Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes for a four-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 16, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Oct. 16, 2016 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)
1. (1.) New England Patriots (5-1)
The Patriots started sluggish against the Bengals but pulled away in the second half to win 35-17. QB Tom Brady threw his 5,000th career completion (4th on the all-time list) and TE Rob Gronkowski caught 7 passes for a career-high 162 yards and 1 touchdown.
2. (5.) Minnesota Vikings (5-0)
The Vikings had a bye week but I am putting them back to the second spot thanks to Green Bay’s and Pittsburgh’s struggles.
3. (4.) Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
CB Richard Sherman knows he should have been flagged for pass interference on Atlanta’s final play but he got away with it and the Seahawks win 26-24.
4. (3.) Green Bay Packers (3-2)
Green Bay’s run defense was hit for 191 yards against the Cowboys. Well, they still got the second best run defense in the league with 72.4 yards per game.
5. (2.) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
QB Ben Roethlisberger is out against the Patriots with a torn meniscus. The Steelers hope he will return after the bye in week 8.
6. (8.) Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
It is a joy, and very educational, to watch Dallas’ running game. RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 157 yards on 28 carries. He ran for more than 130 yards in each of his last four games. Has anyone ever seen better run blocking?
7. (7.) Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
I’m not saying the Falcons were cheated but they were clearly denied an opportunity to win the game with the missed call for pass interference. But as WR Julio Jones put it: “It was just a missed call. It’s over with. It’s done. We’re onto the next one.” That would be against the Chargers
8. (9.) Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
With two consecutive wins, the Cardinals seem to be back on track. The defense held the hapless Jets to 33 yards on the ground, 197 passing yards and intercepted two passes. RB David Johnson carried the ball 22 times for 111 yards and 3 touchdowns.
9. (6.) Denver Broncos (4-2)
QB Trevor Siemian was back but special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis coached the team as HC Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to take a rest in order to recover from a migraine condition.
10. (13.) Kansas City Chiefs (3-2)
RB Jamaal Charles had more carries than the week before and scored his first touchdown of the season but isn’t ready for a full workload according to HC Andy Reid. That said, RB Spencer Ware rushed 24 times for 131 yards and 1 touchdown as the Chiefs win at Oakland 26-10.
11. (11.) Oakland Raiders (4-2)
The defense was unable to stop Kansas City’s run, giving up 183 yards and 3 touchdowns. They are now ranked 30th with 132.2 yards per game.
12. (18.) New York Giants (3-3)
QB Eli Manning became the 8th player in NFL history to throw 300 touchdown passes. The leader in this category is … his big brother Peyton with 539 touchdown passes. WR Odell Beckham Jr. caught 8 passes for a career-high 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. His scores were for 75 yards and 66 yards.
13. (15.) Houston Texans (4-2)
The Texans came back from a 14-point deficit with 7:04 minutes left to defeat the Colts in overtime. QB Brock Osweiler looked poised during those game-winning drives.
14. (14.) Buffalo Bills (4-2)
RB LeSean McCoy had a field day against San Francisco’s bottom ranked run defense. He had 19 carries for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns.
15. (10.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
On a day when Philadelphia’s offense struggled, the touchdowns came on a spectacular 86-yard kick return by Wendell Smallwod and a pick six for 64 yards from S Malcolm Jenkins.
16. (16.) Washington Redskins (4-2)
I admit I am not sure if I have this ranking right as the Redskins absolutely outplayed the Eagles. They had 493 total yards compared to Philadelphia’s 239. LB Ryan Kerrigan recorded two of Washington’s five sacks and now has 4.5 sacks on the season.
17. (12.) Carolina Panthers (1-5)
The Panthers lost their fourth consecutive game as they seem to have difficulties defending against the pass. Carolina allowed 460 passing yards at New Orleans and rank 25th with 282 yards per game.
18. (19.) Baltimore Ravens (3-3)
The Ravens started the season 3-0, only to drop the next three games. Each of their contests was decided by six points or less. It’s not easy to figure this team out.
19. (20.) Indianapolis Colts (2-4)
If K Adam Vinatieri makes his next field goal he’ll tie the NFL record with 42 successful field goal attempts in a row. If only the Colts had gotten into field goal position in overtime on Sunday.
20. (17.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
The Bengals started strong and faltered even stronger in the loss at New England, where they haven’t won since 1986. The last time the Bengals started a season 2-4 they finished 4-12.
21. (26.) Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Sure, QB Marcus Mariota had a great game, as the Titans beat the Browns 28-26, but what about the defense? They held the Browns to 40 rushing yards and sacked QB Cody Kessler six times.
22. (21.) Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
QB Case Keenum completed a franchise-best 19 consecutive passes and went 27-of-32 for 321 yards. WR Kenny Britt caught 7 passes for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns.
23. (28.) San Diego Chargers (2-4)
QB Philip Rivers passed Dan Fouts and is now San Diego’s franchise leader with 43,094 passing yards.
24. (24.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
The Buccaneers play at San Francisco after their bye week. What’s the over/under on rushing yards by RB Jacquizz Rodgers?
25. (23.) New Orleans Saints (2-3)
QB Drew Brees broke a tie with Peyton Manning for most regular season NFL games with 400+ passing yards. His new record stands at 15.
26. (22.) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Ok, they turned a 13-point deficit into a 17-16 win at Chicago but I’ve come to the conclusion that the Jaguars had a fairly easy schedule compared to other 2-3 teams. Their five opponents have a combined record of 11-18 and the teams they beat have three wins between them.
27. (25.) Detroit Lions (3-3)
QB Matt Stafford completed 74.2% of his passes for 4 touchdowns and a QBR of 139.8. WR Golden Tate caught 8 passes for 165 yards and 1 touchdown.
28. (30.) Miami Dolphins (2-4)
The Dolphins scored 20 unanswered points to pull away and beat the Steelers 30-15. RB Jay Ajayi ran for 204 yards on 25 carries and 2 touchdowns.
29. (27.) New York Jets (1-5)
The Jets managed just 33 rushing yards and 197 passing yards at Arizona. The run defense, which is New York’s best unit, surrendered 171 yards, including 111 yards and 3 touchdowns to RB David Johnson.
30. (29.) Chicago Bears (1-5)
QB Brian Hoyer had his fourth straight game with 300+ passing yards. Does anyone still believe that QB Jay Cutler will replace him when he’s recovered from his thumb injury?
31. (31.) San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
This time, the 49ers gave up 312 rushing yards in the 45-16 loss at Buffalo. The league’s worst run defense now surrenders 174.3 yards per game.
32. (32.) Cleveland Browns (0-6)
QB Cody Kessler threw for a career-high 336 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Browns remain the only winless team in the NFL.
The Cleveland Indians celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays with a score of 3 to 0 in game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Oct. 19, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
The Cleveland Indians win at the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 to win the AL Championship Series in five games and advance to the World Series.
Cleveland took an early lead in the opening inning. SS Francisco Lindor hit a single with two outs and advanced to third base on a double by 1B Mike Napoli. A fielding error by RF Ezequiel Carrera, however, enabled Francisco Lindor to come home for the first run of the game.
1B Carlos Santana hit a one-out home run in the third inning and CF Coco Crisp added a two-out homer in the fourth to put the Indians up 3-0.
CL Cody Allen pitched a one-hitter in the ninth to earn his 3rd save of the ALCS. He finished the series with an immaculate ERA and a 0.43 WHIP. He has yet to allow an earned run in this year’s postseason and has a 1.04 WHIP to show for.
Ryan Merritt got the start for Cleveland, despite having only pitched 11 innings in the Major League, and he did not disappoint. He worked 4.1 innings, giving up 2 hits while striking out 3.
Toronto’s SP Marco Estrada (0-2) pitched 6 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks while fanning 7. He has a 2.57 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP in the ALCS.
The Indians win the AL pennant for the first time since 1997. Their last World Series title dates back to 1948.
Cleveland will face the winner of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. The World Series is scheduled to start on 25 October.
Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during game two of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Oct. 16, 2016 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)
The Los Angeles Dodgers win at the Chicago Cubs 1-0 to tie the NLCS at one game apiece.
1B Adrian Gonzalez hit a leadoff home run in the second inning for the only score of the game.
Los Angeles’ SP Clayton Kershaw (1-0) pitched a seven-inning gem, allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk while fanning 6. In four playoff appearances, including three starts and one game as closer, he has a 3.72 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP.
CL Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning to earn the save. He now posts a 4.91 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP in the postseason and has 3 saves.
Chicago’s SP Kyle Hendricks (0-1) worked 5.1 innings, giving up 3 hits, 4 walks and 1 earned run while striking out 5. In two postseason starts, he has a 3.00 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP.
Adrian Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with 1 run, 1 HR and 1 RBI. He is batting .429 and has 1 run, 1 HR and 3 RBI in the NLCS. In seven postseason appearances he is 7-for-27 with 2 runs, 2 HR and 5 RBI. The 34-year old is on a six-game hitting streak.
Game three of the NLCS is in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.