Three different NFL teams, full to the brim with very well paid professionals with every intent of winning their contest, took the field on Sunday only to end up leaving it without a single point to their name. In a season chock full of upsets, weird games, and even entire weird weekends of football, thing just got even stranger.
Three teams getting shut out in one weekend is uncommon, but perhaps not as weird as you might imagine. It happened in Week 15 of the 2012 season, and included another AFC West divisional game. The Kansas City Chiefs fell, scoreless, to the Oakland Raiders while the Giants lost to the Falcons and the Buccaneers succumbed to the Saints. Prior to that, it happened in December 2008. So it’s a once every four to five years phenomenon in recent times.
And while 2017’s five shutouts are quite a bit for a season that hasn’t hit its halfway point quite yet, it’s still not on pace to beat 2006’s insane 15 shutouts.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 8:
Last Week: 1 (0)
The Eagles manhandled a pretty good Redskins team on Monday Night Football, taking an essential divisional victory and establishing the biggest lead for their division title in the NFL for the moment. Expect them to roll over the 49ers next week as well, and to still be hot when they welcome the Broncos to Philadelphia the week after.
The Eagles are looking good right now.
Last Week: 3 (+1)
The Steelers have righted the ship after a couple of head-scratching losses. Maybe this is Ben Roethlisberger’s last ride. If so, it should at least include a nice playoff run. Though the locker room unrest around Martavis Bryant is a potentially problematic distraction.
Last Week: 2 (-1)
The Chiefs lost an incredibly close one in an incredibly weird way. They won’t fall much for it, but neither are they alone out in front of the pack any more.
Last Week: 6 (0)
The Patriots beat the snot out of the team that almost, and should have, beaten them in the Super Bowl last February. Unfortunately for them, there’s just not really any room to move up right now & KC’s tiny margin of loss doesn’t make up for that Week 1 butt kicking.
Last Week: 5 (0)
Same goes for the Rams. They ruthlessly crushed the Cardinals (in Carson Palmer’s case, rather literally) and sport one of the best offenses in the league and a defense that appears to be rounding into form after a rough first quarter of the season. They’ve allowed 17 points or less to the Seahawks, Jaguars, & Cardinals in the last three weeks.
Last Week: 9 (+3)
This is the sort of thing I didn’t want to do if I could avoid it, but given the Panthers’ embarrassing loss to the Bears, the Falcons getting dominated by the Patriots, and the Broncos offense not even showing up at the field for the Chargers game, there’s not much choice but to move these Bye week teams on up.
Last Week: 10 (+3)
The Texans are in the same boat as the Lions, taking advantage of other teams’ falls from grace. While the Seahawks, Cowboys, & Vikings are all soon to appear on the list, they all beat pretty bad teams and I’m not sure I’d bump them five or six spots for their wins.
Last Week: 6 (-2)
The Panthers lose this week what they gained last week. That loss to the Bears was embarrassing, especially after they’d finally gotten their offense clicking again for a while. Only the fact that the entire 14 point margin of loss came off of defensive scores, which generally aren’t sustainable, keeps this from being a longer fall than it is.
Last Week: 11 (+2)
The Bills’ passing offense has just recorded its 2nd 200+ yard day of the season. Yeah, 2nd 200 yard passing game, in mid October. Go figure.
It’s clearly working for them, though, as they’ve taken down several tough teams.
10. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 13 (+3)
The Seahawks, like the Steelers and perhaps the Patriots, are a usually good team who endured an uncharacteristically rough start to the season and is now rounding back into form. But it remains to be seen whether they can continue that or not, given their rather extensive and acute issues along the offensive line. They could finish their climb back into the ranks of the contenders, but they could just as easily see Russell Wilson go the way of Aaron Rodgers while his team crashes in his absence.
11. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 14 (+3)
This game probably brought Cowboys fans some sorely needed healing & closure in regard to the team’s disastrous Week 2 outing against the Broncos. They’re definitely looking pretty decent after a couple of competitive losses and the blowout win. But with Ezekiel Elliott’s future appearing to change on a weekly basis, the wheels could fly off at any time.
Last Week: 15 (+3)
Have a day, Latavius Murray! 113 yards and a TD on 18 carries is a great outing for any RB. It wasn’t a great day for Case Keenum, but it was enough to overcome a weak Ravens squad. The next few weeks should be interesting as Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater both approach returns from their respective injuries.
Last Week: 17 (+4)
The NFL’s rollercoaster of the year is on its way up again this week. Shutting out the Colts, in Indianapolis, isn’t exactly the accomplishment it once would have been. But, nonetheless, it may signal a changing of the guard in the AFC South. The Texans and Jaguars could have some very intriguing divisional games in coming years, especially if the Jaguars can purchase the full software for an NFL QB to replace the free trial version called Blake Bortles.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 18 (-4)
Contender or pretender? We probably found out the answer to that on Sunday night football this week.
Last Week: 12 (-3)
This is still a good team, and they could well find their way into the playoffs when all is said and done. But this loss was a big one for the Redskins, potentially shutting the door on their chances of winning the NFC East and putting Kirk Cousins & company behind the eight ball with upcoming away games against pretty much all the other NFC wild card contenders.
Last Week: 19 (+3)
The Saints are a prominent riser recently for sure. After starting the season with all the issues and flaws expected of them, plus more than their share of injury issues, they’re getting hot. Now, beating the Packers isn’t what it would have been two weeks ago. But winning a shootout with the Lions following a shutout against the Dolphins are some nice outcomes too. Could Drew Brees have one more postseason run left in him?
17. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 20 (+3)
As if this team’s fanbase wasn’t tortured enough by iffy QB play followed by injury, now it gets an extra serving of the same. Jay Cutler hasn’t been great this season, but now he’s hurt. If he plays, it certainly won’t be his best work. And if he doesn’t, Matt Moore gets the start. Moore probably isn’t the worst guy to have in that situation. But, like Minnesota, Miami has to be getting tired of subsisting on 2nd & 3rd string QBs.
18. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 25 (+7)
That was, admittedly, a great win and a crucial comeback for Oakland. Now, there’s some question about how much it’s deserved considering how many free shots Derek Carr & company got at the end zone with no time left. Still, anything that takes the wind out of Chiefs fans’ sails is alright in my book. What’s worrisome is that this could signal Derek Carr pulling his club out of its tailspin. And with the Broncos’ offense disintegrating before our eyes, a resurgent Raiders team could very well put some nails in the coffin of the Broncos’ playoff hopes.
Last Week: 23 (+4)
Well... damn it. At least we still have a fanbase! And a city that actually wants our team!
Fine... congratulations on the shutout. Jerks.
Last Week: 16 (-4)
Like the Titans, the Bucs are a team that I expected to do well before the season began, but who’ve kind of stumbled along in mediocrity instead. This felt like the year for Jameis Winston to step up to the next level. Instead, I’m starting to wonder what this team’s long term trajectory is. Atlanta and Carolina won’t allow for an easy time for their division rivals anytime soon.
21. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 7 (-14)
Last week I expressed concern that the Broncos’ offense had been exposed as a paper tiger. Well, I was wrong. The Broncos’ offense isn’t a tiger or anything vaguely resembling something that dangerous. It’s more like a paper gerbil. Ugh.
The entire offense stunk it up, but Trevor Siemian was particularly bad. When things go south, the team looks at the QB for the spark that’s needed to turn things around. That was totally lacking from Siemian, and as a result the Broncos were shut out in what was likely the easiest of the four game stretch that will culminate in a home stand vs the Patriots.
There’s no silver lining this week. The Broncos got shut out, which hadn’t happened in so long that 18 of the guys on the roster (34% of the 53) weren’t even alive for the last one.
I expected I’d need to drop the Broncos some during this four game stretch, but now? Last week I dropped Green Bay 15 spots because they lost both their game and Aaron Rodgers. This week, the Broncos drop 14 spots. Yes, the shutout loss and what it says about our offense & our team’s prospects is roughly equivalent to losing a future Hall of Fame QB. The Broncos are staring the prospect of 3-6 in the face, and major changes are needed if this team is going to earn a playoff spot.
Congrats, Broncos Country. We’re the first team to get the Dumpster Fire of the Week award back to back. Yay...
22. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 21 (-1)
The Titans drop a bit for barely eking out a win over the hopeless Browns. This team has under-performed its expectations this season, and a lot of that is due to the absolute sieve on defense. They’re currently tied for the best record in the AFC South, but unless they can stop the bleeding I’ll be very surprised if they can keep it.
I’ll probably be rather generous if they beat the Ravens & Bengals, because a division leader shouldn’t be this low, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the Texans and Jaguars are both better teams than the Titans.
Last Week: 18 (-5)
Show of hands: Who thought that Brett Hundley couldn’t fill Aaron Rodgers’s shoes?
We’re all right. Hundley’s feet rattled around in those big ol’ cleats and he fell flat on his face. 1.7% of his passes have gone for TDs. 6.8% have been intercepted. Welcome to the NFL, Brett.
24. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 29 (+5)
The Bears get a solid jump up for a surprising 14 point win over a much better Panthers team. But don’t expect them to repeat their dual 75+ yard defensive touchdowns. The three points generated by the offense is much more in line with what to expect from John Fox’s squad going forward.
Last Week: 22 (-3)
This game turned out exactly as it should have. The Bengals just weren’t ready to compete on the Steelers’ level.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 24 (-2)
The Vikings didn’t need their one touchdown of the day to beat this sorry squad. Six field goals did the trick, while 47 combined completed passes left the quarterbacks under 400 passing yards total. How bad is this offense? No receiver exceeded 40 yards and Joe Flacco fumbled three times. Ouch.
For that matter, no Raven but Flacco exceeded 50 total yards gained by any means.
27. New York Jets
Last Week: 31 (+4)
How do you lose to a team that’s lost not one, but two, starting quarterbacks? That takes some special talent. But, then, that’s what the Jets are all about this season. Every week they win when they should lose and lose when they should win. Go figure.
28. New York Giants
Last Week: 27 (-1)
Lest the Giants get too big for their britches, the Seahawks put them right back into their place after their stunning Week 6 victory over the Broncos. Surprise, surprise... that single win did not save Eli Manning & company’s season. And even some of the joy from that one golden moment is tarnished now that the Chargers thrashed the Broncos even more thoroughly.
Last Week: 28 (-1)
After 5 consecutive weeks of competitive, close losses, a major blowout. I’m actually quite intrigued to see how Kyle Shanahan handles this, and how his team responds.
30. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 32 (+2)
Despite a 7th consecutive loss, the Browns bump up a little. But only because of two horrible shutouts, while they at least kept the score close vs the Titans. But their inability to score against a hapless Titans defense says everything one needs to know about Cleveland.
Last Week: 26 (-5)
Not only did they lose, they lost their quarterback. A loss like that took the Packers from a top 5 unit down into the early to mid 20s. Carson Palmer is not Aaron Rodgers, but combined with the loss of David Johnson and Adrian Peterson predictably not being as good as that first game suggested, they’re pretty much screwed. It’s time for Arizona to look to a future without Palmer.
Last Week: 30 (-2)
When you’re that close to the bottom of the league, and you get shut out, there’s really no doubt about what happens next. Indianapolis is a complete mess this season. Andrew Luck should remain sore for as long as he can.
Are the Broncos ranked fairly this week?
This poll is closed
No- they wouldn’t beat some of the teams below them.
Yeah, that’s about right.
No- that’s way too harsh!