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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sportaholic NFL Power Rankings Week 10

The news coming out of Houston has to be deflating for any Texans fan. Charm City were the owners of a shiny 7-3 record sitting atop the AFC South and just came off an annihilation of a good Tampa Bay team 37-9. Everything was good until the news broke that Matt Schaub was injured on a QB sneak coming out of the end zone in the second quarter. The injury very likely will end the season for the Texans QB and leader. That brings the toll to three of Houston’s top players that have all missed significant time due to injury with Andre Johnson still nursing his hamstring, Mario Williams out the remainder of the year with a torn pectoral, and now the latest victim Schaub.

It’s a debilitating blow to a team that thought it had finally made its way over the hump. The defensive issues that had plagued this team under Gary Kubiak had convincingly been solved as Wade Phillips brought a new attitude on the side of the ball resulting in a top 10 ranked total defense. The run game was sound with Arian Foster and Ben Tate shredding teams week in and week out. Now they turn to pretty boy Matt Leinart in hopes they he can just keep the team afloat.

The ramifications of Schuab’s injury will reverberate throughout the entire AFC. ESPN was touting the Texans as maybe the team to beat to get to the Super Bowl in the conference but that much is in doubt now. The Tennessee Titans, thought dead in the water for the division now have a second life. Schuab was the conductor of the Texans smooth locomotive 8th ranked offense and without him they could be in trouble.

The NFL is entering the portion of the schedule where injuries begin to rear their ugly head. Philadelphia’s Michael Vick has two broken ribs to add to litany of problems in the land of the birds. It seems Philly has had every conceivable problem you can have this season and that defense flat out stinks. Andy Reid hired Juan Castillo who never was a defensive coordinator and I hate to say it but its showing now as the season chugs along. There is just no way a team with that talent should lose to the John Skelton led Cardinals and be sitting at 3-6. There is just no way.

How about that Tim Tebow? He was 2/8 yeah but who cares when you win the game. He made the most of passes as he dropped a dime to Eric Decker for the game winner. Matt Stafford probably would like a do over against the Bears. Four interceptions and numerous comments by the announcers about how the glove he was wearing would make anyone beg to start over. The Lions had better get that act together quickly to make sure they don’t’ go from a feel good story to a get lost story.

One team I just can’t (And I don’t know anyone who can) put my finger on are the Baltimore Ravens. Just take a look at their losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville, and now Seattle who have a combined juggernaut record of 11-16. If I ever had to play the Ravens I would most definitely want to play them the game after they face Pittsburgh as they have turned in two flat line performances after beating their arch rivals. Speaking of rivals that Jets vs. Pats game was a snoozer. You here about it all week as the world wide leader and every other channel hype’s and hype’s the game and then New York (Or should I say Sanchez) goes out and lays a dud. It could have been a lot worse for them as Mark Sanchez just hasn’t progressed to the point most of us thought he would.

Tony Romo’s got the mojo as he obliterated all the remaining buffaloes in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area. 23-26 for 270 yards and 3 TDs! If the Cowboys got that consistently out of him they would be a year in year out Super Bowl contender. And last but not least on the list is Mike Smith of the Falcons. Yeah you should know the story by now as Smith went for it on 4th down and inches in overtime only to have Michael Turner get stuffed and turnover the ball to a ready Drew Brees. Brees needed just four plays to get the Saints in field goal range as the ancient one John Kasay booted a game winning 26-yard kick. I understand Smith’s reasoning behind the idea but I just don’t agree with it. It means he basically decided that his defense wasn’t good enough to stop New Orleans offense. That decision may come back to haunt him in the last weeks of the season.

Now with that all out of the way, lets unveil the rankings.

1. Green Bay Packers (9-0) – Lets be honest how many people watched the game past the first quarter last night? I’ll wait…… So yeah I didn’t either. Randall Cobb’s opening kick off return took any of the spirit that Minnesota had at the beginning of the game. Just like that game was over in my mind. Aaron Rodgers got cooking as always and put up usual numbers with 4 TD passes in the game. Who can stop this team, I don’t know as the undefeated whispers grow louder. I do know that Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the league right now. He handles that offense with such precision it’s not even fair. The Packers are the undisputed number one team in league right now.

2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – Never would I have thought the 9ers would be one loss to Dallas from being undefeated. They took down a damn good Giants team and did it in a way that makes me believe they are true contenders this year. They play with a hard nosed edge on defense that is fun to watch with Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman roaming around. Carlos Rogers has provided them with top notch corner play after coming over from Washington and to top every thing off they beat the Giants without their best offensive weapon in Frank Gore. I’m very impressed with these guys and they are all but assured a playoff victory with a five game buffer to their nearest division team. Hopefully complacency won’t ruin them down the stretch.

3. Houston Texans (7-3) – How can not a small portion of you feel bad for these guys? Just when you thought they had it all together and man handled the Bucs, Matt Schaub goes down. They will have to rely on that potent run game more than ever now as Matt Leinart enters the fray. He will have lean on Foster and Tate to carry them for the rest of the season. Andre Johnson is coming back as well so that should give “Limp arm Leinart” a boost. It’s a shame that Houston’s best season so far to date now all relies on the right arm of Matt Leinart. If he plays well and leads them to the playoffs, he could possibly land a starting job somewhere next season, so there is motivation for him to play well. I’m intrigued to see what becomes of this team for the rest of the season.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers ( 7-3) – The Steelers toyed around with the Bengals before they put them in their place. Rook Qb Andy Dalton is the real deal though as he continued his impressive play. Pittsburgh will just keep chugging along but they won’t win this division thanks to those two losses to Baltimore. That means they have no choice but go the wild card route and they will have to fight it out with a number of teams for the playoffs. Just another year of football in the city of steel.

5. New Orleans Saints (7-3) – The Saints got lucky as Mike Smith’s bone-headed play doomed the Falcons and basically gave New Orleans the win. On another note, who knew Jimmy Graham had the power to shift the goal post? I was impressed by his hops as his thunderous two-handed football slam slanted the goal post side ways and delaying the game. The funniest part of the whole thing was stadium officials coming and trying to fix the thing only to have it still leaning. The Saints win gave them a commanding lead in the NFC South and Drew Brees continues his hot play.\

Offensive Player of the Week: Tony Romo 23-26 270 yards and 4 TDs - As a Dallas fan I was actually upset about this. I had two reasons behind being upset with the first being that it wasn’t on my cable T.V. I mean come on Comcast, this was the best game ever by Romo as he was tossing lasers all over and this is the one game I can’t see? They show every other Dallas game when Romo is choking away a game to Darrelle Revis and the Jets or when they played Tom Brady and the Pats but when Tony does his thing I can’t watch? Ugh. My second reason is that if Romo could just play like that every week, no excuses, no girlfriend talk, no new baby talk, no aw shucks attitude, then this is what he could do. He would be one the best QBs in the league. So with all that said congrats to you Tony, you played one hell of a game but just keep it up.

Defensive Player of the Week: Andre Carter 4.5 Sacks – There is no way you let a guy get that many sacks on your QB. There are guys who go an entire career not amassing that many sacks in a season much less one game. I have to give Carter credit because he continued to bring the heat and the Jets offensive line had no answer for him.

1 comment:

  1. WOW, you really covered the waterfront! As a Minnesotan, even I couldn't watch the game last night. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay are unbelievable--I know it's a bit premature, but I can't wait for the Super Bowl! Love your blog and I'll be back!