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Tag:Colts
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 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: November 16, 2010 4:52 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 10

Another tough week in the Rankings as some of the top teams lost.  Of course, others move up to take their place, but not much has changed, really.  It's certainly a fluid situation with everyone having nine games under their belt now.  I don't think my Rankings have any predictive value; note that last week's first-place team is now in sixth, for example.  So this is really a picture of what has gone on, rather than an attempt to determine what will occur in the future.  Let's go!

1.) Atlanta (7-2) [+3]
 Playing last Thursday, the Falcons earned the biggest win of Week 10.  Of course, there are arguments for other teams, and I won't ignore them.  However, I think Atlanta's win was most impressive, and they move up to the first spot thanks to that.  It's about time an NFC team had a turn, I think.  I still believe the best teams all reside in the AFC; Atlanta is now 3-1 against the other conference, and that too is being rewarded.  Is there any doubt now that they're the best team in the NFC?  At least, for this week?

2.) NY Jets (7-2) [+1]
 A modest jump for the Jets after a second OT win on the road.  Originally, I planned to put them at first, but late last night I had a feeling that putting Atlanta first would be the better idea.  The Jets played well, especially their QB Mark Sanchez and two of his receivers, Jerricho Cotchery (who manned up huge) and Santonio Holmes.  Holmes caught the TD pass that won the game in OT.  As long as Sanchez continues to improve, 12-14 wins are not out of the question.  They currently hold the tiebreaker in the AFC East.

3.) New England (7-2) [+3]
 Sunday Night was a good stage for New England, and going to Pittsburgh somehow proved to be the tonic that healed them.  It sounds all kinds of wrong, but the Patriots came out like gangbusters and blew up the Steelers.  It was impressive all the way around.  Tom Brady was masterful again, throwing three TD's to a rookie tight end and running for another one.  Here's hoping they can sustain that kind of play.

4.) Philadelphia (6-3) [+6]
 The biggest jump of the week belongs to the Eagles, who vaulted from 10th to 4th after a total beatdown of Washington last night.  It was simultaneously great and ugly.  Michael Vick was responsible for six TD's and generally looked like an elite QB all night.  The Eagles also had three RB's making contributions as well.  They look tough to stop, and they face what many consider a great defense next week as they play the Giants.

5.) Indianapolis (6-3) [+3]
 Another win, another jump for the Colts.  Playing the Bengals, it was no surprise they won.  Next week they get a much tougher opponent as they play the Patriots.  That should be a good one, but tough to pick.

6.) Pittsburgh (6-3) [-5]
 A disappointing performance from the Steelers, who couldn't seem to get anything going until late in the game, and then even that went awry when Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception that was run back for a touchdown.  Oops!  The Steelers aren't out of it by any means, but that elite sheen they had been developing is all but gone now.  Time for a bounce back.

7.) Green Bay (6-3) [-]
 The Packers were on a bye, which bodes well for their injury situation.  It was also nice to not have to hear about how Aaron Rodgers is an elite QB.  He isn't.  Of course, that doesn't mean GB won't win the NFC North.

8.) Baltimore (6-3) [-6]
 I can't say I was disappointed in how the Ravens played.  They just got beat at a critical juncture.  Some may say that their defense was exposed on the last drive, or something like that.  I disagree.  They got beat by a team that played better.  No more, no less.

9.) New Orleans (6-3) [-]
 Another team that was on a bye.  The Saints had their week off to get ready for the final push to win the NFC South.  They're still looking up at Atlanta.

10.) NY Giants (6-3) [-5]
 The Giants were probably the most disappointing team in Week 10.  That doesn't bother me much, since I hate them.  I wasn't as high on them as other people were; I noted that Atlanta looked like the better team, and was proven right as Atlanta defeated a really good team and the Giants lost to a really bad team.  Them's the breaks.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:36 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 3:05 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 8

I had a bunch of stuff written and didn't save it.  Oops.  So now I don't feel like writing it again.  Here's a bare bones version of the Rankings.


1.) New England (6-1) [+1]

2.) Indianapolis (5-2) [+2]

3.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [no change]

4.) NY Jets (5-2) [-3]

5.) Baltimore (5-2) [+1]

6.) Atlanta (5-2) [+1]

7.) NY Giants (5-2) [+1]

8.) Kansas City (5-2) [+1]

9.) Tampa Bay (5-2) [+1]

10.) Green Bay (5-3) [-]

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 27, 2010 12:51 am
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7

In my opening last week, I mentioned that the good teams were starting to separate themselves.  This week showed the separation even more starkly.  Good teams can get lucky and catch breaks, too.  Also, the AFC clearly looks to be the stronger of the two conferences at this point of the season.  Could that change as the season moves on?  Certainly.  But for now, the power teams are heavily skewed toward the AFC.  Let's go!

1.) NY Jets (5-1) [no change]
 It's always nice for me when teams are on a bye and already in the Rankings.  No movement, no thinking, no questioning.  Plus, the Jets are one of the three prospective "great" teams that have shown up so far.  Not to be premature, or anything...because the Jets could come out in Week 8 and lay an egg.  But I have confidence that they'll continue to play well.

2.) New England (5-1) [no change]
 Going into San Diego and playing late is better than playing early.  Still, the Patriots were not at their best.  But as I said above, good teams find a way...even if it means watching a kicker bounce one off the upright after a stupid penalty.  This is another team I have confidence in, though, so I'm sure they'll play at a higher level in the weeks to come.

3.) Pittsburgh (5-1) [no change]
 Some might get hung up on the fact that the Steelers pulled out a victory when they probably didn't deserve it.  They might complain about the call being a fluke, that Miami clearly had possession, and such.  It just fits into my theme of finding ways to win.  And not every win will be pretty.  This one sure wasn't pretty...but there were uglier ones this week as well.

4.) Indianapolis (4-2) [no change]
 The Colts were on a bye, yet they lost Dallas Clark for the season and might be without Austin Collie as well.  Ouch.  That means someone will have to step up in the interim.  Of course, since they have Peyton Manning at QB...it probably won't be as difficult to adjust.  Probably.  We'll see next Monday.

5.) Tennessee (5-2) [no change]
 The Titans owned the 4th quarter against Philadelphia.  Kenny Britt played well with Kerry Collins, and some people might wonder if there's a QB controversy brewing.  This isn't like the Eagles' situation; Vince Young is the Titans' starter.  The situation in Philadelphia is not as clear-cut.  Tennessee now leads the AFC South, and they've got what looks like stiff competition.

6.) Baltimore (5-2) [+1]
 It went into overtime, but the Ravens got the win.  It does concern me that they had to go to OT against Buffalo, of all teams, especially after losing in OT to New England.  Now that Ed Reed has come back, I think the already surprising defense gets better.  The AFC North will probably be a dogfight down the stretch, though the loser probably gets a wild card for their trouble.

7.) Atlanta (5-2) [+1]
 Best team in the NFC?  At the moment, I think so.  Why?  They've played three games against the AFC and are 2-1.  OK, so the two victories are at Cleveland and against Cincinnati, not exactly "elite" teams.  Their lone loss was at Pittsburgh, in overtime.  So it's possible that I've underrated the Falcons.  We'll see in a couple weeks when they take on Baltimore.  If the Falcons win in two weeks and win against Baltimore, they'll be 7-2 and in the driver's seat in their division.

8.) NY Giants (5-2) [-]
 In this case, there's nothing wrong with second-best.  Especially in the NFC.  It's hard to imagine the Giants losing home-field advantage or the NFC East at this point.  If they keep playing like this, 10 wins will come with ease, and they could end up with 12.  Why are they behind Atlanta?  Well, they've played two games against the AFC and lost both.  Granted, they looked better on Monday.  So they're clearly rising.  But are they the best in the NFC?  Not just yet.

9.) Kansas City (4-2) [-]
 A solid win against Jacksonville after outscoring them by a count of 28-7 in the second half.  The Chiefs have one of the easier schedules out there, too.  It would not be shocking to see them end up with 12 or 13 wins.  Matt Cassel appears to be rounding into form; he's got weapons in TE Tony Moeaki and WR Dwayne Bowe.  And he's got a hell of a running game behind him spearheaded by Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  With San Diego and Denver looking pretty pathetic, KC has run with the ball and have a solid lead in the AFC West.  It's still the weakest division in the AFC, but don't be surprised if the Chiefs give teams a run for their money in the playoffs.

10.) Tampa Bay (4-2) [-]
 There are a couple other teams that I could have put here in the 10th spot.  But for some reason I like Tampa Bay; even if they got demolished by the Saints (who in turn got demolished by the CLEVELAND Browns, of all teams), they still had the resiliency to hand the Rams a loss via Josh Freeman's bread-and-butter: the 4th quarter comeback.  Tampa Bay looks like they're for real...but if they can put together some consistent performances in a row, it'd do them better.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 7:14 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

As we near the halfway point of the season, some of the good teams are starting to separate themselves, and the division races are becoming clearer.  Well, sort of.  The AFC South, for example, is a three-team crapshoot.  The AFC East could be won by anybody but Buffalo.  Both West divisions are in a horrific state of disarray.  It makes for an exciting season, especially down the stretch, but what I wouldn't give for a couple of these one-loss teams to really take off.  Here we go!

1.) NY Jets (5-1) [+1]
 Best team in the NFL?  Yes, for this week.  They've got the longest current win streak, have only lost by a single point, and just pulled out a road win in a game they could have easily lost.  In a word, real.  Why #1?  Because they've got the most wins.  The two teams just below are nothing to sneeze at either, though.

2.) New England (4-1) [+1]
 An OT victory in hand, the Patriots move up to 2nd this week.  Apparently, Ron Jaworski was right: "No Moss, no problem".  Deion Branch came in and played just like he had never left.  Can that keep going?  Maybe.  But even if it doesn't, Brady has plenty of receivers who can get open and get the ball.  They're narrowly ahead of Pittsburgh because they beat a team I figured was great.  And they might still be.  But for this week, the Pats were just a little better.

3.) Pittsburgh (4-1) [+5]
 Into the breach jump the Steelers again.  With Baltimore's OT loss to the Pats, some real estate at the top opened up.  Also, Ben Roethlisberger re-entered the league with style, putting on a nice beatdown of the Browns.  Clearly, I don't expect much from the Browns, so that's why the Steelers are currently third.  That's not a slight, though; the Steelers are a hell of a team.  And it's looking like everyone will slip up once or twice this season.

4.) Indianapolis (4-2) [+5]
 Another beneficiary of Baltimore's OT loss, Indianapolis shoots up the Rankings to claim the 4th spot after beating the Redskins.  It was closer than I thought it would be.  Peyton Manning is playing well; too bad he can't help the defense.  It's also too bad that they lost to Jacksonville.  A 5-1 record in the 4th spot would look much better than 4-2.

5.) Tennessee (4-2) [+5]
 I had a good feeling about the Titans going into their Monday Night game yesterday.  As it turns out, I was rewarded by seeing one of the bigger beatdowns of the week.  It's nice to be right, I guess.  Though I guess if I was following my own rules about who teams beat vis a vis moving up in the Rankings, I should probably have Philadelphia ahead.  Oh well.

6.) Philadelphia (4-2) [-]
 The Eagles are looking sharp no matter who lines up under center.  In fact, it's probably better for them to have Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.  We'll see how that situation develops through the season, of course.  Right now, with Vick still recovering and Kolb playing pretty well, it's no tough decision.  But once Vick gets healthy...well, it's a nice problem to have.

7.) Baltimore (4-2) [-6]
 No matter what, a loss leads to a big drop in the Rankings.  Even in OT, to a team that they had beat.  This is not an indictment of Baltimore specifically; notice that Tampa Bay and Kansas City have been bounced out.  I still believe in the Ravens long-term.  But it's obvious at 4-2 that they're not better than the top three as it stands today.  At the end of the season, it could be something else.  We'll see when we get there.  I like the Ravens, though, and I'm confident they'll be a solid playoff team.

8.) Atlanta (4-2) [-4]
 I considered dropping Atlanta out entirely.  But I didn't really see a replacement that looked better at this time.  And I still believe the Falcons are a playoff team, though they might have gotten exposed somewhat against Philly.  But honestly, how many teams are going to throw over the top like that?  How many have the guts AND the personnel?  In the NFC, not that many.  And the ones that do are dealing with a whole bunch of issues (I'm looking at you, Green Bay and Dallas).

9.) Chicago (4-2) [-4]
 Again, I'm really disappointed in Chicago.  This is another team that I considered dropping out entirely, because I just don't trust them.  But who could have replaced them?  Well, omit the 3-2 teams, firstly.  Then take a look at who else is 4-2: Houston, and the NY Giants.  Are either of them trustworthy?  No.  Are either of them BETTER than the Bears?  Well, the Giants certainly have an argument.  I guess this is where my personal bias shows again, since I also can't stand those two.  I'm not a huge fan of Chicago either, obviously.

10.) New Orleans (4-2) [-]
 The other team to re-enter the Rankings this week is the defending champion Saints.  What a surprise to see them go to Tampa and beat up the Bucs in all phases of the game.  To be honest, this is the kind of performance I was expecting since the opening Thursday night against Minnesota...a performance which the Saints have not provided until this past week.  Well, good for them.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 28, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 6:48 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 3

Three undefeated teams left, and they take the top spots this week.  A whole lot of 2-1 teams are behind them as the season moves forward.  The only constant is change!  Let's go!

1.) Pittsburgh (3-0) [+2]
 Ben who?  The Steelers are now 3-0 after handing Tampa a nice smooth glass of beatdown; shaken, not stirred.  OK, I didn't see this coming either.  Then again, I had no idea Pittsburgh's defense would be rejuvenated, or that Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons would continue to raise their game to new levels.  Oops.  I feel bad about not picking them to beat Atlanta and Tennessee too.  But here they are at 1, and as long as they keep winning, they're welcome to stay there.

2.) Kansas City (3-0) [+5]
 The Chiefs are a good team.  I think.  At any rate, they're 3-0 and they flat out spanked San Francisco this week, so that makes them worthy of 2nd in the Rankings.  They're winning with defense as well, though Matt Cassel might be turning into something.  And by something, I mean more like a real bonafide QB, and less something like a toad.

3.) Chicago (3-0) [+3]
 They lucked out.  That said, Chicago is the best team in the NFC after three weeks.  So I'm guessing the good far outweighs the bad.

4.) Indianapolis (2-1) [+6]
 Fresh off a beatdown of the Giants, Indy went out to Denver and played "aight".  Good enough to win, but not good enough to let go of all doubts people might have about them.  The defense in particular was messy.  How Kyle Orton throws for over 400 yards is beyond me.  Losing Bob Sanders (again) doesn't mean that much, does it?

5.) Atlanta (2-1) [+4]
 Their OT victory vaults the Falcons up and knocks New Orleans right out of the picture for a week.  Atlanta played better, and probably shouldn't have even had it go to OT.  We'll see how they play this week, though.  I have a feeling they're for real.

6.) New England (2-1) [-]
 The first new team this week is New England.  They might have won narrowly against Buffalo (especially compared to how Green Bay trounced them), but with Tom Brady and his gaggle of weapons, it's hard to discount the Pats.  Their defense isn't good again, but with that offense...do they really need to be the best?

7.) Philadelphia (2-1) [-]
 Count me as one of those who was right about Michael Vick.  I was of the opinion that starting him over Kevin Kolb (who is still getting over a concussion, like it or not) was not the worst thing in the world, for Kolb or the Eagles.  One beatdown of Jacksonville later, and Vick is looking golden.  Does it translate against a better team?  Maybe not, but it doesn't hurt to get Kolb rested up and ready for games when he might be less pressured.

8.) Baltimore (2-1) [-]
 Baltimore returns to the Rankings after a win against Cleveland.  I have a good feeling about the Ravens too; anytime they win, they will likely be vaulting up, or back into the Rankings, depending on the previous week's results.  I believe they're one of the top contenders in the AFC.  Their strength should be no surprise.

9.) Cincinnati (2-1) [-]
 The Bengals still aren't playing up to their potential, I think.  Still, the results haven't been too bad.  In one of the tougher divisions in football, they're 2-1 and tied with Baltimore for second, though they've already gotten the Ravens' number once.  How they play against Pittsburgh later in the season will determine how far they go.

10.) NY Jets (2-1) [-]
 What do you know, the Jets really can play.  It helps that Miami was inept on offense when it really counted, but I'm not really holding that against Ryan and Sanchez.  They can still play better too.

See you next week.  Thanks for reading. (I can't believe I had Cincy spelled wrong.  geez)
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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