • Defense is 25th in points allowed per game
  • 22nd in points per game, 27th in completion percentage
  • 25th in yards
  • Second most turnovers in the league

 

New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)

PICK: BUCCANEERS TO COVER

WHY THE BUCCANEERS WILL SUCCEED

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has higher completion percentage, and higher QBR than Jameis Winston.
  • Tampa Bay ranks eighth in yards per play
  • second in passing yards per game
  • third fewest penalty yards per game

WHY THE JETS WILL STRUGGLE

  • 22nd in opponent yards per play
  • 24th in opponents yards per game
  • 30th in opponent touchdowns per game
  • 22nd in yards per game
  • Second most penalty yards per game

 

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2017 NFL picks Week 10

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks Week 10

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the No. 1 priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it is by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 Week 10 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-5

Overall: 74-57

Teams on byes: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland Philadelphia

Thursday Night

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4):

Sunday Morning

2017 NFL picks Week 10

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

New Orleans Saints (6-2) 24 @ Buffalo Bills (5-3) 20: This game could turn into a defensive battle, which sounds crazy when the Saints are involved. New Orleans is only giving up 15.4 points per game in their last five games. That is pretty impressive for a franchise that has recently been terrible defensively.

This game will come down to who can make the plays on offense. The edge is highly in favor of an offense led by Drew Brees. The win streak stays alive another week.

Green Bay Packers (4-4) 17 @ Chicago Bears (3-5) 20: The oldest rivalry in the NFL will be writing another chapter this week, this time without Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has destroyed the Bears throughout his career. Rodgers has gone 15-4 against Chicago, throwing for 4,596 yards, 42 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

He has been the difference maker consistently. Without him, the Packers are going to struggle. Because of great defense and a solid run game, the Bears will win this chapter at Soldier Field.

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) 24 @ Washington Redskins (4-4) 16: Washington got a big win last week in Seattle, and a lot of people see it as a season-changing win. Because of that win, they will be the favorites.

Not many people believe in the Vikings, but they are a good team. Their defense will cause a major problem for Kirk Cousins, and with two weeks to prepare, Minnesota will go to the nation’s capital to show they are a team that nobody will want to see come January.

Cleveland Browns (0-8) 19 @ Detroit Lions (4-4) 31: Cleveland is coming off a bye, but that won’t help them in the motor city. The Browns are a bad team that Matthew Stafford can, and will pick apart.

Cleveland gives up 229.2 passing yards per game. Stafford will have over 300 this week to send the Browns seven games away from a winless season.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) 21 @ Tennessee Titans (5-3) 28: Tennessee is winning games without Marcus Mariota playing up to his ability, which should make Titan fans happy. Tennessee is winning these games because they are protecting and running the ball.

The Titans are 10th in rushing, averaging 117.9 yards per game. Cincy struggles to stop the run, giving up 116.5 yards per game. That will be their downfall in this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) 38 @ Indianapolis Colts (3-6) 21: This game is another game that should not be close at all. The Steelers have a top 10 offense, putting up 363.8 yards per game while the Colts have the 31st ranked defense.

Pittsburgh’s defense will lock down the elementary offense while the Steelers offense will easily put up points. Pittsburgh will have over 500 total yards to get to 7-2.

New York Jets (4-5) 24 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) 27: Tampa Bay is going to win this game somehow. It just has the feeling of a game the Jets would find a way to lose.

Jameis Winston has been shut down and will not play. The Jets win and lose games they shouldn’t, and this is the perfect game for the same to occur. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get a chance to play his former team and will want to make a statement.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) 21 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) 23: This is going to be a hard-fought defensive game. Leonard Fournette is coming off his suspension and will be looking to prove how valuable he is.

Philip Rivers is going to try and force the ball, and Jacksonville’s elite secondary will make him pay. Jacksonville will win this game because of this and get to an impressive 6-3.

Sunday Afternoon

2017 NFL picks Week 10

(Photo by Scott Varley, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Houston Texans (3-5) 17 @ Los Angeles Rams (6-2) 34: Los Angeles has the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL. Houston is dealing with injuries all over the field and will need to put up at least 30 points to have a chance.

Tom Savage is incapable of putting up that many points. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be the difference that leads Los Angeles to a win.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3) 31 @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4) 30: Atlanta is trying to stay in the playoff race, but another loss could really hamper that goal. Atlanta’s offense is not producing to the same level as last season, and Matt Ryan looks average at best.

Dallas is still dealing with the sage of Ezekiel Elliott’s possible suspension. With or without Zeke, the Cowboys will win this week due to the fact that Dak Prescott will outperform the reigning MVP.

New York Giants (1-7) 23 @ San Francisco 49ers (0-9) 24: This will be an absolute snoozefest. Last week I thought the 49ers would get their first win of the season, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

This will be the week, or they will go 0-16. The Giants are just as bad as they are. The only reason the 49ers will win this game is that it is in San Francisco.

Sunday Night

New England Patriots (6-2) 41 @ Denver Broncos (3-5) 21: There is no reason to think this will be a close game. These teams are trending in opposite directions. The Patriots were off to a slow start, but have begun to resemble the team everyone is used to seeing in New England. Denver is still looking for Peyton Manning’s replacement and has wasted away a great defense because of it. New England will win this one comfortably.

Monday Night

Miami Dolphins (4-4) 7 @ Carolina Panthers (6-3) 27: All we hear is that Cam Newton can’t do this or he can’t do that, yet he continues to lead Carolina to wins. He may not consistently beat teams with his arm, but he can still get it done on the ground.

Carolina also quietly has one of the best defenses in the league. Shutting down Jay Cutler will not be a problem for the Panthers, and they will find themselves at 7-3.

 

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Week 10 NFL picks

Week 10 NFL picks against the spread

I continued to tread water last week with a mark of 6-6-1 against the spread. Upon the arrival of Week 10, 59-68-5 is where I stand for the year. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Thursday Night

Seahawks (-6) at Cardinals – Even after a last-second loss last week, Seattle is fine. Sometimes the opposing quarterback makes a couple great throws and you get beat. Three missed field goals also did not help matters, but that happens sometimes too.

Arizona may be able to rely exclusively on Adrian Peterson against winless San Francisco, but not an angry Seattle team. Drew Stanton will have to play the game of his life for his team to have a chance here. It is nearly impossible to expect that from a career backup. Sea 27 Ari 13

Sunday

Bengals at Titans (-4.5) – The Titans offense is still very pedestrian. Fortunately for them, they are battling Jacksonville for the division title and teams like Baltimore for a possible Wild Card spot. All those teams have similar issues.

This pick has more to do with the opponent. I am officially out on the Bengals after the way they were dominated in Jacksonville last week. It is one thing when a guy like Vontaze Burfict loses his cool. However, when a model citizen like A.J. Green loses his cool, it is time to clean house. Ten 21 Cin 13

Browns at Lions (-12.5) – The Lions proved me wrong and did exactly what they should have done against a shorthanded opponent last week. They find themselves in a similar spot here. It would be insane to pick the winless Browns, but they are still playing hard. One week does not change a recent history of struggling in strange spots for Detroit.  Det 31 Cle 20

Packers at Bears (-5.5) – My goodness, the Brett Hundley led Packers looked awful last week. I really thought they would be okay at home coming off a bye, but they were dominated by Detroit. The advantages Green Bay had before the game last week are gone, and Chicago has improved in all phases of the game in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers is not saving the day anytime soon. Chi 20 GB 13

*Chargers at Jaguars (-4) – Blake Bortles has actually been a key part of Jacksonville’s last two wins. This team might actually be around for the long haul. However, the Chargers pass rush is one of the best kept secrets in football, and the Jags defense will have a much tougher time controlling a borderline future Hall of Famer like Philip Rivers as opposed to the other quarterbacks they have dealt with in recent weeks. LAC 27 Jac 24

Vikings (-1) at *Redskins – This is the toughest pick of the week for me. Minnesota’s quarterback situation continues to evolve, and they continue to win. That speaks to how good the rest of the roster is.

Week 10 NFL picks

Photo from NBC Sports

However, what Kirk Cousins pulled off in Seattle last week with a third of the roster battling injuries was nothing short of remarkable. It felt like a turning point for Washington’s season as well as his career. Everyone who has bought in to Cousins has eventually been burned.

I have never bought in until now. The Redskins’ playoff run starts with him leading his team to a mini upset here. Jay Gruden also deserves a ton of credit for the way he has worked around all the injuries. Was 21 Min 20

Saints (-3) at Bills – I am also out on Buffalo after last week. They had a golden opportunity to tighten their grip on their first playoff spot in 18 years and got run over by the Jets. Sean McDermott is the right guy in the long-term. However, with their remaining schedule, they needed to win last week. It looks like we are headed for at least one more year of the “same old Bills.”

Meanwhile, the Saints have given up losing after dropping their first two games. Drew Brees finally has a running game and a defense to help him out. New Orleans looks unstoppable because of it. NO 30 Buf 20

Jets (-2.5) at Buccaneers – The Bucs are the third and final member of my “officially out” club after last week. Jameis Winston clearly has the talent to be the building block of an NFL franchise, but not the maturity. His lack of maturity seems to have spread to the entire roster.

Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will fill in for an injured Winston for the next few weeks. With the team sitting at 2-6, it hardly matters. The good news is Tampa Bay does have some good players, and the maturity issue is fixable, but not with this coaching staff.

Conversely, you will not find a coach who has done a better job this year than Todd Bowles. He has a team that many people predicted to go winless on the brink of being .500 in mid-November. Whatever he is selling, his guys are clearly buying in. NYJ 17 TB 10

Week 10 NFL picks

Photos from nocoastbias.com

Steelers (-10) at Colts – Indianapolis is awful, but not as awful as everyone thinks. With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, the Colts have won three games and lost two others by three points or less. They are a few bounces of the ball away from being a .500 football team.

The Steelers are one of a handful of AFC teams with six wins. As long as Le’Veon Bell is the centerpiece of the offense, they will remain tough to deal with.

Pittsburgh has more firepower and will win. However, they have a tendency to play down to their competition. This will be closer than it should be. Pit 28 Ind 24

Texans at Rams (-11.5) – Normally, swallowing this many points in an NFL game is foolish, but the Rams are rolling right now, and we saw what the Texans are without Deshaun Watson last week. 11.5 points does not feel like enough here. LAR 35 Hou 13

Cowboys at Falcons (-3) – Most people have bailed on the Falcons. They have lost three out of four, but they are a different team on their home turf. In recent home games, they have jumped out to early leads only to fade late.

With or without Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas is not built to play from behind. They may well prove to be the better team over the long haul, but this is simply a bad matchup. Atl 31 Dal 24

Giants (-2) at 49ers – These two teams have one win between them. It will be a tough game to watch and is also tough to predict. The 49ers just do not have much talent. Jimmy Garoppolo changes nothing in the short term. The Giants have plenty of talent, but most of it is injured or disgruntled. They win the coin flip here because Eli Manning will play well after all the talk about replacing him this week. NYG 17 SF 13

Patriots (-7.5) at Broncos – Last week, I joked about the Broncos defense going on strike. Unfortunately for Denver fans, that is basically what ended up happening. Even though they were up against the hottest quarterback on the planet, it was still shocking. Even more shocking is the fact that Denver still ranked in the top five in passing and total defense after giving up over 50 points last week. That is how good they had been.

This is a proud defense that has given Tom Brady fits over the years, especially in Denver. They did not take kindly to being humiliated in Philadelphia.

I expect them to bounce back strong and keep the home team in the game. However, Denver’s current offense facing the reigning Super Bowl champions is like bringing a plastic knife to a gunfight. NE 24 Den 20

Monday Night

Dolphins at Panthers (-9.5) – This is way too many points to swallow. Relatively speaking, the Dolphins offense has been a bit better in recent weeks. They have scored over 20 points in two of their last three games.

Defense has not been an issue for the Dolphins this year, and Carolina has struggled on offense at times. Despite winning two of their last three games, they have only scored 40 total points in that span. Jay Cutler was really good in the first half against Oakland last week. He finally seems to be finding a bit of rhythm.

Carolina is the better team here and will find a way to get the job done. However, they never seem to blow anyone out, especially when they are supposed to. Car 24 Mia 21

 

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

2017 NFL power rankings: Week 10

Many teams are starting to separate themselves into their positions this season. We are learning who the true contenders and pretenders are.

The Wild Card races will also be extremely entertaining over the next eight weeks. In the AFC, the two teams in the current Wild Card spots have three losses. There are eight other teams with four or five losses that are within two games of being in their shoes. In the NFC, the two Wild Card teams also have three losses, and there are seven teams with three, four or five losses.

The picture should become more clear each and every week. For now, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: Week 10.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Detroit

Cleveland had a bye week, but nothing happened in Week 9 to prove there is a team worse than them.

Yes, the 49ers are also winless and sit at 0-9 rather than at 0-8, but if the two teams played, who would you pick to win? Cleveland will likely win at least one game at some point this season because going 0-16 is hard to do.

Either way, the Browns are still the Browns and will end up with a top three pick that they will find a way to mess up.

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-9)

Last week: 31 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Giants

The 49ers are not a team with talent that should be winless. They lack a quarterback, and everyone can tee off on the run game. The defense is young and just needs time to grow.

This week, they play another horrible team and have a shot at a win. Last week, I picked the 49ers to upset the Cardinals, and it didn’t happen. This week though, they will beat the Giants and move up in the rankings.

30. New York Giants (1-7)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo from https://sports.yahoo.com)

Last week: 30 (no change)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

New York was completely overwhelmed and annihilated by the Rams. New York needs to hit the reset button and rebuild this franchise. It is time to trade Eli Manning and fire Ben McAdoo.

This offense needs to build around Odell Beckham Jr. Defensively, they need to build around Landon Collins.

New York can look to OBJ and Collins to lead a new era of Giants, but this season is done. McAdoo has already proven to be incapable of leading this team to success.

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-6)

Last week: 29 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Pittsburgh

Indy beat a Houston team that just lost all hope after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Beating Tom Savage is not an impressive feat. This team also shut down Andrew Luck for the season, which basically tells the world they are throwing in the towel for the season.

Jacoby Brissett has looked decent, but his team has little talent on either side of the ball. Three wins are decent for what they have, but they will be lucky to win three more games this season.

28. Denver Broncos (3-5)

Last week: 22 (-6)

Next game: home vs. New England

Denver got manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles, so badly that the Broncos have now moved into the top 10 of the NFL draft. They will stay at the top of the draft and likely finish fourth in the AFC West.

This team went from a juggernaut defense that could carry an offense to a team that needs a rebuild. They have nothing on offense that can help a quarterback. A whole new offense is needed. On defense, Von Miller is still a stud, but the secondary has been split up and is getting old.

Vance Joseph looks lost as a head coach. He doesn’t challenge things he should, but then challenges things he shouldn’t. In his press conferences, he keeps talking about how good practice was. The man is straight up overwhelmed. The future looks bleak at best in Denver.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Last week: 27 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

So Miami is the epitome of an average NFL team. One week they look like world beaters, and the next they look like the Browns.

Two weeks ago, the Ravens slaughtered them 40-0. This week they gave the Raiders all they could handle, but fell short. Jay Cutler threw for a season-high 311 yards. It still wasn’t enough to get a win, which says all you need to know about the Dolphins.

Even if Jay Cutler plays like an MVP, this team can’t make the playoffs.

26. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Last week: 25 (-1)

Next game: Bye

Baltimore is playing good defense, ranking in the top 10 in points allowed per game. The one issue they have is stopping the run, as they allow 125.9 yards per game.

On the other hand, the offense runs the ball well for an average of 120.9 yards per game. This only results in the team scoring 21.1 points per game. The Ravens are competitive, but won’t make the playoffs.

25.  Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

Last week: 28 (+3)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

Despite losing Carson Palmer, the Cardinals were able to win behind Drew Stanton and Adrian Peterson. Peterson had a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards. Stanton threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. That was all it took to beat the San Francisco 49ers, who are going through a rebuild.

When Arizona plays better teams, they won’t be able to give Peterson nearly 40 carries that often. He is way too old and injury prone to rely on this much.

Next week, Arizona faces Seattle, and the Cardinals will fall back to reality.

24. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last week: 24 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

The Bears are coming off a bye and face their biggest rival. Because the Bears are at home, they have a real shot to win with Aaron Rodgers out. Chicago’s defense is much better than anyone realizes.

The Bears will continue to run the ball to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. For the first time in a long time, the Bears will not have to outscore the Packers to win.

They may not make the playoffs this season, but the Bears might be building something special in the windy city.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

Last week: 23 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

Tampa already has six losses, but are not as bad as their record. There is too much talent on this team for them to have this record, but sometimes that is the way the cookie crumbles.

When you look at the Bucs, the burning question is, what is their identity? The problem is they don’t have one.

Until Tampa can find their identity, they will continue to underachieve.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)

Last week: 21 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Tennessee

Cincinnati just can’t get above .500, and every time they get close, they run into a really good team. This team is on the brink of a complete implosion, and it showed when one of their most level-headed players, A.J. Green, threw Jalen Ramsey into a chokehold.

The Bengals offense will not help the defense out, who is holding up their end of the bargain. Until the offense can get rolling, the Bengals will remain in this downward spiral.

21. Houston Texans (3-5)

Last week: 14 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Texans have lost their season with the loss of Deshaun Watson. He was the sole reason this team still had a shot to be competitive and possibly earn a playoff berth. Watson was not only leading the NFL in touchdown passes, but he had the Texans as the highest scoring team in the NFL.

An optimistic Texans fan should hope that the Texans tank the season to earn a high draft pick. If they get a great college player, then when Watson and the others who were injured and lost for the season return, the team will have enough talent to possibly win a Super Bowl.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-4)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

The Packers’ flaws are being exposed due to the injury to Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay’s defense can’t stop a nosebleed, and an offense led by Brett Hundley can not outscore other teams.

It is time for a change of scenery in Green Bay. It is evident that the success of the Packers is solely due to the greatness of Rodgers.

Green Bay needs a new general manager who will bring in more talent around him. They also need a new coach who can help build a respectable defense.

19. New York Jets (4-5)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

Last week: 26 (+7)

Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay

The Jets are stuck in the middle of the NFL. At 4-5, they have a shot at making the playoffs, but aren’t truly contenders for a spot or even a run.

At 4-5, they also won’t be getting a high enough pick to really change the team around. The Jets are stuck in Mediocreville, and there is no way out. Just when you expect them to win, they lose and vice versa.

We will see what they do this week, but whatever you expect to happen, the exact opposite will unfold.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Jacksonville

The Chargers are a competitive team, but aren’t quite ready to be a playoff team. The defense is young but making good strides. The Chargers are only giving up 19 points per game.

Part of the defensive success is coming from their ability to pressure the quarterback. Los Angeles averages the third most sacks per game at 3.3.

If the offense can just protect the ball, they will have a shot to win any game they play.

17. Oakland Raiders (4-5)

Last week: 19 (+2)

Next game: Bye

The Raiders are down but not out. Their bye comes at a great time to give them a chance to regroup.

Derek Carr is beginning to heat up, throwing for over 300 yards in three straight games. During Carr’s hot streak, the Raiders are putting up 24 points per game.

The problem with Oakland is the defense. As crazy and fictional as it might sound, the Raiders have yet to record an interception. The defense is also giving up 23.8 points per game.

If they can fix the defense during their bye, they can make a run in their second half of the season.

16. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Lst week 15 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

The Falcons are seriously hungover from the Super Bowl. This is true and a bit lazy to say, but it is fun to say a team is hungover.

Atlanta’s true problem is that the offense is no longer lighting up scoreboards. Matt Ryan is not playing at an MVP level and is really missing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Ryan has just 11 touchdowns this season.

Dan Quinn was hired for his defensive genius, but Atlanta is ranked in the middle of the pack defensively. The road doesn’t get easier either, as their remaining opponents have a combined record of 38-27.

15. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Last week: 7 (-9)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

Buffalo has improved this season and might still make it to the playoffs. But they are still not a true contender.

The loss to the Jets shows that more than anything. Buffalo is building a great defense behind Sean McDermott. The offense, however, is a middle of the pack ranked offense, and that is what is going to hold them back.

They can’t lose games to teams like the Jets if they want to be considered a true contender.

14. Detroit Lions (4-4)

Last week: 16 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Cleveland

Beating Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers isn’t all that impressive, but any win in the NFL is tough to come by. The Lions were able to get back to .500 and are just two games back of the Vikings for first place in the NFC North.

The Lions will go as far as Matthew Stafford can take them, and typically that means 8-10 wins. 8-10 wins won’t be enough to beat out the Vikings for the division or even earn a Wild Card berth.

Detroit will sit perfectly in the middle of mediocrity for the rest of the season.

13. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)

Last week: 8 (-5)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Seattle is going to be held back by their offensive line. Just when you think they are still going to be one of the best teams in the NFC, they lose at home to the Washington Redskins, who will finish as a .500 team.

The Seahawks can win a bunch of games due to the great defense and playmaking ability of Russell Wilson. However, they will not make it deep into the playoffs if they even make it.

12. Washington Redskins (4-4)

Last week: 17 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

The Redskins are a better version of the Miami Dolphins. They look great one week and incompetent the next.

For now, they deserve the high ranking because they went on the road and beat the Seattle Seahawks. They will likely finish 8-8, but if they end up beating Minnesota, it will prove that they might be better then they have looked up to this point.

11. Tennessee Titans (5-3)

Last week: 12 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

Few are looking at the Titans as a serious threat, but they are quietly moving along this season. They are tied for first place in their division, and the three-team race has come down to a two-team race.

Marcus Mariota isn’t doing anything eye-popping, but has thrown only five interceptions in three games. Tennessee will continue to run the ball, and once Mariota gets hot, the Titans will have an unstoppable offense.

10. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo from http://ftw.usatoday.com)

Last week: 13 (+3)

Next game: home vs. Miami

Cam Newton gets so much hate, but his receivers were dropping balls left and right last week. When it mattered most though, Cam took over the game and led Carolina to a win against a division rival.

For as bad as people say Cam is, he has the Panthers sitting at 6-3 and still in a prime position to earn a playoff berth. Carolina can get hot at any moment. Before you know it, they could end up with a first-round bye. Now, that probably won’t happen but anything is possible.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)

Last week: 11 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Jaguars defense is really good and is the backbone of the team. From top to bottom, the Jaguars defense is elite. Jacksonville has the best scoring defense (14.6 points per game allowed), best pass defense (156.4 passing yards allowed per game) and are third in total defense (281.2 total yards allowed per game).

Jacksonville must continue to run the ball effectively to keep up their winning ways. It can be done, and Jacksonville is marching toward the playoffs with a championship caliber defense.

8. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

Last week: 10 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

Dallas got a season-changing win against Kansas City. Two weeks ago when they faced the 49ers, I mentioned it was the perfect time for them to get on a roll. Now they have won three straight.

The rest of the schedule remains challenging, but the Cowboys are back to the formula that gave them a ton of success last season. As long as they continue to run the ball well, they will stack up wins.

7. New Orleans Saints (6-2)

Last week 9 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

After an 0-2 start and terrible defense, the Saints’ season looked like it was over. However, after winning their next six games, they are considered one of the best teams in the NFC.

Drew Brees continues to play at a high level, and they are getting help in the running game. The key to the Saints six-game winning streak is the improvement of the defense. Over their last five games, New Orleans is allowing just 15.4 points per game, including one shutout.

If they maintain this level of play defensively, then a Super Bowl run is possible.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

Last week: 3 (-3)

Next game: Bye

Kansas City is in a rut with three losses in their last four games. They have cooled off mightly since their 5-0 start.

This is more due to the fact they are playing some tough opponents and losing close games. The Chiefs will still finish as one of the best teams in the AFC and will be a threat to the Patriots.

Their bye week comes at a good time to regroup for a run at a Lombardi Trophy.

5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Last week: 5 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Washington

A bye week came at the perfect time for the Vikings. They played exactly half their season and got a chance to evaluate how they must finish in order to win the division. At 6-2, the Vikings are on pace for a 12 win season.

Minnesota fans should be cautious though because last season the Vikings went 5-0 before finishing 8-8. The second half of the Vikings schedule is much tougher than the first half was, but they should still find their way to 10 wins. They still have to face the Bears, Lions, Bengals and Packers, all games that they can and should win. The other four games against Washington, Carolina, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Rams could go either way.

Minnesota should finish between 10-12 wins, and if they do so, will finish as one of the top teams in the NFL.

4. Los Angeles Rams (6-2)

Last week: 6 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Houston

The greatest show on turf seems to have returned, but this time they are performing in Hollywood. Sean McVay is the leading candidate for coach of the year for what he has done with the Rams and their offense.

Jared Goff has made amazing strides in his second year. Goff has thrown for 2,030 yards, 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions in eight games. For comparison, in seven games last season, Goff threw for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

McVay has also revitalized Todd Gurley, who has 1,024 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. Los Angeles will continue to win games, and the playoff drought will end.

3. New England Patriots (6-2)

Last week 4: (+1)

Next game: away vs. Denver

Time to sound like a broken record. The Patriot way continues to bring about wins to the franchise. With Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots will put up 12 or more wins and make it to the AFC Championship.

The only question is who will be their challenger and will it actually be a challenge. Speaking of challenges, they won’t have one this week because Denver isn’t very good.

The Patriots will be 7-2 in the next rankings, and if the Steelers falter, they can move up to No. 2.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

The Steelers had the week off thanks to their bye week right at the halfway point of their season. Pittsburgh is back to getting it done on the defensive end. The Killer B’s (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown) started to warm up before the bye, averaging 417 yards per game in their last three games.

Just like the Patriots, the Steelers will be playing deep into January with hopes of winning the Super Bowl.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Eagles aren’t? They are one of the most balanced teams in the league, which is the reason they are 8-1. They average over 30 points per game with success in both phases of the offense. Philly throws for 240 yards and rushes for 136 yards per game.

Defensively, the Eagles are giving up less than 20 points per game and are 11th in total defense. Philly gets a break this week so they will remain at the top for at least another week.

 

Featured image from Getty Images

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Three players fantasy owners should drop

At this point in the NFL season, players have either matched/exceeded their preseason predictions or have fallen short. If they’ve in fact fallen short, fantasy owners are probably holding onto to the last little bit of hope that they may bounce back. But by this point, they’re just a waste of a roster spot. Here are three players fantasy owners should drop.

 

3. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Is it the end of the road for Big Ben. Big questions surrounded him when he threw for five interceptions against the Jaguars. He’s definitely picked up the pace in his last three games with a touchdown to interception ratio of 4:2. But is he even worthy of a fantasy start anymore?

In eight games of the 2017 NFL season, Big Ben hasn’t gained more than 17 fantasy points in one week. From weeks three through six, Roethlisberger got 11, 10, 2 and 12 fantasy points, not QB1 material. Especially when Ben Roethlisberger is stacked with arguably the best wide receiver corps in the league. Surprisingly those four weeks sum up Big Ben’s season quite nicely. He’s averaged a poor 12.3 fantasy points per game and has performed very poorly on the road, even against teams like Chicago and Cleveland. Two teams who haven’t performed well against the pass this year.

For the rest of the season, it isn’t looking too much better for Big Ben and fantasy owners. In four of the last eight games, Roethlisberger faces Baltimore, Houston, Cincinnati and Green Bay. Four teams that have performed well against the pass so far this season. Another one of his games comes against Cleveland, who held him to only 16 fantasy points in week one.

With the focus turned to the run game, Le’veon Bell is the man in Pittsburgh now, and Big Ben can officially be let go from fantasy rosters.

Three players fantasy owners should drop.

(Photo by:deadspin.com

2. Lagarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles)

It sure didn’t take long for Jay Ajayi to get comfortable in Philadelphia. In his debut, he had eight rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown, including his longest run of the season on a 46 yard touchdown. While that was going on, Blount rushed nine times for 37 yards. With a surplus of running backs on the roster, and now Ajayi who adds to that and looks like the new workhorse, Blount’s playing time in Philly may be cut down.

Last season Blount had over 1,000 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns for the Patriots. This one has been much more inconsistent. In nine games in 2017, Blount has 504 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He’s actually rushing better than he did last season, with his yards per attempt up .7 yards. The key part that’s missing is the touchdowns. A drop off from 18 touchdowns to two touchdowns loses many fantasy points for owners all around the nation. With Carson Wentz playing at an elite level, and two huge red zone threats in Zach Ertz and Alshon Jefferey, those touchdown numbers aren’t too likely to increase by many more in the rest of the season.

Blount has a decently tough schedule ahead of him for the rest of the year. He faces defenses like the Rams, the Seahawks, the Raiders and the Cowboys. With the addition of Jay Ajayi, the use of Wendall Smallwood and Corey Clement and the elite passing attack in Philadelphia, Blount is droppable in all leagues.

 

1. Terrelle Pryor Sr. (Washington)

What happened to Terrelle Pryor? Last season with the Browns and their putrid quarterback play, he had 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. In the offseason, he signed a one year deal with Washington to play under Kirk Cousins. This had the entire football world excited to see what the two could do together.

Ultimately we saw that Cousins and Pryor couldn’t do anything together. In eight games in 2017, Pryor has 24 receptions and one touchdown. Pretty bad for someone with the talent of a number one receiver in this league. It’s been clear that Pryor and Cousins haven’t been on the same page in 2017. They haven’t connected when Pryor has been open and that’s led to a decrease in the number of snaps that Pryor has played. Not only is he being benched for Josh Doctson, but recently he’s been nursing a bone bruise.

Along with his chemistry, his schedule for the rest of the season is intense. Pryor goes up against defenses like Minnesota, New Orleans, New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver. This doesn’t bode well for Terrelle Pryor, and he is ready to be on the waivers in fantasy leagues.

 

Feature Image courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

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NFL defensive records

Are all career defensive records in the NFL unbreakable?

Records are meant to be broken, right? Well maybe not in the National Football League.

Since its inaugural season in 1920, the NFL has seen countless defensive records broken, most recently in 2012 when Ed Reed broke Rod Woodson’s record for career interception return yards. After looking at all of the current records, I thought it would be fun to see which records will be broken next, and which will remain untouched.

With the continuous decline in the average career length of players, it seems that many career defensive records may stand the test of time. According to Statista.com, the average NFL player’s career is just 3.3 years, and a player with at least one Pro Bowl selection is 11.7.

After looking at each defensive record, i’ve found that each record holder spent at least 13-years in the NFL and started a minimum of 169 games. There are only four active defensive players in the NFL that have served such a tenure, hence why these career records continue to stand.

Career Interceptions

NFL defensive records

Paul Krause is a Hall of Fame defensive back who played for the Washington Redskins (1964-67) and Minnesota Vikings (1968-79). (Photo by christopherapage.com)

Career leader: Paul Krause (81)

Active leader: DeAngelo Hall (43)

Krause is a Hall of Fame defensive back who played for the Washington Redskins (1964-67) and Minnesota Vikings (1968-79). Over his 16-year career, he had 81 interceptions, including two seasons with double-digits, which is something that no active player has even done once. What makes this even more impressive is that he played during an era where NFL teams played 14-game seasons, opposed to 16.

The NFL’s active leader in career interceptions is DeAngelo Hall, who is expected to make his return to the field this Sunday for the Washington Redskins. In his 14-year career, he has amassed 43 interceptions. The most he amassed in a season was six, which was a mark he reached twice (2005, 2010). Hall’s career is coming to a close, and he stands no chance of reaching 81 interceptions. So are there any other active players that can eventually catch Krause?

Not likely. Richard Sherman has the most interceptions for a player under 30 years old with 32 in 103 games. Sherman is unlikely to reach this mark as he has only eight interceptions in his last 39 games, opposed to the 16 interceptions he had across a 32-game span from 2012-13.

A decrease in Sherman’s interception totals may be correlated to his increasing reputation as one of the leagues lockdown corners. Quarterbacks won’t throw the ball to Sherman’s man enough for him to come anywhere close to Kraus.

The young defensive back that stands any chance to match Kraus’ interception totals is Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs. Peters has played in only 39 games, but has already totaled 17 interceptions. If he continues his 0.44 interception per game pace for another decade, he would pass Krause in his 13th season.

Only time will tell if Peters has what it takes, although one can assume that quarterbacks will stop throwing the ball to his side as his lockdown reputation continues to develop.

Career Interception return yards

Career leader: Ed Reed (1,590)

Active leader: DeAngelo Hall (838)

According to the New York Times, New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick referred to Ed Reed as “the best weak safety (he’s) seen since (he’s) been in the National Football League.” He added, “Every time you break the huddle, that’s who you’re looking at.”

Reed, also known as the “Ball Hawk,” ranks first in NFL history in career interception return yards with 1,590, and is seventh in career interceptions with 64. His net of nearly 25 yards per interception return puts him in a category with only Deion Sanders as one of the most dangerous returners in NFL history.

This record may seem unbreakable, although the aforementioned Marcus Peters could technically pass Reed if he were to intercept 52 more passes and continue his 23 yards per interception return pace. Although it may be improbable, it is not impossible.

Career Interceptions returned for a touchdown

NFL defensive records

Hall of Famer Rod Woodson holds the record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown with 12. (Photo by Solecollector.com)

Career leader: Rod Woodson (12)

Active leader: Aqib Talib (10)

Now this is a record that can be broken. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson holds the record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown with 12, although 31-year-old Aqib Talib is just two house calls away from matching Woodson’s mark.

Talib has had at least one pick-six in seven of his ten seasons. Talib is a vital part of the Denver Broncos “No Fly Zone” defense, and he should have no problem intercepting a handful of passes throughout the rest of his career. I would not be surprised to see Talib holding this record by the end of his career.

Career sacks

Career leader: Bruce Smith (200.0)

Active leader: Julius Peppers (151.0)

Bruce Smith, who has 200 sacks over his illustrious career, has been the NFL’s sack king since surpassing Reggie Whites’ mark of 198 in 2003. It took Smith 19 seasons and 279 games to reach this mark.

The active sack leader is Julius Peppers, who has 151 sacks through 16 seasons and 242 games. With Peppers’ retirement imminent, it is clear he is not a threat to break the record.

Including Peppers, there are only four active players in the NFL with over 100 sacks: Dwight Freeney (123.5), Terrell Suggs (119) and Elvis Dumervil (102.5).

In my estimation, there are only three active players that have a chance to sniff Smith’s record. An honorable mention is Khalil Mack, as he is one of the league’s premier pass rushers. Because he is already 26 years old (which isn’t old) and has only 34.5 career sacks, it will be a stretch for him to reach Smith’s 200 sack mark.

The most likely candidate to break this record is the 2015 Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. In his seven-year career, he already has 80.5 career sacks and is averaging about 0.85 sacks per game. If Miller were to continue this pace, he would need to play in just over 141 more games to break Smith’s record. The likelihood of Miller playing nine more seasons at an elite level is unlikely, although he could improve his current sack pace if he stays healthy in his prime.

J.J. Watt was on pace to contend Smith’s record after recording 76 sacks in 83 games, posting a rate of .92 sacks per game, but was thrown off track due to injuries.

Watt missed most of the 2016 season and will miss the remainder of the 2017 season, causing his chances of catching Smith to continue to dwindle. If Watt returns healthy for the 2018 NFL season and continues his torrid sack pace, he would need to play for another eight seasons to contend with Smith. As an injury riddled 28-year-old, it seems unlikely Watt will become the sack king.

The other active player who may one day approach Smith’s sack record is Joey Bosa. The 22-year-old has a total of 19 sacks in just 20 games, giving him an insane .95 sacks per game. If he were to continue this pace for 13 seasons, he would approach Smith’s mark. Bosa will need to stay healthy and hungry for over a decade, which is something that very few players are capable of in today’s NFL.

Career Fumble recoveries

NFL defensive records

Rod Woodson holds the record for career fumble recoveries for a defensive player with 32. (Photo from NFL.com)

Career leader: Rod Woodson (32)

Active leader: Julius Peppers (18)

This record seems to be the least likely to be broken, ever. Recovering a fumble is incredibly difficult as many different factors affect a situation, including positioning, hand eye coordination and luck.

Rod Woodson holds the record for career fumble recoveries for a defensive player with 32. Woodson spent 17-seasons in the NFL and recovered at least one fumble every year.

The active leader in career fumble recoveries is Julius Peppers with 18, although no other defensive player in the NFL has half as many fumble recoveries as Woodson. This record may in fact never be broken.

Career Forced fumbles*

Career leader: Robert Mathis (54)

Active leader: Unknown

I understand forced fumbles is not an official NFL statistic, and unofficial numbers prior to 1991 were not recorded, although it should be.

According to Sportshoopla.com, unofficially, Robert Mathis is the NFL’s leader in career forced fumbles with 54. Unfortunately, because this stat is not officially calculated by the NFL, a list of active players’ career forced fumbles are not available, forcing me to believe this record will not be broken until the NFL begins to officially count the stat.

Career safeties

NFL defensive records

Jared Allen holds the NFL record for career safeties with four. (Photo by Genevieve Ross)

Career leader: Jared Allen, Doug English and Ted Hendricks (4)

Active leader(s): Calais Campbell, Leonard Floyd and Junior Galette (2)

This record may seem breakable since safeties are extremely uncommon. According to Ken Belson of the New York Times, one safety occurs every 14.31 games. Also, no player has ever recorded more than one safety in a single game.

There is a tie between three players for this record, the most recent being Jared Allen, who played in the NFL for 12 seasons. He recorded them all in just three seasons (2008, 2009, 2011).

Leonard Floyd seems like the most likely of the group to break this record, as he is half-way there and just 24 years old, but this record may be unbreakable due to the lack of safeties that occur.

So, are all career defensive records unbreakable? No, but clearly some records stand a chance of never being broken.

Did I miss any record-breaking candidates, or did I disrespect a legend by saying their record is breakable? Only time will tell, but let me know your opinions.

 

Featured image from SB Nation

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