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Tag:Chargers
Posted on: September 19, 2012 12:25 am
 

2012 NFL Power Rankings, Week 2

Greetings, readers!  Week 2 is over, so it's time for another edition of the Rankings.  I know it's a little late compared to last week; I'll try my best to get them out earlier in the afternoon next time.  Still, there's a lot to look at, so let's get to it.

Before I get to the Rankings themselves, there are a number of stories that I thought I would highlight.  I'm sure lots of other outlets have covered them, because they were big, but I wanted to impart my own point-of-view on them.

I think the first story to look at has to be the end of the Redskins @ Rams game.  I'm sure you saw the replays; Josh Morgan made one of the dumber mistakes I've ever seen.  He threw the ball at Rams DB Cortland Finnegan after a contentious play.  He was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, a penalty that essentially sealed the win for the Rams.  One could also look at the defense the Redskins played for most of the game; they made Sam Bradford look like an elite QB for the first time...maybe ever.  The Rams played well, but without Morgan's mistake they probably have another tough loss on the heels of the Week 1 loss at Detroit.

Secondly, the Saints are 0-2.  They're also the only team in the NFC to not have a win.  It's hard to say that this isn't a referendum on the importance of the head coach, but it's not like the Saints have played sterling defense either.  Also, Drew Brees hasn't played at an elite level yet.  He's thrown INT's at inopportune times that have turned the tide against his team.  That said, while their playoff chances have diminished, they have an opportunity to get back on track this week against Kansas City.

The Patriots were driving late in the game against Arizona when they got cute with the clock and decided to kick a game-winning FG instead of taking an easy touchdown and letting Arizona have the ball back.  Now, we know that New England's defense has not been among the best in the league in the last couple years.  In fact, they've kinda stunk out the joint, to be kind about it.  So far in 2012, though, they look to have improved.  Also, despite a generally poor effort throughout, Brady and co. were driving late.  They did have a questionable holding call on Gronkowski that took away a touchdown, but it seemed that momentum was on their side.  It seemed inevitable that a touchdown would happen.  Instead, they ran out the clock and tried a game-winning FG that Gostkowski missed so incredibly that people are creating new words to describe how much it stunk.  That decision is literally the difference between the Patriots being 2-0 and 1-1.

Speaking of 2-0 teams, it should be noted that there are only 6 unbeaten teams after two weeks.  That number has been steadily decreasing since 2009, as well.  The league has embraced parity.  That said, there'll always be a couple bad teams that start off in the dumpster and don't rise above it.  At least, I think there will be...it's difficult for me to predict what will happen in the NFL successfully.  I already feel a little lost thanks to some of the things that have happened already.

Here are the Rankings for Week 2:

1.) San Francisco (2-0) [+2]
 Aside from a garbage time touchdown, the 49ers defense looked nearly unbeatable Sunday night.  Alex Smith had a couple drives at the end of the game that not only killed the clock but put points on the board when they needed them.  Included in that was a nice TD pass to Vernon Davis.  So after two games they've taken out two playoff teams and looked good doing it.  I know it's too early to come to definitive conclusions, but one has to wonder...how far does this go?  The 49ers were in the NFC championship game back in January, so another run like that doesn't seem far-fetched.  But again, it's early.  All I know is that I'd rather start off like this than not.

2.) Atlanta (2-0) [+3]
 Home teams did unusually well this week.  Atlanta has played exceptionally well in the Georgia Dome since Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith came aboard.  So I guess it's not a huge surprise that the Falcons played well last night in taking out Denver.  Of course, it helps that Peyton Manning threw three picks in the first quarter...but yeah.  Atlanta's offense ran smoothly for most of the night, and their defense came up huge on the second-to-last Denver drive when Manning got sacked on 3rd down.  That play won the game, I think.  Atlanta now has a slight edge in the division; what I would look at in the next couple weeks is how they build off of this win, especially if they go on the road.

3.) Houston (2-0) [+5]
 It's hard to say that I'm surprised by the Texans feasting on what looks like weaker competition at this point.  Usually, they would have thrown a monkey wrench into their own machine and screwed up one of those games.  Let's be honest, though, that division is theirs for the taking, and I'd be surprised if they even needed 10 wins to get it done.  They head up to Denver in Week 3 and that should be a better test of their defense's abilities.  So far, they're aces.

4.) San Diego (2-0) [-]
 I guess I should have had the Chargers in last week.  But I didn't, and they gave me a pleasant surprise.  That's always nice.  They're 2-0 based off of beating weaker competition; Philip Rivers has played quite well, though.  He has to continue like this, keeping the mistakes to a minimum and tossing TD's to whoever's healthy enough to catch 'em.

5.) Arizona (2-0) [-]
 Apparently, that victory against Seattle last week was worth more than I figured.  And despite the boneheaded fumble against the Pats, things worked out and now the Cardinals are 2-0.  If it sounds like I'm doubtful of Arizona...well, I am.  I don't think they're playoff-bound, whatever the odds might say about 2-0 teams.  I know, they have a good shot, especially given how some of the supposed "power" teams in the conference have performed thus far.  But they still have to contend with the 49ers.  Let's see how those games turn out before we "crown" Arizona prematurely.

6.) Philadelphia (2-0) [-]
 The Eagles are literally getting just enough defense so far.  Their margin of victory?  Two points.  I don't think Michael Vick can continue playing as wildly as he has and keep winning.  It also seems unlikely that he'll play all 16 games at this rate, either.  In any case, Philly's the ugliest 2-0 team out there.  That sentiment may annoy their fans, but an objective viewer can hardly conclude otherwise.

7.) Pittsburgh (1-1) [-]
 A defensive unit minus Polamalu and Harrison held the Jets to 10 points.  After that 48 point explosion in Week 1, the Jets looked downright ordinary, and I would say that most of that has to do with the Steelers.  It's become popular to say that defense has been legislated out of the league (and I'm assuming that because Michael Wilbon thinks it that other people agree), but the Steelers are one of the few teams that came to play on that side of the field.  Yes, they got burned in Denver, but then they rediscovered their motivation at home against what looked like a heavily overrated team.

8.) Baltimore (1-1) [-4]
 Another year, another Week 2 hiccup for Joe Flacco and the Ravens.  Much like last year, when they had an utterly disappointing loss to Tennessee, Baltimore went into Week 2 high off a complete decimation and basically stunk up the joint.  Now, I'll be a bit more kind and say that this loss was nowhere near as bad as the one last year against Tennessee.  But the result is the same, isn't it?  Joe Flacco once again proved that he's neither an elite QB nor a reliable one; he couldn't make the plays when it mattered.  But the more surprising thing is the final Eagles drive that sealed the game: Michael Vick ran a QB draw and the Ravens were powerless to stop him.  Really?  That seems unexpected.

9.) New England (1-1) [-8]
 I already took a look at the play that decided their game against Arizona.  So there's really not much else to say.  I guess the couple roster moves they made in the last day or two could have an impact.  Or it could just be window dressing.  All I know is that Brandon Lloyd looked more like another guy who wore 85 than the guy he was while playing in Denver and St. Louis last season.  Also, the Pats offensive line isn't protecting like it usually does.

10.) Denver (1-1) [-8]
 Three INT's in the first quarter.  Yeah, that pretty much sealed it, even with a savant like Peyton Manning playing QB.  They had a chance late, but a crucial drive-ending sack on 3rd down killed it.  The Broncos made it close, but they continue to be a frustrating bunch, winning when they have no business doing so and losing games they ought to win.  Even with the change at QB from a guy who couldn't throw to a guy that throws it as well as anyone in the last 15 years, Denver continues to be inconsistent.  So now they host the Texans at home in Week 3, and your guess is as good as mine as to what happens.

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

Three Games to Watch (Week 3):
Atlanta @ San Diego (FOX)
Philadelphia @ Arizona (FOX)
New England @ Baltimore (NBC)
Category: NFL
Posted on: January 4, 2010 3:07 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 17

1.) San Diego (13-3) [+2]
 Is there any doubt that San Diego is the most prepared team in the AFC, as well as the best right now?  There shouldn't be.  Not only did they go out on top, they did so on an 11-game winning streak.  Better to finish strong than limp into the playoffs like Indy and New Orleans, I think.  Philip Rivers may merit MVP consideration, but after seeing the tumble that the aforementioned teams took without their star QB's, I think it may only strengthen their cases to onlookers.

2.) Minnesota (12-4) [+4]
 It appears that the Vikings did what they had to in order to stifle the dismay of fans and others everywhere with their win at home against the Giants.  It's a good thing they won, too, since they lost last Monday in an OT game that should have been theirs.  Favre and co. are off next week since they're the #2 seed in the NFC.  That's probably a good thing, but we'll see how it turns out.

3.) Dallas (11-5) [+2]
 The Cowboys didn't swoon in 2009 (though 2-2 in December is hardly cause for celebration), and started 2010 off quite well with their second consecutive shutout of a division rival.  They can make it three-in-a-row next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel.  I don't like their chances of shutting out Philly again, but I don't see any reason why they can't beat them for a third time this season.

4.) Green Bay (11-5) [+5]
 Green Bay made a big jump since I didn't have rankings out last week.  Plus, they won both their games rather convincingly, especially this week's romp in Arizona.  They have to go there again next week, and here's hoping they bring that same game.

5.) Indianapolis (14-2) [-4]
 One of the more disappointing teams the last couple of weeks has been the Colts.  They pulled their starters out of what could have been a fairly easy win, and then failed to show up yesterday in Buffalo.  True, I wouldn't have wanted to show up either, considering how bad the weather was.  But honestly, that's no excuse for professionals of any stripe.  I highly doubt that they'll show up well in the playoffs, considering that they have yet another week off and will likely face a feisty team looking to make a name for themselves by knocking off the #1 seed in the AFC.

6.) New Orleans (13-3) [-4]
 The Saints came off starting 13-0 by losing the next three games.  In addition to hardly showing up for any of those, they have another week off since they're the #1 seed in the NFC.  Trouble looming ahead for NOLA?  Perhaps.  My gut tells me that they're in the same boat as the Colts; they won't be able to turn it back on and will lose their first playoff game.  Even if they don't do that, they won't make it to the Super Bowl, thus casting a pallor on what could have been fabulously great seasons.

7.) Philadelphia (11-4) [-3]
 I'm not sure how much I can blame Philly for essentially not showing up yesterday.  After all, my Cowboys did the same thing last year in the final game of the season.  Also, the Eagles come back to Dallas next week with significantly more on the line than a division title.  On the whole, a much better season than I expected from them, the shellacking by New Orleans notwithstanding.

8.) New England (10-6) [-1]
 The Pats lost Wes Welker and eventually lost a very winnable game to the Texans, giving them and their fans a few hours of false hope.  Thankfully, the Jets also won, which keeps the Texans out of the playoffs.  But I digress.... Tom Brady and co. aren't on their best legs going into the playoffs, especially with the loss of Welker and the continuing malaise that has surrounded them almost all season.  They might win a game in the playoffs, but an extended run seems very unlikely.

9.) Arizona (10-6) [-1]
 This offseason might be a good time to address that backup QB situation the Cardinals have.  Kurt Warner won't be around forever, and this week's game was proof positive that Matt Leinart is NOT ready to take over the starting job any time soon.  I don't really like their chances in the playoffs either, since they just got shellacked by the opponent they'll be facing next week.  Plus, it's not like the Packers defense will be any less great against Warner than they were against Leinart.  Warner has trouble getting the ball to his best receivers on a good day; with Clay Matthews et al bearing down on him, it's hard to see how he gets the ball out successfully.

10.) Cincinnati (10-6) [no change]
 The worst game of the day was undoubtedly Cincinnati's lay down lack of effort against the Jets last night.  Why they bothered traveling to New Jersey, I won't know.  And let's make one thing clear: Carson Palmer is not and will never be an elite QB in this league or any other.  Cedric Benson is what makes this team go, and if their opponents stop him, there's nothing Palmer can do to win a game.  The Bengals will be extremely lucky to win a game in the playoffs, and if they have to face San Diego, there's no way they're moving on.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 22, 2009 4:48 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 15

1.) Indianapolis (14-0) [+1]
 By virtue of their win at Jacksonville and the Saints' loss on Saturday, Indianapolis takes the #1 spot this week.  They had been in #2 for a while now, mostly because the Saints hadn't tripped up and I don't like moving a team down when they win.  Also, I think the MVP chatter can subside for a little bit, at least until the Colts lose one (assuming they actually do).  The only other guy with a claim on the trophy at the moment is Philip Rivers; Brees and Favre both fell off the wagon, and Chris Johnson plays for a .500 team.  It remains to be seen how the Colts play it down the stretch regarding rest vs. going undefeated.  Personally, I'd want to play every snap as long as I was healthy.  Heck, even if I was a little banged up I'd probably want to play just for the historical value of going 16-0 and maybe 19-0.

2.) New Orleans (13-1) [-1]
 New Orleans finally took a tumble, losing at home to the Cowboys, a team many predicted had no chance of winning.  Drew Brees looked decidedly un-MVP like in his performance.  Of course, any QB getting pressured like that is bound to make a few mistakes.  It doesn't mean Brees isn't great, it just means he probably cost himself the MVP since Peyton Manning has given his opponents no margin for error.  I think we could see the Saints bounce back the next two weeks, motivated by their lack of perfection.  And no, I have no good reason for keeping them ahead of San Diego, other than 13-1 > 11-3.

3.) San Diego (11-3) [no change]
 Rivers + Turner in December = gold.  Who knew?  Certainly not me, or the hoards of people criticizing Turner's hiring a couple years back.  Even without LaDainian Tomlinson at his MVP form, the Chargers are a legitimately great team.  I won't go overboard with predicting playoff success for them, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Chargers go far.

4.) Philadelphia (10-4) [+2]
 Philly made some questionable decisions in their game against San Francisco, yet it didn't stop them from laying a beatdown on Sunday.  Donovan McNabb is playing very well, and it doesn't hurt that DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are two of the best weapons the Eagles have gotten for him.  Even without Brian Westbrook and Jeremy Maclin (for the last couple games, at least), McNabb and the offense are firing on all cylinders.  This team will be a tough out in the playoffs.

5.) Dallas (9-5)
 Why is Dallas in the fifth spot, you might ask?  Because they beat the Saints.  Does this mean anything for the next two weeks?  Nope, not a chance.  But the Cowboys did get the biggest win of the season (maybe the past two or three seasons, even), and that's worth a lot this week.  They have a favorable schedule, at Washington next week and home against Philly in the final week; they already beat Philly in Philly, so that's not a terrible matchup (though I'm not betting the house on the Cowboys just yet).

6.) Minnesota (11-3) [-2]
 The Vikings lost again, so down they go.  They lost to a terrible team in Carolina, but this is likely a temporary (as in one week) move since they're playing Chicago next week and Dallas isn't likely to keep on winning (as much I think they will).  They're still the second seed in the AFC, and I fully expect them to advance to the title game.

7.) New England (9-5) [+1]
 An up-and-down season for New England continues, though they've now won two in a row.  They're looking a lot better in the AFC East thanks to some timely tripping up by Miami and the NY Jets.  Of course, I never thought either of those teams had enough to pass the Patriots anyway, even with the Pats playing like stink is the new black.  Brady-to-Moss was a working combo again, and even though Wes Welker didn't contribute his usual mammoth's share, the Pats won decisively.  I still don't see how they go out in the first round of the playoffs, since the AFC wild card teams are likely to be pretty weak.

8.) Arizona (9-5) [+2]
 Nice bounce back for Kurt Warner and the Cardinals; he fumbled another ball and threw a 100-yard INT returned for a touchdown.  Despite those gaffes, the Cardinals won.  They also won their division after San Francisco's loss in Philadelphia.  So they're in the playoffs, and now they're fighting for position.  It might not be unlikely that Warner sits in the 2nd half of the next couple of games, to try and rest for the playoffs.  I'm not predicting it, exactly, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Matt Leinart get some more playing time in the next two weeks.

9.) Green Bay (9-5) [-4]
 The Packers take a dive after losing late to Pittsburgh.  It'll be hard for them to not get a wild card, though.  Green Bay could be a dangerous team in the playoffs, especially if Aaron Rodgers is shooting straight to the right guys (meaning Greg Jennings and Donald Driver).

10.) Cincinnati (9-5) [-3]
 The Bengals drop after a tough loss in San Diego.  One good sign was Carson Palmer's "revival" of sorts, as he threw for 300 yards for the first time in a while.  They played about as well as could be expected, and the only reason they lost is because San Diego is just a better team at this point.  Cincy should be in the playoffs, though, and they should be hosting a game.  That gives them a good shot at advancing.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 15, 2009 1:10 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 14

1.) New Orleans (13-0) [no change]
 It's possible that the Saints are just making things exciting for themselves.  Either that, or something is up with them as they've had more than a few close shaves in recent weeks.  It might be something to worry about if they were playing a good team this coming Saturday.  Instead, they have the Cowboys in full swoon.  If it's as competitive as New Orleans' recent games have been, I'll be pleased.

2.) Indianapolis (13-0) [no change]
 Peyton Manning threw 3 INT's and won.  Does that say more about him and his team, or the team they were facing (at home)?  At this point it might be saying more about Denver, though they certainly were trying hard.  Indy pulled out another win, though, and stay in second place where they've been for quite awhile.  They take on the Jaguars on Thursday in a game where some starters will get rested.  I'm not sure where I come down in that debate; obviously, I've seen what happens to teams that rested and I saw what happened two years ago when the Patriots went for broke and failed.  I'm not certain that momentum really means anything, especially when you have Manning running the offense.  As long as he's right, the Colts will continue to win.  Even when he throws two or three picks, the Colts STILL win.

3.) San Diego (10-3) [no change]
 The Chargers are the third-best team, despite being down in the standings to Minnesota.  Sure, they had a couple bad losses (and a bad win in Oakland the first Monday night of the season), but they've won eight in a row and are well-prepared for their playoff push.  It has to be AFC Championship or bust for the Chargers, especially with Cincinnati looking beatable.  The Chargers also have favorable recent history with the Colts; I'm not a complete believer in San Diego just yet.  Nor am I going to go out on a limb and say that the Chargers would definitely beat the Colts in Indianapolis.  Let's just say that the odds are on San Diego's side, and the Colts might want to hope for someone else knocking them off before they head to Indy.

4.) Minnesota (11-2) [+5]
 Adrian Peterson produced one of those games that fantasy owners go nuts for.  Brett Favre was back to his efficient form of every game besides the one in Arizona, and the defense was tough as usual.  I figured Cincinnati would put up a better fight, but Minnesota was prepared in every way to take them out.  They likely won't catch the Saints for home-field, but they've got the #2 seed locked up for the playoffs unless something really bad happens.

5.) Green Bay (9-4) [no change]
 Somehow, the Packers have maneuvered themselves into a very favorable position for the playoffs.  Of course, they won't win their division, which means they have to go on the road, but they're still doing better than most other teams in the NFC.  Aaron Rodgers had a mediocre game in Chicago, and outside of Ryan Grant the rest of the offense was pretty moribund.  The Packers still have Pittsburgh and Arizona on their schedule, which could mean two more tough tests (though with the way both teams have played lately, it's a toss-up).

6.) Philadelphia (9-4) [no change]
 Philadelphia leads the NFC East with their win and Dallas' loss.  But the division title isn't theirs just yet.  They still have to go to Dallas in the final week of the season (and Dallas fans know how having the last game be against the Eagles doesn't really work out).  I think the one thing the Eagles' win says is that the Giants are all but eliminated as playoff contenders.  Dallas and Philly showed that their defense still isn't where it needs to be.  And the Eagles won thanks to big plays and a long 4th quarter drive that was made out of grit and efficiency.  The Eagles' defense might not be the best, but with their offense, it's hard to see how they don't make the NFC Championship Game.

7.) Cincinnati (9-4) [-3]
 The Bengals were one of the bigger disappointments in Week 14.  They couldn't get it going on offense and were fairly abysmal on defense.  Dirty little secret: When they're not playing the AFC North, they're not very good.  They swept their division, but are 3-4 in games outside of it.  Cincy has also been pretty inconsistent too.  Despite that, they're in decent shape, as they'll be hosting a Wild Card game with an excellent chance of advancing.  The teams below them aren't much better than the Bengals, if at all.  They'll likely be in a position where one or two playoff wins is expected, and a first-round loss is indefensible.

8.) New England (8-5)
 Speaking of disappointments...oh wait, the Patriots won this week.  It wasn't the best game for Brady and co., but I'm sure they'll take it.  In fact, it might provide some needed motivation for the coming weeks.  The AFC East looks more wide open than it did a couple weeks ago, with the Pats sliding and the Dolphins and Jets coming on, for the most part.  I would still pick the Pats to win the division, though; they have the better team, and more importantly the best QB of the contenders.  If their defense shapes up even slightly, they could be in a comparable position to Philadelphia in the NFC.

9.) Denver (8-5) [-2]
 The Broncos had a tough matchup going in, so it's not surprising that they lost.  What may have been surprising was the emphasis they put on the passing game, and how well Kyle Orton dealt with the increased workload.  He and Brandon Marshall have some chemistry, to be sure, as Marshall set an NFL record for receptions in a single game that was previously held by Terrell Owens.  I wasn't expecting that kind of performance from Orton or Marshall, to be honest.  The loss does hurt, but the rapport between QB and WR bodes well for the future; during the Broncos' midseason swoon, their offense was worse than moribund, particularly in the passing game.  So if Orton can keep it up, their chances of taking one in the playoffs go way up.  I wouldn't put any money on it, but it wouldn't surprise me either.

10.) Arizona (8-5) [-2]
 Finally this week we have the once again disappointing Arizona Cardinals, who couldn't stand their own prosperity (again, it must be said) and laid an egg in San Francisco.  Division rivalry aside, that was a game that Arizona should have won, and they should have won it by about 20-25 points.  I guess that because it is a rivalry, SF was ready for them and had the proper motivation to run their gameplan.  Whatever the case may be, Arizona stunk, and look like near-total frauds after convincingly making Minnesota their pinata last week.  I think Arizona wins the toothless NFC West, but I'm not all that sure.  The schedule is not terribly difficult; they play Detroit, St. Louis, and Green Bay.  So they should be 11-5 when all is said and done (though Green Bay might be up for their game), and 10-6 at worst.  Of course, that assumes that they don't do anything mind numbingly stupid against the two bad opponents remaining.  After yesterday's game, who knows what will happen.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 8, 2009 1:59 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 13

1.) New Orleans (12-0) [no change]
 They might have won on some fluke plays, but I'm a firm believer that teams that want to go undefeated have to be lucky and good in near-equal measure.  Robert Meachem is a heck of a player, especially with Drew Brees! throwing him the ball.

2.) Indianapolis (12-0) [no change]
 More than a few teams that were expected to win did not.  Mostly unheralded Indianapolis took the field against Tennessee and took care of business.  They didn't even struggle like New Orleans did.  Tough game next week against Denver, though.

3.) San Diego (9-3) [+1]
 San Diego continues to surprise, despite allowing 23 points to Cleveland (and killing one of my fantasy teams in the process, ouch).  If they beat the Cowboys next week (pretty likely), they probably lock up the AFC West, since I don't see Denver winning IN Indy.

4.) Cincinnati (9-3) [+2]
 Cincinnati is another de facto division winner, locking up the AFC North with losses by their two rivals.  The Bengals might not have played their best game against Detroit, but Cedric Benson is back healthy and Carson Palmer throws it downfield well.  They're a huge threat in the playoffs.

5.) Green Bay (8-4) [+2]
 Ugly game last night on the (cue overly self-important voice) Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field.  The Packers played well when it counted, though (not well enough to save my other fantasy team, but I digress) and beat the Ravens, sending them spiraling further into oblivion.  I'm not quite buying Aaron Rodgers; not until he learns that Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are his #1 and #2, respectively, not #8 and #1.

6.) Philadelphia (8-4) [+2]
 Lots of people are jumping on the Eagles bandwagon all of a sudden.  I guess that's because unlike the Cowboys, Philly has won a few games in December in recent history (44-6 last year comes to mind, ouch).  I don't think they'll win the NFC East (give me Dallas or the NY Giants), but they'll take a Wild Card easily.  Green Bay could easily slip up, and there are very few teams behind them and Philly pushing hard for the Wild Card.

7.) Denver (8-4) [+2]
 If you don't know what to make of the Broncos, raise your hand.  So they started out 6-0, and have now won two in a row after a disastrous tailspin.  Now they have to go to Indy, where they haven't won recently (and have lost quite memorably) to face the super-hot Peyton Manning and his Colts.  It would seem like the game is a must-win, especially since San Diego has a decent matchup this week.  With the Broncos, it's impossible to tell which team will show up.

8.) Arizona (8-4)
 After a one week absence, Arizona returns with a stunning beatdown of the previously third-ranked Vikings.  Kurt Warner was questionable with a head injury before the game, but came onto the field and absolutely carved up Minnesota.  For once, he concentrated on getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, producing one of the WR's best games this season.  They have a division game next Monday against San Francisco that gives them the division with a win.

9.) Minnesota (10-2) [-6]
 One of the most disappointing teams this week was Minnesota.  Brett Favre wasn't great, yet he wasn't the worst offender on Sunday night.  That award goes to Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen, in a two-man tie of booshy badness.  Neither of them did anything worth mentioning.  At least Favre threw a TD.  Adrian Peterson couldn't even gain five yards in a single carry (though his receiving yards prevented him from being totally worthless).  I hope for their sake they haven't been exposed, but they're playing Cincinnati next week and that is a tough game.

10.) Dallas (8-4) [-5]
 Another team that disappointed heavily was the Cowboys.  For all the BS talk about December swooning, Sunday's game really came down to two plays: Brandon Jacobs' TD run, and Domenik Hixon's punt return TD.  Poor tackling on both plays prevented the Cowboys from winning.  Tony Romo completed 41 passes, but most of them didn't go down the field.  There was no running game to speak of, with Barber, Jones, and Choice all getting stuffed repeatedly.  The Cowboys have a tough schedule down the stretch, too, so it's unlikely to get any easier, or for the talking heads to shut up about how much they suck in December.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 1, 2009 2:38 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 12

1.) New Orleans (11-0) [no change]
 They just dismantled the Patriots and have a couple more games before their next big showdown with Dallas.  As a Cowboys fan, I have a bad feeling about that game.
2.) Indianapolis (11-0) [no change]
 Keep on trucking, Peyton Manning.  The Colts let nothing faze them.  They aren't as dominant as New Orleans, but they get it done when it counts, close and late.  Or far behind and late.  Just not early, most of the time.
3.) Minnesota (10-1) [no change]
 Speaking of dismantling; Brett Favre is still the pick du jour for MVP, but I have to give it to Manning.
4.) San Diego (8-3) [+1]
 The Chargers continue to win, even if they're picking off lollipops.
5.) Dallas (8-3) [+1]
 Dallas had an easy win on Thanksgiving, plus a whole bunch of time off to think about it.  How they respond is key, as usual.
6.) Cincinnati (8-3) [+4]
 Not exactly a riotous comeback win for the Bengals, but I'm sure they'll take it.  Having swept their division means they're pretty much a lock for the playoffs.
7.) Green Bay (7-4) [+1]
 The Packers had an impressive win on Thanksgiving in Detroit.  Yeah, I know, it was Detroit they beat; with a QB who had a bum shoulder, no less.  Still, they're rounding into form at the right time and have a tough matchup on Monday with the Ravens.
8.) Philadelphia (7-4) [+1]
 They looked unimpressive against the Redskins, but the Eagles got the win nonetheless.  I get the feeling they're holding on until January 3, when they come down to Dallas.
9.) Denver (7-4)
 After beating the lackluster (to put it mildly) Giants, the Broncos make a roaring comeback to the Rankings.  Honestly, the only reason they're REALLY in is because they won and Arizona didn't.  Whoops.
10.) New England (7-4) [-3]
 Most teams that take a beating like that on Monday night don't make it back into the Rankings.  New England is lucky, and damn good.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves in proclaiming anything about New England.  They'll be fine.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 24, 2009 1:52 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 11

1.) New Orleans (10-0) [no change]
 The Saints kept it rolling against Tampa Bay.  Next Monday could be the Game of the Year as New England comes to town.
2.) Indianapolis (10-0) [no change]
 Indianapolis made another great escape in Baltimore.  Oh, the irony.  Next, they come down to my stomping grounds in Houston.
3.) Minnesota (9-1) [no change]
 Favre for MVP?  It's not completely ridiculous, even if I wouldn't vote for him.
4.) Arizona (7-3) [+1]
 Kurt Warner bowed out after he felt "not perfect".  How he bounces back will undoubtedly affect the Cardinals' postseason chances; with him, they win the division.  Without him, who knows?  Matt Leinart isn't ready for prime time, still.
5.) San Diego (7-3) [+1]
 Talk about beating down a division rival.  San Diego crushed Denver, likely killing whatever playoff chance the Broncos had.
6.) Dallas (7-3) [+2]
 A win is a win, but these guys can do much better.  I really shouldn't even move them up.
7.) New England (7-3) [+2]
 The Patriots proved once again that they're mentally tough, despite whatever happens in previous games.
8.) Green Bay (6-4) [+2]
 They followed a dominant win with a somewhat fluky win.  Obviously, they're not catching Minnesota, but a Wild Card isn't out of the question yet.
9.) Philadelphia (6-4)
 Donovan McNabb and LeSean McCoy came up big when the Eagles needed it.  There was also a Michael Vick sighting, and it was a nice run too.
10.) Cincinnati (7-3) [-6]
 Most disappointing team of the week?  It's either these idiots or the Steelers, who aren't even in the Rankings this week (I'd still have them in, but Philly won, and I like to keep winners in).
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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