Lee Russakoff’s Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

by | December 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM | NFL, Sports

Norv Turner, Calvin Johnson, Tony Romo (AP Photos)

The Packers are losing to the Chiefs, the Texans are falling to Carolina, the two New York teams lost by a combined 68-29 and monkeys are riding dogs. If you can predict this NFL, you need to get to Vegas now and make a mint.

1. Green Bay Packers (13-1 LW 1)
When your dominating offense keeps losing offensive linemen, you tend to become less dominating. If the Pack want to go back-to-back, they gotta get healthy … fast.

2. New Orleans Saints (11-3 LW 2)
With Aaron Rodgers playing so well and Tim Tebow eating up headlines, it seems to me everyone is forgetting about the year Drew Brees is having. At Minnesota, Brees threw for five TDs and only eight incompletions. He’s about to wreck Marino’s single-season record (he’s just 305 passing yards short of a record that has stood for 27 years) and he’s cracked the 300-yard plateau in 11 of 14 games (also an NFL record). Can we all start talking about this? Appreciate it.

3. New England Patriots (11-3 LW 4)
If I’m the son of God, Tom Brady’s gotta be his nephew.

4. San Francisco 49ers (11-3 LW 7)
Big Ben thinks he was the “best 49er” on Monday night. A more accurate excuse would have been to blame his three INTs on his inability to see anything. From where I sat, Aldon Smith made the most of the power outages.

5. Atlanta Falcons (9-5 LW 8 )
Could this finally be the year all the pieces come together in Atlanta? With Santa on your side, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

6. Baltimore Ravens (10-4 LW 3)
A vacation home in hell”? Seems impractical to me. Kinda like the Ravens’ title hopes, considering the way they play on the road.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4 LW 5)
James Harrison doesn’t get it. If he did “get it” he’d probably be half the football player he is today.

8. Houston Texans (10-4 LW 6)
“I was pretty upset in the way Texans players weren’t showing respect to America during the national anthem,” Jeremy Shockey told The Houston Chronicle. “There were about 10 players that didn’t put their arms across their chest. This is America. You should at least respect America.” He also added, “This is also ironic. You should at least understand irony.” (OK, I made that last part up.)

9. Dallas Cowboys (8-6 LW 14)
Since November began, Tony Romo has thrown 18 TDs against just 2 INTs. The Eagles and Giants can talk all they want about being alive in the East, but this division is the Cowboys’ to lose.

10. Detroit Lions (9-5 LW 10)
After a wild Oakland comeback, the Lions are one win away from ending their 12-year playoff drought. Unfortunately, they play the red-hot Chargers and league-best Packers in their last two games. Detroit may just need some help … or for Week 17 to mean nothing for the Pack.

11. San Diego Chargers (7-7 LW 17)
So the premise of this entire column is that at 7-7, Norv Turner has earned the right to boast? When did mediocrity become something to brag about? Only in the NFL…

12. Denver Broncos (8-6 LW 9)
Can I just ask one thing? Stop writing “Tebow Exposed” columns every time the Broncos lose. No one on the planet thinks he’s a complete QB right now. Man is a work in progress. There are a lot of things he can’t do. But then you see things he can do. And some of us believe there’s potential in that.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6 LW 15)
Cincy’s playoff hopes hang by a thread. Serious contenders don’t commit 11 penalties against the Rams. Tighten it up.

14. Seattle Seahawks (7-7 LW 18)
“Our game plan every week is to get heat on the quarterback and make him make mistakes,” Chris Clemons said. That game plan works particularly well when the opposing QB is Caleb Hanie.

15. New York Jets (8-6 LW 11)
Well … that’s not good.

16. Arizona Cardinals (7-7 LW 20)
Arizona is now 5-1 when John Skelton starts. Looks like Kevin Kolb may find himself on the trading block once again.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8 LW 21)
A playoff spot may still be a long shot, but Eagles fans still have both feet on the bandwagon.

18. New York Giants (7-7 LW 12)
Trying to get the math right, Antrel. Does this mean you’ll beat the Redskins 95 times out of 98 now?

19. Oakland Raiders (7-7 LW 19)
Um, Hue. Call it whatever you want. But if Rolando McClain is locked up on Calvin Johnson 40 yards down the middle of the field, you’re doing it wrong.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8 LW 27)
All hail the new dragon slayer! (SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t watched Survivor finale yet, do not click.)

21. Chicago Bears (7-7 LW 16)
Maybe the story of the 2011 Bears will underscore to every team in the league just how important the backup QB position is. So rather than focusing on a season lost, let’s all just pray for Johnny Knox.

22. Carolina Panthers (5-9 LW 24)
How great would it have been to be on that sideline when Coach Rivera dialed up “The Annexation of Puerto Rico?

23. Washington Redskins (5-9 LW 26)
At long last, the Redskins have finally found their franchise QB.

24. Tennessee Titans (7-7 LW 13)
Something tells me Mike Munchak’s mom won’t be happy when he brings home his report card.

25. Miami Dolphins (5-9 LW 22)
Here’s the thing. The Dolphins haven’t quit on the season. The Bills have. So why does Chan Gailey still have a job while Tony Sparano is sitting at home? Explain that to me.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-10 LW 28)
“Believe it or not, I was trying to kick it [out of bounds]. It’s hard, easier said than done.” — Browns punter Brad Maynard

27. Buffalo Bills (5-9 LW 23)
I’d say No. 34 aptly sums up 2011 for the Buffalo Bills.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10 LW 25)
Dunta Robinson on the talent evaluation in Jacksonville: “Those guys are jokes. They couldn’t get a f—— receiver if it hit them in the head. They haven’t had any decent receivers since Jimmy Smith.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10 LW 30)
This actually happened at a high school game, not the Bucs-Cowboys game Saturday night. Still, it’s a pretty accurate representation of 2011 for Raheem Morris and the Creamsicles.

30. Indianapolis Colts (1-13 LW 32)
Andrew Luck? Peyton Manning? Give me Dan Orlovsky! Hey, he’s the only guy on the short list that has won an NFL game this season.

31. St. Louis Rams (2-12 LW 31)
So here’s the thing about the NFL. It’s kind of important to convert on third downs. Work on that.

32. Minnesota Vikings (2-12 LW 29)
Sorry, Adrian. I’m not feeling any empathy at all for you. You suited up. You knew what was coming, namely, a sixth straight loss. Welcome to the cellar, Minnesota. It would take some breaks, but Luck may be on your side after all.