Rick’s Pigskin Piñata: Taking a Swing at the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Over the years, the number 13 has taken a bad wrap. Whether it’s a step on a ladder, a floor in an office building, or the number of minutes the electric slide was consecutively performed at a wedding…all are looked at with the same wary eye, the same head-shaking concern. Call a priest! They yell.  No sane group of people should ever want to do a synchronized dance for that long…

They toss salt over their shoulders.

They do counterclockwise spins and burn sage.

Some, who never read the memo correctly, chew on mistletoe…

Yes, the number 13 is bad luck, gang. An omen. An ominous number that fits into none of the fun holiday songs—there wasn’t a 13th day of Christmas; at that point, everyone had gone back to the mall to return the socks they didn’t want—along with that Joey Lawrence CD that now perpetually haunts their brain with unannounced displeasure.

Yes, friends, fuck that number 13.

In the non-NFL world, that is…

In the NFL world, the number 13 isn’t viewed quite the same way. The number 13 is acceptable. It’s neutral: not great, not bad. It’s Swedish. It’s Sweet’N Low when they’re out of Splenda. It’s not hell’s mailman, with ten fingers and three toes, delivering yet another catalogue—that you never signed up to receive in the first place.

In the NFL, the number 13 is cool, like the other side of the great Stuart Scott’s pillow.

Hey, that’s Odell Beckham Jr.’s number! Dan Marino wore it proud—like his Isotoners. Can’t blame Kurt Warner for picking 13…the same way you can’t really fault that sweet-ass flattop he rocked with the ease of Walter from The Big Lebowski.

Remember Don Maynard? Hell, I don’t either, but without him, there wouldn’t have been a Joe Namath; no fur coat. Maynard was confident in the number 13—the same way he was confident no one would ever poke him in the eyeballs, apparently:


You want observational science?

It takes an estimated 13 seconds for the referees to decide if they want to decide if that was a catch or not—and another 13 seconds is spent fiddling with, and untangling, the headset wire, putting the damn headset on, and then connecting to NASA for the review.

We’ll be right back after these messages…

It’s also been 13 years since NBC went anti-system during the halftime show of the Super Bowl, airing an episode of Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey to challenge (and confuse) the nacho-stuffed viewers who tuned in to watch Gwen, Sting and Shania do their thing, respectively. (You were one cool dad that night if your answer to the question, “What’d ya think of that halftime show?” was: “Nah, fuck that, I watched Fallon and Fey on NBC instead.”)

You want actual science, as well? PSI, you say? Yep, that’s right: the entire universe (unless you’re the Patriots) now understands that the NFL regulated PSI for each football is between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI. That means the sweet-spot for this now-famous procedure is…a-ha!…13.

Yes, the number 13 is A-OK in the NFL’s book. It works for me, too, and for the Pigskin Piñata, because it’s also a great week. It’s Week 13! The no-nonsense benchmark that sifts out the fakers and really escalates the drama. With only five-ish games left in the season, each matchup, each win or loss, becomes that much more intense—like the final minutes before arriving at a rest stop during a road trip.

What do we know? Well, nothing really…not even if Aaron Rogers was taking a shit or not…

(Editor’s question: Regardless if that was the case, or not, what type of demotion did that guy in the yellow jacket get that required him to go in that hut with Aaron? Not enough perks in the entire universe for that kind of dedication, if you’re asking me.)

Anyhow…I’ll leave that investigative reporting to the other experts—not really my area, anyway— because right now, we must move forward, deeper into the unknown, where the aimless swinging at a paper-mache donkey never ceases. There’s no time to discuss in-game unleashing-s, or men in small tents doing whatever. Not now. Not ever. We’re on a quest, Clark, and nothing can stop us from ranking these NFL teams. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Drop it like a Baker’s Dozen…

Stick, please.

Let’s rank!

32. Cleveland Browns: 0-12 (last week: 32)

Big win for the Browns this week because they don’t play. However, that does leave a lot of time to reflect on the season thus far.

31. San Francisco 49ers: 1-10 (last week: 31)

And you thought those skinny jeans you bought last year turned out to be a bad idea…wait until he looks in his stocking this year and finds—duh-da-da-dahhh—49ers tickets.

Oh, honey, you really shouldn’t have.

At. All.

30. Chicago Bears: 2-9 (last week: 30)

There are worse things in life, Bears fans. Take this cobra in a toilet, for example:

Now that can really ruin a Sunday.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-9 (last week: 29)

Another correspondent putting in long hours for the sake of the Piñata, let’s give a warm welcome to Yaguars correspondent, Bat-Shit Kelly:

28. New York Jets: 3-8 (last week: 28)

The Jets-Colts game this week is only interesting if you look at it as a colt piloting a jet.

Horses doing human jobs is always a gas—and it’s even funnier if they have actual gas.


Classical gas!

Mason Williams!

(Are you still reading this?)

27. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-7-1 (last week: 27)

There’s nothing bad that can be said about this shitty Bengals team that can’t be immediately rectified by sending said naysayer a pair of probably the best slippers in the entire NFL store.

26. Los Angeles Rams: 4-7 (last week: 26)

Top 5 pissed-off Erics in Hollywood history:

  • Roberts—with a broken leg in the Dark Night.
  • Bana—when Brad Pitt skewers him with a giant toothpick while claiming his hair is better.
  • Badu—when she explains to you there is an ‘a” at the end.
  • Stoltz—when Uma Thurman came over for her…shots.
  • Dickerson—when Jeff Fisher told him to stay away from the Rams’ sideline…or else!

25. Carolina Panthers: 4-7 (last week: 24)

You should see the matching cup…

24. Arizona Cardinals: 4-6-1 (last week: 20)

The fucking zoo is officially closed, Ray.

23. Indianapolis Colts: 5-6 (last week: 17)

Say what you will about this Colts team…

Just don’t question their calisthenics.

22. New Orleans Saints: 5-6 (last week: 25)

This Saints team looked great on paper at the beginning of the year—Drew Brees, some other guys, Drew Brees, and so on—but you could also take that paper and turn it into an airplane, or flip it over and make your grocery list on it…so I guess a grain of salt is needed with this observation.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-6 (last week: 15)

Ah, yes, the Knee Tingles. At first, you might think it’s just the amount of turkey you ate, numbing your loins, signaling you to cut down the intake to…oh, I don’t know, three turkey-stuffing-cranberry-pie-gravy-walnut sandwiches a day. But really, that feeling is the NFC East getting stronger while your team gets weaker. And, a win this week against the Bengals might not cure it, either.

So, should you want to take a stroll back to kitchen, I would suggest using one of those knee carts.

20. Green Bay Packers: 5-6 (last week: 23)

Question: Who is Aaron Ripkowski?

A. The guy who went into the tent with Aaron Rodgers.


B. The guy who had the first rushing touchdown for the Packers this season.

19. San Diego Chargers: 5-6 (last week: 22)

Coach: OK, Phillip, relax…I just assumed that most people already knew that Darth Vader was Luke’s father.

18. Tennessee Titans: 6-6 (last week: 19)

The “Oh, that’s an NFL game and not a film starring Gerard Butler” snafu of last week, the Titans vs. Bears left me feeling confused.

I guess the same feeling would have occurred if was a Gerard Butler film, too, so whatever.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-5 (last week: 21)

The Buccaneers’ defense did Tampa’s general demographic proud last week, making the Seahawks look old, retired, and ready for another nap.


16. Houston Texans: 6-5 (last week: 13)

There’s so many goddman iterations of this Texans’ team that I’m beginning to think they’re sponsored by Apple.

15. Minnesota Vikings: 6-5 (last week: 12)

As a youth, few games were more fun to play than Cowboys and Vikings. The wars we had….man!

Some thirty years later, it looks like the trend-worthy enjoyment has finally caught fire on a national stage. Good stuff. This should be a real treat.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-5 (last week: 18)

Yes, Yinz could be ranked higher than this. No doubt. But the remote fell off the couch last Thursday night, simultaneously changing the channel to the second Hobbit movie, and I was too full to bend down and get the damn thing.  And, I kind of wanted find out just what in the hell Bilbo was up to…

So, yeah, I only watched about five minutes of the game and have no expert opinions on your squad at the moment.

13. Baltimore Ravens: 6-5 (last week: 16)

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice…they should let kickers do more pressers!

12. Buffalo Bills: 6-5 (last week: 14)

So, the Bills—and their Mafia—will travel to Oakland this week for a game against the Raiders. All joking aside, it’s probably one of the bigger tests for the Bills this season.

Jokingly, though, it’s probably going to be some of the craziest shit the Bay Area has seen since this guy flew over it in his blimp, with Roger Moore hanging from the mooring rope.


11. Washington Redskins: 6-4-1 (last week: 7)

Apparently, this outfit calms that goat’s anxiety—which, I mean, don’t even…

But, maybe it’s worth a look, ‘Skins fans?

I’m sure they have other sizes, too, like men’s husky and whatnot.

10. Seattle Seahawks: 7-3-1 (last week: 2)

Yep, the gist comes full-circle, gang: The Seahawks actually needed a 13th man last week against the Bucs.

9. Miami Dolphins: 7-4 (last week: 11)

Don’t look now, but the Miami Dolphins are in a top 10 that doesn’t involve failure or memes of dumpsters burning. And that’s wonderful—as you know, I love their uniforms. Mark Duper is cool, too. Great name, better man.

And here’s Lauren Tannehill, trying out her new juicer:

8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-4 (last week: 10)

Not since Bob Dylan and his Eskimo have we seen a Quinn so…strong.

7. Denver Broncos: 7-4 (last week: 5)

When you look back on the 2016 season, Broncos fans, remember this: Gary Kubiak didn’t attempt anything…the kicker missed that 62-yard field goal that gave the momentum back to the Chiefs in overtime on the road with divisional title hopes on the line and John Elway’s teeth, etc., etc., fuck-ety fuck!

6. Detroit Lions: 7-4 (last week: 9)

The irony here is two fold. One, you’d get killed messing around with a lion like that, trying to put a paper bag over its head and undermining how strong it actually is (especially this season); and two, this 2016 team is really fun to watch, so why waste a perfectly acceptable apparatus for carrying all that fizzy watching juice?


5. New York Giants: 8-3 (last week:7)

This your yearly reminder that Tom Coughlin is still the king of pissed off. Still. Forever. Eternity and infinite offseasons…pissed off to the um-teenth degree or something like that.

Also: he’s probably, um, happy-like-maybe-sorta-pissed-yet-smiley to see how well this 2016 Giants team is performing.

4. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-3 (last week: 8)

The crazy thing about this video is not that Tyreek Hill is another level of fast—made visibly more appealing by the Chiefs’ decision to rock red pants whenever, however.

Instead, the interesting aspect is the fact he went over the goal line while holding De’Anthony Thomas’ hand (17/18 second mark). That’s the first dual touchdown I think I’ve ever witnessed.

It made me sing, ‘We are the World.’

3. Oakland Raiders: 9-2 (last week: 4)

I’ll spare everyone’s lunch and stain remover supply and not post the video of quarterback Derek Carr’s dislocated—in two places!!!—finger.

Instead, here’s Anthony Edwards giving us rhetoric as Goose in the 1986 think piece, Top Gun.

2. New England Patriots: 9-2 (last week: 3)

Much like Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, Tom Brady had to prove last week that he isn’t just some excellent figure skater with a really nice haircut. And that his knee is not an issue—a one-legged Tom Brady still seems unfair to the Jets, but whatever.

Brady’s strong efforts were a thing of beauty, though, earning the QB his 200th win, tying him with commercial actor Peyton Manning.

1. Dallas Cowboys: 10-1 (last week: 1)

This is what I know:

  • The stars at night, are big and bright—clap, clap, clap, clap—deep in the heart of this fan base’s state.
  • Some people just read the above statement and thought, “We’re America’s team, buddy!”
  • Dak Prescott is good.
  • Ezekiel Elliot is good-er
  • Pee-wee Herman once sang about Texas.
    • That girl answering the phone…her name is Dottie…she went on to become a Rugrat, and then a contestant on The Voice.

And, now that I have that song stuck in your heads, I’m willing to bet the ranch you Cowboys fans want to throw on the boots and a 20-gallon hat, and do some big-ass version of the electric slide, on some Texas-size dance floor that shakes the foundation of modern-day dance…

And, well, you’re number one on the Piñata, so just go right ahead and do it.

(Grabs salt, sage and mistletoe…phones the local priest)

You’ve got 12 minutes and 59 seconds.


Until next week, enjoy the games.


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