Broncos, Texans Tied Atop Our Quality Stats Power Rankings
by Brandon Burnett (@B_Burnett49er)
Cold Hard Football Facts' Power Ranger
“It’s an occasional event. There is no real concern we need to change the system,” said NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson in response to the NFL's first tie game since 2008.
Well, as if the tie between the 49ers and Rams in Week 10, the first in four seasons, wasn't enough, the two divisional rivals went 74 minutes and 34 seconds deep into their Week 13 rematch before St. Louis' Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with under a minute remaining in OT.
Probably not, but the annoying and unfortunate truth is that ties in football have become an increasingly common theme in 2012. The Niners and Rams basically came a missed 54-yard FG away from becoming the first teams to tie twice in one season. Numerous other contests ventured well into extra minutes before a winner was finally crowned.
And, wouldn't you know it, we've got a tie atop the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats Power Rankings. How fitting.
Houston hogged the No. 1 spot for five weeks before Peyton Manning and the Broncos pried it away in Week 12. Now, the two are in a full-fledged stalemate at No. 1
You can't make this stuff up.
1a. Denver Broncos (9-3) - Denver's seven-game winning streak has featured only one victory over a quality opponent (Cincinnati), but this team is visibly improving each week. Von Miller, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, has 15 sacks, and the Broncos are No. 1 in our Defensive Hog Index.
1b. Houston Texans (11-1) - Six takeaways in a 24-10 win over the Titans Sunday gives the Texans' vaunted defense 26 on the year. That's one less than Houston had in all of 2011, and it jumped from No. 7 to No. 3 in Defensive Passer Rating this week.
3. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) - SF's Week 13 loss marked the fourth time in 2012 it failed to extend a two-game winning streak. Colin Kaepernick's inexperience exposed itself in defeat, but the play-calling was the real problem. The Niners are now just 1 1/2 up on the surging Seahawks in the NFC West.
4. Atlanta Falcons (11-1) - The Falcons clinched the NFC South title Sunday, and did it with defense. Atlanta allowed 436 yards to Drew Brees and the Saints, but only 13 points. As a result, they've jumped from No. 7 to No. 4 in Bendability.
5. New England Patriots (9-3) - Did you know the Pats' 23-16 win over Miami gives them a mind-blowing 37-3 record in the month of December since 2002. Oddly enough, all three losses were to the Dolphins. Does that mean NE is a lock to knock off the Texans and 49ers the next two weeks?
6. Green Bay Packers (8-4) - The banged-up Pack needed a big win. It's shocking that GB allowed Adrian Peterson to rumble for 210 yards yet gave up only 14 points. The Packers are now No. 6 in Defensive Passer Rating after flustering Christian Ponder for 60 minutes.
7. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) - Winning in Chicago was something few saw coming. Russell Wilson finished with a passer rating of over 100 for a fourth-straight week and Seattle appears poised for a playoff appearance in 2012. Three of the 'Hawks final four games are at home, where they are 5-0.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) - Speaking of not seeing things coming, did you take Charlie Batch and the Steelers to get a win in Baltimore? Didn't think so. But it happened, and disaster has been averted. Pittsburgh is still at No. 26 in Bendability after finishing at No. 3 in 2011.
9. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) - That was a crushing blow, and Terrell Suggs' torn bicep could make life in Baltimore even worse. Ray Lewis is on the mend and could be back soon, but the Ravens travel to Washington to meet RGIII before finishing the season against three quality teams.
10. Chicago Bears (8-4) - The Bears are 1-3 after a 7-1 start, proving their inability to defeat quality opponents. Chicago is 1-4 against teams with a winning record, no longer owns first place in the NFC North and may have just lost Brian Urlacher for the rest of the regular season.
11. New York Giants (7-5) - The Giants love suspense. Monday night's 17-16 loss to the Redskins allowed Washington and Dallas to close the gap in the NFC East. Eli is slowly getting back on track after a brutal four-game stretch, but NYG is still down at No. 16 in Offensive Passer Rating.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) - The Bengals have followed up a four-game losing streak with four consecutive victories. Cincy is now No. 8 in Scoreability and remains at No. 9 in OPR.
13. Washington Redskins (6-6) - How good is Robert Griffin III? Washington is No. 3 in OPR after finishing at No. 27 in 2011. Even better, the Skins are No. 1 in Real Quarterback Rating. With a rookie quarterback. Wow.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) - From 2-4 to 6-4 to 6-6. Just who are these Bucs? With an 0-3 record against quality teams, they hardly resemble a playoff contender. The Falcons have the NFC South locked up and Tampa is a game out of a wild card spot with four to play.
15. New Orleans Saints (5-7) - What can the Saints do to save their season? Winning out is obviously a must, which would mean victories over the 7-5 Giants, 6-6 Bucs and 6-6 Cowboys. If that somehow happens and Seattle (7-5) drops a couple, things could get interesting.
16. St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) - Oh, and we can't forget the Rams, who are now ahead of New Orleans, too. St. Louis is slowly working its way back up in Bendability, now at No. 17.
17. Detroit Lions (4-8) - The Lions are finding new ways to lose every week, and are running out of receivers as well. Titus Young and Ryan Broyles have now joined Nate Burleson on the IR. Detroit's disappointing defense has dropped to No. 27 in Bendability despite rising from No. 25 to No. 16 in DHI.
18. Arizona Cardinals (4-8) - Eight straight losses and counting. After a 7-6 loss to Rex Ryan and the Jets, Arizona's defense finally realizes there is nothing it can do to save this team. Time to pack it in and begin the search for a new offensive line from tackle to tackle. The Cards are again No. 32 in our Offensive Hog Index.
19. Carolina Panthers (3-9) - Carolina is at No. 19 despite a 3-9 record largely because seven of its nine losses have come by six points or less. The Panthers jumped seven spots to No. 14 in OPR, so at least Cam Newton and the offense is making positive strides.
20a. Miami Dolphins (5-7) - Miami hung tough against New England, but a trip to San Francisco (6-0 after a loss or tie since beginning of 2011) will likely rule out a winning record in 2012. The Dolphins are No. 12 in DPR, but No. 28 in OPR. Ryan Tannehill has six interceptions and only two TDs since Week 10.
20b. Dallas Cowboys (6-6) - We're absolutely befuddled that Dallas is 6-6 and only a game behind the NFC East-leading Giants. Yes, befuddled. The Cowboys are 1-5 against quality opponents and will face the 7-5 Bengals and 7-5 Steelers the next two weeks. Things will sort themselves out soon enough.
22. Cleveland Browns (4-8) - A 4-3 record since Week 5? Look at Cleveland go. Hosting the Chiefs Sunday could, believe it or not, give the Browns a three-game winning streak. Hey, that's something the 49ers, at 8-3-1, haven't accomplished in 2012.
23. San Diego Chargers (4-8) - Is Norv Turner gone yet? The Chargers's four wins have come against teams with a combined 11-37 record. Two against KC, one over Oakland and another against the Titans. San Diego has a four-time Pro Bowl QB under center and still can't get much done. Norv's departure has been long overdue.
24. Buffalo Bills (5-7) - Buffalo is another team that feasts on the weak but falters against quality opponents. The Bills are 0-5 against teams with a winning record and are No. 29 in Bendability.
25. Minnesota Vikings (6-6) - No way is AP human. Peterson, coming off an ACL tear, has 1,446 yards rushing (the second-highest total of his career) and is on pace for 1,928 over 16 games. He's not getting much help, as the Vikings are No. 24 in OPR and No. 31 in Real Passing Yards per Attempt.
26. New York Jets (5-7) - The Jets are now 4-1 against teams with a record under .500. Each of their final four opponents are under .500, and three are 4-8 or worse. Is 9-7 a possibility? The question everyone wants answered is, who will Rex start at QB after Greg McElroy replaced Mark Sanchez and let the Jets to victory?
27. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) - At 8-4, it seems unjust that Andrew Luck and the Colts are buried down here with such miserable company. When you look at the schedule, it's easy to see why. Nothing against what Indy has going on, but it's faced just three quality opponents in 2012 and is No. 27 in both OPR and DPR.
28. Tennessee Titans (4-8) - The downward spiral continues in the Music City. Tennessee is 1-5 against quality opponents and No. 31 in the all-important Passer Rating Differential.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) - Speaking of downward spirals, when will the losing in Philly come to an end? We were skeptical of the Eagles' 3-1 start, but never saw eight-straight losses on the horizon. Philly is No. 30 in PRD and No. 31 in Scoreability.
31. Oakland Raiders (3-9) - Now the Raiders can't even go 8-8 for a third consecutive season. The only thing worse than being mediocre is being awful, and that's what this team is.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) - There's no tie at the bottom. Despite a Week 13 win, it's still the Chiefs. They'll have an opportunity to break free Week 15 against Oakland, but the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft could be at stake.