|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 2||09.15.09 at 7:21 pm ET|
To quote Glenn Ordway, “You learn nothing after the first week of the NFL season.” But we’re going to analyze and rank the teams anyway. Among the teams that moved up this week are the Seahawks (17 to 10) and the Jets (18 to 13). The Bears (18) and the Panthers (19) are two teams that dropped dramatically in the rankings.
1. (Last week, 1) The Steelers don’t need a run game when they’ve got a guy like Ben Roethlisberger under center. Their defense was of championship caliber, and they beat a tough Titans team. The only question mark going into next week’s game at Chicago and beyond is how will the secondary respond without Troy Polamalu. Tyrone Carter and Ryan Clark seem ready to step up.
2. (4) One of the big question marks going into this game was how would Eli Manning perform without Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Manning spread the ball around to Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss, and it was clear those players were capable of filling Plaxico’s shoes. Osi Umenyiora is back with a vengeance, and that Giants defense is scary with Justin Tuck and Osi on the ends.
3. (2) On Monday night, Patriots fans left Gillette Stadium happy — but shocked. The Patriots looked very shaky against a mediocre team. The Bills did a great job of getting pressure on Tom Brady, and I think everyone agrees Tom Brady didn’t play to the level we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. But all that being the case, check out these numbers: 378 passing yards, 39 completions and 2 TD’s. It will be scary when Brady is back at the top of his game. Any other team would have lost that game, but the Patriots are the exception. They get the key turnovers and produce under pressure.
4. (7.) The Titans played their hearts out in Pittsburgh on opening night, and proved that last year’s team was no fluke. Playing on the road against the Super Bowl champs is no easy task, and the Titans almost pulled it off. Former Steeler and current Titan Nate Washington said after the game, “‘The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t beat the Tennessee Titans, the Tennessee Titans beat the Tennessee Titans.” The Titans have something to prove, and will start with the Texans on Sunday.
5. (3) This time it was the Colts defense that stepped up. Stopping Maurice Jones-Drew multiple times in the red zone is no easy task. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne hasn’t lost a beat. We’ll see how Peyton responds to the absence of Anthony Gonzalez on the field next week.
6. (5) LaDainian Tomlinson? On the sidelines with the game in the balance? Shocker! Once again, LT watched his team from the bench. The self proclaimed “best back” in the NFL isn’t even the best back on his team. Philip Rivers showed why he is one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league with his Bradyesque comeback.
7. (8) As Jon Meterparel would say, “Take a bow Matty Heisman. Take a bow.” Matt Ryan continues to improve, and with Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons are a scary team. The defense that was under such scrutiny going into the season almost had a shutout to open the season.
8. (10) It’s starting to look like the Ravens offense is ready to step up and compliment that defense. Joe Flacco passed for over 300 yards and 3 TD’s. They’ll be a dangerous team if the offense can continue to put up numbers like they did against the Chiefs.
9. (13) How bout dem Cowboys? Tony Romo and the Cowboys don’t need Terrell Owens. Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Jason Witten, Marion Barber and Felix Jones help make Dallas one of the best offenses in the league. And, who didn’t love Williams’ snarky rip of Terrell Owens after the game.
10. (17) The Seahawks played well in their shutout win against the worst team in the league. But even though they played the Rams, Seattle can take a lot of positives out of this win. Julius Jones ran for over 100 yards, Matt Hasselbeck spread the ball around, and the defense shut out St. Louis, which is difficult to do against any NFL team.
11. (15) If Brett Favre keeps on handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson the Vikings will be a tough team to beat. That is, of course, if Brett stops tackling his own wide receivers.
12. (16) I don’t know what to think of the Packers game against the Bears. Jay Cutler looked awful, and some of the calls Lovie Smith made caused fans to scratch their heads. Positives: The defense looked solid in the 3-4 and Aaron Rodgers proved he can come from behind and win a game.
13. (18) The AFC East doesn’t look like so much of a lock as it did before the season started for New England — the Patriots have some challengers. Mark Sanchez played great and the Jets blitz packages kept the Texans offense on its toes. I might have considered ranking them higher if I didn’t have to see Rex Ryan in a wet shirt. I don’t care if it was Ryan’s first win as a head coach — the ”Gatorade Shower” is a tradition that should be practiced only at the end of championship games.
14. (14) I don’t care how many TD passes Drew Brees threw — when a team allows the Detroit Lions to put up 27 points on the scoreboard,whether on special teams-offense-or-defense, they will not move up in the power rankings. The Saints stay at No. 14 with a mediocre defense and an explosive offense.
15. (6) If it wasn’t for the injuries to Donovan Mcnabb and starting right tackle Shawn Andrews, the Eagles would have moved up in the power rankings after a great performance against the Panthers. However, you can’t expect much from Kevin Kolb. Eagles fans should pray that Mcnabb will be back on the field by Week 3.
16. (24) Shaun Hill showed a lot with that 80-yard game winning drive. The 49ers defense did a great job at not letting Kurt Warner and the Cardinals offense get into a groove.
17. (9) The defending NFC champs lost to a mediocre team on Sunday. They had a total of 12 penalties and turned the ball over twice, but this Cardinals team is talented on both sides of the football. This offense can be explosive.
18. (12) The Bears can’t be this bad, can they? Cutler made some terrible decisions, and that resulted in 4 interceptions. However, the Bears still had a chance to win that game if it wasn’t for Lovie Smith being absolutely clueless. Dumb challenges and play calls was the main reason why the Bears looked unprepared and sloppy against the Packers.
19. (11) How much longer will Jake Delhomme be taking the snaps in Carolina? The Panthers have a tough schedule, and can’t afford to turn the ball over as much as they have in recent games.
20. (22) The Bills shocked everyone but themselves on Monday night; actually I think they did shock themselves. The Bills have potential to give a lot of teams trouble this year. However, a loss like the one they suffered Monday night can really hurt them. Let’s see how they bounce back against a bad Tampa team next week.
21. (19) The Redskins made a valiant effort to comeback in beat the Giants, but at the end of the day the Giants were just a better team. It’s not that the ‘Skins are a bad team — the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys are just all better.
22. (20) Four turnovers, three of them fumbles. The Dolphins looked more like the 1-15 team in 2007 then the 11-5 team of 2008.
23. (21) The Jags’ D can come out of this game with a moral victory after holding the Colts offense to just 14 points. M.J. Drew turned in another great performance but he’s the only high point of that offense.
24. (27) A win is a win, but the Broncos can’t expect balls to just drop in their hands all season.
25. (23) The Texans looked real bad at home against the Jets on Sunday. Matt Schaub looked pathetic against the Jets D. The Texans came into that game unprepared and it showed.
26. (25) The Bengals will improve this season — I’m convinced of it. Carson and Chad will find that groove, and it begins next week against Green Bay.
27. (30) The Raiders performance was more shocking then the Bills performance on Monday night. Oakland has some young talented players, and Richard Seymour played great after just a few days in that system. But how can anyone have faith in Jamarcus Russell?
28. (26) The Bucs had some bright spots on offense with Cadillac Williams coming back and rushing for over 100 yards, but they still have a long way to go in a tough division.
29. (29) I’m interested to see what Eric Man”genious” has up his sleeve to help fix this team. Congratulations to the Browns for scoring their first offensive touchdown in 7 games.
30. (28) Matt Cassel needs to get back on the field for the Chiefs to move up. With the play of the Raiders, the Chiefs become the worst team in the worst division in football. Congratulations.
31. (32) Detroit showed some life Sunday when they put up 27 points against the Saints. A moral victory for the Lions. Matthew Stafford had some good moments and some not so good moments but there is light at the end of the tunnel for this Lions’ offense.
32. (31) Pathetic and pitiful are the first two words that come to mind when I see the St. Louis Rams logo.
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