No Team is Better Than Their Record

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good! In this case, because I'm a Seahawks fan and because it's the Christmas season, I was busily decorating ALL WEEKEND LONG and as a result forgot to submit my bets this week. Given all the upsets and craziness, I count that as being lucky. That being said, there has been some churn in the power rankings, but the playoff picture is getting clearer. Okay, not really other than the Panthers being officially eliminated. But it's not like that's news. On to the power rankings!!!

1. Eagles (-) The Eagles remain atop the power rankings, lead the NFC East and currently hold the number one seed in the NFC. I know the 49ers just put an old fashioned beat down on them, but they don't move for two reasons. First, no team is better than their record and the Eagles still have a game on the rest of the NFL. Second, a friend of mine who is an Eagles fan predicted the loss saying they were due -€” and we all know that even the best teams have down days. I look at the rest of their season and don't see any losses, although I hope they lose one (hey, I'm a Seahawks fan). Prediction: NFC East Champs and #1 seed. (15-2)

2. 49ers (+1) The rest of the NFL might want to consider seeking a restraining order against the Niners. They have a very good defense, and their offense is probably the best in the NFL. In what might reasonably be considered an NFC Championship preview, the Niners beat the best team in the NFL by a field goal more than their margin of victory against the Seahawks. That, in my book is good enough to put them ahead of every team that has the same record as them. The NFC West Division is all but locked up, and only have one more game against a team that could be capable of beating them, the Baltimore Ravens, but they have that game in Santa Clara. While my heart is pleading for me to put them down as getting at least two more losses, my head says they probably finish no worse than 13-4. Prediction: NFC West champs, #2 NFC Playoff seed, based on winning a tiebreaker head-to-head against the Lions.

3. Ravens (-1) It's brutal falling in the power rankings on your bye week, but brutal is an apt description of the 49ers win to unseat them. That being said, the Ravens are still the best team in the AFC, even if they currently own the #2 seed. They have one of the tougher remaining schedules though, playing at Jacksonville week 15, at San Francisco week 16 and finishing up with the Dolphins and Steelers at home. There are probably at least two losses there. Prediction: AFC North Champs, #1 or #2 seed in the AFC, based on tie breaker with Chiefs. 12-5

4. Lions (+2) The Lions got back on track this week, going into New Orleans and jumping out to a 21 point lead on three first quarter touchdowns before the Saints decided to fight back. They made it interesting, but in the end, the better team came out on top. Their final five games only feature one opponent currently in the top ten (or likely to be there). They do have two against their division rival Vikings, and division rivalries are always a bit crazy. They probably split against the Vikings and beat the Cowboys or double up the Vikes and lose to the ‘Boys. Either way, it adds up to only one more loss the rest of the way. Prediction: NFC North Champs, #3 seed. 13-4

5. Dolphins (+2) This week, the Dolphins took the Washington Commanders' lunch money and then gave them a swirlie for daring to think they belonged on the same field. As I have previously stated, it's likely they will continue to hand out wedgies for the next two weeks, until the Dallas Cowboys come to town. I like Dallas in the battle of the bullies and think that the Dolphins could end their season on three straight losses, to the Ravens and Bills as well. Prediction: AFC East Champs, #3 or #4 seed, based on tiebreaker with the division winner between the Jags and Texans. 11-6

6. Cowboys (+2) The Cowboys beat the Seahawks on Thursday night in a messy, penalty filled shootout. Seattle seemed to get their offense on track, but their defense couldn't find a way to stop Dak and the ‘Boys. This game either means that Dallas has turned a corner and finally beaten a good team, or Seattle has turned a corner and become a bad team. I so want it to be the former, but fear it's likely the latter. Much like the Dolphins, the Cowboys face enough good teams the rest of the way to go 2-3 and finish with an 11-6 record. Prediction: NFC Wild Card team, #5 or #6 seed, based on the tiebreaker between Cowboys and Packers.

7. Chiefs (-4) The Packers helped the Chiefs last week, and put a hurting on them this week. I've felt all year long that the Chiefs are really just a slightly above average team, and they seem to be proving that out. Fortunately for them, their schedule down the stretch is one notch above "cream puff". Prediction: AFC West Champs and #1 or #2seed in the AFC. 12-5

8. Jaguars (-4) The Jaguars lost to the Joe Burrow-less Bengals in OT Sunday, and dropped 4 places in the power rankings as a result. The Jags are good enough to go 3-2 the rest of the way, finishing up at 11-6. Prediction: Could be as high as Division Champs, #3 seed, or wild card #5 seed, depending on tie breaking scenarios against the Texans and Dolphins.

9. Steelers (+1) The Steelers lost to the 3-10 Arizona Cardinals this week and actually managed to move UP one slot. Told you it was a crazy week. Back to this week's results, the Steelers got caught in a trap game and lost to a clearly inferior team. But maybe they forgot that Kyler Murray was back, which makes the Cards dangerous if not exactly good. They have the NE Patriots and Indianapolis Colts the next two weeks, so they should be able to get a couple wins in and be dreaming about the post season. Unfortunately, I think the Colts will be their last win of the season. Prediction: Miss the playoffs. 9-8

10. Browns (-1) If they made a test where you had stat lines on one side and scores on the other, and you had to match the stats to the scores, odds are you wouldn't put this one together correctly. Stats were pretty even, except for turnovers, sacks and total yards which went in the Rams favor. You might predict a Rams win, but a close one. Not the Browns getting doubled up. Prediction: Will be in a 3-way tiebreaker with the Colts and Broncos. Two will get wild card berths, one will go home. 10-7

11. Texans (+1) The Texans, coming off of a loss, welcomed the surging Broncos into town, and promptly got back on their -€” bull??? They could easily go 4-1 the rest of the way. Prediction: Could be as high as Division Champs, #3 seed, or wild card #5 seed, depending on tie breaking scenarios against the Texans and Dolphins. 11-6

12. Colts (+1) A win over the Titans makes four in a row. Their schedule could allow them to finish 10-7. Prediction: Will be in a 3-way tiebreaker with the Browns and Broncos. Two will get wild card berths, one will go home.

13. Rams (+5) The Rams win over the Cleveland Browns gets them to 6-6 on the back of a three game winning streak and has them dreaming of post-season glory. Unfortunately for them, they have games against the Ravens and 49ers in their final 5. Prediction: Finish 9-8. Get the final NFC wild card slot due to head-to-head tie breaker against the Seahawks.

14. Bengals (+3) The Bengals managed to beat a good Jacksonville team, so maybe they can manage a little more without Joe Burrow than I, and everyone else including Bengals fans, believe. Probably not though. I'd be surprised if they won more than one more game going forward. Prediction: Miss the playoffs. (7-10)

15. Broncos (-4) All surges end eventually. This one ended in Texas to a good young Texans team. With a favorable schedule the rest of the way, it's beginning to look like Sean Payton is going to bring this franchise back to relevance. Prediction: Will be in a 3-way tiebreaker with the Browns and Colts. Two will get wild card berths, one will go home. (10-7)

16. Packers (+3) The Packers followed up their win against the Lions last week, by beating the Chiefs this week, getting them to .500 on three straight wins. It's quite possible they could finish the season on an 8-game win streak at 11-6. Prediction: #5 or #6 NFC wild card berth, depending on tiebreakers.

The Ten Count Has Started:

17. Vikings (-1) The Vikings only dropped one this week due to being on a bye. Otherwise they likely would have lost and dropped even further. Joshua Dobbs isn't the answer at quarterback. There is a reason the Cardinals were willing to let him go. Prediction: The Vikings will go 1-4 the rest of the season, finishing at 7-10 and missing the playoffs.

18. Seahawks (-4) The Seahawks have now lost three straight games, with two more games against elite teams coming up before finishing the season off with three eminently winnable games. The question is whether 9-8 is good enough to make the playoffs in the NFC this year? Prediction:

19. Bills (-4) The Bills got a breather during their bye this week, although they managed to drop 4 spots in the power rankings while doing so. That's just the start, however, as they have a revenge game for the Chiefs coming up this week, as well as games against the bully twins (Dallas and Miami) coming up. Prediction: Finish 8-9. Miss the playoffs.

20. Falcons (-) The Falcons have now won 2 in a row and face a gauntlet of very winnable games. It's very possible they finish at 10-7, win the AFC South, get to the playoffs and then go home. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

21. Buccaneers (+3) The Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers this week and moved up the power rankings, but it's likely that they go 2-3 the rest of the way to finish at 7-10. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

22. Chargers (+1) The Chargers won a snoozefest in Foxboro this week, 6-0. They'll get one more this year, against the Raiders. Prediction: Finish 6-11. Miss the playoffs.

23. Raiders (-1) The Raiders have reached their win total for the season. Prediction: Finish 5-12. Miss the playoffs.

24. Saints (-3) The Saints have imploded in the second half of the season, currently sit at 5-7, and will likely finish 6-11. That being said, the Saints, Falcons and Bucs are still in the race for the AFC South title, so whichever team is least self-destructive will likely go to the playoffs for one game. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

Count Them Out:

25. Jets (-) Prediction: 6-11

26. Titans (-) Prediction: 4-13

27. Giants (+1) Prediction: 4-13

28. Bears (+1) Prediction: 4-13

29. Commanders (-2) Prediction: 4-13

30. Cardinals (+1) Prediction: 3-14

31. Patriots (-1) Prediction: 2-15

Mathematically Eliminated

32. Panthers (-) Prediction: 1-16