Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Powerlines: Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

It's amazing how easy it is to take photos of people on a train without them ever knowing.

1. Saints – This may look crazy since the Saints defense leaves much to be desired, but Drew Brees has the look of a cold blooded killer, that offense is just relentless, and right now they are playing on the offensive side of the ball better than anyone else in football is doing anything else, so they get the number one spot for now.

2. Ravens – The defense isn’t demolishing people like they did a year ago, but Joe Flacco and the offense are on the rise and they are still solid defensively. Giving up 24 points to the Chiefs in week one is a little disconcerting, but they are still looking good enough to claim top billing in the AFC for now.

3. Giants – That game against the Cowboys on Sunday Night was pretty thrilling, did anyone else get flashbacks to Eli bringing the Giants back versus the Pats in the Super Bowl two seasons ago? I have expected him to whirl around and throw up a crazy pass that someone would catch with their helmet. It wasn’t exactly the same, but Eli had the same look that basically said, “I am going to win this game.”

4. Jets – Color me surprised that Rex Ryan has Mark Sanchez and the Jets playing this solidly already. The defense looks really good, and Sanchez looks to be following in the successful rookie quarterback footsteps of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan.

5. Vikings – Adrian Peterson is more the reason that the Vikes look scary to me than the 40 year old Quarterback. Brett Favre appears to be playing the role of game manager, a role that I’m pretty sure Sage or Tarvaris Jackson could have pulled off just as well. I’m curious how much money I could have made in Vegas betting that we would be heading into Week 3 and Favre would still not have tossed a pick, that fact has to rank up there in the more unexpected developments of the season thus far.

6. Steelers – The Champs could be 2-0 if Jeff Reed is able to knock in a short field goal on one of the two chances he had, but since he didn’t Pittsburgh is at 1-1 and facing some serious questions about the viability of their pathetic offensive line.

7. Chargers – They fell just short at home against the Ravens, but there are a lot of good signs…especially if you’re like me and you have Darren Sproles on one of your fantasy teams. You can stick a fork in Ladainian, because he is DONE! The Chargers are fortunate that the Raiders are the Raiders, or they might be 0-2 at the moment.

8. Packers – I’m feeling less thrilled about my preseason pick of the Packers winning it all after somehow the Bengals were able to walk into the not quite yet frozen tundra and put the Pack away.

9. Cowboys – Tony Romo needs to stop throwing game changing interceptions and the Cowboys will be okay. That may be easier said than done, but I still believe that Romo brings more to the table than he takes off of it. The Cowboys need to show me something if they want to stay this high, because right now they are trending down in my book.

10. Patriots – I have them this high due to habit of having New England in the top 10, but I honestly think that a combination of age, losing talented players, and having Brady only a year removed from a tragic knee injury has the Patriots in a weaker condition than people yet realize. The Pats are like Tiger Woods; they both used to be unstoppable forces, and while both are still very good neither are currently carrying that same air of invincibility.

11. Falcons – Matty Ice appears to have avoided the sophomore slump thus far, but it is still very early. So far the Falcons are looking like last year was not a fluke.

12. 49ers – I had to do a double take after I typed it, but yes, I do have the Niners this high. I’m not sure how they are doing it with the immortal Shaun Hill behind center, but San Francisco is relevant right now…who knew??

13. Eagles – Losing McNabb hurts the Eagles, but you’d think they’d be used to it by now. If he can get back soon, I like the Eagles chances to rise back up this list, but for now, they have fallen to unlucky thirteen after getting drubbed by the Saints.

14. Colts – Perhaps it was the curse of having me pick them to make the Super Bowl, but the Colts look very ordinary right now. That said, when Peyton Manning is in crunch time, he still gives off the impression that there is just no way that he fails. As he was driving late in the Monday Night game, was there any doubt he was going to lead the offense to the go ahead score? Not in my mind.

15. Texans – I was shocked at how badly they were beaten on opening day, but now that the Jets are looking like a serious contender, it is a little less surprising. I still believe in Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, and I’m hoping on Steve Slaton since he is a vital part of my fantasy team. Going into Tennessee to take down the Titans in a game that was a close to a must win as you can get in week 2 was a good sign.

16. Titans – This team appears to have lost it’s mojo. That’s practically inconceivable with the immortal Kerry Collins at quarterback. I’m at a loss.

17. Bears – Jay Cutler is not a highly likable fellow, but he is a better quarterback than the media have been painting him out to be since the stink bomb of a game he played on opening night. I don’t think I like the Bears to make the playoffs, but I don’t think it will be all Cutler’s fault.

18. Cardinals – Arizona looks to be back to their inconsistent ways which defined them for so much of last season before they went on an improbable tear in the playoffs. They aren’t terrible, but they are not as good as the team that was one defensive stop away from a Lombardi Trophy back in February.

19. Bengals – This team is a fluke touchdown away from being undefeated so far. Going into Green Bay and taking down the Packers is impressive, and better days may finally be ahead for the men in tiger stripes.

20. Seahawks – Hopefully for the Seahawks sake Matt Hasselbeck is not out for too long with his rib injury, the backup situation with Seneca Wallace and something called Mike Teel is none too strong. You would have thought the Seahawks got all their bad injury karma worked out of their system last year, wouldn’t you?

21. Panthers – I have a hard time believing that this team dropped this far this fast. This was the team I was predicting to win it all at the tail end of last season, and now with the horrific play of Jake “the H is silent” Delhomme, they look like they have the potential to lose to anyone.

22. Bills – The Bills may be able to string together a decent season, and they haven’t looked half bad so far with a close loss to the Patriots and a good win over a poor Buccaneers team.

23. Broncos – Yup, this feels about right for my boys. I want to be excited about being 2-0, but I keep looking at the upcoming schedule for them which makes me sick to my stomach. After the Raiders game this weekend, they face a stretch of Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, Ravens, Steelers, Redskins. Chargers again, and then Giants. I don’t see a win in that group, plus they then have to go to their personal house of horrors at Arrowhead where even bad Chiefs teams usually beat them and then a game at the Colts. It’s not hard to imagine that they lose 10 games in a row, so while I’m upbeat about the undefeated run through the teams of Ohio, I’m nervous about what lies ahead.

24. Dolphins – This is a solid, if unspectacular team. Their lack of playmakers on offense is stunning, as once they fell behind late in the game Monday night, there was just no way they were going to win. I haven’t seen that kind of urgency in a two minute drill since the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Seriously though with that Colts game, how do you hold an advantage in time of possession by 45:07 to 14:53 and lose a game? I would not have thought it possible.

25. Redskins – I just have a feeling that the Redskins are just not that good. Barely having enough to put away the Rams at your home stadium is embarrassing, plus they face a similar dilemma as the Lions in that the rest of their division is significantly better than they are.

26. Raiders – This may be a different Raiders team than we have seen over the past several years. They look legitimately frisky right now, and I’d probably have them even higher if they had a quarterback who was even remotely credible behind center. Jamarcus Russell is just not a legit NFL QB.

27. Jaguars – They hung with the Colts, but they always seem to just barely lose to the Colts. The bigger worry is how they were run off of their own field by the Cardinals. This team is just not very good.

28. Buccaneers – When you quarterback choices are Byron Leftwich or a rookie project from Kansas State, you are not starting out ahead of the game. I feel for Raheem Morris who is going to have a tough rookie season as a head coach down in Tampa.

29. Chiefs – When you hold a visiting quarterback to only 109 yards passing and he only completes seven passes all day and you STILL lose, you are a crappy team. The Chiefs are crappy. Perhaps they get better, but Kansas City is far from scary right now.

30. Rams – The Rams decided to actually score some points this week. Granted they only have 7 points all season to this point, but at least they are on the board finally after week 2. In Saint Louis, it’s the little things you have to find victories in, because you’ll find precious few W’s on the scoreboard this season.

31. Lions – Congratulations Lions! For the first time in recent memory you are not occupying last place in the rankings. As Bill Murray said in What About Bob, “Baby Steps.”

32. Browns – This team looks absolutely atrocious right now. They came into Denver and put up a fight for about a half, but then they looked like a team looking for a soft place to land. Ever since the Browns returned from exile earlier this decade they have not had a whole lot to be proud of in Cleveland regarding their football team. It looks like that trend is continuing this season.

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