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Flower Rankings, Week 11: Thank goodness the Pats game is over

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And it’s time to think ahead to the postseason!

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals
this time it totally splits the uprights i promise
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Previously foretold on this season of Flower Rankings:

  • Seahawks will travel to Arizona without losing (technically a true statement)
  • A loss for the Vikings
  • Giants enter the playoff picture
  • Bills ascend to the elite rung of their conference
  • Patriots gonna keep rolling to the #1 seed

All true. Well, except the Bills part because they secretly are the Lions of the AFC, destined to rupture the hearts of their true fans, and bewilder casual observers. Other false things were said but they are very hard to remember. Still to come true:

  • A first win for the Browns

We’re working on it, okay?

Business out the way, quick: The rankings continue to be arranged by conference only. They continue to look four weeks ahead. Which takes us through Week 11.

UPDATE UPDATE: Now that the postseason has started to become a blurry shape on the horizon, I’ll nominate the six playoff teams from each conference and rank them in order of their chance to reach — not win — the Super Bowl. Nobody can forecast the Super Bowl.

Each team’s blurb might be briefer than usual. There was a lot going on Sunday night and Monday, so over time, I got tied up. (Yes, that’s a sick-sick joke.)

AFC

The Best

The elite. The contenders. The crème de la crème. The possibly Superb.

1. PATRIOTS (8-2)

Now 6-1, at Bills, Bye, vs. Seahawks, at 49ers

No XLIX revenge for the Hawks. NE coming off a bye, Tom Brady’s passer rating is 159.4, so maybe a close game, but no cigar except Jacson’s.

2. BRONCOS (8-2)

Now 5-2, vs. Chargers, at Raiders, at Saints, Bye

Called four wins last week for Denver but afraid I’m going to have to cut it down to three. Take the under for the Broncos-Raiders game. Trust me.

The Bourgeoisie

Playoff level teams whose station in life is comfortable enough. But they’re unlikely to rule the empire anytime soon.

3. CHIEFS (7-3), up three

Now 4-2, at Colts, vs. Jaguars, at Panthers, vs. Buccaneers

The Chiefs are 14-2 in their last 16 regular-season games. Over the past 52 weeks, nobody has won more games than Alex Smith. Just imagine if he had a strong running game to lean on or a good defense to back him up?

(This is your official opening to pine for Spencer Ware.)

4. RAIDERS (7-3), no change

Now 5-2, vs. Broncos, Bye, vs. Texans

Two out of three ain’t bad. Of course, if they Bills their trip to Florida, it could get ugly real fast.

5. BILLS (6-4), down two

Now 4-3, vs. Patriots, at Seahawks, Bye, at Bengals

Might’ve royally fucked up their season with that loss to the Dolphins. Still foreseeing a win vs. the Patriots and another in Cincinnati, but it’s just as possible they lose out until Nov. 27 when the Jaguars visit.

I’m not high on any AFC team except the Patriots. Right now I would take them against “The Field” to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.

The Blinded by Parity

Because they’ve been deluded into thinking that 2016 could be their year.

6. RAVENS (5-5), down one

Now 3-4, Bye, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Cowboys

Consecutive home losses to the Giants, then the Jets, have people wondering out loud again whether Chad Pennington is an elite quarterback. Or someone.

7. TITANS (5-6), up one

Now 3-4, vs. Jaguars, at Chargers, vs. Packers, at Colts

I’m done believing in the stupid Titans. Forget them. Forget the stupid Titans. Danny, this is your fault for telling me they'd be interesting. They are the opposite of interesting. They are teresting.

8. TEXANS (5-5), up one

Now 4-3, vs. Lions, Bye, at Jaguars, at Raiders

Last week: “Houston got so much momentum from that cray Sunday night comeback that they’ll lose their next three games by single digits instead of double.”

Incorrect, Flower Rankings writer. The Texans did not lose by single digits, but by 18 in Denver, capitalizing on that sweet, sweet momentum juice to register three whole field goals. Brock Osweiler completed one pass longer than 10 yards last night. He now boasts a 5.8 Y/A and a passer rating south of 75.

Nobody is suggesting that Tim Tebow would improve Houston’s quarterback room. That’s still a couple weeks away from the ESPN.com front page.

9. STEELERS (5-6), down two

Now 4-3, Bye, at Ravens, vs. Cowboys, at Browns

Literally everyone can keep up with the Landry Jones.

10. DOLPHINS (5-5), up one

Now 3-4, Bye, vs. Jets, at Chargers, at Rams

Winners of two straight entering the bye? Close losses in Seattle and New England? Might the Dolphins be unterrible? The AFC could use an unterrible team or two.

11. CHARGERS (5-5), up one

Now 3-4, at Broncos, vs. Titans, vs. Dolphins, Bye

Fourth-best team in the AFC West, but they’d be running away with the AFC South. Then again, so would 24 other NFL squads.

The Beggars

All they’ll be choosing high in, is the 2017 draft.

12. BENGALS (3-7), down two

Now 3-4, vs. Skins, Bye, at Giants, vs. Bills

Marvin Lewis has 10 winning seasons with the Bengals against just three losing ones. He’s taken them to the playoffs the last five years. He will be fired at the end of the season. Not during the bye. Riiight?

13. COLTS (4-6), no change

Now 3-4, vs. Chiefs, at Packers, Bye, vs. Titans

Hard to imagine why things are going so poorly when they have a GM of the Year in the front office and a Hall of Famer under center. Could be the dome.

14. JAGUARS (3-8), no change

Now 2-5, at Titans, at Chiefs, vs. Texans, at Lions

Three road games in the next four. Probably feels to the Jaguars like there’s always three road games in the next four.

15. JETS (2-8), no change

Now 2-5, at Browns, at Dolphins, vs. Rams, Bye

Entering Week 7, the Jets had lost their last four regular-season games by a combined 74 points.

To find regular-season losses totaling 74 points for the Seattle Seahawks, you have to add the deficit from all 13 of their losses from the present day back to October 6, 2013.

So of course, the Jets came through against the Ravens, screwing their draft position just in time to collapse against the winless...

16. BROWNS (1-10), no change

Now 0-7, vs. Jets, vs. Cowboys, at Ravens, vs. Steelers

In fact, the Browns have four out of the next five at home before their late bye. The one they’ll win is the first. Might be the only.

There’s a World Series game that evening in Chicago. Game 5. Will this Sunday be when the Browns set an attendance record — but the wrong kind?

NFC

The Best

The elite. The contenders. The crème de la crème. The possibly Superb.

1. COWBOYS (9-1), up two

vs. Eagles, at Browns, at Steelers, vs. Ravens

Four more weeks until Dak Prescott turns into a pumpkin. A pumpkin pie. On Thanksgiving. At home against a division rival. Until then? Wins.

2. VIKINGS (8-2), down one

Now 5-1, at Bears, vs. Lions, at Redskns, vs. Cardinals

From last week’s rankings: “Sam Bradford has thrown no interceptions and only one fumble has fallen to the opposition. In five games! You want to know what the Vikings aren’t going to do? Finish the season with 38 takeaways and 3 giveaways. That’s the pace they’re on. Yeah no, an ugly game or two will surface eventually, and they’ll lose those.”

Minnesota turned it over on its first three possessions vs. Philly. Including an ugly end zone pick by Bradford. Who was hit on every other play.

If anything close to last night’s Cardinals defense shows up in Week 11, the Vikings will fall from this perch they’ve held all season.

3. SEAHAWKS (7-2-1), down one

Now 4-1-1, at Saints, vs. Bills, at Patriots, vs. Eagles

Should’ve tied the Super Bowl instead.

The Bourgeoisie

Playoff level teams whose station in life is comfortable. But they’re unlikely to rule the empire anytime soon.

4. GIANTS (7-3), up two

Now 4-3, Bye, vs. Eagles, vs. Bengals, vs. Bears

I hear New York is stunning this time of year. Who would want to leave it?

5. FALCONS (6-4), down one

Now 4-3, vs. Packers, at Bucs, at Eagles, Bye

The Packers will be good or bad; so will the Eagles, as the Falcons continue their inevitable crash course toward the 4 seed.

6. PACKERS (6-4), down three

Now 4-2, at Falcons, vs. Colts, at Titans, at Redskins

Your weekly Aaron Rodgers update: He threw the ball 56 times for 326 yards last week. His Y/A this year sits 1.6 below his career average. His ANY/A is down 1.33. Something is broken in that offense. Fans of the Seahawks should watch a couple complete Packers games, for context. And for a cautionary tale, even.

The Blinded by Parity

Because they’ve been deluded into thinking that 2016 is their year.

7. CARDINALS (4-5-1), no change

Now 3-3-1, at Panthers, Bye, vs. Niners, at Vikings

No need to take a chip shot at the Cards. Their defense is legit. Their kicking game might need a hand (that’s your cue Bobby). Their offense will go as far as David Johnson will carry them. Could be far.

I don’t like them to win either road game, though. Minny? Ehhhh there's a chance. Let's see how the next couple weeks go first.

8. RAMS (5-5), no change

Now 3-4, Bye, vs. Panthers, at Jets, vs. Dolphins

“No change.” The unofficial slogan of Jeff Fisher’s 79ers.

9. LIONS (5-5), up two

Now 4-3, at Texans, at Vikings, Bye, vs. Jaguars

They’re not going to go win at Minnesota. They’re not going to go win at Minnesota! But it’s a division game. But it’s a division game!

(Also hey right now don’t look too closely, it’s rude to stare, but the Lions are in the playoff picture.)

10. REDSKNS (5-5), down one

Now 4-3, at Bengals, Bye, vs. Vikings, vs. Packers

Skins have Chargers’ Disease. They’re the fourth-best team in their division, but are strangely watchable and would be in the hunt everywhere else.

11. EAGLES (4-6), down one

Now 4-2, at Cowboys, at Giants, vs. Falcons, at Seahawks

With that upcoming schedule, they needed a win in Minnesota. And the Vikings needed to be brought back to reality. Speaking of reality, though, Eagles...

I dare you to find any power rankings that dislike the Eagles more than my pretty flowers.

12. PANTHERS (4-6), no change

Now 1-5, vs. Cardinals, at Rams, vs. Chiefs, vs. Saints

Last week’s rankings: “Ron Rivera is already working on his 2017 Coach of the Year acceptance speech.”

Actually that won’t be necessary because the Panthers are not a 3-13 team. But I wanted to get the jab in once more.

13. BUCCANEERS (5-5), no change

Now 3-3, vs. Raiders, vs. Falcons, vs. Bears, at Chiefs

You know how the Colts are gonna be the worst 4-6 team? The Bucs are gonna be the worst 5-5 team.

The Beggars

All they’ll be choosing high in, is the 2017 draft.

14. SAINTS (3-7), no change

Now 2-4, vs. Seahawks, at 49ers, vs. Broncos, at Panthers

Good time for the Hawks to draw an inept defense. NO GUYS DO NOT LITERALLY DRAW THEM IT IS A FIGURE OF SPEECH

15. BEARS (1-9), no change

Now 1-6, vs. Vikings, Bye, at Bucs, at Giants

I would watch several innings of the Browns-Bears, but not sure how many quarters of football.

16. 49ERS (1-9), down two

Now 1-6, Bye, vs. Saints, at Cardinals, at Dolphins

Niners might be done winning games for the season, unless they can pull one out against the Saints or Jets.

NEW FEATURES:

Projected AFC Seeds

(1) Patriots, (2) Broncos, (3) Ravens, (4) Texans, (5) Chiefs, (6) Bills

Projected NFC Seeds

(1) Cowboys, (2) Seahawks, (3) Vikings, (4) Falcons, (5) Giants, (6) Packers

Ranked by chance to reach Super Bowl LI

  1. Patriots
  2. Seahawks
  3. Cowboys
  4. Vikings
  5. Broncos
  6. Falcons
  7. Chiefs
  8. Ravens
  9. Bills
  10. Packers
  11. Giants
  12. Texans