Power Ranking Ramblings: Week 14

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 (although this week, Jesse spends more time criticizing the Broncos and trying to get under Kevin’s skin, while Kevin drops some puns and attempts to avoid talking about a certain University.

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 14 NFL Power Rankings: The most impactful rookies for every team

And thanks for tuning in. Enjoy!

1. New England Patriots

2017 record: 10-2
Week 13 ranking: No. 2

ESPN: The Patriots have only two rookies with at least 100 snaps this season: Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler. Wise has been the better of the two, recording 3.0 sacks, the third-most on the team.

Jesse: The Patriots’ best rookie has a whopping total of three sacks, and yet they are as good as ever. Football is dumb.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 10-2
Week 13 ranking: No. 1

ESPN: First-round pick Derek Barnett has 5.0 sacks this season, but the Eagles are getting big production from rookies they didn’t even draft. Undrafted rookie Corey Clement has six touchdowns and Jake Elliott, who was drafted by the Bengals, has gone 19-of-23 on field goals, including a game-winning 61-yarder in Week 3.

Kevin: One thing I have learned about the ESPN Bot this season, he/she/it LOVES stats about kickers. They should rework the algorithm.

3. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 10-2
Week 13 ranking: No. 5

ESPN: Had he not gotten hurt, Dalvin Cook might have been the rookie to talk about in Minnesota, but how about center Pat Elflein? He has started all 12 games for the Vikings and leads all rookies in snaps played.

Jesse: Don’t tell Kevin this, but Pat Elflhein played his college ball at THE Ohio State, where he won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center during his senior year. Kevin hates Ohio State, didn’t you know that by now?

4. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 9-3
Week 13 ranking: No. 3

ESPN: It hasn’t been a great year for rookie wide receivers, but Cooper Kupp has certainly stood out. Kupp has been Jared Goff’s top target, and leads all rookie receivers with 51 receptions and 665 receiving yards. problem. At this point just bet against the logical thing with these guys.

Kevin: Uh I’m not sure what’s going on here with the last sentence and a half. Did someone break the ESPN Bot? Jesse did you do this?!

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 10-2
Week 13 ranking: No. 4

ESPN: Similar to his brother, T.J. Watt has proved capable of taking down the quarterback and knocking down passes. Watt is one of three players in the NFL this season with at least five sacks and five pass breakups. Veterans Cameron Jordan and David Irving are the other two.

Jesse: I’m pretty sure the Watt family will be rolling out a new brother every few years to play in the NFL, fresh out of their football clone factory. Sorry, not my best joke, but I’ve been binge-watching all the Star Wars films and my girlfriend and I just finished Attack of the Clones. Yes, I know it’s a terrible movie. I’m never proud to sit through it again.

6. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 8-4
Week 13 ranking: No. 7

ESPN: Rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin has helped limit the damage done by the injuries to the Seahawks’ secondary. Griffin doesn’t have an interception yet, but he has broken up 12 passes this season, tied for third-most in the NFL.

Kevin: I just went through the entire Seahawks’ roster to see if they had a guy named Kobe so I could make a Shaq and Kobe joke in 2017. What’s more disappointing, that they didn’t have a Kobe on their roster or that I’m running out of material for this NFL season?

7. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 9-4
Week 13 ranking: No. 6

ESPN: Alvin Kamara has more than 600 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards this season, and ranks second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage (1,220). He’s just the second Saints rookie to score 10 or more touchdowns, joining George Rogers in 1981 (13).

Jesse: And yet people are furious with him because he suffered a concussion last night during the first week of fantasy football playoffs. Fantasy football, where fake teams are vastly more important than a real person’s well-being.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 8-4
Week 13 ranking: No. 11

ESPN: The Jaguars are averaging an NFL-best 149.4 rushing yards per game thanks to a pair of rookies. First-round pick Leonard Fournette is 178 yards shy of becoming the second rookie 1,000-yard rusher in franchise history — the first was Fred Taylor — and second-round pick Cam Robinson has started all 12 games at left tackle.

Kevin: A ‘Bama guy blocking for an LSU Tiger? The NFL is going to give SEC fans heart attacks.

9. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 8-4
Week 13 ranking: No. 8

ESPN: Christian McCaffrey has added a new element to the Panthers’ offense; he leads all rookies with 64 receptions. Cam Newton hadn’t completed that many passes to running backs in a single season in the past five years.

Jesse: Has Cam Newton completed that many passes to anyone in the past five years? I kid, I kid. But only slightly.

10. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 7-5
Week 13 ranking: No. 9

ESPN: Vic Beasley accounted for 46 percent of the Falcons’ sacks last season, so they got him a little help in the draft. First-round pick Takkarist McKinley has 5.0 sacks, the second-most on the team — even more than Beasley (4.0).

Kevin: I’ve made it through five entries without seeing a Buckeye player being called out. Life is good.

11. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 10

ESPN: The undrafted Austin Ekeler has become an intriguing weapon in the Chargers’ offense. He has the second-most offensive touches during their 6-2 run, scoring just as many touchdowns as Keenan Allen (four). Ekeler had one touch during the team’s 0-4 start.

Jesse: I was hoping that Austin Ekeler also went to THE Ohio State. Alas, dear reader, he did not. You can’t have everything in life.

12. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 8-4
Week 13 ranking: No. 14

ESPN: Adoree’ Jackson has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Titans. He has broken up 11 passes on defense, tied for most on the team. He’s one of four players in the NFL with 200 kick return and punt return yards and he also has gained 55 yards on five rushes.

Kevin: Ahem…ESPN Bot forgive me but I need to rewrite your first sentence to maximize the slam dunk pun you missed. “Adoree’ Jackson has been a jack(son)-of-all trades for the Titans”. Hell let’s add one more, “Adoree’ Jackson has been an adore(e’)d jack(son)-of-all trades for the Titans.” What’s his middle name? I’m sure we could squeeze another one in!

13. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 7-5
Week 13 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: The rookie snap leader on the Ravens this season is cornerback Marlon Humphrey (296). Despite a lack of playing time, Humphrey has broken up or intercepted six passes, third-most on the Ravens behind veterans Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith.

Jesse: Marlon Humphrey went to Alabama, which is not QUITE as infuriating to Kevin as the Buckeyes, but it’s still pretty annoying. Alright man, I swear I’m done pestering you with this.

14. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 21

ESPN: The Cowboys have gotten seven starts from rookies, all by members of the secondary — Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie. The trio has combined for eight pass breakups and two interceptions on 948 snaps.

Kevin: Hey look at this, a CU Buff! Which means I have had to talk about zero Buckeyes and one Buffalo. Life is good, really, really good!

15. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 20

ESPN: The Raiders have utilized eight rookies on defense, but their impact has been limited. The group has combined for five pass break-ups while not recording a single sack, interception or fumble recovery. Undrafted linebacker Nicholas Morrow leads the group with 40 tackles.

Jesse: Good lord. The Broncos could barely score points on this group of low impact rookies? I need a drink.

16. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 22

ESPN: The Packers drafted three running backs and two have seemingly panned out. Both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have rushed for 100 yards in a game this season while combining for eight touchdowns (four each).

Kevin: Lately the Packers have ceased to matter at all. This is due to the lack of a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Which makes me think, if the Packers weren’t quarterbacked by Brett Favre and Rodgers for the last three decades would they have been the most anonymous team ever? Probably so, just look at the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brewers. Sorry Wisconsin, I hope you find another Hall of Fame QB after the Rodgers’ era otherwise we will probably just forget about you.

17. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 17

ESPN: Second-round pick Zay Jones is still working on his chemistry with Bills quarterbacks. Jones has caught only 39.7 percent of his targets, by far the worst of any player with at least 50 targets. The next worst is at 48.1 percent.

Jesse: By Bills quarterbacks, you mean Tyrod Taylor and that waterboy that the Bills used that one week, right ESPN? So really Zay just can’t get on the same page with Tyrod, which probably means he’s not that good.

18. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 15

ESPN: Kareem Hunt set an NFL record by gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage in his first seven NFL games. Although he hasn’t reached 100 yards from scrimmage in any game since, he’s still third in the NFL in overall scrimmage yards (1,297).

Kevin: Kareem Hunt did not attend THE Ohio State but he was born in Ohio. Which, for the record, I like Ohio. But I hate the Chiefs. Which means I have to hate this guy that I have never met. Sorry Kareem.

19. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 5-7
Week 13 ranking: No. 19

ESPN: Carl Lawson was a fourth-round pick for the Bengals, but he’s playing like a first-rounder. Lawson leads all rookies with 7.5 sacks and he’s just two shy of matching the team’s rookie record set by Carlos Dunlap in 2010 (9.5).

Jesse: This dude has more sacks than Myles Garrett? I mean, I understand that Lawson has the advantage of not playing for Cleveland, but still, that’s pretty surprising to me.

20. New York Jets

2017 record: 5-7
Week 13 ranking: No. 23

ESPN: The Jets used their first two picks to draft safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. While they’ve allowed the second-most passing touchdowns (24) this season, the safeties are getting experience. Maye ranks second in defensive snaps played by rookies this year while Adams ranks fourth.

Kevin: Hot damn that is a subtle dis to these rookies. “Sure they obviously suck because of how many touchdowns they have allowed but hey, they’re out there aren’t they? That counts for something!”

21. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 6-6
Week 13 ranking: No. 13

ESPN: The Lions have a pair of leaders among their rookie class. Linebacker Jarrad Davis leads all rookies with 64 tackles, while Jamal Agnew is the league’s top punt returner. He leads all players with 370 punt return yards and is the only player with multiple punt return touchdowns.

Jesse: Ah, it must be nice to have a returner with positive return yards. I can’t even fathom what it’s like having one that can score touchdowns. That’s just a fantasy here in Denver.

22. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 5-7
Week 13 ranking: No. 12

ESPN: Only four rookie running backs have rushed for 100 yards in multiple games this year: Leonard Fournette (4), Kareem Hunt (4), Aaron Jones (2) and Redskins rookie Samaje Perine (2). Perine has done so in two of his four starts.

Kevin: Wait, we aren’t even going to mention Washington’s 10 placement drop? That’s a hell of a drop right? Alright I guess we will just ignore it and move on.

23. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 5-7
Week 13 ranking: No. 18

ESPN: The Cardinals’ biggest rookie contributor might be undrafted tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who just started making an impact in Week 11. He has 170 receiving yards in the past three games, the second-most for Arizona behind Larry Fitzgerald (201).

Jesse: I mean this is probably one reason the Cardinals are 5-7, right? The only guy catching passes other than Fitz is some rookie who wasn’t doing anything until week 11.

24. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 5-7
Week 13 ranking: No. 27

ESPN: The Dolphins have gotten a nice return on third-round cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. He has started 10 games and his seven pass breakups are tied for most on the team with Xavien Howard.

Kevin: Tankersley? Dammit, can we build a time machine, go back to last season, build up Tankersley’s profile and then start a “Tank for Tankersley” movement with all the worst teams? Or a “Tank or Slay for Cordrea” campaign? This is literally the best use of a time machine I have ever thought of.

25. Houston Texans

2017 record: 4-8
Week 13 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: What could have been? The Texans averaged 34.7 points per game with Deshaun Watson starting, compared to 14.7 points per game with Tom Savage as the starter. When Watson got hurt he was on a streak of four straight games with at least three passing touchdowns.

Jesse: This is the week after ESPN tried to convince us that the Texans weren’t much worse off with Savage. The PR team in Houston has some serious pull if they are getting ESPN to try and sugarcoat things for them.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 4-8
Week 13 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: Justin Evans has emerged as a playmaker in the Buccaneers’ secondary, recording three interceptions, tied for the rookie lead. Evans also was the first player to intercept a Tom Brady pass this season.

Kevin: If I ever picked off Tom Brady I would build a small room around the front door of my house and in this new front room I would put the football on display with a plaque that says, “Kevin deflated Brady’s ball, please pay your respect” and make everyone take off their shoes and do a little bow in front of the shrine before I let them in.

27. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 3-9
Week 13 ranking: No. 28

ESPN: The Broncos selected Garett Bolles 20th overall and might have nabbed a left tackle for years to come in the process. Bolles has started all 12 games and leads all left tackles with 777 snaps played.

Jesse: Bolles is showing all the signs of a guy who will at least turn out to be a decent tackle. That may sound like a low floor for a first-round pick, but it’s more a reflection of the Broncos’ failure to assemble a competent line since… well, it’s been a long time.

28. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 2-10
Week 13 ranking: No. 31

ESPN: Reuben Foster was injured in Week 1 and didn’t return until Week 7, but he has flashed potential since his return. Foster has 42 tackles since Week 7, most among rookie defenders and 12 more than any other 49er in that time.

Kevin: Guys, I think we might do it. We might get through this entire rankings without me having to write about an Ohio State Buckeye! I’m so excited I’m shaking! That might be the coffee. No, it’s definitely the Ohio State thing.

29. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 3-9
Week 13 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: Mitchell Trubisky doesn’t have much help around him, so the fact that he ranks last in Total QBR shouldn’t be too alarming. He’s averaging 154.6 passing yards and has thrown just five touchdowns in eight games.

Jesse: I mean, it’s probably a little alarming, right? Maybe he’ll bounce back next year like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff did this season, or maybe he is the next Blake Bortles. At least the Bears have let him play through his struggles though, which is more than the Broncos ever did for Paxton Lynch.

30. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 3-9
Week 13 ranking: No. 29

ESPN: Malik Hooker’s ACL injury put an abrupt end to what was a promising rookie season. Even though he hasn’t played since Week 7, Hooker’s three interceptions are still tied for most among rookies, and are most by a Colts rookie since Jacob Lacey in 2009.

Kevin: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! So close to a Buckeye free entry from me. Dammit. Well this is as good of a place as any to explain. You see it was the 2003 Fiesta Bowl which was also the BCS Championship Game. And me, being a 13-year-old kid, decided I liked the Hurricanes. Why? No freakin’ clue. I know I really liked Willis McGahee, like a lot. Naturally this meant I had to hate the opposing team. Well we all know how that went, quite possibly the greatest college football game of all time, 58 future NFL players, double overtime, pure epicness. But the Hurricanes lost. And McGahee taught me how knees are not supposed to bend. And rationally I have loathed the Buckeyes ever since. Well surprise, two years ago I moved to Ohio and am now surrounded by Buckeye fans. And have friends who are Buckeye fans. And I may or may not own a Buckeye shirt. Life is weird.

31. New York Giants

2017 record: 2-10
Week 13 ranking: No. 30

ESPN: Evan Engram leads all rookies with six touchdown receptions and has already become one of the league’s top tight ends. The only tight ends with more receiving yards than Engram are Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker and Zach Ertz.

Jesse: Meanwhile, Jake Butt has spent the entire season on the PUP list and IR after the Broncos drafted him in April. Just another letdown in this never-ending travesty of a season.

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-12
Week 13 ranking: No. 32

ESPN: DeShone Kizer is just the fourth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to go winless in his first 11 starts and the first since Stan Gelbaugh (1991-92). Only one quarterback (Jack Trudeau) started 0-12 and none started 0-13.

Kevin: Confession, in last week’s power rankings I intentionally chose an image of the Browns defeating the Chargers last season in hopes they would beat them again. Not because I wanted the Browns to win necessarily, rather I wanted the Chargers to lose to them again. I mean how hilarious would that have been? The Chargers being the only team to lose to the Browns two seasons straight and to do it as the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Chargers? Come on football gods, you really blew this one.

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