The NFL is a place where things chance on a week-to-week basis. It’s just how life is. You’re up one week, near the bottom the next. There are obviously other power rankings around the internet for you to read, but here at The Comeback, we’re going to present your NFL Power Rankings with a bit of a twist.
This week’s theme: Star Wars! (Is there any other theme?)
The “At first you hate him, but then realize Han Solo is awesome” Division
Carolina Panthers (13-0)
Is it possible that this is the first undefeated team that is getting better as it ages? The Panthers were kind of an also-ran when we had a number of unbeaten teams midway through the season, but all of a sudden, they went from the “Aw, they’re kinda neat” supporting character, to a full-fledged “Let’s base a movie around this guy!” lead. (Also: If you don’t think Cam Newton has already run away with the MVP, we can’t help you.)
The “Princess Leia may appear tame, but is secretly kind of a badass” Division
Arizona Cardinals (11-2)
Out in the desert is arguably the best story in the NFL, outside of Carolina, of course. No one — and we mean no one — is paying attention to the Cardinals, who keep mashing up opponents. Go ahead and play a game with your friends and have them say the first five teams that can win the Super Bowl this year. Guarantee no one says Arizona.
The “Darth Vader finds your lack of faith disturbing” Division
New England Patriots (10-2)
Anyone else have the sinking feeling the rest of the NFL is about to get Admiral Motti’d?
The “Admit it, doubt Yoda you did” Division
Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
OK, so we’ve established that the Panthers are the best team currently; the Cardinals, the most consistent team; and the Patriots are lurking. But there isn’t a team as hot as the Seahawks. Since the Week 9 bye, Russell Wilson is totally feeling the force: 1,564 total yards, 18 combined touchdowns. WR Doug Baldwin is arriving at the stadium each week with 80 yards and a score. Plus, you totally can see Pete Carroll doing yoga with Yoda.
The “Obi-Wan Kenobi has a lot to offer, but eventually dies” Division
Cincinnati Bengals (10-3)
Denver Broncos (10-3)
Green Bay Packers (9-4)
Obi-Wan is one of the most overlooked characters in the Star Wars universe. He teaches Luke the ways of the force, shows him what must be done to defeat Darth Vader. Only problem? He gets killed off before the action starts. Same goes for this trio of would-be contenders done in by injury (Andy Dalton’s thumb), inexperience (Brock Osweiler) and inconsistency (Green Bay’s passing offense).
The “He’s not the best, but without Chewbacca, Han isn’t that funny” Division
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
It’s sort of criminal that the best offense in the league outside of Seattle currently wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today. Pittsburgh could theoretically finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs, while the AFC South sends a sub-.500 team (who will get a home game, mind you). Hhhhrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaeeeerrrrrrra, indeed.
The “Stormtroopers are just nameless, faceless characters who die” Division
Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)
New York Jets (8-5)
Minnesota Vikings (8-5)
These are all nice teams, with good stories and good players. But answer honestly: Would you rather see the Jets or the Steelers in the playoffs? Chiefs or the Raiders? Vikings or the Buccaneers? Give us a better supporting cast that might provide some entertainment, instead of glorified extras who will get run over in the Divisional Round.
The “At the end of the day, C-3PO is only tolerable because he hangs with R2-D2” Division
Houston Texans (6-7)
Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
For the record, AFC South: You’re flying dangerously close to NFC East territory. Get your act together.
The “Man, Lando Calrissian is cool … but also a big fraud” Division
Buffalo Bills (6-7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
Oakland Raiders (6-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)
What a motley crew we have here. All three teams providing some sort of tangible excitement that you would tune in to during the postseason. They’ve got cool, they’ve got swagger, they’re … not boring. But as much as we’d love to see them actually slip into the playoffs, we know that they’re just going to end up disappointing us.
The “Every time Anakin Skywalker was on screen, he was supremely annoying” Division
Washington Redskins (6-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
New York Giants (6-7)
Dallas Cowboys (4-9)
THE DALLAS COWBOYS HAVE WON TWICE SINCE SEPT. 20 AND ARE STILL NOT ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION.
The “At first everything was going great, but now you’re kissing your sister, Luke Skywalker” Division
Atlanta Falcons (6-7)
Goodness gracious, what a freefall. Just when you think it can’t get worse for the Falcons, they find a new way to embarrass themselves. Getting blanked by the Panthers at home is a new low. And yet, they’re still in the playoff race. NFC!
The “Admiral Ackbar” Division
New Orleans Saints (4-9)
Chicago Bears (5-8)
St. Louis Rams (5-8)
Three teams so flawed, they can’t possibly be inconsideration for anything other a top pick in next year’s drag— wait, THEY ARE STILL ALIVE IN THE PLAYOFF RACE?! This must be a trap. Is anyone eliminated in the NFC yet?
The “Jabba the Hut is a sloppy, sloppy mess” Division
Miami Dolphins (5-8)
Detroit Lions (4-9)
San Francisco 49ers (4-9)
Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
San Diego Chargers (3-10)
Oh, hey! Actually eliminated-from-postseason NFC franchises! (Say hi, Lions and 49ers!) Meanwhile, the Dolphins sealed their fate against the lowly Giants on Monday Night Football. Here’s a good snapshot of why: Down seven with 10 minutes left in the game, Miami has the chance to drive the ball against the awful Giants defense. Lamar Miller, who had 89 yards and two scores on 12 carries (a 7.4 average), was on the bench while Dan Campbell decided to play Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams instead. Can’t make that up.
The “Good lord, how did they ever think Jar Jar Binks was a good idea?” Division
Tennessee Titans (3-10)
Proof that the Titans are very, very bad at football: Against the Jets on Sunday, WR Brandon Marshall (who had 10 TDs on the season), lined up and the Titans forgot to assign a defender to cover him. Result? Marshall caught a short pass and turned into a 69-yard TD, while a defensive tackle haplessly tried to catch him.
The “Flaming corpses of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru” Division
Cleveland Browns (3-10)
Hey! The Browns actually won a game! Yay for that, right? What did we all talk about the next day? Johnny Football trying to smash a Microsoft Surface on his face. Oh, Browns.