Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:37 pm

2011 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7

An odd week in the NFL, to be sure, punctuated by Baltimore's stunning loss Monday.  That was one of the worst games I've seen recently; the one good thing Baltimore can take from that is that it wasn't a playoff game, or else they'd have to live with it for months.  Thankfully, they have another should-be gimme on their hands.

Here are the standings for Week 7:

Prisco: 7-6
Red: 7-6
King: 6-7

Obviously, a number of teams let us down this week, notably Baltimore, but also Tennessee, Detroit, Tampa Bay, and San Diego.  I know this stuff happens at least once a season, it's still somewhat surprising to me when it happens.

Here are the Rankings for Week 7:

1.) Green Bay (7-0) [no change]
 Despite Christian Ponder's best effort, the defending champs continued their march.  Where are they headed?  Not sure yet, but they're looking quite good.  They have a bye in Week 8, so that's another week at the top.

2.) New England (5-1) [no change]
 Coming off a bye, the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh for what should be one of the better games of Week 8.  I sense that the media will be more into Tom Brady this week, what with Aaron Rodgers being on a bye.  We'll see what happens.

3.) San Francisco (5-1) [+1]
 It's always a little odd to have to move a team on a bye up.  But when you see a week of football like the one we just saw, there aren't as many good teams afterward as there were before.  The 49ers get a home game against Cleveland in Week 8, and I feel pretty confident in Jim Harbaugh, something I can't really say about his brother at this point.

4.) New Orleans (5-2) [+4]
 I know, they were playing a bad Colts team that's been reeling the entire season, but that victory (and that score!) was very, very impressive.  As a result, the Saints jump back up into the upper half and look like a team to beat in the NFC again.  Drew Brees and co. go to St. Louis this Sunday, which should be another easy win.  At least, if Brees doesn't turn into Joe Flacco.

5.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [-]
 The Steelers come roaring back into the Rankings after taking out Arizona.  They have a tough matchup coming up against the Patriots, which could knock them right back out for a week or two, but it's looking like they're for real again.  It's hard to imagine after Week 1's demolition by Baltimore (who look significantly less "real" than they did back then), but the Steelers have just about rebounded.

6.) Cincinnati (4-2) [+1]
 Another team on a bye that moved up because of poor performance by other teams, Cincinnati goes into Seattle in Week 8 and could begin to solidify their hold on a Wild Card spot.  Of course, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have to keep up their fantastic performance level that they've had thus far.  With a couple of rookies at such important positions, it's hard to project where Cincinnati will end up.  The early results have been good, obviously.

7.) Detroit (5-2) [-2]
 Two straight losses for the Lions, and they're on a precipitous slide.  They also look less "real" than they did after Week 5.  I think they can get back into the groove they were in when they won 5 in a row, but it's going to take some work.

8.) Baltimore (4-2) [-5]
 It's hard to know just what to say about the Ravens following one of the worst losses I've seen from them in a while.  Joe Flacco was abysmal.  Whatever adjective to indicate terrible performance you can think of, Flacco embodied it.  Ray Rice had a badly-timed fumble, and the offense was awful throughout most of the game.  The one thing they can take comfort in is that their defense is still top-flight.  But if they can't score more than 12 points against a terrible team like Jacksonville, they can't go far in 2011.

9.) Buffalo (4-2) [no change]
 The Bills remain where they are just because.  I guess I really could have moved them up ahead of Baltimore, but I don't have the confidence in them that I did before.  With such an easy schedule as Buffalo has had, they really ought to be undefeated still.  Alas, they're not the kind of team that Green Bay is.

10.) San Diego (4-2) [-4]
 Another very disappointing loss by the Chargers leaves them at the bottom of the Rankings this week.  Philip Rivers (and by extension the Chargers' offense) hasn't looked good all season and threw a couple of inexcusably bad INT's against the Jets.  If there's a question as to whether he's an elite QB (and there may not be, as people seem to automatically give him a pass to "elite" stature), I'll gladly cast a nay vote.  I've never really been convinced of Rivers' supposed greatness; with Drew Brees moving on to New Orleans and winning a Super Bowl, it certainly makes Chargers GM A.J. Smith look bad.  There are many other factors, obviously, and I don't want to oversimplify it any more than that.  But suffice it to say that I don't think of Rivers as an elite QB, whereas Drew Brees most definitely is.

That's all for this week.  Sorry that it was a bit more abbreviated and scattershot than usual.  See you next week!
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:08 pm

2011 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

Another solid week of NFL action down, and now there's only one undefeated team left.  I'm sure that the longer this goes on, the more that the team and it's QB will get fellated.  I guess in a way I'm fine with that, though it does get to be a little too much.  Anyway, the Green Bay Packers are 6-0, they're in the top spot in the Rankings again, and they look really good.  People around the team are saying that they haven't played their best yet; if that's true, it's pretty scary for the rest of the NFL.

Here are the standings for Week 6:

Prisco: 11-2
Red: 8-5
King: 7-6

I think it's safe to say that a few teams really bug me today.  Notably, the Falcons, Giants, Redskins, Eagles, Buccaneers, Saints, Bills, and Panthers.  Yeesh.

I also have to give a shout-out to Tom Brady; what a great drive that was to end the game.  OK, he's probably done better in his career.  But still, he's going up against a defense that actually made him look less than perfect for more than a quarter, and he shreds it en route to the game-winning TD.  Great stuff.  The Cowboys didn't earn my ire this week because I thought the Pats would pull it out no matter what, however, I wasn't too upset with the play calling like some people were.  When the other team has timeouts and you've got the ball late, you run the damn ball or else you're a moron.  Did the penalties hurt?  Sure they did.  That 3rd down should have been more manageable, and perhaps they should have thrown it on either 2nd or 3rd.  I'm not upset at the strategy, though, because that's what smart teams do.  Now, if the Cowboys were really worth their salt in 2011, they would have run that strategy successfully and kept Brady off the field (or better yet, stopped him on the last drive).  But hey, sometimes stuff doesn't go your way.

Here are the Rankings for Week 6:

1.) Green Bay (6-0) [no change]
 Was there any doubt that the Packers would take out the Rams?  I figured they would cover, but I thought the margin would be wider than 24-3.  Can Aaron Rodgers be stopped?  I guess the team that does it will have a better secondary than the Rams.

2.) New England (5-1) [+2]
 Was there any doubt Tom Brady would win that game at the end?  Haha.  Not from this small corner of CBS Sports/the internet in general.  Much like in Cleveland last year, Brady wasn't at his best for most of the game.  But when it counted, he made the plays.  I think the Pats are a lock to win the AFC East at this point.  The Jets aren't as good as they thought they were and the Bills aren't ready for prime time.

3.) Baltimore (4-1) [+2]
 I have a little more faith in the Ravens than the 49ers.  That said, it wouldn't hurt if Joe Flacco was a bit more consistent, and/or better.  That's not to say that he's a bad QB, because he isn't.  He's actually quite good, but his inconsistency is beginning to bother me.  Despite that, they're in the driver's seat to win the AFC North, unless they fall back a bit and the Steelers get hot.  One thing to remember though, is that the Ravens have long been a team known for their defense.  Most of their "stars" (hell, everyone besides Ray Rice) are on that side of the ball.  So perhaps I'm making too much of Flacco's play when they have a defense that can win games with impunity.

4.) San Francisco (5-1) [+4]
 It seems like the 49ers are a lock to win the NFC West.  Have I uttered a more obvious statement?  I could look, but I'm not that interested.  At any rate, they're clearly the best team in that pile of nonsense.  Alex Smith is playing well, and so is the defense.  They went into Detroit and won, which is pretty damn impressive.  I guess we'll have to take them seriously now.  Hopefully, they don't go out next week and look like a pile of crap.

5.) Detroit (5-1) [-3]
 The Lions drop a little this week thanks to that loss.  Their offense didn't hum as well as it had in the past couple weeks (or the second halves of those past couple weeks).  I think they're a Wild Card team, because let's be honest, they're not unseating the Packers in the division.

6.) San Diego (4-1) [no change]
 With the bye, the Chargers stay where they are.  They head into Jersey next week to face the Jets, and I'm not all that worried about their chances.  Even with Philip Rivers playing like he doesn't want to complete passes to his own guys more often than not.

7.) Cincinnati (4-2) [+3]
 Is it possible the Bengals are for real?  Andy Dalton looks good, as does A.J. Green.  Their defense is pretty good as well.  They've now won three in a row and are looking like a Wild Card contender.  It'll be tough to keep up this pace throughout the rest of the season, but I think they've got a shot.  At this point, at least.

8.) New Orleans (4-2) [-5]
 A disappointing loss for the Saints.  Drew Brees was uncharacteristically mistake-prone with three INT's, and the defense wasn't good.  So they fall for now, but I think they're going to win the division still.  Obviously, they have to play better than they did this week, and they have to win their division games.

9.) Buffalo (4-2) [-2]
 A bad loss against the Giants makes the Bills fall again.  After thinking that they had a cake schedule that should lead to 12-14 wins, I'm having to reorient myself on them.  I thought they were for real, but losses to the Bengals and Giants kinda prove that they're not ready for prime time.  That said, I think they could pull out a Wild Card, if things fall their way.  They absolutely must stop losing these cakewalk games on their schedule, though.

10.) Tampa Bay (4-2) [-]
 Finally, the Bucs get into the Rankings.  They had been playing pretty well before last week's demolition against the 49ers.  But what a comeback to get a win against the Saints.  It's mostly because of that that they got in when a couple other teams had a right.  I think the Bucs could get a Wild Card.  I have more faith in them than any team out of the East or West.

Finally, a note on the team that exited the Rankings.  It was Washington (9).  For once, only one team left the Rankings, because 9 out of 10 won.  Amazing!

There are also three other 4-2 teams that aren't in the Rankings this week.  They are Oakland, NY Giants, and Pittsburgh.  At this point, Oakland seems to be the most likely to do something.  The other two are too up-and-down to be trusted, at least at this point.

That's all for this week.  See you next week!
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com