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NFL Harvest Rankings: Beware Of Seahawk

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You don’t want to make them mad. You wouldn’t like them when they’re mad.

Seattle Seahawks v New England Patriots
how can i be da man when you already da man
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Give thanks for the new Harvest Rankings!

Lie of the past week: You were told the Chargers were the sixth-best team in the AFC, headed for 9-7. Losing at home to the Dolphins — an outcome the Seahawks would never even flirt with — kinda wraps a giant bolo tie around the chances of that happening.

Truth of the past week: You were told the Rams would have to pick up the pace if they wanted to hit 7-9 instead of 6-10. So naturally, they won a game.

Reprinting this classic, in case you’ve never see it before.

Truth 2 of the past week: You were told the Lions were playoff contenders. Actually I should get five or six free truths for this one.

The Harvest Rankings, since they look ahead four weeks, take us through Week 14. At which point the playoff picture will have crystallized like an old banana left in your sunny windowsill. That is or is not a confession, based on the view into my kitchen from this desk.

AFC

The Best

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

1. PATRIOTS (11-2), no change

Now 7-2, at 49ers, at Jets, vs. Rams, vs. Ravens

Turns out it’s not as simple as it sounds, getting that last little yard.

2. RAIDERS (10-3), no change

Now 7-2, vs. Texans, vs. Panthers, vs. Bills, at Chiefs

Deravidek Carr is two seasons removed from being the best quarterback in the AFC. It’s too bad his defense is also two seasons removed from being decent. Still <3 u Ken Norton Jr.

That game in KC is a Thursday road game.

3. BRONCOS (10-3), no change

Now 7-3, Bye, vs. Chiefs, at Jaguars, at Titans

When will the national furor die down? You know, the one raging over another controversial ending that benefits the Bwrongcos? How do they get away with so much chicanery? And how will Denver’s players and staff even focus during their bye week, with every talking head de-legitimizing their thrilling victory over New Orleans?

The Bourgeoisie

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

4. CHIEFS (9-4), no change

Now 7-2, vs. Buccaneers, at Broncos, at Falcons, vs. Raiders

Updating: The Chiefs are 17-2 in their last 19 regular-season games. If they run the table here I’ll rename my youngest son Alex.

5. DOLPHINS (8-5), up five

Now 5-4, at Rams, vs. 49ers, at Ravens, vs. Cardinals

That now makes four wins in a row, boosting the Fish’s weighted DVOA to 10th in the league. My bet is they’re the odd team out come playoff time.

The Blinded by Parity

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

6. TEXANS (6-7), down one

Now 6-3, at Raiders, vs. Chargers, at Packers, at Colts

I suspect they’ll win one, but screw that. how much fun would it be for them, the Colts and the Titans to all be 6-7 at once? The answer is “loads.”

7. CHARGERS (6-7), down one

Now 4-6, Bye, at Texans, vs. Buccaneers, at Panthers

Their six losses are by a total of 29 points. All one-possession games, many decided in dramatic fashion in the final minute. They’re like the Seahawks, if the Seahawks were losers instead of winners.

(And if Russell Wilson ever threw four interceptions in the fourth quarter of a game. My god, Rivers.)

8. BILLS (6-7), down one

Now 4-5, at Bengals, vs. Jaguars, at Raiders, vs. Steelers

Yesterday, searching for a piece of info about this snakebitten team, I entered “Buffalo ills” into my Ask Jeeves machine. That tells you all you need to know. But here are some painful stats anyway.

Point differential: +34

Expected wins: 5.3

YPC - YPC allowed: 1.3

Rushing TD: 16, first in the league

Turnover margin: +7

But here they sit, somehoww under .500. It’s not easy being these guys.

9. STEELERS (6-7), down one

Now 4-5, at Browns, at Colts, vs. Giants, at Bills

The universe will punish you for fake spikes. That shit is cheating!

10. RAVENS (6-7), down one

Now 5-4, at Cowboys, vs. Bengals, vs. Dolphins, at Patriots

They’re 3-4 against the Not-Browns. I wouldn’t go printing any playoff tickets yet. Honestly, their three home games are CIN-MIA-PHI, so not an easy game in the bunch. Their four road opponents are the Cowboys and Patriots, then the other two decent divisional rivals.

I’m not saying they’ll finish 6-10. But I’m not saying they won’t.

11. TITANS (6-7), up one

Now 5-5, vs. at Colts, at Bears, Bye, at Broncos

202 points in six games for the Tennessee offense. Hung 47 on the Packers.

Hey guys, when was the last time the Hawks gave up 47, or lost by 22?

12. COLTS (6-7), up one

Now 4-5, Bye, vs. Titans, vs. Steelers, at Jets, vs. Texans

It’s not that the Colts are bad. It’s just that their record is poor, their DVOA is terrible, they give up more than 400 yards a game on average, all while facing one of the league’s easiest schedules.

(So of course they’re in the division race.)

Hey, if you guys were counting, that’s seven teams sitting at 6-7. Almost half the conference.

The Beggars

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

13. BENGALS (4-8-1), down one

Now 3-5-1, vs. Bills, at Ravens, vs. Eagles, at Browns

That tie will come in really handy for sorting out the draft order.

14. JETS (4-9), no change

Now 3-7, Bye, vs. Patriots, vs. Colts, at 49ers

How did the Bills lose to these guys at home again?

15. JAGUARS (2-11), no change

Now 2-7, at Lions, at Bills, vs. Broncos, vs. Vikings

What does it say about both teams that the easiest-looking game on Jax’s schedule is the home date with Minny?

16. BROWNS (0-13), no change

Now 0-10, vs. Steelers, vs. Giants, Bye, vs. Bengals

Fine, maybe the Bengals game? Otherwise it’s 0-16. Imagine being Jamie Collins.

NFC

The Best

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

1. COWBOYS (11-2), no change

Now 8-1, vs. Ravens, vs. Redskns, at Vikings, at Giants

Since early October, that Thanksgiving date with Washington has looked like a problem. If they pull that one out, maybe they lose at New York two weeks later. Either way, there’s going to be a loss, and it’s going to be ugly, and it’s going because Dak Prescott melts down, and the afterdrama will be two-bag-popcorn viewing.

2. SEAHAWKS (10-2-1), no change but it sure was tempting

Now 6-2-1, vs. Eagles, at Buccaneers, vs. Panthers, at Packers

Last week: “is this the week the ‘haven’t lost by more than 10 in forever’ streak finally ends? It has been since October of 2011 now.”

No. It was not that week.

The Eagles’ offense sputters while the Bucs’ defense putters. The Panthers-Packers double looked like a forbidding gauntlet in August. But now every game on the schedule looks like a win.

Beauty is, in this position, with Atlanta and others fading, there is no need for greed. If you win three out of four above, then two out of three against the division, that’s 5-2, which should be enough to secure a first-round bye.

However...

...if you’re thinking of dreaming of 7-0 and the top seed, now is the time to start.

The Bourgeoisie

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

3. FALCONS (8-5), up two

Now 6-4, Bye, vs. Cardinals, vs. Chiefs, at Rams

Matt Ryan’s passer rating dropped 4.20 points after the Eagles #1 defense (by DVOA) smoked him.

4. GIANTS (9-4), no change

Now 6-3, vs. Bears, at Browns, at Steelers, vs. Cowboys

Last week: “This is your 5 seed. Can we please not host them in the divisional round? Give me the NFC North reject instead.”

Still relevant. I want no part of that defensive line.

5. LIONS (8-5), up one

Now 5-4, vs. Jaguars, vs. Vikings, at Saints, vs. Bears

That’s “2016 NFC North Champion Detroit Lions” to you.

6. REDSKNS (7-5-1), up two

Now 5-3-1, vs. Packers, at Cowboys, at Cardinals, vs. Eagles

Eh, I dunno.

(NOTE TO SELF: leave that in)

The Blinded by Parity

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

7. EAGLES (7-6), up two

Now 5-4, at Seahawks, vs. Packers, at Bengals, vs. Redskns

Much as the Chargers are, the Eagles are cursed with being in the wrong division. They’re last in the NFC East despite being first in defensive DVOA and first in special teams DVOA. I would think they’re somehow worse than even money right now to even make the playoffs. How’s about we check on that with the oddsmakers at footballoutsiders throughout the week.

8. VIKINGS (6-6-1), down two

Now 5-4, vs. Cardinals, at Lions, vs. Cowboys, at Jaguars

Vikings scoring under OC Norv Turner: 23.8 ppg

Vikings scoring under new OC Not Norv Turner: 14.0 ppg

They’re not making the playoffs either.

9. PACKERS (6-7), down two

Now 4-5, at Titans, at Redskns, at Eagles, vs. Texans

Packers have allowed 111 points in the last three weeks but are 7th in defensive DVOA. Go figure.

Aaron Rodgers weekly stat update: Rodgers has a 6.5 Y/A, which is quite bad, but quarterbacks across from him have a 8.2 Y/A, which is quite not bad.

10. SAINTS (6-7), up one

Now 4-5, at Panthers, vs. Rams, vs. Lions, at Buccaneers

If they’d somehow won that Broncos game, like by not screwing up royally and getting royally screwed, both within seconds, I’d like them for the 6 seed. Instead, they can play what-if until next September.

The Beggars

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

11. CARDINALS (5-6-2), down one

Now 4-4-1, at Vikings, at Falcons, vs. Redskns, at Dolphins

Why not another tie in Minnesota? Been a while since one team finished with two ties. Been a while since the Cards and Vikings moved the ball consistently.

12. RAMS (6-7), down three

Now 4-5, vs. Dolphins, at Saints, at Patriots, vs. Falcons

Saved their 7-9 season with a touchdownless victory in the Meadowlands. Also saved their 7-9 reputation with this gem from the DVOA standings:

wait for it... wait for it...

13. PANTHERS (5-8), no change

Now 3-6, vs. Saints, at Raiders, at Seahawks, vs. Chargers

Really, two wins is generous here. It would be equally weird to A) see the Panthers at 4-9, or B) see them win at the CLink without it affecting either team’s playoff position whatsoever.

14. BUCCANEERS (4-9), up one

Now 4-5, at Chiefs, vs. Seahawks, at Chargers, vs. Saints

The gig is up.

15. BEARS (3-10), down one

Now 2-7, at Giants, vs. Titans, vs. 49ers, at Lions

The Bears’ highest scoring output this year is 23 points. They lost that game.

16. 49ERS (1-12), no change anytime soon

Now 1-8, vs. Patriots, at Dolphins, at Bears, vs. Jets

Certain statistical deficits the Niners enjoy at this time.

Total yards: -1,070

YPC differential: -1.0

Points per drive: -0.68 (that’s a lot)

Times giving up 30 points minus times scoring 30 points: 6

Passer rating differential: -19.6

ANY/A differential: -1.85

REGULAR FEATURES:

Projected AFC Seeds

(1) Patriots, (2) Raiders, (3) Steelers, (4) Texans, (5) Broncos, (6) Chiefs

But keep an eye on those Dolphins.

Projected NFC Seeds

(1) Cowboys, (2) Seahawks, (3) Falcons, (4) Lions, (5) Giants, (6) Redskns

Detroit Taters, on the rise. Eagles could surprise.

Those 12, ranked by chance to reach Super Bowl LI

  1. Patriots, 50 percent
  2. Cowboys, 36 percent
  3. Seahawks, 33 percent
  4. Raiders, 18 percent
  5. Broncos, 17 percent
  6. Falcons, 13 percent
  7. Lions, 8 percent
  8. Giants, 7 percent
  9. Steelers, 6 percent
  10. Chiefs, 5 percent
  11. Texans, 4 percent
  12. Redskns, 3 percent