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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sportaholic Power Rankings Week 6

You can tell the season is getting intense just from all of the off field drama. Of course you have to be a caveman not to know what happened in the San Fran-Detroit game between coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh. I like both by the way, as both are two feisty guys with chips on their shoulder. You can play the blame game all you want but that was just emotions in its rawest forms. Harbaugh did get a little sensitive and could have received Schwartz well and Schwartz could have just shrugged it off and kept it moving but there was no way he was going to let Harbaugh show him up. That was machismo at its best, Schwartz and Harbaugh didn’t make it through the ranks to become NFL coaches by making friends. Those guys have the same mentality as their players so I really don’t blame either for their mini skirmish. I like to see the coaches go at it, makes for good T.V. I will say that it did take away from an otherwise great game. San Francisco is a contender if they play like this for the entire season. Alex Smith has confidence which is dangerous and he has always had Frank Gore in the backfield doing damage on the ground. I was most impressed however with their defense. How about the rook Aldon Smith? Two sacks, four tackles and a forced fumble. That’s getting it done. And with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman manning the LBs position these guys have all the makings of a great defense. The Lions are back to reality for the moment. They have to develop a run game to take some pressure off of Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson but more on that later.

How about Jay Cutler dropping the F-bomb during the Bears game? Apparently the play calls are not getting in fast enough to Jay’s liking and he let someone know about it. The Bears did spend multiple unnecessary timeouts just to have extra time for a few calls. I was waiting on Brandon Marshall to do something outlandish or for his head to pop off the entire night yesterday but to no avail. After all those bold statements, Marshall had a rather decent game with 6 catches for 109 yards but he allowed Darrelle Revis to have a 100-yards interception return for a TD that turned the momentum of the game in favor of the Jets.

Speaking of coaches, Sean Payton got banged up pretty bad against the Bucs. Who knew it would the coach who would get the most serious injury of the game. Payton must have been channeling his inner Joe Pa as he couldn’t dodge the players stumbling into him on the sidelines. There are rumors that Carson Palmer could land in Raider land this week after the broken collarbone sustained to Oakland starting QB Jason Campbell. Good luck with that Raiders as Mike Brown is as stubborn as they come on trading players who holdout. Brandon Lloyd is out of Denver and should instantly help the Rams hap hazard passing game. He will become Sam Bradford’s favorite target in a short amount of time. All in the week of the soap opera known as the NFL, now let’s get to the Sportaholic power rankings.

1. Green Bay Packers (6-0) – The Pack just toyed with the lousy Rams eventually beating them by three scores. Aaron Rodgers did what he always does throwing for over 300 yards 3 TDs and (Gasp!) 1 interception. The only thing that concerns me is the defenses penchant for allowing yards. They gave up 424 yards of offense to St. Louis and of course it only led to 3 points for them but against the better teams in the league that is going to get you in trouble. They just have too many talented guys to continue to allow teams to roll up the yards on offense. That is the only bone I can pick with this team other than that they are the most complete team in the league. They are the last of the unbeaten teams so life isn’t bad in land of cheese.

2. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) – The Ravens are crowned the most physical team in the league in my opinion, after their dominating performance over the Texans. They just manhandled Houston over the last 15 minutes of the game and outscored them 13-0 in that span. As I always say with the Ravens just get Ray Rice the ball and let him do work and they actually did this game as he rushed for 101 yards and another 90 in receiving yards. When the Ravens feature more of Rice instead of Flacco on offense I think it makes them a better team. Rice is more than capable of handing the load and Flacco at best should be used when he has to and definitely not more than Rice. The meat and potatoes of Baltimore schedule is coming up so we will see if this team can hold up as the early AFC favorites.

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-1) – It was only so long I could avoid the 49ners in the power rankings. As I stated above these guys are playing some good football as evident by their victory over the previously undefeated Lions. It’s amazing what a coach can do for a team as Harbaugh has come in and changed the culture in just a matter of weeks. They have an above average offense with the likes of Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Braylon Edwards when he comes back from his injury. Their defense gets it done as well with the LB core and some talented defensive linemen up front. They should run away with this division because lets face it there is no one to really challenge them in the lowly NFC West. The 49ners have a chance at a special year if they could just keep that crazy coach of theirs under control.

4. New England Patriots (5-1) – As everyone knows, I am a staunch Dallas Cowboys fan. Always have been and always will be. So just imagine my face when my Boys punted to Tom Brady with three minutes remaining on the clock. It was like watching a horror film where you knew what was about to unfold. Imagine Jason chasing a young hot teen girl and she falls down while running away or Freddy Kruger entering a room full of children while they were all sleeping. That is exactly what I was feeling watching Brady calmly jog onto the field. A lot of people are ripping Jason Garrett for his conservative play calling at the end for the Cowboys but how could you blame him? Obviously he doesn’t trust Romo in the situation after his roller coaster year. But back to Brady and the Pats, as soon as they got the ball they promptly moved it down the field. It was if the defense wasn’t even there. Quick pass to Aaron Hernandez for 16 yards, quick screen pass to Rob Gronkowski another 11 yards it was just a clinic all the way to the last play when Brady had it seemed like he had a quarter century to find Hernandez again over the middle for the 8 yard game winning TD strike. It was just another bloody gory horror scene for us Cowboy fans.

5. Detorit Lions (5-1) – The Lions have got to get a run game to accommodate what they do in their passing game, there is just no way around it. There is no way they can get away with Stafford throwing the ball 50 times a game and the rushing attack only producing 66 yards on the ground. The Lions came out with all the fire and passion you can ask for as they took an early 10 point lead over San Fran but the lack of the run game doomed them. Yeah, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman had a lot to do with stuffing the Lions but they have got to do better in that department. The Lions still have to be happy with everything else this season. No one had this team at 5-1 and as the primary challenger to Green Bay for the NFC North crown.

Offensive Player Of The Week: Frank Gore 15 carries 141 yards 1 TD 9.4 YPC – Gore was the difference in my opinion in their game against the Lions. He ran with power and showed the speed as well. He gave the 49ners what Jahvid Best couldn’t give the Lions as in a running game that was able to control time of possession. You have to give a lot of credit to that offensive line as well with Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati up front creating the holes for Gore to bore through. As long as he can stay healthy, which isn’t always a given with Gore, he can be one of the best RBs in the NFL.

Defensive Player Of The Week: Ray Lewis 12 tackles 1 sack – Now I was really leaning towards Aldon Smith of San Fran but I don’t want to show them all the love so we will go with the ageless Ray Lewis. His handprint was all over the game against Houston as he made stop after stop on defense. He doesn’t have that sideline to sideline speed anymore but he more than makes up with that with his knowledge of the game. His instincts are still bar none as you won’t fool him but once or twice at the most during a game. This guy just seems like he will play forever.

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