2013 NFL Power Rankings, Week 17
A few days later than usual due to a computer that crashed (Merry Christmas to me), I am posting our updated consensus NFL power rankings as we head into Week 17.
In less than 48 hours, the 2013 season will be over for 20 franchises — and there are still several playoff spots, either outright or just seeding, that are still undecided.
Considering the season is nearly over, what is the biggest surprise of this season?
Kevin Hanson (follow on Twitter):
Without question, the biggest surprise to me is the fact that the Houston Texans are one week away from finishing with the league's worst record and securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The good news is that they can use that pick on their (future) franchise quarterback by selecting Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, as they do in my most recent 2014 NFL mock draft. In many ways, it's the quarterback play that has them losing a franchise-worst 13 consecutive games. How many games in a row did Matt Schaub throw a pick-six?
That said, they entered the 2013 season as a legitimate Super Bowl contender and as my pick to lose in Super Bowl XLVIII despite what I expected to be mediocre quarterback play. After all, they have enough talent on the rest of the roster with guys like J.J. Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, etc.
Even with some key injuries, a disappointing season would have been 8-8. Instead, it's been an utter disaster and the team will start the 2014 season with a new head coach and likely a new quarterback under center.
John Trifone (follow on Twitter):
My biggest surprise of the season will be the Philadelphia Eagles success. They've had position talent for several years now, but Chip Kelly took a 4-12 team, last in the division in 2012, and will likely lead them to a playoff berth and division title this year.
After not even starting the season, Nick Foles is an MVP candidate and is leading the league in passer rating. The Eagles have had some ups and downs this year (best illustrated by their Week 15 loss to the Vikings followed by their Week 16 blowout win over the Bears).
They will have an outside chance at making some noise in the playoffs and navigating a pretty tough NFC.
Sean Beazley (follow on Twitter):
The Houston Texans are definitely the biggest surprise of this NFL season, even more so than the resurgence of the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid. The Texans were many people's AFC representative in the Super Bowl, and some had them going up against another disappointment, the Atlanta Falcons. It's pretty funny how quickly things can change in the NFL.
In one year, the Texans have gone from Super Bowl contenders to a team who is most likely going to be in rebuilding mode with a health question at RB with Arian Foster, and no long-term QB as Matt Schaub has played his way out of a starting job this season.
Dan Yanotchko (follow on Twitter):
To me, the biggest surprise of the 2013 year has to be the emergence of the next generation of top-flight wide receivers. We already knew that Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, and Andre Johnson were considered by many to be the top 3 receivers. This year we have seen breakout years from Josh Gordon of the Browns, Antonio Brown of the Steelers, Alshon Jeffery of the Bears, and Pierre Garcon of the Redskins.
Next year, the receiver field will be as deep as possible for fantasy purposes, and it seems that the old-school draft two running backs in the first two rounds will be the way to go.