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 12, 2010 2:42 pm

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 5

Five weeks down, and no undefeated teams remain.  Quite a quandary for this wannabe writer.  Usually, the main purpose of these Rankings is to tout the best teams in the NFL, especially the undefeated teams.  Now there are none remaining.  It still remains to be seen whether any of these ten are actually "good", or if they were just the best ten at this point in the season.  That's an arguable point, as there are currently ten 3-2 teams, all of whom look more or less Rankings worthy.  Let's go!

1.) Baltimore (4-1) [no change]
 If there's one thing I can appreciate, it's consistency.  The Ravens have shown that in recent weeks by winning consecutive games.  They seem to be getting better every week as well.  They might not actually be the best team so far, but they seem to be the most complete.  And with a lack of undefeated teams, Baltimore appears to be the best of the current group.

2.) NY Jets (4-1) [+2]
 Again I figured the Jets would succumb, and again I was proven wrong.  It figures, of course, that Brett Favre would throw an INT to seal his team's doom, and that the Jets' defense would be opportunistic enough to turn that INT into a game-winning touchdown.  The Jets are getting all the pieces back in place, and that loss against Baltimore is looking smaller and smaller.

3.) New England (3-1) [no change]
 New England was on a bye, so I couldn't see moving them up or down.  I changed my mind about the other team in the Rankings on a bye...see below.

4.) Atlanta (4-1) [+1]
 Another week, another win for the "never say die" Falcons.  I think it's safe to say that Matt Ryan has no effects from last season's sophomore slump.  Good thing, since they've needed him to be at his best at the end of every game.  Next week they draw the Eagles in what could be Michael Vick's first game against his former team.  They've got a better shot if Kevin Kolb is the Eagles' starter, I would guess, though that is no safe bet either.

5.) Chicago (4-1) [+5]
 I don't have the stats next to me to back this up, but I'm guessing that was one of the worst starts by a QB since 2000.  Heck, maybe since 1990, even.  Todd Collins was all sorts of awful, completing only six passes for 32 yards, with FOUR INT's.  Somehow, the Bears and Matt Forte (or maybe just Forte by himself, given their similarly dreadful O-line) made do without help from the QB and ran over Carolina.  Obviously, we can't count on that happening again.  Chicago must be loving Jay Cutler now; they might not have much hope with him, but they definitely have no hope whatsoever without him.

6.) Tampa Bay (3-1) [-]
 Somehow, these erstwhile young Bucs are 3-1.  Somehow.  Playing against Cincinnati, they proved to me that they're a good team, and that Carson Palmer is in no way an "elite" QB.  I doubt that Palmer is even "good" at the moment.  Josh Freeman, on the other hand, is looking like a winner, if nothing else.  Good for him.

7.) Kansas City (3-1) [-5]
 Luckily for the Chiefs, there are only so many 1-loss teams this week.  Their inclusion in the Rankings was a given, as a result.  Usually, I would have dropped them out entirely; falling from the ranks of the undefeated is not something I reward.  Despite losing at Indy, I think the Chiefs are a good team.  Or better than the remainder of the 3-2 teams that aren't in the Rankings this week.

8.) Pittsburgh (3-1) [+1]
 Like I said above, I don't usually move teams that are on a bye.  It just seems ...stupid.  Yet I've moved Pittsburgh up one spot this week because they're the "last" 3-1 team, and the other two teams below them have two losses.  What looks worse, a 3-2 team ranked higher than a 3-1 team, or a team on a bye moving up a single spot?  I thought so too.

9.) Indianapolis (3-2) [-]
 Thanks to that win at home, and my undying admiration for Peyton Manning in general, the Colts are back in the Rankings.  I guess that means I'm biased.  Anyway, I firmly believe that the Colts will rise above this rather uncharacteristic start and win 12-13 games.  Pie in the sky, I say.  Pie in the sky.

10.) Tennessee (3-2) [-]
 They've got Vince Young and Chris Johnson.  And they just so happened to beat the Cowboys.  OK, so maybe that's not worth as much as it used to be (like when the Cowboys were actually a good team).  But I have a feeling about these Titans.  I think they'll continue to prove their worth as the season goes on, as opposed to say, Jacksonville, or the NY Giants.

See you next week.  Thanks for reading.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 5, 2010 5:18 pm

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 4

Just past the quarter pole in the 2010 season.  Not much has changed since Week 1, really, since we still don't know who's good and who isn't.  Let's go!

1.) Baltimore (3-1) [+7]
 Probably the most impressive win of the week, though New England might have something to say about it.  Baltimore didn't look great for much of the game, but that last play saved the day and kept them with a winning record.  It'll be great to see how the AFC North shakes out, because everybody is competitive.  Yup, including Cleveland, apparently.  Whether the Ravens keep their place at the top is subject to change.  Not a lot of consistency so far.

2.) Kansas City (3-0) [no change]
 Sometimes the best thing that can happen is not playing.  Kansas City had an early bye, and now they're the only undefeated team left in the NFL.  Hard to believe?  I didn't see this coming, for sure.  But I can't move them up or down since they didn't play.  So they stay at 2 this week, with a couple tough games to follow.

3.) New England (3-1) [+3]
 One of the few teams to actually win a couple games in a row, the Patriots had a very impressive win last night.  With all that special teams dominance, Tom Brady barely had to do anything.

4.) NY Jets (3-1) [+6]
 Riding high after a three-game winning streak (all in the division too), the Jets are looking pretty good.  In fact, their only loss is to the 1st place team in these Rankings, and that's not too bad after a quarter of the season.  I doubt they'll have it quite as easy as they did against Buffalo, but this should be a 12 win team.

5.) Atlanta (3-1) [no change]
 They pulled it out against San Francisco, but other more impressive performances keep the Falcons from moving up.  You can't beat an 0-3 team by three points and expect to move up.

6.) Green Bay (3-1) [-]
 A win is a win, I guess.  Yes, it was closer than it should have been, but they pulled it out and get back into the Rankings.  It is a bit of a surprise that the defense would give up that many points to a bad team.  But now they're tied for the division lead and look like the far better team after the Bears stunk out the joint.

7.) New Orleans (3-1) [-]
 Another team with a barely classifiable win in Week 4, New Orleans came out somewhat strong, but then fumbled away scoring opportunities, literally.  Going in at home against Carolina, I expected a beatdown of epic proportions.  What I got was nothing close to that.  Carolina should have won that game, really.  But the Saints refused to lose this time, and thanks to John Carney, they didn't.

8.) Houston (3-1) [-]
 For once, the Texans went on the road and got a win against a bad team.  Those who were expecting stumbles were almost proven right, but Houston pulled it out at the end.  Is Arian Foster the best RB in the AFC?  Or the NFL?  Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson might have a claim to it, and LaDainian Tomlinson is rounding back into form.  Can the Texans keep this up?  I think so, because of Foster.  But I wouldn't bet on it just yet.

9.) Pittsburgh (3-1) [-8]
 Losing is tough in these Rankings.  Consistency is prized above all else, as is remaining undefeated for the longest period of time.  That's how I roll.  That said, the Steelers are far from a bad team.  In fact, they managed to stay in the Rankings because no one else is any better.  That might not sound like a good thing, really.  But there it is.

10.) Chicago (3-1) [-7]
 I really wanted someone else to come in and take the Bears' spot.  But no one did.  Thanks to Philadelphia and Indianapolis going belly up (among others), Chicago gets a reprieve from the axe and takes the bottom spot this week.  Don't get me wrong, Chicago played terribly, and really have no business in this week's Rankings despite being 3-1.  Losing to that team after their previous two games was really inexcusable.  At any rate, they're tied for the division lead and own the tiebreaker, for now.

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: September 29, 2009 1:29 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 3

1.) NY Giants (3-0) [no change]
 Eli Manning is playing mistake-free football, and the defense stepped up huge against Tampa.
2.) Baltimore (3-0) [+1]
 The defense clamped down, and the offense remained as potent as it showed in the last two weeks.
3.) NY Jets (3-0) [+1]
 They came out with a win when most expected them to lose.  If they needed a confidence boost, they just got it.
4.) New Orleans (3-0) [+1]
 Going into Buffalo proved tougher than expected; offense wasn't a problem though, thanks to Pierre Thomas running it in the 2nd half.
5.) Minnesota (3-0) [+1]
 Miracle play or not (I go with not; how many times has Favre made that throw?), Minnesota is deservedly 3-0.
6.) Indianapolis (3-0) [+1]
 Two road games in a row?  No problem.  Peyton Manning and the offense shined as usual, and the pass rush was effective.
7.) Denver (3-0) [+1]
 The biggest surprise at 3-0?  I guess McDaniels knew what he was doing when he hired Mike Nolan.
8.) New England (2-1)
 The Patriots rebounded by beating up on the Falcons.
9.) Philadelphia (2-1)
 The Eagles crushed KC; Kevin Kolb proved to be a better-than-usual backup.
10.) Green Bay (2-1)
 Aaron Rodgers passed and ran for TD's against St. Louis.  Tougher opponent on hand this week, though.

A Look at Week 3:
Games were a bit more predictable in Week 3, but there were plenty of surprises nonetheless.  I expected the Colts to win, but I didn't expect five TD's from Peyton Manning, or that moribund drive to end the game.  Solid play around the league from the elite QB's and RB's produced a lot of scoring.  Most winners had over 30 points, with notable under-30 winners the Lions, Cowboys, and Saints.  The Lions won for the first time since 2007, but I don't attribute much to that.  They were due, and they pulled it off against a weak opponent.  The Redskins, on the other hand, look like they're in a world of trouble (as usual).  Another surprise was Jacksonville's road win in Houston.  After looking terrible last week against Arizona (at home, no less), they went on the road, turned Maurice Jones-Drew loose, and watched as he decimated the Texans' pathetic excuse for a defense.  They hardly even needed the passing game.

A further recap of Week 3's best.

Atlanta (2) @ New England (unranked):
 Whoops.  I was wrong about this one; the Patriots defense stepped up, stopping the Falcons offense cold.  Not only that, they exposed what might be a season-long weakness for the Falcons, the defensive line.  Fred Taylor ran for 105 yards and a TD against that line, without standout DT Peria Jerry.  This could continue as long as Jerry's out.  We'll see how Matt Ryan overcomes this.

Tennessee (unranked) @ NY Jets (4):
 The Jets had more trouble with Tennessee than I thought they would.  At least I got this one right, though.  People may look at this as a defensive team, but Mark Sanchez has plenty to do with their success.

NY Giants (1) @ Tampa Bay (unranked):
 Nailed it.

Indianapolis (7) @ Arizona (10):
 Two potent offenses came in, but only one actually showed up.  Indy's pass rush harassed Kurt Warner practically all night, forcing him to dink-and-dunk rather than throw it down the field to Larry Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald is still healthy (thank goodness), but he hasn't had a good game all season.  On the other side, nothing affects Peyton Manning.  He lost Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, and Anthony Gonzalez?  No problem.  He'll just hand it off to Joseph Addai or Donald Brown, and when that gets tiresome he'll throw it to Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, or new weapon-in-training Pierre Garcon.  No problem.

San Francisco (9) @ Minnesota (6):
 Not quite as much defense as I expected, nor as much RB chaos.  Gore went out injured, and Adrian Peterson wasn't as effective as usual.  At least it wasn't as bad as the last time he faced the 49ers.

The best games coming up next week.

NY Giants (1) @ Kansas City (unranked):
 Beatdown city.

Baltimore (2) @ New England (8):
 Defense, defense, defense...oh, wait.  It's more like, Joe Flacco vs. Tom Brady in 12 rounds.  Last team to get the ball wins.

NY Jets (3) @ New Orleans (4):
 The best defense vs. the best offense.

Dallas (unranked) @ Denver (7):
 A "surprise" 3-0 takes on a team that should be 3-0.  Will Dallas get buried by Elvis Dumervil and the rest of the Denver defense?

Green Bay (10) @ Minnesota (5):
 Monday Night showdown for the ages, and the reason Brett Favre came out of retirement to begin with.
Category: NFL
Tags: Giants, Jets, Ravens
Posted on: September 22, 2009 1:13 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 2

1.) NY Giants (2-0) [+2]
 No run defense, no problem, as long as they have a Manning in the two-minute drill.
2.) Atlanta (2-0) [+2] 
The Falcons keep cruising along, and pick up an all-important division win in the process.
3.) Baltimore (2-0) [+2]
 Ray Lewis had the play of the day on 4th down at the end of the game against San Diego.  Amazing.
4.) NY Jets (2-0) [+2]
 I was wrong about these guys.  Mark Sanchez played well again and didn't throw a pick, for good measure.
5.) New Orleans (2-0) [+2]
 Apparently, that Philly defense wasn't quite as good against a real offense.  Brees and the gang lit up the scoreboard again.
6.) Minnesota (2-0) [+2]
 A slight drop in production from All Day, but a win's a win.
7.) Indianapolis (2-0)
 Having the ball less than a quarter (14:53 to be exact) doesn't deter one of the game's best QB's.  Far from it.
8.) Denver (2-0)
 One of the truly surprising teams.  Is Jay Cutler having second thoughts about whining his way out of Denver?
9.) San Francisco (2-0)
 Another surprising team that already has two wins in the NFC West.
10.) Arizona (1-1)
 Kurt Warner takes his team to the east coast, starts at 1PM EDT, and pulls out the "pwnage" as he completes 92% of his passes.  Amazing.

A Look at Week 2:
Another great week of football, though one that was difficult to predict accurately.  Seven teams that won last week (including four from my Rankings) lost this week.  Some of them were surprises, like Pittsburgh and New England.  Others, like Dallas and Philadelphia, were the result of going up against teams that just look better than them at the moment.  Philadelphia gets a pass from me for not having Donovan McNabb.  Kevin Kolb did play fairly well, but just like Tony Romo in Dallas, throwing three INT's really hurts.  Since there are currently nine 2-0 teams (and I put a premium on winning), I put them in the first nine spots.  The teams that weren't in the Rankings last week and just entered got put in the bottom.  At this point, any of the top five could be #1.  I'm not sure the Giants are the best team in the NFC, even.  They won, and were the highest ranked team to do so.  With Pittsburgh's loss, the Giants got the chance to move up and pulled out a win in Dallas.  Hopefully next week is more of a return to what we saw in Week 1.  Despite that, it was plenty exciting.

A further recap of Week 2's best.

New Orleans (7) @ Philadelphia (2):
 Drew Brees played well again.  Kevin Kolb subbed in for Donovan McNabb nicely, but threw three picks along the way.  Philadelphia's defense had some trouble with the Saints offense; if that's an indicator of things to come, the Saints are going to be unstoppable.  Of course, someone will eventually stop them (and it's looking like that'll be the NY Jets' job in a couple weeks); part of the fun is waiting to see who does it, and if the team can still win in spite of it.

New England (10) @ NY Jets (6):
 Wow.  Well, I don't want to get all hyperbolic and say that Mark Sanchez is going to be such-and-such or already is such-and-such.  Let's just say that he's had two good performances in a row, and his defense is bordering on excellent.  Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes, Shaun Ellis, and all the rest harassed Tom Brady into a bad game.  I was as stunned as most everyone else.  The Jets get Tennessee in the Meadowlands (or Giants Stadium, what have you) next.  After watching the Titans defense get thrashed by the Texans, I'm not sure what to expect from that game.  Could it be Sanchez's first letdown?  I guess it could, but I really would not want to bet on it.

Baltimore (5) @ San Diego (unranked):
 Go out west?  Check.  Have Joe Flacco throw for a ton?  Check.  Get the running game going?  Check.  Play just enough defense to win?  Check and mate.  Unfortunately, I didn't see a lot of this game, but what I did see convinced me that Baltimore is either very lucky or very good.  Actually, I'm not sure that those are mutually exclusive.  As Ray Lewis proved on the last San Diego play, he's still very good.  And there should be little doubt about Joe Flacco after his performance.  They have a division game at home against Cleveland next week, so there's no excuse for the Ravens not to be 3-0.

NY Giants (3) @ Dallas (unranked):
 Maybe I spoke too soon about this being the Game of the Week.  It was certainly entertaining, though it was very frustrating being a Cowboys fan as Romo tossed awful pick after awful pick.  Good thing Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice were ready to run.  The Giants' Manning-to-Ham connection was unstoppable as Dallas' pass defense took the night off.

Indianapolis (unranked) @ Miami (unranked): The Colts had the ball for 14:53 and won.  Wow.  I'm not sure about Miami's playoff chances now (they have to be spotty at best with this loss), but Indianapolis is looking pretty good.  Reggie Wayne hardly had to show up, thanks to Dallas Clark and his stunning statistical maneuvers.

The best games coming up next week.

Atlanta (2) @ New England (unranked):
 Matt Ryan looks to carve up another opposing defense.

Tennessee (unranked) @ NY Jets (4):
 Mark Sanchez continues his ascent unchecked, or actually faces some adversity.  Either way, the Jets defense is sure to harass Kerry Collins.

NY Giants (1) @ Tampa Bay (unranked):
 Not so much "best" as "ridiculously funny".  It should be a beatdown.

Indianapolis (7) @ Arizona (10):
 The Sunday Night game pits two awesome offenses against each other.

San Francisco (9) @ Minnesota (6):
 Defensive struggle?  Or will Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson run over the opposing defense?  Should be a fun one either way.
Category: NFL
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