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WCG Power Rankings: AFC West Dominates

The AFC West is beasting out, but Dallas remains on the top of the heap.

Carolina's cheerleaders are good this year, anyway...
Carolina's cheerleaders are good this year, anyway...
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ken's Note: These rankings are the views of the author, and may/do not reflect the views of any other Windy City

Gridiron contributor.

Welcome to this week's Power Rankings.

Power rankings are kind of silly and entirely meaningless, and they are also completely subjective... what one person sees as a strength another might see as a weakness. I get that. My reason for doing this feature isn't "I think I know better," but rather to entertain, hopefully amuse and also to generate friendly discussion and debate (within the site rules, of course).

My feature comes out later in the week than pretty much everybody else's on the web because I actually watch every single game I talk about BEFORE posted my rankings (as far as I know, I am the ONLY person doing this in the online media). Gamepass condensed games are the greatest tool ever made for the NFL football junkie. By doing this instead of just watching the highlights (if that) or browsing the box score, I suspect my list looks significantly different than most.

Here's how I have the league shaking out:

1) Cowboys - (Last week's rating #1 ) Ezekiel Elliot is the best running back in the NFL, but I wish he would stop with the stupid "feed me" thing after every 2 yard gain. Seriously. It's annoying. As far as the quarterback situation goes, Tony who? Exciting, entertaining home Turkey Day win, the difference between Dallas and Washington this week was execution on special teams.

2) Chiefs - (Last week's rating #2 ) Big, fat, huge win for Kansas City put Denver in the House Of Pain. Kansas City holds the tiebreaker (so far) against every other team in the division. Wins against Oakland, Denver and San Diego would wrap the west up for them nicely. The only reason I have them over Oakland is that KC beat Oakland head-to-head and hold that tiebreaker.

3) Raiders - (Last week's rating #3 ) Although Oakland is a game up on Kansas City in the west, they lost to the Chiefs once already this year and will likely have to beat KC at Arrowhead to win the division unless KC stumbles. Even though Oakland's opponent this last weekend, Carolina, has a horrible record, going out East and taking on Carolina and beating them in their house still is a pretty good win.

4) Patriots - (Last week's rating #5 ) The Patriots beat a very, very bad NYJ team that has obviously forgotten that Matt Forte is their starting running back. They did, for once, remembered that Brandon Marshall still is on their team. Yes, Tom Brady lead them back on a last minute yadda yadda blah blah. I don't want to talk about New England or the Jets, so... yeah, there's that.

5) Giants - (Last week's rating #6 ) The Giants beat the Cleveland Browns, and at this point in the season every win is huge in the tightly contested NFC East. This is a game New York HAD to win, and they did. The victory plus the Washington and Philly losses leaves the Giants sitting pretty 2 games up over the bottom two teams. Looks like a wildcard unless things fall apart for the G-men. With 6 wins in a row, NYG is as hot as anybody except the Boys.

6) Seahawks - (Last week's rating #4 ) Remember when I told you all about that offensive line? Remember? Didn't I?

7) Broncos - (Last week's rating #7 ) Is it immature of me to say I enjoyed watching that field goal that won Kansas City this game doink in instead of bouncing off the upright? Don't carreeee... DOINK!

8) Falcons - (Last week's rating #11) When Atlanta is good, they are very, very good. When they are bad, they are very very good on offense. A blowout win against a suspect Arizona team, that's good... but...

9) Ravens - (Last week's rating #8 ) I've become a believer in that Raven's D. The Raven's O? Not so much.

10) Lions - (Last week's rating #10 ) The Lions couldn't run the ball against Minnesota, but Matthew Stafford was able to hook up with Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin just enough to keep the game close. On the one hand, a gift interception at the end gave Detroit the win. On the one hand, they beat a division rival on the road. On the other other hand, meh, it's the Lions. I find it hard to believe that there isn't a LOL moment coming in their near future.

11) Dolphins - (Last week's rating #16 ) Miami struggled a bit with the Niners, the fish couldn't get the ground game going at all. On defense, they let Colin Kaepernick get loose on them far too often. Not impressive this week, but it's a win. When Ryan Tannehill gets within 11 yards of Jay Ajayi in rushing, this is what's known as a "bad thing" for Miami.

12) Redskins - (Last week's rating #12 ) Great game to watch, would have been a huge win for Washington in the JerryDome. Still, I'm not going to knock them for losing to the best team in football on the road. Both teams are likely playoff bound.

13) Bills - (Last week's rating #13 ) Except for a couple of lost contains on Blake Bortles, you never got the sense that (even though down early) Buffalo was going to lose the game. The Bills are a mediocre team, but when playing bad teams like Jacksonville, they generally get the job done.

14) Steelers - (Last week's rating #19 ) Big Ben, Le'veon Bell and Antonio Brown against a bad Indy defense? Not going to end well for Indy. Pittsburgh went on the road and took care of business.

15) Buccaneers - (Last week's rating #26 ) From the "On a given Sunday" department... I think this game shows how Seattle doesn't stand a chance in the playoffs this year more than it says anything about Tampa. Five sacks, some of them UGLY, Tampa's defense had it going on... but Seattle on the road isn't actually all that good of a team this year. Props to the Bucs on the win... just don't go too crazy on thinking it's killer or anything.

16) Chargers - (Last week's rating #17 ) The Chargers beat a division leader on the road. They looked good on both offense and defense. Only one problem... they play in the AFC West and despite their 5-6 record they are two games out of THIRD. The third place team, Denver, has the tiebreakers over San Diego (the teams split the season series) as do the Chiefs and Raiders. San Diego's only hope is that they win out, and that Denver falters and they get some help at 10-6. Winning out includes beating Carolina, Oakland and Kansas City. Oh, yeah, and Cleveland.

17) Texans - (Last week's rating #14 ) People who don't watch the games are blasting Brock Osweiler for all of the picks. Yes, he had 3. One was Rex Grossman / Jay Cutler / Brett Favre bad, a horrible overthrow. One was a route jumped by a DB, good play on a good throw. The third was a last-second Hail Mary to tie the game that shouldn't count against any QB. The Texans lost at home to a decent Chargers team, it's so tempting to write off this 6-6 squad until you realize they are still sole possession of first place in their division. SO... there's that...

18) Eagles - (Last week's rating #9 ) Wow, the Eagles are really, really putting themselves behind the 8-ball. A team that has lost all three of it's division games so far cannot afford to lose conference games as well. Carson Wentz? A very good looking rookie, but there's no doubt he's a rookie and defensive coordinators have figured his game out and are throwing all kinds of looks at him to confuse him. It's hard to imagine this team winning out against Dallas, New York's G-men and Washington, which is what it will likely take to get them into a playoff spot this season. Their schedule includes a talented Cinci team and, more importantly, a Ravens team who's defense has proven to be legit.

19) Titans - (Last week's rating #18 ) Blah blah yadda yadda I don't want to talk about it. I'll give them a push for winning on the road. Only a push, because they beat a really bad team & only drops by said bad team saved this from being a loss. This win moves them to within half a game of the division lead. They couldn't win the AFC South, could they? Tennessee's ranking here is more for their playoff chances than anything else, they Titans are ascending and improving but compared to other playoff contenders, they still aren't that good... yet... but it's coming. REALLY like what's going on in Tennessee. Except the ugly uniforms.

20) Packers - (Last week's rating #13 ) God Level Aaron Rogers mixed with an off-the-chart AF gave the Packers the win this week over a struggling Eagles team. Color me meh.

21) Vikings - (Last week's rating #22 ) The Vikings could get nothing going whatever against Detroit, and a late killer turnover put purple into the House Of Pain. Not really sure trading that first rounder for Sam Bradford is feeling good right now in Minnesota.

22) Cardinals - (Last week's rating #15 ) Carson Palmer had good numbers but looked bad, David Johnson was his usual electric self, and the Arizona defense forgot what day the game was supposed to be played. Blech.

23) Saints - (Last week's rating #24 ) On the one hand, they put up 49 points on what is supposed to be a great defense. On the other hand... well... OK, there is no other hand, they played pretty well this week.

24) Colts - (Last week's rating #25 ) Down 21-7 going into the half, TY Hilton drops a wide open TD that would have put Indy right back into the game. He turns around and makes a circus catch, but not in the end zone. Despite having first and goal from deep in, Indy failed to score which doomed blue to trail. Later, same scenario, drops killed a second first-and-goal situation. Good teams make those catches. Good teams convert. Indy isn't one of those good teams. Truth is, though, they are only a game back in their very bad division and therefore are a playoff contender.

25) Panthers - (Last week's rating #20 ) Stick a fork in them, they are done. To have any (and I mean ANY) hope of the playoffs, it means winning out. They have to win at Seattle, at Washington, at Tampa, and beat both San Diego and Atlanta at home. That only gets them to 9-7. One of the biggest flops in recent history, this is a good, deep, talented, well coached team that is just laying eggs all over the place.

26) Bengals - (Last week's rating #21 ) This team is one over the very best bad teams you will ever see. Seriously, they are talented, they are experienced, and yet they have won just one game more than Chicago. I get why we suck, there's no real excuse why Cincy does.

27) Rams - (Last week's rating #27 ) Jared Goff made a great throw early to Tavon Austin for Goff's first ever NFL TD. After the Rams then turned around and up a ridiculously easy score to San Diego, Aaron Donald destroyed Drew Brees for a huge strip sack inside the New Orleans 10 yard line. Goff hit Kenny Britt for a short TD, giving the Rams a 14-7 lead. LA should have quit right there and got back on the bus. Seriously. In all honesty, Goff made some nice throws against a horrible Saints defense. The vaunted Rams defense? Ripped for one point shy of a 50-burger. HELLO, Jeff Fisher, HELLO!!! You have the one of the two or three best running backs in the NFL on your team, Todd Gurley, have you forgotten? 13 carries? Really?

28) Bears - (Last week's rating #28 ) Well... yeah... not much to say that hasn't already been said.

29) Jaguars - (Last week's rating #29 ) Can I admit something? I am a Blake Bortles fan. I think that Bortles has all of the tools necessary to be a top 10 quarterback in this league. Having said that, the guy threw for 126 yards (with two TD's) this week, while running for 81. I get that he has regressed this year, but I sure would like to see him in Chicago colors.

30) Jets - (Last week's rating #30 ) See new England's entry.

31) 49ers -(Last week's rating #31 ) Colin Kaepernick didn't stink as bad as he has been last week. That's all I have for you on that.

32) Browns - (Last week's rating #32 )

Cleveland city of light city of magic
Cleveland city of light you're calling me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin' through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on

So what do you think? Am I close? Am I entirely wrong? Spill the beans, let us know what you think.