|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 2||09.14.10 at 11:54 am ET|
Maybe that’s what Rex Ryan was talking about on “Hard Knocks” when he screamed to Darrelle Revis‘ agents, “Watch what happens Monday night!” What a crazy opening weekend around the National Football League. After months of trash talk, the “team to beat” in the NFL didn’t even look like it had a playoff caliber offense, never mind Super Bowl caliber. The Jets fall to No.9.
The Colts, Cowboys, and Chargers all lost to teams that didn’t even make the playoffs last year. The Lions were close to opening their season with a rare win, the Steelers didn’t need Ben Roethlisberger to beat the Falcons, and the Patriots shocked many around the league with a dominating win over the Bengals.
Despite all the madness that happened in Week 1, it’s still early and difficult to react too drastically. The Saints remain at No.1 after a very un-Saints-like victory over the Vikings Thursday night to kick off the season. The Ravens jump ahead two spots after the team’s defense physically dominated the Jets on Monday Night Football. Ray Lewis and Baltimore are at No. 2. The newest member of the top five is New England. The Patriots jumped out of the gate with a strong performance at home and their defense proved it can make big plays and put pressure on the passer. Tom Brady and the Pats are at No. 5.
Other notable teams that dropped in the rankings are the Cowboys, Chargers and Falcons. Following a bunch of head scratching and “what were they thinking?!” plays, the Cowboys fall hard to the No. 10 spot.
1. (Last week, 1) 1-0-0 The Saints played great defense, allowing just 171 passing yards and one touchdown. It was a sloppy game, but the defending champs did what they had to do and won. I’m guessing this will be the last time the Saints score 14 or less points all season.
2. (4) 1-0-0 WOW. Although the Jets offense is anemic, the Ravens defense played smash mouth football and was very impressive. Baltimore’s D held Mark Sanchez and the Jets to just nine points, 176 yards and six first downs. The Ravens also got the type of production they were hoping for from offseason acquisition Anquan Boldin.
3. (3) 1-0-0 Green Bay is a solid team all around. The key to its Super Bowl hopes lies within the team’s offensive line. If they can protect Aaron Rodgers, the Packers can compete for the championship.
4. (2) 0-1-0 The Texans followed the Dolphins’ format on how to beat the Colts — run the ball. Although the Dolphins were unsuccessful last year, the Texans ran the ball down Indy’s throat and managed to come out victorious. The Colts are too good to let that happen much more this season and will bounce back. They’re still the favorite to win the AFC South.
5. (8) 1-0-0 The Patriots were very impressive in all three areas of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Enough can’t be said about the performance of the offensive and defensive lines. Brady was well protected and the Patriots found the pass rush everyone in New England has been looking for.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 1||09.07.10 at 9:38 am ET|
Opening kickoff is just days away when Brett Favre and the Vikings will try to avenge their conference championship loss and take on the defending Super Bowl champions and the No.1 team in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings. The Black and Gold have a very difficult task ahead, defending the title and its No.1 ranking. Teams attempting to take that top slot and rounding off the Top 5 are Indy, Green Bay, Baltimore and Dallas respectively.
Rex Ryan and the Jets had a very productive Labor Day weekend after they finally managed to bring back All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. The return of Revis solidifies the Jets as having one of the most feared defenses in league. The ‘Hard Knocks’ stars are at No.7 to start the season. Right behind them at No.8 is their division rival New England Patriots. After a strong preseason, Tom Brady looks poised and ready to put up numbers similar to those in 2007.
No surprises at the bottom of the barrel. The Chiefs, Browns, Bills, Bucs, and Rams find themselves in a very similar position.
Enough exhibition games already, bring on the NFL season:
1. (Last year’s record, 14-2) The Super Bowl champs have earned the right to be called No.1 until proven otherwise. The dynamic duo of Drew Brees and Sean Peyton resemble that of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Saints championship core is still intact and the team’s defense will greatly appreciate a healthy Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter to patrol the secondary.
2. (13-3) The Colts will be returning many of their starters from their Super Bowl team and will be the team to beat in the AFC this year yet again. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and the Colts offense will put up huge numbers. On the other side of the ball, Indy has one of the best 1-2 punches at defensive end with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The Colts are looking for 12 or more wins for their eighth straight season.
3. (11-5) Green Bay has a great opportunity to hit the ground running as they start their 2010 season playing Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit in three of the team’s first four games. Protecting Aaron Rodgers will be the key to Packers success.
4. (9-7) The loss of Domonique Foxworth and the poor pass rush are major concerns for this team entering the season but this team has always been known for a strong defense and can rely on linebacker Terrell Suggs to bounce back from an uncharacteristically poor 2009 season. Joe Flacco has emerged as on the great young QB’s in the NFL and with new weapon Anquan Boldin along with Pro Bowler Ray Rice, Baltimore’s offense will be tough to stop.
5. (11-5) The Cowboys are the team to beat in one of the best divisions in the NFL, the NFC East. The team’s biggest concern is their aging offensive line that needs to protect QB Tony Romo. Dallas has loads of talent on both sides of the ball and Jerry Jones‘ team has a legitimate shot of being the first organization to host a Super Bowl in NFL history. Read the rest of this entry »
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Training camp edition||07.20.10 at 7:48 am ET|
Training camp is right around the corner, and what better way to kick off the start of the NFL season with an edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings?
The Saints and Colts remain at No. 1 and 2 respectively coming off their Super Bowl appearances. Jumping into the top five are the Ravens, who enjoyed an excellent offseason in which they added a Pro Bowl wide receiver and watched their division rival Steelers lose their starting quarterback for 4-6 games.
With much offseason hype surrounding the Jets, Rex Ryan’s gang sits at No. 7 after adding many key players to their roster. The Patriots are looking up two spots at their AFC East rival at No. 9.
Feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.
2. Indy goes into this season trying to win 12 or more games for the eighth straight season — an unprecedented run of success for Peyton Manning and friends. Like many of the teams in the NFL, the defending AFC champs have some players threatening a holdout. Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis both are looking for new contracts despite the fact that two years remain on both of their current deals.
3. The Ravens finally have a big-name receiver to catch the ball. The addition of Anquan Boldin will make Baltimore a very difficult team to beat.
4. The Packers must protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked 57 times last season. Rodgers is turning into one of the premier QBs in the game and can lead this team to a championship if given the chance by his offensive line. Green Bay also has the luxury of playing Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit in three of the first four games.
5. The Cowboys clearly are the favorites to win the NFC East this year with their weapons on the defensive line and the array of talent ready to catch passes from Tony Romo.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings||05.23.10 at 8:34 pm ET|
With free agency and the draft behind us, now is a good time to take a look at all 32 NFL teams and see where they stack up at the midway mark of the offseason. No real surprises, as the top two teams ‘ the Saints and Colts ‘ earned their way to the No. 1 and 2 spots following dominating 2009 campaigns and solid offseasons. After a great draft and the addition of some key free agents, the Ravens shoot up to No. 3, while the Packers and Cowboys round out the top 5. As for the AFC East, the “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets” are two spots ahead of the Patriots after a great offseason in which they added more depth in the secondary and at the wide receiver position.
And now, I leave you with the first offseason edition of the 2010 rankings. Give it your best shot and tell me why I’m wrong. I’m waiting.
1. The defending Super Bowl champs are poised and ready to make another run at the title. The Saints will benefit from their soft regular-season schedule ‘ based on opponents’ 2009 regular-season record, they have the sixth-easiest schedule in the NFL in 2010. They used their first-round pick to select cornerback Patrick Robinson from Florida State to shore up their pass defense, which was ranked 26th in the NFL last year.
2. The Colts have focused on their defense this offseason with the re-signing of linebacker Gary Brackett to a five-year deal and the drafting of Jerry Hughes, a defensive lineman/outside linebacker, with their first-round pick. Hughes is an extremely fast and dominant pass rusher and will fit in nicely with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Hughes can rush the passer from either side, and Mathis and Freeney will benefit greatly from having a younger defensive end to shoulder some of the load.
3. The Ravens have had an excellent offseason to this point. They certainly transformed the wide reciever position from a position of weakness into a position of strength with the addition of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth. They added great depth to their front seven in the draft with linebacker Sergio Kindle and defensive tackle Terrence Cody.
4. The Packers’ main concern this year will be protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked 57 times last season. Green Bay used its first-round pick on offensive tackle Brian Bulaga. If the Packers can figure out a way to keep Rodgers off the turf, they can get to the Super Bowl.
5. Dallas was in the top 5 in most major offensive categories last year, and now the Cowboys add Dez Bryant to the mix. Not bad. The Cowboys also have a great front seven, highlighted by DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Read the rest of this entry »
|WEEI NFL Playoff Power Rankings and Predictions||01.05.10 at 3:52 am ET|
1. (Last week, 1) 13-3 Right now, San Diego is the best team in the NFL. This offense is a nightmare to game-plan against. The Chargers have a great quarterback in Philip Rivers, a solid running game and great balance at the receiver position. San Diego plays the Colts well every year and will give Peyton Manning and Co. a lot of trouble if the two teams collide in Indianapolis for the AFC championship.
2. (2) 14-2 The Colts are great on both sides of the ball. On defense, they’ve got one of best lines in the game with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney coming off the edge and getting pressure on the passer. Offensively, Manning has proven he can do it all, and he has the luxury of passing the ball to receivers such as Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.
3. (3) 13-3 One of the most important statistics in the playoffs is turnovers. The Saints were the best team in the NFL this year in creating turnovers. They had a total of 39 takeaways. The Saints also have the luxury of having Drew Brees leading the way. The road to Miami in the NFC goes through the Superdome and “Who Dat” Nation.
4. (6) 11-5 With all the weapons the Eagles have on offense, the Cowboys managed to shut them out Sunday. Dallas’ defense, led by the defensive line, has been outstanding over the past couple of weeks and there are no signs to make you think things will be any different Saturday night. Tony Romo has been terrific, throwing just two interceptions in the last six games.
5. (9) 12-4 Lots of question marks surround this team as it enters the playoffs. Minnesota has played very inconsistently down the stretch. A blowout win over a Giants team that gave up three weeks ago means nothing. The Vikings offensive line needs to step up, Adrian Peterson needs to protect the football, and Jared Allen and the Vikings defensive line need to return to that dominant form Minnesota fans got accustomed to watching in the beginning of the season.
6. (4) 11-5 Six straight wins for the Eagles means nothing after their demolition by the Cowboys. The loss to Dallas had huge consequences. Now Donovan McNabb and the Eagles have to win three road games instead of having a first-round bye and home-field advantage against every NFC playoff team except the Saints.
7. (5) 11-5 Green Bay has played well down the stretch, but is the Packers offensive line strong enough to last throughout the playoffs? Although the O-line was much improved the last three weeks of the season, many question marks surround a line that contributed to Aaron Rodgers being sacked 50 times this year.
8. (7) 10-6 The loss of Wes Welker all but put a fork in the Patriots’ playoff chances. Without Welker, this offense will have a rough time getting into a rhythm and moving the chains. Julian Edelman and Ben Watson will have to step up if the Patriots want to make noise in the playoffs. The Patriots defense will have to do a better job containing Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice averaged 9.4 yards per carry the last time Baltimore and New England met.
9. (8) 10-6 The injuries are piling up for the Bengals. Chad Ochocinco has a banged-up knee, but more importantly, defensive tackle Pat Sims is out. With Rey Maualuga already out and Domata Peko still recovering from a knee injury, the Bengals will have a very difficult time defending the run.
10. (10) 10-6 The loss of Anquan Boldin could really slow down the Cardinals offense. The defense has an extremely tough task ahead as it tries to stop Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant. Arizona has played well all year on the road (6-2) but has struggled at home (4-4). The defending NFC champs will have a tough time getting out of the first round.
11. (12) 9-7 I don’t like the Ravens’ chances when their road to the Super Bowl likely would have to go through New England, Indianapolis and San Diego.
12. (15) 9-7 A few weeks ago, coach Rex Ryan apologized to fans for failing to make the playoffs; a few breaks and weeks later, the Jets find themselves sitting in the No.5 seed in the AFC playoffs. Super Bowl teams can only get as far as their quarterback can take them, and despite a great running game and solid defense, Mark Sanchez won’t be able to lead his team to victory in the postseason.
NFL Playoff Predictions:
AFC Wild Card
NFC Wild Card
AFC Divisional Round
NFC Divisional Round
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings–Week 17||12.29.09 at 2:56 am ET|
After one of the most controversial and exciting weeks in the 2009 regular season, the San Diego “Super” Chargers hold the longest current winning streak in the league and also the top spot in the last regular-season edition of this year’s NFL Power Rankings. The Chargers have been blowing out their opponents week after week and are playing the best all-around football in the NFL.
The Colts drop one spot not merely because of the potential backlash against the decision to throw perfection out the window, but also because San Diego has been annihilating its opponents week after week.
The Packers are the newest team to enter the top five, with the Cowboys, Patriots and Bengals lurking in striking distance. The Vikings fall four spots after suffering their fourth loss of the season Monday night in Chicago. The plummeting Vikings now sit at No. 9.
In the AFC playoff race for the final two wild card spots, seven teams remain alive. The best ranked teams of that bunch are the Steelers (11) and Ravens (12). Baltimore controls its playoff fate, while Pittsburgh needs to win and receive some help to slither into the playoffs.
1. (Last week, 3) 12-3 The hottest team in the NFL. Philip Rivers‘ squad has posted 18 straight wins in December. The Chargers started off the season slow but have rattled off 10 straight wins. No playoff team will want to take on the Super Chargers, who will be playing with loads of confidence (following a first-round bye).
2. (1) 14-1 Shocking to hear Don Shula say on Monday that the Colts made a “wise” decision to take out Peyton Manning. The decision to pull the potential 2010 MVP in the third quarter could be a costly mistake. It will be interesting to see how the players respond to the decision.
3. (2) 13-2 The Saints are playing mediocre football at the wrong time. Giving up a 14-point lead to a two-win team in December is a clear sign that New Orleans is not playing at the high level it has been playing at all year. It’s bad timing to start slumping. However, the Saints can score at will, and once playoff time hits, this team will be the clear favorite to win the NFC. The Vikings’ loss on Monday night gives the Saints home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
4. (4) 11-4 The Viking’s loss gives the Eagles a great chance to get that first-round bye. Philly proved how dynamic its offense is after tearing up one of the best defenses in the NFL. Philadelphia is rolling and will be a tough team to defend once playoff time hits.
5. (6) 10-5 Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are clicking at the right time on offense and defense. Green Bay has won six of its last seven and officially clinched a playoff spot. Now every football fan in America has his/her fingers crossed for a potential Green Bay-Minnesota matchup in the playoffs.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings — Week 16||12.22.09 at 2:49 am ET|
The Colts are well on their way to finishing the regular season undefeated and accomplishing a remarkable feat. Peyton Manning and his Colts move into the No. 1 spot for the first time all year in this week’s WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Indianapolis is at 23 straight regular season wins and counting as it continues to roll straight into the playoffs with a first-round bye.
One new team enters the top 10: America’s Team. The Cowboys found a way to beat the Saints, something that 13 prior opponents were unable to do. The win, most importantly, came in December. If the Cowboys win out, they will secure a playoff spot.
Going into Week 16, there are eight AFC teams that still are mathematically in the wild card race. Baltimore, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Miami, New York (despite what Rex Ryan says), Tennessee and Houston all are still alive. The best two teams right now, according to the rankings, are the Ravens (No. 11) and the Titans (No. 12). If the season ended today, the Ravens and Broncos would be the two teams that would make the playoffs. The final two weeks are guaranteed to be an eventful and exciting finish to the 2009 NFL regular season.
2. (1) 13-1 OK, now the Saints can focus on winning the Super Bowl rather than going undefeated. The loss to the Cowboys could benefit them in the long run; the Saints still are the elite team in the NFC.
3. (4) 11-3 Nine straight wins for the Chargers have left many wondering if they are ever going to lose another game. Great win for the Chargers against a very strong and talented Bengals team.
4. (5) 10-4 The Eagles — winners of five straight — are the Chargers of the NFC. Philadelphia’s explosive offense will give any defense in the league trouble in the playoffs.
5. (3) 11-3 Two very telling losses in the last three games for the Vikings. The offensive line has to be better if the Vikes want to win playoff games. Brett Favre was sacked four times and hit 10 times in the loss to the Panthers.
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