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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sportaholic NFL Power Rankings Week 11

In what was yet another tumultuous week of games in the NFL, week 11 turned out to be one of the more normal weeks in the season. All of my top five teams won and most of them won handedly My top team, the New York Jets, however narrowly escaped defeat again, almost blowing a 16-point lead to Houston (The Texans have to be the worst finishing team in the league). New England and Indianapolis renewed their rivalry featuring the greatest QBs of our generation. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay put an emphatic nail in Brett Favre and Minnesota, and effectively ended the Brad Childress era. San Diego is on its annual second half tear, now winning their last three games after blowing out the Broncos on Monday night (Do the Chargers get some type of super powers in the second half on the season?). Michael Vick wasn’t what he was against Washington but Philly was still able to defeat the other Manning and Giants, making it officially a bad day in the Manning family.

Now last week I said that I wouldn’t let one team leap frog another team ahead of it unless it was a loss and a very valid reason. And with that being said, I have a new # 1 on the list. Even though the Jets didn’t lose, I have my reasons that will be explained. So with that let’s jump into the rankings:

1. New England Patriots (8-2) – There is no denying this team. You can talk about the golden boy Tom Brady all you want but for me it’s all of their other parts. At the top of that list is little Danny Woodhead. This guy looks like a kid running around with men but is still able to be an effective weapon in their offense. He was the key component in the Pats victory over Indy. In one sequence Woodhead scored on a 36-yard burst showing his speed and agility. On the ensuing kickoff after the score, Woodhead came and swooped in making an exceptional tackle. That’s the kind of effort and commitment every football coach wants to see from their players. The Pats offense without Randy Moss, are now also utilzing their tight ends to their advantage with rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski catching touchdown passes in nine of the Pats 10 games. It sounds like a broken record as I say every week but as long as they have Tom Brady, who by the way was 19/25 for 186 yards and 2 TDs, and the hoodie, then they will have a chance to win Super Bowls.

2. New York Jets (8-2) – The Cardiac Jets survived their latest scare, this week from Houston. They almost blew a 16-point lead as I stated above but like they always do they pulled out the win with some late game heroics. It’s hard to really know what this team is at this point. In the great words of Bill Parcells “You are what your records says you are” and if that’s the case with the Jets they are a good football team. The thing is that you can’t keep playing with fate this way. I usually don’t like to put a team higher than the team I had ahead of them but because of the Jets inability to play up their potential on a week in and week out basis, I have to drop them a slot. I can say that Mark Sanchez is showing a lot of grit in pulling off these late game comebacks and Santonio Holmes is proving why the Jets took the risk on him. Firemen Ed will have a heart attack if they continue to play these close games.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) – Mike Vick came back down to earth, after his record breaking and awe-inspiring performance against the Skins, but Philly was still able to handle the Giants. The Giants did get to Vick, with Justin Tuck sacking him three times and Vick being hit another five times behind the line. That can’t possibly be healthy for an already banged up Vick. If Philly wants to make it the Super Bowl, than number 7 has to stay clean.

4. Green Bay Packers (7-3) – I bet when Aaron Rodgers finally had some time to himself and digest the beat down he and the Packers put on the Vikings, he had to think that felt good. He beat the man who he replaced in Lambeau lore, the man who never was that fond of him, the man who many said shoes he would never be able to fill and the man who spanked the Packers twice last year in Brett Favre. The Packers are for real with a mean defense that features two of the best at their position in Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews (They have allowed 10 points in the last three games) and a high-flying offense with Rodgers leading. The former Cal QB has a 75 percent completion rate with seven TDs and no interceptions in his last two games. Green Bay was picked by a lot of experts at the beginning of the season to be a Super Bowl contender and they appear now ready to ascend to that level.

5. Atlanta Falcons (8-2) – Just another nothing to see here performance by the Falcons. They aren’t the most exciting team to watch but they know how to win games. Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan is finally back in his rookie form that saw him win rookie of the year honors. Michael “Burner” Turner also is playing like his former self as he ran all over the Rams to the tune of 131 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons will continue to march on to the playoffs and have a favorable schedule along the way. New Orleans will still have something to say about the division title though.

Other news and notables:

Vince the Villain: The way things played out for Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans begs the question: Will Young be back next year in a Titans uniform? From all indications if it was Coach Jeff Fisher’s decision he would not, but it’s not Fisher’s call. Bud “Bottom Line” Adams stated that two will just have to work out their differences but how can they at this point?

If you haven’t heard by now, Fisher did not put Young back into the game after he sustained an injury to his thumb on his throwing hand. Young looked intended on going back into the game as he was throwing passes to Randy Moss on the sidelines. Fisher stated that Young’s passes were loose and off-target, so he stayed with rookie Rusty Smith. Young was visibly upset and in the locker room after the game Young muttered words as Fisher addressed the team after their lost. Young apparently was leaving as Fisher spoke as well, and Fisher told him not to quit on his team, this being reported by Titans insider Jim Wyatt, Young said he wasn’t quitting on them but he was quitting on Fisher.

Now when you add that with the report that Young was egging on the crowd to boo and also tossing his shoulder pads and helmet into the crowd, how can this type of damage be repaired? Young definitely acted immature and childish. He takes things way to personally to be a professional athlete. You have to say that some things come with territory when you’re a highly paid and publicized figure in this world. The Boos will come sometime but you have to be a professional. I can understand being angry for not getting back into the game, but to induce the crowd and to toss your equipment in the stands is just uncalled for.

Fisher deserves some blame in this fiasco as well. His body language and actions have always showed that he doesn’t really like Young. Remember it was Bud Adams who told Fisher to put Young back in the lineup when the Titans started 0-6 last year. It was Fisher who took Young out when the Titans were getting manhandled by the Steelers earlier this year. You just get the feeling that at the end of this year, especially with the way Fisher was talking in his press conference yesterday, that one of these two men will be gone. Bud Adams seems to have this illusion that Young still will blossom into the game-changing QB that he was in Texas, but how many people believe Young will ever become more than he is? Adams will have to make a decision to either axe the longest tenured coach in the league or get rid of his hand-picked hometown QB who he has invested a lot of money and effort in. Fisher may make it easy by just walking if Adams doesn’t want to let go of Young. It almost seems as a good thing that Young was hurt and won’t be able to play the rest of this season. We will see how this play out in the off season.

The champs are back: Don’t look now but the New Orleans Saints are back marching again. After starting the season in Super Bowl hangover fashion, the Saints looked to have found their groove again. Drew Brees was 29 of 42 for 382 yards and broke Archie Manning’s (Told you it was a bad day to be a Manning) team record with his 1,850 completion. As bad as New Orleans started out of the gates, they are now just one game behind NFC South leader Atlanta. Watch out Falcons.

The epic showdown between the Sheriff and the Golden Boy: These two guys just deserve each other This is just good stuff for us fans The last six times these two have faced each other, the combined margin of victory is just 22 points. They will be known as the best quarterbacks of their generation with Manning’s 4 MVP and 1 Super Bowl and Brady’s 3 Super Bowl titles. Each year the NFL makes sure to schedule these two teams because of the sheer brilliance that is on display when they face off. Brady had the better numbers in this one but Manning was still Manning and despite making some unmanning like mistakes, still had his team close to a victory. The pick at the end soured an otherwise good game for Manning but he shouldn’t be throwing the ball 52 times like he did anyway. These two will meet again next for year for sure and maybe in the playoffs. When ever you get a chance to see these two match-up make sure you’re tuned in because you are watching greatness vs. greatness.

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