Analysis of Dallas Cowboys 2015 First Five Draft Picks

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1. CB Byron Jones 6-1, 199

Strengths: Excellent athletic ability on display at the NFL combine in vertical and broad jump. Has the quickness and size to cover top receivers in the NFL. Potential to be a shut down corner. Excellent character and team captain type, that should be very coachable and therefore develop quickly.

Weakness: Needs to become more physical when battling receivers for the ball. Could use more strength. A willing tackler but often comes  up on the short end of collisions. Not a very physical tackler and NFL backs/receivers may break the tackle. Jones could benefit from an additional 5 pounds of muscle on his wiry frame. While not great in run support, he can cover and that’s why Dallas drafted him.

How he fits: Jones could be a day one starter at corner where Dallas has had issues in the past with an often injured and disappointing Claiborne. I think Jones may be Mo’s replacement sooner than later. Jones should also be capable of covering receivers out of the slot and he has experience at safety.

Player comparison:  Broncos All Pro corner Aqib Talib who has similar size at 6-1, 205 and Talib wore #31 while a Patriot. Talib was drafted by the Bucs in the first round (20) in the 2008 draft. Talib was also a NFL combine stand out.

2. DE Randy Gregory 6-6, 245

Strengths: Outstanding quickness and good pass rushing instincts. Relentless in pursuit of the ball in run or pass. Long arms serve him well against offensive linemen.

Weakness: A little under weight for the position at 245 and the Cowboy coaches are going to want to put 20 pounds or so on him quickly. Needs to develop more pass rush moves for next level. There are the obvious off field character issues which have the potential to keep him from reaching his full potential.

How he fits: With Greg Hardy starting the season with a suspension, the Cowboys will expect help from Randy right away. A potential day one starter at DE and for sure we will see him in the rotation. Should have an immediate impact on the Cowboys pass rush struggles.

Player Comparison: Former all pro Cowboys DE Charles Hayley who was a bit undersized but had a real ability to get to the QB finishing his career with 100 sacks. He helped the Cowboys win a super bowl in 1992. Randy will wear #94 which was Haley’s number. Let’s hope he plays at that level.

3. OT Chaz Green 6-5, 300

Strengths: Good pass blocker in college, with nice feet work. Identifies and picks up blitzes well. Versatile along the line.

Weakness: Needs to develop as a run blocker. Not very physical and will need to become more physical to hang with the linemen Dallas currently has. Recently during rookie camp he struggled with the heat and with blocking as well. His technique needs work for sure. History of injuries (ankle) must be a concern too.

How he fits: With the departure of tackle Jeremy Parnell to the Jags, Green was drafted to provide depth at left and right tackle and I expect him to do just that. Not yet ready to be a starter but may eventually develop into an effective option when injuries dictate he play.

Player comparison: I’m comparing him to tackle Jeremy Parnell who was a solid backup for the Cowboys and I believe Green could develop into one as well.

4. LB Damien Wilson 6-0, 243

Strengths: Displays some instincts at the position. Good tackler and brings a hit with his tackles. Good at blitzing. Appears to have good size for the position.

Weakness: Average athletic ability and is often not particularly outstanding in his play. At times appears a step behind. Functional but not outstanding in any area.

How he fits: Appears capable of making the roster in a crowded position for Dallas. Likely providing depth at LB and seeing some action if injuries open the door. Appears to be a good blitzer and may be useful there. Stays low, finds the opening, and then adjust to the play. His ability to contribute on special teams may have a lot to do if whether or not Wilson makes the final 53 man roster.

Player comparison: LB Justin Durant who left Dallas in the off season to join the Falcons. Like Durant, Wilson should be a decent option at LB when needed.

5. DE Ryan Russell 6-4, 269

Strengths: Ideal size for the position. Good run defender and displays nice strength too. May have a lot of upside.

Weakness: Doesn’t appear to have great quickness like you would want from a DE. Looks the part of an NFL DE, but it feels like he has been a bit of an underachiever so far in his career. Just an average pass rusher (3 sacks his senior season).

How he fits: Russell should get an opportunity to contribute to the team as a backup DE. His size and run defense should be of use right away but he will need time to develop as a pass rusher at the NFL level.

Player comparison: DE Anthony Spencer played at Purdue like Russell, and was an OLB for Dallas before they switched to a 4-3 defense where he played DE. Spencer had a breakout season in 2012 with 11 sacks. Like Russell, Spencer was a better run defender than pass rusher.

Analysis and Grade for Dallas Cowboys 2015 Draft.

war roomNow that the NFL draft is complete, a look at how effective Jerry and Stephen were at taking care of some needs for the Cowboys in a pick by pick grade and a final grade. There were some surprises and definitely some solid picks, but their draft provided some questionable moves too as they often do.

Jerry Jones started off with a bang on days one and two but kind of fizzled out on day 3. More on that later.

Round 1:
CB Byron Jones
Fits a need: YES for sure.
Value– Exactly where he was ranked
In my mock draft, I had Dallas taking a CB with their first pick and they did. I didn’t think Jones was the best CB in the entire draft but he was the best one available at 27 when Dallas picked. Jones is considered a high character guy (could use some of that in Dallas) and was outstanding at the shorts and t-shirt Olympics, NFL combine. Described as a “freakish athlete”.

How he fits: I think Jones will contribute immediately in the Dallas secondary in replacing Mo Claiborne a bust pick they would like to move on from it appears. He can play safety as well but I look for him to play corner for now.
GRADE: A

Round 2:
DE Randy Gregory
Fits a need: Yes
Value: Gregory was ranked a top 25 pick so some value here.
Jerry signed Greg Hardy in the off season to help the pass rush but he will serve a 10 game suspension to start the season. Last year Dallas invested a couple high picks in DeMarcus Lawrence who is expected to start this season. They will look to Gregory to help right away with Hardy out.

Gregory’s athletic skills and ability to get after the QB are undeniable as his off field issues are undeniable too. He and Jerry Jones have discussed it evidently, and a support system (baby sitters) will be in place to keep Gregory out of trouble so he stays on the field. So much for Jason’s “right kind of guy” approach, we need somebody to get to the darn quarterback!

Randy can potentially provide a huge boost to one of the weakest areas of the defense. One day we all look back at this pick as either the steal of the draft or a failed Jerry Jones indulgence.
GRADE: B (a slight deduction for the character stuff that makes it a risky pick for rd.2)

Round 3:
OT
Chaz Green
Fits a need: YES
Value: Ranked as a round 5 pick so a bit of a reach here.
Parnell who backed up Free last season at right tackle, has gone to Jacksonville. Dallas drafts Green to replace Parnell and back up the right tackle position but it appears Green is versatile enough to back up the entire offensive line which makes this an insurance pick for the team.

I don’t hate this pick as Green seems like a solid player but I do think there were some very talented prospects on the board at the time who could fill more pressing needs than a backup lineman who they could have likely picked later than round 3 any way. This kind of pick frustrates me a bit with Jerry and Stephen.
GRADE: C (a reach and good talent remained on the board at DT, RB and WR)

Round 4:
LB Damien Wilson
Fits a need: Perhaps
Value: Projected as a round 6 pick so a bit of a reach here.
Bruce Carter left Dallas for Tampa so there is an opening at LB however the Cowboys had 12 LBs on the roster entering the draft. Sean Lee is expected to return after injury and Dallas found a good LB last year in Hitchens and actually a great one in McClane.

Wilson looks like a LB that covers the passing lanes well and could develop into a solid backup LB but no one should expect him to be a starter real soon. It’s another pick that may have been better used to address other needs.
GRADE: C (bit of a reach for a depth player)

Round 5:
DE Ryan Russell
Fits a need: No
Value: Picked about where ranked
At this point someone should have checked the Cowboys’ war room to make sure the old man (Jerry) hadn’t fallen asleep at the wheel. Were Stephen and Jason even in the room?

DE was addressed earlier when they waited for the highly ranked Randy Gregory so this pick becomes a head scratcher and indicates a point in the draft where the Cowboys seemed to lose draft momentum.

Russell ran a nice 40 time of 4.75 but production wise, only had 8.5 sacks at Purdue in three seasons. He is described as raw and a bit of a project at DE. An athletic looking prospect with potential but not a lot of production. Other needs should have been addressed here since Dallas didn’t have a pick in the following round.
GRADE: D (a project player that will struggle to make the roster)

Round 7 first pick:
LB Mark Nzeocha
Fits a need: No unless stocking practice squad a priority
Value: Not easy to reach in the 7th round but Jerry managed to do it. A likely FA.
Mark was a pretty good player on his club team in Germany (Franken Knights) so he will do well to make the Cowboys practice squad. Not sure why Jerry felt the team needed yet another LB but at this point what the heck, can’t have too many evidently.

Fact is at the time, there were several good value picks who should have gone earlier in the draft, so why grab a guy who would go undrafted? Don’t get it.
GRADE: D

Round 7 second pick:
OT Laurence Gibson
Fits a need: Perhaps
Value: Right about where ranked and maybe a little value here.
Gibson put up some impressive numbers at the combine and while Dallas already drafted an OT in round 3, I get the impression they felt they couldn’t pass on Gibson in the 7th. I’m not sure that Gibson becomes anything other than a backup lineman but he has enough skills making him worth a pick in the 7th. Described as “inconsistent” in college play but very athletic.
GRADE B

Round 7 third pick -from 49ers:
TE Geoff Swaim
Fits a need: No
Value: CBS Sports had Geoff ranked #726 while “Mr. Irrelevant” is #256. Sums it up I guess.
Another draft pick wasted on a player who was not going to get drafted and Jerry cut a deal with the 49ers to make sure of it. Last chance to actually attempt to fill a need but not accomplished. Don’t ask me what they were thinking here?
GRADE F

Summary:
Entering the draft, most fans and experts realized the Cowboys needed another RB in the mix with the departure of their top RB DeMarco Murray. Jerry signed Darren McFadden but no one knows how that will work out for them in 2015. Not drafting a RB was a miss and this draft was well stocked with some good ones worth giving a look.

Also the DT position is in need of some serious upgrade particularly at the 1 tech where Hayden has gotten them by. Several good matches at DT were passed up during the draft and I’m not even counting Malcom Brown in the first.

The secondary was a glaring weakness last season and while they added Jones to help, they failed to pick up a ball hawk safety. Some may point out that Jones can also play safety, that may be true but he can’t play both corner and safety at the same time. Safety is another miss in the draft.

This draft had some nice splashes at the top with a solid pick in Jones at CB in round one and a surprise pick up in a very talented DE Randy Gregory however it ran out of steam and finished with a rather, “content with who we have” vibe that failed to address some critical areas of need.
OVERALL GRADE: C

Dallas Cowboys 2015 Mock Draft

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What an off season. DeMarco Murray the Cowboys NFL leading rusher went to the rival Eagles for the money. Do I blame him? In a way no, an NFL career can be short and these guys want to get paid while they can. I get it, but on the other hand, the Eagles? Really?

Do I blame Jerry Jones for not getting Murray signed? No actually I don’t and trust me I am one who calls out Jerry when he earns it. I don’t serve the Jerry Jones kool-aid on this site but in this case, I think old Jerry got it right. Murray has a past of injuries and no one knows if he can keep up that highly demanding pace that he did last season (average of 25 carries/game), during a contract year.

Also he fumbled at times a little too often and in the Packers game, it actually hurt his team. Just sayin’. Sure most fans would like to have seen Murray remain in Dallas but not at any cost. Signing Darren McFadden from the Raiders may prove to be a good pick up to help replace Murray.

Looking at the 2015 draft, clearly Dallas has lots of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball making it likely a priority. Specifically, their pass rush and pass defense need to get better.
NFL KEY STATS 2014 Cowboys Defense:
28th in sacks
14th in yards allowed a game.
7th highest in pass yards allowed
8th in fewest yards rushing
18th in points allowed

In the off season, Dallas signed DE Greg Hardy from the Panthers which should give the defense some real help at pressuring QBs an obvious area of weakness in 2014. Still I think it makes sense for the Cowboys to add defensive linemen in the draft.

First Pick:
CB Kevin Johnson Wake Forest
It’s not clear yet if Dallas will keep Brandon Carr who just hasn’t been a good fit in the 4-3, while often injured Mo Claiborne has proven to be pretty much a bust as a top 10 pick. It’s an area that needs improvement, as their pass defense ranked 7th in most yards allowed last season.

In Johnson. they pick up a prospect who is projected to go late in the first round. He has good size, good cover skills, and at Wake Forest he never missed a game with injury making him the opposite of Claiborne, in reliability. Johnson may be flying a bit under the radar . He is capable of playing man or zone coverage and while perhaps not a flashy first round pick, a solid football player which seems to be what Dallas seeks in the first round now days.

YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS
Johnson is a willing tackler with excellent ability to break on the ball. In the ACC, he played against top completion in receivers from Florida State and Clemson. With Johnson, the Cowboys pass defense improves.

2nd Round: RB Jeremy Langford Michigan State
With the departure of Murray, drafting a RB becomes more likely and while McFadden should help, no one can be sure that he will be the answer. They have Dunbar and Randle but they don’t represent the work horse back that Murray did. Picking up a RB the caliber of Langford in the 2nd round, could pay off in a big way.

Langford is a proven “work horse” back similar to Murray. He has been described as getting stronger as the game goes along and solid when asked to pass protect. In 2014 he rushed for 1,522 yards and 22 TDs while posting 12 straight 100 yard games against BIG Ten teams. At 6-0, 208, Langford’s running style will remind you of Murray as he displays power along with good speed. With a 4.4 time in the 40, he is actually quicker than the top ranked RBs in the draft.

YOUTUBE Highlights
In the highlights, you see him run with power, speed, follow his blocks, and he can shake and bake it to make a tackler miss when required.

Having Langford run behind the Cowboys stellar line, could make fans move on from losing Murray.

3rd round: DT Graddy Jarrett Clemson
Defensive tackle is a position I expect Dallas to draft and while there are some ranked higher than Jarrett, many of the top ranked ones will be off the board when Dallas picks in the first. Jarrett a 3rd round projection, appears to be a good fit in Marinelli’s defense displaying a quick twitch they look for in linemen.

He is 6-1, 304 pounds of run stop in the middle with enough explosiveness out of his stance to blow up plays in the backfield. In 2013, he had 83 tackles with 11 for loss. Not likely to get a lot of sacks himself but he could help free up DEs to get to the QBs. Jarrett would be an immediate contributor in Marinelli’s line rotation.

YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS  (#50)
On video, Jarret appears athletic and light on his feet. Slips past blockers and does a nice job of finding the ball. Like his motor.

4th round: FS Gerod Holliman Louisville
The Cowboys just don’t have a ball hawk safety on their roster which is a critical piece missing from Marinelli’s Tampa 2 defense. In Holliman, they may find the missing piece. He set an FBS record with 14 interceptions. How’s that for a ball hawk safety? When the ball is in the air, Holliman always thinks he is the intended receiver.

YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS
Holliman could be a real difference maker in the Cowboys secondary.

5th round: WR Ty Montgomery Stanford
One move I actually didn’t like in the off season was allowing Dwayne Harris to sign with the Giants. Harris was one of my favorite players on the team because he “emptied his bucket” every game. He was one of the best special teams players in the NFL and in my view, under used on offense. I think he could make an impact with the Giants.

In the 2015 draft, I’m looking for a replacement for Harris and Montgomery represents a really talented kick returner. Montgomery is from Dallas and brings nice size 6-0, 221, and is very athletic. 2013 was a productive season for Montgomery as he earned consensus All-American honors as a kick returner, averaging 30.3 yards per opportunity. He also led Stanford with 61 catches for 958 yards and 10 TDs but in 2014, injuries limited his success.

Immediately Montgomery can help the Cowboys special teams as their best option at improving a lack luster Dallas kick off return game in 2014 (ranked 13th in KO returns last season). He could contribute to the offense as a receiver down the road perhaps.

(Two 7th round picks)
WR Jamarcus Nelson UAB
What Nelson brings can be summed up in one word, “speed”. He ran a sick 4.28 time in the 40 and that’s one thing a coach can’t teach, so why not see if this 7th round pick can help special teams? Nelson can bring explosiveness to the kick return game and could stretch a secondary deep to make them play honest.

Nelson is small and needs development as a receiver, but my interest in this pick would be what he can bring in the return game.

QB Shane Carden East Carolina
It seems I always have Dallas picking a QB late but they seem to never pick one at all. Weeden didn’t workout last season as Romo’s backup so the position could use depth. Carden leaves ECU after setting a whole bunch of passing records. Carden is from Houston and does a nice job of running the offense and finding the open receivers. Good leader who moves his team right down the field often.

Carden’s natural abilities may not impress that much but at this point in the draft, Dallas could find some decent depth and possibly a future contributor. This guy is worth a look and could at least make preseason games more interesting.

HIGHLIGHTS

RECAP: Seven picks that address several areas. A better pass rush and a better secondary for the defense. On offense a possible future replacement for Murray at running back and a back up QB possibly for Romo. Then a couple guys who could improve the Cowboys return game a great deal on special teams while adding depth at receiver.

A Look Back at a classic. The “Ice Bowl” in 1967 Between the Packers and Cowboys.

Ice Bowl

Ice Bowl

When Dallas plays the Packers Sunday in a divisional playoff game at Green Bay, the game time temperatures is expected to be about 21 degrees. Whoever you give credit for being in charge of the weather, evidently likes the Cowboys because it could have been much colder. Just days ago the high temperature was around 0 degrees but that’s actually not bad compared to the 1967 title game between the teams known as the “Ice Bowl”.

The NFC championship game between the Cowboys and Packers played on the last day of the year in 1967, was played at a game temperature of minus 15 degrees and that does not include a very sharp wind chill. At that time, the NFC Championship was actually viewed as a bigger game than the Super Bowl that followed against a lesser AFC opponent.

“Frozen Tundra”
The term “frozen tundra” was a quite accurate description of the playing field since a $80,000 underground coil electric heating system by GE, malfunctioned that day. Many may think it was called the Ice Bowl because of the frigid temperature on that day but the ground was actually frozen ice. The field had been covered with a tarp but when it was removed, the condensation froze immediately without the heated coils. They were literally playing on a layer of ice.

Cowboy fullback Walt Garrison described the frozen playing surface as, “harder than Chinese arithmetic.” Well that sounds pretty dang hard to me.

Some have speculated that Packers coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the super bowl trophy has its name, may have wanted the heat to malfunction to negate the Cowboys clear speed advantage since Dallas had a sprinter turned wide receiver, known as “Bullet” Bob Hayes. Conspiracy theories popped up with one Cowboy player saying after the game on the long flight home, “That (blank) Lombardi — he turned off the machine.”

The Refs:
It was so cold that when an official tried to blow his whistle to start the game his lips froze instantly to the whistle and his lip was cut when he removed it. Eventually the officials abandoned the use of whistles that game, and had to use voice commands.

The Most Famous QB Sneak in the history of football:
The Packers trailed late in the game and put together a late drive that gave them a first and goal at the one. On the first two run attempts, the Packer running back Donnie Anderson slipped on the field for no gain.

Facing third down, the Packers called a time out and QB Bart Starr went over to discuss the play call with coach Lombardi. Many may think the legendary coach was the one who called the play however it was Starr who suggested he push it in on a QB sneak since the surface was so slick.

As the temperature fell to -20, Starr says that a frigid Lombardi simply replied, “”Run it, and let’s get the hell out of here!” Starr has said that he was laughing as he returned to the huddle.

Starr sneaked the ball over the goal line as Cowboy defensive linemen like Jethro Pugh, struggled in vain to gain any footing. A championship decided by what may be the most mundane play in all of football, the QB sneak.

The Packers went on to win another super bowl after that game.

So while it will be cold Sunday when these two teams play, conditions will not quite live up to the title of “Ice Bowl II”. After that tough 1967 loss, Cowboys owner Clint Murchison stated, “The day wasn’t too cold if you won.” That may be the case on Sunday too.

This Dallas Cowboys Team Has Each Other’s Back

redskinsThere are two plays that stand out in my mind after the Redskins game that tell me this 2014 Cowboys team is quite different from the 2013 team. And the plays weren’t plays where the Cowboys scored in fact, one of them was actually when the Redskins scored.

First allow me to point to the team last year. Last season against the Saints, there was a kick return where Dwayne Harris was clearly shoved late out of bounds by Kevin Reddick which resulted in Harris being injured on the Saints sideline. The play surprisingly didn’t draw a flag but did result in a fine from the NFL after the play was reviewed. It was disappointing that none of Harris’ teammates showed up to let the Saints know that kind of play wouldn’t be tolerated. They went on to lose that game.

After the game, I called out Harris’s teammates in a blog, for not coming to his defense after a dirty shot from the other team and I interpreted it as disturbing sign this team was not united. I keep it real here and sometimes tell fans things they don’t want to hear but need to hear.

It may be old school, but I believe that when teammates care about each other and are willing to fight for each other, you have a team that is ready to accomplish something big. I did not see that in 2013 but I sure did see it on display in the final game of the 2014 regular season against the Redskins Sunday.

Here are the two stars of the game as far as I’m concerned:
1. WR Terrance Williams:
After catching a pass, wide receiver Cole Beasley was tackled by the face mask and I do mean the defender completely dragged him down. VIDEO A play that could have easily resulted in injury but fortunately didn’t.

The play did draw a 15 yard penalty on Redskin CB E.J. Biggers but for WR Terrance Williams, a clear statement in team unity needed to be made as he came over ready to go to battle and defend his teammate Beasley. I loved it.

2. CB Orlando Scandrick:
Late in the game, QB Robert Griffin ran a TD for the Redskins but in the endzone a late and unnecessary blind side block was thrown by Redskin receiver Pierre Garcon on Cowboy LB Kyle Wilber. Dallas CB Orlando Scandrick stepped up for his teammate and it resulted in a bit of a shoving match between the two teams. VIDEO

Again I was proud of Scandrick for letting the Redskins and any other NFL team know for that matter, these Cowboys are together.

Some will criticize the actions of Williams and especially Scandrick but for me, it’s what I would expect from teammates that are going into battle together. Two plays that may easily be over looked as insignificant but it’s a sign that these Cowboys are a united team and that could make them dangerous in the post season.

A clear message was sent to the Redskins but perhaps also to playoff opponent Detroit Lions and their dirty player poster child N-DAM-U KONG Suh, don’t bring that garbage to Dallas because these Cowboys have each other’s backs!

FINAL 2014 NFL POWER RANKINGS: Ravens and Panthers in the Tournament

NFLTeams

The Twist: Each week the top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season therefore indicating the top 12 teams most likely to currently make the playoffs. One NFC team and one AFC team occupy the top two spots to reflect who may end up in the super bowl. At least one team from each division is represented in the top 12.

This week the top 8 teams consist of the four NFC and four AFC teams that I expect to still be standing after the first round of playoffs next week. Teams 9-12 are the teams that I think will lose in the wildcard round.

Eight of the teams that I had in the top 12 for week one this season, made it into the post season. Biggest surprises for me were how far the Saints fell and I must admit the Steelers and Cowboys were better than I expected.

Week 18 Change
1. Patriots (12-4) 0
2. Seahawks (12-4) 0
3. Broncos (12-4) 0
4. Packers (12-4) 0
5. Cowboys (12-4) +1
6. Steelers (11-5) +1
7. Colts (11-5) +1
8. Panthers (7-8-1) +12
9. Lions (11-5) -4
10. Cardinals (11-5) -1
11. Bengals (10-5-1) -1
12. Ravens (10-6) +1
13. Eagles (10-6) +1
14. Texans (9-7) +1
15. Chiefs (9-7) +1
16 Chargers (9-7) -5
17. Bills (9-7) +1
18. 49ers (8-8) +1
19. Dolphins (8-8) -2
20. Saints (7-9) -4
21. Vikings (7-9) +4
22. Browns (7-9) -1
23. Falcons (6-10) -11
24. Rams (6-10) -1
25 Giants (6-10) -3
26. Bears (5-11) 0
27. Jets (4-12) +1
28. Redskins (4-12) -1
29. Jaguars (3-13) 0
30. Raiders (3-13) 0
31. Titans (2-14) +1
32. Bucs (2-14) -1

2014 NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Seahawks With Late Surge

NFLTeams
The Twist: Each week the top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season therefore indicating the top 12 teams most likely to currently make the playoffs. One NFC team and one AFC team occupy the top two spots to reflect who may end up in the super bowl. At least one team from each division is represented in the top 12.

12 in The “Tournament”
Coach Parcells referred to the playoffs as a tournament and I think it’s a good description. All 12 teams haven’t all been determined yet so there is a lot at stake in some of the games next week.

The Lions hold the edge in the NFC north however, I believe the Packers will win at home against the Lions Sunday to take the division and gain a first round bye. My rankings reflect that prediction.

The Falcons play the Panthers for a winner take the division game and while the Panthers have a slight edge, I think the Falcons who have already defeated the Panthers, will win at home. That’s why I have the Falcons at 12 and in the tournament.

The defending champs Seahawks are currently one of the hottest teams in the NFL winning 5 straight and the road to the super bowl is looking like it will go through Seattle once again. That’s not good news for the other NFC teams.

No play in game for Dallas this year as they clinch the division title by rolling up a Colts team who didn’t appear to be into it at all.

With a loss to the Texans, the Ravens fell from the top 12 and allowed the Chargers back in the picture.

Week 17 Change
1. Patriots (12-3) 0
2. Seahawks (11-4) +2
3. Broncos (11-4) 0
4. Packers (11-4) +1
5. Lions (11-4) +1
6. Cowboys (11-4) +2
7. Steelers (10-5) +2
8. Colts (10-5) -1
9. Cardinals (11-4) -7
10. Bengals (10-4-1) 0
11. Chargers (9-6) +4
12. Falcons (6-9) +13
13. Ravens (9-6) -2
14. Eagles (9-6) -1
15. Texans (8-7) +3
16 Chiefs (8-7) -2
17. Dolphins (8-7) -2
18. Bills (8-7) -2
19. 49ers (7-8) -2
20. Panthers (6-8-1) +4
21. Browns (7-8) -1
22. Giants (6-9) +4
23. Rams (6-9) -2
24. Saints (6-9) -12
25 Vikings (6-9) -3
26. Bears (5-10) -3
27. Redskins (4-11) +4
28. Jets (3-12) -1
29. Jaguars (3-12) -1
30. Raiders (3-12) 0
31. Bucs (2-13) -2
32. Titans (2-13) 0