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Monthly Archives: November, 2015

30

November

NFL Power Rankings: Carolina Panthers finally climb to the top (Shutdown Corner)

The Carolina Panthers still have a perception problem. It's hard to imagine that in a little more than a month, we could have three teams finish an NFL regular season undefeated and untied in the Super Bowl era: 1972 Miami Dolphins, 2007 New England Patriots and ... 2015 Carolina Panthers? It's possible. With just five games left, the Panthers' chase for perfection is close enough that we can talk about it seriously. And the remaining schedule isn't tough. They play at New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, at the Giants, at Atlanta and home against Tampa Bay to finish the season. The toughest team Carolina has left is the Falcons, and they haven't played well in almost two months. Does this seem like a historically great team? Does Carolina seem like a Super Bowl favorite this season? Be honest: Would you pick the Panthers right now to win it all (people in the Carolinas aren't allowed to answer)? Again, this might just be a perception problem. Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed The Panthers weren't favored by oddsmakers last week against the Dallas Cowboys, who were 3-7. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight site declared the Panthers the worst 11-0 team ever , and even the Panthers' Twitter feed had to take notice. k https://t.co/9NdnO8qesz — Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 30, 2015 Being the worst 11-0 team ever is kind of like being the worst movie to ever win the Oscar for "Best Picture," in that it's still not a bad list to be on no matter what spot you occupy. But still, it's a strange story. Carolina is 11-0 and completely underappreciated. The Panthers deserve to be the No. 1-ranked NFL team. They have won all 11 games (ask New England how tough that can be) and have won eight of them by at least a touchdown. They have won their last three games by an average of 21.3 points, and that's not supposed to happen in the NFL. It's a team with an MVP candidate quarterback in Cam Newton and a defense that doesn't have many holes and superstars like cornerback Josh Norman and linebacker Luke Kuechly. Whatever we thought about the Panthers before this season or over the first few weeks doesn't matter anymore. They're legit. The beauty of the NFL is there's no committee that decides which teams deserve to play for a championship. If the Panthers keep winning, their place in history will be undeniable. Perception won't matter much then. Here are Shutdown Corner's power rankings after Week 12: 32. Cleveland Browns (2-9, LW: 31) Losing that game, ultimately, is better for the Browns. They'll likely get a better draft pick as a result. But wow, that's brutal. 31. Tennessee Titans (2-9, LW: 29) The Titans have lost 11 straight home games. That's an amazing streak of futility. 30. San Francisco 49ers (3-8, Last week: 32)
30

November

NFL-National Football League roundup (Reuters)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski could miss only one game with a right knee injury suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-24 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos. ESPN footage showed Gronkowski walking from the X-ray room to the Patriots' locker room with a slight limp but based on reports Monday, the injury is not serious and he could return to the field as early as Sunday night, Dec. 13, at Houston. - - Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson, who is fourth in the NFL with 814 rushing yards this season, suffered a fractured tibia in Sunday's game, according to a Fox Sports report.
30

November

Cowboys' Garrett says team still in NFC East title mix (The Associated Press)

While Tony Romo is done for this season after breaking his collarbone for the second time this year, the struggling Dallas Cowboys somehow still have a chance to defend their NFC East title and get to the playoffs. Coach Jason Garrett said Monday that Romo has a lot of football left to play in the future. Dallas has five games left and is two games behind Washington and New York, both 5-6 after the Redskins beat the Giants on Sunday.
30

November

Despite all their flaws, Redskins now relevant, for a change (The Associated Press)

With six last-place finishes in the past seven years, the Washington Redskins have not mattered all that much in the latter stages of recent seasons. Yes, despite all of their flaws, and despite their sub-.500 record, the Redskins stand atop the NFC East with five games to go. ''Obviously fired up to be in the position we're in,'' Washington coach Jay Gruden said Monday, a day after beating the visiting Giants 20-14.
30

November

Mediocre and losing teams are NFL contenders (The Associated Press)

Looks like the NFL could emulate that approach this season. With five weeks left in the schedule, two divisions (AFC South and NFC East) could wind up with a winner at 8-8 or worse. Consider that for the final NFC berth, the Seahawks and Falcons are tied at 6-5.