Tuesday, October 18, 2011

7 comments J.S.' NFL Power Rankings: Week Six

Alright, third of the way through the year, let's have a look at the division races so far.


To give you an idea of how San Francisco are the most likely playoff participent outside Green Bay this year, consider this. Most people predicted the NFC West could be had with about 8 wins this year. Let's be optimistic for Seattle, Arizona and St. Louis and say that's still true. San Francisco, who still have five games remaining against Arizona, St. Louis and Cleveland, would need to finish 3-7 to give these teams any sniff at all. This seems unlikely, but considering they went 6-10 last year with Abruyo Franklin on the roster, possible. Even then, Seattle would probably need to go 7-4, as they have already lost to the Niners. That seems insanely unlikely. Even if they swept their home games (which includes dates against Baltimore and the Eagles) they would need to win at least one more road game - hardly a sure thing. Arizona would also need to go 7-4 and the Rams 8-4, and remember this is in the best case scenario of the Niners finishing 3-7.


Green Bay are so far out in front it's not even funny. Second place is all but guarenteed a wild card spot, and that is a race between the Lions and Bears. Certainly the Lions, up two games and a head to head win against Chicago, have the inside track and do look the real deal, but they also carry the handicap of being the Detroit Lions.


Ostensibly close, but really New Orleans seem well in control. Every team here has to pay the Green Bay piper this year, and Tampa still have yet to. The Saints are still unbeaten at home, and seem to be pacing themselves well so far. Still, Tampa's win this week adds a layer of intrigue. The Saints should be able to build some seperation over the next third. Atlanta have quite simply been a disappointment since the starters pistol fired, but are still in touch if they can put it together from here on out.


An absolute clusterfuck of a division. Really, I can't remember a division this muddled and yet relevant (unlike last years NFC West) in a long time. I absolutely could see literally any of these teams getting hot and making a deep playoff run, but I'll be damned if I know who. Dallas' top tier talent is of a very high quality, and their losses are to Detroit, New England and the Jets, all in games they absolutely could have won had a play or two gone differently. The Redskins were pacing this division with the best defense before the wheels fell off their offense completely this week. The Giants have been the toughest and guttiest team and in the best form, winning four of their last five despite a slew of injuries. Unfortunately, that loss was the biggest shock of the season, losing at home to Seattle of all teams, and the injury cloud still casts doubts. Philadelphia are probably twice as talented as any of these teams - they are also 2-4. Literally anyone's division to win.


As discussed below, a severe injury has changed the complexion of this division markedly, and San Diego are to football a bit like Mitt Romney is to Republicans; we're all just going to have to deal with them winning even if we don't think they are that great. One of the least interesting divisions in the NFL.


It's fairly clear the baton has been passed from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, but the Steelers still have plenty of time and have not fallen in a hole. Cincinnati looms as the long shot wildcard hope in the AFC, but things get much tougher schedule wise from here. It's not likely they'll be relevant in another six weeks.


Manning has obviously left a profound power vacuum at the top, which Houston were only too eager to fill. They have a nervous few weeks at least dealing with Tennessee, if they capitulate this time, the emotional effects and subsequent roster and coaching overhaul may take years to overcome.


The Bills have lost 2 of their last 3 and have not won on the road since Week One, beating up on the Chiefs. They now enter a period with road games at Dallas, Miami, the Jets and the Chargers, with home games against Washington, the Jets and the Titans. Not a gimme amongst them, and hard to see them keeping up with their atrocious D. The Jets have dealt with a horror early schedule and are expected to make their claim to a wildcard. The division looks, once again, to belong to the Patriots.

Anyway, on to the rankings.

1 - GREEN BAY (-)
6-0, 1st NFC NORTH
W 24-3 vSTL, next @MIN

Aaron Rodgers almost looked bored in this game. He had 234 yards with three touchdowns...in the first half. How...expected. For what it's worth, with New England sort of struggling, and Norlans losing, Green Bay is as far ahead of the NFL field as they have been all year. Another cupcake next week at Minny.

5-1, 1st AFC EAST
W 20-16 vDAL, next BYE

It's worth pointing out that after his interstellar first two weeks, Brady hasn't really been the same quarterback. He's thrown seven picks in his last four games which is...pretty bad really. He has also thrown for an average of nearly 306 yards a start and 9 TDs so let's not kill ourselves just yet, but New England can't really get by on "goodish" quarterback play, and while the Jets are in that four week run, so are Oakland, Buffalo and now Dallas, not exactly elite pass defenses. Still, when it came down to it, on that final drive, there was Brady, going 7/8 for 78 yards and the winning score.

3 - BALTIMORE (+1)
4-1, 1st AFC NORTH
W 29-14 vHOU, next @JAX

Been knocking at the door to #3 for weeks now and took their chance. Pass rush continues to impress, bouncing back after a very poor 2010, the Ravens got past a good offensive line 9 times, sacking Schaub on four of them. Still, this was one of Baltimore's less inspring performances, letting an injury ravaged Texans team lead deep into the 3rd quarter on the road. Chief among the concerns is Flacco, who hasn't been consistently above average at all this season. Whether the Ravens should need him, with Rice and one of the best defenses in the NFL is a matter of conjecture, but frequently when Flacco is poor, the Ravens cannot find a way out of that hole, especially to teams they are likely to meet in the playoffs. This has been one of the reasons for their recent frustrating playoff record. Flacco's QB rating of 79.9 this year is the worst of his career - he needs to improve.

4 - NEW ORLEANS (-1)
4-2, T-1st NFC SOUTH
L 20-26 @TB, next vIND

I don't think this loss harms New Orleans' standing too much, as it was their third straight road game and I thought Tampa simply played great. I wouldn't be too concerned about Brees, for example, although the problems on run defense (and indeed, pass defense, there was a horrible breakdown on Benn's first half TD) are a little less easy to brush aside. Still the class of the NFC outside Green Bay for now.

5 - DETROIT (-)
5-1, 2nd NFC NORTH
L 19-25 vSF, next vATL

Stafford started 9/16 for 56 yards and a conceded safety as he found himself bothered by rushers for really the first time this season. The run game, which looked as though it had moved past the embryonic stage last week, continued to develop (57 on 17 carries...which is actually progress for Detroit) and was of significant help here while Stafford settled in, against a strong defensive front. Perhaps the key to the loss was that Calvin Johnson (who was still great with 113 yards on seven catches) was shut out of the endzone for the first time this year.

6 - HOUSTON (-)
3-3, 2nd AFC SOUTH
L 14-29 @BAL, next @TEN

Like New Orleans, there are plenty of good, legitimate excuses for this week's loss. Unlike New Orleans, Houston's are more concerning going forward. Is Andre Johnson going to be OK? What about their pass rush without Williams for the year? They got to Flacco 9 times here which is fine, but it's hard to imagine it being as dominating as it had been up to this point this season; coming into the game they were fourth in sacks. Considering questions regarding the secondary have hardly been fully answered this year, even a drop form excellent to above average in the pass rush may have significant consequences. And continuing a theme for the top teams this week, is Matt Schaub OK? He's posted two poor performances after three 100+ passer rating games. Houston still seem to have minimal competition in the AFC South, but for the first time this season, cracks in the inevitability of Texans - AFC South champs - have begun to appear. Need to right the ship next week in Tennessee.

4-2, T-2nd AFC NORTH
W 17-13 vJAX, next @ARI

A near carbon copy of last weeks dominating effort. After Gabbert completed four passes on the opening drive, he managed to connect with just eight more all game. The game was much closer than it had any right to be, and it's something of a headscratcher in how a team that outgains their opposition by essentially a two to one ratio without giving the ball away, at home, can win by just 4 points, with the game theoretically alive on the final play. Jacksonville actually had more first downs than the Steelers, was this a good performance? It's hard to say.

8 - SAN DIEGO (+1)
4-1, 1st AFC WEST
BYE, next @NYJ

I just want to let you know in a story that has gone criminally underreported, that San Diego, despite trailing in the fourth with three turnovers and a blocked field goal, managed to sneak past the bye.

5-1, 1st NFC WEST
W 25-19 @DET, next BYE

Sorry, but that's a fucking travesty. San Francisco were -2 in turnovers, threw for 125 yards (on 32 attempts!!!) and win? Against a 5-0 team? On the road? Now we all get to read "San Francisco - Superbowl contenders?" columns for the next week. Oh wait, they have the bye don't they? Ugh, next two weeks. Two genuine accomplishments. Firstly, they are the first team to really get to Stafford, and the pass rush was outstanding. The Smiths (Justin and Aldon) got to the QB 7.5 times themselves (including 3.5 sacks) and San Francisco broke through 15 times in all. A tremendous effort. Secondly, Ted Ginn had an incredibly huge 40 yard punt return in the fourth that led to the go ahead touchdown. No returner has been more important for his teams success this year than Ginn (not even Hester), you can argue he's been the primary reason they won this game and the Seattle game. It's terrifying to think this team still has five divisional games left, it's not impossible they sweep them on the way to a fucking 12 win season. They aren't that good.

10 - JETS (+1)
3-3, 3rd AFC EAST
W 24-6 vMIA, next vSD

It might be a good idea, if you build your offense around the run (even a caretaker offense like the Jets), that you can, you know, actually run the ball? The Jets ran 28 times for 99 yards, and 11 on ten carries in the first half. The days of this being a good run defense are well and truly gone, they came into the game ranked 28th giving up over 134 yards a game, and improved that only marginally being gouged for 118 yards by Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas for goodness sakes. They couldn't catch a kick all night (even the red hot McKnight was guilty), and yet still managed to win by a very flattering 18 points. Basically, Darrelle Revis being a good football player is the reason the Jets won this game. He stopped Marshall making a crucial third down catch, and broke up two passes to the aforementioned Marshall in the end zone, one returned for a TD. He then had a second interception. This was not a performance that will make the doubters shut up - a win over the Chargers presumably will.

11 - OAKLAND (-4)
4-2, 2nd AFC WEST
W 24-17 vCLE, next vKC

Hard to really care about this game, but took care of business. Score looked closeish due to junk time scores. The Browns had just 153 yards coming into the final quarter on 43 plays, which is pretty amazing, even for the Browns. The biggest issue coming out of this game is Campbell's injury. I know he's hardly Peyton Manning, but he's looked comfortable in this offense and has run it quite well this year. There is talk he could be out this season which, best rushing team in the NFL or no, probably ends their quest to take down San Diego out west.

12 - TAMPA BAY (+6)
4-2, T-1st NFC SOUTH
W 26-20 vNO, next vCHI

That was very impressive. I'm not sure how a team can go from a 45 point loss to San Francisco to a solid, convincing win against New Orleans in a week, irrespective of geography. Even without the turnovers, I thought the defense was composed and surprisingly effective. They forced successive three and outs early in the game, against one of the leagues best offenses, to give Tampa time to build a lead. Freeman was brilliant (303 yards with 2 TDs and looked in control on every drive) and the rushing game outstanding (running backs gained 122 yards on 19 carries). They flashed a graphic reminding us that Rahim Morris is 35 years old and just how insanely young this team is, which I suppose explains the week to week inconsistency, but there's really no way not to admire how they took down one of the leagues best this week.

13 - ATLANTA (-)
3-3, 3rd NFC SOUTH
W 31-17 vATL, next @DET

A different team at home, that simple. I am willing to give them credit for holding a game Panther team at bay, despite the fact that they truly answered very few questions in this win. Once again, as Turner (137 yards at 5.1 a carry) goes, so do the Falcons. Still, the defense has shown no improvement from the questionable group last year and it's fair to say Atlanta generally don't look the same team as last years (perhaps misleadingly) 13-3 squad after six weeks. An interesting test of the "can't play on the road" theory next week against the Lions, a big game for both teams, but I am deeply sceptical of Atlanta's chances of winning any road game against opposition in the top two thirds of the league.

14 - GIANTS (+5)
4-2, 1st NFC EAST
W 27-24 vBUF, next BYE

God the defense was simply awful on that 80 yard Fred Jackson TD. Looked like they weren't aware you were allowed to run in the NFL - he was completely untouched. Still, aside from that abomination, a top class performance all round. Bradshaw gained important yards (even though 104 on 26 carries looks rather vanilla), Eli was excellent (292 yards on an efficient 32 throws) and while the defense struggled in the first half, they were much better in the second. I was also very impressed by two key sacks on a second quarter drive to push the Bills out of field goal range. That was crucial in a game where both teams were marching down seemingly without consequence, and in the end, was literally the difference between the teams. Your new NFC East leaders.

15 - TENNESSEE (+1)
3-2, 1st AFC SOUTH
BYE, next vHOU

Had a good week off, with Houston losing and an AFC South contest that really shouldn't be a contest has its biggest game of the year next week when Tennessee host Houston, potentially without Andre Johnson. Houston at full strength are clearly the better team, but if Tennessee can hit them when they are down and wrestle the South lead away from them, with Indy, Cincy and Carolina to follow, Houston could find their yearly horror story replaying yet again. An enormous game.

16 - CHICAGO (+4)
3-3, 3rd NFC NORTH
W 39-10 vMIN, next @TB

You know, if you can get past the ever present false start penalties (just two this week), missed blocking assignments and general offensive line ineptitude, you see these games semi regulary for Chicago. Games where you realise most other things on the team are great. Sure, they have alien Devin Hester returning kicks and punts (his 17th career return TD this week), but it's all aspects of their special teams. Remember how well Manning returned kicks when they took Hester out of the return game, or the fact that they block a field goal regulary every 4-5 games? They are simply the best in the NFL at executing this part of the game. Their defense (5 sacks), when it gets a half chance to catch its breath, is smart and solid fundamentally (one of the best tackling teams in the game, for instance and they still run the best Cover 2 in the NFL). Jay Cutler (267 yards with 2 TDs) has proven, as much as so many writers don't want him to be, a very good quarterback, working in arguably the most demanding situation for a QB in the NFL. As I've said before, Matt Forte (123 yards from scrimmage and 5.1 per rush) is one of the best three running backs in the league. The problem is, the games where the offensive line problems just overshadow everything else are so frequent, and remembering that at its heart, football is about getting to the quarterback, it just gives no opportunity for these genuinely positive aspects of the team to shine. But for this week, we could just bask in the beauty of when it all comes together for the Bears.

17 - BUFFALO (-7)
4-2, 2nd AFC EAST
L 24-27 @NYG, next BYE

It is hilarious to me, that NFL reigning giveaway champs the Giants finally taught the Bills a lesson about what happens when they don't get lucky (at least a little) with takeaways. Their defense, takeaways aside, probably rivals Denver as the worst in the league, and the Giants made that show. While Fitzpatrick cleared 200 yards for the first time in three weeks (and while often yards aren't a big deal, they absolutely are for Buffalo), he also threw two interceptions. Buffalo have given up yardage of 454, 495, 458 (to Cincinnati!), 489 and 414 in this game, over the last five weeks.

18 - CINCINNATI (-3)
4-2, T-2nd AFC NORTH
W 27-17 vIND, next BYE

Andy Dalton (25/32 for 264 yards with a TD) was great here, for what thats worth, but their defense was not as good as it has been, and as we know, that's Cincinnati's best hope for relevancy. It's bad enough to allow 80 yards on 19 carries to the Colts at the best of times, but when Joe Addai sits, and you make your living off defense, it's a disgrace. Painter's last 4 throws were a disaster, but up to that point he was 22/30 for 183 yards without a pick. Again, this is supposed to be a good defensive team, and will need to be close to great if they want to follow through on a 4-2 start and make any noise. A poor performance, especially at home.

2-4, 4th NFC EAST
W 20-13 @WAS, next BYE

If you watched the first drive, you would have been surprised at the result. Philadelphia's offense was a complete mess, botched snaps, false starts, Redskins constantly in the backfield, but the protection improved tremendously over the course of the game. There was a terrifying moment when Vick took a hit and Vince Young basically played like a double agent, throwing an absolutely appalling interception from his own endzone with his only throw, with no Eagle remotely close to the ball. Safety Kurt Coleman came up with the turnover (his second of three picks) on Washington's ensuing drive to essentially seal the game. Offensive red zone problems (1/4 including a turnover) still holding them back, but they were much better controlling the running game, putting in by far their best performance of the year there. They held a good, if not great, rushing team to 28 yards on 12 called rushes. Despite it all, this wasn't the kind of game that obviously turns a season around and the bye really isn't coming at a great time - they need to build momentum.

20 - DALLAS (-3)
2-3, 3rd NFC EAST
L 16-20 @NE, next vSTL

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Dallas are having a horribly unlucky season. The big problem, as I see it, is that they are one of the shallowest teams in the NFL, with no depth behind their starters at all, and it's particulary acute in the receiving corps. Romo has three guys to pass to, and they have now firmly established they cannot run the ball. Dallas are 28th in YPC and that was before this week's stinkfest of 77 yards on 24 carries. They have given up on their preseason hope for Jones to be a feature back and say what you want about the pass defense, but it was very good, on the road against a top three quarterback, until that final drive. They can only do so much back there, the real culprit for this loss can be seen when Dallas got the ball with 3:36 left in the game; DeMarco Murray ran twice and lost three yards in the process. I mean New England aren't exactly the Steelers or Ravens here, it could have been done to get a managable third down. From there, a punt was inevitable, and perhaps so was the result.

21 - WASHINGTON (-7)
3-2, 2nd NFC EAST
L 13-20 vPHI, next @CAR


22 - CAROLINA (-1)
1-5, 4th NFC SOUTH
L 17-31 @ATL, next vWAS

The secondary is just awful. Pass interference penalties by Godfrey (37 yards) and Gamble (16 yards, on the following drive) led directly to 14 points. Cam Newton's scrambling ability (59 yards on six carries here, including a TD) has been a feature of every game but even by the conventional numbers (which have been overly kind to him thus far), against an okish (maybe) defense, he had a mediocre day passing with 237 yards and three turnovers. Carolina did turn to the run (finally) more this week, and stuck with it all game. We should see more of that in coming weeks as Camania finally dies down.

23 - SEATTLE (-)
2-3, 2nd NFC WEST
BYE, next @CLE

Bye really couldn't come at a worse time for them, as their last three games have probably been better than anyone could have ever realistically hoped for prior to the season. Travel to Cleveland (winnable?) and then host Cincy at home, which maybe able to launch their NFC West title hopes? I mean as depressing as it is, they are all that stands between San Francisco and not only a playoff spot, but a potential first round bye. God, I just threw up in my mouth.

24 - KANSAS CITY (+3)
2-3, 3rd AFC WEST
BYE, next @OAK

Like Philly will next week and Seattle this week, Kansas City were living through a rather awkwardly timed bye, having just pulled out two victories from the depths of despair. However, perhaps it was a lucky break after all, as they now almost certainly will get to face Kyle Boller next week. Win that game, and they will shockingly be back at .500. The trade out of the division of Brandon Lloyd (KC play the Broncos twice in their final eleven games) didn't hurt either.

25 - CLEVELAND (-1)
2-3, 4th AFC NORTH
L 17-24 @OAK, next vSEA

Colt McCoy is still terrible. He has completed less than half his passes in three of five games this year, and believe you me, it's a big sample size. McCoy has thrown 217 times this year (7th in the NFL) in those five games. Part of the reason for that is Peyton Hills (less than 200 yards all year), who pulled a Ferris Bueller the other week apparently, with his agent telling him not to play with a sore throat. Tony Romo played with broken ribs! Oy vey.

1-5, 3rd AFC SOUTH
L 13-17 @PIT, next vBAL

Pretty good performance really, on the road, staying within a score of Pittsburgh, even if I have no idea how they did it. It's hard to say Gabbert (12/26, 109 yards with a TD) is really getting any better, even though this was an excellent defense he was throwing into.

27 - MIAMI (-2)
0-5, 4th AFC EAST
L 6-24 @NYJ, next vDEN

Well, Brandon Marsall certainly was a factor (6 catches for 109 yards), as promised. That's hard to do with Matt Moore, of all people, behind centre. Miami lost this game in the red zone. They left 15 points there in the first half alone. You can't win games on the road against good teams doing that. Otherwise, Reggie Bush had a shocking nice game (71 yards on ten carries), and um...there were fifteen punts total in this game, what can I say? This was just awful. Surely the first win is at home to Denver next week, right? Miami's home record (1-11 in it's last twelve home games, going back to Christmas 2009) isn't exactly comforting. Their last win at home was Sept 26 last year.

28 - ARIZONA (+1)
1-4, 3rd NFC WEST
BYE, next vPIT

In the same boat St. Louis were last week - I'd say next week's contest against Pittsburgh is a must win, but is there really any point?

29 - ST. LOUIS (-1)
0-5, 4th NFC WEST
L 3-24 @GB, next @DAL

Poor St. Louis. They missed a fourth down opportunity on Green Bay's 41 in the first quarter, and I am dying to see someone blame them. At the end of the day, you're gonna need touchdowns, and plenty of them, I'm fine with the call. Lance Kendricks had a 45 yard catch on the third play of the game, so, you know, they have that.

30 - DENVER (-)
1-4, 4th AFC WEST
BYE, next @MIA

To be honest, dear reader, this whole power rankings has been written with a heavy heart. An ominous cloud has hung over my soul as I wrote - it has been a terrible, Tebowless week (complete with starwipes).

31 - MINNESOTA (-5)
1-5, 4th NFC NORTH
L 10-39 @CHI, next vGB

Coming into this game, Jared Allen had 8.5 sacks, best in the league. Coming into this game, Adrian Peterson had 498 rushing yards, second in the league. In the first half, Allen had one tackle and no sacks. Peterson had 16 yards on 8 carries. Minnesota were down 26-3. McNabb playing the best he had this season was just irrelevant. It's positive that Ponder is in there now, as difficult as it may make this season to watch. Look on the bright side Vikings fans, you had no first half lead to blow!

0-6, 4th AFC SOUTH
L 17-27 @CIN, next @NO

The only 0-6 team in football. Two more road games and by the time they travel to Tennessee they will be no chance there. They still get to play Jacksonville twice, but aside from that and a home date against Carolina, it's beginning to look a little 0-16ish if Manning doesn't come back this year (and really, what would be the point?).


rich said...

I know the Jets won and all, but they moved up a spot? After that abortion of a performance?

Revis got away with a pretty clear PI call on his interception return and I can't really give them much credit for stopping the immortal combination of Matt Moore and Reggie Bush.

They are 31st in the league in rushing and 23rd and passing and 28th against the run... this is a really, really bad team. The only thing they're good at is passing defense (5th) and that's possibly due to the fact that teams are running to the tune of 132 yards per game.

They've won three games against teams with a combined record of: 3-13...

JS, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but how do the Jets play the way they do an move into the top 10, but the Bengals (who are ranked higher in every major team statistic than the Jets) win and fall three spots?

Just for the sake of argument: The Jets and Bengals have both beaten Jacksonville (1 win team), both have wins over a 0 win team and both have wins over a 2 win team...

The Bengals have also beaten a 4 win team.

I know we all like to laugh about Curtis Painter, but he did go for 277 yards and 2 TDs against the Chiefs, a team with a pretty average defense.

I guess I'm just confused how the Bengals beat a bad team and fall three spots, while the Jets beat a bad team (and look really bad doing it) and gain a spot in the top 10.

cs said...

I'm a Redskins fan, and honestly that was the perfect description for Washington at 21: Grossman!!!! I despise Rex Grossman. In fact, his Bears played at Fed Ex field in 2006, a game the Redskins won, and I almost got kicked out of the game for going on and on and on, progressively louder and drunker, about how shit Grossman was and what a joke it was that the Bears made the Superbowl the year before. I can't even describe how disgusted and just, I don't know, disappointed that Grossman started for the Redskins this year. It was the worst thing ever. Hopefully that's the last we see of that shit this year.

J.S. said...

Hey Rich. Bit of faith in the Jets. I share your suspicion of them, but they did win by 18 points, and again, this is a team that went to back to back AFC Championship games. Now, some of the personell is gone (Damien Woody, they are crying out for Shaun Ellis, and I don't think they ever did enough to replace Kris Jenkins) or injured (Mangold) and the run game looks dead set terrible after Tomlinson's surprising year last year.

So I understand, BUT.

Their pass defense, irrespective of the numbers, at least for now, remains excellent IMO. They run an excellent blitz and Revis is one of the best five players in the NFL, he is so far ahead of any other defensive back in the league right now (including Reed and Polamalu) it's insane. Their offensive line I think is fundamentally good with Brendan Moore and Ferguson, and they have a reasonable set of receivers for a team that doesn't pass much.

My biggest concern is their running game, their run defense is below average, but they did make some important plays, particulary short yardage plays, the other night against a good offensive line. But the running game worries me, because I think their backs are flat out bad, and as much as most NFL analysts think running backs don't make much difference (and I think they are broadly right) for a team as run first as the Jets (up their with the Jags as one of the mot run heavy teams in the NFL), it does, and it's a problem.

But they are 11th man, with losses on the road, cross country, to the Raiders, another loss to the Pats and a loss to Baltimore...let's put the cyanide away for now, 11th is pretty hard to argue with I think considering their track record and strength of schedule. But again, I do understand your concern with them, and will be casting a critical eye over them the next few weeks. To me, they have fallen out of the "elite" category and are running around for playoff scraps with Oakland, the Falcons, Bucs, Tennessee et al, and I think my rankings reflect that.

I think Indy is much worse than Miami (I have been a tragic for both teams this year, but Miami have lost to Houston, New England, the Chargers in San Diego, a 3000 something flight, and yes, Cleveland, but in Cleveland and on essentially the final play of a game they led from start to nearly finish) and it's the WAY Indy challenged Cincy that worried me. They showed offensive competance. I have been more receptive to Cincinnati than SF or the Bills, despite the easy schedule, because I think their defense COULD be top ten or who knows, maybe even top five. This week put big holes in that theory to me - it was 20-17 for essentially all of the 4th quarter.

Track record counts for something - less and less as the season goes on, but we're still in the first half of the season. I'm prepared to give the Jets some time, I'm much less so for Buffalo and Cincinnati - let them prove it to me.

J.S. said...

Just noticed it was ten not eleven but obviously the tone of the comments remain the same

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know if the baton has passed to Baltimore quite yet. I don't give up on the Steelers that easily. There is a 0.094% chance the Bills win the AFC East. It is the Pats division until further notice. I'm just excited for the Patriots/Packers Super Bowl.

I'm not going to show my East Coast bias, but I'm not buying quite as hard as I should be on the 49ers. Maybe it is my lack of faith in Alex Smith, maybe it is my distaste for Jim Harbaugh or maybe it is my feeling they have won a few games they had no business winning. Either way, they will be in the playoffs, but I'm not sure how good they truly are quite yet.

Basically, Revis being able to PI w/ Marshall was why the Jets won. I'm not saying I am smart, but in my NFL preview I said the Bucs are going to be inconsistent all year and they are doing that. It wouldn't shock me if they could win the division and then lose in the WC round by 40.

I feel like the Giants always sneak up on the rest of the NFC East. The Bills defense just doesn't seem to be very good. It wouldn't surprise me to see them 3rd in the division by 3 games at the end of the year.

It is actually Carolina's run defense which sucks worse. I think 4 of the 6 backs who have faced them this year have their season-high in yards. The defense is injured and a mess. Poor Cam.

I quit watching the Miami-Jets game. It was terrible football. I'm going to laugh if Tebow throws for 345 yards this week, assuming John Fox lets him pass the ball at all.

I look for Christian Ponder to look great until he leaves the game with an injury that causes him to miss the next few games with his annual injury.

rich said...


While I can understand your logic, the fact isn't that they're 3-3 and that they've lost tough games (although, so have the Cowboys). The problem I have with the Jets is how they've looked.

Week 1 against the Cowboys they looked mediocre until the Cowboys handed them the game.

Week 2 against Jacksonville they looked good, but it's Jacksonville.

Week 3, 4 and 5 they not only lost, but looked terrible doing so.

Then of course last night they won, but I can't really say anything other than they didn't look too good doing it.

I can see how the pedigree of the team might have an effect on the rankings, but after six weeks, I think the focus has to be on this year's team and this year's Jets team is not one of the 10 best teams in the league.

The argument you make with regard to the Falcons is that the defense isn't improving and that they aren't the same team that we saw last year. Which is the exactly the same argument you can make about the Jets, just replacing "defense" with "offense."

I don't know, with the NFL's bizarre start it's really messing with me, but I just don't see how the Jets can be in anyone's top 10.

J.S. said...

I think I never really bought into the Falcons last year (see last years NFL playoff picks) whereas I have always been on board with the Jets. Also, the Falcons barely beat Seattle, New York has not had a performance like that against a bottom feeder.

I don't think they looked "terrible" in their last three games. The offense has some real problems, but...that's kind of always been true. They hung with New England in Foxboro and again, did win by more than two scores against Miami. While I agree, and mention here that was a deceptive scoreline, it's not easy to win by 18 points in the NFL. The Baltimore is the closest they came to "looking terrible" and it was a dominant performance by their defense. They haven't put it all together, but I'm not sure they can't do so.

San Diego game this week is huge, and considering I don't rate the Chargers much at all (as noted by my derisive comments this week) I will be expecting something substantial there.