Sunday, 26 November 2006

One Man's NFL Power Rankings

We are 12 weeks into the NFL season, and I must admit I still pretty much don't have this NFL thing figured out (Raiders almost beating the Chargers? Titans scoring 24 unanswered points?). Of course, this only makes me all the more qualified to contribute a list of my NFL Power Rankings, or at least the Top 10 teams as I see them. But I will delay no longer.

1. Indianapolis Colts - Edgerrin James who? As The Edge wastes away down in Arizona, Joseph Addai is doing just fine, thank you very much. Despite Indy's seeming insistence on giving Dominic Rhodes carries, Addai managed to rush for a not-so-pedestrian 171 yards and 4 TD against the Eagles. And just for good measure he had 37 receiving yards. Yeah, he's pretty decent.

2. San Diego Chargers - Ok, so they squeaked by the Raiders. I'll give them a pass. They still have league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson joining talented Philip Rivers in the backfield. The defense ain't so shabby either. They sometimes lose focus against lesser teams, but now that it looks like Marty Ball has gone out the window, the Chargers are a force to be reckoned with.

3. Baltimore Ravens - All season long I've been ragging on "Air" McNair and saying that he's pretty much washed up, and while he's not his old self, he's still got something left in the tank. And with the Baltimore defense, that makes them very dangerous. However, if I were a Ravens fan, the biggest concern for me would be with the fact that Jamal Lewis is averaging only 3.5 YPC, and that could put a lot of pressure on McNair come playoff time.

4. New England Patriots - I have a hard time figuring the Pats out... by all accounts, you should lose when you turn the ball over 5 times, but I never really felt like they were not in control against Chicago. Maybe that's just because I've become such an unbashed Tom Brady lover. He moves around better in the pocket than anyone in the NFL.

5. Chicago Bears - The Bears will not win the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their quarterback (for the record, I wrote this even before I read The Sports Pulse!) I don't care how tantalizingly good he's looked at times this year, or how good the Bears defense is. Put a little pressure on Rex and he starts to rush throws, make bad decisions, force the ball, and throw off his back foot. His two best plays against New England were when he threw ducks off his back foot and then got bailed out by pass interference calls. He was awful today.

6. Denver Broncos - I fully endorse the move to Jay Cutler as starter and think it will benefit Denver. Plummer is ok when you have a great run game and a great defense, and at times the Broncos have had that. At other times the run game has become inconsistent, and they've tried to rely on Plummer. More often than not that has failed miserably.

7. Dallas Cowboys - I believe in a thing called Romo. I mean, obviously this has been beaten to death, but how good has he been? Poised, accurate, and fairly mobile. With him at QB I have the Cowboys just a smidgen behind Chicago, but with another week like this one I might have to reconsider that.

8. Kansas City Chiefs - With all due respect to LDT, I would probably take Larry Johnson as a runner over him. Tomlinson's more versatile all-around, but LJ is bigger and stronger as a runner. In the games that Johnson rushes for 100 yards, the Chiefs are 6-1. In the games that he fails to reach the century mark they are 1-3. Correlation does not always equal causation, but suffice to say Johnson is pretty important.

9. Seattle Seahawks - Seneca Wallace did a very nice job of keeping things afloat in Seattle while both Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander out. As a result, the Seahawks still have the division lead and everything is looking rosy in Seattle. As long as they beat GB Monday night.

10. New Orleans Saints - Tomlinson is probably the MVP of the NFL so far, but Drew Brees is on the short list. He continues to be excellent for the Saints, and even has a shot at breaking Dan Marino's passing yards record for a single season. And the rest of the offensive weapons aren't so bad either. Deuce and Reggie Bush are a formidable duo, and the WR corps is getting better every week. This is an offense that is to be reckoned with.

So where did I go horribly wrong? What does your top 5 look like?