First up, I want to thank Pete Sweeney for filling in for me last week. You might imagined the World Cup was the reason for my absence — but the tournament in Qatar was not it.
Speaking of which... in true English fashion, it was a penalty that was the difference between success and failure for England. Harry Kane produced a place kick of which Harrison Butker would have been proud.
The best thing about a winter World Cup is that I only had to wait 24 hours to once again experience the highs of sport. Honestly, I was down in the dumps all day Sunday. And then Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw that pass! Suddenly all was once again well in the world. The disappointment of England’s loss to France was now a bad (but vivid) memory.
This week’s voters were Stephen Serda, Rocky Magaña, Jared Sapp, Conner Helm, Price Carter, Nate Christensen and Maurice Elston.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (1st)
The Eagles are an offensive juggernaut. They run the ball well and they pass the ball extremely well. For me, they’re a lock for a Super Bowl berth.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (4th)
Too much Bengals Kool-Aid being drunk at Arrowhead Pride for my liking.
3. Buffalo Bills (2nd)
Josh Allen was keen to point out that winning is all that matters at the moment — and he is absolutely right. Win out and the AFC goes through Buffalo.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5th)
We saw the very best of Patrick Mahomes. We also saw the very worst.
5. San Francisco 49ers (7th)
Have they found their quarterback? Nick Bosa thinks so.
6. Dallas Cowboys (3rd)
The meltdown in Dallas would have been brilliant had they lost the Texans.
7. Miami Dolphins (6th)
Only Tyreek Hill can recover a fumble for a 50-yard plus touchdown. By the way: we get to support him again on Saturday.
8. Minnesota Vikings (8th)
Of course, the 10-win Vikings were handily beaten by the Lions.
9. Baltimore Ravens (9th)
If they keep winning without Lamar, the contract talks in the offseason will get very heated.
10. Tennessee Titans (10th)
Derrick Henry went full-on Cam Newton in the Super Bowl. Funny.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (17th)
I honestly didn’t think it would be Justin Herbert that would divide Twitter.
12. New York Jets (11th)
They’re clinging to their playoff hopes.
13. Detroit Lions (21st) — This week’s highest riser
They couldn’t, could they?
14. Washington Commanders (14th)
Bye weeks in December are ridiculous.
15. Seattle Seahawks (12th)
The Geno Coaster is starting to look like the roller coaster in “Final Destination 3.”
16. New York Giants (15th)
The Giants saw a preview of what will happen to them in the playoffs.
17. New England Patriots (16th)
The defense is good enough for the playoffs. The offense is not.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13th) — This week’s greatest faller
Did you know... that Tom Brady is a 49ers fan?
19. Green Bay Packers (19th)
I bet they’re gutted that they have to come back after the bye.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (25th)
Two games back on the Titans with four to play, Book their Week 18 contest against Tennessee for Sunday Night Football.
21. Las Vegas Raiders (18th)
This year, the Raiders have now lost four games in which they have been up by at least 13 points. But Thursday’s defeat was definitely the funniest.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (22nd)
This looks like the year in which Mike Tomlin will finally have a losing season as head coach of the Steelers.
23. Cleveland Browns (20th)
Well, Deshaun Watson looks bad.
24. Carolina Panthers (29th)
Sam Darnold might be hosting a playoff game.
25. Atlanta Falcons (24th)
Damien Williams? Anyone? Anyone?
26. Arizona Cardinals (23rd)
When Kyler Murray returns from his injury, it could all change in Arizona.
27. New Orleans Saints (26th)
At 4-9, they’re still in the hunt for the division. Ladies and gentlemen: the NFC South!
28. Chicago Bears (27th)
So many teams on bye weeks.
29. Los Angeles Rams (28th)
If you can’t enjoy Baker Mayfield’s Rams debut, then you’re dead inside.
30. Indianapolis Colts (30th)
Colts vs. Vikings on Saturday. Two perennial pretenders.
31. Denver Broncos (31st)
If the Broncos come away from Sunday’s game thinking Russell Wilson is their very own Neo, then it was completely worth sacrificing Steve Spagnuolo’s dignity and Patrick Mahomes’ MVP campaign.
32. Houston Texans (32nd)
Now you’ve put on your little show. This weekend, go back to being irrelevant. Please.