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NFL Power 15 – Week 7

I wonder if the NFL & NCAA always work out the same. This past weekend was a relatively tranquil weekend by NCAA standards and the NFL followed that up with pretty much the same. This was the first week in which I didn’t have any teams unranked the previous week battle their way into the Power-15.

I touched last week on the nature of the AFC being more dominant than the NFC despite some preseason hype to the contrary, but this past week only gave more ammunition to the theory as the Cleveland Browns went into New Orleans hand handled the Saints while the Titans welcomed in the Philadelphia Eagles & sent them packing with a blowout loss. I still think this is an interesting development although the New York Giants are starting to slowly rise to the top of the rankings. However, New York almost proves the rule as the 5-2 Giants have suffered their only two losses at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts & Tennessee Titans. The Packers could be coming around though.

Until then, the Power-15 is once again dominated by the AFC powerhouses at the top.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 The Jets didn’t play this week, but nobody else played so spectacularly that would cause me to knock New York from the top spot. Pittsburgh, New England & Baltimore won their games by a combined total of 7 points while the Colts were on a bye week. The Jets headed into the bye week with the best record in the NFL. They still have it & if they can take care of business at home, the Jets should be 10-1 when they head to Foxboro to take on the Patriots in a Monday night game on Dec. 6.
#2 The Roethlisberger fumble was a crazy call. We got that game in Indianapolis & I thought Big Ben coughed it up which sealed the deal essentially for Miami. It didn’t happen that way, Pittsburgh kept the ball, kicked a FG & held on to win 23-22. That was a tough break for Miami, but then again, Roethlisberger was practically perfect on the day for the Steelers going 19/27 for 302 yards & 2TD. Miami should have gotten some type of rush.
#3 The Patriots had this one in hand until the 4th quarter when San Diego went on a scoring spree that put a once 23-6 Patriots lead in jeopardy at 23-20 with Kris Brown lining up a 50-yard FG for the tie. Brown would miss giving New England a solid road victory over a team more talented than its record would indicate. The Patriots have won their last two by a combined 6 points. That 5-1 record could just as easily be 3-3. You can’t argue with a 5-1 Bill Belichick led team, but I’m not sure just yet.
#4 I almost knocked the Colts down a couple of notches & probably would have if some of the other top-10 teams had fared a bit better. The Colts got their bye week just when they needed it, but the losses are starting to mount for Indy. They have lost Dallas Clark for the season. Austin Collie is banged up. So is Joseph Addai, Donald Browns & Anthony Gonzalez. The Colts are deep at the skill positions & of course #18 is still under center, but how much longer before the center can’t hold?
#5 I really like Vince Young as a person. Or at least I like the way he comes off on camera, but how hard must it be for Jeff Fisher to see Kerry Collins go 17/31 for 276 yards & 3TD? Collins did throw a couple of picks, but Tennessee got virtually nothing out of their running game while Collins for the most part carved up a solid Philly defense. The Titans aren’t a very good QB away from a Super Bowl, they are merely in need of a solid option under center who can win. What if Aaron Rodgers were the QB here instead of Green Bay?
#6 The Giants are clearly emerging as the best team in the NFC especially seeing how New Orleans is falling off the map & Green Bay hasn’t been 100% all season long. The G-Men showed up in Dallas in an absolute must win for the Cowboys. In 2 consecutive possessions Eli Manning throws picks that give Dallas a 10-0 lead before the game even started. Dallas would go up 20-7 midway through the 2Q & all New York did was outscore Dallas 34-15 the rest of the way. I see no weakness here.
#7 The Ravens are lucky they didn’t get beat here. When Lewis stripped that ball, I thought the player was down by forward progress b/c the Ravens defenders had lifted him into the air. The refs didn’t see it that way awarding Baltimore the ball & allowing the Ravens field position so good that it almost guaranteed a FG to give Baltimore a 37-34 victory over the then 0-5 Bills. How does an elite team with a supposed superior defense allow 34 points at home & almost lose to a team that came in 0-5?
#8 The Falcons bounced back after losing to the Eagles with a solid win over Cincinnati that effectively ends the Bengals playoff hopes. I’m kind of torn here about the Falcons b/c just last week they lost to the Eagles who I know have below them in the power rankings. Atlanta had a great offensive output in the 39-32 win over Cincy, but I would have liked to have seen the defense give up a little less than 32! Atlanta has given up 63 points over the past 2 weeks. The defense has to get back in gear.
#9 No game for the Texans this week as they were on by along with the Colts & Jets. This upcoming week the Texans visit the Colts in a Monday night affair. I’m excited to see what Houston can do in a rematch. I’m a little puzzled by Houston so far. At 4-2 with wins over Washington & Indy they look pretty solid, but Houston has a worst case record of 1-5 & could easily 0-6 if Indianapolis didn’t practically give them the opener. Oddly enough, Houston still has a lot to prove. Despite a great start, if Houston loses this week to Indy, they could be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
#10 Donovan McNabb was fairly awful in a return to his home town, but lucky enough Jay Cutler decided to keep throwing at DeAngelo Hall who ended up with 4 interceptions. Six of Washington’s 7 games have been close. The only exception is the 30-16 beating they took at the hands of the Rams which means Washington’s worse case record is 0-7! However, they’d be a playoff team if the season ended today. I still like what I’m seeing on defense, but McNabb isn’t the guy.
#11 A hard fought game for the Packers in a game they needed badly not only for football reasons, but also to get Rodgers a win over Favre. I don’t think starting off 0-3 against your mentor would have been difficult for Rodgers to overcome, but it was still nice to get the monkey off his back. Favre did more to beat himself with the 3 picks though although Rodgers played well enough in his own right. Minnesota ran the ball at will which almost makes you wonder what’s wrong with the Pack.
#12 Seeing how the Jets were on a bye week, was there a division leader who won as convincingly as the Chiefs this weekend? It’s true that Jacksonville sucks & Todd Bouman was the QB, but the Chiefs were only up 14-13 at half before blowing Jacksonville out 28-7 in the 2nd half. Thomas Jones & Jamaal Charles ran wild while Matt Cassel was perfect. KC’s defense was also stout shutting down Maurice Jones-Drew. To be completely fair, KC hasn’t beaten anyone yet, but take a look at that schedule! Would anyone be surprised if KC was 12-4?
#13 The Dolphins probably deserve to be higher because they probably should have beaten Pittsburgh. Still, they drop to 3-3 with a ton of work to do in order to get to the playoffs. I thought that Brian Hartline fumble screwed them early & if Hartline doesn’t give up the ball then it’s possibly a different outcomes for the Dolphins. It’ll seem like a squandered opportunity when the season is over, but I like this Dolphins team. Most likely they are playing in the wrong division.
#14 This might be too big of a drop for the Eagles as a lot of teams walk into Nashville only to leave battered & bruised. The loss isn’t so bad, but Philadelphia pretty much took Chris Johnson out of the game and yet had no answer for the unstoppable Kerry Collins to Kenny Britt connection!? We aren’t talking Montana to Rice here! The Eagles defense is entirely too good to give up 37 points to a Titans squad not getting much from Johnson at tailback. The QB situation is still dicey too.
#15 I really wanted to put Seattle here because the Seahawks are 4-2 & leading the division while the Saints are coming off a home loss to the Cleveland Browns which had Colt McCoy making his 2nd NFL start! Even the Bucs are 4-2! Something isn’t right in Louisiana. The Saints have a worst case record of 1-6 & they haven’t played anyone. If you don’t believe in Tampa then New Orleans schedule is extremely soft. The 4 teams they’ve beaten have a combined record of 8-17. They get Pittsburgh next making one wonder if the Saints can climb out of a 4-4 start to defend their title.

DROPPED OUT

No drop outs from last week! Here are a couple of notes on teams that almost make the cut for this week’s Power-15.

Seattle Seahawks: I think it’s entirely possible for the Seahawks to finish the year 10-6 after starting it off 4-2. The schedule isn’t that bad & the NFC West is turning out to be a complete mess. The Cardinals are a disaster at QB while San Francisco is 1-6 with a coach still talking about the playoffs. The real story here is St. Louis, but expecting Sam Bradford to take them to a division crown his first year might be a little too much this early. Keep in mind all that Pete Carroll wanted to prove in his jump back into the NFL. Carroll thought he got a raw deal his first time around. Taking over a Seattle squad that wasn’t too good in 2009 & getting to the playoffs certainly drives Carroll’s point home about how he believes he was good NFL head coaching material.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are a pretty sweet story at 4-2 & if the season ended today, the Bucs would be the #5 seed in the NFC playoffs. However, a closer looks shows that Tampa Bay is about as big a paper tiger as you can get. The only real legitimate teams they’ve played so far are the Saints & Steelers. Tampa lost both games by the combined score of 79-19! They have 3 close wins over the Rams, Browns & Bengals. If those games were played again, I’d have a hard time believing Vegas would install Tampa as the favorite in any of them. They do have a 20-7 win over Carolina, but we are talking Carolina! I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucs lose 6 more games, but remember that if Tampa Bay finishes the year 8-8, it’ll will be a 5-game improvement from last year’s 3-13 mark! Raheem Morris would certainly get some coach of the year chatter.

Chicago Bears: Some people are still giving the Bears love even after that dismal performance by Jay Cutler, but I simply don’t get it. The early season win over Dallas is completely meaningless at this point. Despite being 4-3, the combined records of the 4 teams Chicago has defeated stands at 6-18! They lucked up & beat Green Bay at home & have lost 3 of their last 4 including games to the Giants, Seahawks & Redskins. The only thing I can figure is that if the season ended today, Chicago would be the NFC North division champs and the #4 seed because they own the tiebreaker with the Packers. The Bears are on bye next week & I suppose a couple of games against the Bills & Vikings could put them back at 6-3, but Green Bay is going to get another shot.

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October 26, 2010 - Posted by | Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL Power 15, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Week 7

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