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The NFL Has Power to Force 8 Teams to Do ‘Hard Knocks’ in 2014

The  NFL has had trouble in recent seasons getting teams to participate in HBO’s Hard Knocks seriesbut it reportedly has the power to force eight teams to take part in the 2014 edition of the show.

According to  NFL.com’s Around the League’s Chris Wesseling, the NFL owners passed a rule in October that gives the league the ability to force certain teams into participating in the Reality TV Show. 

The league will still ask for volunteers to do the show. If no team steps forward, the league will then choose from a handful of teams. Every team will be eligible to be selected unless it meets one of three exceptions:

  • Teams that have a first-year head coach
  • Teams that made the playoffs in one of the last two seasons
  • Teams that have participated in Hard Knocks within the previous 10 seasons

So, which teams are eligible to be selected by the league to do Hard Knocks in 2014? Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky, broke down the list of eligible teams:

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Chicago Bears
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • New York Giants
  • Oakland Raiders
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • St. Louis Rams

 

Teams NFL cannot force to do ‘Hard Knocks’ in 2014
Team Reason
Atlanta Falcons Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens Playoffs
Carolina Panthers Playoffs
Cincinnati Bengals Playoffs/Previous Appearance
Cleveland Browns New Coach
Dallas Cowboys Previous Appearance
Denver Broncos Playoffs
Detroit Lions New Coach
Green Bay Packers Playoffs
Houston Texans New Coach/Playoffs
Indianapolis Colts Playoffs
Kansas City Chiefs Playoffs/Previous Appearance
Miami Dolphins Previous Appearance
Minnesota Vikings New Coach/Playoffs
New England Patriots Playoffs
New Orleans Saints Playoffs
New York Jets Previous Appearance
Philadelphia Eagles Playoffs
San Diego Chargers Playoffs
San Francisco 49ers Playoffs
Seattle Seahawks Playoffs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers New Coach
Tennessee Titans New Coach
Washington Redskins New Coach/Playoffs

Deadspin.com

 So which team out of the 8 eligible would you like to see in Hard Knocks?

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2013 NFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 16 – Defense Wins Championships….

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DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! 

 

It might be one of the those ‘old’ sayings, but it is staring to come true in the 2013-14 NFL season. With teams like the Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, and Chiefs all playing their best football of the year behind 4 of the top 5 defenses in the league. All four teams won convincingly against their opponents in week 15, and with only two weeks left before the postseason, these teams look to be primed for a Super Bowl run. 

 

The Broncos continue to have problems on defense, but with Peyton Manning and the Denver offense putting up 30+ points a game, they still are one of the most dangerous teams in the AFC. The Patriots fall hard this week after losing to Miami, and suffering more injuries. The Cowboys, Lions, Saints and Bengals continue to struggle to find their groove, as the Cardinals, Packers, Bears, and Ravens all took a big step up in this weeks power rankings. 

 

*Remember to WATCH/LISTEN to the SportsCast every Wednesday (12:00-1:30PST) & our NFL GameDay Show (4:30-6:00PST) or ON-DEMAND at anytime.

 

 

1. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-2) [Last week +2] – I was worried about their long trip to play the Giants, but the defense ended that concern. That was dominant. After one week in the No. 3 spot, the Seahawks are back where they belong in the power rankings. One more victory and they lock up the top seed.

 

 

2. DENVER BRONCOS (11-3) [Last week -1] – They looked lifeless against the Chargers and the defense isn’t getting the job done. They aren’t close to the unbeatable juggernaut they appeared to be through the first 10 weeks of the year. They will finish with the Raiders and Texans, and should have home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

 

 

 

3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-4) [Last week +1] – They look like the 49ers from last season. Colin Kaepernick is playing some of his best ball of the year since Michael Crabtree has returned, while the defense is playing like the dominate squad we all thought they would be. The Niners are getting hot at the right time, and with a playoff spot on the line with a win in Week 16, expect Harbaugh’s team to come out firing.

 

 

4. CAROLINA PANTHERS (10-4) [Last week +2] – They can win the division by winning their last two, and with a home game this week against the Saints they are in the drivers seat. Cam Newton has a 8-1 record over the past nine weeks, and if this team can get past the New Orleans this weekend, they will be very dangerous at home in the first round of the playoffs.

 

 

5. KANSAS CITY CHEIFS (11-3) [Last week +2] – Jamaal Charles has been a absolute beast this season, and looks to be one of the front runners for MVP of the league. Andy Reid’s offense has taken a step forward the last two weeks and looks to have his team primed for the playoffs. With two wins, and help, they still can win the AFC West.

 

 

6. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-4) [Last week -4] – How do they lose that way at St. Louis? The Saints’ run at the top of the power rankings was short-lived, and now Drew Brees and company face a red-hot Panthers squad looking for revenge. The Saints need to find a way to bounce back this Sunday in Carolina, or they could see themselves on the road for the first round of the playoffs.

 

 

7. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-4) [Last week -2] – Can’t really blame Tom Brady for struggling in the Pats loss to the Dolphins, he’s playing without Gronk, Dobson or Thompkins. They are a playoff team, yes, but not as much of a Super Bowl contender as once thought. The Patriots have two weeks to get back on track, and then it’s off to the playoffs, where a first-round bye and a home game likely await them.

 

 

8. ARIZONA CARDINALS (9-5) [Last week +3] – To have a playoff chance, they have to win at Seattle and at home against San Francisco. That will be tough. But whatever the final outcome is, Bruce Arians has this team headed in the right direction.

 

 

9. CHICAGO BEARS (8-6) [Last week +3] –  The Bears sent a message Monday night, as Chicago’s offense pounded the Cowboys putting up 45 points without breaking a sweat. Josh McCown is making a case for himself to stay the Bears QB, while Jay Cutler recovers from injury. With games against CLE, PHI, and GB, the Bears will have some work in front of them as they chase the Lions in the NFC North.

 

 

10. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-5) [Last week -2] –  A loss to the Steelers really hurts the Bengals, as it leaves the door open for the reigning Super Bowl champs to steal the AFC North. Once again, Andy Dalton proves to a horrible passer, possessing the worst total QBR of any quarterback on a division leader (52.8). 

 

 

11. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-6) [Last week -2] – Even with the bad loss to the Vikings, Chip Kelly’s team still controls its own playoff fate. They will face the Bears and Cowboys to finish the season.

 

 

12. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-5) [Last week +2] – The Colts offense woke up against the Texans, but then again who hasn’t put up points against Houston. They are still going to host a playoff game at home, but unless Trent Richardson can find some magic, and the defense has a complete turn around, I just don’t see this team getting out of the Wild Card round. 

 

 

13. BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-6) [Last Week +2] – With two weeks to go, the defending Super Bowl champions are the No. 6 seed in the crowded AFC and just one game back from the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals. The defense is playing great, but unless this offense, lead by Joe Flacco, can bust out, I don’t see them beating one of the top teams in the playoffs.

 

 

14. MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-6) [Last week +2] – Ok, ok, it was a good win against a battered Patriots squad, but once again I’m still not a believer. Ryan Tannehill looked great with three touchdown passes, but why can’t he perform like that on a consistent basis? If they win out, they are a playoff team, they will have to beat the Bills and Jets in their final two weeks. 

 

 

15. GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-6-1) [Last week +3] – With Aaron Rodgers likely to be back in Week 16, the postseason looms for the Packers. The Packers are currently behind the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears in the NFC North standings. But with a win next week versus Pittsburgh, the Packers would head to Chicago for a Week 17 showdown that could determine the division winner 

 

15. DETROIT LIONS (7-7) [Last week -4] – As has become too common in Detroit, the Lions’ inconsistencies cost them. They are fighting for their playoff lives. Two weeks to go, and anything is possible.

 

 

16. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (7-7) [Last week +2] – Their takedown of the Denver Broncos on Thursday night not only gave head coach Mike McCoy his signature win of the year, but it also kept the team’s playoff hopes alive for another week. The 2013 season may not end with a playoff berth, but the Chargers are a team to be reckoned with moving forward.

 

16. DALLAS COWBOYS (7-7) [Last week -5] – That was just embarrassing. Blame Tony Romo, blame Jerry Jones, blame Jason Garrett, the whole team is a joke. Dez Bryant is crying and the defense looks like a pee-wee football team. However, in some miraculous way, the Cowboys control their own playoff destiny by winning their two games against the Redskins and Eagles. 

     

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TEAMS NOT WORTH RANKING: Each week I will put a new team in this group, lets hope yours isn’t one of them. Once their in, they can’t come back out. Jets proving me wrong so far, after an early week 2 entry.

 

  • JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-10) – Week 1
  • NEW YORK JETS (6-8) -Week 2
  • TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-10) – Week 3
  •  PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-8) -Week 4
  • NEW YORK GIANTS (5-9) – Week 5
  • MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-9-1) – Week 6
  • ST. LOUIS RAMS (6-8) – Week 7
  • HOSTON TEXANS (2-12) – Week 8
  • ATLANTA FALCONS (4-10) – Week 9
  • BUFFALO BILLS (4-9) – Week 10
  • WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-11) – Week 11
  • OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-10) – Week 12
  • CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-10) – Week 13
  • TENNESSEE TITANS (5-9) – WEEK 14

 

 

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NFL Rapid Reactions – Week 15

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The teams I picked to win this week were mostly wrong and further established the unpredictable ways of the NFL.  “Any given Sunday” anything can happen and this week was very indicative of that term.  The games I have thoughts on will be similar to last week as the playoff contending games are the only ones I will acknowledge.  Football Sundays during this time of the year is the best television show and it fails to disappoint….. My reactions

 

 

SD 27   DEN 20

 

A game where most thought the Broncos would win by two touchdowns easy didn’t go that way.  The short turnaround in the week didn’t help the Broncos as they looked flat all night.  The Chargers established themselves at the line of scrimmage and pretty much took over this game with great ball control offense.  Ryan Matthews was a catalyst in keeping Peyton on the sidelines with his 5th +100yds rushing game of the year.  By the time the Broncos got rolling offensively there just were not much time left and the Broncos defense could not get off the field on third downs.  The Chargers playoff hopes are still alive with this huge road victory.

 

 

 

CHI 38   CLE 31

 

Jay Cutler was clearly rusty in his first game back, coupled with the fact that he was playing in inclement weather against a feisty Cleveland Browns defense.  However, Jay Cutler having arguably the best receiving duo in the league and an opportunistic defense helps immensely in overcoming obstacles.  The Bears held onto their playoff hopes with this win.

 

 

MIA 24   NE 20

 

The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and ran up against a Gronk(less) Patriots team at home at the right time.  Ryan Tannehill is growing up for the Dolphins right before our eyes and making big time plays in big time moments to validate being a top 10 pick.  Tannehill marched down the field late in the 4th quarter to score a touchdown to take the lead dropping a few dimes on key downs.  Tom Brady was spectacular but the Dolphins made a few more plays than he could and ultimately sealed the victory with an interception in the endzone.  The Dolphins currently hold the final playoff spot in the AFC and look good to hold onto it.

 

 

MIN 48   PHI 30

 

Nobody saw this meltdown by the Philadelphia Eagles coming based on the fact that the Vikings were without their stud running back Adrien Peterson. The Vikings put up 48 points led by Matt Cassell but it was more surprising to see that the Eagles could not keep up.  The NFC East is the worst division in football so the loss isn’t too surprising but considering how well the Eagles have been playing this almost comes as a total shock.  This game is a prime example of NFL football at its finest when pointing towards predictability.

 

 

SEA 23   NYG 0

 

The Seahawks have virtually nailed down the top seed in the NFC but this needed to be pointed out that the Giants scored ZERO points on their home field. Eli Manning threw 5 interceptions and was yanked from the game.   It has gotten that bad and the Giants have hit rock bottom.

 

 

CAR 30   NYJ 20

 

It is worth noting that Cam Newton is having a fantastic year and the Panthers look as if they will make the playoffs.  This was a much needed season for Cam who has somewhat been the forgotten man amongst the “new age” quarterbacks.

 

 

GB 37   DAL 36

 

There is only one team who can be up 26-3 at halftime and manage to lose, that team would be the DALLAS COWBOYS.  They decided it was a great idea to only run the ball 7 times in the 2nd half and right on cue the defense got trampled and put Tony Romo in hero mode once again and of course it all comes down to the inevitable interception.  Teams scoring over 35 in a game this season are a combined 51-2 (guess who represents oner of those two losses).  The most disgusting part of this train wreck referred to as the Cowboys is that they STILL have an opportunity to win the division.  *Barf*

 

 

STL 27   NO 16

 

The Saints don’t want to admit their road woes but these types of losses make it hard to ignore.  Drew Brees was under duress all day and could not get on track offensively.  On the defensive side of the ball they were pushed around and allowed over 140 yards rushing to a team with limited receiving options (so they knew they needed to stop the run).  This loss just makes their showdown with the Panthers even more important towards winning their division and getting a home playoff game.

 

 

ARI 37   TEN 34

 

Bruce Arians continues to impress leading these Cardinals, and they should hopefully make the playoffs as it is well deserved.  This was a gutsy road win but it took overtime to pull it through.  Carson Palmer has been playing well as of late and they have also got some good contribution from running back Rashard Mendenhall who looks more healthy than early in the year.  If this team makes the postseason they will be a tough out based on their scrappy defense and ability to score as they have an underrated core of skill players (outside of the stud Larry Fitzgerald).

 

 

PIT 30   CIN 20

 

It was disappointing to see the Bengals look so flat and unable to take advantage of an old and tired Pittsburgh team.  The Bengals are too talented to get beat in the fashion they did on Sunday night.  The leader of the Bengals which is quarterback Andy Dalton just isn’t the guy to lead them to the promise land as he threw errant passes and made bad decisions for the majority of the night.  The defense has been ripped apart by injuries but there is still plenty of firepower to get things done but this game is an example of why the Bengals are going nowhere.

 

 

BAL 18   DET 16

 

This is a game I thought had the makings to be somewhat of a shootout, but then also could be low scoring based on the erratic play of both quarterbacks.  The potential of both of these defenses was on full display, but the inconsistencies of both quarterbacks were visible as well.  I have referred to the Lions as the “Cowboys of the NFC North” and they didn’t disappoint.  Matt Stafford threw a couple awful and untimely picks that cost them the game and Calvin Johnson had some inexplicably key drops that killed momentum.  The Ravens continue to look primed for a playoff run and the Lions look like they will fall short of expectations once again.

 

 

We are gearing up for a great playoff push and I can’t to see it all unfold.  Coaches and players are playing to keep jobs and the pressure to perform is evident.  Thanks for reading you guys and I will see you next week!  Happy Holidays!

 

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2013 NFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 15 – Look Who’s Back on Top….

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LOOK WHO’S BACK ON TOP……….

 

The Denver Broncos have returned to a place that their very familiar with, being No. 1 in my Power Rankings. Peyton made it a point to prove he can win in cold weather by throttling the Titans and easily covering the 12 point spread. You can read more sports and NFL betting news here. Denver will now have home field advantage throughout the playoffs unless something catastrophic happens. The 49ers are back in the top 5 with a huge win over Seahawks, while the Patriots win but lose a major piece of their offense in the process.

 

“Who Dat” Nation made a statement with a huge win over the Panthers, and the Chiefs got back on track with a win over the dysfunctional Redskins who are now going to sit RG3 for the rest of the season. The Eagles continue to soar under Nick Foles, and look to be the favorite in the NFC East after Chicago’s pounding of Dallas on Monday night. The Colts continue to fall as they clinch the AFC South, even after losing to the Bengals.

 

As for the Wild Card race, the Dolphins and Ravens still have life in the AFC after big wins in week 14, while the Cowboys, Bears, Packers, Lions and Cardinals will have to win their division if they have any hope of making the playoffs, as none of them will catch the 49ers and Panthers. For Green Bay, the star quarter Aaron Rodgers has experienced pain and his status in the air for this weeks game against Dallas.

 

 

As for the shitter, the Tennessee Titans are this weeks stink.

 

 

*Remember to WATCH/LISTEN to the SportsCast every Wednesday (12:00-1:30PST) & our NFL GameDay Show (4:30-6:00PST) or ON-DEMAND at anytime.

 

 

1. DENVER BRONCOS (11-2) [Last week +1] – Peyton silenced a few critics last Sunday after going on a 44-7 run against the Titans in one of the coldest games of the year in Denver. With three weeks to go, the Broncos are in control of the AFC, and the No. 1 seed looks to be theirs.

 

 

2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3) [Last week +3] – The Saints at home are just plain dominant, going 7-0 this season. Drew Brees lit up the Panthers top ranked defense and while Rob Ryan’s defensive unit bounced back to hold Cam Newton to just 13 points. The division title will be in their hands if they beat Carolina in two weeks.

 

 

3. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-2) [Last week -2] – Well, it only took one week for the Seahawks to drop from the No.1 spot after throttling the Saints and then losing on the road to the 49ers. The Seahawks were beat at their own game, defense and running the ball. The Niners ran the ball and pressured Russell Wilson all day long. Seattle hasn’t secured the No. 1 seed yet, though they would have to lose twice in their final three games for New Orleans or San Francisco to have a shot at taking it from them.

 

 

4. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (9-4) [Last week +2] – The Niners got their revenge in Week 14, beating the Seattle Seahawks and reminding the NFL world that they are who we thought they were. A tough hard nose defense, lead by the running game and Frank Gore. They are likely to be a wild-card team, but will probably be a road favorite against either the NFC North or East winner. 

 

 

5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3) [Last week -2] –  Another Tom Brady comeback, another close win for the Pats. However, they lost the best tight end in the game in the process, as Rob Gronkowski is now out for the year. They hold on to the No. 2 seed in the AFC and will probably stay their, but the Patriots are definitely not the same team without Gronk. 

 

 

6. CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-4) [Last week -2] – Winning in New Orleans is tough to do, but they have a chance to get even next week at home. They are still in control of their own playoff destiny, but must get back on track. Good thing the offense-less Jets role into town this weekend.

 

 

 7. KANSAS CITY CHEIFS (10-3) [Last week -EVEN] – The Chiefs had a nice bounce back after three straight losses blowing out the Redskins 45-10. They will likely be on the road for the first week of the playoffs, but if they play like they did in Week 14, that won’t matter.

 

 

8. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-4) [Last week -EVEN] – The Bengals put a statement win on the board in Week 14, smashing the Indianapolis Colts 42-28 and moving into the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Andy Dalton is playing his best ball of the season, and if this team can continue its dominance on both sides of the ball, they will be dangerous come playoff time.

 

 

9. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5) [Last week +1] – The Eagles lead the NFC East with three games to go in Chip Kelly’s first season. Now matter what happens from here on out, the Eagles will not finish with a losing record, and now one expected that. 

 

 

10. DETROIT LIONS (7-6) [Last week +1] – Ya, I know the Lions lost, but weather was obviously a factor as both teams were affected. The NFC North is still their for the taking, but don’t count out the Bears and Josh McCown. With Three games to go, the Lions need to get serious. They host Baltimore and the Giants before traveling to Minnesota to end the year in what could be a make-or-break game.

 

 

11. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-5) [Last week +2] – Bruce Arians has his team building a case for the N0. 6 spot in the NFC playoff picture. Carson Palmer is playing the best we have seen him since his days with the Bengals. Unfortunately for the Red Birds, unless either San Francisco or Carolina stumbles down the stretch, the playoffs might be out of reach.

 

 

12. CHICAGO BEARS (7-6) [Last week +3] –  The Bears sent a message Monday night, as Chicago’s offense pounded the Cowboys putting up 45 points without breaking a sweat. Josh McCown is making a case for himself to stay the Bears QB, while Jay Cutler recovers from injury. With games against CLE, PHI, and GB, the Bears will have some work in front of them as they chase the Lions in the NFC North. 

 

 

13. DALLAS COWBOYS (7-6) [Last week -3] – That might have been the worst performance I have ever seen out of a defense. I know they are suffering from some crucial injuries, but that embarrassing. They now trail the Eagles by a game in the NFC East, and without Sean Lee possibly for the next couple games, that week 17 home game against Philadelphia will mean nothing.

 

14. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-5) [Last week -2] – That team that beat the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers no longer exists. The will host a Wild Card playoff game, after clinching the putrid AFC South, but won’t be favored. Plain and simple, Andrew Luck needs more talent around him.

 

 

15. BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-6) [Last Week -EVEN] – With three games to go, the Ravens control their own destiny. However, a tough schedule to finish the year, with road games in Detroit and Cincinnati around hosting the Patriots.

 

 

16. MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-6) [Last week +1] – A win against New England would give the Dolphins the inside track for the wild card. However, I’m still not a believer.

 

 

17. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (6-7) [Last week -1] – The Bolts took care of business against the Giants, and are now looking to catch the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC wild-card race. That will be a tough task, seeing as they have two games against Denver and Kansas City to close out the season.

 

 

18. GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-6-1) [Last week -2] – The Cheeseheads are half-game out of the NFC North race and Aaron Rodgers could possibly be back for week 15 against Dallas. Then finish with PIT and CHI, if they can win out, you have to like their chances.

 

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TEAMS NOT WORTH RANKING: Each week I will put a new team in this group, lets hope yours isn’t one of them. Once their in, they can’t come back out. Jets proving me wrong so far, after an early week 2 entry.

 

  • JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-9) – Week 1
  • NEW YORK JETS (6-7) -Week 2
  • TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-9) – Week 3
  •  PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-8) -Week 4
  • NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8) – Week 5
  • MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-9-1) – Week 6
  • ST. LOUIS RAMS (5-8) – Week 7
  • HOSTON TEXANS (2-11) – Week 8
  • ATLANTA FALCONS (3-10) – Week 9
  • BUFFALO BILLS (4-8) – Week 10
  • WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-10) – Week 11
  • OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-9) – Week 12
  • CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-9) – Week 13
  • TENNESSEE TITANS (5-8) – WEEK 14

 

 

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2013 NFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 14 – Fear the Twelfth Man….

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Fear the Twelfth Man….

 

Every NFC teams worst nightmare just became real as the road to the Super Bowl will go through Seattle. In one of the biggest blowouts between two of the best teams in the league, the Seahawks proved why they are a force to be reckin going into the playoffs, as they crushed the Saints on MNF.

 

As for the AFC, the two teams we all thought would be at the top are, in the Patriots and Broncos. Denver has a one game lead, and unless something drastic happens, look to be the No. 1 seed and secure home field advantage. This could be crucial as Peyton plays much better at home than on the road. 

 

This weeks biggest movers include the Saints down five spots from last week, Baltimore moves up three spots, Jerry’s World makes an appearance in the Top 10, while the Colts fall the farthest this week. And don’t forget this weeks team to go in the shitter, non other than the Cleveland Browns. Fitting.

 

*Remember to WATCH/LISTEN to the SportsCast every Wednesday (12:00-1:30PST) & our NFL GameDay Show (4:30-6:00PST) or ON-DEMAND at anytime.

 

 

1. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-1) [Last week +1] – The Sea-chickens proved me wrong Monday night throttling the Saints 34-7 and clinch themselves a playoff birth. They are in the drivers seat in the NFC for home field advantage, which we all know is huge for Seattle. However, they must take down the 49ers who are rolling after 2 straight wins this Sunday in San Francisco.

 

2. DENVER BRONCOS (10-2) [Last week +3] – The Broncos proved in Weeks 11 and 13 that the AFC West still goes through Denver. They look like the No. 1 seed in the AFC and  can have home-field advantage throughout if they can take care of business down the stretch. They finish out the season with TEN, SD, HOU, and OAK. Not to shabby.

 

 

3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) [Last week +3] – A win, is a win, and thats all that matters for the Patriots who slip past a desperate Texans squad. They have been playing catch in their past three games, but Tom Brady looks to be playing his best ball of the year, and New England has never been healthier. A No. 2 seed in the AFC is almost a guarantee.

 

 

4. CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-3) [Last week -EVEN] – After stumbling past the Dolphins last week, Carolina showed some more consistent focus in crushing the life from the Buccaneers. The Panthers’ ability has been tested with a difficult schedule so far this season, but they continue to answer their doubters with wins. However, their biggest test is yet to come playing the division leading Saints in a game with huge playoff implications.

 

 

5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-3) [Last week -5] – Only scoring 7 points and getting blown out by the Seahawks on MNF will drop you five spots in this weeks rankings. The Saints may have lost, but they still have as much talent as any team in the league. Who Dat Nation is still legitimate Super Bowl contender, but Week 15 will say a lot about just how good they truly are as they face the Panthers.

 

 

6. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-4) [Last week -EVEN] – Colin Kaepernick enjoyed getting his favorite receiver back in Michael Crabtree, as the Niners pounded the Rams to keep pace in the NFC playoff race. With Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, Frank Gore, and Crabtree all playing at full health, the Niners are back in the Super Bowl contender talk. They will have a chance to prove that this Sunday at home against the Seahawks.

 

 

 7. KANSAS CITY CHEIFS (9-3) [Last week -EVEN] –  So is everyone done drinking the KC cool-aid? The defense, which is the staple of this team, is falling apart. Sean Smith, Marcus Cooper and even Brandon Flowers all got torched last week against the Broncos. They still are a talented team, and no one is taking away from their impressive season, but can this offense compete with the top 5 teams in the league…. I just don’t think so. They are likely the No. 5 seed—and they’ll be a favorite if they travel to Indianapolis or Cincinnati in the Wild Card Round.

 

 

8. CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-4) [Last week -EVEN] – The Bengals haven’t been as explosive in recent weeks—or really for the entire month of November—so it was nice to see Andy Dalton and A.J. Green making things happen again. Huge game this weekend against the Colts could decide which team will face the Broncos or Patriots in the first round.

 

 

9. DALLAS COWBOYS (7-5) [Last week +2] – The Cowboys are currently the NFC East leaders, but have four tough games remaining in their race for a playoff birth. With the Bears, Packers, Redskins and the Eagles to close out the season, the Boys will need DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten at their best.

 

 

10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (7-5) [Last week +2] – Nick Foles has provided the spark to get Chip Kelly’s bunch peaking at the right time with their most impressive win of the season. LeSean McCoy, Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson and Zach Ertz have all started to gel together, and that not good for the rest of the league. Not the mention the surprise of the defense the last month, they have really stepped up and made this team a legit playoff team. Big game this week against the Lions.

 

 

11. DETROIT LIONS (7-5) [Last week +2] – The Lions defense line man-handled the Packers on Thanksgiving sacking Matt Flynn seven times in route to a huge win and taking over the NFC North lead.  Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush have been amazing this year and continue to dominate on the offensive side of the ball. With four games to play, the Lions control their own playoff destiny.

 

 

12. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-4) [Last week -2] – The Colts might have won the game, but they are not impressing me. The offensive line is one of the worst in the league, and since Reggie Wayne’s injury the Colts offense, including Andrew Luck, continue to sputter. Big game on the road against Cincy this Sunday, and if Indy falls short, so might their playoff chances as well.

 

 

13. ARIZONA CARDINALS (7-5) [Last week -1] – Tough to go into Philly and beat one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but the Cards played tough. Bruce Arians squad doesn’t have the star power of a Broncos or Seahawks team, but they play as a unit and continue to impress. With a game at home against the Rams coming up, don’t count out the red birds in the NFC Wild Card race.

 

 

14. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-6) [Last Week +3] – The Ravens counted on Justin Ticker’s five field goals to get past the Steelers, but this team is still much alive in the AFC Wild Card and possibly the division. However, the road will be a uphill battle, the next four games are no walk in the park (home against Minnesota and New England, on the road against Detroit and Cincinnati).

 

 

15. CHICAGO BEARS (6-6) [Last week -1] –  Alshon Jeffery has been one of the biggest surprises this year, but even a record-setting performance couldn’t help the Bears get past the lowly Vikings. Chicago’s defense is no longer the dominate force it once was, and without that security blanket this team does not look playoff ready. They sit one game back in the NFC North, but might have to win out the rest of their game to get into the playoffs.

 

16. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-7) [Last week -2] – Losing to the Bengals killed any chance of the Bolts making the playoffs. The Mike McCoy experience has been a up and down ride, but they can still end on a positive note finishing the season strong. Chargers going to play spoiler this year.

 

 

17. MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-6) [Last week +3] –  I said last week that this team is not a playoff contender, and I still believe that, but the Fins are still alive in the AFC Wild Card race. Mike Wallace has started to play like the Mike Wallace we all saw in Pittsburgh. However, the road to the playoffs won’t be easy for Miami. In the final four weeks, the Dolphins face the Steelers, Patriots, Bills and Jets. 

 

 

18. GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-6-1) [Last week -2] – I can’t believe I’m saying this but are the Cheeseheads in danger of going into the shitter next week? You know the SportsCast fans are going to love that, especially with all my Packers love at the beginning of the season. But hey, without Aaron Rodgers this team is like the Colts without Manning when he was injured. God awful.

 

 

19. TENNESSEE TITANS (5-7) [Last week -1] – The Tennessee Titans’ hopes of stealing the AFC South died in Week 13 as they lost to the division-leading Indianapolis Colts. A winning season is still possible, but this team will have a quarterback decision to make at the end of the season.

   

 

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TEAMS NOT WORTH RANKING: Each week I will put a new team in this group, lets hope yours isn’t one of them. Once their in, they can’t come back out. Jets proving me wrong so far, after an early week 2 entry.

 

  • JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-9) – Week 1
  • NEW YORK JETS (5-7) -Week 2
  • TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-9) – Week 3
  •  PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-7) -Week 4
  • NEW YORK GIANTS (5-7) – Week 5
  • MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-8-1) – Week 6
  • ST. LOUIS RAMS (5-7) – Week 7
  • HOSTON TEXANS (2-10) – Week 8
  • ATLANTA FALCONS (3-9) – Week 9
  • BUFFALO BILLS (4-8) – Week 10
  • WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-9) – Week 11
  • OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-8) – Week 12
  • CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-8) – Week 13

 

 

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