No Sleep Till Football

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NFL Power 15 – Week 8

I didn’t think there would be that much movement among the playoff seeings after Week 8 & I was proven right for the most part. There are a few changes to the Power 15, but for the most part it was a fairly stable week although the Steelers & Jets did get beat. The interesting thing about Pittsburgh & New York losing is that it actually restored some order to the NFL hierarchy as the Packers & Saint get a bit lift back atop the NFC where they belonged from the very beginning.

This week though has hardly been about what is happening on the field. The Brett Favre saga continues almost unabated no matter how far he’s driving the Vikings into the ground. There are massive calls for the firing of Brad Childress. Minnesota has also waived Randy Moss as has the Chargers done to Shawn Merriman. There is now a ton of controversy surrounding Donovan McNabb in Washington after he was benched for reasons still unknown to us. Is McNabb out of shape? Does Rex Grossman really know the 2-minute drill better than McNabb does? Not only that, but the Cowboys KEEP ON LOSING which only turns up the heat even more on Wade Phillips. That’s a ton of drama off the field. Let’s get to the power-15.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 The more things change the more they stay the same! I’m going to have to look at studying the Patriots a little more closely especially with how their defense has changed since they won 3 Super Bowls, but right now the Pats are 6-1 & their defense ranks 21st in scoring defense & 28th in total defense. That isn’t necessarily a championship caliber unit, but the Pats do have a win over the Ravens. Something to keep in mind with Randy Moss. This year New England averaged 33ppg with Moss & so far only 25ppg without him. The Patriots are 3-0 since Moss left, but two of those wins were by 3 points. Let’s not completely say they are better off yet.
#2 A very tough loss for Pittsburgh. Late in the game TE Heath Miller caught a pass & kept trying to gain more yardage after he’d been hit, but instead the Saints stripped the ball which ultimately led to Pittsburgh losing this game. If Miller doesn’t fumble I think the Steelers come out of New Orleans with a win & it also means the Saints could be on the outside looking regarding their Super Bowl defense. To me it felt like Pittsburgh let one get away, but losing to New Orleans in the Superdome isn’t the worst thing in the world. Pittsburgh needs to tighten up their pass defense though.
#3 This one was difficult to watch on Sunday afternoon. Just a really undisciplined game by the Jets. They committed 3 turnovers & didn’t get one themselves. They had 4 more penalties & 40 more penalty yards than the Packers despite getting Green Bay in the Meadowlands. Losing to Green Bay 9-0 isn’t horrible though. Granted you didn’t score, but the defense didn’t let the Packers score any touchdowns either. At 5-2, the Jets fall behind New England, but they should win their next 4 moving to 9-2 before going to Foxboro to try & reclaim the AFC East division if New England hasn’t imploded by then.
#4 Does it even matter who plays on offense with the Colts as long as Peyton Manning is the QB? Dallas Clark goes down & Jacob Tamme plays like an Pro Bowler. Mike Hart is the 3rd string RB & all he does against Houston is go for 103 total yards & 84 rushing yards on just 12 carries. The Colts stumbled out of the blocks this season which is unusual, but not at 5-2 they led the AFC South. If not for a 59-yards game ending FG in Jacksonville the Colts would be 6-1. Keep in mind Indianapolis is doing this with massive injuries.
#5 I moved up the Giants one spot despite them not having played this week. Something I found interesting is that the Giants rank #2 in total defense but #20 in scoring defense. I wonder why they are giving up points, but not yards? Either way, the more I think of the Giants & watch them play, I see a team with virtually no weakness. They are a terribly good defensive team that can make life a living hell for the QB. They have a balanced offense with a QB & HC who have won a Super Bowl together. With Green Bay beating the Jets & New Orleans beating the Steelers you can see the elite teams rising in the NFC, but I’ll still take the Giants for now.
#6 With the Bears starting out well & beating the Packers in Week 3 & people still thinking the Vikings were going to be relevant, there was panic in Wisconsin especially with the Pack starting out 3-3, but a couple of wins including a HUGE ROAD WIN over the Jets puts the Packers at 5-3 & in command of the NFC North. Who cares that the offense wasn’t fantastic against the Jets. You know you aren’t scoring much when you go play the Jets in their backyard, but huge props to the Packers defense for stepping up big & tossing the shutout. Remember that despite being 5-3, Green Bay’s 3 loses have come by a total of 9 points! They could easily be 8-0 right now.
#7 Is it just me or do the Ravens feel like a forgotten team? Maybe that is what happens when you are coming off a bye week. A 5-2 record with wins over the Jets & Steelers is pretty impressive. A couple of things bother me about the Ravens. The first is the coaching staff’s inability to really go after the jugular offensively. I’ve said this before, but they have Joe Flacco & QB now so stop using him as if he were Kyle Boller. The other is that the Ravens rank 17th in the NFL in rush defense. That is very un-Raven like. Like the Packers, Baltimore could easily be 7-0 as their two losses have come by 8 points total. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ran the table.
#8 There were a lot of good teams on bye this week! So far in the Power-15 the Giants, Ravens & Falcons all had the week off. I’m keeping the Falcons relatively high although it could easily be an illusion. The offense is very very good as long as Roddy White stays healthy & this is an excellent rush defense squad, but when you take a deeper look, the schedule thus far is all fluff. They do have the win over New Orleans, but that was pretty much do to the Saints choking badly with Garrett Hartley. Their other wins? Against the Cards, Bengals, Browns & 49ers. Ouch.
#9 As I said earlier, thank goodness for Heath Miller being stripped because if it doesn’t happen then I think the Saints lose on Sunday night. The Saints are somewhat like the Packers in that people were getting worried, but now all of a sudden New Orleans is 5-3 & would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Sometimes it’s hard to defend a title when you are every other team’s Super Bowl coming in. The losses to the Cardinals & Browns are ridiculous showing more a lack of focus on the Saints part. They could easily be 10-3 heading into a tough final 3 games.
#10 The Titans couldn’t get the Chargers off the field on 3rd down which probably cost them the game. The really weird part here is how Tennessee managed the game. They passed the ball 36 times & ran the ball only 19. Last time I checked, the Titans had Chris Johnson at RB & they also had a 19-7 lead late in the 2nd quarter. They couldn’t salt this game away? Vince Young played great football, so in reality this loss falls squarely on the defense in allowing 33 points. The Titans didn’t score an offensive TD in the 2nd half either & were outscored 19-6. A very very odd game.
#11 There are much worse things than losing to the Colts in Indianapolis. Intrinsically it shouldn’t mean much as most people are going to walk into Lucas Oil & lose, but Houston had a chance to make a real statement by sweeping the Colts & taking full control of the AFC South. A win here probably would have taken the Colts out of the playoff picture which would have been monumental. After winning the 1st game running the ball with Arian Foster, Houston got away from that despite Foster running for 102 yards on 15 carries. I get that Indy pulled out early, but you can’t get into a pissing contest with #18. You are going to lose every time.
#12 If you look at the glass half full then you see that Chiefs pull out a hard fought win over the Bills who almost beat the Ravens in Baltimore last week. If you prefer the glass half empty then you note that the Chiefs needed OT to beat an 0-7 Bills team 13-10! A really odd game when you think about it. The Chiefs ran for almost 300 yards on Buffalo yet was only able to score 10 points in regulation, didn’t score a rushing TD & actually lost the time of possession battle! Lost in this is how great KC’s defense has been this year. Jamaal Charles is getting a ton of pub & deservedly so, but the defense is tight.
#13 I don’t know how to take a win over Cincinnati. The Bengals should be better so winning in the Queen City 22-14 isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Heck, Miami’s offense was fairly awful as they had to settle for 5 FGs before scoring a 4th quarter TD to make it 22-14. The Dolphins have to have the oddest schedule split in the NFL. Their 4-3 record in made up of a 4-0 record on the road & an 0-3 record at home! Miami is always going to be battling uphill against the Jets & Patriots, but they are good enough to do it. They need a couple big wins.
#14 Statistically the Bucs aren’t fantastic, but they are 5-2 so how can you not rank them? Tampa Bay is getting it done with youth too. Beating Arizona 38-35 isn’t fantastic, but LeGarrette Blount ran for 120 yards & 2TD while Mike Williams caught 4 balls for 105 yards & 1TD. Even Arrelious Benn caught a pass for 53 yards. Like the division rival Atlanta, the Bucs are more illusory than anything. The 5 wins have come against the Cards, Browns, Panthers, Bengals, & Rams. The schedule gets a bit tougher from here on out, but TB could win 10-11 games.
#15 The Silver & Black earn a spot in the Power 15 after winning their last 2 games by the combined score of 92-17! What has gotten into the Raiders! Darren McFadden all of a sudden is channeling the RUN-DMC we thought he’d be coming out of Arkansas. Michael Bush is a great compliment back. Darrius Heyward-Bey is playing like a 1st round WR & Jason Campbell is settling in. Seattle isn’t a great team but 33-3! That’s insane. I don’t know if we are going to see a renaissance of the AFC West, but it’s certainly on the horizon. It’s probably the most historically intriguing division outside of the NFC East & you sometimes forget how talented all the teams in the West are because their records aren’t gaudy. The Raiders get Kansas City this week in an exceptional game! Let’s see what the Raiders can do to pull within a half game of the Chiefs.

DROPPED OUT

#10 Washington Redskins: I really like the Redskins, but the whole Donovan McNabb/Mike Shanahan thing is going to be problematic. It’s got to be interesting for the Redskins. Shanahan didn’t have anything to work with at QB with Jason Campbell gone so maybe he was trying to catch lightning in a bottle with McNabb, but the Eagles letting him go to a division rival without much fanfare should be able to tell you something. McNabb seems like a good guy, but for whatever reason he couldn’t get that elusive Super Bowl win in Philadelphia & now he’s reaching the twilight of his career, but his legacy isn’t going to be one of a champion. I don’t know how you survive being benched in the last 2 minutes for Rex Grossman, but if I’m McNabb I can’t help but be angry. Of course that leaves the Redskins with either a McNabb that doesn’t care anymore or Rex Grossman. That’s so thin that the Redskins had JaMarcus Russell in for a workout. Yes, that JaMarcus Russell!

#14 Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles were on a bye week & they didn’t do anything to be dropped, but I really wanted to get Tampa Bay into the Power 15 because of their 5-2 record. I also wanted to make a spot for Oakland after their amazing 2 week run which has them sitting pretty at 4-4. The Eagles draw the Indianapolis Colts this week in Philly. A win here puts the Eagles back into the Power-15 with authority. With the Redskins seemingly imploding, the Eagles have a legitimate shot at grabbing a Wild Card spot if they can play to potential. It simply doesn’t seem possible for a Wild Card team to come out of the West or North & it’s unusual for a division to send 3 teams to the playoffs meaning the East gets one of the Wild Card spots which seems like a logical conclusion for the Eagles.

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November 3, 2010 - Posted by | Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL Power 15, Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 8

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