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, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers continue to rise in the hierarchy, as their hot-streak continues. The Seahawks take a step back after getting pounded in Lambeau with a struggling Russell Wilson. Dallas and New England continue to battle at the top, but the Cowboys are struggling and the Patriots will have to win from here without Gronk.
Here’s the Herd Hierarchy through 14 weeks of the 2016 NFL season.
- Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons just destroyed the Rams and put the final nail in Jeff Fisher’s coffin. Julio Jones has been out, but the Falcons still lead the NFL in yards per play (6.46), and touchdowns of 20+ Yards (15 – tied 1st). The defense has improved in the second half. Vic Beasley leads the NFL in Sacks since Week 5 with 12.5, and they have 10 takeaways over their last 5 games, after just 8 in their first 8. Atlanta has flaws, but they’re good enough to crack the Top 10.
— Green Machine (@99RaiderNation) December 11, 2016
- Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens looked outmatched against the Patriots last night, but they still have the 2nd best scoring and total defense in the AFC, are the only team in the NFL allowing fewer than 80 rushing yards a game, and are tied for the league lead with 25 takeaways. Over his last 6 games, Joe Flacco is completing over 70% of his passes for over 290 yards a game with a Passer Rating of 96.9.
— SotoSports Tv (@SotoSportsTv) December 13, 2016
- New York Giants – The Giants are 9-4, despite critics, including Colin, not buying them as a legitimate contender. After beating the Cowboys for the second time this year, it’s time to give them their due in the hierarchy. Since Week 6, the Giants have the best 3rd down defense, the best scoring defense, the 2nd most sacks, and are tied for 4th in takeaways. Eli Manning can be erratic, but he has 5 game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime this season, which is the 3rd most in the NFL. If he gets the ball to Odell Beckham, they win. New York has won 5 straight games when OBJ scores a touchdown.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) December 12, 2016
- Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks got picked apart by Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau last week. The absence of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was noticeable in the secondary. Even after getting 38 dropped on them by the Packers, Seattle still has the 3rd best scoring defense in the NFL. Russell Wilson has been atrocious lately. In his last 3 games, Wilson has 2 touchdowns against 8 interceptions, and a passer rating of 53.3. Running back Thomas Rawls has provided a spark in the running game. Since he returned in Week 11, the Seahawks are averaging 163.8 rushing yards a game, after averaging less than 78 yards per game over their first 9.
— Miami Football (@MiamiOHFootball) December 12, 2016
- Oakland Raiders – The Raiders were handled soundly by the Chiefs last Thursday, but Colin isn’t selling the Raiders offense and Derek Carr. Carr leads the NFL with a 113.8 Passer Rating in the 4th quarter. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are 1 of 2 receiving duos with 70+ Catches and 800+ receiving yards on the year. The Raider defense looks better than it did to start the year. They lead the NFL in turnover differential at +15, and Khalil Mack has a sack in 8 straight games. Mack is the first player since Jared Allen in 2011 to have a sack in 8 straight games in a single season.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) December 9, 2016
- Kansas City Chiefs – After beating the Raiders on Thursday, the Chiefs have won 20 of their last 23 games and have an inside track for the AFC West division title. The Chiefs have 25 Takeaways this season, which is tied for the most in the NFL. Since returning from injury in Week 11, Justin Houston’s 4.5 Sacks lead the AFC. Critics say they can’t win with Alex Smith, but since coming to Kansas City in 2013, only Tom Brady and Russell Wilson have won more games than Smith. Tyreek Hill has provided explosive plays for KC. He ranks 4th in the league in all-purpose yards (1,476), and is the only player in the NFL with a rushing, a receiving, a punt return, and a kick return touchdown. The Chiefs are for real, and will be a threat come playoff time.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) December 9, 2016
- Green Bay Packers – The Packers are hot, and have a shot to win a week NFC North. Over his last 4 games, Aaron Rodgers has completed 70% of his passes, has 10 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 121.1. He has 4 straight games with a 100+ passer rating after having 4 in previous 26. Devante Adams and Jordy Nelson have the most touchdown catches of any wide receiver duo in the league (21). The Packers defense is healthy again, and have allowed 12 points per game, averaged 3 sacks, and nearly 3 takeaways a game during their current 3-game winning streak.
Shot 1 – Rodgers has a ton of confidence in Jordy Nelson 1v1, whether it’s fades, back shoulders or tight windows. Contested catches galore pic.twitter.com/xQVM7OUuTs
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 23, 2016
- Pittsburgh Steelers – The biggest question mark for the Steelers this year has been defense, but since Week 11 they have the league’s best scoring, total, and rushing defense, and the best red zone defense in the AFC this year. Le’Veon Bell leads the NFL with 161.6 scrimmage yards per game. His 298 Yards in Week 14 were more than the Bills had as a team. All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown ranks in the top 3 in the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Big Ben is always hard to beat in December, and he has weapons.
- New England Patriots – New England dominated the Ravens last night, in their best game in a month. The Patriots are 8-1 since Tom Brady returned from suspension. Brady leads the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio, passer rating, and completions of 25+ yards. The Patriots have a league-low 7 giveaways on the season. Since Gronk went down for the year, rookie Malcom Mitchell has become his new favorite target. Mitchell has 21 Receptions for 263 Yards and 4 Touchdowns over his last 4 games, after just 7 catches for 95 yards over his first 8.
— New England Patriots (@PatriotsMexico) December 13, 2016
- Dallas Cowboys – Dallas has had a rough couple of games, but Colin is keeping them in the top spot. They have the NFC’s best rushing offense and defense. After going 4 straight games without a takeaway, the Cowboys have 4 over their last 2. The Cowboys average the 2nd most time of possession in the NFL, are tied for the 2nd most 10-play drives, with 15 touchdowns on those drives. Dak has struggled over his last 3 games, but the Cowboys style of play will translate well to the playoffs. The Cowboys keep the top spot.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) December 12, 2016