Thirteen weeks are now in the books, and there are still many teams out there looking for their identity. While a lot of the division races seem pretty well over, the Wild Card push should be crazy. Let's take a look at how these teams are rolling going into the final stretch.
32. Cleveland Browns (2-10, Previously #31) - It was never a game and Austin Davis did a whole lot of nothing. While it is highly unlikely that Johnny Manziel is a franchise QB, you might as well at least throw him out there and see. It's not like he could be doing any worse than 2-10, and y'all wasted a 1st round pick on him. Even if you don't want him, maybe he does just enough to get at least some trade value. It sure isn't going to happen on the bench.
31. Tennessee Titans (3-9, Previously #32) - Picked up a 3 point win over Jacksonville to split the season series. As far as wins go, this one is pretty meaningless... at least when determining how good a team is, it could end up having an impact as far as the draft goes, though.
30. Dallas Cowboys (4-8, Previously #30) - The Cowboys finally won a game without Tony Romo!!! Still, it wasn't a pretty win and the boys are just 1-8 without their starting QB... they'll need to win at least one more time without him, before I start moving them up the list. They are just one game back in the division and still alive in spirit, but the track record without Romo doesn't look good.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8, Previously #29) - Outside of a week 3 blowout to New England, all of Jacksonville's losses have come by 11 points or less with 5 of them by a TD or less. While that isn't usually anything to brag about, the Jaguars have actually been somewhat competitive this year. That's something.
28. San Diego Chargers (3-9, Previously #28) - San Diego is 3-0 when the offense puts up 30 points or more, they are 0-9 in games they don't. No surprise that 3 points against the Broncos wasn't enough to get things done. It's beginning to look like the Chargers aren't as close to being a very good team as many thought. A Phil Rivers is hard to come by, but you're not going to win with that supporting cast... Nobody likes to pull the plug, but maybe it's time to get something for him, when something is still there to be gotten.
27. Baltimore Ravens (4-8, Previously #27) - Just when they started trending in the right direction, they lose a stinker to the Miami Dolphins. With their remaining schedule consisting of Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, a 4-12 record doesn't seem that unlikely... especially if Cincy has something to play for in week 17.
26. New Orleans Saints (4-8, Previously #25) - During the rare times when the defense makes stops, the offense can't score points. When the offense is scoring points, the defense can't make stops. That's your 2015 Saints. No lead is safe for this team. Would the good will built up by Sean Payton be enough to survive a 4-12 follow up to a 7-9 season? Should it? It sure is getting harder to defend.
25. San Francisco 49ers (4-8, Previously #24) - The 49ers have had a mostly down season, as expected. They do have a couple of very nice wins, however, which is what separates them from the rest of the
crap sub par teams. They aren't really playing for anything at this point, besides pride. The 49ers have a golden opportunity to get their first back to back wins of the season, when they take on the hapless Browns this week.
24. St. Louis Rams (4-8, Previously #22) - It wasn't too long ago that the Rams were 4-3 with two very good wins and no glaring losses. They have since lost 5 straight, with the last two being especially bad (a combined 10 points vs 58). However, outside of Baltimore, all of the teams they lost to are currently top 12 on this list and solid playoff contenders.
23. Atlanta Falcons (6-6, Previously #20) - If Saints fans feel disappointed by the 4 straight losses after getting up to 4-4, just think how the Falcons fans feel dropping 6 of 7 after being only one of 6 teams to start the season 5-0 (of the other teams, the worst record is 8-4 by the Packers, with the rest having 2 losses or less)... It's almost enough to make this season worth it, almost.
22. Miami Dolphins (5-7, Previously #23) - A squeaker of a win against Baltimore keeps the Dolphins alive in the Wild Card hunt, though they have quite the uphill battle. Despite using the offseason to surround him with receiving threats, Ryan Tannehill hasn't improved like the Dolphins had hoped, in fact he's posting very similar (if not slightly worse) numbers to last season. The most telling thing about the Dolphins is that of their 5 wins, only one of them comes against a team with an above .500 record.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7, Previously #24) - This week couldn't have gone much better for the Eagles: They picked up a big win against the extremely tough Patriots, and both the Potatoes and Giants lost, allowing the Eagles to slide into a three way tie for the NFC East lead. The Eagles control their own destiny, with one game remaining against the Taters and Giants, respectively. No matter who makes it out of the East, we're probably looking at a one and done scenario.
20. Detroit Lions (4-8, Previously #19) - That was a tough break for the streaking Lions and that loss likely takes them out of playoff contention. A nonexistent facemask leading to a 60+ yard hailmary to essentially end your season is a heartbreaker. With Calvin Johnson starting to get older and Matthew Stafford still failing to take the next big step in his game, the Lions will have some pondering to do this offseason.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6, Previously 20) - Don't look now, but Lovie Smith has this team playing pretty well and sitting just one game back in the Wild Card. The Bucs finished off the season sweep of the Atlanta Falcons and will try to do the same to the Saints next week. Even if they fall short of the playoffs, the fact that they went from worst to borderline playoffs in just one year has to have the team pumped for the future.
18. New York Giants (5-7, Previously #17) - Here's a fun fact, the Giants have run the 6th most plays in the NFL with a lead, yet here they are with a losing record. If you ask me, that's on Tom Coughlin (not solely, but the majority of it). Poor game management and questionable coaching cost them another one against the Jets this past Sunday. While he has built up plenty of good will in New York, the seat should be getting hot. The team talent is there, the game management is not.
17. Washington Potatoes (5-7, Previously #16) - The Potatoes had a golden opportunity to take control of the NFC East, with their opponent being the Romo-less Cowboys and the Giants losing earlier this week. In true 2015 NFC East fashion, they failed to get it done in a bad game. With three teams tied for first at 5-7 and the 2nd Wild Card at 7-5, it's division champ or bust for the NFC East.
16. Houston Texans (6-6, Previously #15) - Despite the loss to Buffalo, the Texans remain tied with Indy for the division lead. The Texans are 4-1 in their last five games, and still looking a lot better than the team that came out to begin the season. They have a tough test against New England this upcoming week, then finish out with a trio of games against their division rivals.
15. Indianapolis Colts (6-6, Previously #14) - Currently tied with Houston for the AFC South and just 1 game out of the Wild Card, the Colts schedule has them poised to make the post season. Besides a home game against Houston, the rest of the Colts' games are against the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Titans, respectively.
14. Buffalo Bills (6-6, Previously #18) - That was a big win against Houston to keep the Bills alive in the Wild Card race. The Bills have been very up and down this season, but losses to New England and Cincinnati show that even with a birth, the Bills aren't serious contenders.
13. Oakland Raiders (5-7, Previously #12) - Oakland has lost 4 of their last 5, and are now in a bit of a hole when it comes to making a wildcard push. None of their losses during that stretch were that bad, with the Lions being the only opponent not currently in a playoff spot. While they've made some nice strides this season, playoffs don't seem likely for the Raiders. They are currently two games back and still have games against Denver, Green Bay, and Kansas City.
12. Chicago Bears (5-7, Previously #11) - The Bears were looking like they might be one of the NFC's hottest teams down the stretch, coming off of a road win against the Packers... then they lost a home game to the 49ers. They are still just two games back for the 2nd Wild Card spot, and can do a lot to help themselves, with their next 3 games against fellow Wild Card contenders. It's worth noting that they haven't lost by more than 6 points since the week 3 blowout in Seattle.
11. New York Jets (7-5, Previously #13) - Probably the weakest of the three teams currently tied for the two AFC Wild Card spots, the Jets do have the benefit of schedule. In their next two, they play two of the worst teams in league in the Titans and Cowboys... although they do have one more contest against the Patriots left, conversely.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5, Previously #9) - No LaVeon Bell, no problem. The Steelers have improved to 3-1 with the only loss being a 9 pointer in Seattle, since losing their star RB for the season. They will be hard pressed to try to catch up to the division leading Bengals, but at 7-5, they are tied with two other teams for the best Wild Card record. They Steelers face a couple of tough tests in the next two weeks, playing the Bengals and Broncos. While their last two games are very winnable, going 0-2 in these next couple could end the Steelers' season a bit earlier than they hoped.
9. Minnesota Vikings (8-4, Previously #6) - That was a rough loss, but only the second ugly one of the season for the Vikings. The Vikings are just one game out of first and currently have a 2 game lead over the first team out in the NFC Wild Card hunt, but the latest loss was bad and the remaining schedule is tough. Up next, they face a red hot Arizona Cardinals team looking to maintain a first round bye.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-5, Previously #8) - I don't know how they've done it, but the Chiefs have won 6 in a row to save their season (and possibly Andy Reid's job)... and they've done so without star RB Jamaal Charles. They have very winnable games in their next three (SD, @ Bal, Cle) before finishing the season with the team they just defeated, the Oakland Raiders.
7. Seattle Seahawks (7-5, Previously #10) - The Seahawks went to Minnesota and absolutely destroyed them, letting the rest of the NFC know that the defending champs are still a force to be reckoned with. The Seahawks looked shaky early in the season, amassing a 2-4 record, before turning things around and winning 5 of their last 6. Catching Arizona for the division lead might be hard to do, but the Seahawks are currently sitting in the 2nd NFC Wild Card spot, and have to be feeling good about how they've been playing lately. Games left against Baltimore and Cleveland sure don't hurt their chances.
6. Green Bay Packers (8-4, Previously #7) - Still not quite the team they were expected to be in the preseason (and through the first 6 games of the season), the Packers are back in first place in n the NFC North. They have a relatively "easy" game against the Cowboys next week, before finishing the season with games at Oakland, at Arizona, and a pivotal week 17 match up against the Vikings in Green Bay.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (10-2, Previously #5) - The Bengals have responded well since losing their only two games of the season in back to back weeks. Since then, the Bengals are 2-0 by a combined score of 68-10. Sure it helps when one of your opponents is the Austin Davis lead Browns, but that's still pretty darn impressive.
4. New England Patriots (10-2, Previously #2) - Are injuries finally catching up to the Patriots, after losing back to back games? It's possible, but I still wouldn't bet against them. Luckily for them, their remaining schedule isn't all that tough, which should help them secure a spot in the playoffs and get healthy. A first round bye would be especially useful for this team.
3. Arizona Cardinals (10-2, Previously #4) - The Cardinals avenged a 2 point week 4 loss to the Rams with a 21 score thumping in week 13. The Cardinals are back to looking like the Super Bowl favorites to me, following the impressive road performance. They face a gauntlet of playoff contenders to end the season, facing Minnesota, Philadelphia, Green Bay, and Seattle in the upcoming weeks.
2. Denver Broncos (10-2, Previously #3) - Brock Osweiler didn't have a particularly good game, but the Broncos still picked up the win on the road against a division rival. The Broncos are undefeated with Brock under center, and with each win it gets harder to justify putting Manning back in, should he get healthy.
1. Carolina Panthers (12-0, Previously #1) - Another week, another win. 12-0 is 12-0, no matter how you look getting there. The Panthers already have the division clinched with 4 games still on the schedule... can they complete the perfect season?