Folks, we have a new “Power Ranker”. Meet Lindsay! Lindsay, is one of TWO new ladies I’ve chosen for our weekly MVS Power Ranking blog. She is a fierce football fanatic and really knows her stuff. For the sake of full disclosure – Lindsay was the FIRST EVER intern for the MVS. She was a student at Towson U – back in the day – and did a fantastic job for our show for nearly two years. She is a great gal…fun…knowledgeable and VERY OPINIONATED! Lindsay does have one flaw – a very serious flaw – maybe as bad as it gets…she is a Redskins fan. Hey, lets show some respect and see what happens…welcome aboard Lindsay! Have fun!
Our other new “rankings chick” is Sandy. Sandy is a local gal, avid sports fan, loves sports talk radio and claims to be Ravens fan numero uno. Sandy and Lindsay will duel it out weekly for the remainder of the 2010/11 NFL season and do some fun blogs with me during combine/draft/OTA and training camp next season.
Here are Lindsay & Sandy’s Ranks! for the week…and feel free to add your comments. Enjoy!
Bottom Feeder of the Week: Denver Broncos- These bums have managed to lose 5 games in a row. And for all the Bronco fans who thought the second coming of Jesus would be under way by starting Tim Tebow last week, well you were sadly mistaken. This team sucks. And they host two solid offenses to wrap up this season, Houston and San Diego. Good riddance, young bucks. Maybe, next year.
16. Oakland Raiders- As tough as it is to give validity to a 7-7 team even making this list, I’d give it to Oakland over Miami any day and that’s simply because Darren McFadden is a beast. Oh, and I’m impartial to Jason Campbell because I am one of the few Redskins fans who actually appreciated him here in Washington. The end.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- They’re a part of a tough division this year, and there’s no denying that Tampa’s talent has improved drastically from a sorry 4-12. Unfortunately for them, their playoff push is looking intangible. They gave the Lions their first road win since 2007 last Sunday and they have to head to Nawleans to finish out the season for a final NFC South battle in two weeks. That glimmer of hope to steal the wildcard spot is still there considering the Saints play in the Atl this week, but I won’t be holding my breath.
14. Green Bay Packers- Let’s face it, A Rodge is a stud; but without him, the Pack is a completely different team. See last weeks game. But the fact remains, their defense is allowing less than 16 points per game (league best) and the game against the Pats came down to the final play last week. Had the big cheese been playing, Green Bay coulda possibly pulled it off. But they face 2 tough defenses in the Giants and Bears to finish the season. Pray for a miracle, cheese heads. As for me… deuces, Packers.
13. San Diego Chargers – Though off to a slow start, the chargers are 6-1 in their last 7 games. They slipped to their division rivals in Oakland, but then bounced back with a pounding of the division leading KC Chiefs and then defeating San Fran on Thursday night. And for the record, allow me to say that the owner of the Chargers probably feels like a huge douche for not having paid Vincent Jackson the money he asked for. His 3 touchdowns last week spoke volumes about his talent. And who knows where the SD would be had he played all season.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars- Talk about a Cinderella story. The Jags started the season 3-4 then went on to win 5 of their last 6. Had they beat Indy last week, they woulda locked up the division. But Peyton laid the smack down and the Colts D held MoJo to just 46 yards. Hard to believe considering he had over 100 yards in the 6 games prior. That L puts the Jags behind Indianapolis now, and it looks to be a fight to the finish between these 2 for the AFC South.
11. Indianapolis Colts- Gee, who’s the #1 passer in the league? SHOCKER! Peyton Manning. Even with his rough patch there midseason, he’s managed to pick the team up put Indy at the head of the division. Even after he lost his fav target Dallas Clark and now Austin Collie being on IR too, Peyton’s putting up solid numbers. The Colts are a solid lock heading into January football. Just sayin.
10. New York Giants- The G-Men were on quite the hot streak going into last weeks game against Philly, but they managed to completely blow a 28 point lead and caught an L, putting them a game behind the dirty birds. Their specials teams certainly leave a lot to be desired after allowing a walk-off punt return for a TD, but their defense is 2nd in AP yards allowed and sacks; and their offense is averaging over 380 yards a game. They finish the season on the road at Green Bay and then Washington, both of which they need to win in order to head into the postseason.
9. Kansas City Chiefs- Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are the ultimate backfield; the type that defenses fear and plan entire games around. Between the two, they lead the Chiefs to nearly 170 rushing yards a game and they’re still on top of their division at 9-5. Their two remaining games of the season are at home, and having not lost a game at Arrowhead stadium all year, this could be the first time the Chiefs make the playoffs since 2006.
8. New York Jets- How in the hell did they pull of a win against the Steelers last week? I’m just as confused as you are. Oh wait, I know- it’s because their defense is in the top 10 in every category! Their offense seems to struggle a bit every week, hence me ranking them the weakest of the 10-4 teams in the league. But as I spew my haterade a bit, I’d be very surprised if they didn’t lock down one of the wild card spots after the New Year.
7. New Orleans Saints- They had a bit of a rocky start, but despite the bitter lose to Baltimore last Sunday, they’re still a serious contender in the NFC South. They have a top 10 offense in points, total yards as well as passing yards; pair that with the third ranked D against the pass, the Saints are putting in work to head back to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. They’ve got two pivotal division match ups left to finish out the season; with such a tight division race, watch for New Orleans to leave Atlanta and Tampa Bay asking “WHO DAT?!”.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers- They may have suffered a tough loss last week to the Jets, but they have a top 5 defense in just about every category and they are still on top of the division, holding the tie breaker above the Ravens. Pittsburgh has won four of their last five and their remaining games are against some cupcakes; the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns. They’ve clinched a playoff berth, and will more than likely go on to take the division as well, leaving Baltimore for the wildcard.
5. Chicago Bears- While they’ve clinched the NFC North and after dominated the Vikings Monday night in tundra-like conditions in Minnesota, they continue to truck thru the division without a loss. Jay Culter and the offense may be struggling, but their D is what’s keeping them ahead of the game; they are the #3 in interceptions and against the rush all season. If I had to guess, Marky Mark Sanchez and company will have a bit of a struggle this week against Julius Peppers and the rest of Daaaa Bears defense.
4. Baltimore Ravens- Two words- Ray Rice. Thanks to his 233 AP yards and 2 touchdowns, they pulled off the win against the smokin hot New Orleans Saints last week. While their D seems to have fallen off a bit this season, they’ve got 2 division games left against the Brownies and the Bengals. These guys are heading to the post season, whether they beat out the Steelers for the division or not.
3. Philadelphia Eagles- The reemergence of Ron Mexico has been the talk of the town in Philly this year, and around the NFL for that matter. Michael Vick is playing the best football of his career; his mobility in and out of the pocket is impeccable, he can throw anything from lofty balls to screens, and he’s got a secure backfield with LeSean McCoy. This offense is on fire right now, and anyone in disagreement can check out the stats of the final quarter of last week’s game against the Giants. DeSean Jackson may be a showboat, but good LORD is that kid amazing.
2. Atlanta Falcons- I’m sure some would argue they deserve the #1 spot in the power rankings. Hey, with an 8 game winning streak and the best record in the NFC, it’s quite arguable. Between RB Michael Turner having 10 touchdowns in his last 8 games and WR Roddy White leading the league in receiving yards, this offense is rolling over teams left and right and paving the way towards the postseason. They host the Saints at home Monday night for a pivotal NFC South match up; but let’s keep it real, the Falcons don’t lose at home. Expect this winning streak to continue.
1. New England Patriots- Does this really need any explaining? Touchdown Tom is BACK and better than ever. Between the highest QB rating (109.9) and leading the league in touchdowns (31), along with an offense scoring over 31 points per game, does this come as a surprise? Add to that Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis holding down second for TD’s by running backs on the season (5 in the last 4 games) and you get an absolutely explosive team. Having not lost a game since early November, winning out is more than likely for this team and a trip to Dallas in February looks to be on the horizon.
1. Atlanta Falcons—The Patriots have been dethroned…at least for now. In an expected 34-18 victory over the Seahawks, Atlanta has easily become the best team in the NFC and now the team to beat in the league. Maybe it’s because nobody expected it, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that the Falcons are balanced. They’ve got a cool-headed, accurate quarterback, receivers with a nose for the ball, an effective running game, and that’s just the offense. Need I mention the bane of Matt Hasselbeck’s existence on Sunday? The defense picked Hasselbeck off twice and forced a fumble which they recovered and took to the house. Need I say more?
2. New England Patriots—Oh, boo hoo, the Patriots slid from #1 to #2. Even though Green Bay exposed some cracks to that porcelain façade the Pats had for a while (no, I’m not talking about Brady’s face) they’re still a force to be reckoned with, especially heading into the post-season. But as we’ve seen, this team isn’t infallible. Anyone remember their contest against Cleveland? Belichick has something up his sleeve and I’ll bet it has something to do with stopping the run.
3. Baltimore Ravens—In the timeless words of Dennis Green, “they are who I thought they were”. Baltimore came out against the Saints on Sunday with an intensity that may have been fleeting in weeks past. Maybe that had something to do with the insane Ravens fans at M&T or maybe it had something to do with the fact that when the Ravens have a chip on their shoulder, they usually play well. After a lackluster win against the Texans, the Ravens had some haters, didn’t they? Baltimore got back to running the ball down the throat of their opponent and came out on top against a more than worthy adversary in Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Let’s see if they get down to the nitty-gritty again in Cleveland, where I’m sure they’re looking to spoil a “win-out” for Baltimore.
4. Philadelphia Eagles—Down by 21 points in the 4th quarter against a stout New York Giants team on the road and Michael Vick says, no problem. Say what you will about the man’s character, but he is the quintessential playmaker…playmaker personified. He basically reverted to a give-me-the-ball-and-I’m-going-to-win-mentality and the Eagles are all the better for it. They rallied in an epic comeback against the Giants in a 38-31 victory and did so in just 8 minutes. What???!!! With the Vikings coming to town next week, Philly is primed and getting hotter at the end of the season. I smell a deep play-off run, people.
5. New York Jets—They beat the Steelers and that being a feat in itself is admirable…that being the sole reason the Jets are ranked at #5 as well. The Jets found a way to win on the road in Pittsburgh in a tight contest, in the snow, in the muck that Heinz Field turns into in said conditions, and in the wake of 2 embarrassing losses, and for that I commend them. But, let the back-patting end at that. Mark Sanchez hasn’t thrown a touchdown in the last 3, count ‘em, 3 games. LaDainian Tomlinson has basically been negated in those games, and even though the defense has stood tall the last couple games the offense doesn’t seem to have it completely together. They’re on to Chicago where another young QB is trying to prove his worth as well. A well-matched opponent should make for an interesting game.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers—And Roethlisberger drives his team down the field with a full set of downs and is taking shots at the end zone!!! Too bad it was only with 8 seconds left. The Steelers played a hard fought game, but the absence of Troy Polamalu, Aaron Smith, and Heath Miller were evident. The Steelers defense is good without Polamalu and Smith, but they’re just not great without them. Big Ben could’ve used a veteran like Miller in the final seconds to give the Jets’ defense another look or not drop the ball for that matter. The Steelers clenched a play-off berth, but need to get healthy to prolong the season.
7. New Orleans Saints—I’m not sure if New Orleans was expecting the Ravens team that showed up on Sunday. Brees looked poised to pick apart a secondary defense that showed much weakness in the week before and Bush may have thought that the defense ain’t what they used to be, but Baltimore’s physicality and overall toughness proved to be too much for the Super Bowl Champions. In all reality, I think they made the mistake of underestimating a very dangerous team. The offense did manage to march down the field with a 92 yard drive, but it was too little, too late.
8. Chicago Bears—They may not be better than the Patriots, but they’re better than the Vikings. Cutler is improving as the season progresses and proved that by throwing 3 touchdown passes, albeit against a down-trodden Vikings team. To me, the stars of Monday night’s show were two old men: Old Man Winter and the story line of Old Man Favre. Chicago is a good team, don’t get me wrong, but with a schedule like theirs, doesn’t it make you wonder how they would fare in the AFC?
9. New York Giants—Taken by surprise or taken advantage of? Meaning, did the Giants expect Philadelphia to roll over and let them take the “W” or did Philly see a team that was getting a little too relaxed with a 21 point lead and decide to pounce on the opportunity? I say a little bit of both. The Giants could unravel against the Packers next week, with talk of Coughlin being let go after the season and a lack of identity, Giants fans have to hope their team can snap out of it. Aaron Rodgers is healthy and ok to play this week…just sayin’
10. Green Bay Packers—Like I said earlier, Aaron Rodgers is healthy and able to play this week against the Giants. Their impressive, if not successful showing at Foxboro on Sunday with Matt Flynn at the helm made people take notice of this team again. I’m not saying Flynn is a Godsend but he wasn’t as bad as everyone anticipated either. They managed to get to Brady despite a not quite 100% Clay Matthews. Injuries have plagued this team week in and week out. They’ve had a roller coaster kind of year at 8-6, but a healthy Rodgers is definitely an edge heading into the twilight of the regular season.
11. Indianapolis—Maybe it’s because I’m a Baltimorean and have seen the fear this team instills in Ravens fans’ eyes, the uncertainty at which they go about talking about an impending match against Indy, but with Manning under center (and the Ravens record against them, especially in the post season) can you really blame them? This team isn’t done yet. Do I think they’ll make it to the Super Bowl? No. Do I think they are capable of spoiling some hopes of getting to the Super Bowl? Yes, I do. Indy was able to stop Jones-Drew and was able to get a little somethin’ goin’ on the ground offensively on their end, combined with Peyton Manning and just an OK opponent, looks like Indy is going to the play-offs…great.
12. San Diego Chargers—San Diego may be finally turning the corner and may start beating some better teams. I’m not totally sold on a team that gets swept by the Oakland Raiders. I know, I know, the Raiders are better this year, whatever. San Diego should have been better than what they’re putting out there this season. The Chargers have Vincent Jackson back, who by the way had a 3 TD game on Sunday. Rivers can’t whine about that now can he?
13. Kansas City Chiefs—I realize that the Chiefs have a better record than San Diego, but this is a power ranking, not a list of whose record is better, right? They won at St. Louis on Sunday and a lot of that has to do with a little bit of balance. The Chiefs aren’t setting the world on fire or anything, but they had a nice thing going considering Jamaal Charles and Cassell both found the end zone and their defense held a potentially dangerous Rams offense to only pair of field goals and a rushing TD. Not bad, but not awesome. Hence, the #13 spot.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars—This is where the list starts to get a little fuzzy, murky, and muddled. Yes, the Jags have Maurice Jones-Drew and Garrard threw for a more than respectable 294 yards on Sunday against the Colts, do they possess that extra something that separates good teams from great teams? I don’t think so. Indy has a beat up secondary which they exposed and still couldn’t put the game away to clench the division and that’s the bottom line. Muddled=Mediocre.
15. Miami Dolphins—Umm…is everyone as puzzled by this team as I am? They’re 6-1 on the road and 1-6 at home. They lost to the Bills on Sunday in a 17-14 match and just the week before beat a tough Jets team on the road, in the rain for that matter. I’m not saying that the Jets were playing their best ball, because they weren’t, but as they say, a win is a win and the Dolphins did it again on the road in New York. All that said they lost to Buffalo at home. Go figure.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—The Buccaneers have a very young team this year and regardless of talent, which they have, I think that is their downfall. They have the weapons, Freeman at QB, Blount on par to rush for a thousand yards, and a hell of a receiver in Williams. What the Bucs don’t have is time. They need time to get better and that will come eventually, just not this season. They couldn’t handle the Detroit Lions on Sunday, let’s chalk this one up to a learning experience.
BOTTOM FEEDER: Arizona Cardinals—The Cards lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday…do I have to say anything else? Yes, they were on the road and I’m sure it was a little chilly in Charlotte on Sunday, but seriously, your season for the most part is over; open the playbook and find a way to win against the Panthers. In their defense, their quarterback is some dude named John Skelton and they had a lousy offseason. They lost Boldin and Warner thought it better to perfect the fox trot on Dancing With the Stars. It wasn’t a stellar offseason to say the least. But, come on.