Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 4

Hello and welcome back for another week of us critiquing everyone’s favorite sports channel to hate, ESPN! Every week ESPN posts NFL Power Rankings that are generally terrible but not as bad as the commentary they provide to the rankings. So Jesse and I decided it is our duty to endlessly mock the low effort that ESPN put forth.

This year we are doing things a bit different by providing ESPN’s commentary right here on the blog with our personal commentary right below so you don’t have to click between the two articles. But for those of you who want to see the actual rankings, feel free to check them out here:

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings: Let’s talk about your QB

And thanks for tuning in. Enjoy!

1. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 3-0
Week 3 ranking: No. 1

ESPN: Matt Ryan: 71.2 Total QBR. Ryan snapped a streak of 309 pass attempts without an interception by throwing three picks in a span of 15 passes against the Lions. The Falcons still won despite this, and with home games against the Bills and Dolphins coming up, they could very well be 5-0 heading into a Super Bowl rematch against the Patriots in Week 7.

Kevin: Since ESPN is focusing on QBs this week allow me to tell you a story about Matt Ryan. Last year during the Super Bowl my wife was not really paying attention because she’s a social butterfly. Suddenly she turns to the TV and sees Matt Ryan on the sideline and utters, “who is THAT?” without blinking. So yeah, she’s definitely a fan of his. I can’t really compete with a starting QB in the NFL but at least I never blew a 28-3…oh wait, that’s an old joke. Dammit.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 3-0
Week 3 ranking: No. 2

ESPN:  Alex Smith: 51.7 Total QBR. Smith is completing a league-best 77 percent of his passes and leads the NFL with three touchdowns on passes thrown 30 or more yards downfield. The Chiefs will need that efficiency and deep passing to continue, as their next seven games are against teams that finished last season above .500.

Jesse: What’s that saying? You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Expecting Alex “Dink and Dunk” Smith to continue heaving the ball downfield after a whole career of checking down is very naive. Also, extremely laughable. But this is ESPN we’re talking about, so it’s probably both.

3. New England Patriots

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 4

ESPN: Tom Brady: 76.5 Total QBR. Brady leads the league in passing yards (1,092) and Total QBR, and he has yet to throw an interception this season. With the Patriots’ defense currently ranking last in points allowed, New England will continue to rely on Brady’s 40-year-old arm to get it through games.

Kevin: Can I use this space to complain about the ESPN bot relying on ESPN’s own QBR metric? (Jesse nods approvingly) Good because from all accounts that I have heard the QBR metric is garbage. But Tom Brady has the highest one! So let’s just act like it’s impressive why don’t we?

4. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 6

ESPN: Aaron Rodgers: 52.7 Total QBR. Rodgers has one touchdown and three interceptions in the first half of games this season, compared to five touchdowns and no picks in the second half. The Packers are 2-1, but Rodgers will have to get off to better starts, especially with upcoming road games against the Cowboys and Vikings.

Jesse: Yeah, considering that Trevor Siemian looked like Aaron Rodgers when he played the Cowboys two weeks ago, I think the real one will do just fine (including last night when he tore up the Bears, but not that that’s anything new).

5. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 7

ESPN: Trevor Siemian: 58.8 Total QBR. The Bills have allowed the fewest points per game this season, so Siemian’s 36 Total QBR in Week 3 can be forgiven. If he does the same this week against the Raiders, who have allowed the worst QBR so far (74), there might not be as much forgiveness.

Kevin: Okay so I was at the game in Buffalo and I can’t decide which was worse: the Broncos play, the muggy sweat-inducing heat, or the Bills fans. Let’s just say the Bills fans made me silently vow to never attend another NFL game in my life. I doubt that will actually happen but that’s how miserable it was.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 3

ESPN: Ben Roethlisberger: 55.4 Total QBR. Roethlisberger’s Total QBR over the past three seasons has been 20 points worse on the road than at home. The Steelers play four of their first six games on the road this season and still have trips to Baltimore and Kansas City in the coming weeks. Roethlisberger’s relatively slow start could get a lot slower as a result.

Jesse: Did anyone else see how shitty the Bears were last night? How does losing to them last week not drop the Steelers out of the top 10? Slow start or not for Big Ben, that should be grounds for automatic dismissal from anywhere close to the top of these rankings.

7. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 5

ESPN: Derek Carr: 43.9 Total QBR. Carr hasn’t completed a pass thrown more than 20 yards downfield this season. The short-passing attack worked over the first few weeks, but Carr didn’t come through when it got shut down in Week 3. With the Broncos and Ravens coming up, Carr will need to show he can go vertical again.

Kevin: Uh oh, is this Carr sputtering to a stop? Maybe he needs an oil change? Do you think Amari Cooper Carr-pools with him to every game? How has it taken me this long to make car puns? Here’s a joke, how come the Detroit Lions didn’t draft Derek Carr? Because they know how badly produced American cars are! Maybe the Raiders should’ve drafted a Japanese guy. Okay I’m done.

8. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 12

ESPN: Matthew Stafford: 64.6 Total QBR. Stafford ranks fifth in Total QBR, and it would be even better had Golden Tate not been ruled down at the end of the Falcons game. A pair of stingy defenses await in the Vikings and Panthers over the next two weeks, but Stafford’s efficiency should make the Lions a tough foe for anyone.

Jesse: So the Lions recently made Stafford the highest-paid player in the league and he responds by getting off to one of the better starts of his career? That is so not a Lions thing to have happen. He must be close to hitting his wall for the season. Or maybe he’s retiring next year. One or the other.

9. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 8

ESPN: Dak Prescott: 60.8 Total QBR. Sometimes less is more. Prescott needed to throw only 18 passes Monday, but he averaged 10.2 yards per attempt, a big improvement from his 5.7 average from his first two games. Balance is key for the Cowboys and will continue to be with upcoming games against the Rams and Packers.

Kevin: REMEMBER WHEN THE BRONCOS STEAMROLLED THE COWBOYS AND EVERYONE WAS HAPPY AND I HADN’T GONE TO BUFF-A-HOLE YET AND HAD A MISERABLE TIME IN THE HEAT AND WITH THE FANS? Cuz I do…

10. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 14

ESPN: Marcus Mariota: 56.6 Total QBR. The Titans have two wins even with Mariota off to a modest start, throwing for just three touchdowns in three games. Tennessee plays three of its next four on the road, which could actually be a benefit to Mariota. His QBR is 14 points higher on the road (62) than at home (48) in his career.

Jesse: The real Mariota has as many touchdown passes in three games as the Kevin-controlled one averages every quarter per game of our Madden franchise. Don’t feel bad though, Titans fans. Kevin breaks Madden and does shit like this all the time.

11. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: Case Keenum: 75.8 Total QBR. Keenum posted a 94.6 Total QBR in Week 3, the best single-game QBR of the season. Sam Bradford posted a 92.0 QBR in Week 1, the third best of the season. The Vikings are rolling no matter the quarterback right now, and that will need to continue with three straight division games coming up.

Kevin: My face when the ESPN Bot blabs about its made up QBR metric:

survivor-jon-blindside-alec

12. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 9

ESPN: Russell Wilson: 49.0 Total QBR. The good news is Wilson hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season, but he has yet to complete more than 60 percent of his passes in a game. Wilson’s Total QBR currently ranks 20th, and a home game against the Colts might be just what the doctor ordered to get back on track.

Jesse: I bet Mike Glennon, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Cam Newton and every other quarterback off to a shitty start wishes they had a home game against the Colts this weekend too. Shoot, the Colts had to play a team shittier than themselves just to get their first win.

13. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 15

ESPN: Carson Wentz: 63.7 Total QBR. Wentz is coming through when it matters for the Eagles, posting the fourth-best Total QBR in the second half of games so far this season (74). Wentz has games against the Chargers and Cardinals before getting a chance to shine (or flicker) in a pair of prime-time affairs.

Kevin: Hey the ESPN Bot threw in a little spice with the antonym word place. Very nice, perhaps this bot will starting rising (or falling) to the occasion.

14. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 17

ESPN: Kirk Cousins: 47.0 Total QBR. Cousins averaged nearly twice as many yards per attempt (12.2) in Week 3 than he did in the first two weeks of the season (6.3). He’ll need more performances like last week’s with upcoming road games against the Chiefs, Eagles and Seahawks.

Jesse: Does this tell us more about Cousins getting on track or how leaky the Raiders secondary is? I’m thinking it’s the latter. Despite who the Raiders are playing this weekend, I have absolutely no bias in thinking (or hoping) that that’s the case.

15. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: Tyrod Taylor: 59.6 Total QBR. Despite losing most of his favorite targets this offseason, Taylor currently sits ninth in Total QBR. Don’t be surprised, though — he finished in the top 10 in both 2015 and 2016, too. He’ll try to grind out more yards and wins on the road over the next two weeks with stops in Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Kevin: Oh come on now. I’ve spent two entries bitching about the hell that is Buffalo and now I’m supposed to talk about them here? Should I talk about how some Buffalo fans tripped me and tried to fight me? Or how they ran out of water during what might have been the hottest NFL game in Buffalo history? Or how I paid $15 to park next to a rundown shack of a house? Or how Buffalo fans were using homosexual slurs towards the players who had the “audacity” to demonstrate their democratic rights? They had good chicken wings though so that was nice.

16. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 22

ESPN: Jared Goff: 68.5 Total QBR. Goff is averaging a league-best 10.1 yards per attempt this season, and he also has the fourth-best Total QBR. He ranked last in both in 2016. The new Rams offense will have some tougher challenges coming up though, with games against the Cowboys, Seahawks and surprising Jaguars.

Jesse: Why is ESPN convinced that the Cowboys defense is good? Sure, they held the “mighty” Giants offense to 3 points, but then they made Trevor Siemian look like Aaron Rodgers and even revived the career of Carson Palmer for a game. Goff should keep rolling this week and then maybe things will get hard.

17. Houston Texans

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 20

ESPN: Deshaun Watson: 64.2 Total QBR. Watson leads all quarterbacks in rushing, but he has improved his completion percentage and passing yardage in every game this season. With the Titans, Chiefs and Seahawks on the schedule for three of Houston’s next four games, his continued improvement will be crucial to any postseason aspirations for the Texans.

Kevin: I was going to skip the Texans to see if anyone noticed. But I thought that was disrespectful. But I have nothing to say about them so…

18. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 10

ESPN: Joe Flacco: 24.1 Total QBR. Remember all of those deep balls Flacco hit during the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl run? Fast-forward to 2017 and Flacco’s average pass distance is shortest in the NFL and led to the second-worst Total QBR. The Steelers and Raiders await the Ravens the next two weeks, so Flacco needs to figure it out soon.

Jesse: No ESPN, I have zero knowledge of any 2012 Ravens’ games or any deep balls that were thrown, especially in the playoffs. That’s because I used the Neuralyzer from Men in Black on myself immediately after that season. Peyton Manning didn’t sign with the Broncos until 2013, right? (Kevin’s Note: Uh oh Jesse, I think the ESPN Bot knows we make fun of him every week and is intentionally bringing up bad Broncos memories…)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 1-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 11

ESPN: Jameis Winston: 47.3 Total QBR. Winston followed up an interception-less season opener with three picks in Week 3. Coach Dirk Koetter told him that limiting mistakes would be key toward making the next step. With the Giants and Patriots coming up, it would help to take that next step ASAP.

Kevin: Yo Bot, didn’t you mention in the Patriots’ section that their defense was last in points allowed? And don’t the Giants kinda suck? So maybe Winston doesn’t need to get his shit together ASAP. Or maybe you have a different definition of ASAP. “At Some Apt Point” maybe?

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 25

ESPN: Blake Bortles: 48.1 Total QBR. Over the past three seasons, Bortles is 3-0 with a 69 Total QBR in London games. Unfortunately for him, he’s 7-25 everywhere else in that time with a sub-45 QBR. Bortles is not only back on American soil, but will be on the road for three of the next four games.

Jesse: Incidentally, when I was playing as the Jags in my first Madden franchise with Kevin and friends, I ended up moving them to London, but had traded Bortles to Cleveland before that. As far as pro football is concerned, there is no soil in American more downtrodden than what lies under the Factory of Sadness.

21. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 21

ESPN: Carson Palmer: 50.8 Total QBR. Palmer had his best passing game of the season Monday night, but six sacks were too much to overcome. He’s now 1-9-1 when taking four or more sacks as a Cardinal, and unfortunately for him and Arizona, he’ll be facing defensive linemen such as Fletcher Cox, Gerald McCoy and Aaron Donald in upcoming weeks.

Kevin: I’m just going to repeat Jesse’s joke from earlier because it was so good, “Why is ESPN convinced that the Cowboys defense is good? Sure, they held the “mighty” Giants offense to 3 points, but then they made Trevor Siemian look like Aaron Rodgers and even revived the career of Carson Palmer for a game”.

22. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 2-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 13

ESPN: Cam Newton: 25.6 Total QBR. In his past 16 games, Newton has thrown 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions and completed 54 percent of his passes. If he doesn’t shape up, the Panthers could be in trouble, as four of their next five are on the road.

Jesse: I mean, if that’s going to be Cam’s stat line moving forward, I’d think the Panthers would be in trouble regardless of where they are playing. Maybe they should move to London and get him away from American soil eight games a year? It works for Bortles!

23. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 27

ESPN: Mike Glennon: 27.8 Total QBR. Glennon’s average pass has been the second shortest in the NFL so far this season, which hasn’t helped his overall efficiency, since his Total QBR ranks 27th in the league. With games against the Packers, Vikings, Ravens and Panthers upcoming, we might see Mitchell Trubisky sooner rather than later.

Kevin: Okay I try to ignore the Bears as much as possible. But I’m confused why Bears fans are pining for Trubisky to play. Y’all aren’t going to win anything this year. Just coast to a good draft pick, grab another stud and start Mitch next season after he acclimates. Plus you will shed yourself of John Fox’s apathy. Triple win.

24. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: Drew Brees: 60.8 Total QBR. This is the longest into a season Brees has gone without an interception, and the Saints are the only team in the NFL without a giveaway. With the least efficient defense in the league, the Saints will need Brees to be flawless. Let’s see if Brees can continue protecting the ball against the Dolphins in London this week.

Jesse: Wait, I feel like I’m experiencing a bit of déjà vu here. Isn’t this pretty much what ESPN said about Brees and the Saints last week? (Checks week 3 rankings) Yup. Basically verbatim. I have nothing to add except for the fact that Brees has already been virtually flawless and the Saints still suck. What more do you expect from the guy, ESPN?

25. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 0-3
Week 3 ranking: No. 28

ESPN: Andy Dalton: 16.6 Total QBR. Despite a solid effort against the Packers, Dalton still owns the worst Total QBR at 16.5. It might not get better anytime soon. The Bengals’ next two games are at Cleveland, where Dalton has a career 36.1 Total QBR, and then home against the Bills, who have allowed the fewest points per game this season.

Kevin: Wow we just witnessed history folks. No one has ever lumped a game against Cleveland as a difficult task for an upcoming QB. I thought LeBron and lakes catching on fire were the only things people feared from Cleveland.

26. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 1-1
Week 3 ranking: No. 18

ESPN: Jay Cutler: 42.0 Total QBR. Cutler surprised with a 60 Total QBR in Week 2, but his 22 QBR in Week 3 against the lowly Jets’ defense might have surprised even more. If he can’t do better against the Saints’ defense this week in London, we might know who the “real” Jay Cutler is.

Jesse: On the contrary, ESPN. Jay Cutler putting in a miserable performance against a terrible team is the Cutler that we all know and love. And if you don’t know who the “real” Cutler is by now, well, I don’t know what else to tell you.

27. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 0-3
Week 3 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: Philip Rivers: 49.5 Total QBR. After three touchdowns in Week 1, Rivers has one passing touchdown over the past two weeks, the same as Ryan Mallett, Jacoby Brissett and Kevin Hogan. He’ll have to do more with the Chargers’ upcoming schedule: Eagles, Giants, Raiders, Broncos and Patriots. If not, they could be staring 0-4, 0-5, 0-6 or worse in the face.

Kevin: I now have a mental picture of Philip Rivers staring in the face of a life size 0-6 sign. Or like an 0-6 mascot. You know like a cartoony blue (why blue? I dunno) costume with arms and legs joyfully dancing around while Rivers is just like:

Rivers

28. New York Giants

2017 record: 0-3
Week 3 ranking: No. 19

ESPN: Eli Manning: 42.6 Total QBR. He might be completing 74 percent of his passes this season, but Manning’s Total QBR ranks 25th in the NFL. He seemed to right the ship in the fourth quarter on Sunday with three touchdowns, so we’ll see if he can carry that momentum into Tampa this week.

Jesse: I know that poking fun at Eli is a favorite pastime of football fans everywhere, but have you seen the Giants’ offensive line? If you’ll indulge me a pun, it’s just downright offensive. And the reason he is completing so many of his passes is because he has to throw it immediately or he’ll get clobbered. I’m not sure that his brother would do any better in the same situation (okay that was a joke, Peyton would be doing way better).

29. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 0-3
Week 3 ranking: No. 31

ESPN: Brian Hoyer: 27.2 Total QBR. Hoyer has thrown an interception in every game this season after not throwing any all of last year, leading to the fifth-worst Total QBR in the NFL. If he’s going to turn it around, he’ll have to do it on the road. The 49ers’ next three games are all away.

Kevin: The Bot pointed out that Hoyer didn’t throw an interception at all last year. “Wow that’s incredible, I wonder why I didn’t know that” I thought to myself. Then after I googled it and discovered he only played in six games last year I thought, “thanks for the meaningless stat again Bot!”.

30. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 30

ESPN: Jacoby Brissett: 50.9 Total QBR. Brissett has more rushing touchdowns (three) in his career than passing (one), but his two rushing touchdowns in Week 3 helped the Colts earn their first win of the season. He’ll likely need to yield more from his arm with a trip to Seattle looming this weekend, assuming Andrew Luck is still out.

Jesse: One the one hand, it’s amazing that Brissett won a game for the Colts at all, seeing as he had one week to learn their offense. On the other, that win came against the Browns. Enough said.

31. New York Jets

2017 record: 1-2
Week 3 ranking: No. 31

ESPN: Josh McCown: 53.2 Total QBR. After throwing two picks in the opener, McCown has posted a 68 Total QBR over the past two weeks, which is the fourth best in that span. Will it continue? The Jaguars, who own the second-best opponent QBR this season, are next.

Kevin: Wait, the second-best opponent QBR? So they’ve allowed the second highest QBR by opposing QBs or they have held the opposing QBs to the second lowest QBR? Why am I even thinking about this? Why does QBR exist at all? WHY?!?

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-3
Week 3 ranking: No. 29

ESPN: DeShone Kizer: 26.6 Total QBR. Kizer has the fourth-worst Total QBR this season, but there is some good news. Well, kind of. His QBR through three career starts is better than Brandon Weeden’s and Johnny Manziel’s, so that’s good. The Bengals and Jets are up next for the Browns, so there’s hope for improvement.

Jesse: That little snippet encapsulates the Browns’ overall ineptitude in its entirety for two reasons: 1) The bar we are setting for Kizer is, “At least he is doing better than Weeden and fucking Johnny Football, and 2) That anyone is expecting a rookie quarterback (picked in the second round, I’ll remind you) to do well in Cleveland. Kizer succeeding there would be the thing that should subvert our expectations, not him failing.

(Kevin’s Note: Just to further prove Jesse’s point, last night a friend asked my Browns fan friend whether Kizer was any good and his response was, “well he’s better than Cody Kessler”. I mocked him for that answer to which he then defended Cody fucking Kessler. Bar is real low around here guys.)

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