Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Colin puts out his Herd Hierarchy NFL power rankings, and with Week 17 in the books, today he’s got his final Top 10 of the 2017 season before the playoffs kick off this weekend.
Here are Colin’s Top 10 teams after Week 17 of the 2017 NFL regular season:
- Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags need to run it to win and they’ve only rushed for 100+ Yds twice in last 6 games (previously did so in 9 of 1st 10). Without the support of a running game, Bortles has 5 INT’s, just 2 TD, and a Passer Rating of 58.6 during their 2-game losing streak. In games where Bortles throws an INT they’re allowing 24.9 ppg and are just 2-6. When Bortles doesn’t throw a pick, they’re only allowing 8.6 PPG, and are 8-0.
9. Atlanta Falcons – Colin has been cooler on the Falcons than most, and never bought the Matt Ryan post-Super Bowl hype. In his last 5, Matt Ryan is completing 58.3% of his passes and has a Passer Rating of 78.7. On the ground, they’re only averaging 2.76 Yds/Rush and have 0 Rush TD over their last 2 games. The Falcons are a good team, not a great one.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles hoped Nick Foles could at least be serviceable in place of Carson Wentz, but there’s no sugar coating the dropoff. In his last 2 games, Foles is completing a dismal 47% of his passes at 4.12 Yds/Pass, with has a 48.2 Passer Rating. The Philly defense has picked up the slack, only allowing 8.0 PPG, and 28.6% conversions on 3rd Down. The Eagles are still in the top 10, but not the Super Bowl contender they were with Wentz.
7. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs offense seems to have recovered from their mid-season nosedive, and rookie running back Kareem Hunt has started to regain his early season form. Over his last 3 full games, Hunt is averaging 120.7 YPG, 3 TD, at 4.6 Yds/Rush (Chiefs are 3-0). Critics aside, Alex Smith finished 2017 as the NFL’s top-rated passer (104.7).
The defense is also in better shape. They’re only allowing 16.3 PPG & have 12 Takeaways over their last 4. K.C. has a favorable Wild Card matchup against a beatable Titans team, and could face a Patriots team they already beat on the road in the divisional round. The Chiefs have a shot.
6. Carolina Panthers – Colin loves Carolina’s overall roster, but Cam’s inconsistency could bite them in the playoffs. Newton is 1 of 2 quarterbacks with at least 3 Giveaways in 4 games this year, and the only player in the Super Bowl Era to have 4 games with a Passer Rating of 120 or better, AND 8 games with a rating below 70 in the same season.
Carolina has also struggled to run it recently, averaging just 117.7 Ypg at 3.80 Yds/Rush over their last 3 games, after averaging 193.6 and 5.83 over their previous 5.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers land just outside of the Top 4 because Colin has questions about the run defense, which has allowed 5.22 Yds/Rush and 6 Rush TD over their last 5 games. They’ve won 14 of their last 15 when Le’Veon Bell has 100+ Scrimmage Yards, and JuJu Smith-Schuster has caught 15 of 17 Targets for 218 Yds in his last 2 games in place of an injured Antonio Brown. Colin doesn’t see them winning a rematch against the Pats.
4. L.A. Rams – Colin believes the Rams and their top ranked scoring offense (29.9 PPG) have a shot to win it all because they can grind out hard, late-game yards with Todd Gurley, in addition to explosive plays in the passing game. Gurley leads NFL with 139.5 Scrimmage YPG, 19 TD’s, and has averaged 197.0 Total YPG with 8 TD in his last 3 games. Jared Goff has thrown 12 TD and only 3 INT for a Passer Rating of 103.6 over his last 5.
3. New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees has an NFL-high 11 games with a Passer Rating over 100, and set an NFL record by completing 72.0% of his passes. Alvin Kamara is the 2nd rookie ever with 700 Rush Yds and 700 Rec Yds, and Kamara and Mark Ingram are the only running back duo with 1,500 scrimmage yards each. The Saints are a threat, but have a tough Wild Card matchup with Carolina.
2. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings D finished the year ranked 1st in PPG, YPG, and 3rd Down, and are only allowing 12.4 PPG over their last 7 games (allowing 10 or fewer in 5 of those 7). Minnesota is 13-1 when scoring 10+ Pts, and 12-0 when they rush for over 100 Yds. Over his last 7 games, Case Keenum has 11 TD, just 2 INT, and a Passer Rating of 105.1. Minnesota is going to be a tough out.
1. New England Patriots – New England enters the playoffs having won 12 of their last 13, but only Eli Manning and DeShone Kizer threw more December INT’s than Tom Brady (5), and New England only has 1 Takeaway over their last 4 games. Dion Lewis has been averaging 103.7 Scrimmage YPG and has 6 TD over his last 7, and Colin still believes in Brady and Belichick in the playoffs. Having Gronk in the lineup for this year’s run helps. New England is the NFL’s top team to end the regular season.