Julio Jones has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and this film breakdown shows he still has some left in the tank.
NFL training camp is finally underway and there are moves, particularly one from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that are very intriguing and may change how we view those teams in the future. Julio Jones, formerly of the Falcons and Titans, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year contract. He will now be joining Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as one of the best wide receiver trios in the NFL.
You might be thinking that Jones isn’t the same receiver as he once was. While you may be right, I’m here to tell you — with the help of some film from a game against the Seattle Seahawks — that he still has some left in the tank. I’ve compiled some tape from last year that shows just how good Julio Jones was before he got hurt and battled injury throughout most of the season, and that he still can be very good in a wide receiver three or four role on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Attacking the Football
This first clip of Jones truly demonstrates that he can still attack the football at a high level. He’s on the bottom of the screen and, as the defensive back is coming off, he is prepping to run an in-breaking route. Ryan Tannehill looks his way the entire time. Jones makes a really solid break towards the ball, goes up and high-points the football, and makes a great catch. His ability to make hands-catches is rare, and Jones showed that he still has some left in the tank.
Speed and Big-Play Potential
You might not think of Julio Jones’ speed as something that can still impress this late in his career and as something he may have lost when he went to the Tennessee Titans. However, in spurts it really is still there, and here’s a prime example of it.
On this deep ball Jones is on the top of the screen. The defensive back is playing off so Jones attacks him outside stepping in and doing a little stutter step. This throws the defensive back’s footing off just enough that Jones is able to speed past him, go over the top, and catch this great throw from Ryan Tannehill. It really is that footwork right before that makes this play possible.
Here’s an example of a crossing route, which Tom Brady really loves to throw. In this instance, Tennessee runs a play-action and Jones comes from the top of the screen down. What he does really well is attack the empty spots on the field, rather than just running the route the way that it’s written down in the playbook.
He attacks the empty part of the field and comes back to attack the football as soon as Ryan Tannehill makes this throw. This could have easily been batted down or incomplete, but he comes back and attacks the football. Julio Jones’ ball skills are still some of the best in the league, and he’ll have ample opportunity to show that with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Yards After the Catch
On this play we see more of Julio Jones’ running ability and how it really was still there before he went down with the injury that sidelined him several weeks. He’s really good at not only attacking the football, but attacking defensive backs and using his footwork to gain leverage.
Here he does that exact thing. It’s really a simple route, but because he didn’t give up his intentions, the defensive back has no idea where he’s going. When he makes this simple cut in it almost makes the defensive back drop to the floor. Jones is able to catch the ball in space and attacks the open grass for a big gain.
Here is another example, and really the best combination of Julio Jones not only attacking space on the field, but also attacking the football when it comes his way. From the snap, he just goes straight to his spot and makes a quick little move on the defender.
This is vintage Julio Jones if I’ve ever seen it, and if he can bring some of these plays to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he’s healthy, they’re going to be an absolutely dangerous team.
Jones’ quick feet are what’s going to keep him relevant in this game for a while — and what has done so to this point. Here, it’s really a simple route, but it puts the defensive back in a blender. Jones spins back towards the football and goes up to make a play. His foot speed is still off the charts when healthy, and he can still teach defensive backs a lesson.
The Bottom Line on Julio Jones and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game really showed some of the vintage Julio Jones that still remains in 2022. He had 133 yards receiving and dominated just about anybody that was put in front of him. However, teams with wide receiver needs, such as the Ravens and Packers left him for Brady and the Bucs. it’s only a matter of time before they come to regret this and we see the Brady-Jones connection in action.
Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared as a video on Tyler’s YouTube channel. Head over there to check out the full video!
Fantasy football can be enigmatic, even to players who have been doing it for a few years. Playing fantasy football well does take skill, but a lot of success is just pure luck. The NFL only has 17 games a season, compared with 82 for the NBA or NHL, and 162 for MLB. Because of that, fantasy football is subject to more severe year-to-year deviations.
Yet, within those seemingly random deviations, one can figure out patterns that emerge. While these tips won’t help new players dominate right away, they will be able to keep their heads above water against more experienced players.
It is also important to note that these are guidelines. A player that is good enough will be someone a player can buck the trend with. For now, though, a new player should memorize these five concepts.
No QBs in the first round
New players come into fantasy football thinking that if quarterbacks score the most fantasy points, why aren’t they the first to go off the board?
Of course, the answer to that question is simple, but not intuitive for the beginner. Quarterbacks do score the most fantasy points, but they’re a better value later on in the draft. After the top five or so, quarterbacks score about the same amount of points all the way down to 25th. In other words, you can have someone like Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo and score decently.
Other positions, like running back, are hard to come by. After the top five backs, the talent level drops off significantly. This increases the importance of getting a top-tier back early on. Hence, running backs are a better target than quarterbacks or receivers in the first couple of rounds.
There are exceptions, though, as Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen may be worth a first-round pick, especially in leagues that have 14 teams or more.
No QBs that are 35 or older
Older players in general are a gamble. Even though they’re a known quantity, the quality of play they offer can drop off at any time. Worse off, a player’s quality will drop off much faster the older a player is.
Picking a quarterback aged 35 or older is a slot machine to avoid. Even with players like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, talent could fall off very quickly and without warning. Stick to QBs that haven’t gotten that old, yet.
An example of this is Peyton Manning’s twilight years. In 2014, Peyton Manning was QB4 and showed only modest signs of decline. By 2015, though, Manning had fallen off the face of the Earth. His arm and neck had given in, and he would have to be relieved by Brock Osweiller. This led to him going from QB4 to QB34.
The reason why this happens is easy to understand. Schematically, a coach will plan around his player’s weaknesses. At first, this looks like a subtle game plan change. Yet, as arm strength and touch continue to fade, the coach cannot run the same plays or offense anymore. This puts a team at a crossroads; either play like the older QB is used to and risk him losing the game, or play differently.
Most coaches will dance with the one that brought them, though.
Grab the youngest back possible early on
Running backs fall off very, very quickly. By their late 20s, most backs are washed, and picking them up is a recipe for disaster. PFF recommends that dynasty fantasy football players trade any back over the age of 25. The position is brutal on a back’s body, and moderating their touches must be done the older they get.
Hence, go with the youngest back possible who can still be a quality starter, and do it early. It seems odd to pick a rookie or a second-year player, given they haven’t proven themselves yet. But, running backs are fairly easy to project even before they play a down.
For example, Saquon Barkley is a perfect case study, as it was obvious he was going to be special. As a rookie in 2018, he ran for over 1,300 yards and got into the end zone 11 times. By 2021, though, he ran for only 593 yards and two touchdowns. Players who drafted Barkley in 2018 came out much better than players who drafted him in 2021. At 25, his peak looks to already be well past.
If one can find a back that is projected high and is under 25, that is the best course of action. Avoid picking anyone over 27, though, like the plague.
Kickers can be worth a 10th or 11th round selection
Nerds would call the kicker position a market inefficiency. Kickers are often overlooked in fantasy football, as it isn’t the sexiest position, and they can be erratic from week to week.
However, a top-five kicker is worth a high-end double-digit round draft slot. In 2021, the top five kickers averaged 9.7 fantasy points per contest. That point total is equivalent to the 25th ranked running back, or a top 15 receiver. This is also a guaranteed starting position, too, so it will deliver production nearly every week.
Kickers are also age-resistant, so don’t feel hesitant to draft 37-year-old Nick Folk with an 11th or 12 round pick, if you can.
Do not pick anyone with any consistent injury history. Ever.
This is arguably the most important thing to learn.
Injuries are common in football. When we talk about injury history, we aren’t talking about the minor bruises and sprains that a player can play with. Instead, if a player has any sort of injury history that has kept him off the field more than one time, pass on him. Even if that player is Christian McCaffery, taking him is going to open a novice up to the variance that can demolish new players.
But, players should also give lesser priority to players that have been hurt seriously just one time. These players don’t have to be avoided outright, but avoiding them if possible is a prudent decision.
While these tips are not going to help a newbie win their fantasy league in year one, they are useful pitfalls to avoid early on. Ultimately, these tips can help someone playing fantasy football gain skills in it for the future, and be a building block to winning something down the road.
Brian Flores’ lawsuit describes a meeting with a mystery QB on a yacht with Stephen Ross, and some clues tell us who it may be.
In a story that’s still currently breaking, former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores has accused the NFL of racist actions and the Miami Dolphins of forcing him to violate tampering rules in a lawsuit.
Of the accusations, one of the more major ones comes against team owner Stephen Ross.
Flores claims Ross offered to pay up to 100,000 dollars for each loss of the 2019 season, and pushed him to acquire a certain quarterback following the season.
It is also reported that Brady and Flores had a poor relationship, which may have been why he stormed out. This comes after many have confirmed the QB was not Watson.
Shortly after his championship in Tampa Bay, Brady spoke of one interview with a team during free agency. The team dropped out late, and Brady was shocked over which QB was chosen over him. This very well may have been Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was Miami’s quarterback at the time.
There are a few prominent quarterbacks who this could have been, but the story is still unfolding. As of now, Brady fits the description, and we will learn who it is as more about the Brian Flores NFL lawsuit comes out.
The outlook on the Buffalo Bills season has never been lower. After sleepwalking through the easy part of their schedule and taking some bad losses, they are 7-5. They are now 1.5 games behind New England in the AFC East title race with the rematch coming in a couple weeks. They now look to turn things around on a short week against a familiar opponent, Tom Brady. This Bills vs Buccaneers matchup has the makings of an instant classic with plenty on the line.
Many of us hoped that we would be tracking scenarios for the AFC 1-seed but now the target is just getting to the playoffs. Despite feeling like the season is over, the Bills stand a good chance of getting to the postseason. The Bills current playoff odds sit around 78% according to the NY Times playoff odds calculator.
A 3-2 record through the final 5 games elevates those odds to 88%. Winning 4 games guarantees a playoff spot. The remaining opponents are: Buccaneers, Panthers, Patriots, Falcons, Jets. This week’s Bills vs Buccaneers game is not a must-win, but a win would remove a ton of pressure.
Tom Brady Effect
There is no denying that Tom Brady owns a large plot of real estate in the Buffalo Bills’ headspace. Brady is 32-3 against Buffalo, all games occurring during his 19-year Patriots tenure. He won the Super Bowl in 2020, his first year with Tampa Bay.
Brady is now playing MVP-level football in his second season with Bruce Arians. The players won’t admit it, but this game is more “Bills against Brady” than Bills vs Buccaneers.
How to Win on Offense
The Buccaneers have an elite run defense. It is not even worth testing. Vita Vea is among the best interior defenders in the league and avoiding him would be smart. Josh Allen should throw 40 or more passes to have an optimal game plan. The rest of the defensive line is excellent at generating pressure. They have a big advantage over the Bills offensive line even if Jon Feliciano is able to return.
Allen should look to distribute the ball quickly even if it means taking short gains. On the back end, the Buccaneers are looking healthy with Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting back in action. They will play a lot of 2-high defense which has given Allen trouble this season. Linebacker Lavonte David is excellent in coverage and Devin White is a nasty run defender.
Diggs may see a lot of bracketed coverage so I would like to see Allen distribute the ball around. Featuring Gabe Davis outside would give him a physical advantage over Murphy-Bunting and could be our best opportunity for downfield shots. Cole Beasley has a big opportunity as our best zone-beater underneath. He should get double-digit targets as a run game replacement.
I would also make Zack Moss inactive and give either Isaiah McKenzie or Marquez Stevenson some designed plays on offense to spread the defense horizontally. Dawson Knox draws a tough matchup with David so it would be wise to keep him in-line to help protect Allen. The Bills should be able to move the ball but execution in the red-zone will be vital to success on Sunday.
How to Win on Defense
There is no sugar coating it, the Buccaneers offense is simply better than the Bills defense. Without Tre’ White, nobody on the team can stop Mike Evans. He is an elite receiver and routinely wins balls in perfect coverage. The key will be getting physical and giving his assignment safety help. Chris Godwin will primarily play the slot and will be Taron Johnson’s toughest matchup yet.
Fortunately, Antonio Brown is suspended for faking his vaccine card and will be replaced by a combo of Breshad Perriman and Tyler Johnson. At tight end, Rob Gronkowski is a familiar face who is still playing great football. Even running back Leonard Fournette has become a threat in the pass game.
This is a spectacular group of pass-catchers and Brady will find the open man more often than not. You can’t outright stop them, but you can limit explosives. That will be the biggest focus on defense.
Brady has also taken some risks this season and has thrown 7 interceptions in his last 5 games. The Bills need to attack the ball and try to force turnovers when the opportunities are there. As good as the skill players are, the Buccaneers offensive line is even better. They have no weak links and are among the best at limiting pressure.
Brady has been significantly worse when pressured so finding a way to get to him would be a huge help. The best matchup we have in the trenches is Ed Oliver against Alex Cappa. He can be the biggest catalyst to defensive success. The Buccaneers quietly have a top rushing attack as well and can attack a well-known weakness of the Bills defense. Greg Rousseau will have to be at his best at setting the edge in the run game to funnel things back inside.
This is a tough draw for the whole defense and points will be scored. Generating turnovers and pressuring Brady is easier said than done but could be the key to pulling off the upset.
I fully believe that the Bills have the ability to win this game. I expect plenty of offense and a competitive game down to the last snap. The Bills are 0-4 in one score games this season so they are due for positive regression at some point. However, I think they make too many mistakes to put together the perfect game that they need in this contest. My final score prediction is
Bills 27 Buccaneers 31
Let’s hope for Allen to step up and lead the team to a win but remember not to lose our heads if we drop this one. The playoffs are within reach either way. Regardless, this Bills vs Buccaneers matchup will be must-watch football.
The Week 13 NFL Power Rankings have movement all over the place! The Patriots and Lions stay put as the best and worst teams this week, respectively. But, so many other teams are moving significantly from where they were in last week’s power rankings.
32. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)
Last Week: 32
I apologize to all the Detroit Lions fans out there. But, I’m rooting for 0-16-1 at this point. It’s a feat that I’m not sure we’ll ever see happen again. For an NFL team to be good enough to come so close to winning so many times and fail to do so every single time is just… special. It’s a rough life.
But, hey, I’ll give you this: The Lions are currently 1-9-1 in my eyes. The refs failed to penalize the Baltimore Ravens with a delay of game penalty at the end of the Week 3 game. It would have knocked the Ravens out of even Justin Tucker’s inhuman field goal range. You can always hang your hats on that.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
Last week: 30
The Jacksonville Jaguars are so bad they can’t even complete a comeback attempt over the Falcons. Obviously I’m poking a bit of fun at the Falcons with that comment. But, I guess my question is, where the hell was that effort the rest of the game? The Jags looked as snake-bitten as they’ve ever looked with turnovers on back to back drives in the second quarter.
They basically set the Falcons up with a 14-3 lead at halftime. The thought process was… hey, if the Jags can stop making killer mistakes, they could always turn this game around. The Falcons haven’t exactly fully earned their halftime lead. The problem is you still have to push the ball down the field, and the Jags were unable to do that.
30. Houston Texans (2-9)
Last Week: 27
Chin up, Texans fans! The only other teams to lose to the Jets this year were the Bengals and Titans and look where both of those teams are right now! Although, it’s a little different because the Texans’ offense was completely inept. Tyrod Taylor accounted for nearly 200 yards of total offense on his own, but nobody else could accomplish anything.
The Jets’ defense has been notoriously awful this season, so what does that say about the Texans’ offense? The Texans have some fundamental issues holding their football team back right now, hence their tumble in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings.
29. New York Jets (3-8)
Last Week: 31
The much awaited return of Zach Wilson happened this week and… well, it wasn’t pretty. But, the Jets won. It was largely due to a running game that tallied 157 yards on the day. But, that doesn’t change the fact that the Jets’ air game failed to take flight all day. Wilson finished with 145 yards and an interception.
Thank god, for his sake, Mike White and Joe Flacco didn’t play any better. I can’t put them too high in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings. But, I’ll give them a nice little boost for eclipsing their 2020 win total.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
Last Week: 23
Speaking of misleading records, how the hell is this Steelers team 5-5-1? Like the Falcons, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re average because they have a .500 record. But, this team couldn’t beat the Lions. The refs handed them a win over the Bears. They struggled to put 15 points up on a very injured Browns team. They lucked out against Geno Smith and got a Bills team that wasn’t ready to go in Week 1.
In my opinion, they’ve only had one convincing win all season against the Denver Broncos. So, losing 41-10 to the Bengals is honestly about what we should expect. Do you honestly expect them to beat the Ravens, Vikings, Titans, Chiefs, or Browns? The Steelers are very close to visiting the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings’ basement.
27. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)
Last Week: 24
What can I even say at this point? Russell Wilson came back and this team is still hot doodoo garbage. This week might have been Seattle’s last chance to turn this season into something relevant or interesting. If only to build momentum for next year. But, now, it’s looking like it’s almost time to blow the whole thing up and start over.
26. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
Last Week: 29
The Atlanta Falcons’ 5-6 record is a bit misleading. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’re an average football team right now if you only looked at that number. But, dive a little deeper, and you’ll see so many blown opportunities that you’d never trust this team ever again for the rest of your life. They almost had another one against the Jaguars this week. But, they prevented a fall in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings by holding Trevor Lawrence’s heroic comeback attempt off.
25. New York Giants (4-7)
Last Week: 26
You have to give credit to the Giants’ defense. Considering the offensive production we saw, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have won this game without it. Three interceptions on Jalen Hurts put a bowtie on this pig of a game for Giants fans. Saquon Barkley was ineffective, Daniel Jones was uninspiring, and nobody had an answer for Hurts’ legs.
But, they found a way to get the job done. I don’t think it saves Joe Judge’s job. But, it’s the kind of hard-fought division win the locker room can hang their hat on.
24. Chicago Bears (4-7)
Last Week: 25
Wow. Um. Good job, Bears? You sure showed the Lions you could… score 16 points against them. Look, to be fair, the Bears got a win this week. It doesn’t matter in the final standings that it came against a Lions team that hasn’t won a game since Week 13 of last year (against the Bears, by the way).
Andy Dalton looked like Andy Dalton. But, hey, Darnell Mooney had a nice game! Maybe you’ve got a nice piece to build that receiving corps with?
23. Carolina Panthers (5-7)
Last Week: 21
So much for Cam Newton coming home to save the Panthers’ season, huh? Cam’s 5.8 passer rating this week was worse than anything the Panthers have ever seen out of Sam Darnold. He only completed five of his 21 passing attempts and threw it to the other team twice.
Then, perhaps even more insanely, the Panthers benched him for PJ Walker and he was sacked FOUR TIMES! The man only played two drives. I think there might be something fundamentally wrong with the Panthers, rather than their quarterbacks.
22. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Last Week: 18
Life without Jameis Winston is tough in New Orleans. They were absolutely decimated by the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving this week. They didn’t even sniff the end-zone until the fourth quarter. And, if that wasn’t enough, they couldn’t even convert the two-point conversion after the fact.
The Saints’ defense did pretty well through most of the first half, but the whole team fell apart in the second half. If they’re not careful, the Saints could find themselves out of the playoff race when they looked like shoo-ins a few weeks ago.
21. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
Last Week: 27
Don’t look now, but the Miami Dolphins are only a single game out of the playoff race. It seems like they’re starting to get more comfortable with the idea of letting Tua take over in a more balanced offense. It’s not exactly the prettiest way to win games. But, it is one they could be successful with. It might seem crazy, but Brian Flores could potentially save his job if he learns to trust the quarterback the team spent a No. 5 overall pick on.
20. Denver Broncos (6-5)
Last Week: 22
Rumors of the Broncos’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Patrick Surtain showed why he was worth a high draft pick this week by essentially putting the final nails in the Chargers’ coffin with a pick six. The Broncos’ offense was largely unspectacular, but it was efficient. Teddy Bridgewater avoided any major mistakes and finished with a 101.4 passer rating. This is the formula for winning, Broncos. I could see them right back in the playoff picture if they keep riding this strategy.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Last Week: 16
It’s pretty difficult to win a game when Jalen Hurts throws three interceptions like that. The Eagles are running out of breathing room in the playoff race. If they’re not careful, they could be out of it entirely in a few weeks. Dropping games to the lowly Giants is not going to help at all. Maybe they should run the ball more? After all, they did record 208 yards rushing on the day. They sure couldn’t accomplish anything through the air.
18. Cleveland Browns (6-6)
Last Week: 15
The Browns are currently in the AFC North’s basement when they could have been back in control of a playoff spot with even a modicum of offensive competence. Baker Mayfield’s case to remain the future of the Browns’ quarterback position took a massive hit this week. He mostly looked lost and totally out of sync with his receivers this week.
It reminded me a lot of the connection between Baker and OBJ, but this was every receiver on his team. Even Jarvis Landry missed a connection with Baker multiple times, despite finishing with 111 yards on the day. This Browns team is going to be back under .500 this year if their offense keeps playing like this.
17. Washington Football Team (5-6)
Last Week: 20
Astoundingly, the Washington Football Team is in control of a playoff spot! How crazy would that be, by the way, if WFT could make it into the playoffs as a Wild Card team with a losing record? I doubt that would happen, but it seems so fitting of a team that made it that way last year by winning the division. I’m not sure what’s gotten into them lately, but let’s see if it keeps up now that the schedule is about to get a lot harder.
16. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Last Week: 12
Welp, believing in the Vikings was fun while it lasted. I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot this year. But, they fall back down to dead-middle in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings due to following up a huge win over a division rival with a flattening loss to a team they’re competing with for a Wild Card spot.
Plus, now Dalvin Cook is going to be out for a few weeks with a dislocated shoulder. Luckily, they draw the Lions, Steelers, and Bears over the next three weeks so he should have plenty of time to heal up before the Rams come to town in week 16.
15. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
Last Week: 14
What a shame. The Colts had the Bucs right where they wanted them. Every Titan fan in the country was starting to sweat. Then, Carson Wentz imploded. They even pushed the ball down field late in the game to tie things up. But, the defense had no answer for Leonard Fournette. One somewhat predictable Carson Wentz interception later and the big statement upset had completely slipped out of their grasp, along with control of a playoff seed.
14. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)
Last Week: 17
Winners of four of their last five games, the 49ers are coming. It seems like not too long ago many of us were wondering how long Kyle Shanahan can keep resting on injury excuses to keep his job. Well, I think this recent run of form has bought him a bit of time. This was a key win the 49ers absolutely needed against the Vikings, considering the playoff implications.
They snatched that opportunity by forcing Minnesota to make key mistakes. They’re currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC. I probably don’t have them high enough in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings. But, give it a week or two. I’m sure they’ll be up higher soon the way they’ve been playing.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
Last Week: 19
That’s more like it, Raiders! After looking absolutely dead in the water the past few weeks, the Raiders reminded everyone that they’re still a very talented football team in Dallas. Unfortunately, they’re just barely on the outside of the playoff race looking in due to losing to the Chargers earlier this year.
But, if they can at least keep pace, they’ll get another shot at them in Week 18. Vegas has a lot of winnable games against teams competing for a wild card spot down the stretch. So, we’ll learn if they are built to last or not.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)
Last Week: 11
The Chargers have not exactly been lighting the world on fire lately. Since their bye week, they’ve only won two of five. In fact, they almost choked one away to the Steelers. It could have easily been only one of the last five. The key factor in a lot of these losses has been Justin Herbert’s erratic, inconsistent play.
Yes, he’s an extremely talented individual. I’m not trying to suggest he isn’t a generational talent. But, he’s thrown seven interceptions in his last six games and taken 12 sacks. That’s a big reason why it looks like the wheels are starting to come off.
11. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Last Week: 9
Speaking of teams who have been presenting worry trends lately, the Los Angeles Rams haven’t won since October. There has to be something in the water in LA, right? Why else would BOTH Los Angeles teams be suddenly collapsing after such promising starts?
It’s actually, once again, a quarterback issue. Matt Stafford was inefficient most of the day and threw an absolutely crushing pick six just ahead of their comeback attempt. Reverse that play and the Rams have a legit opportunity to pull this one off at the end.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-4)
Last Week: 14
The Buffalo Bills got back to form this week with a total domination of a reeling Saints team. It was a good look, but not quite enough to wipe losing to the Jaguars and being dominated by the Colts out of my memory. They’ll have an opportunity to prove themselves with a couple games against the Patriots left on their schedule. But, I’m still not sure if I’m ready to bring the Bills back into the top echelon of the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings.
9. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
Last Week: 10
Well… the Ravens won. I guess. It was about as ugly of a win as you could manage. But, it was a win. Lamar Jackson really needs to clean up the sloppy play and the turnovers if this Ravens team wants to make noise in the playoffs. At this point, I’d be shocked if they fell off and missed entirely. Although, the NFL is weird. So, I almost wouldn’t be shocked. Almost. Especially considering the rough schedule they have coming up.
8. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
Last Week: 6
Are the Cowboys starting to turn into pretenders? Maybe, maybe not. But, you can’t spin the recent run of form in any way that’s positive. The Raiders looked like the much better team for almost the entire contest this week. Dak was efficient, but the Cowboys couldn’t run the ball.
The defense just got absolutely worked all game. Thank god the Eagles lost, right? That was almost under consideration for being an issue there for a minute! But, if the Cowboys have higher ambitions than a division championship, they’ll need to turn things around.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-4)
Last Week: 5
The Bucs ended their two-game losing streak on Monday night against the Giants. Tom Brady doesn’t typically deal well with being embarrassed, which is usually bad news for the next team up. He made the Giants pay for the sins of the Football Team and Saints with 307 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
There was a really ugly interception thrown deep in Bucs territory early in the second quarter that led to a game-tying touchdown. But, the mistake was compartmentalized and it was basically a slaughter from that point forward.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
Last Week: 8
Back on track. The Bengals stumbled a little with back-to-back alarming games against the Jets and Browns. Had they held onto that 11-point lead in the fourth quarter over the Jets, I don’t think the pushback after the Browns game would have been as strong. But, it happened, and now everyone who dismissed the Bengals (including myself) looks pretty stupid. The Cincinnati Bengals are a bona fide contender in 2021 and you can’t convince me otherwise.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
Last Week: 7
It’s kind of nuts to think about the fact that Leonard Fournette might be having a better career as a rotational player in Tampa Bay than he ever had as the feature back with the team that drafted him No. 4 overall.
He was absolutely electrifying in Indianapolis this week, and a huge reason the Bucs came from behind to keep their playoff seeding bid intact. Because, that’s pretty much what they’re playing for at this point, right? They have a 3-game lead in the division with six games left to go. So, I’d say probably.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Last Week: 3
I know it’s weird to knock a team down in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings after a bye week. But the Chiefs are in sole possession of the AFC West after their rough start you say! Only good things happened during the bye week! What even is this trash article!
Well, sorry, but that’s part of the deal with being up this high. When you don’t do anything for a week, teams with big wins like the Packers could move you out of the way. Don’t take it as anything other than logistics.
3. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
Last Week: 2
Same deal here. The Cardinals saw the Rams fall two games behind them on their bye week. So, how are they falling in the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings, you ask? Keep reading to find out.
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
Last Week: 4
A massive victory this week for the Green Bay Packers this week. They absolutely came to play against a Los Angeles Rams team that needed a big win to keep up in the division race. But, Aaron Rodgers was efficient, clinical, and hard to keep in check. AJ Dillon was the baaaad man this week with 90 all purpose yards and a rather photogenic touchdown.
All in all, you should be scared of this Packers team right now. They’re clearly the class of the NFC. In fact, they’re only half a game behind the No. 1 seeded Cardinals, whom they hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over.
1. New England Patriots (8-4)
Last Week: 1
The Patriots spanked the Titans this week, proving they’re worthy of the No. 1 spot. How crazy is it that Bill Belichick seems to be building a third championship caliber era Patriots team with a completely new quarterback? There isn’t any question that Tom Brady was a big part of winning six Super Bowls back in the day. But, perhaps we’ve been too easy to forget the man who made Tom Brady who he is today. The Patriots are back.