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The CHARGED Elite: Week Fifteen

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Another week, another fresh set of rankings.

The CHARGED Elite: Week Fifteen

What a wild week of NFL football we just witnessed.  The undefeated Packers fall to the Chiefs.  The winless Colts take down the Titans (hence the love with the lead image).  The Lions complete another frenzied comeback to keep their playoff push alive.  The Giants and Jets both flop before a crucial matchup this weekend.  And to top everything off, San Francisco has two power outages during their game against the Steelers last night.

Well there will be no shortages of power here in this week's CHARGED Elite.  Let's get to the rankings.

1. Green Bay Packers (13-1, Last Week 1) - I'm not reading a whole lot into this loss, but they just better hope Greg Jennings and James Starks get back soon.  Both of those guys are incredibly important to this offense that struggled against Kansas City on Sunday.

2. New Orleans Saints (11-3, Last Week 3) - I might be in the minority, but I absolutely abhor Lance Moore's touchdown dances.  Every time the Saints' pesky slot receiver makes it to the end zone, he gyrates wildly and obnoxiously.  He's not even taunting anyone, but he just annoys the hell out of me.  His celebration this Sunday was no different.

3. New England Patriots (11-3, Last Week 4) - You can take away one tight end against the Patriots, but you can't take away both.  Aaron Hernandez thrived against the Broncos with the defense focused on Rob Gronkowski.  New England will be able to score, but Andre Carter's injury might hurt them come Playoff time.  He was their pass rush in essence, so it will be interesting to see if the team can adjust.

4. Baltimore Ravens (10-4, Last Week 2) - I'm finished trying to figure out this Ravens team.  They are one of the league's best, but they don't play like it a lot.  They were fortunate that Pittsburgh fell against San Francisco, or else they would be staring at a wild card right now.  They still might be if they don't get their act together in the next two weeks.

5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3, Last week 7) - Aside from the building losing power, San Francisco had a great night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Aldon Smith had himself a night, sacking Ben Roethlisberger 2.5 times and hitting him seven times overall.  He put amazing pressure on Big Ben all night long and helped to slow down Pittsburgh's offense.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4, Last Week 5) - Pittsburgh had a much easier time moving the ball in the first half, but turnovers cost them.  They couldn't break through in the second half and missed a huge opportunity to get in front of Baltimore in the AFC North race.  Now they will likely have to win out if they want a first round bye.

7. Houston Texans (10-4, Last Week 6) - You knew that T.J. Yates had to fall back down to Earth eventually.  Carolina is an incredibly opportunistic team, and Cam Newton and his bunch can certainly get after you.  Arian Foster continued to run the ball effectively though, and he will need to keep it up for this team to make any noise in the postseason.

8. Atlanta Falcons (9-5, Last Week 8) - What a drubbing of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  It was almost ruthless how the Falcons just kept the foot on the gas pedal.  But Atlanta has to love the production they are getting out of Roddy White down the stretch.  White has now scored a touchdown in four straight games.  If he and Matt Ryan can keep it going, the Falcons can live up to some of the Super Bowl hype from the preseason.

9. Detroit Lions (9-5, Last Week 11) - Matthew Stafford has played out of his mind the past three weeks.  He's thrown for 1,026 yards, 7 TD and just one interception in helping Detroit inch closer to the playoffs.  He's performing just like the Lions need him to, putting the offense on his back and willing them through games.  And it's even more impressive that he's doing all of this with an injured throwing hand.

10. Dallas Cowboys (8-6, Last Week 13) - Dallas has to feel pretty good about its Playoff chances right now, especially with the way Felix Jones is running the ball.  It only took him 12 weeks and an injury to DeMarco Murray to get going.  If Murray continues to pound the ball like this, Dallas should have no problem getting to the postseason. 

11. Denver Broncos (8-6, Last Week 9) - God is dead; there is no God; [insert Tim Tebow religious joke here].  Plain and simple, Denver got blitzed by a team that was better than them.  I still like Denver's odds though. 

12. New York Jets (8-6, Last Week 10) - The trash talking has already begun.  Rex Ryan said yesterday that the Jets are a better team than their next opponent, the New York Giants.  Obviously we won't find out until Saturday, but right now the Jets are definitely the healthier team.  That represents a huge advantage for them going into this must-win game for both teams.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6, Last Week 14) - The Bengals came away with another big win to keep their playoff hopes alive.  They are on the outside looking in because of tiebreaker scenarios, but they can get some serious help from the Giants.  Either way, they have to take care of their own business first against a hot Arizona Cardinals team.

14. Seattle Seahawks (7-7, Last Week 17) - Seattle's defense single-handedly knocked me out of my fantasy football playoffs, so I'm not very pleased with them.  But they are making one hell of a charge right now.  The Seahawks didn't give the Bears any room to breath, Marshawn Lynch continued to run well, and Seattle kept playing some of the best football in the league right now.  They are still a longshot for a wild card, but Pete Carroll has to be thrilled with this finish.

15. San Diego Chargers (7-7, Last Week 20) - There's still life in San Diego, but not much.  Denver has a very light schedule the rest of the way while the Chargers finish their season at Detroit next week and at Oakland in week 17.  San Diego has done the unthinkable before, but this would be uncharted territory even for this team.

16. New York Giants (7-7, Last Week 12) - What a letdown for New York.  The only player to have any impact at all was Jason Pierre-Paul, who was a force on the defensive line.  Eli Manning had a bad game throwing the ball, but New York Daily News writer Ralph Vacchiano, who covers the Giants, had a great tweet after a Manning pick.  He said, "Eli Manning throws another INT. He's looked terrible today. But he's carried the team all year. Maybe it's time they help him out? #NYG"

17. Arizona Cardinals (7-7, Last Week 18) - The Cardinals continue to win with their rotating cast of quarterbacks.  John Skelton threw for over 300 yards to help Arizona win its fourth straight game and get to .500 on the year.  This team has let some easy ones get away this year, too.  If they find some stability at the quarterback position next season, they will be contenders in the NFC West.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8, Last Week 24) - The Eagles must have been in REM sleep for the first three quarters of the season.  Now we're finally seeing the Dream Team.  Once they jump ahead of opponents, they can unleash their pass rush and really get after the quarterback.  Oh, and they are finally giving LeSean McCoy the ball.  It's amazing what happens when you give the ball to your best player.

19. Tennessee Titans (7-7, Last Week 15) - Throw in the towel.  If you can't beat the Indianapolis Colts, you don't deserve to make the Playoffs.  What a poor effort from a team that still had some playoff life left.

20. Oakland Raiders (7-7, Last Week 16) - Oakland scored a touchdown with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter to go up 26-14.  Instead of going for two points and making sure two touchdowns didn't beat you, Oakland settled for a PAT and went up 27-14.  They ended up losing 28-27 after Detroit scored twice in the final seven minutes.  Why they didn't go for two, I do not know.

21. Miami Dolphins (5-9, Last Week 21) - The firing of Tony Sparano has paid dividends immediately for the Dolphins.  Or this team is just finding a groove regardless of who the head coach is.  Either way, they could be a major spoiler with their week 17 matchup against the Jets looming. 

22. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8, Last Week 23) - Another team that won immediately after firing their head coach, the Chiefs stunned the football world on Sunday by beating the Packers.  Kyle Orton played mistake-free football, and I'm sure the Bears are kicking themselves for not being able to reacquire Orton after Jay Cutler's injury.

23. Carolina Panthers (5-9, Last Week 25) - I am incredibly excited about what the Panthers can do next season with a healthier roster and a hopefully fully recovered Jon Beason roaming the middle on defense.  But how awesome was their trick play against the Houston Texans?  It's possibly the coolest play I've seen since Boise State's "Statue of Liberty" play against Oklahoma.

24. Chicago Bears (7-7, Last Week 19) - The only way the Bears could have fallen into harder times is if they were in Buffalo

25. Washington Redskins (5-9, Last Week 26) - The Redskins are another team that can play a major spoiler role.  The Eagles have an outside shot at making the postseason.  They have to beat Dallas next week, hope the Giants lose one of their next two while beating Dallas in week 17, and then beat the Redskins on the last week of the season.  A lot of things have to happen for that week 17 game to mean anything, but Washington could keep Philly out of the playoffs.

26. Buffalo Bills (5-9, Last Week 22) - Seven straight losses.  I don't even know what to say, Buffalo.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10, Last Week 27) - Not a lot went right this year besides Maurice Jones-Drew and some strong defensive efforts at times for Jacksonville.  Blaine Gabbert, their first round pick from this year, has also struggled a lot.  But aside from MJD, he doesn't have many weapons around him.  Add a playmaking receiver, and he might be able to do something.

28. Cleveland Browns (4-10, Last Week 28) - Peyton Hillis scored a touchdown!  Give him the money Cleveland!

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10, Last Week 29) - Eight straight losses for the Buccaneers.  Only two were decided by single digits.  This is even worse than Buffalo.

30. Minnesota Vikings  (2-12, Last Week 30) - The Vikings have made games interesting over these last few weeks, but haven't made any real noise.  Toby Gerhart had a nice game even with Adrian Peterson's return to action.  Whenever I see Gerhart's name, I am always reminded of this wonderful Photoshop by the guys at Tirico Suave.  It's so wrong, but so right.

31. St. Louis Rams  (2-12, Last Week 31) - Head coach Steve Spagnuolo's job appears to be in jeopardy, and it's hard to defend the season he's had.  Very little has gone right from the very beginning, and Spags hasn't been able to adjust on the fly.  I have a feeling that if he does get canned, he'll show up somewhere else soon and be successful.

32. Indianapolis Colts (1-13, Last Week 32) - The Colts finally won a game to prevent an 0-16 season.  But they just made the race for Andrew Luck a whole lot more interesting.  It's obvious that St. Louis and Minnesota already have quarterbacks, but both those teams would likely trade the number one pick if they ended up with it.  Stay the course, Indianapolis.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let us know what you think in the comment section, and make sure you check out next week's updated rankings of the CHARGED Elite.


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