We have come to the end of the 2012 season. A season of which I hope includes the reemergence of a Seattle Seahawks football team that will last for many years. Seattle finished the 2012 season ranked second in the power polls, right behind Denver. The NFC West also finished as the strongest division despite a dismal season in Arizona. The Rams improved greatly and moved into the top half of the league.
In the final week of play many teams stayed ranked in the spot or just moved one spot up or down. The biggest move was by the Titans who jumped five places to finish at 23rd. The Steelers moved up three spots to 15th, and the Cowboys and Browns both fell three places to finish 17th and 26th, respectively.
The top twelve rankings all belong to playoff teams however the seeding is quite different.
The table above shows the order of how NFC and AFC teams would be seeded according to the final rankings. Of course, seeding is determined over an entire season so it’s just a demonstration of the current strength or weakness of a team and where they are in the playoffs. The AFC is nearly identical to the order of AFC teams ranked by 12thManRising’s writers.
In the NFC you can see that the teams that finished strongest are more mismatched when compared to their playoff seed. Seattle is arguably the hottest NFC team right now and they are seeded fifth with a game this Sunday at Washington. The Falcons have been somewhat inconsistent in the end of the season but have the ability. Of course Matt Ryan still needs to win his first playoff game. San Francisco also gets a bye but is battling some injuries and the loss of Mario Manningham following the game in Seattle. Both those teams have home field but are very beatable after a bye week. Seattle on the other hand will have win on the road in the playoffs which hasn’t been done since the ’90s. This is a big test for a very dynamic football team who will be playing a similarly hot Redskins team.
I’m going to breeze through some of the other highlights. The NFC West finished as the strongest division, followed by the NFC North, which makes sense since both divisions also sent two teams each to the postseason.
The weakest divisions were the AFC West and AFC East. Each of them had only one team above .500. The NFC West had two teams well over .500 and a third team that was just half of a game below due to a tie.
Here are charts showing the AFC West and East (the divisions with the least parity) followed by the NFC East (the division with the most parity).
I think that’s enough charts for now. I hope this was useful or at least entertaining for the 2012 season. That’s all until next September.
After several weeks off, the power poll rankings have returned. I’ve been keeping track of them, just not posting as regularly as I would like. That being said, there has been a lot of movement. Especially after last week where every single game was between a over-.500 and sub-.500 team. That meant that there was a lot of opportunity for upsets. And of course room for one of the greatest shellackings ever in the NFL. That has been talked about enough though. Here are the rankings after week 14 brought to you by the writers at 12thmanrising.com.
Everyone had the Seahawks in the top 10 (high: 6, low: 9) for an average rank of seventh. Seattle moved up one spot to tie its highest ranking of the year which was also reached after week six. Consequently, Arizona dropped three places and has reached it lowest ranking of the year (30th). St. Louis started the season at 32nd but quickly moved into the mid-20s where it was for most of the season but is now sitting at 18th.
The biggest mover of the week were the New York Football Giants who gained five spots and are now 8th. The Browns moved up four spots t0 21st. Sliding down the rankings were the Bills, Falcons, and Bengals (all -3), while the Texans, Bears, Ravens, Buccaneers, and Dolphins all feel two spots from their week 13 rankings.
Seattle’s week 15 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, are only ranked 25th but should not be taken lightly. Much as Miami proved to be a challenge, the Bills could do so as well. Especially with Seattle facing mounting injury concerns. Hopefully, Marshawn Lynch comes out hungry for extra Skittles and looking for an opportunity to over-perform against his former team. This week’s game will be played inside a dome in Toronto, so weather won’t be a concern, which is also good for the Seahawks.
If Seattle beats Buffalo and San Francisco loses to New England, it puts increased importance on the week 15 match-up between the NFC West rivals, likely for the division title. Luckily for Seattle, the 49ers play at New England against a team that is finally playing up to form. New England does have injury issues at tight end, however, and will likely be without Rob Gronkowski.
After a couple of weeks without power polls from the writers you love and trust most, they are back. It looks like it’s a case of “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Atlanta is still undefeated and sits at the top of the rankings. The Texans are still second overall, but Keith has the Bears in second and the Texans at third. The rest of us have the Bears at third so the difference is not that much. The Texans and Bears happen to play each other this week, and I think it’s safe to say the winner will decidedly be number two and possible crack into first even if they have a loss.
The Chiefs are decidedly the worst team in the NFL, placing last in all by one person’s rankings who had had the Jaguars in last. The rest of us had Jacksonville at 31st. The biggest difference in rankings is with the Chargers. Nick has them at 13th and Diane at 24th. The Cowboys are ranked as high as 15th by Micah, and as low as 25th by Keith. The Ravens have a difference of seven spots with Micah and Diane ranking them at 11th. Micah’s thoughts on the issue are that “injuries have hampered [the Ravens] this season and when they start playing good teams again it is going to be bad news.” The Ravens are ranked as high as 4th, by Keith.
The Seahawks come in at 11th overall. We all had them 9th, 10th, or 11th so the difference was very small. Losing winnable games, like the one against the Lions is a good way to slide down the list, even if you do beat the Vikings the following week. The 49ers are sitting at fourth where they were last week and up from 5th, two weeks ago. They were as high as second (week 2) and as low as 8th (preseason) and 6th (week 6). The Cardinals continue they’re downward slide and are now at 21st. The Rams also seem to have come back down to earth and now sit at 25th.
Here is a chart showing the rankings over the season of the Seahawks and their week ten opponents, the Jets. As you can see the Jets are not ranked very highly, but if their defense decides to show up they might surprise Seattle. This is without a doubt a game that Seattle cannot afford to lose.
After a few weeks with the same three teams at the top of the rankings, we have two new faces this week. After getting thoroughly demolished by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Texans dropped three places to fourth. The Niners also suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of the new number two, the Giants, and consequently fell three spots to sixth. The new top five are the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens.
The Seahawks moved up three places to seventh, right behind the Niners (6th) and most certainly swap positions, if nothing else, after their matchup in San Francisco this Thursday. The Cardinals fell four spots to 12th, after an overtime defeat to Buffalo. The Rams also slipped four spots to 20th after losing 14-17 in Miami. The Rams have a better team than many think, but struggle putting up enough points. The Cardinals also face questions at QB going forward with the injury of Kevin Kolb.
I saw many comments over the last few days that the Falcons are not the best team in the NFL right now. While you might be able to create hypothetical games that the Falcons may lose, they can only play the schedule they are given, and it would require evidence that currently doesn’t exist to drop them out of first place. A one loss team could potentially move into first, but because the Texans were beat so soundly (and are seriously missing Brian Cushing) it’d be very hard to keep them in first place. The Falcons also have the weakest strength of schedule (.353) for the rest of the season. Consequently, all six writers had the Falcons at number one this week.
There were six teams that generated a difference of opinion of at least nine spots.
Chiefs (13): 19th by Scott , 32nd by Keith.
Vikings (11): 4th by Keith, 15th by Scott.
Lions (11): 12th by Scott, 23rd by Jason.
Jets (10): 18th by Keith, 28th by Scott.
Ravens (9): 2nd by Keith and Nick, 11th by Scott.
Steelers (9): 11th by Nick, 20th by Keith.
The Bears were ranked third by two of us, and third by the other four.
Teams that fell were the Vikings (-1), Raiders (-2), Saints (-2), Cowboys (-2), Bengals (-2), Chiefs (-3), Chargers (-3), Steelers (-3), 49ers (-3), Texans (-3), Panthers (-4), Colts (-4), Rams (-4), Cardinals (-4), and Patriots (-5).
Teams that gained in the rankings were the Jets (+7), Giants (+5), Redskins (+5), Packers (+4), Bills (+4), Bears (+3), Seahawks (+3), Broncos (+3), Dolphins (+3), Lions (+3), Titans (+3), Falcons (+1), Buccaneers (+1).
The Ravens, Eagles, Browns, Jaguars all maintained their positions.
*If people would like to see charts of other divisions or any other sort of charting please let me know in the comments section.
I apologize for the two week hiatus on posting 12th Man Rising’s writer power poll rankings. I do have Week Five’s rankings however, so let’s get to it.
Generally speaking, there wasn’t a lot of significant upward movement. The biggest climb was the Dolphins who rose six places to 20th, following their win over Bengals. Three teams gained five places, the Steelers, Colts, and Raiders to 11th, 22nd, and 26th, respectively. The Steelers beat the Eagles and the Colts upset the Packers. The Raiders had a bye but moved up by virtue of the Chiefs, Bills, Jets, Titans, Browns, and Jaguars all losing. Having a bye was probably the best think Oakland could have done for this week.
Six teams jumped four places (Patriots, Giants, Seahawks, Vikings, and Rams) all following victories in week five. The Rams defeated one of three remaining undefeated teams in the Cardinals and demonstrated that they are no longer going to be kicked around and taken for a guaranteed two wins every season.
Falling eight spots to 15th were the Eagles who got beat by the Steelers in a close game. The Eagles have failed to show any offensive consistency and Vick seems to have lost some of his explosive play-making ability. The Bills dropped seven places to 28th after getting destroyed by the third ranked 49ers. The Bengals slipped five places to 17th, and the Cardinals and Jets both fell four places after losing in week five to 8th and 29th, respectively.
Five of the six contributors had the Texans, Falcons, and 49ers ranked in order as the top three teams in the NFL which is hard to argue with considering the Texans and Falcons are the last two undefeated teams remaining. Both teams are also very balanced on offense and defense and preseason picks by many to win their divisions.
The Seahawks were ranked as high as 9th and as low as 15th while averaging out to tenth. This largely has to do with Seattle’s defensive dominance and ability to prevent teams from scoring touchdowns which allows the floundering offense to win close games. If the Seahawks can develop any sort of offensive production in the red zone it wouldn’t be hard for them to quickly move up the list. The next two games are against the top five Patriots (4th) and the 49ers (3rd) which would undoubtedly reorganize the top of the rankings if Seattle were to win them and (hopefully) get its first division win.
Once again there was a lot of movement in the 12 Man Rising’s power poll. The Houston Texans moved up a spot and claimed first place by only one point over the San Francisco 49ers, who moved up two spots to second. The Patriots slid four spots to fifth after losing at home to the Cardinals who are currently sitting at ninth after moving up nine spots. The Eagles also moved up nine spots after winning a close game against the Ravens, who are now seventh after falling four places.
The biggest movers this week were the Eagles, Seahawks, Bills, and Cardinals all moving up nine spots. The Chargers jumped eight places to 11th. The Panthers also moved up six places to 20th.
The losers in the second week were the Bears and Jets, both sliding down nine places to 17th and 19th respectively. The Chiefs dropped eight after losing to the Bills and now sit at 29th after going 0-2 on the season. The Broncos and Cowboys both suffered hard losses and fell seven places to 14th and 16th, respectively.
Another thing that stands out to me is that there is still a lot of movement week-to-week. This should settle out after teams settle into their “range” and the preseason expectations are met or missed. The NFC West went 4-0 last weekend for the first time in several years and that is reflected in the rankings with each team moving up at least two spots. The NFC West has a much tougher week three schedule with Rams @ Bears, Seahawks vs. Packers, Cardinals vs. Eagles. The 49ers play the Vikings and have the easiest match-up by far. The Vikings rank 30th, while the Eagles and Patriots are top ten, and the Bears are 19th.
If the Seahawks and Cardinals can manage to win this week, I would expect to see them keep climbing, while the Packers would almost certainly slide out of the top ten, after going 0-2 against the NFC West.