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- A Showdown of Legacy – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. Green Bay Packers NFC Championship Preview - January 21, 2021
1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
Last week #1
The Eagles have all but won the NFC East, holding a five game lead with five games left. The also have a full game lead for the number one seed in the conference. Is Carson Wentz the MVP?
2. New England Patriots (9-2)
Last week #2
The Patriots have started their annual second half surge. They’ve won seven straight games. Seriously, doesn’t this seem like a perennial occurrence during the cold months?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2)
Last week #4
Pittsburgh has won six straight games. They are the most complete team in the AFC. They can win in any style of game too: close, ugly, shootout, or defensive struggle.
4. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
Last week #5
The legend of Case Keenum continues to grow. Minnesota has reeled off seven in a row, filled with big plays and big hits. Their defense has given up over 30 points only once this season.
5. Los Angeles Rams (8-3)
Last week #7
The Rams continue to smash teams left and right, averaging 29.9 points per game. The defense has stepped up, allowing just 18.7 points per game. Teams have to outscore the Rams to defeat them, a plan the defense is making pretty hard to execute. Todd Gurley has electrified Los Angeles, accumulating 1,344 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns.
6. New Orleans Saints (8-3)
Last week #3
The Saints look exciting even in a loss. Alvin Kamara has become my favorite for the Rookie of the year award, with 1,094 yards from scrimmage and nine scores. The Saints average 6.4 yards per play, making their drives long, methodical, and hard to stop.
7. Carolina Panthers (8-3)
Last week #6
A four game win streak has the Panthers in a battle for first place in the NFC South. They’ve averaged 29.25 points per game and allowed only 17 points per in that span.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)
Last week #8
Jacksonville”s stifling defense just toys with it’s opponents. They don’t give up anything, be it points or yards. Their pass attack is futile and is the only weakness they have shown.
9. Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Last week #9
The Falcons have won three straight games. Julio Jones is second in the NFL with 94.5 receiving yards per game and his dominance of opposing secondaries is starting to become scary. Imagine if he was really healthy.
10. Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
Last week #11
I should literally just write Russell Wilson here and move on. He’s averaging 275.3 pass yards and about two touchdowns per game. He’s the reason they have any wins at all right now.
11. Detroit Lions (6-5)
Last week #12
With 22 forced turnovers Detroit is tied for first place in that category, using the picks and fumbles to turn games in their favor. Matthew Stafford had 21 touchdowns versus six interceptions and three game winning drives on the season.
12. Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Last week #13
The ravenous Ravens have picked off opposing quarterbacks 18 times this season, which is first in the NFL. They have won three out of four games and for the season they allow just 189.9 pass yards per game.
13. Tennessee Titans (7-4)
Last week #14
Tennessee is the weirdest 7-4 team I’ve ever seen. They don’t do anything particularly well, but they are finishing games. They’ve won five out of six games and four of those wins came by four points or less.
14. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5)
Last week #10
The Chiefs have proven to be a middle of the pack team that has lost its ability to scare anyone offensively. They still rank in the top ten offensively, but have lost five out of six games.
15. Los Angeles Chargers (5-6)
Last week #18
The Chargers may be the first team to start 0-4 and finish with a playoff spot. Phillip Rivers has thrown for 2,948 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Chargers have won five of seven games since switching to Nick Novak as their place kicker.
16. Buffalo Bills (6-5)
Last week #21
Buffalo snapped a three game losing streak in which they gave up 138 points to opponents. That streak was surprising because they only allowed 115 points in their first seven games.
17. Washington Redskins (5-6)
Last week #16
The Redskins are on a three game streak where they have allowed over 400 yards of total offense. Kirk Cousins has 3,038 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and only six picks. Funny, he’s their most (probably only) consistent player and his contract situation is still up in the air. Good job, Redskins.
18. Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
Last week #15
Dallas is another team getting killed by the injury bug. The team Jason Garrett rolls out every week is a shell of last year’s division champions.
19. Green Bay Packers (5-6)
Last week #17
The Packers have lost two straight games allowing 54 points and scoring only 28. Losing five out of six overall, Green Bay has very little answers for opposing teams.
20. Oakland Raiders (5-6)
Last week #19
The Raiders were vastly overrated coming into the season. Everybody (except me) had them as their darling pick to dethrone the mighty Patriots and Steelers in the AFC. Instead, Oakland is a pedestrian 21st in points scored. They have a bunch of players the fans had slated to do all these great things even though they’ve never done it before .
21. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
Last week #24
Cincinnati has wins over Denver, Buffalo, Indianapolis, and the Browns (twice). Not necessarily world beaters there. I only have one of those teams ranked higher on this list.
22. Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
Last week #28
Arizona still can’t run even after acquiring Adrian Peterson. Imagine having two Hall of Fame caliber players on your team (Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald) and still falling short of a winning record.
23. Houston Texans (4-7)
Last week #23
Can we just say Houston has lost all their best players outside of DeAndre Hopkins? OK, I guess we can mention they’ve lost four of five. They also have 22 turnovers on the season, while only forcing 14.
24. New York Jets (4-7)
Last week #20
The Jets could easily be 6-5 right now but they enjoy accumulating stupid penalties at the worst times. They have forced 17 turnovers and given it away 17 times. A classic formula to finish a .500 (or sub .500) team.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
Last week #26
Tampa Bay plays gritty and hard at times. That being said they give up the most yards in the league and have lost six of their last eight. Jameis Winston is coming back this week, and that’s going to be similar to coming home to your house after its been hit by a tornado.
26. Denver Broncos (3-8)
Last week #22
Denver was once a defensive juggernaut this season. Actually, they still rank third in yards allowed. The seven straight losses could be a direct result of their offense but it isn’t like the defense is keeping anybody out of the endzone.
27. Chicago Bears (3-8)
Last week #25
The Bears have lost four straight and no wins are in the foreseeable future. They are 29th in yards gained and points scored. They have given the ball away 19 times. That’s a great formula for losing a bunch of games, which (surprise) they have.
28. Miami Dolphins (4-7)
Last week #27
Head coach Adam Gase has not gotten good quarterback play at all. Matt Moore looks good in relief of games but not when he starts them. Gase continues his love affair with Jay Cutler even though he’s proven to be ineffective. The defense has kept pace lately, being as ineffective as the offense.
29. Indianapolis Colts (3-8)
Last week #29
Whatever the Colts master plan was, I’m sure it didn’t include Jacoby Brissett and a bunch of aging skill position players. Losers of five of six and scoring the least amount of points in the league, the Colts need a new plan (and maybe a new coach).
30. New York Giants (2-9)
Last week #30
So the Giants are benching Eli Manning to see what they have for the future. The plan is to start Geno Smith. I’m pretty sure we all know what a future with Geno Smith looks like. Good look looking for work next year, Ben McAdoo.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-10)
Last week #31
They have the 28th ranked defense and it shows. They throw a ton, ranking first in pass attempts, but only 17th in pass yards. They toss it but don’t catch it, a bad formula for a pass happy head coach.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-11)
Last week #32
Well, the good news for the Browns is Josh Gordon is coming back this week. The Browns have scored over 20 points only twice this season, so they need any help they can get scoring.