No Sleep Till Football

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NFL Power 15 – Week 2

The NFL has a funny way of working itself out. As you probably know, the NFL prides itself on parity within the league. Theoretically every team is supposed to be 8-8 with the big winners being 12-4 and the big losers being 4-12. Ideally this is to keep interest in the league from all fan bases as every team believes they have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

After week 1, things looked a bit shaky as a lot of very good teams lost & had tough opponents going into week 2 which put a lot of teams in danger of starting the season 0-2 which is somewhat of a disaster in a 16-games regular NFL season. However, those good teams won & it proved that most everyone in the league were locked at 1-1. There certainly are exceptions. Most interesting is that the Vikings, Cowboys & 49ers are all 0-2. That doesn’t mean good things for that trio. Of the 3 I think the 49ers have the best chance which means the odds are heavily stacked against Dallas & Minnesota.

I don’t think anyone was predicting that when the season started!

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Getting a road win over San Francisco is a bigger deal than it seems. Essentially the Saints were outplayed yet found a way to win. Beating the Vikings & 49ers to open the season is nothing to sneeze at. The scary thing about the Saints is that they expect to win this year & are finding ways to do so. There is no way opposing teams can give Drew Brees a chance to win b/c he will. The Saints might not be as good as they were last year, but the NFC seems to have regressed.
#2 The Packers came out & hammered the Bills 34-7. They should have done so. The injury to Ryan Grant might be more costly than first thought. Brandon Jackson wasn’t fantastic & at some point a defense is going to gang up on the Packers & make Green Bay beat them by running the football. In the larger sense, if the Bears are actually a good team, Green Bay has an HORRIFIC schedule! Their easiest games will be the two they play against Detroit which is proving to be at least competitive. The next easiest? San Francisco maybe?
#3 Opening the season beating both Tennessee & Atlanta without Ben Roethlisberger has to feel like a dream come true to HC Mike Tomlin & the Steelers. I bumped Pittsburgh WAY UP not only because they beat Tennessee 19-11, but how they did it. They went into Nashville & basically kicked the Titans ass all over their home field. They were much more physical. They were much tougher. They absolutely took the will right out of the Titans. After the game you have Steelers defenders saying Chris Johnson & Vince Young quit. Strong words!
#4 Houston’s win was the most significant of Week 2. The Texans went on the road to Washington after an emotional home opener against the Colts in which Houston hammered Indy. They get down 20-7 after the first half & roar back to win 30-27 in OT on the road! The Redskins could very well be the 3rd best team in the NFC which makes the win even better. I simply don’t see any weaknesses on this team & beating the Colts might have given them the confidence to take it to the next level.
#5 Last week I said Indianapolis losing was the best thing for them. Humiliating the New York Giants on National TV to the tune of 38-7 (I’m not counting Eli’s garbage TD with a minute left) showed you exactly what a motivated Colts team is capable of. Peyton Manning was visibly pissed after last week’s loss to the Texans & you can be for sure that the Colts are going to play all 16 this year. The reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated & I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Indianapolis finish 15-1. Just to prove a point.
#6 You have to respect Rex Ryan’s gangster. Ryan & the Jets made it abundantly clear they hated the Patriots & got New England into a quasi-pissing match that had Brady talking about how he hated the Jets. Losing the Ravens stung quite a bit, but coming out and beating the Patriots 28-14 & picking Brady twice gives the Jets back a huge amount of swag. Mark Sanchez is a stud. All the Jets need to do is cut him loose. That defense is incredible. You simply don’t want to see the Jets.
#7 Beat the Jets 10-9 but lose to the Bengals 15-10? One thing is for certain and it’s that the Ravens haven’t figured out a way to score points. I don’t quite get Joe Flacco. He looked awful against the Bengals. I really like Flacco. He’s got mad physical talent, but the Bengals picked him 4 times! The Ravens did a good job running the football & you have wonder what’s going on with Baltimore simply not pounding the rock. The defense is rock solid, but that offense has to come around.
#8 I can’t hate on the Patriots too much. I really like the Jets so losing to them in the new Meadowlands isn’t a huge cause for concern. I feel about the Patriots much the same way I feel about Indianapolis. Both teams are confident in their abilities to win games. There pretty much isn’t a doubt that New England can turn it on & in reality they’ll only be judged by Super Bowls. The emergence of TE Aaron Hernandez only gives Tom Brady one more tool to work with. That’s not good news for the rest of the AFC.
#9 Choking to the Texans at home isn’t the start Washington was hoping for, but I can’t help but think this is the best team in the NFC East. Jim Haslett is doing wonderful things on the defensive side of the ball. When Mike Shanahan gets the running game going, Washington is going to be very difficult to beat. Things in the NFC East have changed drastically. The Giants just got their pants pulled down, Dallas is a mess & Michael Vick is starting QB in Philly? Washington is in a great position by simply playing up to their abilities.
#10 Sure the loss to Indianapolis was embarrassing, but that was bound to happen. The Colts were mad after losing to the Texans & this was Indy’s home opener. I think the Giants schemed poorly for the Colts. Indianapolis proved they could run the football on New York & then Peyton destroyed them when they planned a little for the run. The Giants still have a ridiculously talented offense & the defense won’t play the Colts every week. I’m not too worried about the Giants.
#11 I don’t know what to think about the 19-11 loss to Pittsburgh. Losing to Pittsburgh wasn’t so bad, but seeing Chris Johnson & Vince Young get hammered was something all together different. Pittsburgh bullied the Titans which is a bad sign for things to come. I have to be honest, I really like the Titans, but I don’t think they are ever going to win a championship with VY. They can win 10-12 games a year, but that’s it. They’ll really have to show some toughness moving forward.
#12 Love the win over the Ravens, but the self-implosion of Joe Flacco was responsible for some of it. Cincinnati managed only 5FGs. You have to like the fact that the Bengals ended up 1-1 after playing the Patriots & Ravens, but it’s weird that the offense hasn’t been able to get things going. There definitely seems to be a lot of offensive firepower on that side of the football, but they aren’t putting it into the end zone. Love the defensive effort though. I’m holding out hope that the Bengals end up really really good.
#13 I have the Dolphins here because I’m still holding out hope for the Vikings. Favre did throw 3 picks against the Dolphins which certainly helped the cause, but overall the Phins have only allowed 20 points over 2 games. I think I’d have them a little lower, but they opened up with 2 games on the road & have won both of them. The schedule gets EXTREMELY TOUGH and I’m not entirely sold on Chad Henne, but right now the Phins are 2-0 on the road with a few home games coming up. Not a bad way to begin a season.
#14 Dallas had every reason to play hard on Sunday. It was their home opener & they certainly needed the win after losing. Chicago didn’t care as the Bears came in & beat the Cowboys 27-20 as Jay Cutler looked amazing while Tony Romo looked ridiculous. By all accounts it looks like Mike Martz & Jay Cutler are working out well. Maybe too well. Don’t forget that the Bears aren’t too far removed from the Super Bowl. Martz is an offensive genius & they have weapons for Cutler to use. The defense is solid. The Bears look like a playoff team.
#15 I wavered between the Falcons & Chiefs but I’m sticking with KC despite a fairly bad showing against Cleveland. KC isn’t used to having success & now they are having to get used to it. They were down at halftime & Matt Cassel played terrible. Still, the Chiefs found a way to eek out a 14-10 victory. KC is likely to lose their next 3 games, so I’m going to stick with them while it’s justifiable. They have so much young talent & I like all of it. I wasn’t sure at first, but Kansas City can win the West.

DROPPED OUT

#5 Minnesota Vikings: I don’t know what’s going on here. I can understand losing to New Orleans on the road but to Miami at home? There are certainly come continuity problems with the offense. Favre really misses Rice & Harvin. I don’t know if Favre comes back if he knew what he was getting into, but I suspect he wouldn’t. I think the problem is that Favre needed the time to get used to the other receivers. The learning curve for him is now drastically reduced. The good news is that the Vikings can still make the playoffs. Fundamentally they are still better than the Bears & Falcons. The NFC West isn’t very good & the Cowboys might be a non-factor. Still, they need to start winning. They get Detroit next which should put the Vikings in the win column, but Jets, Cowboys, Packers & Patriots await the 4 weeks after. If they can go 5-2/4-3 after 7 I think they’ll be alright.

#14 Dallas Cowboys: With the Cowboys I think the solution is a little simpler. I think in order to win a Super Bowl you are going to have to have a fantastic coach or a fantastic QB. The Cowboys certainly don’t have a fantastic coach in Wade Phillips & I think Tony Romo might the sort of QB that can be statistically significant, but never win a legitimate championship. To be fair, Dallas is struggling with inconsistency & injuries to the offensive line, but I don’t know. Starting 0-2 is a disaster. There is tons of talk about how hot Wade Phillips’s seat is which can’t be good for morale. It’s really weird in a way because the Cowboys are arguably the most talented team in the NFL. I don’t know what is going on, but the road doesn’t get any easier. Dallas’s next 4 opponents are the Texans, Titans, Giants & Vikings. Dallas could easily start the season 0-6! That’s INCREDIBLE!

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September 22, 2010 - Posted by | Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL Power 15, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

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