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freeland1787's Power Rankings: Week 12

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The Patriots are still #1, although the game against the Bills had to be a little concerning.

Sorry Rex, but as President of the 50-Club I have to boot your team out for your offense falling to 49. I'll have Gronk escort you out of the club.
Sorry Rex, but as President of the 50-Club I have to boot your team out for your offense falling to 49. I'll have Gronk escort you out of the club.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are still the #1 ranked team in the NFL and above the limits of the scale put in place, but the offense took a huge hit this week. Overall, the offense is still ranked #1 but they dropped from 79 to 76 in large part due to inconsistency with the OL and being unable to extend drives. As a side note, the NFL playoff picture finally has the same 12 teams occupying the 12 playoff spots in the actual standings as I have for the seeding based on the team scores. The only difference is the order of the two AFC Wildcards. These are the top 10 teams in the NFL according to the Rankings System.

  1. New England Patriots 10-0
  2. Carolina Panthers 10-0
  3. Cincinnati Bengals 8-2
  4. Arizona Cardinals 8-2
  5. Denver Broncos 8-2
  6. Green Bay Packers 7-3
  7. Kansas City Chiefs 5-5
  8. Minnesota Vikings 7-3
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4
  10. Buffalo Bills 5-5
The only above .500 team that isn't in the Top 10 is the Atlanta Falcons, which shouldn't be a surprise since they botched a victory against a beat up Colts team. Last week I said the Chiefs were a team that is better than their record and they effortlessly dispatched the worst team in the rankings on Sunday. The Chiefs are definitely a team I don't want to see face the Patriots in the playoffs because the rankings model predicts they'll finish the season 5-1 and get the AFC's #5 seed. The model also predicts that the Patriots will finish the season 16-0, although I have reservations about that actually happening.

The Patriots next opponent is the #5 ranked Denver Broncos. Their offense isn't that special, with a score of 39, but their defense is ranked 2nd with a score of 67 and they can cause problems. With the Patriots being shorthanded on skill players and playing on the road, a loss is very possible here although the Patriots defense could make an impact on the game against the weak Broncos offense. The only teams I worry about in the playoffs are the members of the 50-Club, which are the teams that score 50 or better in every category in the team rankings formulas. Those teams are in terms of Offense/Defense/Special Teams/Schedule:

  1. New England Patriots 76/54/83/103
  2. Cincinnati Bengals 64/55/59/78
  3. Kansas City Chiefs 56/61/52/61
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers 55/54/66/55
  5. Atlanta Falcons 55/53/66/51
Of these five teams, the Falcons are probably close to being booted from the club, especially if they take on another loss. We know that the Bengals, Chiefs, and Steelers are going to be a tough battle in the playoffs with the Patriots likely having to defeat one or two of those teams to advance to the Super Bowl. In the NFC, the only 50-Club Member is a free-falling Falcons team, although the Cardinals and Panthers are percentage points below 50 for their Special Teams grade so they could wind up joining the club soon.