Thursday, November 29, 2007

NFL Power 15 - thru week 12:

1. New England - A close shave at the Razor Sunday night but they're still perfect and still #1 until further notice.

2. Dallas - The Cowboys pummled the Jets on Turkey Day but that was the Jets. How will they fare against the team that's just behind them in the rankings Thursday night?

3. Green Bay - Packers enjoyed their Turkey Day too winning in Detroit. I still believe that Dallas is an all around better team with a more explosive offense. Prove me wrong Pack!

4. Indy - Colts thrashed the Falcons on Thanksgiving night but they're still not healthy. If Marvin Harrison can come back soon, look out! Their defense looks like it may be able to overcome the loss of Dwight Freeney.

5. Pittsburgh - Don't put much stock in the final score (3-0) of their game against Miami Monday Night. The playing conditions were rediculous and leveled the playing field.

6. Jacksonville - Alright Jags, here's your chance. Go to Indy and win on Sunday and you'll zoom up the rankings and establish yourself as a possible threat to the NFL's best - the Pats.

7. Cleveland - Browns beat the Texans last week and travel to Arizona this week. Go RAC!

8. Tampa Bay - Bucs have an interesting game at New Orleans this week. What makes it interesting is that Jon Gruden may have to start Bruce Gradkowski or Luke McCown if Jeff Garcia (back) can't go.

9. Seattle - No DJ Hackett for the Seahawks this week. But that's okay, old friend Deion Branch is back and Bobby Engram is solid as well. Will Philly bring it this week against Seattle like they did in New England Sunday night?

10. NY Giants - What a pitiful performance by the G-Men against the Vikings. If Eli doesn't get it going soon, he will find the New York metropolitan area a very difficult place to play.

11. San Diego - Are the Chargers teasing us, or are they starting to click? I thought that they had righted the ship earlier this season only to have them go into a mini-funk again. If they are back, a win at KC is a must.

12. Detroit - Will the Lions please beat a half decent team? I'm not sure if winning at Minnesota would qualify but they need to win it anyway to stop their free-fall.

13. New Orleans - If Drew Brees & the Saints can beat the Bucs Sunday, they'll be just a game out of first in the NFC South.

14. Tennessee - The Titans forgot to show up for their game at Cincinnati losing to the hapless Bengals 35-6. If they don't beat Houston at home this week, stick a fork in them because they'll be done!

15. Minnesota/Philly - I couldn't pick between these two (5-6) teams. The Vikes were impressive in their blowout win of the Giants at the Meadowlands while the Eagles were equally impressive in a loss to the high-powered Patriots.

Missed the cut - Chicago, Arizona, Washington, Houston, Buffalo

Joke of the league - Miami - Didn't you just know that the Dolphins would find a way to lose that game in the slop in Pittsburgh Monday night? On the bright side, a home game against the Jets this week gives the Phins a chance to win their first game of the year Sunday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NFL Power 15 - thru week 11:

Here we go again. Time for this week's Power 15! Before we unviel this week's edition, allow me to clarify what this poll is all about. These rankings are about the here and now and not based on projections - which is to say, that these teams are ranked on how they are playing and how good they are NOW! This isn't a poll based upon projections and which teams I think will be good in 3 weeks. With that said, here's your Power 15:

1. New England - Did you see what they did to the Bills Sunday night? Their performance was so impressive that I have admittedly changed my tune on whether or not the Pats will go undefeated. I would now be surprised if they DIDN'T go undefeated. They are that good!

2. Dallas - Part of me wonders if Dallas is better than the 21 point loss they suffered to New England at home or if there is that much of a gap. Still, the Cowboys 9-1 record is very impressive as they, too, are kicking ass and taking names. Right now, they rate the edge over Green Bay for the #2 spot.

3. Green Bay - The Packers, too, are kicking some serious butt and playing great defense as well. We haven't seen them against the pats so there's no way to measure them against the league's elite team. However we will learn alot more about them (and the Cowboys) when they visit Dallas on November 29th.

4. Indianapolis - SI's Peter King must have been hanging out with Rickey Williams if he thinks that the Colts are the second best team in the league right now! With the way they're playing and the injuries they have sustained, they would not beat the Dallas Cowboys right now. Or the Green Bay Packers. Maybe even the Steelers. However, if they do get healthy (minus Dwight Freeney) they will pose the biggest threat to the Patriots in the playoffs.

5. Pittsburgh - A terrible loss to the Jets Sunday, but I still think that this is a good team. In fact, I thought about putting Jacksonville in this spot but I believe that the Steelers are the better team and would win if they played today.

6. Jacksonville - A win over the Chargers Sunday has them just a game behind Indy for the AFC South lead. And they've won with multiple QB's! The reason why is their defense has been stingy. In fact, they've given up only two more points (159) this season than the Patriots (157).

7. NY Giants - It wasn't a thing of beauty, but the G-men got the job done in Mowtown. They should pick up their 8th win this Sunday at home against Minnesota, even without former BC Eagle Mathias Kiwanuka.

8. Tampa Bay - It's time we all stopped sleeping on the Bucs. They ARE the team to beat in the NFC South. John Gruden's job was reportedly on the line coming into this season and it looks like he has a playoff-bound team on his hands.

9. Cleveland - Wow! What a finish to the Browns game at Baltimore! Phil Dawson's game-tying FG hits the left upright and then the bar over the crossbar holding up the goalposts before bouncing out! After originally being ruled no good, the refs got it right and Cleveland won in overtime. That's taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce.

10. Seattle - Seahawks have been playing better as of late beating the Bears this past weekend. They face a healthier Rams team in St. Louis on Sunday.

11. Tennessee - The Titans couldn't get it done against a down Denver team Monday night although Vince Young did play like an NFL QB this week. If they want to be a playoff team, they have to beat a pitiful Bengals team this week in Cincinnati.

12. Detroit - The Packers still haven't beaten a good team making their Turkey Day match-up with Green Bay a must! Based upon what I've seen from both team this season, I'll take the Pack.

13. Houston - Andre Johnson's return to the line-up is huge for the Texans who beat the surging Saints last Sunday. A big game this week for the Texans as they visit another surging team - Cleveland this weekend.

14. Philly - Eagles, without a hobbled Donovan McNabb, sent the lowly Dolphins to their 10th defeat on Sunday. From an (0-10) team to the (10-0) Patriots this Sunday night. Now let's see how good the Eagles are.

15. Washington - The Skins hung tough with Dallas on Sunday and, let's face it, play in the toughest division in the league. (sorry AFC South) Washington may have a make or break game this weekend in Tampa.

Missed the cut: Arizona, San Diego

Bottom of the barrell: The (ha, ha, ha, ha) Miami (ha, ha, ha, ha) Dolphins (ha, ha, ha,ha)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NFL Power 15 (thru week 10):

1. New England - It's hard to believe that without playing the Pats could create more separation between themselves and the rest of the pcak, but that's exactly what happened! Thanks to Manning's 6 int's at San Diego, the Pats are now head and shoulders above the rest. Let's hope there's not letdown Sunday night in Buffalo.

2. Dallas - The Cowboys only blemish was their loss to the Patriots. Other than that, they've been pretty dominant. Winning at Giants Stadium Sunday was impressive and, along with Green Bay, they have seperated themselves from the rest of the NFC.

3. Green Bay - Now I believe in the Pack! I was uncertain about this team because of their lack of a running game but with Ryan Grant running all over one of the league's best run defenses in Minnesota, I'm convinced. The Pack is for real!

4. Pittsburgh - I was rooting hard for Romeo's Browns to pull off the upset in Pittsburgh but it wasn't meant to be. Give credit to the Steelers for coming back to beat Cleveland. Big Ben's having a solid season and the Steeler's defense is pretty damn good. Let's give new head coach Mike Tomlin alot of credit for replacing a coaching legend (Bill Cowher) and not missing a beat.

5. Indy - My, how the mighty have fallen! Injuries, shmingeries! Even with the help of the guys in striped shirts, they couldn't beat the Patriots 2 weeks ago. And this past week, 6 Manning interceptions and a missed Adam Vinatieri chip shot FG cost them a win in San Diego. Plus, they may have lost Dwight Freeney for the season. Sorry Bill Polian!

6. NY Giants - The G-men lost a game they needed to win on Sunday if they wanted to win the division. Now it's all about a wild card berth for the Giants. Still, this is a talented team that can play with anyone when they're at their best.

7. Jacksonville - How about the Jags going in to Tennessee and slapping the Titans around Sunday? Even with the immortal Quinn Gray at quarterback!

8. Cleveland - The Browns gave the Steelers all they could handle Sunday proving that they are for real. If they really are for real, they'll need top beat a down Ravens team in Baltimore this weekend.

9. Seattle - Seahawks impressive shutout of the 49ers Monday night may be an indication that Seattle is on it's way back. If they can get Shawn Alexander and Deion Branch healthy, they could make a little bit of a run in the NFC.

10. Tennessee - I've been kind of tough on Vince Young this year, but I think rightfully so. If the Titans are going to be a force in the AFC, they flat out need better play from their QB.

11. Detroit - The Lions lost a game that a playoff-bound team would have won. They have a HUGE game this weekend with the NY Giants paying a visit to Ford Field.

12. Washington - Redskins have their work cut out for themselves this week when they visit Dallas. The loss to Philly last week might sting for while.

13. Tampa Bay - The Bucs defense has been solid this year and their offense is in good hands with veteran QB Jeff Garcia. The Bucs should win at Atlanta Sunday.

14. Buffalo - Bills may have been guilty of looking ahead Sunday as they survived a scare in Miami. J.P. Losman will QB the team Sunday night. Can they hang with or possibly even upset the Pats? Nah!

15. New Orleans - Are the Saints really back or are they just an average team? The answer to that question will come in the next 7 games starting Sunday at Houston.

Missed the cut: San Diego, Kansas City, Chicago

The worst of the worst: The Miami Dolphins are now on the clock!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NFL Power 15 - thru week 9:

1. New England - For 3 quarters Sunday I was thinking that the Colts would occupy the top spot in this week's poll. Then, Tom Brady and the Patriots decided to finish strong. And finish strong they did! Great 2nd half performance by the Pats D which forced 2 turnovers and allowed only 1 Indy score.

2. Indy - You wonder if things would have been different if Marvin Harrison played? We'll never know. Still, I'm very impressed with the speed and execution of the Colts D. See you in Foxboro in late January!

3. Dallas - They exorcised their demons in Philly Sunday night with a convincing win over the Eagles. Along with Green Bay, they are the class of the NFC.

4. Green Bay - The Pack had no problems in KC on Sunday. It's fun to see Brett Favre playing well and winning again.

5. Pittsburgh - After that unbelievable performance on both sides of the ball against the Ravens Monday night I was tempted to move this team higher in the polls. My colleague Tony Cornetta certainly wants me to! However, as the great Bill Parcells said on ESPN this past weekend, any team that loses to Arizona and Denver this year shouldn't be considered a threat to win in Foxboro.

6. NY Giants - A bye for the Giants after the win over the Dolphins in London. Hopefully they put that extra week to good use because the high-flying Cowboys visit the Meadowlands this weekend.

7. Tennessee - I am not impressed with this team yet they are 6-2 and a game behind the Colts in the AFC South! Vince Young is not playing well but the Titans defense is.

8. Detroit - Break up the Lions! Like the Titans, they are 6-2 at the midway point and 1 game behind Green Bay in the NFC North. Matt Millen is a genius!

9. Cleveland - How about some love for Romeo? His Browns are 5-3 with a QB that nobody had heard of before the season started.

10. New Orleans - Don't look now but the Saints are on their way back. They are a half game behind the Bucs in the NFC South. And, one of my favorite former Patriots - David Patten - had a big game for them Sunday.

11. San Diego - The Chargers were on their way back until they hit a bump in the road in Minnesota Sunday. Still, the talent on this team is too good to ignore.

12. Jacksonville - Jags lost at New Orleans Sunday. They gave up 41 points to the Saints who racked up over 500 yards of total offense against the Jags normally stingy "D". That won't happen this Sunday but they will have their hands full in Tennessee where the Titans just find ways to win games.

13. Washington - Not exactly the bonce-back type of performance I expected coming off the Patriots loss. Still, they managed to rally for the OT win despite trailing the Jats the whole way.

14. Tampa Bay - Bucs took care of business against the Cards to move to 5-4 heading into their bye week. If Carolina and New Orleans win this weekend, there will be a 3-way tie atop the NFC South.

15. Kansas City - With Larry Johnson's foot injury, Priest Holmes will carry the load offensively. The problem with the Chiefs is the QB position where former Patriot Damon Huard has not played very well. Seconf year man Brodie Croyle may be close to taking over the offensive reigns.

Missed the cut: Buffalo - On second thought, the Bills should be in my top 15!

Bottom Feeders: Miami - Somebody ask Don Shula if this year's soon-to-be 0-16 Dolphins team will negate the 17-0 '72 Dolphins? And tell him to stick that asterisk up his #$@!