LWS Top and Bottom NFL Power Rankings
After Week Two of the 2012 NFL season a new record has been set having 20 teams at 1-1. All pi-head Mathematicians have already deliberated about the rareness of ties in the NFL, and have since determined there to be only six teams at 2-0 and another six at 0-2. The peculiar start to the season makes for a tricky and controversial task for determining power rankings. Nonetheless, we will forge ahead and give them anyway, but before I do and subsequently have oodles of NFL fans sending hate mail, I will tell you what my ranks would have been entering the season… hopefully that can qualify things just a bit.
Entering the season I would have listed my top 5 contenders as San Francisco, New England, Baltimore, Green Bay, and New Orleans, with Atlanta and the Giants knocking on the door. My bottom five would have included, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Minnesota, Miami, and St. Louis in whatever order you want. Really, they are all bad, and depending who you are and in what geographical area will determine the order.
But, this is a weekly power ranking where I look at how a team is playing and the strength of the opponent they are facing as well as some instinct on the team in general. For a prime example the New Orleans Saints will NOT be in the top 5 but they sure as Sam won’t be in the bottom 5 despite their 0-2 record!
So here we go. Let’s start with the easier of the two, “The Basement”, the league’s bottom-dwellers…
31 and 32 (tie). Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars - I put these two together because it was hard to pick which one is worse early in the season. Sure, the Jags at least had a close game but considering it was a loss to the Vikings, that does nothing for their credibility. All they have is Maurice Jones-Drew, who is quickly losing interest in his team. These two teams are lucky they play in the same division with each other and Indianapolis, because someone has to win.
30. Cleveland Browns - Here is Power Ranking Politics at its finest…. These guys I truly feel bad for. They have played two tough games, dropping to the Eagles by a single point and then losing by a touchdown in Cincinnati. They are certainly over achieving and trying so hard to shock people, many of whom had them listed as a potential 4-12 team at best! However, like I said, when you’re 0-2 and overachieving you definitely are battling for a high draft pick in 2013. Sorry, Browns fans…
29. Oakland Raiders - Another AFC West team going into the season I thought were gonna be an 8-8 or 9-7 team, but with losses to the Chargers and an embarrassing display against the Miami Dolphins, which has since moved the Dolphins right out of my “Basement 5″ and put the Raiders right in it. Say what you want, they have potential but so far – disgusting! PS, they cost me money, too!
28. Kansas City Chiefs – A team with potential that are supposed to play .500 football, that can run the ball very well, but have been atrocious getting beat down by the Falcons. Atlanta is phenomenal, but when coupled with an unforgivable and unforgettably poor performance against the Bills, it’s easy to put the Chiefs in the Basement.
Bottom 5 Conclusion: The Raiders and Chiefs will climb out of their spots soon, and look for my bubble teams, the Vikings and Dolphins, to trade with them. Cleveland might as well rest their starting QB, whoever it is, when they play Baltimore and Pittsburgh four times this year. I mean, that’s painful just thinking about it. But hats off to them so far and I hope they prove me wrong. Tennessee has potential to finish with 5 or 6 wins at best, but Jacksonville is just awful, and it’s no wonder Sports Illustrated had them finishing dead last in a fan population poll.
Now on to the Ceiling 5 and what I know will seem “suspect”. I must apologize to Cardinals fans ahead of time – I know you’re 2-0 and you beat the Patriots, but you’re not even close to making it! Win another two and we’ll talk. But as for New England, Green Bay, Baltimore and Philadelphia, we’re in business…
Let’s start at five and work our way to the NFL’s ceiling:
5. Denver Broncos – lol yes i did watch the game last night, but those interceptions that Peyton threw will change, and they’re going to win their division. Peyton Manning with a good defense is a force to be reckoned with! The big problem last night was Peyton could’nt organize his famous hurry up offense. When he gets that sorted out Denver will be dangerous. They can afford a few early losses to beat San Diego for the division and when they enter the playoffs they will be scary.
4. Baltimore Ravens - Now you might want to shoot me, but it’s gotta be. I know they lost to the Eagles, I watched, too, but that won’t happen again. Baltimore is the best all-around team in the AFC. They still have the “Ravens Defense”, and now have an offense kicker. When the playoffs come their competition will be New England, Pittsburgh and Denver. It’s their time. Baltimore is Superbowl ready.
3. Green Bay Packers – They didn’t get the job done last year, but they were champions the previous year, and they still have what it takes and have the team to do it. A loss at Lambeau is tough, but they were playing the 49ers and sometimes a loss can make you stronger. I think the Pack will see the 49ers again and if it’s at Lambeau they probably wouldn’t screw up twice.
2. Atlanta Falcons – It’s not just that they are 2-0 with a win over Peyton Manning. This team doesn’t lose at home and are all-around phenomenal! We all know they are going to the playoffs, but that is when they need to start showing the “Dirty Bird is Back”. When I watched them last night they reminded me of the 1998 Superbowl runners-up Falcons, having Michael Turner looking like Jamal Anderson with those tree trunk legs running over people.
1. San Francisco 49ers – I think it’s an easy call. They have the most depth in the NFL; great offense, great defense, great coaching staff. The only issue is at the pivotal (pun intended) QB position, which is “so far so good” for Alex Smith. These guys know how to win football games as they have beaten two strong opponents including a win in the frozen trundra (okay, not frozen yet, but still hard to get a win there!). They have Randy Moss playing a role that suits him at this point in his career. If Alex Smith can just be “more than good”, they look like champions.
Conclusion – I need to see more from Houston, Philadelphia and San Diego before I see them being a threat to overtake on of the Ceiling 5 teams. New England will always be good with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but things just don’t seem right to me. I’m sure they will go back to slaughtering opponents and climb back up, but instead of just penciling them in the AFC championship as we have been accustomed to doing over the past thousand years, I need to see a bit more.
I’ll be back next Wednesday morning to re-address my Basement 5 and Ceiling 5 of the NFL Power Rankings.