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 Broncos, 49ers, Bengals, Lions, 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)