Well, one more week of college games and I’m done watching football for the season. Since I don’t have to watch the NFL to rank them (it really is as easy as I make it), here they are . . .
#32 Arizona Cardinals (2-9-0, -138, LW: 32)
#31 Oakland Raiders (2-9-0, -140, LW: 30)
#30 San Francisco 49ers (2-9-0, -54, LW: 28)
How bad is the Niners defense? The Tampa Buccaneers LOVE to give the ball away: they are more charitable than the Salvation Army. The Niners forced ZERO turnovers against the Bucs on Sunday. That is the first time since Week 1 that Tampa has not turned the ball over (and had turned it over at least twice every game). The Frisco defense has forced five turnovers all season and has just two interceptions. To put that into perspective, the beloved Jimmy G. threw three picks in his three starts this season.
#29 Buffalo Bills (4-7-0, -111, LW: 29)
#28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7-0, -44, LW: 31)
#27 New York Jets (3-8-0, -60, LW: 27)
#26 Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8-0, -46, LW: 26)
#25 Cincinnati Bengals (5-6-0, -71, LW: 23)
#24 New York Giants (3-8-0, -51, LW: 25)
#23 Detroit Lions (4-7-0, -48, LW: 22)
#22 Tennessee Titans (5-6-0, -28, LW: 20)
#21 Atlanta Falcons (4-7-0, -27, LW: 18)
#20 Philadelphia Eagles (5-6-0, -23, LW: 24)
#19 Miami Dolphins (5-6-0, -60, LW: 21)
#18 Green Bay Packers (4-6-1, -3, LW: 16)
#17 Cleveland Browns (4-6-1, -30, LW: 19)
#16 Denver Broncos (5-6-0, 0, LW: 17)
#15 Carolina Panthers (6-5-0, +5, LW: 13)
#14 Dallas Cowboys (6-5-0, +21, LW: 15)
Jason Garrett is probably going to get a lifetime extension after this season when his team wins the NFC East with a 9-7 record and a first round exit because Jerry Jones is just that stubborn to do it. You know the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”? the Cowboys are the opposite. If you look at the talent they should have a stranglehold on the division when compared to the other three teams.
#13 Washington Redskins (6-5-0, -9, LW: 9)
For those who believe that the Redskins’ season was derailed by the gruesome injury suffered by Alex Smith the reality is that they were in trouble anyway. At 6-3 they had a point differential of +1, hardly the differential of a team with a potential Super Bowl run in it. Consecutive losses that weren’t as close as the final scores would indicate (when are coaches going to learn that 60+ field goal attempts are not a sound strategy?) leave the Redskins barely clinging to the second wild card spot in the NFC standings. Their only saving grace is that the division is weak – much like the league itself – so they can still sneak in with an East title, but that is doubtful.
#12 Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1, +19, LW: 14)
#11 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1, +67, LW: 5)
#10 Indianapolis Colts (6-5-0, +52, LW: 11)
#9 Baltimore Ravens (6-5-0, +73, LW: 12)
#8 Seattle Seahawks (6-5-0, +33, LW: 10)
#7 Houston Texans (8-3-0, +51, LW: 8)
#6 New England Patriots (8-3-0, +58, LW: 7)
#5 Los Angeles Chargers (8-3-0, +88, LW: 6)
#4 Kansas City Chiefs (9-2-0, +110, LW: 4)
#3 Chicago Bears (8-3-0, +106, LW: 3)
#2 Los Angeles Rams (10-1-0, +107, LW: 2)
#1 New Orleans Saints (10-1-0, +153, LW: 1)
A couple of us at TBF are big Canadian Football League fans. I bring this up because the Saints are one of those teams that play Canadian Football. They get first downs in two plays, not three. They lead the league in Completions and Rushes per Game with 56.3, more than two better than the next closest team. They’re on pace for nearly 600 points this season, and with the way some of their remaining opponents have played defense lately, the NFL record isn’t out of reach.
After last Monday’s 7-on-7 drill (and yes, I know there were three defensive touchdowns, that doesn’t make up for the other 84 points), I propose these rules changes to bring some balance back:
Allow defensive contact for 10 yards
Defensive backs are being rendered useless in today’s game unless they gamble every play and get a pick once or twice every other game. I believe that this will also be better for player safety because with the DB’s closer and allowed to make contact the less of a chance of a big hit from a launching safety.
Loosen up the pass interference rules
Nothing is more frustrating that watching a quarterback chuck a ball up for grabs in hope for a flag. If quarterbacks really are the most important person in the field and their greatness really should shine through, then let’s see what they’ve really got.
When a quarterback is grabbed – even slightly – in the backfield the play is dead and the quarterback is down. Once he crosses the line he’s fair game
You can’t hit the quarterback because he might cry and if you lighten up he can run free and you can’t do anything about it. This seems like a fair compromise to me. You protect the precious QB and you give a defense a fighting chance.
I realize that there will be some rough adjustments to these rules, but I am also willing to revisit them in two or three years to see what they have done to the game. If they have led to a ton of 9-6 duds I’m willing to readjust. But I’m done with every team playing offense only and throwing 50 times a game.