We are a mere three weeks into the 2011 season for the National. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE. and already several teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. Oh sure, mathematically they are still alive, but in reality they have about as much chance of making the playoffs as I do of having Thanksgiving dinner with Ozzie Guillen and Ken Williams…together.
So while other websites (and possibly Drew here at MSF) give you complete power rankings from 1-32, I am going to do something a little different. I am simply going to concern myself with the teams whose seasons are over, as deemed by the democracy of me, and rank them in terms of their likelihood to land one of the biggest draft prizes in recent memory: quarterback Andrew Luck of Stanford.
Because hey, the reality of this NFL season is that only two teams’ fan bases are going to end this season feeling overwhelmingly positive: the team that wins the Super Bowl and the team that makes a season of sucking worthwhile by landing the #1 pick.
Yes, if you’re going to suck, you might as well really suck. Suck 4 Luck!
Think Carolina is all that upset that they had to endure last year now that they see their Camtastic reward? I’m sure the Colts think it was worth it to go 3-13 in 1997 seeing as how it landed them Peyton Manning. And I’m sure the Cowboys are okay with that 3-13 year in 1988 that allowed them to pick Troy Aikman. I could go on and on with such examples.
The question now is what Luck-y franchise will be next?
In the NFL, you’re only as good as your quarterback. Come April of 2012, some craptastic, moribund franchise will add Andrew Luck and immediately increase its likelihood of becoming relevant on an annual basis for the next decade. Here are the current contenders in the race to suck for Luck, or as we call them: the Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 0-3
Despite their competent second half showing against the Chargers on Sunday (the same Chargers who usually don’t even start playing competently themselves until mid-October), the Chiefs have the worst point differential in the NFL at -82. Seeing as how they lost Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, and Tony Moeaki to season-ending injuries, this is not totally unexpected.
They also have a coach who is in over his head and a GM that seems to be rubbing people the wrong way. Oh, and they have a quarterback making way too much money who it makes sense to cut after this season.
The Chiefs are done in 2011, and I don’t think a reasonable argument can be posted otherwise. They also unequivocally need a franchise QB. It will take a lot to knock them out of the top spot.
2. Indianapolis Colts 0-3
Objectively, the Colts landing the #1 pick in the 2012 draft would create the most interesting scenario. If Peyton Manning is healthy by then, and wanting to play 3-5 more seasons, would he want the franchise to draft his replacement? And if he didn’t, would they do it anyway? Considering what they are dealing with this year, they sure as hell better if given the opportunity.
One thing is for sure: with Kerrtis Paintlins currently manning the QB position for Indianapolis, they are not going to win many games.
3. Miami Dolphins 0-3
The only thing that would be more shocking than Ozzie Guillen and Ken Williams eating Thanksgiving dinner together would be Tony Sparano being the coach in Miami next year. With the Dolphins being led by a lame duck head coach and a lame duck starting quarterback, and with Reggie Bush just being plain lame, this is quickly turning into another lost season for the ‘Phins.
BUT…on the not-so-bright side for the Dolphins and their Luck-hungry fans, Miami has the most raw talent still healthy of the top three teams in this week’s Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings; so unfortunately, they’ll probably steal a game or two more for the win column by the time all is said and done and then get stuck drafting the next Jay Fiedler instead of the next Dan Marino.
4. Cincinnati Bengals 1-2
Andy Dalton bursting out the gates quickly was a nice story, but he’s still a rookie, and not a rookie with superstar talent like Cam Newton. Plus, he’s still quarterbacking an offense that’s greatest weapon is another rookie. That is not going to win many games in the NFL.
I said before the season started that the Bengals would get the #1 pick in 2011. Since they’ve already stolen a win, and have admittedly looked a little better than I anticipated, they’re at four; but as soon as their record evens up with the teams in the top 3, they’ll start moving up (down?) the charts.
5. Seattle Seahawks 1-2
This team is quarterbacked by Tarvaris Jackson and coached by Pete Carroll. Need I say much more?
The fact that their defense is improving, they have a strong home field advantage, and they play in a weak division will keep them from winning the Luck Sweepstakes…but that’s probably just as well. If Luck led them to the playoffs they’d probably thank him by just letting him go succeed in Tennessee anyway.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-2
There isn’t much separating the teams with 1-2 records (other than Carolina). The Jags have gone from the solid David Garrard to the terrible Luke McCown to the unproven and possibly overrated Blaine Gabbert. While he does have the great Maurice Jones-Drew to lean on, having Mike Thomas as your #1 wide receiver isn’t going to help. Neither is playing for a lame duck coach.
7. Denver Broncos 1-2
I’m just not buying the Broncos this year. John Fox obviously has job stability with this being his first season, but the offense just doesn’t seem to be clicking without Josh McDaniels, and Knowshon Moreno still can’t stay healthy. Denver may ultimately win a few games to completely remove themselves from the discussion, but until that happens I won’t believe that John Elway isn’t secretly trying to position his franchise to get the next great Stanford QB.
8. Carolina Panthers 1-2
Cam Newton has shown me a lot through just three games in his NFL career, enough to think that he can lead the Panthers to three or four more wins. Regardless, Carolina wouldn’t take Luck at #1 anyway, so they effectively aren’t even the Suck 4 Luck discussion. If they end up sucking that badly, they’ll probably end up getting Cam Newton a new toy. (Justin Blackmon perhaps?…)
9. Minnesota Vikings 0-3
Yes, the Vikings are 0-3. And yes, they will likely make the move to Christian Ponder at some point this season. Still, this team has had big leads at halftime of all three games, and that’s impressive even if they haven’t been able to hold them. It’s a testament to the talent still there, and there is a lot of it: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen, just to name a few.
I say the Vikings get themselves at least four or five wins this year, and like the Panthers they just drafted a first round QB. Though they still might take Luck anyway, because he’s apparently that good, I don’t think they’ll even sniff the chance.
10. St. Louis Rams 0-3
The Rams may very well go to 0-7, and may very well be playing for a lame duck coach if that happens, but the schedule eases up later in the season, and the Rams do play in the NFC West after all. They are struggling offensively as Sam Bradford learns Josh McDaniels’ system, and injuries to Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola have hurt, but the Rams could still win their division as I predicted before the season started.
I know they’ve looked horrible through three games, but I’m not ready to give up on them yet. Regardless, they’re another team that wouldn’t take Luck anyway.
I’ll check back next week with updated Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comment section below.
Update: Sometimes, great minds think alive. I just Googled “suck for luck” to see where this post came up, and I found out that, unbeknownst to me, With Leather has already been doing “Suck for Luck” Power Rankings! Hopefully they don’t mind us encroaching on their territory. And why would they? There is plenty of sucking to go around in the NFL this year.