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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sportaholic NFL Power Rankings Week 2

Although the Monday night game was a bit of dud (Seem like the Rams forgot they were on national T.V. at moments), the 2nd week of the season was still unpredictable and no less exciting. Atlanta and Matt Ryan finally exorcised the demons of the dirty birds as they defeated the concussed Mike Vick (What a way to suffer your first concussion) and the Philadelphia Eagles in a thriller of a Sunday night game. Tom Brady was at it again winging it all over field against the Chargers, who can never seem to beat the Pats. Speaking of winging it, how about that Cam Newton? 854 yards passing in two games, who said this guy wouldn’t be an accurate thrower in the league? I’m so happy about this turn of events because I picked him up in one of fantasy leagues at the last minute to replace Peyton Manning and has he ever paid off on that investment. Tony Romo went from spineless and no chances of ever winning anything of importance to tough as nails and on his way to the top all in a span of one week after his cracked rib-punctured lung performance against San Francisco. No matter if you like him or not, you have to give him a lot of credit for coming back out and continuing to take a pounding with that injury. Yet another great weekend of games and now its time to unveil the power rankings, as a lot has changed from last week.

1. New England (2-0) – The Patriots offense is just a machine. Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck continue to invent new schemes and systems on that side of the ball and no one in league has caught up with the two. The two tight end sets are nothing new really but the Pats have two of the most versatile in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (Who will be out for a couple of weeks with an injury) that allows them to do so many things in the passing game. 940 yards in two games is what Brady has done so far and of course he will only get better as the season goes on. Was there anything funnier than seeing big Vince Woolfork rumbling and stumbling after picking off Phillip Rivers screen pass? Not in my opinion and it goes to show how agile he is to weigh over 350 pounds. The Pats defense is improved from last year as they seem to be getting more pressure on the QB, which was one of their biggest weaknesses over the past two seasons. Where in the world of twitter is Chad Ochocinco? He hasn’t done anything of note so far with his new team and just seems to be in awe (Much to the chagrin of Tedy Bruschi). The only real question for New England is what they will do in the playoffs because they always run through the regular season.

2. Green Bay Packers (2-0) - No one on the Packers knew what to expect going against the freakishly athletic Cam Newton. I watched him all last season at Auburn and it seemed that he got better and better each game. So coming off his 422 passing yard game against the Cardinals, even I didn’t know what to expect. He was at it again yet this time on the vaunted Packers D. Charles Woodson made a couple of spectacular plays on the ball s he picked off Newton twice. Aaron Rodgers did his usual throwing for a “quite” 308 yards and 2 TDs in the victory. The Pack continued to show why they have the best aerial attack in all of football. Every one of their receivers seems to be great at getting more yards after the catch. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are just the two latest additions in the realm. The Packers seem to be giving up a lot of points these days but no one cares as long as their winning. They get key stops when they need to, but you don’t always want to put your defense in such a tough.

3. New York Jets (2-0) – Even though those NY Titans jerseys are butt ugly, the Jets are still one of the top two teams in the AFC right now. New York just demolished the down and out Jaguars (They looked so good against the Titans last week and then just laid a dud this week). The Jets defense forced 4 interceptions from Luke “Soon to be demoted” McCown as he finished 6/19 for 58 yards and a QB rating of 1.8. This was one was over before you even got comfortable to watch as the Jets pounded the Jags. Mark Sanchez had a decent game but he threw two Ints. He is always the largest question facing the Jets and has been since he was drafted by them. He holds the key to their season the Jets as always. That defense is just as good as has been every year under Sexy Rexy.

4. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) – Yes, they laid a stinker of a game in Nashville this weekend, I know but this is still a very good team. For some reason it doesn’t seem like they had the intensity that the Ravens usually play with. For starters the offense couldn’t get anything going and looked sluggish at best all game. I wrote that if Tennessee was going to win that game then they would have to be just as physical if not more than the Ravens at the point of attack and they were as Baltimore seemed disinterested in this one. Allowing Matt Hasselbeck to throw for 358 yards is another thing as he, Kenny Britt, and Nate Washington seemed to be playing pitch and catch the whole game. It’s understandable that the Ravens wouldn’t be as motivated as they were to play against their arch rival Pittsburgh but they at least have to show up and play a little inspired. I won’t get to over zealous on the victory over the Steelers and vice versa for their loss to the Titans.

5. Detroit and Buffalo (2-0) – Why not show a little love to two of the most cursed franchises in all of football? This may be the only time we get to rank and talk about the Lions and Bills so I will take full advantage of it. The Lions look for real as their offense is moving the ball effortlessly on teams. Calvin Johnson or Megatron as he likes to be called is a candidate for breakout player of the year as he and Matt Stafford have rekindled their connection from the last time Stafford was injured. That defense line is ferocious with the likes of Ndaumakong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch. And they still get Nick Fairley back later this season. They have a chance to make a decent run at the playoffs this year. The Buffalo Bills have one of the most explosive offenses in the league right now. Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the rag tag bunch of players on that side of the ball. Most of those guys were no names coming into league from RB Fred Jackson to WR Stevie Johnson and yet they find a way to put up points each week. When they hired old face Chan Gailey, I just shook my head and said typical Bills hire, but he has sparked and revolutionized their offense. I was thoroughly impressed with all the shifts and movement they showed against the Raiders. They will get tested early and often against the Pats next week so their stay in the top 5 may be short lived, but honestly did anyone think that the Bills would be 2-0 and more relevant than the Colts who are 0-2 at this point? Peyton Manning should win the MVP this by not playing as you can see the difference he makes on that team.

Offensive player of the week: Tom Brady – I resisted the temptation last week of giving this honor to the “Golden Boy” but I caved in this week (Jim you was right, he will get a lot this year from the looks of it.). The man is just unstoppable right now as he went 31/40 for 423 yards and 4 TDs on San Diego. He just doesn’t make mistakes and preys off of the defenses when they do. He just manipulates the pre-snap so much that teams have no choice but to wait to the last minute to show their hand. If you do show your hand as Miami repeatedly did in the first MNF game, he will throw for 517 yards on you. He is the ultimate weapon. He doesn’t care if your hurt on the opposing team as a matter of fact that gives him even more reason to go after you. Brady is cut throat and as much as I hate the Pats, I can respect that from Brady.

Defensive Player of the Week: Charles Woodson – No one should be making the type of plays that Woodson is making at age 35. He still has IT and seems to be still in his prime. As I stated above, Woodson’s first pick of Cam Newton was picture perfect as he waited until the last minute to jump the route. His playmaking ability is amazing in the secondary. He still has all the instincts of a man half his age and you have game plan around him because he will absolutely destroy your offense if you don’t. He is the leader on defense for the Packers as much as everyone has ordained Clay Matthews. Woodson in my opinion is a bona fide first ballot Hall of Famer.

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