Tag:Cowboys
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 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: September 21, 2009 12:52 am
 

Dallas Cowboys Recap, Week 2

I didn't actually get to watch the game last week (thank you, NFL and your stupid broadcast rules), so here's the first week of my Dallas Cowboys recaps.

All in all, there were mixed results in tonight's game.  The team opened up their new stadium against a familiar rival.  The NY Giants came in 1-0 after winning last week against Washington.  The Cowboys won on the road in Tampa, but there was some trepidation as the defense allowed an unholy amount of yardage to Byron Leftwich and a bad Tampa offense.  That fear was fully realized tonight.

The Cowboys' defense did great against the run.  And their offense was fairly top-notch as well.  I say that because they scored 31 points.  But there is also the pass defense and Tony Romo's performance to consider.

On the pass defense, there really was very little.  Orlando Scandrick in particular made a number of costly errors in tackling and in coverage which led to big plays for the Giants.  There was no pass rush of any significance; there were no turnovers by the defense and no sacks for the second week in a row.  On offense, Tony Romo had a number of bad plays and three costly interceptions.  He did throw a TD to Jason Witten and ran for one himself.  But tonight it was the plays he didn't make (or made for the other team) that played a big part in sinking the team.

What's most striking about the game is that the Cowboys had a chance to win, if they could have stopped the Giants.  They saw what was coming, and utterly failed to stop it.  Whether that's a result of fatigue or of bad game-planning is unknown.  What is known is that the Cowboys are in an early hole in the division.  The way the team is playing right now, I don't necessarily like their chances moving forward.  If Romo becomes less turnover-prone and the pass defense can get a couple stops per game, then they'll be in good shape.

Marion Barber and Felix Jones (despite that awful fumble) looked very good.  The receivers kind of came back down to earth, but I think that's mostly (about 90%, actually) a function of Romo's terrible play.  The offensive line played well, from what I could see.  There wasn't a whole lot of pressure on Romo, and it wasn't like Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka were teeing off on him.  So I'm not sure why Romo made as many ugly throws as he did.

Next week, Carolina comes to Cowboys Stadium.  They're 0-2 and though they looked better against Atlanta they're not a top-tier team.  So hopefully I'll be here next Monday night to celebrate a win.
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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