Since the Eagles are on their bye this week, there will be no "Scouting the Enemy" portion of this post. But with the birds on the rise and the playoff race starting to heat up, there is certainly much to talk about. As always, make sure that you check out Brandon's rankings. Then take a gander out the latest version of my rankings below:
|27||New York Giants||-13.747||31|
|28||New York Jets||-14.518||27|
Kansas City was toppled last week by the Broncos and they lost their first place spot in my rankings. They only fell one spot, which is probably the biggest flaw in my rankings. By having an incredible scoring defense and a disciplined turnover ratio, the Chiefs are basically my system's ideal "team," even if their offense is incredibly anemic. While the two aforementioned traits are enough to be competitive in the playoffs, they don't seem to be well-rounded enough to go the distance (or be considered the second-best team in the league). They are still a very good team, however, and I don't anticipate them falling out of the top ten. At the same time, I don't see them holding on to the number two spot either.
Around the league, Seattle took advantage of the Chiefs' loss with a strong outing against the Vikings. The Seahawks are now the top team in the league by my system, and also own the most wins in the league (this is partially in thanks to having a late bye). There was some movement in the NFC South, but otherwise the rankings were quiet this week.
Except Philadelphia, of course. How 'bout dem Eagles? They jumped up five places after their third consecutive win. They are now tenth and the highest-ranked team in the NFC East. This is just slightly higher than their rank around the Internet. Most of their rise can be attributed to the recent play of their defense, which has only given up seventeen points per game over the past seven weeks. Even after their atrocious start, they have clawed their way up to fifteenth in scoring defense. This brings us to the playoff race!
|1||Kansas City (2)||Seattle (1)|
|2||New England (7)||Carolina (3)|
|3||Cincinnati (8)||Philadelphia (10)|
|4||Indianapolis (9)||Green Bay (11)|
|5||Denver (4)||New Orleans (5)|
|6||San Diego (13)||San Francisco (6)|
A little variation from last week's chart; this time, the teams in italics are projected to make the playoffs by the official standings and the teams in bold are also in the correct seed. The teams that are neither italicized or bold are not currently slated to make the postseason by the official playoff picture.
Overall, the rankings got less accurate this week. This is because Denver owns the tiebreaker over the Chiefs and the Panthers are still a game behind New Orleans. Additionally, Green Bay's ranking is still riding on Aaron Rodgers' coattails and the sixth seed in the AFC is honestly up for grabs (although San Diego admittedly seems to be out of it at this point). Again, I still think that Cincinnati and Indianapolis are interchangeable, but time will tell.
So, about the Eagles... will they win their division? They certainly have a shot. The schedule isn't the most favorable, but it could be worse. If the defense can continue with its recent bend-but-don't-break trend (and preferably clean up where they are still shaky - but that might be asking a bit much) there is no reason why the Eagles shouldn't at least be competitive in each of their final contests. The games are there to be won, but the true test will come when they finally turn the ball over. Nick Foles will throw an interception eventually, and the creeping concern that it will come at the worst possible time is always there. Dallas can still take the crown as much as anybody, but Philadelphia looks like the more complete team right now. The division title is within reach... the question is how much they want it.
And about grabbing the third seed? Well, let's take it one game at a time.