Week 4 Power Rankings

The first quarter of the season is over and we now have a little bit of a clearer look at teams’ identities.

1. The Broncos have clearly established that they are going to be a dominant team and they are the Alpha dogs of the league.

2.  After a slow start in weeks 1 and 2, the Saints have really come around the last 2 weeks with back to back explosive offensive performances.

3. The Chiefs had no problems dominating yet another NFC East opponent as they remain perfect, and continue to look good in all phases of the game.

4. Tom Brady did not look like himself in the first 3 weeks of the season.  Sunday night was his best performance of the season, and the game still came down to the final seconds with Atlanta hanging around in the 4th quarter.  The Patriots remain undefeated, but they have not been able to blow anyone out the way the Broncos and Saints have.  With their schedule being as easy as it has, you have to worry a little bit for Patriots fans.   You have to imagine that that Tom Brady will get it together soon, but there seems to be a lot of parity in the league this year.

5. Seattle has looked really bad in their 2 away games.  Again, they did virtually nothing for 3 quarters and found a way to come from behind with some miraculous plays from the defense.  Without these golden nuggets, they don’t win these games.  Although the the defense has been rock solid for the past 2 seasons, they can’t count on those plays every time they are on their way to a loss.  There will come a time when that luck runs out and they’ll actually have to get some consistent scoring drives from the offense away from the Link.

How do you rank the five 3-1 teams?  All have looked really good at times this season, and their record speaks for it having only one loss.

6. The Bears lost to the Lions so they take a drop in this week’s rankings, but I expected the Lions to beat the Bears at home with that explosive offense.  Otherwise, the Bears have an explosive defense and some elite offensive weapons.  They will be a factor this season, although the Lions look like they’re gonna give the Bears a run for the money in the NFC North.

7. The Lions proved that they will be factors this season after a very explosive and impressive win over a tough Bears team.  Reggie Bush adds a scary dimension to this team that already has a perennial 4,000 yard passer and 1,000 yard receiver.

8. The Colts are showing that they are a power team with their running game.  They are going to be able to grind teams out and wear them down.  And they still have that Andrew Luck guy. This may not be one of the best teams in the league, much like the Seahawks, but they seem to just find ways to win and there’s something to be said about that.

9. The Titans have one of the better defenses this year and Jake Locker was having a breakout season.  They have impressed through 4 weeks, but Locker is out now and this teams figures to lose a step on the offensive side  with Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in.

10. The Dolphins finally lost one, but it wasn’t close this time.  Hopefully this thrashing by the Saints doesn’t ruin their confidence, because this is a good young team that has a lot of potential.  The only reason why I rank them the lowest of the 3-1 teams is because Ryan Tannehill was unable to take care of the football on Monday.  Good teams take care of the football and don’t give opposing teams extra chances to beat them.  Who knows how well the Fins will play against the better teams in the league.

11. Green Bay is 1-2 but they have one of the best QBs in a QB driven league.  Much like Peyton Manning, Rodgers is going to hit a lot of targets and make it look very easy in the process.  He’s gonna hurt you with his legs too.  Their 2 losses were to 2 good teams and they hung around in both games.  The Lions and Bears are playing very well so the Packers have some ground to make up coming off of their bye.  If anyone can do it, my money is on Aaron Rodgers.

12. The Chargers offense has been very potent this season.  Their defense has been allowing too many points, but Philip Rivers has this offense looking unstoppable at times.  Unfortunately they’re AFC West with the undefeated Broncos and Chiefs who figure to continue to be undefeated for the foreseeable future.

13. I didn’t have the 49ers ranked in my top 20 last week.  They looked so bad in weeks 2 and 3 that I thought their season was lost.  They started out looking that way for the first quarter ½ against the Rams, but then Colin Kaepernick  found ways to connect with Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin for touchdowns (something he has been unable to do since week 1).  He didn’t have an amazing night, but the Rams looked really bad so the Niners came out looking really good.  And it was nice to see Frank Gore and the run game get back on track.  Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter both got some nice work and TDs in garbage time when it was obvious the Rams posed no threat.  In weeks 1 and 4 the Niners looked like they could be the best team in the league.  In weeks 2 and 3 they looked like they could be the worst team in the league.  I suspect they’d rather be a good team and will find ways to ride Frank Gore to some much needed victories.

14. The Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Browns and dropped to 2-2.  They have too much talent to lose these games that figure to be automatic W’s on paper.  The Browns have been playing well the last weeks and have found a way to come out with a 3 way tie with the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North.  There has been a lot of parity in the league this season, so it’s been hard to tell whats going to happen with the teams outside of the top 10.  The Bengals have shown us that even though they have top 10 talent, they’re not ready to be a force in the league yet.

15. The Dallas Cowboys.  What can I say?  They’ve lost 2 games to the AFC West and they still have to play the Broncos.  Lucky for them, the NFC East is the worst division in football so they finish week 4 in first place at 2-2.  The Redskins and Eagles are not far behind the Cowboys at 1-3 and they still have to play each other.  The Cowboys haven’t amazed this season yet, but neither have most teams, and the Cowboys have a lot of weapons to be a force in the league.

16. The Baltimore Ravens just lost to the Bills.  The Bills almost beat the Patriots in week 1.  Are the Ravens that bad?  Or are the Bills a lot better than everyone thought?  Who knows?  But the Ravens need to run the ball more and better.  Ray Rice was my first round pick in my fantasy draft and he has disappointed me for 4 weeks.  The Ravens have other options in the run game, but don’t seem interested in using those options effectively either.  This team is leaving a lot to be desired from fans and fantasy owners alike.

17. The Buffalo Bills almost beat the Patriots in week 1, then almost lost to the Panthers in week 2, almost beat the Jets in week 3, and almost lost to the Ravens in week 4.  They have been up and down this season, but they’ve been in every game and have impressed at times.  There is some potential here.

18. The Houston Texans have all the talent and all the potential in the world, but they are frustrating their fans and fantasy owners.  Their first two wins went down to the wire and could have easily lost both of the games.  In week 3 they brought nothing to the table against the Ravens.  In week 4, they looked like they had righted their ship against the Seahawks after thoroughly out performing them in the first half.  Late in the 3rd quarter, the Texans were up 20-3 and looked like they were on their way to route the Seahawks.  When you have the lead and have dominated the whole game, you run the ball and burn the clock, you don’t throw an interception to one of the best scoring defense’s in the league.  The Texans clearly looked like the better team, but they look like they just don’t want to win this season.

19. The Minnesota Vikings had an impressive win in London.  They haven’t had any trouble scoring points this season thanks to Adrian Peterson.  They’ve been in all 4 of their games, but lost a couple of close ones and unfortunately are sitting at 1-3.  It’s tough to play in the NFC North where the Lions and Bears are 3-1 and the Green Bay packers can flip a switch and play at a level that not many teams can match.  This Vikings team is not as bad as their record indicates.

20. The Cleveland Browns have looked good with Hoyer at quarterback winning their last 2 games.  Who knew the Trent Richardson trade would result in 2 wins?  I thought it would certainly result in 2 losses.  Shows what I know.  But I am glad that drafting Josh Gordon and sitting him for the first 2 weeks didn’t turn out to be a bad idea.


NFL Week 3 Power Rankings – Seattle Seahawks

After looking at many Power Rankings online, I have seen a lot of inexplicable hype surrounding the Seattle Seahawks.  Through the 1st three weeks of football, they struggled against the lowly Carolina Panthers in week 1.  Both teams struggled to do anything offensively and the Seahawks pulled out a late game win in a low scoring snooze-fest.  I honestly tried to watch this game thinking the Seahawks were going to be a force this year.   They have yet to show it so far this season.  Russel Wilson is statistically in the bottom of the barrel of NFL QBs but is being praised by NFL Network and NFL.com staff for who knows what reason.  He hasn’t had any consistency.  There has been nothing there to excite the average fan the way Peyton Manning has.  The Seahawks are 3-0 and their 2 best offensive weapons have not delivered much.  Marshawn Lynch has had one impressive game and it came against a 49ers team that has not been able to stop him ever.  They don’t have any household name receivers.  Their 3 wins came against teams that would have lost to most SEC teams if they played that way.  They trounced the Jaguars.  The Jaguars.  Let me channel my inner Allen Iverson.  We’re talking about the Jaguars? The Jaguars???? That impresses you? They could have scored 100 points.  It’s the Jaguars.  It might as well have been a bye week for them.  Add to this that of the 3 teams that have beat the Jaguars, the Seahawks gave up the most points.  And this is supposed to be the best defense.  The Chiefs essentially shut them out.  Where are they on the power rankings?

Alex Smith has thrown for more first downs than Russel Wilson.  He has also thrown for more passing yards than Wilson, and has 0 interceptions to Wilson’s 2.  Through the first 3 games of the season the Chiefs are the only team in the NFL that has yet to turn the ball over.  They are +9 on turnover differential.

The Chiefs beats the Cowboys and Eagles to the Seahawks wins over the 49ers and Panthers.  The 49ers cant beat anyone right now.  The way they’ve been playing, they could have played the Raiders and Bills in weeks 2 and 3 and still would have lost.  The Panthers struggled in weeks 1 and 2.  The Seahawks victory over them is far from impressive and does not merit a boost in the power rankings.  The Bills win over the Panthers was far more impressive and even that game was not particularly good.

I just don’t see how people are ranking the Seahawks #1 or #2 after 3 weeks.  There are 7 undefeated teams and the Seahawks are definitely better beating teams with much more ease than the Patriots and both teams have had an easy schedule.

Another team that is sitting too high in the power rankings is New Orleans.  They are 3-0 but Drew Brees hasn’t been the record setting Drew Brees that we expected and that we are used to.  He finally had a big day with Jimmy Graham against the Cardinals.  But again, it was the Cardinals!  Who have they beat?  He and Matt Ryan both had weak performances in week 1 in what everyone expected to be a shoot out.  Both teams have played below par, But luckily the Saints got to play Tampa Bay and Arizona so they are 3-0.  A win is a win so you have to give them that.  But they are in the same boat as New England.  You should be winning by much greater margins.  These games against teams with lower level talent and expectations should not be as close as they have been.  There’s something missing.

I’m going to give you my top 20 power rankings after 3 weeks of football based on schedule and performance:

1. Denver Broncos – There is no doubt that this is the scariest team in all of the land.  They can drop 40 on anyone in the league on any given day.  Peyton Manning has been unreal in his dissection of defenses and TD rate.

2. Chicago Bears – This defense continues to force turnovers and score points.  Jay Cutler can make all of the throws, and Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall are big time play makers. This team is very well rounded and is poised to win their division.

3.Cincinnati Bengals – Their only loss this season came to the Bears in a very tightly contested matchup between 2 of the leagues top teams.  Andy Dalton has a premier perimeter threat in AJ Green.  He has a stable of tight ends.  And they have a dynamite rookie running back in Giovanni Bernard.  This team has the weapons to beat anyone and they look real good doing it.  If they don’t win the AFC North, they’ll get into the playoffs as a wild card.

4. Kansas City Chiefs – This team had 2 wins last year.  They didn’t have a lead until their 8th game of the season.  This season they have been the only team in the NFL that has not turned the ball over.  The defense has been stingy and has 9 takeaways including 2 touchdowns.   They played an almost perfect game in week 1.  They had no trouble disposing of the Cowboys and Eagles who have 2 of the leagues most explosive offenses.  They have all the weapons, the coaching, and the formula to go undefeated at 9-0 heading into their bye week.

5.  New Orleans Saints – They’ve had an easy schedule.  Their toughest game came in week 1 against the Falcons who have yet to get it together this season.  If the Drew Brees can’t get something going with his other receivers not named Jimmy, the Saints could find the Falcons coming up fast in the rear-view when Roddy White and Julio Jones get healthy.

6. Seattle Seahawks – This defense is the #1 defense in the league and they make it tough on anyone to score points or even get into their game plan.  Russel Wilson and Marshawn Lynch have not been consistent, but there is no other threat in this division.  They’ll make the playoffs.

7. Miami Dolphins – Colin Kaepernick wore a Dolphins hat over the summer and like out of something from a Freaky Friday movie their teams have had a reversal of fortunes.  He must have known something because the Dolphins are looking like the team to get behind.  They have had some impressive wins so far and look like they could challenge the slow starting Patriots for the AFC East.

8.  New England Patriots – The way they have been playing they’re lucky they’re not 1-2.  They need to get it together fast or they could miss the playoffs even after starting 3-0.

9.  Baltimore Ravens – The defense can still get it done and Joe Flacco can still make all the throws.  He doesn’t have a whole lot of places to throw the ball to, but when Ray Rice gets healthy they’ll have a nice 1-2 punch at RB to open up some passing lanes.  If the Ravens don’t win AFC North, they’ll get into the playoffs as a wild card.

10.  Green Bay Packers – They just can’t seem to be able to beat the 49ers.  They’ve had some bad luck on defense against the Niners and Bengals.  If this defense can tighten the screws, Aaron Rodgers and the offense have all the tools to torch any team in the league.  Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if the defense can get together fast enough or long enough to catch up to Chicago AND Detroit in the NFC North.

11. Houston Texans – Matt Schaub and Arian Foster need to put on their big boy pants and go out there and score some points.  They’ve won a couple of tightly contested games against 2 good teams, but Schaub has looked lackluster.  The AFC South is surprisingly very competitive with the Texans, Colts, and Titans all at 2-1.  Of the 3 teams, the Titans have the poorest QB, the Colts almost lost to the Raiders and waited until the end of the 4th quarter to put the nail in the coffin of the 49ers who haven’t been able to ANYTHING the last 2 weeks.  The Texans have an advantage at the skill positions and experience.  This is their division to lose.

12.  Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have elite players at most of their skill positions.  However, Matt Ryan has not played at an elite level as of yet, and it doesn’t help that his 1 and 2 receivers have been injured.  When this team gets healthy they’re going to make a push to win the NFC South or grab a wild card.

13.  Dallas Cowboys – They beat the Rams and the 0-3 Giants.  They’re winning they’re division so I had to mention them.  But the NFC East is the weakest division in football and 8 wins could probably make the playoffs here.  There’s no guarantee they’ll win their division either.  There’s always December.

14.  Detroit Lions – They’re 2-1.  Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are gonna do their numbers.  Reggie Bush adds an exciting dynamic to this team.  Joique Bell has been a bell cow for them so far this season and it is working nicely for them.  If Bush can stay healthy, this offensive has a lot of firepower to beat a lot of teams in shoot-outs.

15. Tennessee Titans – This team has had 2 very impressive wins against teams you wouldn’t have expected them to beat.  They also hung in against the Texans and almost pulled that win out.  They could easily be 3-0.

16.  Indianapolis Colts – They just added a monster of a running back to the backfield in Trent Richardson.  He and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to wear teams out.  This is good because Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne haven’t lit it up so far as we may have been expecting.  They struggled to beat the Raiders, they didn’t beat the 49ers decisively until late in the fourth quarter.  These are 2 very poor teams right now and the Colts haven’t been much better.  They are 2-1 and in the mix in their division.  Their play so far won’t win their division and the AFC is so strong they will not get a wild card this year.

17.  San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers is a serious threat again.  He’s making all the throws and their offense is running on high octane again.  They’ve lost 2 very close games that they had chances at winning.  They could easily be 3-0, but they’re in the toughest division in football and they did were unable to get it done.  They may not make the playoffs, but their going to give it a valiant effort and spoil a lot of teams dreams along the way.

18.  Philadelphia Eagles – They spoiled a late lead against the Chargers when they were looking like they were on their way to going 2-0.  Instead they are now 1-2 after having no answers on offense against the Chiefs.  It’s still early in the season and they have nothing worry about (except Michael Vick’s health, and that defense).  Michael Vick is still a threat at all phases of his game.  He can beat you with the long ball to DeSean Jackson, short and chunk yardage, as well as on the run with his legs.  LeSean McCoy is the best back in football at making you miss and getting big gains after dancing around you.  He is also a receiving threat.  This offense has a lot of fire power and won’t stall very often like it did against the Chiefs.  If the defense can play like it did against Kansas City,  the offense will have no problem scoring 28 a game most weeks.  In the weak NFC East, they are only a game behind the 2-1 division leading Cowboys and have plenty of time and talent to get back on track.

19.  New York Jets – They’re 2-1 and could easily be 3-0.  They had the Patriots in range but they just couldn’t close it out.  This team didn’t have a lot of expectations.  Their coach was on the hot seat coming into the season, but they’ve found new life.  It would take a miracle, or a really fast learning curve for Geno Smith, to win their division and they won’t get a Wild Card in the AFC.

20.  Oakland Raiders – They had the Colts beat in week 1.   Then they gave up a late score to surrender the lead.  Then Terrelel Pryor led them on a furious comeback drive to potentially win the game.  Then he threw an interception in the waning seconds of a game he almost came back to win a second time.  There are no moral victories in the NFL.  The Raiders almost beat the Colts on the road with a young inexperienced QB.  They had no chance against Denver, but they didn’t fold.  They didn’t give up touchdowns on every drive the Ravens did.  They forced a few punts and even sacked Peyton Manning and recovered his fumble.  On the offensive side, Terrelle Pryor is becoming a legitimate QB in this league and it looks like he stole Colin Kaepernick’s mojo.  He has no fear and is turning Denarius Moore into a household name.  Darren McFadden hasn’t gone out for the season yet, and that’s a great sign!  They aren’t going to challenge in their division, but they are getting better.  They aren’t going to be the worst team in the NFL this season.  It’s too early to tell where they’ll end up, but so far this season, I’ve seen a lot worse from a lot more teams.