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Category:NFL
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:50 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 13

Three-fourths of the season down for everyone, and a bunch of division matchups coming up.  Sunday and Monday night's games were just the beginning of the mayhem, so to speak.  That said, we finally have a pair of front-runners, after 13 long weeks.  But by no means are any of the division races "over".  We might actually have some clarity in a couple of them, though.  It should be a fun final four weeks of the season.  Let's go!

1.) Atlanta (10-2) [no change]
 Going on the road for three in a row starting this past Sunday, the Falcons came out and fought hard before getting the winning INT.  Given Tampa Bay's struggles against good teams, it probably shouldn't have been that close.  But the Falcons are missing something on the road.  That may not be a problem in the playoffs if the Falcons get home-field advantage.  At this point, there's no problem.  If Atlanta slips up once or twice...well, then it's something else entirely.

2.) New England (10-2) [+1]
 Last night's game was one of the bigger beatdowns of the season.  The Jets weren't in it at any point.  It had to feel good to Bill Belichick, since he no longer has to listen to Rex Ryan's empty proclamations, at least for this season.  If the playoffs come around and they play each other again, it's hard to imagine the Jets winning.  Heck, it's hard to imagine them competing, much less putting it all together.  New England has to be the consensus best team in the AFC.  They've got the inside track on the East, the #1 seed, and home-field advantage through the playoffs.  They looked unbeatable last night.

3.) Pittsburgh (9-3) [+1]
 The AFC North picture looks a little clearer.  Of course, now that the Steelers and Ravens have split the season series, I'm sure all kinds of complications would result if they both ended up, say, 12-4.  At any rate, Troy Polamalu had the play of the game in a tough matchup Sunday night.  Both teams played about as well as could be expected, given the robustness of their defenses.  The Steelers are in line for the 2-seed in the AFC.

4.) New Orleans (9-3) [+2]
 Let it never be said that the Saints fail to outsmart their opponents.  They did just that on Sunday and got a win against the Bengals.  Not quite the margin of victory that the inimitable Peter King predicted, but a win is a win.  They've got some ground to make up on Atlanta in the next four weeks if they want to win the NFC South again.  They've come around and are in good shape for the playoff run, being completely healthy finally.

5.) NY Jets (9-3) [-3]
 A lackluster effort on all sides last night moves the Jets down three spots.  Why ahead of the Bears?  Well, if you've read this blog any time this season, you know the answer.  The Jets have to regroup now, and have three tough games in a row, including road trips to Pittsburgh and Chicago.  So while it might look bleak at the moment, the Jets' future is entirely in their own hands.

6.) Chicago (9-3) [+1]
 Speaking of tough schedules, the Bears have a most difficult one on their hands, which pleases me to no end.  They still have trips to Minnesota (who'll surely want to play spoiler) and Green Bay (ditto), while also having the Patriots and Jets coming into Soldier Field.  They may be 9-3 now, but there's nothing saying they won't end up 9-7.  Currently, they lead the NFC North, and hold the tiebreaker against the Packers.  But this one's going down to the final week, I can smell it.

7.) Kansas City (8-4) [+1]
 Lucky breaks abound in the AFC West, where KC gets a slim victory and watches as the Chargers deep six themselves.  They now have a two-game lead on the Chargers, and the tiebreaker.  We'll see how they match up this week; if KC wins, the division is all but theirs.  With their schedule, 12-4 is very likely.

8.) Philadelphia (8-4) [+1]
 It helps to play a team with a bad defense after getting beat.  Philadelphia had the fraudulent Texans on tap last Thursday and despite a mini-comeback, prevailed in the 4th.  Michael Vick looked good again, but his MVP run has been slowed while others are running ahead.  The schedule stiffens up considerably as they get Dallas twice and the Giants once (in Jersey, no less).  The Eagles have to be presumptive favorites in the NFC East...but with the schedule they have, it wouldn't be surprising if they take a Wild Card.

9.) Green Bay (8-4) [+1]
 The Packers took out the 49ers and have won five of six.  They may not be leading their division, but it's hard not to consider them the favorite, even with the Bears ahead of them.  Their schedule is nothing to sneeze at, including a trip to New England, but given how tough the Bears have it as well...I like the Packers to take the NFC North.

10.) Baltimore (8-4) [-5]
 Losing to the Steelers was tough, to be sure, but I'm not counting the Ravens out.  After seeing their next four games, with the only tough one being New Orleans (at home, no less), it's easy to see that Baltimore can end up 12-4 or 11-5.  With Pittsburgh's schedule being of similar "difficulty", the Ravens need to get all the wins they can to try and get the AFC North outright.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week!
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:31 am
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 12

Heading into December, I'm still not sure we know anything more than we did a few weeks ago.  It would appear that Atlanta has separated itself from the pack in the NFC, but their home-field advantage negates any certainty in analyzing them.  The AFC still has a bunch of good teams at the top, but with the falling off of the entire South division, I'm not sure that it's the stronger conference.  The West division in both conferences is abhorrent, though.  Let's go!

1.) Atlanta (9-2) [no change]
 19-1 at home with Matt Ryan starting at QB.  Can they beat a legitimate team on the road?  I think so, but that doesn't mean anything until they actually do it.  In any case, home-field in the NFC is exactly what Atlanta needs, and with some luck they'll get it.

2.) NY Jets (9-2) [no change]
 A solid home win for the Jets over Cincinnati.  It probably should have come easier.  But hey, they're 9-2 and have a huge game this coming Monday against the Pats.  Control of the AFC East and home-field advantage is at stake.  It isn't likely that the winner of that game gets caught.

3.) New England (9-2) [no change]
 First half, not so good.  Second half, freakin' spectacular.  I guess that's how the Patriots roll against a bad team.  Now they get the Jets on Monday Night, and they can ill afford to play as they did in the first half on Thanksgiving.

4.) Pittsburgh (8-3) [+1]
 Going into OT at Buffalo, I was concerned about the Steelers.  Especially since "broadcast regulations" prevented me from actually watching the OT period.  Stupid "broadcast regulations".  Anyway, they were saved by a well-timed drop and Rashard Mendenhall having the game of his life.  Or at least a very good game.

5.) Baltimore (8-3) [+2]
 Probably not the most impressive win of their season, since they were playing Tampa Bay.  The Bucs can't beat teams with winning records.  That aside, the Ravens are challenging in the AFC North and have a chance to lock it up this coming week.  Or at least get closer to locking it up.

6.) New Orleans (8-3) [+2]
 Luckily for Drew Brees and the Saints, Roy Williams (Cowboys WR, natch) sucks.  It doesn't hurt that Brees is a heck of a QB, either.  And that giving him any time to operate inevitably results in a TD for the Saints.

7.) Chicago (8-3) [-]
 Somehow, the Bears made it back into the Rankings.  I guess it has something to do with them being 8-3 and not enough good teams above them.  As soon as they lose again, they're out, because they've really rubbed me the wrong way this season.

8.) Kansas City (7-4) [-]
 Going to Seattle last week, I heard that the "12th Man" would make a difference in Qwest Field.  Well, I guess the Chiefs imported their own 12th man, because they whipped the Seahawks.  I don't think it was close at any point in the game.  I think this means we have to take Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe seriously; at least, as long as they're playing this well.

9.) Philadelphia (7-4) [-5]
 Disappointing game all around for the Eagles, despite getting close near the end.  The offense was bland, the defense stunk, and the special teams couldn't keep Chicago out of good field position.  Ugly.

10.) Green Bay (7-4) [-4]
 I'm pleased that the Packers didn't beat Atlanta, because I wouldn't have been able to stand all the sucking up Aaron Rodgers would have received.  Of course, since the Packers played well, lots of people sucked up to Rodgers anyway.  It looks like they have a dogfight with the Bears coming up.  Of course, I still think the Bears are going to crash and burn, which would leave the NFC North to the Packers by default.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week!
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 23, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 6:40 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 11

I guess it was something of an underwhelming week in the NFL.  There were some great games, to be sure, and I'm certain I saw most of them.  There were also quite a few games that were not praiseworthy, I take it, because of the results.  In any case, the bunching at the top and middle hasn't wholly ceased.  If this season has taught us anything, it's that parity rules.  Let's go!

1.) Atlanta (8-2) [no change]
 The Falcons went out on the road and won a game.  That can only bode well, even if their opponent was the seemingly lowly St. Louis Rams.  Good enough to keep their spot at the top.

2.) NY Jets (8-2) [no change]
 It looked like trouble for the Jets, down 27-23 with under a minute left in the game.  But then Mark Sanchez went out, manned up (again), and saved the day.  One long bomb and one flare (to Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, respectively), and the Jets were up 30-27.  Does that make Sanchez an MVP candidate?  No, not quite.  But he's a very solid QB who makes big plays when it counts most.  Game-winning plays.  Not everyone can say that.

3.) New England (8-2) [no change]
 It can be amazing what separates two great teams.  Or in this case, one great team and one other team that could be great, maybe, but aren't great right now.  Something like that.  Anyway, Tom Brady played just as expected.  Peyton Manning, not so much.  What might be more surprising is that New England's defense bailed them out.  But the Pats' offense is practically unstoppable; either that, or they exposed the Colts' defense.

4.) Philadelphia (7-3) [no change]
 Surprisingly, Michael Vick didn't play like Michael Vick.  Yet he outplayed Eli Manning, who couldn't figure out how to slide.  So now the Eagles are 7-3, hold the tiebreaker, and look like the favorites in the NFC, because NOBODY, not even the Giants vaunted "defense", can stop Michael Vick.  Oh, to be sure, he didn't play like he did last Monday against Washington, but nobody could have done that two weeks in a row.  With continued success, the Eagles could easily have 12 wins.

5.) Pittsburgh (7-3) [+1]
 Ben Roethlisberger took a shot to the mouth, but his team knocked out the Raiders.  Amazing how a team like the Steelers can come back from a loss and just pound the next team they face.  There should be no doubt that the Steelers are very good.  Are they Super Bowl-worthy?  I'm not sure, but after that beatdown, I have to lean toward "yes".  Wouldn't anybody?

6.) Green Bay (7-3) [+1]
 Once again, Aaron Rodgers came out on top over Brett Favre.  Oh, wait, that was only the second time that happened?  Well, whatever.  The Vikings are done, and the Packers are one step closer to winning the NFC North.  At the moment they're in 2nd due to that abhorrent loss to the Bears (and Chicago's unexplainable and improbable success to this point), but I've got a strong belief that the Packers will eventually win their division.  Even if it takes until the last day.

7.) Baltimore (7-3) [+1]
 Closer than it should have been, but Baltimore pulled it out against Carolina.  Most of that goes to Ed Reed, who is still an incredible safety, especially when it comes to picking off opposing QB's.  I'm not sure who wins the AFC North.  Baltimore has a great chance, though I'm sure they'll have to beat the Steelers again.

8.) New Orleans (7-3) [+1]
 What do you know, the Saints might actually be a good team.  OK, first off, this has nothing to do with Reggie Bush.  Obviously, since he hasn't played since Week 2.  It's all about Drew Brees, and he's getting it done despite throwing a boatload of INT's throughout.  The defense has stepped up against tomato cans and non-tomato cans alike.  Are they going to win the NFC South?  Probably not, but a wild card is certainly within reach.  Heck, the South might get three teams in, if everything rolls right.

9.) Tampa Bay (7-3) [-]
 Two teams go on the road and shut out their opponents.  One goes west, the other east.  I picked the one that went west, because the other team is the Chicago Bears, and they've angered me so much through the season that I'm not letting them in again.  Tampa Bay put up three TD's on the 49ers, and while they might not have been dominant...they went out west and got a shutout win.  Well, maybe they were dominant.  In any case, the Bucs are back in, and the Bears are still on the sidelines.

10.) Indianapolis (6-4) [-5]
 Funnily enough, Peyton Manning looked a bit like Brett Favre on that last play.  Throwing a pick is unusual for Manning, but throwing three has to be damn near unheard of (besides that disaster in San Diego a few years ago).  Then again, since they were playing New England, maybe I shouldn't be TOO surprised.  At any rate, the Colts are now 6-4 and on the short end of the tiebreaker (due to that terrible, awful, no good very bad loss to Jacksonville), and have a few division games coming up after they play the Chargers this weekend.  I still believe in the Colts...but I'm starting to wonder if perhaps this isn't their year.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:52 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 10

Another tough week in the Rankings as some of the top teams lost.  Of course, others move up to take their place, but not much has changed, really.  It's certainly a fluid situation with everyone having nine games under their belt now.  I don't think my Rankings have any predictive value; note that last week's first-place team is now in sixth, for example.  So this is really a picture of what has gone on, rather than an attempt to determine what will occur in the future.  Let's go!

1.) Atlanta (7-2) [+3]
 Playing last Thursday, the Falcons earned the biggest win of Week 10.  Of course, there are arguments for other teams, and I won't ignore them.  However, I think Atlanta's win was most impressive, and they move up to the first spot thanks to that.  It's about time an NFC team had a turn, I think.  I still believe the best teams all reside in the AFC; Atlanta is now 3-1 against the other conference, and that too is being rewarded.  Is there any doubt now that they're the best team in the NFC?  At least, for this week?

2.) NY Jets (7-2) [+1]
 A modest jump for the Jets after a second OT win on the road.  Originally, I planned to put them at first, but late last night I had a feeling that putting Atlanta first would be the better idea.  The Jets played well, especially their QB Mark Sanchez and two of his receivers, Jerricho Cotchery (who manned up huge) and Santonio Holmes.  Holmes caught the TD pass that won the game in OT.  As long as Sanchez continues to improve, 12-14 wins are not out of the question.  They currently hold the tiebreaker in the AFC East.

3.) New England (7-2) [+3]
 Sunday Night was a good stage for New England, and going to Pittsburgh somehow proved to be the tonic that healed them.  It sounds all kinds of wrong, but the Patriots came out like gangbusters and blew up the Steelers.  It was impressive all the way around.  Tom Brady was masterful again, throwing three TD's to a rookie tight end and running for another one.  Here's hoping they can sustain that kind of play.

4.) Philadelphia (6-3) [+6]
 The biggest jump of the week belongs to the Eagles, who vaulted from 10th to 4th after a total beatdown of Washington last night.  It was simultaneously great and ugly.  Michael Vick was responsible for six TD's and generally looked like an elite QB all night.  The Eagles also had three RB's making contributions as well.  They look tough to stop, and they face what many consider a great defense next week as they play the Giants.

5.) Indianapolis (6-3) [+3]
 Another win, another jump for the Colts.  Playing the Bengals, it was no surprise they won.  Next week they get a much tougher opponent as they play the Patriots.  That should be a good one, but tough to pick.

6.) Pittsburgh (6-3) [-5]
 A disappointing performance from the Steelers, who couldn't seem to get anything going until late in the game, and then even that went awry when Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception that was run back for a touchdown.  Oops!  The Steelers aren't out of it by any means, but that elite sheen they had been developing is all but gone now.  Time for a bounce back.

7.) Green Bay (6-3) [-]
 The Packers were on a bye, which bodes well for their injury situation.  It was also nice to not have to hear about how Aaron Rodgers is an elite QB.  He isn't.  Of course, that doesn't mean GB won't win the NFC North.

8.) Baltimore (6-3) [-6]
 I can't say I was disappointed in how the Ravens played.  They just got beat at a critical juncture.  Some may say that their defense was exposed on the last drive, or something like that.  I disagree.  They got beat by a team that played better.  No more, no less.

9.) New Orleans (6-3) [-]
 Another team that was on a bye.  The Saints had their week off to get ready for the final push to win the NFC South.  They're still looking up at Atlanta.

10.) NY Giants (6-3) [-5]
 The Giants were probably the most disappointing team in Week 10.  That doesn't bother me much, since I hate them.  I wasn't as high on them as other people were; I noted that Atlanta looked like the better team, and was proven right as Atlanta defeated a really good team and the Giants lost to a really bad team.  Them's the breaks.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 9, 2010 3:47 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 9

We've now hit the halfway mark of the 2010-11 NFL season, and every team has played at least 8 games.  There are a couple that have played nine, but for all intents and purposes, we're halfway to the playoffs.  I figured that by now, the good teams would be firmly separated from the not-so-good (and the downright putrid), but wouldn't you know it?  I'm just not that lucky.  What we have is a glut of 6-2 teams, with some 5-win teams thrown in for good measure.  Parity/mediocrity reigning supreme?  Or is everyone vulnerable at a certain point in time?  Honestly, I think it's a little of both; everyone is capable (almost) and everyone is vulnerable to at least one bad loss.  Let's go!

1.) Pittsburgh (6-2) [+2]
 After nearly hurtling their way out of the Rankings (but being very lucky by retaining a 5-2 record and thus not moving at all), the Steelers took on a game Cincinnati team and got pushed fairly hard.  They went up 27-7 on the Bengals and then mysteriously let up two TD's to get to the final margin of 27-21.  Of course, the Steelers' defense stepped up when absolutely necessary, preventing the game-tying TD (whose extra point would have made it 28-27, actually).  A solid effort, but the defense giving up scores late has to be too reminiscent of last season's rather epic collapses for Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau to tolerate.  Their two losses were to Baltimore and New Orleans (home and road, respectively).

2.) Baltimore (6-2) [+3]
 An impressive effort against the "road warrior" Dolphins vaults the Ravens to the 2-spot this week.  They pretty much dominated that game, even if they had more FG's than TD's.  I moved them ahead of the Jets based on that performance, as well as the Jets going into OT against the Lions, of all teams.  Their two losses were to Cincinnati and New England (both road games; NE in OT).  After seeing Cincinnati play the last few weeks, that loss must sting somewhat.

3.) NY Jets (6-2) [+1]
 A slight upswing for the Jets with the win.  But seriously, going to OT against the Lions?  No, really, seriously?  That's ridiculous.  So the Jets are no longer the best team in the NFL, but they are definitely in the mix.  Right now, today, the two teams above them look better.  All three teams should be tough outs in the playoffs, of course.  The Jets' two losses were to Baltimore and Green Bay (both at home).  However, they've won all three division games they've played.

4.) Atlanta (6-2) [+2]
 It looked like a good game against Tampa Bay, and the result seems to show that.  But the Falcons proved they are the better team, and in my mind the best team in the NFC.  I have the Falcons above the Giants because they play in a better division, and they have a better record against the AFC than the Giants.  Of course, they also have a better QB/RB tandem.  And better receivers.  The Falcons' two losses were at Pittsburgh and at Philadelphia.  So if they can stay out of the state of Pennsylvania for the rest of the season, there should be no problem, right?  Tough matchup against Baltimore this Thursday, even if it's at home.  It should be quite telling.  Coming out of that game 7-2 (and 3-1 against the AFC) should cement them as the best team in the NFC unanimously.

5.) NY Giants (6-2) [+2]
 What else can I say but "beatdown"?  There are no words for that demolition that the Giants put on Seattle.  With their fifth win in a row, they are looking pretty solid in the NFC.  Are they the best?  Not yet.  There is very little margin of error, though.  So this time next week, the Giants could find themselves moving up.  Their record against the AFC is still terrible, and I'll be wondering how they can compete with the better conference up until the Super Bowl (assuming they get there).  Their two losses were at Indianapolis and against Tennessee.  Both were bad losses, too.  But right now, the Giants are on the up-and-up, with only Philadelphia as a legitimate threat in the division.

6.) New England (6-2) [-5]
 What happens when a great team loses?  They take a tumble, just like anybody else.  The Patriots looked terrible against Cleveland, and I wonder if it was as close as the score indicated.  Maybe not.  Still, the Patriots have been one of the better teams in the league this season, and if they had pulled that one out, they would have been the unanimous best team in the league for a second week.  So what did they do?  They went out and lost a trap game.  I'm not sure it was a "trap" in the usual sense.  Cleveland has a heck of a QB/RB tandem and their defense is for real.  Just ask New Orleans.  The Patriots two losses were at the NY Jets and the other day at Cleveland.  Also not a good indicator of future performance.  Their schedule tightens up considerably now; they go to Pittsburgh next Sunday Night before taking on Indianapolis and then at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.  Tough sledding.

7.) Green Bay (6-3) [+3]
 Speaking of beatdowns, the Packers absolutely stunned the Cowboys on Sunday Night.  Well, stunned, then KO'd, then flatlined.  It was ugly.  Luckily, they get a reward by having their bye in Week 10.  Finally.  The two weeks after the bye are at Minnesota and at Atlanta, so the schedule doesn't really get easier.  It would say a lot if the Packers won both of those games.

8.) Indianapolis (5-3) [-6]
 The biggest fall of the week goes to the Colts, who lost on the road to Philadelphia.  Not a terrible loss, by any means, but they certainly could have won.  And now that they're 5-3, they've got issues.  Now the AFC South is looking like a dogfight again, with all four teams separated by a game.  Luckily, three of their last four are against division rivals.  I guess that means no coasting at the end of the season, unlike last year.

9.) New Orleans (6-3) [-]
 Finally, the defending champs showed like they should have been all season.  It was a resounding beatdown of Carolina.  Their schedule is getting somewhat easier, with the only true challenges being at Baltimore and at Atlanta in December.  11-5 is not out of the question, and with a win at either of those they could be 12-4 and poised for another playoff run.  Hard to believe, in a way.

10.) Philadelphia (5-3)
 Michael Vick returned to the lineup, and the Eagles responded by beating the Colts narrowly.  It really was a great game on both sides, and Vick showed why he was considered an MVP candidate before he went down with the rib injury against the Redskins.  With Vick back in the fold now, the Eagles have to be considered contenders in the NFC.  Especially if the Giants or Falcons show any sign of slippage in the next couple of weeks.  They still have to play the Giants and Cowboys twice, as well.  So it's safe to say that we will find out just how good this Eagles team is.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
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 27, 2010 12:51 am
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7

In my opening last week, I mentioned that the good teams were starting to separate themselves.  This week showed the separation even more starkly.  Good teams can get lucky and catch breaks, too.  Also, the AFC clearly looks to be the stronger of the two conferences at this point of the season.  Could that change as the season moves on?  Certainly.  But for now, the power teams are heavily skewed toward the AFC.  Let's go!

1.) NY Jets (5-1) [no change]
 It's always nice for me when teams are on a bye and already in the Rankings.  No movement, no thinking, no questioning.  Plus, the Jets are one of the three prospective "great" teams that have shown up so far.  Not to be premature, or anything...because the Jets could come out in Week 8 and lay an egg.  But I have confidence that they'll continue to play well.

2.) New England (5-1) [no change]
 Going into San Diego and playing late is better than playing early.  Still, the Patriots were not at their best.  But as I said above, good teams find a way...even if it means watching a kicker bounce one off the upright after a stupid penalty.  This is another team I have confidence in, though, so I'm sure they'll play at a higher level in the weeks to come.

3.) Pittsburgh (5-1) [no change]
 Some might get hung up on the fact that the Steelers pulled out a victory when they probably didn't deserve it.  They might complain about the call being a fluke, that Miami clearly had possession, and such.  It just fits into my theme of finding ways to win.  And not every win will be pretty.  This one sure wasn't pretty...but there were uglier ones this week as well.

4.) Indianapolis (4-2) [no change]
 The Colts were on a bye, yet they lost Dallas Clark for the season and might be without Austin Collie as well.  Ouch.  That means someone will have to step up in the interim.  Of course, since they have Peyton Manning at QB...it probably won't be as difficult to adjust.  Probably.  We'll see next Monday.

5.) Tennessee (5-2) [no change]
 The Titans owned the 4th quarter against Philadelphia.  Kenny Britt played well with Kerry Collins, and some people might wonder if there's a QB controversy brewing.  This isn't like the Eagles' situation; Vince Young is the Titans' starter.  The situation in Philadelphia is not as clear-cut.  Tennessee now leads the AFC South, and they've got what looks like stiff competition.

6.) Baltimore (5-2) [+1]
 It went into overtime, but the Ravens got the win.  It does concern me that they had to go to OT against Buffalo, of all teams, especially after losing in OT to New England.  Now that Ed Reed has come back, I think the already surprising defense gets better.  The AFC North will probably be a dogfight down the stretch, though the loser probably gets a wild card for their trouble.

7.) Atlanta (5-2) [+1]
 Best team in the NFC?  At the moment, I think so.  Why?  They've played three games against the AFC and are 2-1.  OK, so the two victories are at Cleveland and against Cincinnati, not exactly "elite" teams.  Their lone loss was at Pittsburgh, in overtime.  So it's possible that I've underrated the Falcons.  We'll see in a couple weeks when they take on Baltimore.  If the Falcons win in two weeks and win against Baltimore, they'll be 7-2 and in the driver's seat in their division.

8.) NY Giants (5-2) [-]
 In this case, there's nothing wrong with second-best.  Especially in the NFC.  It's hard to imagine the Giants losing home-field advantage or the NFC East at this point.  If they keep playing like this, 10 wins will come with ease, and they could end up with 12.  Why are they behind Atlanta?  Well, they've played two games against the AFC and lost both.  Granted, they looked better on Monday.  So they're clearly rising.  But are they the best in the NFC?  Not just yet.

9.) Kansas City (4-2) [-]
 A solid win against Jacksonville after outscoring them by a count of 28-7 in the second half.  The Chiefs have one of the easier schedules out there, too.  It would not be shocking to see them end up with 12 or 13 wins.  Matt Cassel appears to be rounding into form; he's got weapons in TE Tony Moeaki and WR Dwayne Bowe.  And he's got a hell of a running game behind him spearheaded by Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  With San Diego and Denver looking pretty pathetic, KC has run with the ball and have a solid lead in the AFC West.  It's still the weakest division in the AFC, but don't be surprised if the Chiefs give teams a run for their money in the playoffs.

10.) Tampa Bay (4-2) [-]
 There are a couple other teams that I could have put here in the 10th spot.  But for some reason I like Tampa Bay; even if they got demolished by the Saints (who in turn got demolished by the CLEVELAND Browns, of all teams), they still had the resiliency to hand the Rams a loss via Josh Freeman's bread-and-butter: the 4th quarter comeback.  Tampa Bay looks like they're for real...but if they can put together some consistent performances in a row, it'd do them better.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 7:14 pm
 

2010 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

As we near the halfway point of the season, some of the good teams are starting to separate themselves, and the division races are becoming clearer.  Well, sort of.  The AFC South, for example, is a three-team crapshoot.  The AFC East could be won by anybody but Buffalo.  Both West divisions are in a horrific state of disarray.  It makes for an exciting season, especially down the stretch, but what I wouldn't give for a couple of these one-loss teams to really take off.  Here we go!

1.) NY Jets (5-1) [+1]
 Best team in the NFL?  Yes, for this week.  They've got the longest current win streak, have only lost by a single point, and just pulled out a road win in a game they could have easily lost.  In a word, real.  Why #1?  Because they've got the most wins.  The two teams just below are nothing to sneeze at either, though.

2.) New England (4-1) [+1]
 An OT victory in hand, the Patriots move up to 2nd this week.  Apparently, Ron Jaworski was right: "No Moss, no problem".  Deion Branch came in and played just like he had never left.  Can that keep going?  Maybe.  But even if it doesn't, Brady has plenty of receivers who can get open and get the ball.  They're narrowly ahead of Pittsburgh because they beat a team I figured was great.  And they might still be.  But for this week, the Pats were just a little better.

3.) Pittsburgh (4-1) [+5]
 Into the breach jump the Steelers again.  With Baltimore's OT loss to the Pats, some real estate at the top opened up.  Also, Ben Roethlisberger re-entered the league with style, putting on a nice beatdown of the Browns.  Clearly, I don't expect much from the Browns, so that's why the Steelers are currently third.  That's not a slight, though; the Steelers are a hell of a team.  And it's looking like everyone will slip up once or twice this season.

4.) Indianapolis (4-2) [+5]
 Another beneficiary of Baltimore's OT loss, Indianapolis shoots up the Rankings to claim the 4th spot after beating the Redskins.  It was closer than I thought it would be.  Peyton Manning is playing well; too bad he can't help the defense.  It's also too bad that they lost to Jacksonville.  A 5-1 record in the 4th spot would look much better than 4-2.

5.) Tennessee (4-2) [+5]
 I had a good feeling about the Titans going into their Monday Night game yesterday.  As it turns out, I was rewarded by seeing one of the bigger beatdowns of the week.  It's nice to be right, I guess.  Though I guess if I was following my own rules about who teams beat vis a vis moving up in the Rankings, I should probably have Philadelphia ahead.  Oh well.

6.) Philadelphia (4-2) [-]
 The Eagles are looking sharp no matter who lines up under center.  In fact, it's probably better for them to have Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.  We'll see how that situation develops through the season, of course.  Right now, with Vick still recovering and Kolb playing pretty well, it's no tough decision.  But once Vick gets healthy...well, it's a nice problem to have.

7.) Baltimore (4-2) [-6]
 No matter what, a loss leads to a big drop in the Rankings.  Even in OT, to a team that they had beat.  This is not an indictment of Baltimore specifically; notice that Tampa Bay and Kansas City have been bounced out.  I still believe in the Ravens long-term.  But it's obvious at 4-2 that they're not better than the top three as it stands today.  At the end of the season, it could be something else.  We'll see when we get there.  I like the Ravens, though, and I'm confident they'll be a solid playoff team.

8.) Atlanta (4-2) [-4]
 I considered dropping Atlanta out entirely.  But I didn't really see a replacement that looked better at this time.  And I still believe the Falcons are a playoff team, though they might have gotten exposed somewhat against Philly.  But honestly, how many teams are going to throw over the top like that?  How many have the guts AND the personnel?  In the NFC, not that many.  And the ones that do are dealing with a whole bunch of issues (I'm looking at you, Green Bay and Dallas).

9.) Chicago (4-2) [-4]
 Again, I'm really disappointed in Chicago.  This is another team that I considered dropping out entirely, because I just don't trust them.  But who could have replaced them?  Well, omit the 3-2 teams, firstly.  Then take a look at who else is 4-2: Houston, and the NY Giants.  Are either of them trustworthy?  No.  Are either of them BETTER than the Bears?  Well, the Giants certainly have an argument.  I guess this is where my personal bias shows again, since I also can't stand those two.  I'm not a huge fan of Chicago either, obviously.

10.) New Orleans (4-2) [-]
 The other team to re-enter the Rankings this week is the defending champion Saints.  What a surprise to see them go to Tampa and beat up the Bucs in all phases of the game.  To be honest, this is the kind of performance I was expecting since the opening Thursday night against Minnesota...a performance which the Saints have not provided until this past week.  Well, good for them.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week.
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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