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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sportaholic NFL Power Rankings Week 9


How underrated are the Chicago Bears? They are an old school physical team that doesn’t get much appreciation because of their style. Their almost polar opposite of the team they beat last night in the Philadelphia Eagles who of course are more style than substance. I remember watching last night and saying that this is just like that Bears team from last year that went all the way to the NFC Championship game and might even be better. Jay “Cut Dog” Cutler has cut down on the mistakes which has plagued his career, Matt Forte is running like he never has before which has a lot to do with this being his contract year and the defense lead by Urlacher and Briggs is always there. I like this team but they just happen to be in a tough division this year with Green Bay and Detroit. After seeing Philly hand it to Dallas, we all thought that it was time for them to get rolling. But after last nights game it still hard to put your finger on what kind of team identity they have. Lesean McCoy was held to just 71 yards and Mike Vick had 34 but I just can’t imagine Andy Reid coaching a run first team. Philly has to find a way to win games no matter how they do it from here on out. Just when you think you know what the Eagles are about, they go out and don’t live up to your expectations.






Evermore, just when you think you have it all figured out in the NFL, everything changes on you within the blink of an eye. New England was lighting up the league through the first quarter of the season, as Tom Brady and Wes Welker looked on their way to historic seasons putting up bountiful numbers each game. Now the Patriots have been exposed as a team that can only rely on Brady and nothing from their run game. The Buffalo Bills were the feel good story of the league as they were in the midst of a football revival and undefeated in upper New York as they upset the Pats and received more than enough accolades. Now the Bills are 5-3 and in a dog fight in a crowded and competitive AFC East division The Kansas City Chiefs were left for dead after pulling an 0-fer in the first month of the season. They lost their best offensive player in Jamal Charles and their best defensive players in Eric Berry. But now the Chiefs are getting the last laugh as they have forced their way back into the playoff picture (Even though they took an ugly loss to previous winless Miami).



Only a few teams have showed the mark of consistency. Green Bay of course, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers surprisingly the New York Giants, equally stunning San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints. Those teams in my opinion have shown that they are the best teams in the NFL. Although those teams named are not prone to lapses every once in awhile as well. The Saints bombed against the Rams just a couple of weeks ago, The Ravens did the same against Jacksonville, and Detroit loss two in a row before righting the ship against the Denver Tebow’s, I mean Broncos.



Now for the rankings:



1. Green Bay Packers (8-0) – This is almost becoming redundant as the Packers continue to beat teams with their latest victim being the Chargers. I really thought San Diego would give them a good game which they did, but Aaron Rodgers just performed surgery on that defense going 21/26 for 247 yards and 4 Td passes. The only bad thing you can really say about the Packers is that their defense seems to rely too much on the fact that Rodgers will always bail them out. This was a top 10 ranked defense over the last past two season and now they seem to become a bend but the don’t break bunch as they know their offense will put up prolific numbers. Everything is good when your undefeated but a loss or two will shine the light on that defense. Mark my words.



2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – What a game they played against Pittsburgh as they always do. Joe Flacco finally stood up and made some plays at the end of a game. His 26-yard hookup with Torrey Smith with 8 seconds remaining was a thing of beauty. You can’t ask for more from the Ravens offense as they marched 92 yards on 13 plays, something that looked impossible to do at the time for Smith with all the problems he had in the game. This was the type of game that could get the Ravens on a roll and now they have won both games against their hated rival meaning they have no reason to worry about them for the rest of the year. Cincinnati on the other hand still surprisingly in the mix for the AFC North but come on now who do you really think is going to win that division?



3. New York Giants (6-2) – Facebook message I received after the game: Eli Manning owns Tom Brady! It was hilarious to think one of my buddies thought that Eli is better than Brady. Now I know Manning has beat Brady twice on game-winning 4th quarter drives, with one coming in the Super Bowl but really there is comparison in terms of overall numbers. Eli is having one of his best years in the league and that bodes well for the Giants as they usually play as good as Eli does. The thing that most impressed me was the Giants offense ability to overcome Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury as big Brandon Jacobs. With both Dallas and Philadelphia’s inconsistent play this year, the Giants could sneak up and take the division. They are in the midst of a grueling schedule as they face San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Green Bay and Dallas all in consecutive weeks.



4. New Orleans Saints (6-3) – The Saints are another team who goes as their QB goes and luckily for them they have one of the best in Drew Brees. Its to the point that I’m surprised when he throws a pick nowadays. The Saints defense has really picked up its game as well. I was impressed with the way they are flying to the ball. They held LaGarrette Blount in check with just 72 yards and Josh Freeman as well. The Bucs always give New Orleans a good game but it wasn’t to be this time for them and probably for the division this year either.



5. Houston Texans (6-3)- Flying under the radar are the Texans, as they are just beating up teams with their running back duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The combo combined for 239 yards on 31 carries. Matt Schaub job has been easy and it will continue to be as long as Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme is so effective. The Texans are clearly the best team in the AFC South at this point.

Yeah I know i didn't include Detroti or San Francisco but in my opinion, I have to see more work from those two teams.

Make sure to check out the Sportaholic Radio Show this Saturday from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M. as we run down the best football teams and much more on beatknockin.com.

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