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Tag:Broncos
Posted on: January 4, 2013 8:57 pm
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 17

Here are the Rankings for Week 17:

1.) Denver (13-3) [no change]
 I can't say I expected the Broncos to finish at the top of the Rankings in Peyton Manning's first season with the team.  But I figured they'd be a decent team.  So much for that, as they finished on an 11-game winning streak.  It helped that their division was moribund; the other three teams had 13 wins between them.  They have a first-round bye and home-field through the Championship game.  So I would expect their prospects of making the Super Bowl to be pretty good.

2.) New England (12-4) [+2]
 On the other hand, I'm sure most people expected the Patriots to be at or near the top.  Much like their seeding, they're 2nd here as well.  With a first-round bye in hand, I think they'll get healthy (or healthier) and make a run at another Super Bowl appearance.  The AFC in general seems to be underrated, which can only be a good thing.  I expect another Championship game for the Pats, if not another Super Bowl.

3.) Seattle (11-5) [+2]
 A surprising finish for a team I thought wouldn't make the playoffs.  Especially a team out of the NFC West, a division that looked like San Francisco and a bunch of slop.  Luckily for Seattle, Russell Wilson has proven to be the real deal, especially at home.  But therein lies a minor problem; Seattle won't be hosting a playoff game unless they're playing Minnesota in the NFC Championship.  Ouch.  If they make it out of Washington alive, I'd say they have a good chance of making it to the Super Bowl.  I'm not entirely sold on Atlanta, and the Seahawks have already embarrassed San Francisco.

4.) Indianapolis (11-5) [+2]
 Speaking of surprises...Andrew Luck was the difference between 2 wins and 11 wins.  Of course, he had help from guys like Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton, Donnie Avery, and Reggie Wayne.  But it's a QB league and Luck rightly gets most of the credit for turning the Colts back into a winner after a lost season.  They're one of the few teams I have actual confidence in.  Can they beat Denver and New England to get to the Super Bowl, though?  Probably not.  But it's been a heck of a season for the Colts nonetheless.

5.) Green Bay (11-5) [-3]
 I'm not sure what to think about the Packers.  Obviously, they weren't the powerhouse that they were in 2011, and they're going into the playoffs on a downturn after losing to the Vikings.  Luckily, they have a chance to right the ship against the team that just beat them.  With something slightly more important on the line, I think Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the team will pull through.  Most likely.  As to their Super Bowl chances...well, just about any of the six could make it to the Super Bowl, really.  As much as people have talked about NFC supremacy, the top two teams are vulnerable, and none of the six are a lock.

6.) Atlanta (13-3) [-3]
 Sure, they had nothing to play for, but they could have had the best record in the NFL had they won.  But even if they had beaten Tampa Bay as badly as they spanked the Giants, well, I doubt anyone would put much into it.  The Falcons have to prove it on the field in the next couple weeks.  They get a first-round bye and have home-field throughout, which puts them in excellent position.  Matt Ryan is nearly unbeatable in the Georgia Dome during the regular season; at some point that has to translate into playoff success.  Of course, thanks to leading the league for most of the season, expectations are probably higher than one win.  I wouldn't say Super Bowl or bust; they should at least make the Championship game, though.

7.) San Francisco (11-4-1) [+1]
 It seemed that making the switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick was motivated by a need for more downfield passing.  Yet in the games I saw with Kaepernick at QB, I didn't see an increase in downfield passing.  If there was, I guess it was in the 5-10% range.  It wasn't like the 49ers suddenly became Air Coryell, or anything.  They were mostly the same plodding, uninspired, run-oriented offense that they had been with Alex Smith at QB.  Boring.  Hopefully they loosen up and throw the ball down the field more.  Otherwise, their opposition might just do what Seattle did and put the handcuffs on.  Assuming Kaepernick is allowed to throw the ball, they've got a good chance of making the Super Bowl.  That, and if they can avoid playing Seattle again.

8.) Minnesota (10-6) [+1]
 Not sold on the Vikings, because they refuse to acknowledge the reality of the situation.  Of course, the playoffs are a different animal, and maybe that will benefit them.  But they're not built to take advantage of the rules.  The rules state that downfield passing will be rewarded far more than running the ball.  Christian Ponder isn't quite ready to do that.  Even the great Adrian Peterson can't carry a team to a win if the opposition is bombing away, which one would expect Rodgers to do.  I can't say "no chance", but it's close.

9.) Washington (10-6) [+1]
 RGIII's first playoff run will most likely get derailed by Washington's suspect secondary.  Other than that, the sky's the limit.  It probably won't be the case for much longer after this season, as teams will have a year's worth of tape to dissect.  Once that happens, Griffin and the Shanahans will have to adjust the offense to present a different look besides the pistol.  I think if they get out of the first round, a long run could happen.  But they could just as easily get shut down by any of the strong defenses they'll face.

10.) Houston (12-4) [-3]
 The Texans had the top seed wrapped up; all they had to do was beat Minnesota and Indianapolis (again).  They could do neither and end up third in the AFC.  Thus, they are at the bottom, thanks to a crippling combination of bias and suck.  I'll be eternally biased against the Texans, and they sucked in three of the last four weeks of this season.  Hence they end up third in the AFC, a likely target for New England, where they will surely get destroyed (again), though they should have no problem with Cincinnati.  Of course, me saying they'll have no problem with Cincy almost guarantees that the Bengals' D-line will crush Matt Schaub, doesn't it?  For his sake, I hope he doesn't get crushed.  But the Texans aren't getting past the divisional round.

That's all for this season.  See you next season.

The playoffs start this weekend, so you should watch all the games.

Also, congratuations to the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for making the playoffs.  12 teams make it and I only highlight the top 10 teams here, so there you go.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 26, 2012 8:47 pm
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 16

Here are the Rankings for Week 16:

1.) Denver (12-3) [no change]
 Ten in a row; that's one spicy meatball.  Obviously, it's the longest current winning streak in the league, with only Washington (six) in shouting distance.  With one more win, Peyton Manning will have completed his comeback and had what must be one of his better seasons.  Now to cap it off, he needs some playoff success.  AFC Championship, at least.  The other teams in the AFC look vulnerable, which is good.

2.) Green Bay (11-4) [no change]
 A sterling beatdown to add to Aaron Rodgers' career highlight reel.  I won't disparage it, but I'm still not sold on Rodgers as an MVP candidate.  The Packers have already clinched their division and head to Minnesota in Week 17.  I guess they need to win, but at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if they gave a B effort rather than A+.

3.) Atlanta (13-2) [+1]
 Since the Falcons already have home-field advantage, what more do they want?  Besides playoff wins, of course.

4.) New England (11-4) [+2]
 It's possible for the Patriots to sneak into having home-field advantage.  Pretty incredible, since they essentially gave it away with that loss to San Francisco a couple weeks ago.  They've been shaky recently, so a strong win against the Dolphins would be nice.

5.) Seattle (10-5) [+2]
 Speaking of sneaky, the Seahawks have a chance to get a first-round bye, which would be quite incredible.  They might not have put up 50 on San Francisco, but the win was impressive.  Hard to watch, though.

6.) Indianapolis (10-5) [+2]
 With Coach Pagano coming back and the regular season finale at home against a team that's never beaten them there, it's looking good for the Colts.  They might not be able to move up in the seeding, but they can sure help a couple other teams out by defeating the Texans.

7.) Houston (12-3) [-4]
 I dropped the Texans four spots, specifically below Seattle and Indianapolis, because it felt like Houston quit on that game late.  I never condone losing, but if a team puts in their best effort and just get beat, that's fine.  To do what the Texans did, pulling Schaub when they still had a chance to win (no matter how small!) reeks.  I can't say I'm surprised.  I'm sure that most sources are either ignoring this or just missed it.  In fact, some might even excuse it because the Texans are the 1-seed and control their own destiny.  All that said, they're still better than the Steelers.

8.) San Francisco (10-4-1) [-3]
 They didn't show up.  Now people are questioning whether the Kaepernick move was worthwhile and/or necessary.  Not me.  Alex Smith hasn't changed; he's still a guy that throws screens and other short passes between 1 and 3 yards past the line of scrimmage.  He's not a QB that will take the 49ers to a championship.  Kaepernick might not be, either, but at least there's still a question as to whether or not he can do it.  With Alex Smith, there's no question; he can't do it.

9.) Minnesota (9-6) [no change]
 I really wanted to move the Vikings up, but they're only 9-6.

10.) Washington (9-6) [no change]
 Similarly, I wanted to move Washington up, but they're only 9-6 and need some help if they somehow lose in Week 17.

That's all for this week.  See you next week.

Three Games to Watch (Week 17):
Baltimore @ Cincinnati (Sunday, CBS)
Houston @ Indianapolis (Sunday, CBS)
Green Bay @ Minnesota (Sunday, FOX) 
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 20, 2012 2:36 am
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 15

Greetings, readers.  There were some interesting results that changed how the playoffs will shake out in Week 15.  Let's get to the stories and then check out the latest Rankings.

We start with last Thursday's game.  Cincinnati started out fairly unimpressively, but did manage to pull it out in the end, thanks to some timely turnovers and a couple decent passes from Andy Dalton.  That might be a bit reductive.  But it really hinged on the turnovers and the fact that the Eagles are just terrible after starting out well.  Dalton is one of the rising stars among the QB's in the league, yet he's becoming underrated due to the advancement of guys like Luck, Griffin, and Wilson.  Of course, the team's performance has something to do with it, too, as the Bengals are 8-6 and have lost a couple games they probably shouldn't have.  That applies to just about every team in the league, though.  It's that "any given Sunday" mentality.

The top teams in each conference played well and won.  Of the two, Atlanta looked stronger and more consistent; they put up 34 on the Giants and didn't allow a single point.  The Texans looked vulnerable for about a minute-and-a-half, but then forced Andrew Luck into some bad plays.  So apparently, there is a ceiling for Luck and the Colts.  It appears that they'll be a Wild Card team.  For a rookie QB, that's pretty good.  I was hoping they'd beat the Texans in Week 15 & 17 and take the division.  Oh well.  Since Atlanta and Houston are both 12-2, the top seeds are probably locked up now.

I don't think many people are surprised by Denver's recent performances.  They've been on such a long winning streak that I don't expect them to lose or even play badly in the next two weeks.  They'll be going into the playoffs hot, if they can keep this pace up.  The good thing that helps them in this case is that their last two games look pitifully easy.  So it should be a breeze, but we've seen how teams can screw that up.

Green Bay is another team that benefitted from a bad performance of the team they were facing.  They played the fraudulent Bears and took the division with the win.  I've been seeing some stuff about Aaron Rodgers being an MVP candidate.  Not sure about all that, especially given that crapfest against the Giants a few weeks ago.  But the team is looking strong.

New England almost had a great comeback and then got derailed by two plays.  The first was a kickoff return; the second was the TD that won the game for San Francisco.  The game was ugly for most of the first half and then devolved into a waste of time late in the second half, as the Patriots had clearly run out of gas or mojo or whatever fueled the comeback.  How the special teams and defense allowed those two plays after Brady played his heart out is beyond me.  But this is what happens.  And the Pats are still better off than Baltimore.

Here are the Rankings for Week 15:

1.) Denver (11-3) [+1]
 Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.  Sort of, but not really.  The interesting thing to see is if they can keep up the winning streak or if they give up in Week 17 to get ready for the playoffs.

2.) Green Bay (10-4) [+2]
 They're getting over some injuries and Aaron Rodgers is back to playing well.  Or better than at the start of the season when he didn't look great.  Now that they've clinched the NFC North, they're in the running for the 2-seed.  But they have to stay ahead of Seattle as well.

3.) Houston (12-2) [+2]
 After a disappointing loss to New England (I wasn't disappointed, but their fans must have been), the Texans rebounded and took out the Colts.  We'll see what happens in the rematch in two weeks; I don't expect a similar performance the next time around, as they'll probably be resting players in a foolish attempt to elongate their playoff lives.  Despite having the top seed locked up, I don't have a lot of confidence in this team; Matt Schaub is a decent QB, of course, but compared to the others that look to be in the playoffs, including Luck, RGIII, and Wilson, he doesn't look that great.

4.) Atlanta (12-2) [+2]
 While it's great to have a commanding win in the regular season, especially in December, the Falcons have a lot to prove in the playoffs.  With a week off to start, the pressure will just be that much greater.  Now, unlike the Texans, I think the Falcons have a damn good chance of doing something.  Matt Ryan looks solid, though he too has had his problems.  But it's really that defense which is stepping up at the right time.  And those weapons on offense, wow.

5.) San Francisco (10-3-1) [+2]
 A good win against one of the better teams in the league.  Now they head up to Seattle in what is probably the deciding game in the NFC West.  Colin Kaepernick hasn't been throwing it down the field as much, which will have to change in the playoffs for them to reach the Super Bowl.  After all, that's why he's the starting QB and Alex Smith isn't.

6.) New England (10-4) [-5]
 I'm not sure that loss really means anything.  San Francisco is a good team, certainly better than much of the Pats' other comptetion.  No shame in losing to a team like that, especially given the state of the Pats' secondary.  But with Brady & Belichick on-board still, the expectation is Super Bowl or bust.  I'm not sure if they can go through Denver to reach the Super Bowl yet.

7.) Seattle (9-5) [+1]
 Consecutive weeks brought consecutive beatdowns.  In both games, the Seahawks put up over 50 points.  Unbelievable.

8.) Indianapolis (9-5) [-5]
 So as I've alluded to previously, I'm a little disappointed by what happened on Sunday with the Colts loss.  But it's ok, because they'll get a Wild Card.  I think.  It's looking good.

9.) Minnesota (8-6) [-]
 Adrian Peterson has single-handedly brought the Vikings back into contention for a Wild Card.  Unbelievable.

10.) Washington (8-6) [-]
 Despite not having RGIII, Washington won a game against a team they should have beaten easily.  It wasn't really that difficult, but it probably should have been a little easier.  Here's hoping that RGIII comes back so we can see him screw with defenses again.

That's all for this week.  See you next week.

Three Games to Watch (Week 16):
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (Sunday, CBS)
NY Giants @ Baltimore (Sunday, FOX)
San Francisco @ Seattle (Sunday, NBC) 
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 11, 2012 11:34 pm
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 14

Greetings, readers.  Week 14 was an interesting one; a number of teams that looked to be locked in place or still on the upswing managed to fail miserably.  Those results changed the landscape somewhat, even though the playoff seeding wasn't drastically affected.  So let's get to the stories and see how everything shakes out.

As usual, we start out with last Thursday's game.  Denver went into Oakland and had a relatively easy time of it, though some players (notably CB Champ Bailey) thought that it should have gone better.  When a team has multiple red zone opportunities and comes away with field goals more than once (which isn't too bad, really, if you have more than four chances in the red zone), it's easy to understand some discontent.  In fact, I'm sure the fans weren't too happy about a offensive team like Denver not coming away with TD's on every chance.  Currently, the Broncos are 10-3 and have already clinched the AFC West.  They're the 3-seed for now due to tiebreakers and Baltimore's inexplicable failure.

Sunday's most exciting game (and biggest blowout) was Seattle vs. Arizona.  They capitalized on Arizona's mistakes and had a strong rushing attack headed up by Marshawn Lynch.  While San Francisco appears to have a hold on the NFC West (for the moment, at least), it's not hard to see Seattle getting a Wild Card, especially since they hold head-to-head wins against a number of other NFC teams, including Chicago and Dallas.

Monday night's game was an interesting one coming in.  Houston went up to New England and there was a lot of hubbub in the big city as the Texans continue their dream regular season.  Unfortunately for them, both of their primetime games against good teams (Green Bay and New England) turned out quite nightmarish.  New England put up 14 in the 1st quarter and went into halftime up 21-0.  The beatdown was on, and it only got worse for the Texans in the second half, despite putting up two TD's.  They were never in the game and even though New England wasn't at their best for a long stretch, it never seemed like there was a chance the Pats would give it up.  Honestly, the result surprised me given that other teams in great positions gave it up.  New England is the 2-seed at this point thanks to a head-to-head win over Denver.  Now, it'd take some interesting (read: crazy) circumstances for them to move up, but if they keep winning, a first-round bye is quite likely.  It would be beneficial for that to happen, of course.  They're the kind of team that can handle the week off and then come off it ready to smack their opponent in the mouth.

Here are the Rankings for Week 14:

1.) New England (10-3) [+2]
 A new team at the top, and one that won their way there.  I probably would have elevated the Pats earlier in the season, but the Texans and Falcons just kept winning.  It's not that the Pats are so much better than those two, but there's no debate necessary when it comes to their QB's...and the NFL is a QB-driven league.

2.) Denver (10-3) [+2]
 While it wasn't their best game of the season, the Broncos had a solid win in Oakland.  They're heading to Baltimore next.  Given the makeup of the teams, it should be a defensive battle.  Usually, that would be the case.  But I wouldn't be surprised if things turned the other way and it was 38-31 or something like that.

3.) Indianapolis (9-4) [+2]
 Another close one for the Colts with head coach Chuck Pagano in attendance.  Andrew Luck just gets better and better; apparently he's learned something from the beatdown at New England a few weeks ago.  Either that, or he just has a knack for winning the close ones in 2012.  Still, given his pedigree and the Colts' record, it's awfully hard to dismiss this as a fluke.  Also, they have their destiny in their hands, as they get two meetings with the Texans in the next three weeks.

4.) Green Bay (9-4) [+2]
 It started ugly and got uglier in Jersey, but aside from that the Packers have looked about as good as one could hope for.  The running game is not up to where the coaches would like, of course, but I'm not too bothered about that.  It's a QB-driven league, after all, and that means that throwing the ball downfield is what ought to be happening.  Aaron Rodgers is more than capable of that.  Of course, on Sunday against Detroit they also needed some luck, and when Matthew Stafford inexplicably fumbled the ball in the snow, the Packers were ready and took advantage.

5.) Houston (11-2) [-4]
 Sometimes I wrestle with where to put teams that just lost.  Is it really "fair" or "objective" to drop the Texans four spots where they're now behind Indianapolis (who they haven't yet played) or the Packers (who they lost to)?  Well, at least they didn't lose to Jacksonville or Detroit, in which case they would have dropped to the bottom.  So in this case, I guess it is somewhat fair, or at least not completely unfair.

6.) Atlanta (11-2) [-4]
 On the other hand, you have the Falcons, who lost to Carolina.  Really, Atlanta?  Really?

7.) San Francisco (9-3-1) [+1]
 It's interesting that while Michael Crabtree is finally starting to flourish, Vernon Davis has virtually disappeared.  They should really be 11-2, and only have themselves (and, really, Jeff Fisher) to blame.

8.) Seattle (8-5) [-]
 After that decimation, there's no way that the Seahawks wouldn't be in the Rankings this week.  And it's not like we lost out on anybody worthwhile.

9.) NY Giants (8-5) [-]
 This marks the fourth time (!!!!) the Giants have come back into the Rankings.  Can they last one more week?  Or will Eli Manning do something ridiculous and stupid that gets them bounced again?

10.) Baltimore (9-4) [-3]
 Speaking of getting bounced...yeesh.  Now, don't get me wrong, 9-4 is a good record.  Especially for this season, when mediocrity and parity have really taken hold.  Can we put to rest this talk about Joe Flacco being "elite" or worth "top-5" money?  Because until he actually proves that he's either one of those things, he looks extremely ridiculous.  Add to that the fact that they lost to Pittsburgh (without Roethlisberger) and Washington (seriously?), and Flacco just looks worse.  I hope the Ravens don't cave to Flacco's demands just because he's supposedly their guy; they could do better and probably cheaper too.

That's all for this week.  See you next week.

Three Games to Watch (Week 15):
Green Bay @ Chicago (Sunday, FOX)
Denver @ Baltimore (Sunday, CBS)
San Francisco @ New England (Sunday, NBC) 
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 5, 2012 8:50 pm
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 13

Greetings, readers!  Week 13 gives me a bit of a quandary as there are only nine good teams in the NFL at this point.  There would be ten, but the Giants lost to Washington on Monday night.  It's not a huge deal, but it could mean something for the playoff race.  Not everything, just something.

Let's start with last Thursday's game.  New Orleans went into Atlanta with eyes on their non-existent playoff hopes.  I say non-existent rather than another word like "waning" because they really had no chance of making the playoffs after starting 0-4.  Somehow I was one of the only people to realize this fact before last Thursday.  I think just about everyone (except the most ardent Saints fans, most likely) will now concede that the Saints are done in 2012.  It was a nice run to get back into what seemed like contention to a lot of people, but it had to end at some point.  They were done in by the bugaboo that got them off to a 0-4 start, namely Drew Brees' interception problem.  Per Peter King's last MMQB column, Brees has thrown as many INT's as Blaine Gabbert & Mark Sanchez, COMBINED.  In fewer attempts, no less!  It's an amazing stat (and one that actually means something).  Now, Atlanta didn't exactly look like world-beaters, especially since Brees gave them five drives by himself.  The Falcons won by 10 when they really should have won by 30 or more.  Every team in the NFL is flawed, though, even the ones up at the top.

The most exciting ending of the week came in Detroit.  Indianapolis looked as though they were going to get stuffed at the end.  Then on fourth down, Andrew Luck got outside the pocket and tossed the ball to Donnie Avery, who then proceeded to run it in for the game-winning TD.  It was pretty amazing.  At the same time, though, it was extraordinarily simple.  Luck and Avery took advantage of the fact that all of the Detroit defenders were covering guys in the end zone.  The D-line couldn't get enough pressure on Luck to rattle him or force a bad pick, so he went around the right side and did a typical dink-and-dunk that worked.  He also ran out to block somebody, but he didn't get a chance since all his guys were covered deep and Avery was too fast to get touched, even.  The Colts are now 8-4, and while they're not really in contention for the division title (unless a miracle happens), they should easily get a Wild Card.

Green Bay's win over Minnesota has the Packers at 8-4.  They're in good position now, as the Bears lost in Week 13.  It wasn't the greatest game; Adrian Peterson ran over the Packers all day and ended up with 210 yards.  The second half belonged to Green Bay, though, as they outscored Minnesota 13-0.  Aaron Rodgers may not be performing as he did last season, but he's done enough to win games recently (that pukefest against the Giants excepted, obviously).  It'll be a lot better for the Packers if they get the 3-seed instead of going on the road.  Now that we know that the Bears are overrated and fradulent (like we didn't know this already), the Packers have a definite chance of going far in the playoffs, assuming they get their own flaws taken care of.

New England keeps trucking along, winning division titles with relative ease.  They had a bit of a tough time in Miami, meaning they didn't blow out the Dolphins with their usual glee.  In fact, they only won by a touchdown.  However, Tom Brady still looks like an MVP candidate and the Patriots are a possible 2-seed.  This is where it gets a little complicated, as they're tied with Baltimore and Denver, and the tiebreakers can be hard to understand.  Assuming the Pats end up with the second seed, they've got a good chance to go far.

Speaking of Baltimore...wow.  Ever since putting 55 on Oakland, they've played like garbage.  They needed 4th & 29 plus OT to beat San Diego, barely beat the Steelers without Roethlisberger, and then lost to Charlie Batch in the rematch.  If that doesn't spell pathetic, I'm not sure what does.  Their offense has been moribund since that Oakland game and Joe Flacco in particular has looked poor.  He claimed that he was an "elite" QB before the season...I'm still waiting for him to prove that on the field.  When they play bad teams at home, they're great, sure.  But at all other times, they look pathetically bad.  And it all starts with Flacco.

Finally, on Monday night, as mentioned above, Washington took out the Giants.  Despite all the sucking-up from the announcers in the booth, Eli Manning didn't play well.  Or maybe just not well enough.  Either way, RGIII made the plays when needed and got some measure of revenge for losing to the Giants earlier in the season.  They're now 6-6, just a game behind the Giants.  They probably need some help, but considering the games remaining on the Giants' schedule, they just might have a chance to get the division.

Here are the Rankings for Week 13:

1.) Houston (11-1) [no change]
 Huge game with the Pats on Monday at Gillette.  Nothing more need be said.

2.) Atlanta (11-1) [no change]
 Heading to Carolina...what should be a beatdown will probably be close.

3.) New England (9-3) [+2]
 I wonder what the Pats feel about this week's game?  I don't think it's huge for them.  Not nearly as huge as it is for the Texans.

4.) Denver (9-3) [+2]
 They get the Thursday night game this week, with Oakland the opponent.  10-3 sounds good.

5.) Indianapolis (8-4) [+3]
 Getting an opponent fresh off a loss at home is pretty good.  Let's just hope they don't blow it.

6.) Green Bay (8-4) [+4]
 A pretty big game for the Packers, especially if they can keep winning.

7.) Baltimore (9-3) [-4]
 A pretty big game for the Ravens, heading down to Washington to take on the Griffins.  Will RGIII outplay Flacco?

8.) San Francisco (8-3-1) [-4]
 Maybe I should have dropped them out entirely for losing to St. Louis.  Maybe.

9.) Chicago (8-4) [-2]
 Maybe I should have dropped them out entirely for losing to Seattle.  Frauds.

10.) Pittsburgh (7-5) [-]
 Here I thought the Steelers were done.  Now Roethlisberger just might be coming back.  What's going on, exactly?

That's all for this week.  See you next week.

Three Games to Watch (Week 14):
Baltimore @ Washington (Sunday, CBS)
Detroit @ Green Bay (Sunday, NBC)
Houston @ New England (Monday, ESPN)
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 11, 2012 6:26 pm
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 1

Hello and welcome to the 2012 version of the Rankings!  Week 1 has come and gone, so it's time for me to put down on "paper" the top ten teams.  As usual, this first week of the Rankings is more or less a total crapshoot.  There isn't much to go on, and I expect that there will be a lot of shakeups in the next couple of weeks.

I also took a look at the last entry I posted in 2011.  I had a couple of statements in there that are now completely ridiculous.  For the entertainment of the readers who might not remember, here they are:

As usual, there were a few surprise teams going into the playoffs.  This year it's the Broncos49ersBengalsLions, and Texans.  So we know who not to like next season already.

Whoops!  I messed that up, didn't I?  These teams started 4-1.

After all, it doesn't appear that they'll be around after this week.

This comment referred to the Giants and Broncos, who both made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.  As we know, the Broncos beat the Steelers in OT and the Giants won the Super Bowl.  Whoops!

Hopefully this time around I'll keep my mouth shut and not get too big for my britches.  But then again, statements like these are always good for a laugh, even if its at my expense.

Here are the Rankings for Week 1:

1.) New England (1-0)
 Hey, look, my bias is already showing.  Honestly, after one week the first spot is almost (?) entirely meaningless.  Brady &co. went on the road to Tennessee and beat a team that could be pretty good, if Jake Locker shows well.  As for the Pats, Gronkowski and Hernandez did what they usually do, and despite O-line issues (so I've heard, I didn't really see them besides one sack), Brady played well too.

2.) Denver (1-0)
 I think just about every football fan tuned in Sunday night to see what would happen with Peyton Manning.  I admit, my bias is showing again, because Peyton is one of my favorite QB's to watch.  This was not always the case...back around 2002 or 2003 I found his line of scrimmage schtick annoying.  But I flip-flopped on it and on him as a player.  I'm glad to see that he's back in the league, even though its with a team that I've historically not liked much.  I also picked the Steelers in that game.  Whoops!  Don't trust Pittsburgh at altitude, dear readers.

3.) San Francisco (1-0)
 The 49ers went into Lambeau and beat the Packers.  Wow.  I don't know whether to be surprised or impressed.  I suppose the correct reaction is a little of both.  I certainly didn't expect Rodgers to play as poorly as he did.  He was just missing ...something.  Anyway, Alex Smith played well and Randy Moss showed that he's got something left.  I admit, though, that it helps when nobody covers the guy and he gets a free run into the end zone.  How about Vernon Davis dunking on the crossbar?  I won't be too hard on the guy; it was a funny moment though.

4.) Baltimore (1-0)
 Coming out on Monday night facing a division rival, I expected Baltimore to play well.  Did I expect 44 points out of them?  No way.  Joe Flacco played quite well, throwing a few passes that made my jaw hit the floor.  And let's not forget Ray Rice, the guy who makes that offense run, literally and figuratively.  Both of them played lights out.  Ed Reed also took an INT to the house, which impressed me as well.  A lot has been written about Reed's ability to sniff out those INT's.  It is an ability that hasn't lost any of the excitement or impressiveness that comes with that play.

5.) Atlanta (1-0)
 Funnily enough, the Falcons got some press about their "new" no-huddle offense, much like the Ravens.  Is it any surprise that both of them played well?  I'm not sure.  We'll see how it goes through the season.  But as far as Sunday went, Matt Ryan showed quite well, throwing TD's to Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.  They made KC look pretty bad.

6.) Dallas (1-0)
 Here comes my bias again, with the Cowboys breaking into the Rankings.  It seems like it's been quite a while since they've been in here; I think I usually kept them out because they just weren't that impressive compared to the top third of the league.  Also, they had bad losses against teams they should have beaten.  This time, however, they went out on Wednesday and took out the defending champions.  So that means they're in for this week.  I like it.  Of course, as a "writer", I have to at least attempt to maintain objectivity (and believe me, it can be difficult), so I haven't put them too high for the moment.  But if they go on a run, do not be surprised if you see them moving up.

7.) Chicago (1-0)
 To be honest, I think the Bears have been heavily overrated going into the season.  Whoa, shots fired!  Maybe so, but let's really think about it for a second.  Are the Bears really as good as people have said?  They added Brandon Marshall, but they still have Jay Cutler at QB, who hasn't won a thing.  He's also coming off an injury, again.  He did play well against the Colts and none of the other teams in the division looked great.  So maybe there's a bit of an opening early in the season.  I will continue to maintain, until proven otherwise, that the Bears won't make the playoffs.  We'll see, I guess.

8.) Houston (1-0)
 As usual, the Texans played well in the first half before underwhelming in the second half.  At some point, this trend will be their undoing.  But apparently, they haven't yet played a team that understands how they operate.  They're not likely to face one in their division either, since they're all 0-1.

9.) Washington (1-0)
 Welcome to the big time, RGIII.  What do you have in store for round 2?  I hope it's something good, because people can get real ornery when they're disappointed.  I was surprised to see the Redskins throw 40 points on the board and beat the Saints.  I guess I was wrong about New Orleans' ability to keep on keepin' on.  Not only that, Griffin III put up one of the most impressive QB performances of the week, with a 138 QB rating and no INT's.  Considering how Stafford and Vick threw INT's practically all day, it was nice to see Griffin III take care of the ball and look like a professional QB.

10.) NY Jets (1-0)
 The biggest surprise of Week 1, the Jets put aside preseason nonsense and put up 48 on Buffalo.  I have to admit, Mark Sanchez played great.  So what does he have in store for Week 2?  I have no earthly idea.  That's the trouble with this team, they're hard to predict.  They could put up another 40 point game, or they could be held to 10 and lose by 21.

Well, that's it for this week's Rankings.  One last note I wanted to pass on was the awesomeness of NFL Red Zone.  For those who haven't heard, the NFL Red Zone is a channel on cable (130 on Comcast/XFinity/whatever they call themselves) that shows every TD from every game on Sunday.  The only games excepted from this coverage are the Sunday night game on NBC and the Monday night game on ESPN.  The Red Zone is an amazing channel and it has changed the way I watch football.  It's that great, literally.  I'm sure Sunday Ticket is nice; being able to watch every game is mandatory for fans, I would imagine.  But having the Red Zone is not only better, but easier, because they do all the work.  I also have to give credit to Scott Hanson, the guy who anchors the coverage from the studio.  He sits there for 7 hours in a row with no commercial breaks and gives out pertinent information between the mass of TD's and highlights.  I was very impressed with his work, despite a hilarious error that I unfortunately don't remember.

So, readers, if you have Comcast/XFinity or another cable provider that has the NFL Network and NFL Red Zone, I heartily recommend that you watch NFL Red Zone.

I also would like to point out that I'm not being paid to plug that channel, nor am I a representative of the NFL.  I am merely a fan of the Red Zone channel and thought that I would share that with all the readers.

That's all for this week, see you next week.

Three Games to Watch (Week 2):
Chicago @ Green Bay (Thursday, NFL Network)
Baltimore @ Philadelphia (Sunday, CBS)
Denver @ Atlanta (Monday, ESPN)
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 27, 2009 8:17 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7

1.) New Orleans (6-0) [no change]
 An impressive comeback keeps the Saints in the top spot for this week.  The schedule gets a little harder as they face Atlanta, but after that they have three gimmies until they face New England.
2.) Indianapolis (6-0) [+2]
 The Colts took advantage of another easy opponent and thrashed the Rams.  Peyton Manning didn't throw for 300 yards, yet they still won by a huge margin.
3.) Denver (6-0) [no change]
 Bye week for Denver means they stay in the same spot.
4.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [+2]
 The Steelers defense secured the win against previously undefeated Minnesota.  Ben Roethlisberger played below par, and has the bye week to think it over.
5.) New England (5-2) [+2]
 Going to London didn't affect Tom Brady or the Patriots in the slightest.  They beat another outmatched team.
6.) Cincinnati (5-2) [+3]
 A stunning blowout by the Bengals moves them up after a bad loss to the Texans.
7.) Minnesota (6-1) [-5]
 They lost to Pittsburgh, so down they go.  Luckily for the Vikings, there aren't a whole lot of good 1-loss teams.
8.) Arizona (4-2) [+2]
 Big win for the Cardinals, but how do they follow it up?
9.) Dallas (4-2)
 Same as above.  How do they follow it up?
10.) Green Bay (4-2)
 The Packers face off against Minnesota in one of the biggest games of the week.

A Look at Week 7:
It seems that more than ever, Week 7 illustrated the disparity between good and bad teams.  The good teams played really well in Week 7.  The bad teams looked pretty terrible.  There were also a couple exceptions: Houston, Buffalo, and Arizona beat teams that I thought were sure-fire winners (yeah, that's what I get for picking Carolina).

Spotlit:
A further recap of Week 7's best.

Minnesota (2) at Pittsburgh (6):
 As it turns out, neither Big Ben nor Mendenhall was the difference between the Vikings winning and losing.  It turned out to be the Steelers defense, which turned two Brett Favre turnovers into 14 points.

Atlanta (5) at Dallas (unranked):
 Surprisingly, Dallas outplayed Atlanta and forced Matt Ryan to look pretty bad.  Tony Romo was the difference here; his ability to evade the defense was key to scoring TD's.

Arizona (10) at NY Giants (8):
 Arizona showed up, the Giants kind of didn't.  Kurt Warner outplayed Eli Manning, but the Cardinals defense is what made the difference.

Spotlight:
The best games coming up next week.

Denver (3) at Baltimore (unranked):
 It seems that the consensus is that Denver is going down against Baltimore.  They're 6-0, but not everyone is on the bandwagon yet.  A win here further cements the Broncos as a contender, if they're not already.

San Francisco (unranked) at Indianapolis (2):
 Not so much a game to watch because of the game, but because of how great Peyton Manning is playing this season.  San Francisco might be a tougher challenge.  They looked more explosive in the second half of Week 7 than they had at any time this season.  Whether their defense can keep up with the Colts offense is another story.

Minnesota (7) at Green Bay (10):
 Could be the game of the week, if you happen to ignore the Monday night matchup.  It's the Brett Favre bowl all over again, except the stage is Lambeau Field.

Atlanta (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 The #1 team in my rankings takes on their last tough game for the next four weeks.  With a win here, they can easily hit the New England game 10-0.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2009 1:51 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

1.) New Orleans (5-0) [+1]
 They beat the best team, so the Saints are now #1 in my Rankings.  Drew Brees played fabulously, but the defense is something to be reckoned with too.
2.) Minnesota (6-0) [+1]
 The Vikings were both very good and very lucky.  They were very good on their last drive, and very lucky that Steven Hauschka botched a short FG.
3.) Denver (6-0) [+2]
 A solid win yesterday propelled the Broncos above the bye-week Colts.  The defense could have been better.
4.) Indianapolis (5-0) [no change]
 Bye-week for the Colts means no movement up or down.  Good thing, too, since there weren't a ton of good teams after this week.
5.) Atlanta (4-1)
 Matt Ryan led the game-winning drive again for the Falcons.  He's for real, and so is Atlanta.  I'd wager that it's because of Ryan that Atlanta is for real, though he had some help from Michael Turner as well.
6.) Pittsburgh (4-2) [+4]
 After a rough start to the season, the Steelers are starting to round into form.  It helps that their schedule hasn't been too tough so far.
7.) New England (4-2)
 What else can I say but amazing?  In snowy Foxboro the Patriots shut out the Titans and put up 59 points on them at the same time.  Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss all had fantastic performances.
8.) NY Giants (5-1) [-7]
 No shame in losing to New Orleans, but it means the Giants take a fall.  They're down, but certainly not out.
9.) Cincinnati (4-2) [-3]
 The Bengals had the look of an elite team until they got brushed back by the Texans.  Ouch.
10.) Arizona (3-2)
 The best team remaining that won this week.  Ouch for me.

A Look at Week 6:
There was a lot of good football in Week 6, but a lot of absolutely terrible football too.  The Patriots/Titans game was a good example of that, as the Patriots were awesome, and the Titans couldn't have been worse.  Tom Brady looked like he was playing Madden 2010 rather than an actual NFL game.  Philadelphia is one of the biggest offenders also, since they lost to Oakland.  They were looking like a good team, one that would challenge the Giants, Vikings, and Saints.  Instead, they're bounced out of the top ten and have a very bad loss on their resume.  Good thing there are no polls or BCS standings in the NFL, because the Eagles just dealt themselves a critical blow.  Not that there's no time to recover, of course.  It's still pretty early in the season, but Philadelphia's schedule is pretty unkind down the stretch.  Cincinnati is the other big offender this week, losing a winnable game at home to the Texans.  The Jets also lost a winnable game at home against Buffalo, with Mark Sanchez throwing FIVE INT's.  Terrible.

Spotlit:
A further recap of Week 6's best.

Baltimore (unranked) at Minnesota (3):
 No defense to be seen here.  Adrian Peterson did run all over Baltimore, but didn't score.  Neither did Sidney Rice, despite having 176 yards receiving.  Hauschka's missed FG was the difference.

NY Giants (1) at New Orleans (2):
 New Orleans was ready for this game.  The Giants, not so much.  They did score 27, which is a good day against most teams.  Against the Saints, it wasn't nearly enough.

Chicago (8) at Atlanta (9):
 I guess the Bears just weren't ready for Matt Ryan.  They didn't play too badly, but errors in the red zone late hurt a ton.

Denver (5) at San Diego (unranked):
 So much for the desperate team winning.  The AFC West was just won by Denver, barring an utter miracle.

Spotlight:
The best games coming up next week.

Minnesota (2) at Pittsburgh (6):
 The schedule continues to get tougher for Minnesota.  Big Ben's arm and Rashard Mendenhall's legs provide ample threat to the Vikings' winning streak.

Atlanta (5) at Dallas (unranked):
 The Cowboys host one of the hotter teams in the league.  It's time for Tony Romo to shine.  It wouldn't hurt if the defense showed up, too.

Arizona (10) at NY Giants (8):
 Offense vs. Offense, Warner vs. Manning.  Should be a hell of a game, and high-scoring too.
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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