|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: Patriots climb into top 5||11.12.13 at 11:28 am ET|
The Seahawks continue to soar high above the rest in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. As fellow NFC teams suffer injuries and decline, Seattle seems to be getting stronger, and its big offseason acquisition, Percy Harvin, is set to debut in Seahawk green. The Broncos stand pat at No. 2 as they survived a health scare to their franchise QB. The Chiefs are proud owners of a perfect record and jump the their highest spot all year at No. 3. They sat back and enjoyed their bye week as the Colts (6) and Niners (8) suffered losses and fell in the rankings.
The difference a year makes continues to be the story across the league. Playoff teams in 2012 like the Texans (28), Vikings (27), Redskins (26) and Falcons (25) continue to plummet in 2013. It seems highly unlikely any of those teams will make a return to the postseason. On the other hand, the Chiefs, Panthers (7) and Jets (11) all have exceeded expectations and are in the thick of the playoff race after being completely out of it at this time last year.
Week 11 will deliver one of the most anticipated matchups of the year as the league’s best offense clashes against one of the league’s best defenses in an AFC West battle. The Broncos and Chiefs will duke it out to maintain their position in the NFL’s elite. It should be an exciting week of football.
1. (1) Seahawks (8-1) — Last year Seattle owned a 3-5 record on the road; this year the Seahawks boast a 5-1 record away from CenturyLink Field. As Harvin nears a return to the field following hip surgery, the Seahawks’ lead in the NFC continues to grow.
2. (2) Broncos (8-1) — Peyton Manning re-aggravated an ankle injury, but that won’t sideline him when the Broncos take on the first-place Chiefs. Denver needs to be extra cautious with Manning. It may be even worth considering shutting him down for a week or two. Their chance for a Super Bowl title could be on the line.
3. (5) Chiefs (9-0) — The time finally has arrived for the Chiefs to prove to the rest of the league they are as good as their record indicates. It’s quite simple why Kansas City is at the top of the standings. The defense has been ferocious. The Chiefs have forced a league-high 23 turnovers.
4. (6) Patriots (7-2) — The Patriots are an astonishing 87-24 coming off their bye week since 2001. They’re 26-4 over the last three years alone. There’s no reason to believe Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won’t lead the Patriots to another impressive post-bye week performance when they take on the Panthers on Monday night.
|Rex Ryan: Sunday ‘a horrible day for the Ryan family’||10.15.13 at 9:50 am ET|
While the Patriots’ shocking comeback victory over New Orleans on Sunday left many on the Saints, including defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, speechless at the end of the game, the same can’t be said for Jets coach Rex Ryan, Rob’s twin brother.
Now in his fifth season with the Jets, Rex has witnessed firsthand Tom Brady and Co. mount incredible comebacks time and time again over the years. Sunday’s game was no different, as Brady orchestrated a 70-yard drive with 1:13 remaining, eventually firing a perfect pass to Kenbrell Thompkins in the end zone with five seconds left, giving New England the 30-27 win.
“It was a horrible day for the Ryan family,” Ryan said on Monday. “Good thing’s my dad’s out of coaching. … Until it hits zero, Brady’s done that time and time again.”
While Ryan said that his brother’s defensive game plan against Brady was effective for most of Sunday’s contest, he admitted that sometimes it can be nearly impossible to stop the three-time Super Bowl champion in the closing moments of a game.
“You want to make calls for your brother if you think you can help, but they’d been doing a pretty good job of their own anyway,” Rex said. “And I know what he went to, he went to a four-across, he had four guys on top, and that’s a tough situation right there. Because you can’t double them all. He got what he wanted, and so did they. They got a jump ball out there, and you know what’s coming. Everybody in the park knows it’s coming. You just don’t know which receiver it’s going to.”
The Saints’ loss, while obviously painful for Rob Ryan and the rest of the New Orleans organization, also had a large impact on Rex Ryan and the Jets. Had the Saints sealed the victory and the Jets defeated the Steelers at the Meadowlands on Sunday, New England and New York would have been tied for first in the AFC East, setting up a pivotal showdown at MetLife Stadium this weekend.
In his last two games in East Rutherford, Brady has dominated the Jets with a stat line of 44-for-66 passing for six touchdowns with no interceptions. In those two games, both Patriots victories, New England put up a combined 86 points.
Despite now being two games out of first place, Ryan said he hopes the Jets fan base will be loud and ready to go Sunday.
“I’m just telling our fans, ‘Come ready,’ ” Ryan said on ESPN Radio.
|Willie Colon on his fight with Patriots: ‘I was tired of losing’||09.13.13 at 2:28 am ET|
FOXBORO — It wouldn’t be a Patriots-Jets game if there wasn’t a little tension between the two teams.
While it was a relatively uneventful week, which carried over into a very sloppy, poorly played game, tempers did flare in the closing minute of the Patriots’ 13-10 win.
With 48 seconds left in the game and the Jets attempting to drive down the field, Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib intercepted Jets quarterback Geno Smith at the New York 46-yard line, for his second interception of the game, sealing the win for the Patriots. Following the interception, Jets lineman Nick Mangold dove at the cornerback’s legs when Talib didn’t just take a knee and was dancing up the sideline. The Patriots sideline took exception, and the two teams came together, exchanging words and, in the case of two Jets players, more than words.
“I didn’t do anything, I made the tackle,” Mangold said. “He was along the sideline. I obviously could not play defense in this league because I thought he was still in bounds, so I tried to make a tackle.”
Fellow offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Willie Colon were ejected for throwing punches and in the case of Colon, striking an official in the melee. Following the game both players could not recall the particulars of what took place.
“I don’t really remember the details of what happened,” said Ferguson, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, said. “At the end of the day I was ejected and like I said, just a lot of frustration today and we didn’t have the result we were looking for.”
Like Ferguson, Colon, in his eighth season in the league, couldn’t recall the details of the scrum, just that he was stepping in to protect one of his players.
“I was tired of losing, and we just can’t have it,” he said. “I saw [Nick Bellore] in there and a lot of guys running. I was trying to get in there and help my brother, and that is why I reacted the way I reacted.”
|Tim Tebow will be disaster for Jets||03.26.12 at 11:32 am ET|
There’s a line in “All the President’s Men” that captures the Jets perfectly. Bob Woodward is running dry on sources. It looks like he and Carl Bernstein aren’t going to crack the Watergate story after all. He’s worn out, pissed off and finally ready to give up, surrender to Mitchell and Nixon and Hunt and Haldeman and Erlichman.
Woodward meets up with Deep Throat — the source, not the film Tim Tebow would never watch — and tells him exactly that. It’s basically over.
Deep Throat — we now know is Mark Felt, who comes to think of it looked a hell of a lot like Hal Holbrook — gives the closest version of a pep talk you’ll ever get from a CIA operative in the basement of a garage. And it ends with this:
“Look, forget the myths the media’s created about the White House- the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand. ”
Change “White House” to “NFL” and you’ve got the Jets and the addition of Tim Tebow.
I thought Tebow to the Patriots made sense. I didn’t think it was going to happen but I thought it made sound football sense. Terrific athlete, a head coach willing to look at a player and see something else, all that stuff. Almost as important, the Patriots were one of three or four franchises in the NFL where Tebow would be zero distraction to the day-to-day operations of a football team.
Put it another way: For the Tim Tebow experiment to really succeed, he needed to go to a place where the quarterback was an untouchable, the coach had unimpeachable job security and the motivation to bring Tebow in was as football player only, not some ploy to steal headlines or sell tickets.
And that’s why the Jets and Tim Tebow will be an absolute disaster, a train wreck that will end with Tebow either a) being released or b) traded to Jacksonville for even less value in a year or two.
This is how a clueless organization does things. They botch any real shot at Peyton Manning and scramble to save face. Instead of taking a step back, just pause for minute and look at things from a big picture perspective, the Jets dive in and make a deal for a quarterback that isn’t as good as the guy they have. And that guy — Mark Sanchez — isn’t good enough in their eyes, or else there is no way they deal for Tebow. Desperation meets stupidity meets a desire to monopolize the front page of the New York Post for a couple of weeks in March.
(Helps when you have a Hall of Fame QB, but you would never see the Patriots do this the way the Jets are. The courtship, the huge press conference, putting his jersey on the front of the team web page. It’s just reeks of minor leagues. The Patriots would have had a conference call the day after the trade and that’s it.)
This is a pissed off little brother, plain and simple. The Jets have watched the Giants win two Super Bowls the last five years — against the team that was supposed to be their rival — and this was the best answer they could come up with. And when you start making organizational decisions based on desire to be relevant off the field you are basically screwed. There’s a reason why they don’t hand out rings or raise banners in March.
Mark Sanchez isn’t a franchise quarterback, not by the longest shot. Is there a chance he could develop into a top 10-15 guy over the next couple of years? It’s possible, sure, this is a QB with four road playoff wins, including one that saw him outplay Tom Brady. Point is, you could do worse.
|Halftime analysis: Patriots 10, Jets 7||10.09.11 at 5:37 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots and the Jets are done with two quarters here at Gillette Stadium, and New England holds a 10-7 lead. Here are a few quick notes:
• The Jets opened in a 3-1-7 formation against the Patriots — the same way they approached the playoff game last year — and had a variety of coverages on Wes Welker. He lined up opposite Darrelle Revis in man coverage often, but they also zoned it up a bit, as well. (The surest way to spot it? The Patriots sent Welker in motion a whole lot over the first half, and whenever Revis trailed after him, it was a pretty good sign New York was in man coverage.) Welker ended the first half with three catches for 47 yards.
• With New York utilizing so many defensive backs, New England took advantage, running the ball for serious yardage over the first two quarters. On the first scoring drive of the game for the Patriots, BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the ball four straight times for 27 yards, with the final carry going for three yards and a touchdown to make it 7-0 with 7:36 left in the first quarter.
Green-Ellis ended the first half with eight carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the New England offense was bogged down a bit in the second quarter, but still managed a 44-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to make it 10-0 with 11:15 left in the second. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was 13-for-17 for 157 yards, but ended the first half with a pick deep in the New York red zone on a ball meant for Aaron Hernandez that went off his hands and landed in the breadbasket of New York corner Antonio Cromartie. (Brady was also sacked three times by the Jets.)
• The two big injury questions marks on both sides — Hernandez and Jets center Nick Mangold both got some serious run in the first half. Hernandez caught three balls for 26 yards while Mangold went the first two quarters without incident. (Hernandez briefly went to the locker room early in the second quarter, while New England was able to get its first sack since Week Two when Mark Anderson brought down Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first quarter.)
• Defensively, the Patriots put together an impressive performance against the Jets, at least in the early going. The Jets didn’t get a first down until just over 10 minutes were left in the first half when Sanchez hit Plaxico Burress on a 19-yard pass play. On that same drive, New York went back to the ground and pound attack, chewing up plenty of play clock. For the Jets, it was a 13-play, 78-yard drive that took 7:54 and ended with a Shonn Greene touchdown run from three yards out to make it 10-7 with 3:24 left in the half.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 3||09.20.11 at 10:25 am ET|
A thrilling Week 2 provided much insight on which teams will be pretenders and which will be contenders. The week also left us scratching our heads in some cases. The Bills and Redskins are both 2-0 while the Ravens were upset by the Titans.
The Packers and Patriots retain their spots as the top two teams in the NFL. Entering the top five for the first time this season are Rex Ryan‘s Jets (4). In a rapid decline are three playoff teams from 2010. The Chiefs (30), Colts (31) and Seahawks (32) have dropped to the bottom of the league.
Looking ahead, there are a few key games in Week 3 that could have a great impact on the rankings: Packers at Bears, Giants at Eagles, Texans at Saints, and Redskins at Cowboys. We should be in for another exciting week in the NFL.
1. (1) Packers (2-0) — Aaron Rodgers and the Packers maintained their composure after falling behind to an inferior Panthers team and came back with a win. Rodgers has to love the production he got from James Starks. Starks averaged over nine yards per carry. Add a strong run game to an explosive pass game and the Packers will have their way with opposing defenses all season. On a down note, Packers Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is out for the year. This is a team certainly capable of overcoming injuries but definitely a cause for concern as the pass defense has allowed back to back 400-plus-yard games.
2. (2) Patriots (2-0) — Tony Dungy said Sunday night that Tom Brady and the Patriots look like the 2007 team that went 18-1. It’s tough to disagree. The Patriots offense has been unstoppable over the first two games while the “bend but don’t break defense” has forced key turnovers.
3. (5) Saints (1-1) — The Saints defense responded well in Week 2 after getting torched by the Packers on opening night. It’s important to note that they were facing the Bears offensive line, but the Saints attacked the quarterback and sacked Jay Cutler six times while also forcing a fumble. In just two weeks, Darren Sproles has made Saints fans ask, “Reggie who?” Sproles has quickly become one of Drew Brees‘ favorite weapons. He was targeted 10 times in Sunday’s win.
4. (6) Jets (2-0) — The Jets came out ready to play on Sunday after a shaky Week 1 performance. Luke McCown and the Jaguars offense proved to be no match for the Jets dominant D. Rex Ryan‘s defensive unit had four interceptions and held the Jaguars to under 100 yards passing. Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, was inconsistent once again. He threw two interceptions, upping his turnover total to four this season. Furthermore, Nick Mangold will miss some time and that could also hinder Sanchez’ play. Mangold has started in every game since entering the league in 2006.
5. (4) Ravens (1-1) — If the Ravens want to reach the Super Bowl, they can’t afford to have many more games like they did last Sunday. The defense was totally unprepared for the Titans passing game as they looked helpless against Matt Hasselbeck. The pass rush was nonexistent and the thin secondary had no answer for Kenny Britt. With all that being said, I’d be shocked if we saw a similar type of performance from the Ravens in Week 3.
6. (7) Steelers (1-1) — The Steelers did exactly what many expected after suffering an embarrassing Week 1 loss. They routed an awful Seahawks team. Looking ahead, they’ll face another second-rate team next week when they travel to Indy.
7. (10) Falcons (1-1) — The Falcons played to their strengths Sunday night and they came away with a huge win. This team is at its best when it has a strong balance in the run and pass game. Matt Ryan performed great in the no-huddle offense while Michael Turner and the Falcons running game also excelled.
8. (3) Eagles (1-1) — The so-called “Dream Team” of the NFL has a lot of challenges ahead. It took just seven quarters of football for Michael Vick to suffer a serious enough injury that he had to leave the game. The Eagles have some major problems. Vick continues to be on the ugly side of some vicious hits, he’s been careless with the football, and the defense has struggled mightily, especially against the run.
|Tom Brady talks Chad Ochocinco, not playing, Albert Haynesworth and his most painful loss||08.15.11 at 8:57 am ET|
Tom Brady made his first of what will be weekly appearances on the Dennis & Callahan show this season Monday morning, touching on a variety of subjects, including the surprise of not playing in the preseason opener, the challenges facing Chad Ochocinco, the difficulty in dealing with last season’s playoff loss to the Jets, and how much he is looking forward to not having Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth on the other side of the ball.
THE DIFFERENCES IN TRAINING CAMP THIS SEASON: I think it’s certainly been different for everybody without the two-a-days. Everything happened pretty quick. Nobody was really sure what the schedule was going to be like, and the next thing you know everybody is reporting in two days. It’s been condensed. I think a lot of the guys have been working hard when we don’t have those practices, when we have downtime, to make sure we’re studying out playbacks, to make sure we’re getting the proper treatments to make sure we’re out there for the practices. The practices are so valuable because there’s not as many of them. … There’s been a lot of energy out there at the practices, so that’s been a lot of fun.
I think we’re all starting at the same point. We have a lot of new players, we’ve got new coaches, we’re doing different things offensively, defensively. Everyone, to me, is at the same point. The teams who will have the advantage come the regular season are the ones that have the best practices, that have the best preparation. It’s not the teams that have that have this guy who has played four more years than this guy. That doesn’t mean anything. The teams that win on opening weekend are the ones that play the best football.
ON NOT PLAYING IN THE PRESEASON OPENER: Coach [Bill] Belichick, he’s the coach and he tells us what he wants to do. I used to fight things probably a lot more but now you just kind of understand why he does things and I do my best to prepare no matter what the situation is. He told us earlier in the week, ‘Guys, everybody should be ready to play.’ We were ready to play. He told us the night before the game we weren’t playing, which I think shocked probably all of us, but it’s not like we can go put ourselves in the game. We made sure we had a good week of practice so we were ready.
ON THE PROGRESSION OF OCHOCINCO: With Deion [Branch] and Wes [Welker], I’ve played with them now for so long, they know exactly what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking it. WIth Chad he’s been in a certain place for a long time and he has his … the way he has played the game has been quite a bit different from the way we play the game. I think a lot of that is just trying to get him to understand what I’m thinking so we can always be on the same page because there’s a lot of things that happen in the game that don’t happen in practice. You can do your best to simulate it, but at the end of the day you have to play together, and you have to practice together, and throw the ball and make mistakes so you can make corrections. It’s really been a crash course in that because we never have played together and a lot of it is trying to get the point where he’s really comfortable out there and I’m comfortable so we can play with a lot of confidence with one another.
He’s doing as good as you could hope. It’s like an entirely new language. What he was doing in Cincinnati is very different than the way we do it here. It’s really a crash course. We’ve been at it for just over 2 1/2 weeks. You have to basically get rid of all the information he had to learn going on his 10th year and learn something new in two weeks. It’s certainly not easy but he’s a hard worker, he wants to do it, he’s very competitive and it’s fun to be out there with him because he wants the ball, he wants to practice and he wants to be out there and do it right because he really wants us to be able to rely on him.
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