Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I HAVE THE POWER (rankings)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As we've moved past the halfway point of the 2010 NFL season, all we've really learned is that the field is still WIDE OPEN. Any of the top 3 can be considered the best in the NFL right now. Any team from 1-17 could win the Super Bowl and it wouldn't really surprise me. Let's take a look at how I see things as they are now:

1.Atlanta Falcons (7-2)*They lost in overtime to the now 6-3 Steelers in week 1, and lost to the now 6-3 Eagles in week 6. They're tied for the NFL's best record and they've beaten the Ravens, the Saints, and the Bucs who all have 6-3 records. Right now - especially coming off the big win against the Ravens last week - they look like the best team in the NFL. Tough games ahead against the Rams, Packers, Bucs, Seahawks and Saints.

2.New York Jets (7-2)*Hard to argue with this team right now. They are tied for the NFL's best record and they keep finding ways to win close games. Is it luck, or do good teams just now how to pull out the tough wins? Could be either, but I'd bet against luck. We'll find out one way or another, as they still face a lot of good teams including the Texans, Patriots, Dolphins, Steelers and Bears.

3.New England Patriots (7-2)*This team has no big names outside of Tom Brady and Wes Welker, yet they keep on winning like a finely-tuned machine. Had a setback against the upstart Browns a couple weeks ago but got things back on track when they beat down the 6-3 Steelers. It won't be easy with the Colts, Jets, Bears, Pcakers and Dolphins still left on their schedule.

4.Philadelphia Eagles (6-3)*Michael Vick scored 6 touchdowns last night against Washington. He's playing like superman, and this team sure does look like a Super Bowl contender with him under center. They can prove it in the coming weeks against the Giants (twice), Bears, Texans, and even the Vikings and Cowboys (twice) could give them a run.

5.Baltimore Ravens (6-3)*Dropped a close one to a very talented Falcons team this week and they are gearing up for a very tough ending schedule with games against the Bucs, Steelers, Texans, Saints and Browns coming up.

6.Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)*Injuries to the offensive line may prove to be this Steelers team's achilles heel, but they'll be able to prove their elite status with a tough, but winnable 2nd half schedule. Games against the Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Jets and Browns still remain.

7.Green Bay Packers (6-3)*In a weak NFC, the Packers have emerged as one of the best of the bunch for now, but their second half schedule is brutal: Vikings, Falcons, 49ers, Lions, Patriots, Giants and Bears are left on the schedule.

8.Indianapolis Colts (6-3)*Like the Patriots, the Colts have almost no recognizeable names left this year, but they continue to churn out the wins. Tough second half schedule includes good matchups against the Patriots, Chargers, Titans (twice), Jaguars and Raiders.

9.New Orleans Saints (6-3)*The defending Champs are quietly putting together a very nice season. They're staying right in the mix of the best teams in the league. Their division is tough this year and if they want to get past the Falcons and Bucs they'll have to win some tough games against the Seahawks, Cowboys, Bengals, Rams, and Ravens before the big showdowns with the Falcons and Bucs the last 2 weeks.

10.New York Giants (6-3)*They got pounded by the Cowboys last week and they'll need to rebound quickly, as they have games against the Eagles (twice), Jaguars, Vikings, and Packers coming up.

11.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)*The surprise team of the year? Josh Freeman is playing great and they're currently tied for a wild card spot, one game out of 1st place in their division. Tough games ahead include bouts with the 49ers, Ravens, Falcons, Seahawks and Saints.

12.Oakland Raiders (5-4)*They've turned things around in Oakland and currently sit in 1st place in the lowly AFC West. The 2nd half of their schedule is pretty tough and includes games against the Steelers, Dolphins, Chargers, Jaguars, Colts and Chiefs.

13.San Diego Chargers (4-5)*Like they do every year, the Chargers started out slow but have turned it on of late. Philip Rivers is playing like The MVP. Their 2nd half schedule is pretty favorable, but they do have some tough matchups against the Colts, Raiders, Chiefs and 49ers coming up.

14.Miami Dolphins (5-4)*Chad Henne reportedly will not be out for the season, and could be back in the lineup in as little as 2 weeks. If they can patch things up and stay healthy the rest of the way they could make some noise. 2nd half schedule is very favorable but some huge games against the Bears, Raiders, Browns, Jets and Patriots still remain.

15.Chicago Bears (6-3)*That 6-3 record is a bit misleading, but nontheless, they are 6-3. If the O-line can keep it together they could make some postseason noise, but they'll have to make through a really tough 2nd half schedule that includes games against the Dolphins, Eagles, Patriots, Vikings, Jets and Packers.

16.Tennessee Titans (5-4)*Still very much in the thick of the playoff race, but they'll need to improve their pass defense for the final stretch as they face games against the Texans (twice), Jaguars, Colts (twice), and Chiefs.

17.Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)*After such a great start to the season, the Chiefs are starting to slide a bit. The defense, so strong early on, has been giving up too many big plays, and way too many points. They'll need to adjust that if they want to come out on top with a schedule that still has them facing teams like the Seahawks, Broncos, Chargers, Rams, Titans and Raiders.

18.Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)*It's been an up and down season for the Jags, but they find themselves still in playoff contention just past the halfway mark. With a brutal second half schedule that includes the Browns, Giants, Titans, Raiders, Colts and Texans, we'll see how they're looking at the end.

19.Houston Texans (4-5)*Another team that had such a great start to the season and is now slipping. NO one will argue with their offensive abilities, but the defense has been suspect at best. A really tough 2nd half schedule includes the Jets, Titans (twice), Eagles, Ravens, Broncos and Jaguars.

20.Seattle Seahawks (5-4)*I just don't know what to make of this team. This season there have been games where they look super bowl bound, and there have been games where they look like cellar dwellers. Lucky for them, they're in the NFC west. We'll find out if they are for real in the coming weeks when they face the Saints, Chiefs, 49ers, Falcons, Bucs and Rams.

21.Cleveland Browns (3-6)*This team is going to be really, really good for the next few years. They're almost there, they just need to fix that defense a little bit. Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis are quiet a combination. Probably out of the playoff race, but in this wacky NFL season, you truly never know. Their fairly soft 2nd half schedule includes tough bouts with the Jaguars, Dolphins, Ravens and Steelers.

22.Washington Redskins (4-5)*Probably out of the running with the Eagles and Giants playing so well, but I wouldn't ever count Donovan McNabb out. They can stake their claim in the weeks ahead against the Titans, Vikings, Giants (twice), Bucs, Cowboys, and Jaguars. (another brutal 2nd half schedule).

23.San Francisco 49ers (3-6)*They're starting to turn things around in San Francisco. And normally, it'd be too-little-too-late, but luckily they playin the NFC West, where mediocrity is rewarded every year. They can still win the division. Tough games remaining agains the Bucs, Packers, Seahawks, Chargers, Rams and Cardinals (twice).

24.St. Louis Rams (4-5)*Sam Bradford is going to be a very good NFL Quarterback. He's proven that this year. The Rams can still win the NFC West if they can get it together for a 2nd half schedule that includes the Falcons, Broncos, Saints, Chiefs, 49ers and Seahawks.

25.Denver Broncos (3-6)*Kyle Orton is playing like Dan Marino but the defense has been giving games away. This is another team that looks to be improving and should be more competitive in the coming seasons. They're only 2 games out of first in the AFC West. Tough remaining games include bouts with the Chargers (twice), Rams, Chiefs, Raiders, and Texans.

26.Minnesota Vikings (3-6)*What a year for the Vikings. More like a soap opera than an NFL team. I can't imagine they have any hope left for the playoffs. They can, however, play spoiler as their remaining schedule has a few playoff hopefuls on it, including games against the Packers, Redskins, Giants, Bears and Eagles.

27.Arizona Cardinals (3-6)*Tough year for the team with no Quarterback. They're really missing Kurt Warner. They're still alive in the NFC West, but are likely looking at a spoiler role this year. They still have games against the Chiefs, 49ers (twice), Rams, Broncos, and Cowboys.

28.Dallas Cowboys (2-7)*They finally got back on track with a HUGE win against the Giants this week. Though out of the playoff race (barring a miracle) they can still ruin a few teams' chances down the stretch as they still play some hopefuls, including the Saints, Colts, Eagles (twice) and Redskins.

29.Detroit Lions (2-7)30.Cincinatti Bengals (2-7)31.Buffalo Bills (1-8)32.Carolina Panthers (1-8)*These last 4 teams are awful. That's pretty much all you need to know. Don't get me wrong, the Lions and Bills have shown flashes of high powered offense, but in all reality, these teams are dead. Sure, they might still spoil the chances of another hopeful team, but I can't imagine them beating any truly elite teams. For these guys, the old adage rings true..."there's always next year."

Friday, November 12, 2010


Quarterbacks! You can really get a good feel for what teams are going to be successful in the NFL by how good their Quarterback is. As my beloved Dolphins are now mired in yet another Quarterback controversy (please see the entry below this one), it got me thinking about how it's been so hard for Miami to find a franchise QB since Dan Marino retired in 1999. No team has gone through more starting QBs than the Miami Dolphins between then and now.

That said, what teams are all set at QB? What teams are close? What teams are fuuuuuucked?
Here's a little bit of research I've done on the subject:

Teams who have the QB position set for at least the next 5 years:
New York Jets – Mark Sanchez (he's not putting up Peyton Manning numbers or anything, but he's clearly their QB of the future. He lead the team to the AFC Championship game in his rookie season last year, and they are poised to make another run this year)
New England Patriots – Tom Brady (this one is pretty self explanatory...he's probably lost count of how many Super Bowls he's won by now)
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger (won 2 Super Bowls in his first 4 seasons)
Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco (led the Ravens to the AFC title game in '08 as a rookie, and is leading them towards the playoffs this year)
Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning (goes without saying. he'll own every passing record before he retires)
San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers (as far as I'm concerned, he's the best QB in the NFL right now.)
New York Giants – Eli Manning (Payton's little brother...not the dominant force that Peyton is, but he's won a Super Bowl and has the Giants in the playoffs every year)
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers (playing like a true super star QB this season. The Packers will be a force to reckon with in the playoffs)
Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford (2009's #1 overall draft pick is no bust. He is the real deal, and while the Lions are still a couple of seasons away from Super Bowl contention, he's got them headed in the right direction after years of comedy in Detroit)
Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan (led the Falcons to the NFC title game in his rookie season of 2008, and they look like the best team in the NFC so far this year)
New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees (led the Saints to their first ever Super Bowl victory last year, and plays at an MVP level every season)
Tampa Bay Bucs – Josh Freeman (the Bucs really hit a home run when they drafted Freeman in the 1st round of the 2009 draft. he's got them playing competitive football for the first time since 2002 when they won the Super Bowl.)
St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford (this year's #1 overall draft pick has the Rams playing great, and in position to win the NFC West)

Teams with "some questions" at the QB position (but may be set, depending on how things go):
Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer (how much longer will they stick with him?)
Tennessee Titans - Vince Young (he shows flashes of greatness, can he be that guy consistently? injuries have been an issue)
Cleveland Browns - Colt McCoy (he's 2-1 as a starter this season, with HUGE wins over defending champion Saints and all-world New England Patriots in back-to-back weeks. if he continues on this path, he's your franchise)
Jacksonville Jaguars – David Garrard (he's anywhere from great to awful on any given sunday…)
Houston Texans – Matt Schaub (i've never been sold on him and i get the feeling that if the right thing came along they'd upgrade. injuries are always a concern with him.)
Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassell (has all the tools but not sure anyone is REALLY sold on him being the franchise)
Oakland Raiders - Jason Campbell (again, has all the tools, but they're playing musical QBs and obviously aren't sold yet)
Denver Broncos – Kyle Orton (putting up GREAT numbers this year, but is he just filling time until they can get Tebow on the field? i've always felt that he is a better QB than he gets credit for)
Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick/Kevin Kolb (what a terrible problem to have – two QBs playing grea - sometime soon, probably before next year, they'll have to pick one)
Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo (solid QB, but never has been able to get them over the hump, and with a new regime coming in, how safe is his job?)
Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler (continues to make stupid mistakes, but also gets no help from his O-Line…not sure how happy they are with him in chicago, tends to vary from week to week.)

Teams with "major questions" at the QB positon:
Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne/Tyler Thigpen/Chad Pennington (can Henne be the guy? will he get another chance? will Thigpen play this year? how long will Chad "his noodly appendage" Pennington last before getting hurt? will the phins target a QB in the 2011 draft?)
Buffalo Bills – Ryan Fitzpatrick (has shown flashes but is obviously a stopgap. look for the bills to go QB with the top pick in the 2011 draft)
Washington Redskins – Donovan McNabb (it's obvious that McNabb won't be in washington next season)
Minnesota Vikings – Brett Favre/Tarvaris Jackson (Favre won't be back in 2011. what direction will they go? can Tarvaris Jackson lead this team?)
Carolina Panthers – Jimmy Clausen/Matt Moore (neither have looked great, but clausen still needs time to develop, will they stick with this group?)
Seattle Seahawks – Matt Hasselback (looks like Hasselbeck's time is up in Seattle...he can't stay healthy and his play has gotten way too inconsistent)
San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith (former #1 overall pick, but it doesn't take a genious to figure out that the 9ers would love to upgrade here)

Of the 15 Quarterbacks drafted in the 1st Round since 2005.......

7 are legitimate "franchise" QBs who will be leading their teams for years to come (Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford)

4 are starting in the league, but have some pretty large questions marks still (Jay Cutler, Vince Young, Jason Campbell, Alex Smith)

3 have either been benched after their chance to start, or are no longer in the NFL (JaMarcus Russell [LOL], Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart)

1 hasn't played yet (Tim Tebow)

MOST INTERESTING FACT (to me, at least):
Since 2005, no QB drafted outside of the FIRST ROUND is currently a legitimate franchize QB.

The lesson? If you're going to draft a QB, better bite the bullet and take one of the top rated guys in the 1st round. The gamble pays off more often than not.


This week the Miami Dolphins made some noise by announcing that they have decided to bench 3rd year QB Chad Henne, and veteran Chad Pennington will be the starter from here on out. This brings up many questions. Henne certainly hasn't been awful this season. He's led the Dolphins to a 4-4 record, and those 4 losses are against the teams that are currently ranked 1-4 in the ESPN NFL Power Rankings (Jets, Patriots, Steelers, Ravens - and if it weren't for a horrendously bad call at the end of the Dolphins/Steelers game a few weeks ago that essentially handed a free win to the Steelers, the Dolphins would be 5-3 right now.).

Henne's 2010 stats: 176/277 (63.5%) for 1,900 yards, 8 TD, 10 INT and a 78.2 QB Rating.

The move was made to bench Henne despite the fact that Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning never really let Henne loose. Word is that Henning didn't allow Henne to call audibles at the line of scrimmage. I don't care WHO you are, you are going to lose a lot of games if you can't an audible at the line of scrimmage when you need to adjust for how the defense is lined up. Peyton Manning audibles on almost every play. Henne is forced to run the play, as called, no matter what. Kind of hard to outsmart a defense that way. Not to mention, the style of offense that Henning is calling forces Henne to paly within a 10-15 yard window. Henne has a cannon for an arm, and a top 5 wide receiver in Brandon Marshall, yet the Dolphins have thrown passes over 20 yards less than any other team this year.

Not to mention, the running game has become almost non-existent. The Dolphins are averaging around 35 passes and 20 runs per game. Against the Ravens, Ronnie Brown had 6 carries for 45 yards and a TD on the Phins FIRST drive (that included 3 runs of over 12 yards). After that drive, Brown was only give 3 more carries the ENTIRE GAME. You can't put your young QB on the field asking him to throw the ball 35 times without the ability to adjust or audible, give him no run support, and expect great results.

So, Henne is (a)forced to play in a system that doesn't suit his talent and abilities and (b)not allowed to adjust plays or call audibles at the line of scrimmage, and (c)is being given almost no support from the running game - and STILL has his team 4-4, still alive (albeit just barely) for the playoffs, in the top 12 in many passing statistical categories.

Given that information, the logical thing (one would think) would be to open up the playbook for Henne. Give him a 30-40 yard window instead of a 10-15 yard window. Allow him to audible when the defense lines up unfavorably to the play that's called. Give him a consistent running game to fall back on. See how he performs with the cuffs off.

Instead, this regime has decided to bench him, and bring in 34 year old Chad Pennington. Don't get me wrong, Chad Pennington is a great QB, and in 2008 he led the Dolphins from 1-15 to 11-5 and a playoff birth. That said, regardless of how he performs this season, he won't be back next year. And then we are just left with more questions. Do we put Henne back in next season? Do we draft another QB? Do we try to trade for an established veteran QB?

I just can't figure out why the coaches aren't being questioned here. Clearly they are being stubborn, and saying that their gameplans are more important than the actual players on the field. This benching could ruin Henne's psyche for the rest of his career. (To be fair, on the flip side, it could light a fire in him that gets more good play from him). The problem is, they're trading him in before they really know what they have in him.

Obviously after a somewhat disappointing 4-4 start that includes an 0-3 record at home for the Dolphins, the coaching staff is feeling some heat from ownership. They were supposed to have a playoff team this year, and things don't look so good. They think that putting in Pennington will generate more positive plays, and more wins RIGHT NOW, in an effort to save their jobs. The same day they made the announcement that Pennington was the new starting QB, they also picked up 35 year old veteran Defensive Back Al Harris, who had just been cut from the Packers, and the Dolphins also cut 2006 1st round pick DB Jason Allen. Allen had FINALLY earned a starting job at the beginning of this season, and was leading the team in interceptions. He lost his starting job in week 7 to Shaun Smith because he kept getting beat deep. However, Allen has ALWAYS been a great special teams player, and the decision to simply cut him is questionable. Not to mention, if they are suddenly in a WIN NOW mentality, why would they not have put in a waiver claim for Randy Moss a week earlier when he was available? The best receiver in the game can't help you win now?

Things aren't looking so good for coach Tony Sparano and crew. I'd be willing to bet money that if the Dolphins don't make the playoffs, Sparano and Henning will be out of a job. In fact, they might be even if they do make the playoffs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NFL week 5! Updated Power Rankings + My Predictions For This Week's Games

1.Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Huge win over the Steelers last week catapults the team with the scariest defense and one of the most potent offenses to #1 in a year where it's hard to really see who the best team is.

2.Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Only loss is in OT to the 3-1 Steelers. This team keeps finding ways to win close games. That experience will come in handy in the playoffs.

3.New York Jets (3-1)
They've made a clean sweep through the AFC East so far, and they look better each week.

4.Green Bay Packers (3-1)
We'll find out sooner than later how badly their complete lack of a running game will hurt them.

5.New Orleans Saints (3-1)
They just keep winning.

6.Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) bye
They survived their 4 games without Ben Roethlisberger and only lost one. They've got to be feeling good about their chances.

7.Houston Texans (3-1)
Arian Foster is a certified beast. Their O-Line is playing lights out football, as well.

8.Chicago Bears (3-1)
Their Offensive line is truly offensive...and without Jay Cutler things could get ugly.

9.New England Patriots (3-1) bye
Waved bye-bye to Randy Moss this week. Did they wave bye-bye to their offense as well?

10.Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
If you had told me before the season that the Chiefs would be the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL this year, I would have told you that you were full of shit and made fun of you a lot.

11.Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
The Colts are an enigma this year. I have no idea how good they are. Peyton Manning keeps them in every game, though.

12.San Diego Chargers (2-2)
Philip Rivers is playing like Dan Marino and the Bolts are starting to pick it up after a slow start. A game with the Raiders this week should help them keep things on the right track.

13.Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)
No more magical Michael Vick, so we're back to the guy who opened the season as the starter: Kevin Kolb. Can he remind the Eagles why he was picked as the starter in the first place?

14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Are they for real? They can show us this week against the Bengals. Err...never mind, we don't know if the Bengals are for real either.

15.Miami Dolphins (2-2)
Special Teams NIGHTMARE against the Patriots last week. Can they pick up the pieces?

16.Washington Redskins (2-2)
BIG win against Philly last weekend. Can they keep it going without Clinton Portis? I think they're better off this way, we'll see if I'm right.

17.Tennessee Titans (2-2)
Chris Johnson, where are you?

18.Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
In danger of burying their season in the ground very early. They need to start winning.

19.Cincinatti Bengals (2-2)
Carson Palmer needs to step up his game if this team is going to go anywhere.

20.New York Giants (2-2)
If they can keep getting 10 sacks a game, they should be just fine.

21.St. Louis Rams (2-2)
Sam Bradford looks like the real deal, and the Rams are on the rise.

22.Minnesota Vikings (1-2)
Welcome home Randy Moss! Moss gets to take another trip to Revis Island this weekend.

23.Denver Broncos (2-2)
Kyle Orton is playing out of his mind, but there is NO running game in Denver. That will catch up with them.

24.Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Cleveland has shown promise, but they are going to need better QB play if they want to step things up.

25.Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
Huge win over Indy last week. Can these guys pick up the pieces and salvage this season? They'll need a defense.

26.Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
The Cards are handing the keys over to undrafted rookie QB Max Hall this week. Could he be the answer? Larry Fitzgerald hopes so, and Kurt Warner thinks so.

27.Seattle Seahawks (2-2) bye
They are a different team every week. We'll see if their trade for Bills RB Marshawn Lynch helps bring them some consistency on offense.

28.Oakland Raiders (1-3)
Eh...weren't the Raiders supposed to contend for the AFC West title this year? Was that me who made that prediction? No, couldn't have been me....

29.Detroit Lions (0-4)
They are still winless, but the Lions are putting together a good team. When Matt Stafford comes back from his injury we could see some wins.

30.Buffalo Bills (0-4)
A train wreck in Buffalo. Again. From the front office, to the coaching staff, to the players...everyone looks lost.

31.San Francisco 49ers (0-4)
They just can't put it together. They look awful on both sides of the ball.

32.Carolina Panthers (0-4)
This team is just not there. They need a QB. Maybe that's Jimmy Clausen, but he hasn't looked like it yet.


My picks for this week's games:
Denver @ Baltimore = Denver's lack of running game combined with Baltimore's killer defense means bad news for the horseys this week. BAL 27 DEN 13

Cleveland @ Atlanta = Atlanta is finding ways to win each week, even if they necessarily shouldn't. Cleveland is the exact opposite. I don't see that changing this week. ATL 34 CLE 22

Green Bay @ Washington = The Packers have no running game...can Aaron Rodgers do it all by himself against a decent, if not strong, Washington secondary? WAS 17 GB 13

New Orleans @ Arizona = The Saints are just a better football team, and they get to tee off on an undrafted rookie QB making his first NFL start. Advantage goes to the defending Champs. NO 35 ARI 17

New York Giants @ Houston = The Texans are playing lights out football. The Giants have a great defensive front, but Houston's O-line should be able to handle them. HOU 24 NYG 14

Chicago @ Carolina = Chicago has to play without starting QB Jay Cutler, so they're lucky they have the Panthers this week. CHI 18 CAR 6

Kansas City @ Indianapolis = Kansas City takes it's undefeated record on the road to face the team who USUALLY has the last undefeated record. We'll find out how good they really are if they can take down the Colts in Indy. KC 27 IND 24

San Diego @ Oakland = Philip Rivers should be able to eat the Raiders defense alive. And the Bolts' defense keeps getting turnovers. SD 38 OAK 17

Philadelphia @ San Francisco = The Eagles lost magical Mike Vick last week to a rib injury, but Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the starter anyways. I just think they are a better team than the Niners. PHI 14 SF 7

Tampa Bay @ Cincinnati = Both teams are trying to make a statement with this game. Cincinnati might get caught trying a little too hard. TB 21 CIN 18

St. Louis @ Detroit = A matchup of teams that will be really good in the next few years. This could become a nice NFC rivalry. STL 38 DET 31

Jacksonville @ Buffalo = Jacksonville coming off a big upset at Indy, and Buffalo is just awful. This could probably go either way, but the Jags have a better team. JAX 21 BUF 17

Minnesota @ New York Jets = Brett Favre gets to try out his new toy Randy Moss against the mighty Jets. Can they knock the cocky Jets down a peg? MIN 26 NYJ 21

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My NFL Power Rankings + Fearless Season Predictions

We're 3 weeks into the 2010 NFL season, and now that I've been able to see what each team has to offer, I'm ready to post my own "power rankings" (a rank of each of the 32 NFL teams in order, based simply on my own personal feelings), and I'm also ready to make some predictions for the 2010 post season. Here we go!

Power Rankings: Week 3
1.Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): Their defense is playing so good you don't even notice that they've already gone through 3 different quarterbacks (that's impressive). In other news, they only have to go one more game until starter Ben Roethlisberger's suspension is over. Things are looking good in the steel city.

2.New Orleans Saints (2-1): The offense hasn't seemed to "click" consistently yet, but when they do this team is damn near unstoppable.

3.Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Peyton Manning could pull some schmuck out of the stands and make him look like a pro bowl receiver. There aren't a lot of teams that can keep up with this offense.

4.Chicago Bears (3-0): The Bears have been a big surprise so far, and Jay Cutler is having the best career turnaround since Jimmy "Wild Thing" Vaughan got his glasses. With games against the Giants, Panthers, Seahawks and Redskins coming up, this team has a very real shot at being 7-0 headed into their bye week.

5.Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Things are starting to gel for this team. Their only loss came in week 1 against the Steelers (in overtime) and last week they knocked off the defending champion Saints.

6.Green Bay Packers (2-1): Injuries are going to be the downfall of this team. Aaron Rodgers can't do it all by himself.

7.Baltimore Ravens (2-1): The offense came alive last week, and if Joe Flacco is finally out of his funk (and it looks like he might be, thanks to Anquan Boldin) this team is going to terrorize some people.

8.New York Jets (2-1): Won a gritty division battle against the Dolphins last week and can go 3-0 in the AFC East if they can knock off the lowly Bills this week.

9.Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): Seriously, did anyone really think Michael Vick would be able to play the way he is playing right now? He's never been a better quarterback. Looks like Kevin Kolb better get used to holding that clipboard, or he better start packing his bags.

10.Houston Texans (2-1): Arian Foster is a beast. That said, injuries are going to be a factor (can Andre Johnson stay healthy?) and this team has proven to be painfully inconsistent the past few years. Can they hold it together?

11.Miami Dolphins (2-1): Came up 6 yards short against the rival Jets last week, but can redeem themselves against the Patriots on Monday night. If the offense and defense are playing as well as they can, this is as good a team as there is in the NFL.

12.New England Patriots (2-1): The defense has looked increasingly shaky (gave up 30 points to the Bills last week?) and injuries at running back are starting to hurt. Could turn out to be a long season for Belichick and company, but don't count this team out against anybody.

13.Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): The Chiefs starting out the season 3-0 is probably the biggest surprise to this point. The defense has looked great and the offense is playing mistake free football. We'll see if they can keep it up as the schedule gets tougher.

14.Tennessee Titans (2-1): Depending on which Vince Young shows up, this team is extremely dangerous. Chris Johnson churns out 100+ yard games like clockwork. As long as Young isn't giving the game away this team can play with anybody.

15.San Diego Chargers (1-2): Another slow start for the Chargers, but all-pro left tackle Marcus McNeil is back this week, and Philip Rivers is starting to bond with Malcom Floyd. Special teams has been the weak link.

16.Cincinatti Bengals (2-1): The offense is playing terribly, and there are too many good players on this team for that to happen. They better start playing the way they're capable of playing soon or they'll get buried.

17.Arizona Cardinals (2-1): A surprisingly good defense and the offense is coming along slowly. Derek Anderson is no Kurt Warner, but he's not getting a lot of help from his offensive line, either.

18.Seattle Seahawks (2-1): I honestly don't know what to make of this team. Yes, they're finding ways to win, but if it wasn't for 2 kickoff return touchdowns from Leon Washington last week, this team is 1-2. The return TDs are nice, but not every team is as bad as the Chargers at kick coverage. The offense is underperforming like crazy, and the D has been more lucky than good. We'll see.

19.Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Got their first win last week and the offense looked great. If Roy Williams has finally remembered how to be a legit WR in the NFL then the 'Boys could be pretty dangerous in the coming weeks. There's a lot of weapons on that offense.

20.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): A fast start, but this team has a lot of holes. In a couple of years they're going to be near the top of this list.

21.Minnesota Vikings (1-2): You know Brett Favre has to be regretting his decision to un-retire again. There was almost no way he could possibly re-create the magic of last season (maybe his best) but it's certainly not ALL his fault. They should be relying on Adrian Peterson more than Favre, and until the play callers realize that they aren't going to win a lot.

22.New York Giants (1-2): This team has looked terrible the past couple of weeks. They have all the tools to be a playoff team, but they just aren't playing like it.

23.St. Louis Rams (1-2): Sam Bradford is starting to "get it" and this team is on the rise. They could surprise some people.

24.Denver Broncos (1-2): Kyle Orton is playing well but the Broncos have NO running game (which is crazy...they were THE running team for so long) and the defense is lacking.

25.Washington Redskins (1-2): Getting stomped by the Rams is not a good sign for Donovan McNabb and company. If they are going to turn their season around, this would be a good week to do it, with McNabb facing his old team, the Eagles, for the first time. Should be a nice battle between him and Michael Vick.

26.Cleveland Browns (1-2): There are some definite bright spots on this team, and they are moving in the right direction. They just need a solid, dependable leader at quarterback and some better play from their underachieving defense. Unfortunately it doesn't look like either is going to happen this season.

27.Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2): What happened to David Garrard?

28.Oakland Raiders (1-2): Jason Campbell was supposed to be the leader this team could win behind, instead he's already been benched and Bruce Gradkowski has been given the keys to the franchise. Can he give them a jumpstart? They have enough weapons to be competitive, but the problems in Oakland really start all the way up in the owner's box.

29.Detroit Lions (0-3): Losing Matt Stafford to an injury so early has killed them. They can't win without him. The good news is that their defense is improving, and when Stafford's healthy this offense is more than capable of keeping up with anyone.

30.Buffalo Bills (0-3): The offense came alive under new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they came up just short against the Patriots last week. The defense is playing surprisingly well, but injuries are starting to pile up. They try to avoid going 0-3 in the AFC East this week when they host the Jets.

31.San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Biggest disappointment of the season this far. From the coaching staff down, this team just does not seem to be on the same page. If they can put it together they can play with anyone.

32.Carolina Panthers (0-3): It's hard to even watch them play. It's been pretty abysmal. This team should not be playing this badly.


I'm sure I'll probably be wrong on all of these, but it's not about being right. It's about being a dork and predicting the future. Here's my picks for division winners and wild cards for this year:

AFC EAST: Miami Dolphins: Sure, it's a homer pick, but I honestly think this team will continue to get better as the season goes on. It will likely come down to the rematch with the Jets late in the season.
AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers: It will be close between them and the Ravens.
AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis Colts: They'll have to fight for it a little harder this year, with Houston and Tennessee both playing well, but they've got it for at least one more season.
AFC WEST: San Diego Chargers: It's another slow start for the Chargers, but that's just how they do things in San Diego.
AFC WILD CARDS: New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens

NFC EAST: Philadelphia Eagles: Vick is playing out of his mind and the rest of the division keeps shooting themselves in the feet.
NFC NORTH: Chicago Bears: As long as the offense keeps playing mistake free football, this team is as complete as they come.
NFC SOUTH: Atlanta Falcons: I think they'll end up just a bit better than the Saints. Call it a gut feeling.
NFC WEST: Arizona Cardinals: Just because I have to pick one of the teams in this division, and since none of them are very good I'll give it to the one with the best player (Larry Fitzgerald).
NFC WILD CARDS: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints

Sunday, September 26, 2010


My beloved Miami Dolphins will square off against the hated New York Jets tonight at 8:30 PM. It's the biggest game of the season thus far, and I've been looking forward to this one ever since they released the schedules a few months back. The two teams actually match up pretty well. The Dolphins are 2-0 coming off of close wins over the Bills and the Vikings (both games away) and the Jets are back to .500 after beating the Patriots last week to get their record back to 1-1. The Jets players (and their fans) like to boast about their vaunted defense and superior playing, but let's take a look at the how the two teams' stats compare through the first two games of the season:

Average Yards Per Game:
Miami: 261
New York: 256

Average Yards Passing Per Game:
Miami: 135
New York: 130

Average Yards Rushing Per Game:
Miami: 126
New York: 126

Average Yards Allowed Per Game:
Miami: 265
New York: 286.5

Average Passing Yards Allowed Per Game:
Miami: 162
New York: 236

Average Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game:
Miami: 103
New York: 50.5

Pretty even overall, with the Dolphins having a slight statistical advantage on both offense and defense. Should be a great game.

If the Dolphins can win, they'll move to 3-0 and have a commanding lead on the rest of the AFC East (especially if they can take out the Patriots next week)

Really looking forward to this one. FINS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!