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Original 2016 NFL Power Rankings: Week Fifteen

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Matt Weston ranks all 32 teams, and specifically focuses on the Packers, Ravens, Broncos, and Chiefs.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For every week until the end of the season, I will be ranking the NFL teams from 1-32, power rankings style. They will be arranged into four blocks.

The Worst

The Mediocre

Playoffs?

The Contenders

The biggest problem with traditional power rankings is they take too much in account of every week. Each game is exacerbated. Every loss is the end of the world. Every win is another stitch in a dream season. Part of it just goes along with football in general. These games happen only once a week. There are only sixteen of them. Exaggeration is just part of it. I'm going to try and remove that by looking at the big picture instead of bumping up and down based on one loss or one win. The rankings below are simply adjustments made based on what I thought heading into the season; in the future, they will be adjusted based on an entire body of work and trends, not because of a single HUGE win or one BAD loss.

The Worst:

32.) Cleveland Browns--Record: 0-13.  Point Differential: -168.  DVOA: -37.6% (32). Last Week: 32.

31.) San Francisco 49ers--Record: 1-12.  Point Differential: -142.  DVOA: -20.4% (28). Last Week: 31.

30.) New York Jets--Record: 4-9.  Point Differential: -95.  DVOA: -34.8% (31). Last Week: 30.

29.) Los Angeles Rams--Record: 4-9.  Point Differential: -110.  DVOA: -21.1% (29). Last Week: 27 (Doesn't include TNF).

28.) Jacksonville Jaguars--Record: 2-11.  Point Differential: -98.  DVOA: -14.4% (27). Last Week: 29.

27.) Chicago Bears--Record: 3-10. Point Differential: -69. DVOA: -3.2% (22). Last Week: 28.

26.) Carolina Panthers--Record: 5-8.  Point Differential: -26.  DVOA: -6.1% (23). Last Week: 26.

The Mediocre:

25.) Indianapolis Colts--Record: 6-7.  Point Differential: -5.  DVOA: -7.5% (25). Last Week: 24.

24.) Arizona Cardinals--Record: 5-7-1.  Point Differential: +22.  DVOA: -6.1% (24). Last Week: 23.

23.) Cincinnati Bengals--Record: 5-7-1.  Point Differential: -1.  DVOA: 0.6% (20). Last Week: 25.

22.) New Orleans Saints--Record: 5-8.  Point Differential: +7.  DVOA: 1.6% (18). Last Week: 22.

21.) San Diego Chargers--Record: 5-8.  Point Differential: +3.  DVOA: 1.8% (17). Last Week: 21.

20.) Minnesota Vikings--Record: 7-6.  Point Differential: +33.  DVOA: 4.1% (14). Last Week: 20.

19.) Buffalo Bills--Record: 6-7.  Point Differential: +24.  DVOA: 3.1% (15). Last Week: 13.

18.) Philadelphia Eagles--Record: 5-8.  Point Differential: +18.  DVOA: 13.0% (6). Last Week: 19.

17.) Tennessee Titans--Record: 7-6.  Point Differential: +15.  DVOA: 3.0% (16). Last Week: 17.

Playoffs?

16.) Houston Texans--Record: 7-6.  Point Differential: -45.  DVOA: -22.6% (30). Last Week: 16.

15.) Miami Dolphins--Record: 8-5.  Point Differential: -20.  DVOA: -0.3% (21). Last Week: 15.

14.) Green Bay Packers--Record: 7-6.  Point Differential: +21.  DVOA: 12.5% (7). Last Week: 18.

Here's a word of advice. Don't doubt Aaron Rodgers. He's one of the best in the league. He's smarter than you. He knows more about what's wrong with the offense than you do. Don't question his eliteness until he's like 37 years old and the decline in ability is because of age, not a lack of run game, or inability for his receivers to get separation, or stagnant route combinations.

The Packers are back in the playoff hunt because of Aaron Rodgers. They have won three games in a row against some of the best pass defenses in the league: Philadelphia, Houston, and Seattle. Against these three defenses, Rodgers has thrown for 768 yards, completing 68 of his 92 passes (73.9%), seven touchdowns, zero interceptions, and is averaging 8.3 Y/A, all while the Packers' run offense has generated just 3.24 Y/A.

The most impressive of these performances was last week against Seattle. Rodgers threw for 246 yards on just 18 completions and tossed three touchdowns. It was a horrifying display of fire-breathing Aaron Rodgers football.

He's played pretty good all year by league standards. He is now playing by Aaron Rodgers standards again. Yet the biggest change during these three weeks wasn't the passing offense; it was the Packers' defense. After allowing 33, 31, 47, and 42 points during their four game losing streak, Green Bay has now held opponents to 13, 13, and 10 points. The secondary is getting healthier. Their pass rush is actually doing things again. And yeah, playing Carson Wentz, Brock Osweiler, and taking advantage of the Seahawks' offensive line with a big lead isn't the greatest indicator that this is how things are going to be for the rest of the year, but it still is an entirely different set of results.

This is what's frustrating. The Packers should never lose four games in a row. Aaron Rodgers should never miss the playoffs. There shouldn't be a world that exists when he's sad, shaking his head, and yelling at his receivers. He's too good for this nonsense.

Rarely do teams fire coaches that have winning records. If the Packers don't make the playoffs without Rodgers, Mike McCarthy should be fired. He has a tradition of end game mismanagement.  There have been too many stretches of stuttering with their talent level, and it's unbelievable that Rodgers, the best quarterback in the league the last four seasons, has only made it to one Super Bowl.

This may happen this offseason--both playoff absenteeism and McCarthy's departure. In the standings, the Packers are tied with Minnesota for ninth. They are a half game behind Washington. They are one game behind Tampa Bay. They are two behind the New York Giants. They are two games behind Detroit in their division.  Their odds currently sit at 39.9% to make the playoffs, a 32.4% chance at the division and a 7.5% chance at the wild card.

They end the season at Chicago, get Minnesota at home, and go to Detroit.  The Lions travel to New York and Dallas before a possible NFC North championship game in Week 17. Nothing is close to being finished, but the Packers should be in a better spot at this time of the year. This resurgence should have happened sooner. These past three weeks should be more the norm. As a result, Green Bay's season is going to depend on them winning desperate games and hoping for others to lose when they should have been the captain the entire time.

13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Record: 8-5.  Point Differential: -3.  DVOA: 1.6% (19). Last Week: 14.

12.) Baltimore Ravens--Record: 7-6.  Point Differential: +42.  DVOA: 8.7% (11) Last Week: 12.

It was expected that the Ravens would be better this season after last year's season from hell. So many injuries wouldn't occur. Ryan Mallett wouldn't take starting snaps at quarterback. They wouldn't lose as many close games. The schedule would be easier. They would be getting draft capital to add to an already talented veteran roster.

7-6 isn't shocking. What is shocking is the Ravens have the best run defense in the NFL. Not only that, they have one of the best run defenses of all time at the moment. They are chasing the 2002 Ravens' run defense DVOA record. Their run defense DVOA is -32.3%.  They are holding opponents to a league best 3.4 yards a carry. The 2000 Super Bowl winning Ravens had a run defense of -36.6% and held opponents to 2.7 Y/C.

You know those 2002 Ravens. Ray Lewis, Tony Siragusa, Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, and Rod Woodson. The 2016 Ravens have done what they're doing with an unheralded and deep front seven. You know Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. But do you know nose tackle Michael Pierce? Did you know Timmy Jernigan has turned into a very good, very angry, and very violent professional football player? What about defensive ends Brandon Williams and Lawrence Guy? Have you heard that C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr are the best run stopping 3-4 inside linebacker combination in the league? Past their starters are great role players like Za'Darius Smith, Albert McClellan, and Brent Urban.

The Ravens' 3-4 defense works from the interior out. They are giving up 3.52 yards a carry on runs up the middle, and they are first in the league in adjusted line yards at 3.13. Nose tackle Pierce and the playside defensive end take on strong double teams.  They open plays up for the inside linebackers while making plays on their own. Some 3-4 defenses stop the run from the outside in. Baltimore has the outside linebackers crash the edge and force everything into the center, putting the running attack into a locked box and tossing it into the ocean. The Ravens play inside out.  They use their outside players to hold their ground and chase.

On 2nd and 9 here, the Steelers are running a lead play in a game they lost. They went down early, couldn't get anything going on the ground, and were forced to rely on an anesthesia-hazed Roethlisberger. Their 5th ranked run offense by DVOA ran the ball 18 times for just 36 yards.

The Steelers have strong double teams against Brandon Williams (#98) and Michael Pierce (#78). The backside double team is going up to inside linebacker Zach Orr (#54). Everyone else is blocking man on man, and the split wing tight end is leading the play by blocking C.J. Mosley (#57).

BAL 3-4 D

At the snap, the double teams develop. The Steelers' offensive line quickly gets off the ball.

BAL 3-4 D

Contact is made. Each double team looks great here. They are both even, hip to hip, and unified. But the Ravens' defensive linemen are playing with perfect technique. Brandon Williams' lower body hasn't risen since the snap. He's only lifted his upper body. He's lower than the low double team. Pierce pounces off the snap and is in the center's chest.

BAL 3-4 D

The Ravens have their defensive linemen attack one man against double teams. Here Williams has concentrated his efforts on right guard David DeCastro, with Pierce on the center. Their drive forward and hands are on one blocker, with their shoulders shielding off the second. By doing this, the Ravens are taking on half the double, splitting it in two, and tying up both blockers--opening holes for their linebackers.

BAL 3-4 D

Williams and Pierce are tossing both inside blockers. The double team is no longer hip to hip. They have turned doubles into singles matches. The reason why this works so well is both players have remarkable strength. They each can hold their ground with their backside.

BAL 3-4 D

Everywhere else, the Ravens' defenders are locked up at the line of scrimmage. They are playing smart, disciplined football. They are holding their gaps and preventing Le'Veon Bell from bouncing around and creating magic. This stops cutback lanes and forces Bell to stay in the path outlined by the play design.

Pierce and Williams have turned the interior into a massacre. Williams has right guard David DeCastro turned. Orr fits into the hole around the double. He's unblocked and free to chase. The other inside linebacker, Mosley, is hiding behind the other double team.

BAL 3-4 D

Mosley is blocked by the tight end. But Orr, who leads the team with 68 run tackles, fifteen of which are for a loss, is flat down the line of scrimmage and chasing Bell from behind.

BAL 3-4 D

BAL 3-4 D

Orr makes the tackle from behind.  Mosley sheds the block inside and hits Bell head on.

BAL 3-4 D

BAL 1

In their base defense, the Ravens don't do anything complicated, wild, or crazy. They hold the line of scrimmage against double teams. They open up lanes for their inside linebackers. Everyone else stays strong, maintains their gap, and will shed and tackle if anything comes their way.

Because of how sturdy the Ravens' run defense is in their base formation, teams try to get them out of it. They will spread to 1x1x3 personnel and use shotgun formations to put the Baltimore defense into their nickel package. This changes nothing. The Ravens' defense is just as strong against the run in the nickel as they are in their 3-4.

Dallas is trying to catch Baltimore with their hands down their pants here. They start in a 1x1x3 formation and are in the shotgun. Dak Prescott calls an audible.

BAL Nickle

They switch to a single back formation and pull Terrance William into the backfield as a split wing tight end. The Ravens are stuck in a nickel defense against the best run blocking offensive line in the league that has audibled themselves into an advantage.

BAL Nickle

Guess what? It doesn't matter.

Dallas runs a lead play that gets two strong double teams with Williams leading the way to the safety.

BAL Nickle

The play goes nowhere. Both inside linebackers fill the gap. Both defensive tackles stonewall the double teams. There is nowhere for MVP candidate Ezekiel Elliott to go.

BAL Nickle

BAL 2

The play ends in a giant mash, like most run plays against Baltimore's defense. They swarm to the ball. They are the oxygen in the offense's lungs. They are the marrow in their bones. They are everywhere.

BAL Nickle

MUSH

Plays constantly end up like this because Baltimore's defensive line is made of iron and they play with perfect technique. Let's watch Brandon Williams, who should be an All-Pro this year, devour an outside zone play with two-a-day preached technique: come off the ball low, attack half of the blocker, punch, extend, drive, sit, hold with extension, read, react, and shed.

Dallas is running an outside zone play to the right. Williams is a "3" technique lined up on Zach Martin's outside shoulder. Center Travis Frederick is going to try and help before heading to the next level, but based on the pre-snap alignment, it's unlikely. Martin has a challenging block.

BWILLIAMS

Like all things and all plays, Williams is low when he shoots out of his stance.

BWILLIAMS

He takes on the outside half of Martin. His hands are inside. This removes Frederick from being able to help on the play. It also puts him in a better spot to make a play against this horizontal stretching run.

BWILLIAMS

Williams explodes with his punch and creates separation from Martin. He drives Martin backwards and moves the line of scrimmage.

BWILLIAMS

He's locked behind the line of scrimmage. Waiting. When Elliott comes across his gap, Williams shoves Martin off of him. Elliott still has yet to even make a cut and there are five defenders in the area.

BWILLIAMS

Elliott tries to slip inside. Williams snatches him by the throat.

BWILLIAMS

BAL 3

Williams' technique here is flawless. It's the definition of how to stop the run on the defensive line. It's what everyone is taught to do since middle school.

Because of this technique, the defensive line puts rocks into the bowels of the line of the scrimmage.  The Ravens are the best defense in the league at allowing second level runs. They are first in the league with 0.88 second level adjusted line yards. Their defensive line makes tackles, and their inside linebackers are free to run around the line of scrimmage like wild horses.

In this clip, Dallas is running dart to the right. They are pulling genetically modified Tyron Smith to playside linebacker C.J. Mosley.

MOSELY

Mosley sees the double team in front of him.  Rather than wait, he shoots the gap right into the pulling tackle. But because of his defensive line, Mosley is allowed to play with so much speed and terror that he's able to slip inside of Smiths' block to make one of his 28 run tackles.

BAL 4

The majority of the runs against Baltimore's defense are like the previous ones for the Ravens' defensive line. They attempt to take on one man of the double team, hold their ground against the second, and let the linebacker run unchained. They take on half a man one-on-one blocks, move the line of scrimmage back, sit, read, react, and escape the block to the back. Yet when teams start to get any sort of momentum on the ground against Baltimore, they will have their defensive line shoot the gaps. They will blitz linebackers. They will blow up run plays and squish any sort of good feelings.

At the beginning of this game, Miami was having success on the ground. Here on an obvious 2nd and 4 run situation, the Ravens stack the box and shoot the gap. They place Mosley as a nose tackle over the center and pull Eric Weddle, the clean-up man and the team's second leading run tackler, into the box.

The Dolphins are pulling future All-Pro guard Laremy Tunsil to Orr (#54). The rest of the line is blocking down with Mosley down in the box. This alignment squashes their ability to get a playside double team.

SHOOT THE GAP

When the ball is snapped, WIlliams screams through the gap. He doesn't punch, take on half the man, look, and react. He is plundering mode.

SHOOT THE GAP

He gets across the right tackle's face.

SHOOT THE GAP

Williams careens into the backfield and into the pulling Tunsil. As a result, Orr is unblocked. When him and Weddle see the hand-off, they immediately start coming to the ball. Everyone else is punching and holding their gap.

SHOOT THE GAP

SHOOT THE GAP

When Jay Ajayi gets the ball, Orr is in the box.

SHOOT THE GAP

SHOOT THE GAP

Orr squares Ajayi up and swallows up a back that has broken 45 tackles this year with a broken tackle rate of 20.8%.

SHOOT THE GAP

BAL 5

Baltimore has only 73 tackles for a loss this year, which is 16th in the NFL. They have a stuff rate of 22%, which is 9th. They are a great run defense because of all the one, two, and three yard stops--a direct result of their defensive line's technique and the tackling of their inside linebackers. When they want to, they can run different blitzes and shoot the gap to create big plays. It's not their defensive philosophy. It's an extra component to what they do.

Of course, not every run ranges from a loss to a four yard gain. Of course teams make some 7, 13, 20 yard runs against this defense. It's just rare.  It takes one of two things for that to happen: either the running back needs to make a physics-defying run or the offensive line needs to make great blocks.

The Ravens have nine defenders in the box against the Dolphins' 2x1x2 personnel on 2nd and 11. They are running counter to the left by pulling the guard and fullback. Ajayi cuts past Terrell Suggs, spins past Williams in the backfield, and breaks an arm tackle, turning nothing into six yards.

AJAYI BABY

BAL 6

These sort of displays of surreal skill are what it takes to have success on the ground versus Baltimore. They are too strong up front, play with too much discipline, and tackle too well for teams to have continuous run success. It's constant ineffectiveness mixed with some bright spots of genius.

Because the Ravens are 7-6 and have just a 33.0% chance of making the playoffs, their run defense has gone unnoticed. Few know who Brandon Williams, Zach Orr, or Michael Pierce are. Few are talking about a run defense that is first in yards per carry, touchdowns allowed, yards allowed, and could break an all-time record set by an all-time great defense. But if the Ravens do make the playoffs, it will be because of a run defense that has suffocated teams week after week and has quieted some of the best rushing attacks in the league. Then, and hopefully then, praise be given for their accomplishments, and guys like Williams and Orr and Pierce can be on Sunday Night Football introductions, and most importantly, ubiquitous Twitter feed Vines.

11.) New York Giants--Record: 9-4.  Point Differential: +11.  DVOA: 6.3% (12). Last Week: 11.

10.) Washington Redskins--Record: 7-5-1.  Point Differential: +13.  DVOA: 10.6% (9). Last Week: 10.

9.) Denver Broncos--Record: 8-5.  Point Differential: +54.  DVOA: 5.7% (13) Last Week: 7.

Back when we started this journey, I had Denver ranked 13th after their opening night win over Carolina. I had the following to say:

It was a great win for Denver even if the performance wasn't great. Denver had a DVOA of -12.8%. This is just the type of game they are forced to play with Siemian under center. The offensive line, which was spectacular, will need to dominate and open up lanes for C.J. Anderson, who has the ability to cut back and turn good blocking into huge gains. The past top ten defense of all time will need to hold opponents to less than 20 points. Siemian will need to make plays occasionally while not making mistakes. Somehow, some way, they are going to need to hold on and win close games.

You can win games like this. We've seen it. But with Kansas City being a Super Bowl contender and Oakland on the way up, it's going to be exasperating to try and win ten games playing like this. But if the offensive line, running attack, and defense limit Siemien as much as possible, maybe they can fight the regression bug in a tough division, even if it is highly unlikely.

So far this season, we have seen exactly this. The Broncos have won games when their defense has held teams to twenty points or less and when Siemian has made occasional throws without making big mistakes. They have relied on their defense. But Denver's slippery strategy to win games has caught up with them. They are 2-3 in their last five games and could miss the playoffs.

Heading into the year, I said either Denver or Carolina wasn't going to make the playoffs. The reasoning was simple.  Both teams won more games than they should have last year. Denver went 9-3 in one possession games, won 2.3 more games than expected, and defensive performance has a higher variance than offensive performance. I was wrong. This year both teams, not just one, will probably miss the playoffs.

The Broncos have a 44.3% chance to win a wild card berth. The conundrum is they have the toughest schedule to end the season. Their average opponent has a DVOA of 15.62%.  They end the year against New England, at Kansas City, and home against Oakland.  That's the AFC's three best teams, all with something to play for.

The Broncos are in this spot because they haven't been as fortunate as last year, and they haven't played as well in the run game, both on defense and offense. This season, the Broncos are 2-4 in one possession games.  They have won just as many games as expected based on their point differential.

Their run performance has been a bigger issue. Denver's offensive line was awesome in Week One against Carolina. Denver's performance has really fallen off as the season has progressed, thanks to offensive line shuffling and an injury to C.J. Anderson. This year, the Broncos are averaging 3.8 Y/A, and have a run offense DVOA of -19.8%, both ranked 28th in the league. Anderson had a DVOA of -14% before being placed on IR, but his replacement, Devontae Booker, is last in the NFL among players with more than 99 carries at -23.5%. He hasn't meshed well in this outside zone scheme. Denver has missed Anderson.

The Broncos weren't great on the ground last year, but they at least could get things going a bit and survive. This year, they have averaged 4.2 Y/A, a half yard more than last year, and have a a DVOA of -10.3%. Again, it's not great, but they aren't among the league's worst. This has put more pressure on Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch to lead the offense on their own. Siemian has been fine, but he's not a bread winner in an offense yet. He needs help. He's a complement.

The even bigger problem has been Denver's run defense. The Broncos are really missing Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan, both salary cap casualties thanks to free agency, pockets filled and living different lives in Jacksonville and Chicago. Last season, the Broncos' run defense allowed 3.3 Y/A (1st) and had a DVOA of -22.8% (4th). This year they are allowing 4.2 Y/A (19th) and have a DVOA -1.1% (25th). The problem here isn't just that Denver misses those players. It's the drop-off from them to their replacements. Jared Crick is overmatched and is one of the worst run stopping defensive ends in football; he only offers value in swatting passes. Trevathan's replacement is Todd Davis, a former undrafted player, and Corey Nelson, a former seventh round pick who has filled in for Nate Irving since he's been injured. Neither are the very good, Pro Bowl caliber player that their predecessors were.

All of this a shame because as good as the Broncos' pass defense was last year, it's even better this year. The Broncos still have the best defensive DVOA because they have an all-time great pass defense. They are allowing 4.9 net yards an attempt, 18 touchdowns, 2,385 yards, and have a DVOA of -32.3%. All of which rank first in the league. All of which are better than the 5.1 NY/A, 19 pass touchdowns, 3,193 yards, and -28% Denver allowed the year before.

As tiring as it gets to see the same teams year after year, this would have actually been a fun Patriots-Broncos playoff matchup. It would have been the best pass defense against the best pass offense. Because of the end of their regular season schedule, regression, and the problems with the ground game, we are probably going to only get this weekend's matchup between these two AFC titans instead of the usual additional January clash.

8.) Detroit Lions--Record: 9-4.  Point Differential: +27.  DVOA: -8.8% (26). Last Week: 9.

The Contenders:

7.) Pittsburgh Steelers--Record: 8-5.  Point Differential: +61.  DVOA: 14.4% (4) Last Week: 8.

6.) Oakland Raiders--Record: 10-3.  Point Differential: +38.  DVOA: 11.7% (8). Last Week: 4.

5.) Atlanta Falcons--Record: 8-5.  Point Differential: +83.  DVOA: 18.1% (3). Last Week: 6.

4.) Kansas City Chiefs--Record: 10-3.  Point Differential: +47.  DVOA: 13.9% (5). Last Week: 5.

Justin Houston is back. The Chiefs are better. Football is better. We are all better.

In case you forgot, the Chiefs' outside linebacker had sack totals of 5.5, 10, 11, 22, and 7.5 since being a third round pick. The reason for his low total in 2015 was the result of a torn ACL. Now he's back. Since he's risen from the cremains, exploding red tailed and white gloved, he's picked up four sacks and 21 tackles in four games.

Houston has one of the best rip moves in the game. Most edge rushers use the rip as a default move. Something to set up other rushes with, or a move they'll use as a second option when their speed rush gets stopped. It's Houston's primary move, and he does better than just about anybody.

In Houston's three sack game against Denver, two of his sacks came on rips. Each was entirely different than another. There are different rips. The rusher can punch the chest and pull down the blocker, then rip around the edge, like Whitney Mercilus. They can speed rush, get to the edge, and dip all in one smooth motion, like Von Miller. They can punch, shove the blocker inside and rip. Or they knock the punch away and then rip.

The first of these two examples has Houston use his gangly arms to punch Ty Sambrailo in the chest, creating separation, and then ripping around the edge.

HOUSTON 1-1

Trevor Siemian motions Jordan Norwood to the other slot pre-snap. Norwood is in a perfect spot to chip and help throw Houston into Sambrailo.

HOUSTON 1-1

He doesn't and goes out for a route.

HOUSTON 1-1

Houston has his arms extended. His right arm is already in contact with Sambrailo while the tackle's hands are down by his side.

HOUSTON 1-1

Houston's hand placement is crucial here. His right arm is on the chest. His left arm is on his outside shoulder.

HOUSTON 1-1

He uses his outside arm to pull Sambrailo's shoulder down and uses his inside arm to rip underneath and off the block.

HOUSTON 1-1

This motion has Sambrailo falling face first.

HOUSTON 1-1

Houston is off the block. He plants and cuts toward Siemian. He's at a perfect depth to get to him.

HOUSTON 1-1

HOUSTON 1

All of this is so smooth and so fast. This is why Houston collects so many sacks. As an edge rusher, he has a farther distance to the quarterback. Time is at a premium. The quarterback can get the ball out before the edge rusher ever gets there even if the rusher beats the block. But against Houston, with how quick his rushes are, he knocks time off the clock, which leads to sacks and stacks.

The second example has Houston dodging lasers in a cat heist. He misses the punch entirely, goes untouched, and rips cleanly around the block. He's matched up against Sambrailo again.

HOUSTON 2-1

Like the previous play, the slot receiver has a chance to chip but doesn't. This leaves the second year offensive lineman against one of the league's most ferocious rushers.

HOUSTON 2-1

HOUSTON 2-1

When Houston goes to make contact, he does something similar. He extends one arm into the chest of the tackle to make contact first.

HOUSTON 2-1

When Sambrailo goes to make his punch, Houston knocks his hands away and rips in one smooth motion. Sambrailo barely even gets the moisture of his breath on him.

HOUSTON 2-1

Again, Houston's depth is perfect here. When he's off the block, he stabs his foot into the ground and comes after the quarterback.

HOUSTON 2-1

By the time Siemian feels the monster lurking behind him, it's too late.

HOUSTON 2-1

HOUSTON 2-1

HOUSTON 2

You'll see plenty of rip moves every Sunday. But like the patterns on the butterfly's wings, no two are the same. Each one has a different strategy and purpose involved to attack the offensive lineman's pass set. Houston happens to be one of the best in the league at ripping past linemen, and he does it in a variety of different ways.

The past three seasons, the AFC has been the Broncos,Patriots, and nobody else. With Peyton Manning wasting the rest of his life in diners eating spaghetti sauce sandwiches, this version of the Broncos being unable to stop the run or run the ball, and the Patriots being without Rob Gronkowski, the AFC is wide open. Oakland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore (If they get in), and Kansas City all have a chance this year.

Of these teams, Kansas City is the best of the batch. They are the most complete team. With Houston back and combined with Dee Ford, the Chiefs will have the best edge rushing tandem in the playoffs if Denver doesn't make it. Great edge rushers have been a problem for New England before (see last year's AFC Championship Game). And with the Patriots having to throw longer developing passes to the sideline now that Gronk is out, Kansas City is a brutal matchup for New England if they were to meet. For the first time in the last three seasons, we may see someone other than the Patriots or Broncos in the Super Bowl.  My best guess is for that team is Kansas City.

3.) Seattle Seahawks--Record: 8-4-1.  Point Differential: +42.  DVOA: 9.9% (10). Last Week: 1 (Doesn't include TNF).

2.) New England Patriots--Record: 12-2.  Point Differential: +119.  DVOA: 21.2% (1). Last Week: 3.

1.) Dallas Cowboys--Record: 11-2.  Point Differential: +102.  DVOA: 20.8% (2). Last Week: 2.

Jaguars vs Texans coverage