Every Tuesday, after all the NFL games have been played, it’s time for The Herd Hierarchy, Colin’s power rankings of his Top 10 NFL teams.
This week, Matthew Stafford and the surging Lions crack the Top 10. The Packers also join the party after hitting their stride in the second half. The usual suspects are at the top, but Dallas is separating themselves from the pack, and they aren’t looking back.
Here’s the Herd Hierarchy through 13 weeks of the 2016 NFL season.
10. Detroit Lions – Detroit has won 4 straight, and 7 of their last 8, after starting 1-3. Their 100% scoring efficiency in the red zone this year leads the NFL. Matthew Stafford has always had superior talent, but now that he’s getting competent coaching, he’s gone next level. He has a career-high 100.5 passer rating, and a 67.2 completion percentage. Over the last 8 games, he has 14 touchdown passes and only 1 interception.
Matt Stafford is the best QB in the NFC North… Yeah. Better than Rodgerspic.twitter.com/jSU1Ibv9oS
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) December 1, 2016
9. Denver Broncos – Denver has been inconsistent on offense, but their defense is still among the top units in the NFL. They lead the league with 36 sacks and pass defense (192.7 yards allowed per game). They have more interceptions (12), than passing touchdowns allowed (10). Colin is putting them in the hierarchy, but doesn’t think they can win a game in the playoffs.
— Lionel Bienvenu (@lionelbienvenu) December 5, 2016
8. Green Bay Packers – Colin has been tough on Aaron Rodgers and the Pack all year, but they’re back in the Top 10 this week. Over the last 7 games, Rodgers has thrown 19 touchdowns and only 3 picks, and Jordy Nelson has 5 touchdowns in his last 6 games. The Packers are starting to hit their stride, and nobody wants to travel to Lambeau and deal with the weather this time of the year. This week, the Seahawks make the trip.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) November 29, 2016
7. Baltimore Ravens – Colin didn’t like Baltimore after a hot 3-0 start, but he likes the way they’re playing now. They’ve won 4 of the last 5 games, with their only loss in that stretch coming on the road at Dallas. In his last 5 games, Joe Flacco is completing 69.8% of his passes, including a career-high 36 completions against the Dolphins last week. The Ravens have the top rushing defense in the NFL (73.8 yards per game allowed), and have only allowed 4 rushing touchdowns all season. Colin put them at #7 this week, but they could easily move higher if they continue to play well.
Pitta’s first TD since 2013!pic.twitter.com/D8FHcKvLtY
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 4, 2016
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – Colin had a feeling the Steelers would come on late, and they have. They’re 11-1 in their last 12 December games, and 30-9 at Heinz Field, all-time, in December. They’re on a 3-game winning streak, with an average margin of victory of 15 points per game in that span. Le’Veon Bell has 100+ scrimmage yards in 8 of 9 games this season, and Antonio Brown has the most receiving touchdowns of anyone in the last 3 years (34). The Steeler defense has started to come around after a slow start. They’ve held opponents under 100 yards rushing in 4 of last 5 games.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) December 4, 2016
5. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs continue to be methodical and boring, but they’re 7-1 in their last 8 games, and have won 18 of their last 21 overall. Tight end Travis Kelce might be the best tight end in the NFL other than Gronk. He has 3-straight games with 100 yards receiving. The Chiefs lead the league in turnover differential (+14), and takeaways (25), which is always a recipe for success.
— Gametime (@GametimeUnited) December 5, 2016
4. New England Patriots – Tom Brady leads the league in passer rating (113.1), and has 19 touchdowns and only 1 interception on the season. Last week, he passed Peyton Manning for all-time quarterback wins (201). The Patriots have been taking teams out early. They’re outscoring opponents by 65 points in the 1st quarter, which is the best in the NFL. They’ve won 3 straight games, and 7 of 8 overall. They only have 2 turnovers in their last 5 games, and none in their last 3. The biggest concern for Colin is their lack of dynamic playmakers.
Tom Brady Posts hilarious video of his blocking attempt ???? pic.twitter.com/pbMjr3AEjN
— PatriotsNation™ (@PatsNationTM) November 29, 2016
3. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks have the league’s top scoring defense (16.2 PPG), have forced multiple turnovers in 4 straight games, and have 5 straight games with an interception. They’re 6-0 at home, and the offense, which struggled early, had a season-high 534 yards against Carolina, including 240 yards on the ground. The loss of safety Earl Thomas with a season-ending broken leg is a concern.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 2, 2016
2. Oakland Raiders – It’s time for everyone to start taking the Raiders seriously. The Raiders have won 6-straight games, which is their longest winning streak since Jon Gruden was patrolling the sidelines in 2000. Their 13 sacks allowed is the best in the NFL, and they lead the AFC in scoring at 28.8 points per game. The defense was atrocious early, but they’ve forced a turnover in 4 straight games. Khalil Mack looks like the defensive player of the year, and has a sack in 7 straight games, the longest streak in the NFL. Oakland has explosive playmakers everywhere, and leads the AFC with 57 plays of 20+ yards. It’s time to recognize this team is special.
TOUCHDOWN RAIDERS pic.twitter.com/hd8JfTr2P2
— Ludwig Von Koopa (@FreshJo7) December 5, 2016
- Dallas Cowboys – No surprise here. Dallas has won 11 straight games for first time in franchise history. The Cowboys are grinding opponents into the ground with their offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott has rushed for 1,285 yards this season, which is over 200 yards more than the next closest player. As a team, they’ve rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season. Dak Prescott hasn’t thrown a pick in the last 5 games. The Cowboys are built to win in the postseason, and they get the top spot again this week.
Dez Bryant! What a catch! pic.twitter.com/SJdQninmPb
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 2, 2016