Tag:Packers
Posted on: September 21, 2010 7:20 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 2

With a second week of games in the books, eight teams are 2-0, another eight are 0-2, and the rest are 1-1.  Parity, you say?  Or is it mediocrity?  We'll see over the next fifteen weeks.

1.) New Orleans (2-0) [no change]
 The defending champions looked "aight" against San Francisco.  Count me among those who think that losing Reggie Bush is more of a story among the media than the team itself.  They're also the only team not to move an inch since last week.  Lots of turmoil all over the league is the reason.

2.) Green Bay (2-0) [+1]
 After winning on the road in Philly, Green Bay's encore was a resounding beatdown of the Bills.  That's what I like to see.  As a result, they move up.  Now the question is, are they better than the Saints?

3.) Pittsburgh (2-0) [+2]
 Now Dennis Dixon is out.  Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch between them have to keep the train rolling.  It sounds like a difficult task, but both of the Steelers' games were won by defense and the running game.  So I don't expect much different in Week 3.  Heck, I might even pick them to win this time.

4.) Houston (2-0) [+5]
 One of the many teams I love to hate made good by beating...another of the teams I love to hate.  Consequently, I'm not really sure what to say.  Having been around this team since the beginning (2002), I've seen a lot that indicates this start is nothing more than a fluke.  That said, the Texans had never won an overtime game before 2010, and they were a measly 1-15 against Indianapolis as well.  Now both of those have been emended.  Does that mean playoffs for the Texans?  Or will Houston fans have to wait another year?  The big clash with the Cowboys is this week, and I don't think it could be more weird.

5.) Miami (2-0) [-]
 They won, and they're not looking too bad.  That's about all I know about this year's Miami team.  It's been bandied about that Cameron Wake and Koa Misi were the most important additions; they're on the defensive line and are expected to pressure the opposing QB (thank you, Peter King).  So far, they've been productive, and the Dolphins have won as a result.

6.) Chicago (2-0) [-]
 I'm as surprised as anybody that the Bears are in my Rankings.  As far as I know, this is a first...because since I started doing these in 2007 or 2008, the Bears haven't really been "good".  Or there were other teams that were clearly a step ahead.  Now the Bears are tied with Green Bay for the division lead, and despite what some say is a "porous" offensive line (I didn't see it after the first half, to be honest), Jay Cutler and his boys have done well for themselves.  Who do we credit more here, Cutler, or Mike Martz?  Martz is the supposed genius here, so I'll go with him.

7.) Kansas City (2-0) [-]
 Color me surprised, again.  Thanks to some stumbles by teams I figured would win (and one I figured would get crushed anyway), the middle and bottom of the Rankings are populated by surprise 2-0 teams.  The Chiefs debuted on Monday Night Football to great acclaim and lots of cheering from the fans at Arrowhead.  This week, they took on Cleveland and got the win.  The Browns look like an also-ran again, while the Chiefs are clearly trending upward.  I think this is good; at least the Chargers have some competition now to keep them from getting stale.

8.) Tampa Bay (2-0) [-]
 Dealing a loss to Carolina was big to me.  That means the Bucs are now in the Rankings again, along with their surprising 2-0 record.  I figured they would find a way against Cleveland, but the fact that they beat a division rival was huge.  Not only that, Carolina is now 0-2, while Tampa is tied with the Saints.  Atlanta is still a dangerous team, of course, but now that the Bucs and Saints have gotten a leg up, it should be an interesting race.  Tampa is another team winning with defense, and just enough contributions from QB Josh Freeman to not be one-dimensional.  Will this run last?  Probably not, but who knows.

9.) Atlanta (1-1) [-]
 Speaking of the dirty birds, here they are at 9.  After a tough OT loss to Pittsburgh last week, they came out firing on all cylinders this week.  It was an ugly game against Arizona, at least on the scoreboard.  I'm sure Falcons fans were pleased, though.  The beatdown had to have been welcome.  This puts them at 1-1 after the first two weeks.  I contend that they're still dangerous.  Carolina's going to a rookie QB, and Matt Ryan is clearly better than Moore, Clausen, or Freeman.  Is he up there with Drew Brees?  No, not yet.  But I don't imagine it'll be too long before he's accounted among the elite QB's.

10.) Indianapolis (1-1) [-]
 Though they're only coming in at 10 this week, Indianapolis had one of the better victories from Week 2.  They absolutely owned the Giants from kickoff to the final whistle, running up and down the field at will.  Joseph Addai and Donald Brown were pretty much unstoppable.  Peyton Manning didn't throw as much as he did last week, but he didn't need to.  Still, the throws he did make were crisp and on-target, and he's without an INT as well.  I guess the loss in Week 1 was an aberration.  Maybe it was needed to wake them up.  In any case, I expect great things from the Colts again this season.

See you next week.  Thanks for reading.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 14, 2010 5:37 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 11:26 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 1

Do we really know who is good (and more importantly, who isn't) after one week of games?  Probably not.  But I'm going to give it a try anyway.  Here we go!

1.) New Orleans (1-0)
 Why?  They're the defending champs.  Sean Payton might disagree, but since they're returning pretty much the same team....

2.) Baltimore (1-0)
 OK, so they didn't play well.  At all.  But they won, and they're expected to go far.  So one could say I'm drinking the Kool-Aid on them at this point.

3.) Green Bay (1-0)
 A more impressive win than Baltimore, sure.  I'm not certain about Philadelphia.  Green Bay played quite well.  Even Aaron Rodgers looked pretty good (and his game-winning TD toss was to Greg Jennings, who last I checked was his #1 receiver).

4.) New England (1-0)
 The Patriots with Tom Brady are perennial Super Bowl contenders.  And supposedly, they actually played some defense on Sunday.

5.) Pittsburgh (1-0)
 I'm impressed that they won with Dennis Dixon at QB.  Nothing against the former Oregon Duck (who is the cousin of Donald Duck, my sources tell me), but without Roethlisberger I was expecting a Dirty Bird Beatdown.  What the *%&$* happened, Atlanta?

6.) NY Giants (1-0)
 Bias alert!  I hate the Giants.  Still, I can't deny them what was an impressive win.  OK, so Carolina isn't expected to do much.  And Eli Manning threw three INT's (ouch).  They're still in first place.  Or tied, whatever.

7.) Tennessee (1-0)
 Holy crap, Vince Young is a quarterback.  Meaning, he doesn't just run around, he can hang back in the pocket and hit some receivers where it hurts.  Right in the nuts.  Now THAT is some accuracy.

8.) Arizona (1-0)
 I should probably lower AZ to 10th.  Why?  They barely beat St. Louis.  And by barely, I really do mean barely.  Ouch.

9.) Houston (1-0)
 Bias alert!  I hate the Texans.  They might have had the most impressive win of the week, though.  OK, so Indianapolis kinda stunk.  But the Texans were 1-15 against them overall.  1-15, OUCH.  Well, one fabulously historic day by Arian Foster later...the Texans are now TWO AND FIFTEEN against the Colts.  I also think the Texans are not going anywhere this year.  Just like last year.  And the year before that.  And the year before that.  You see where I'm going here.

10.) Washington (1-0)
 Bias alert!  I really hate the Redskins, especially after that fluke of a win against the Cowboys Sunday night.  Trust me, I'm angrier with the Cowboys for playing as badly as they did.  But the Redskins took advantage of the Cowboys acting like total idiots, and even I have to give them credit for that.

See you next week.  Thanks for reading.
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 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
 
 
 
 
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