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2011 Week 7 – NFL Power 15

Quick & dirty this week as this is coming out WAY TOO LATE! I’ll have to turn around & get another Power-15 out earlier in the week! Let’s get after it baby!

#1 The Packers had a horrible time stopping Adrian Peterson, but the funny thing is that there aren’t any other backs in the NFL like Peterson so really this isn’t going to be an issue. Even when Green Bay doesn’t play particularly well, they still find a way to win. Beating the Vikings 33-27 isn’t overly impressive, but is there a team that can really stop the Green Bay offense? The Packers at this point have just as good a shot at going 16-0 as the Colts or Dolphins do of going 0-16. The good news this week for the NFL is that the Packers are on a bye week. The bad news is that the last thing this team needs is to get rested after starting the season 7-0. What else can go right for the Packers?
#2 The Patriots are coming off a bye week so no movement here. You always got the feeling that Belichick somehow took it personal when Peyton Manning did something special statistically, to the point where you had Belichick calling pass plays on 1st & Goal from the opponents 1-yard line back when Brady threw 50TD. I wonder why he doesn’t particularly feel that way about Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers doesn’t quite put up the gaudy statistics that Manning does, but still. You look for an edge anywhere. Interesting game this week in Pittsburgh. I think the Patriots should win, but a loss here opens the East just a bit and definitely allows Pittsburgh a one-up on the Pats. New England needs to flex their AFC dominance. A win at Heinz Field would do just that.
#3 The 49ers got a bye week after beating the Lions in the coaching controversy! The remainder of the season will be really interesting for San Francisco because if they take care of home field, they have a legitimate shot at going 14-2 if not outright 15-1. The two big games they have left are against Baltimore & Pittsburgh. The Steelers are at home. The Giants are also on the schedule, but even if SF loses those 3 games, they should at least finish 12-4. Talk about a turn around! It’ll be great to see how they play against the AFC North giants.
#4 Wow! Really? 62-7!? The Saints actually tried not to score on some possessions, but the Colts were in such a generous mood, I suppose New Orleans simply decided to grant the Colts defense its wish & hang a 60-burger on them. Like the 49ers, the Saints don’t have a game you can point to the schedule and say that’s a loss. Keep in mind that if the season progresses like it has so far, the Saints & 49ers are likely playing for the #2 & #3 seed which means a home divisional game, but also a first round bye. That’s a lot to play for, so you definitely shouldn’t see any let up between these two squads from this point forward, and the interplay between the Saints & 49ers will be one of the more compelling stories of the NFL from this point forward.
#5 The Steelers beat on Arizona 32-20. Ho hum. We don’t really know what to make of Pittsburgh at this point, but they are 5-2, and well, they are the STEELERS! Shouldn’t they rate this high? What’s interesting about Pittsburgh is that they are essentially beating the teams they are supposed to beat. They have wins over Seattle, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Jacksonville & Arizona. The two losses have come against Baltimore & Houston. Have they beaten anyone? Not really, but they haven’t had any egregious losses either. Just beating the teams they are supposed to beat should make them 11-5 which at a minimum puts them in the Wild Card. It’s extremely important to win the games you are supposed to in order to make the playoffs. It’s not talked about a ton, but extremely important.
#6 The Giants are coming off a bye. It feels odd to have them this high, but really this is a ranking of attrition. The rest of the NFL simply looks terrible or they took bad losses the week before. The Giants almost look good by comparison for not even playing! The Giants have almost done the opposite of what the Steelers have done. They’ve beaten the Eagles & Bills, but have lost to the Seahawks & Redskins. For the most part the Giants should be 6-0 heading into Week 8, but they lost 2 games they should have won. This doesn’t hurt them at this point in the season, but don’t you think it’ll come back to bite them just a bit later on down the line?
#7 Sometimes bad games happen, but the Ravens can’t lose games to the Jaguars and feel good about themselves regarding the AFC North title or even a possible #1 seed in the AFC playoffs! I’ll be the first admit that the Jaguars have a much better defense than anyone realizes but 7 points!? I wonder where OC Cam Cameron is on all of this? He’s taken some heat over being a little too conservative with the offense & the big arm of Joe Flacco. Now that they have Torrey Smith, I wonder why they simply don’t open up the offense entirely? They had big problems running the football against the Jags so why not try something different? A very tough loss.
#8 Not willing to completely sell out the Lions just yet. Remember that the two losses to SF & Atlanta were by 7 points or less meaning the 5-2 Lions could just as easily be 7-0, and nobody would have their panties in a wad. Detroit is this close to being an excellent football team. The problem the Lions have at this point is that they are going to have to try and figure out how to run the football. I think the Mikel Leshoure injury hurt them a lot worse than anyone thought it could because Jahvid Best simply isn’t an NFL #1 RB. They have to figure something out fairly fast. They should beat Denver this week before going on bye, but after bye they have: @CHI, CAR, GBP, & @NOS. They should beat the Panthers, but Carolina can be tricky sometimes. They drop those 4 and Detroit is 6-6 & 1-6 in their last 7!
#9 The Bears went to London and came away with a victory over Tampa Bay to push them to 4-3 and into the playoffs if the season were to end today! Remember that the Bears have losses to the Packers, Saints & Lions while they have wins over the Falcons, Bucs, Panthers & Vikings. While the Bears aren’t a truly ELITE NFC team, like Green Bay or New Orleans, they are in the tier right below them and probably ahead of teams like Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and possibly Philadelphia, Dallas & New York. With their schedule, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them finish 11-5/12-4 which should be good enough for a wild card. They’ll be a dangerous road team in a wild card game.
#10 Lost in the Rex Ryan talk about winning Super Bowls with the Chargers was New York solid 27-21 win over San Diego which pushed the Jets to 4-3 & that much closer to playoff status. The Jets played an outstanding defensive football game completely shutting down the San Diego rushing attack & also negating any type of momentum Philip Rivers tried to create. The offense has problems and Sanchez is never going to completely 60% of his passes, but those realities haven’t stopped the Jets from getting 1-game from the Super Bowl in the last two years. The Jets are here. They aren’t going anywhere which is good new for those of us that love Sexy Rexy!
#11 It’s not overly surprising to see the Cowboys hammer the Rams 34-7. That is the kind of team the Cowboys will look overly dominant against only to play a very good team, beat them like a drum, but find a way to choke the game away at the end giving Dallas yet another loss that should have been a victory. The Cowboys certainly don’t have a bad loss on the schedule. Losing to the Patriots, Jets & Lions isn’t awful, but this is also a Dallas team that walked into San Francisco & gave the 49ers their only loss of the season. There isn’t a losing game on the schedule meaning I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas went on a tear and finished 13-3. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me either if they beat on Philly this week for awhile only to lose the game in the 4th quarter.
#12 The Bills are on a bye week, but instead of ascending like the Giants did, the Bills descended without having played a game. I think it’s pretty interesting that the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick and extension this past week because up until this year, most people didn’t think Fitzy was the answer at QB for the Bills long term. Just remember that up to this point, Fitzgerald had never completed 60% of his passes and was 12-23-1 as a starter who threw about an interception per game. That is holding true this year as Fitzpatrick is on pace for 16 picks. Steve Johnson & Fred Jackson are legitimate stars and Fitzpatrick is getting a lot of credit for that. I’m not saying one way or the other. It’s just interesting.
#13 I’m not sure how they did it, but you have to respect the fact that Atlanta went into Detroit & beat the Lions 23-16 after the Lions lost that heartbreaker to San Francisco the week before. The Falcons have went through quite a bit of adversity this season, but here they are at 4-3 with a real chance at getting to 10-6/11-5. Maybe that will be enough for a wild card stint depending on how things shake out in the North & East. Keep in mind that it’s very hard to improve on a 13-3 season and with the injuries Atlanta has had to endure, they might be a little lucky to be sitting at 4-3 and in the thick of it. Remember, the losses have come to the Bears, Bucs, and Packers. The Tampa Bay loss hurts a bit, but it’s entirely excusable to lose the other two games.
#14 On a bye, the Bengals get to bask in the glory of a 4-2 record! Seriously! What had to be entertaining for the Bengals this past week was absolutely ripping Oakland off in their deal that sent Carson Palmer to the Raiders! Palmer looked awful against a pretty poor Chiefs team en route to Oakland’s 28-0 loss to Kansas City. That had to feel pretty good in the Queen City. Now the Bengals have even more picks available to try and give Andy Dalton even more help in trying to win games. Want even more happiness? Last week was the first time we’ve heard rumors that Chad Ochocinco might be cut from New England’s roster! Is it Christmas in Cincinnati or what!?
#15 Yes they are 2-4 and yes they didn’t play last week, but my other options were teams like San Diego, Kansas City, Oakland & Tampa Bay. Forget that. Maybe there were too many expectations for the Eagles to live up to their “DREAM TEAM” status earlier in the year. Then again, the 4 straight losses to the Falcons, Giants, 49ers & Bills isn’t exactly unheard of. All 4 of those teams are in my Power-15 ahead of the #15 Eagles. Maybe getting to 2-4 was expected in some perverse way!? The Eagles are benefiting of course from no team in the East pulling away. A win this week over Dallas puts them even with the Cowboys at 3-4. Sure they’ll still be behind the Giants, but how confident in the Giants are you? The #15 slot is pretty weak so why not Philadelphia?


#6 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: I figured Tampa Bay would lose to Chicago and they did. The Bucs did get two wins against the Falcons & Saints early on, but those games are now in the rear-view and will keep getting further & further in the distance especially if New Orleans & Atlanta keep winning. The Bucs had a chance to step on New Orleans throat a big with a huge win over Chicago, but came away empty and now fall into a 2nd place tie with the Falcons at 4-3. The bad news is that the schedule is so tough from this point forward that the Bucs could easily finish 6-10/5-11. The good news is that Tampa could use this brutal schedule to show the world they really have taken a step in the right direction. I’m betting on the former.

#14 TENNESSEE TITANS: An extra week to prepare for the Texans and this is what Tennessee delivers? A 41-7 beat down in Nashville!? The loss might have cost Tennessee any chance of winning the South. For whatever reason Chris Johnson has looked putrid this season at tailback. The season isn’t all for naught. The Titans get the Colts this week in what should be a solid dose of winning medicine. Tennessee MUST beat Houston in Houston now and keep on winning for any shot at the playoffs. Chris Johnson needs to get it together because the Titans have always wanted to run the football. Not only that, but I don’t think Tennessee can rely on Matt Hasselbeck to win them games.


October 30, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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