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WCG Power Rankings: Steady At The Top & Niners Sink Past Cleveland

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The AFC West leads the way, while the Niners fall off the chart

At least ONE part of the Niners organization isn't dysfunctional...
At least ONE part of the Niners organization isn't dysfunctional...
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

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 ) Thursday night, and the Dallas Color Rush uniforms were even "decent". Dallas had some trouble with the tough Minnesota defense, but they did pick up a tough road win.

2) Chiefs - (Last week's rating #2 ) Eric Berry. Seriously, Eric Berry. I probably have the Chiefs too high, but I see in this team that "magical spark" that one sees in a team that has it's groove on. On the one hand, beating the Atlanta required both a Berry pick-six and a pick-2... on the other hand, Kansas City beat a division leader on the road in December, and they held that pinball-machine offense to under 30 points.

3) Raiders - (Last week's rating #3 ) On the one hand, WHAT A COMEBACK!!! On the other hand, down 24-9 late in the third quarter to a middle-of-the-pack Buffalo team? Impressive, but... trailing to Buffalo in Oakland that late?

4) Patriots - (Last week's rating #4 ) A lackluster win over a very bad Los Angeles team. LA's lone TD came in garbage time, so I guess we can credit the Patriots for that... but that's more about LA's inability to move the ball and Jared Goff's growing pains that any outstanding New England play. Having said all of this, a win's a win, and a very good Patriots team beat a very bad LA team. Perhaps the key factor in this week's contest is that we actually had a Shea McClellin sighting, with the former Chicago first rounder picking up a garbage-time sack.

5) Seahawks - (Last week's rating #6 ) They beat the living snot out of a visiting dysfunctional Carolina team. Scored 40 points. Yet, their offensive line had one of the most hideous games I have ever seen. Still, were it not for the fact that Earl Thomas was hauled off on the cart with a season (and playoff) ending injury, I would move them up. Thomas, the heart and soul of Seattle, is done though... and that one's going to hurt.

6)  Broncos - (Last week's rating #7 ) Denver won 20-10 in Jacksonville. But... this is a game a good team would have won by 30 points. Denver scored 10 points off of turnovers including a pick-6 caused by Blake Bortles getting hit as he threw, and another turnover caused by a receiver bobbling the ball into the DB's hands. Offensively, Denver did very little against a very, very, very bad Jacksonville defense. Unimpressive.

7) Ravens - (Last week's rating #9 ) Baltimore's defense is the real deal this season, and the rest of the team is playing well. One thing, I was watching the game on Gamepass and I saw the Ravens offensive right guard pick up three quick penalties (no name announced) and was thinking "dang, whoever that guy is sure needs to clean up his game". Then they showed a closeup. Oh, it's Vlad Ducasse. OK, that explains it. Despite Ducasse, the Ravens area ascending.

8) Lions - (Last week's rating #10 ) The Lions went into New Orleans and picked Drew Brees 3 times. They beat NO at their own house, and set themselves up to take control of the NFC North. I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that. We need to hurt them this weekend.

9) Falcons - (Last week's rating #8) Losing to Kansas City at home isn't something to be ashamed of. Throwing two game-changing interceptions that both went for scores? That is. Atlanta is "off and on" good, and only the fact that they play in a crappy division is keeping them at the top of the heap in their playoff race.

10) Steelers - (Last week's rating #14 ) There was a time when I had the Steelers at the top of the heap this season. Then, they started playing like their season was a big steaming heap of something that smells very, very bad (in fact, it smelled like an alley in Detroit). This last weekend, Good Pittsburgh was back. We shall see if they stick around. 

11) Giants - (Last week's rating #5 ) The Giants just plain got their butts beat. Eli throwing his obligitory interception in the end-zone and all... bottom line, the G-men have a good record and this loss is out of the conference, but still, not a good day. Down the rankings they go.

12) Redskins - (Last week's rating #12 ) Heartbreaking loss in a very good, well played game on the road in Arizona. At 6-5-1 now, with two losses in a row (one in the division, the other in the conference) Washington's playoff chances have taken a big hit. They need to win their last four to insure the post season. Down the rankings they go.

13) Dolphins - (Last week's rating #11 ) That was an ugly game this week, fish. UGLY. Down you go.

14) Buccaneers - (Last week's rating #15 ) The Bucs are 7-5 and they beat San Diego (a decent team, despite the record). That's impressive. They are tied for the division lead with Atlanta, and that's impressive. They looked good this weekend, and that's impressive. So... why am I still not impressed?

15) Packers - (Last week's rating #20 ) They beat a bad Houston team, in the snow, by a few points. They are also 6-6 and trailing the Lions. Cheeseheads are meh, don't pretend they aren't.

16)  Colts - (Last week's rating #24 ) Oh, yeah, that guy... that Andrew Luck guy. I seem to remember that he can play football from time to time. Holy Smokes. That was a clinic. Don't look now, but this Colts team is now tied with the flailing Houston for the division lead and getting it together on offense. Of course, they still are horrid on the defensive side of the ball, but if Luck can keep playing like that, a division title is definitely doable.

17) Texans - (Last week's rating #17 ) Snow, cold, Green Bay, no JJ Watt, yadda yadda down you go, Texans, you kinda stink right now.

18)  Bills - (Last week's rating #13 ) On the one hand, a nice lead on the road at Oakland late was impressive. On the other hand, losing big at Oakland? Not so much. On the other other hand, the Bills aren't really all that good, or all that bad. On the other other other hand, at least it wasn't snowing in Oakland?

19) Titans - (Last week's rating #19 ) Bye week push

20) Cardinals - (Last week's rating #22 ) David Johnson. David "OMG" Johnson. DJ single handedly kept his team's season alive this week. The Cardinals brought home a big win in a must-win game, and they were VERY entertaining doing it. This one is a good one to watch on Gamepass.

21) Chargers - (Last week's rating #16 ) This is definitely "one of those years" for San Diego. I don't really know what to say about them, they are the best crappy team in the league?

22) Vikings - (Last week's rating #21 ) Dear Vikings, remember when you were one of the top teams in football then you played us and we broke you? Sorry, not sorry. That big hole in the middle of your new stadium is the drain, if you are looking for your season, you might check there, it's going down.

23) Saints - (Last week's rating #23 ) Thank you for playing bad, losing to the Lions and getting them all overconfident for us. We appreciate it. You guys weren't going anywhere anyway, playoffs wise, so... there's that.

24) Eagles - (Last week's rating #18 ) When you read the stats line for Carson Wentz from this weekend the thing that sticks out is the 3 interceptions. Here's the truth. If Cincy's defense could actually catch balls, he would have had SIX. Wentz has all the tools to be a great quarterback, but defensive coordinators have figured him out. The Eagles defense is doing Wentz and the offense no favors at all, and is getting beaten like a bass drum.

25) Bengals - (Last week's rating #26 ) The Bengals are the best bad team in the league. The problem in Cincy is they should have played all season like they did this last weekend crushing a fading Eagles team. Is it time for Marvin Lewis to go? I doubt it will happen, but the question comes up every year even when they make the playoffs.

26)  Panthers - (Last week's rating #25 ) How a talented, Super Bowl caliber team with a good coaching staff and a league MVP QB can play as badly as they are is a mystery... Giving up a 40 burger to a Seattle team that struggles to score points, a team with the worst starting offensive line in football? Outrageous.

27) Bears - (Last week's rating #28 ) We can't get TOO excited about this win, but beating a team like San Francisco is a LOT better than losing to a team like the Niners. Still, a win is a win, and we are seeing a lot of forward push from our young players, draft picks, FA's & UDFA's. Arrow pointing up!

28) Rams - (Last week's rating #27 ) I'm not sure if the Bears are a better team this week than the Rams, but long term, I like where we are much better. For one thing, we didn't give Jeff Fisher a two-year extension. Giving an extension to a coach who has done nothing but lose for you is crazy. I guess with the Rams this week, it's "hire everybody" instead of what they should be doing, which is "fire everybody".

29) Jaguars - (Last week's rating #29 ) Jacksonville's defense quit on several series. Blake Bortles had three turnovers, but... one was a bobbled WR catch, one was a strip-sack and one was an interception caused by him getting sacked. The team, basically, did nothing all game. Ugly. Fire everybody.

30) Jets - (Last week's rating #30 ) I propose that anybody who thinks the Jets should be ranked higher than this has not seen the Jets play lately. I wish I could rate them lower. Fire everybody.

31) Browns - (Last week's rating #32 )Although it doesn't count towards "official" wins, the Cleveland Browns won their bye week and moved past San Francisco into 31st place in my power rankings.

32) 49ers -(Last week's rating #31 ) The 49ers gave up 24 points to the Chicago Bears' practice squad offense. They had 6 yards in passing offense. Blaine Gabbert replaced Colin Kaepernick and was more effective. I think this Niners team loses to Cleveland if they played this week. Fire everybody.