Category Archives: Rise/Sink/Float

Rise/Sink/Float Week 7

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams. This week, we focus on the NFC playoff race.

Bears CB D.J. Moore (30) celebrates his interception against the Bucs with teammates, via statesman.com

Rise – Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys moved to 3-3 with a convincing 34-7 victory over the Rams. The game starts an important schedule run that includes three winnable home games and two NFC East road games, including next week’s trip to Philadelphia. That means it’s time for the ‘Boys to pile up a bunch of wins and take a lead in the NFC East. Our hunch is that they will do just that.

Sink – Detroit Lions – The Lions lost their second straight game at home 23-16 to the Falcons, and more importantly, quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a right leg injury. After a 5-0 start, two straight home losses is a bad sign, but it’s not a reason for panic. It’ll be interesting to see how Detroit bounces back – and how serious the Stafford injury is – because it will tell if things really have changed for the better in Detroit. Next week’s trip to Denver will be telling.

Float – Chicago Bears – The Bears got off to a great start and held off the Buccaneers 24-18 in London, moving to 4-3. They go into their bye firmly in playoff contention, but the team needs to show more in order to prove they can earn a repeat trip to the postseason. They will come off their bye with two games of utmost importance – a road trip to Philadelphia and a home game against Detroit. If the Bears want to make the playoffs, they need to be ready to go once the bye is over.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 6

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

QB Alex Smith and the 49ers won in Detroit, via mysanantonio.com

Rise – San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers moved to 5-1 with a come-from-behind road win in Detroit. While all of the focus has been on the postgame battle between head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz, the 49ers’ on-field play continues to be impressive. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the 49ers will win the west, but road wins in Philadelphia and Detroit leave the impression that San Fran may not be an easy out come playoff time.

Sink – Indianapolis Colts – The Colts fell to 0-6 after a 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati. It’s incredible to see how far and how fast the Colts have fallen. Even with QB Peyton Manning out, Indianpolis’s other pieces aren’t doing enough things well. Now it’s time to watch and see if the Colts sell off some pieces before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Float – Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys lost in New England on a last-minute touchdown, but their solid performance shows that they’re in the mix in an NFC East that has other inconsistent teams. Dallas hasn’t always played well in late situations, but in tough road games at San Francisco and New England they’ve showed up, which is a good sign. Now the Cowboys must take the next step forward by winning these close games.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 5

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

Versatile Bills safety George Wilson starred against the Eagles. Photo via buffalowdown.com

Rise – Buffalo Bills – We’ve featured the Bills here before, but they took another step toward legitimacy with a 31-24 home win against the Eagles. Buffalo has an offense that, if it’s not elite, is close to it, and the defense is decent enough to keep the Bills competitive. There’s still no guarantee that the Bills can keep up with the Patriots in the AFC East, but Sunday’s win was a huge step toward playoff contendership.

Sink – Houston Texans – We’ve always had reservations about the Texans and whether they can finally take the leap this year, and Sunday’s home loss to the Raiders shows the reason why. While the Raiders were undoubtedly motivated to Just win, baby after Al Davis’ death over the weekend, the Texans need to take care of business at home. Houston is still the favorite in the AFC South, because we have believed since the start of the season that the division would be won at 9-7. But Matt Hasselbeck’s resurgence keeps the Titans in the conversation as well. The Texans must grow past these kinds of losses before we rate them as a contender for true AFC relevance.

Float – New York Giants – We have been reluctant to move the Giants too high in our comparison, and Sunday’s home loss to the Seahawks shows why. The Giants have been too devastated by injuries, especially defensively, to put up consistent performances week after week. Luckily for the Giants, the rest of the NFC East is also struggling, so they’re not out of the mix. But Big Blue is too black and blue right now.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 3

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

Bills RB Fred Jackson breaks free vs. the Patriots, via buffalonews.com

Rise – Buffalo Bills  – The Bills recovered from a 21-0 deficit and broke a 15-game losing streak against the New England Patriots. It was an impressive 34-31 win, and it speaks to the fact that the Bills offense is going to be a force to be reckoned with. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is an above-average starting quarterback, and he has a solid group of unheralded but talented receivers. Plus, the Bills offensive line may be coming together. The defense is still a bit of a concern, but the offense is going to be good enough to keep the Bills competitive just about every week. That’s a big step forward.

Sink – St. Louis Rams – We were believers in the Rams this year, at least to win the moribund NFC West. But St. Louis has struggled throughout the season, and they bottomed out against the Ravens at home this week in a 37-7 loss. Now the Rams need to throw away thoughts of winning the division and just focus on getting out of their tailspin by winning a game. So far, not good for St. Louis.

Float – Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers had an unexpected fight on their hands against the Colts in Indianapolis, but they rallied to record a 23-20 win. It wasn’t pretty, and offensive line injuries continue to be a concern, but we won’t penalize the Steelers for finding a way to get a road win.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 2

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

Texans OLB Mario Williams celebrates a win over the Dolphins, via townnews.com

Rise – Houston Texans – The Texans continued to stamp themselves as legitimate contenders by going on the road to win in Miami 23-13. Even though RB Arian Foster hasn’t been a force yet, the Texans are getting the job done. Most importantly, the rebuild defense is holding up quite nicely.

Sink – Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs got their doors blown off in Detroit 48-3, and even worse they lost stud RB Jamaal Charles for the season with an ACL injury. The Chiefs have now lost Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, and Charles for the season – that’s three of their best five players. We just don’t see any way the Chiefs overcome all these injuries to make a run in the AFC West.

Float – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs were in danger of falling to 0-2 as they trailed the Vikings 17-0 on the road, but Tampa Bay had an answer. LeGarrette Blount had a breakout game after a disappointing Week One, and the Bucs rallied for a 24-20 road win that lets them keep pace in the NFC South and more importantly stamps them as a legitimate playoff contender.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 1

It’s a new season for Football Relativity, and thanks to our new partnership with National Football Authority, you’re going to see a lot more from us. We will be changing some things, but one of the traditions we’re continuing is our weekly look at three teams – one that is rising, one that is sinking, and one that is at the same level based on Sunday’s play.

Ravens DE Haloti Ngata with one of Baltimore's many turnovers, via baltimoresun.com

Rise – Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens opened the season with a must-win home game against their rivals from Pittsburgh, and they delivered with a big-time 35-7 win. The game got out of hand because the Ravens forced seven turnovers, while Joe Flacco and Ray Rice were efficient throughout. This may be the season the Ravens put it all together; it’s definitely the season opener when they do.

Sink – Atlanta Falcons – There’s not really a ton of shame in the Falcons losing in Chicago, but getting blown out 30-12 was a bad result. Atlanta’s only touchdown came on a late interception return after the game was out of reach, and the Falcons couldn’t stop the Bears passing game. The Falcons got a mulligan because all four NFC South teams lost, but they must perform better if they want to make the playoffs for a second year in a row for the first time in franchise history.

Float – San Diego Chargers – The Chargers have a bad tradition of starting slowly, and when they trailed the Minnesota Vikings 17-7 at home Sunday, it looked like another inexplicable loss to open the season. But the Bolts responded by rallying for a 24-17 victory, thanks in large part to a standout defensive effort that held Minnesota to just 28 net passing yards. The victory came at a high cost – a season-ending injury to PK Nate Kaeding and injury questions about DL Luis Castillo and RB Mike Tolbert, who scored three touchdowns. But the Chargers started with a win, and that’s a step forward.

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 16

Each week, we preview teams that are moving up and moving down in our weekly Football Relativity comparison. We’ll analyze all 32 teams on Tuesday.

Jay Cutler scores against the Jets. Photo via suntimes.com

Rise – Chicago Bears – The Bears didn’t just beat the Jets; they won in a shootout, 38-34. We knew the Bears could play defense, but seeing Jay Cutler perform as well as he did in inclement weather was a great sign for the future. The Bears are 11-4, and while that record might be a bit inflated by a softer schedule, the fact that the Monsters of the Midway have taken care of business at home against playoff teams like the Jets and Eagles shows they’re not paper tigers. If Chicago can clinch a first-round bye, they could be an interesting matchup against the No. 3 Eagles in the divisional round. It’s time to include the Bears on the second level of contenders.

Sink – Jacksonville Jaguars – Yes, Maurice Jones-Drew was out, but a true playoff contender like the Jags claimed to be simply can’t lose a home game against an also-ran like the Redskins. The 20-17 overtime loss was keyed by two David Garrard turnovers, including one that set up the Redskins’ first touchdown. Jacksonville’s run-first style works, but only if the Jaguars can avoid mistakes. But turnovers like that one are killers that the Jags aren’t good enough to overcome given their identity. Ultimately, that formula (which also cost the Jags a game against the Giants last month) is what will keep the Jaguars out of the playoffs.

Float – Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens clinched a playoff berth by winning 20-10 in Cleveland. While the Ravens aren’t a perfect team, they do a lot of things well. They can throw the ball with a strong group of targets, and they can run the ball with Ray Rice. When the defense plays well, or at least forces turnovers, the Ravens become very tough to beat. Of all the AFC teams, Baltimore is the one we see with the best chance to beat the Patriots in a one-game scenario. However, the Ravens will likely have to go the wild-card route to do it.

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