Week 7 NFL Review
Welcome one and all to the wonderful world of the NFL, where Tim Tebow should be banished to the Arena League for 3 ½ quarters, but finds a way to win the game. Where the Raiders trade TWO first round draft picks in an attempt to make the playoffs (semantics I know it is a 1 and a conditional 1-2) then roll out Kyle Boeller in the first half and watch him throw three interceptions, then bring in their new shiny QB and he goes on to throw three INT’s as well. Just Win Baby!
It was one of the more… interesting weeks in this NFL season leading to an unspectacular 7-6 week for me, and 9-4 week for the Mrs. meaning she is the superior football prognosticating mind in the relationship… not surprising really.
Thoughts from Week 7 would typically come at this point, but I need to talk to you about something else, power rankings, and in this week’s edition of the power rankings, we are going to look at what each team in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes needs to become a better offense, and with the Broncos, we are going to solve the Tim Tebow mystery.
Andrew Luck Sweepstakes:
32. Indianapolis Colts: Did you see the game on Sunday Night? Did You? I could give a damn about the 62 points given up, but how the hell do you only score 7 points on that defense?
This is painfully obvious, but Peyton Manning is the key to this team getting back on track offensively, but what this year could help? How about an effective running game that can take some pressure off of Curtis Painter? Donald Brown has been a gargantuan bust, but Delonte Carter has been a nice surprise, and they need to find out if he can be the back of the future, because the draft next year is chalk full of NFL talent after round 1: Lamar Miller from Miami, Montee Ball from Wisconsin, Chris Polk from Washington could all be players for this team offensively, but they also need help along that offensive line as well: Levy Adcock and Mike Adams could be options early in the second round to put at right tackle, moving Ben Ijlana back inside to guard.
31. Miami Dolphins: THIS CLOSE to beating the Tebow. Oh well, can’t go back now. Andrew Luck is the key to Miami’s immediate turn around, but they don’t get that chance at this point. So who could work for them? Matt Kalil is the consensus second best player, but how would he work? They just drafted Daniel Thomas, and gave Reggie Bush money, so Trent Richardson doesn’t make sense, and Jake Long has been extremely effective as a left tackle, so I am not sure Matt Kalil, even as the best available would make sense, so where do they go? TRADE DOWN or take Kalil and have two of the best young tackles in the game.
30. St. Louis Rams: Things just keep getting worse, or maybe they are getting better since the schedule seems to be lightening up after they lose to the Saints this week. They have @Arizona, @Cleveland, Seattle, Arizona for four weeks in a row, so some very winnable games. In that case they are going to be out of the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes, and hoping that they can find a weapon for Sam Bradford to throw the ball to. Trent Richardson could be intriguing with Steven Jackson coming up to voidable years in his contract and lots and lots of talent at WR available in free agency: Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, both Colts WR’s and Vincent Jackson at the top of every WR needy teams wish list. If they are not sold on Richardson, look for Justin Blackmon to be the pick, even though it won’t be the third overall selection.
29. Arizona Cardinals: WooHoo… We suck again. As the great Bob Kemp likes to say, it looks like we are back to the Same Old Sorry Ass Cardinals. The Cardinals need to get out of “Suck for Luck” mode, even though it would land them a haul of draft picks and talent, and get into the Matt Kalil or Jonathan Martin “Future Left Tackle Extraordinaire” Sweepstakes. In doing so they can then extend and olive branch to incumbent turn style, Levi Brown, and try and rework his contract instead of just cutting him, to move him to right tackle, which he is much more suited for.
If they can’t reach a deal to bring back Levi on the right side, then the free agent market is ultra thin, but I guess Brandon Keith has been good.
28. Minnesota Vikings: Ponder looked like a rookie in his debut, making some phenomenal plays early, then making some boneheaded plays later, but keeping the Vikings in it. He needs weapons and protection, with Kalil and Martin gone, that leaves Alshon Jeffery as the best offensive option.
I like the way this little draft is shaping up thus far.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Oh Charlie Whitehurst, you are so much better on the sidelines. The Seahawks have a good offensive line, nice WR’s and TE’s but need to overhaul their entire backfield. In my mock right now they have two great options to choose from: Trent Richardson or Matt Barkley. Whoever they don’t get they will pursue one of the best free agent classes in a long time at both positions.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson, but most of all Drew Brees are all available in this upcoming free agency period, but that pales in comparison the RB’s available: Ray Rice, Matt Forte, and Ryan Grant will all hit the open market this off season. The Seahawks are on the cusp, but the lack of two key positions, and by key I mean the most important on offense.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: I almost feel bad for Jacksonville at this point. They had a huge win over one of the best teams in the NFL, but everyone is just talking about the failures of that team. I don’t want to take anything away from the Jags, that was one of the most dominant defensive games I have seen in a long time. The problem? They are playing themselves out of some much necessary help at the WR position with their second win of the year. No one wants their team to tank, but the Jags aren’t winning anything this year, and winning games is going to make it hard to get one of the top 2 WR’s in Blackmon or Jeffery.
That means they would look defense, which we aren’t covering this week, hint: Quinton Coples would be the pick if he is available; giving them a pass rush they need desperately.
Let’s look again at the WR options in free agency: Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, both Colts WR’s and Vincent Jackson. Anyone of those would be a great get for a young, but talent Jags team. You know until they move to LA when they can sign anyone they want.
25. Denver Tebows: Hey they won, and more than that they did it in thrilling fashion. Which brings me to a conclusion that I am sure will be scoffed at, mocked, and roasted by any and everyone that reads it, but here it goes.
Tim Tebow has shown over and over again that he has a knack, a keen ability to make plays when they are behind or need a play to be made. He has also shown an atrocious ability to play QB in a standard game setting and here are the stats to back it up:
1st Half: 15-31 222 yards 48% 2td 2int 66.9rtg
2nd Half: 26-51 432 yards 51% 3td 1int 91.3rtg
1st half: 3-5 24 yards 60% 0td 0int 72.1rtg
2nd half: 14-32 216 yards 43.8% 3td 0int 97.9rtg
If you need to add up the 10’ and 11’ stats go ahead I’ll wait for you.
So what is it that I am getting at with all of this? For now make Tebow your closer. Like baseball teams do with young arms, getting them ready for the starting rotation, you can do the same thing with Tebow. Let Orton start, run the base offense, and move the ball up and down the field. At the end of the first half, if you have a 5min or less drive, bring in The Tebow and let him do his thing. Then give him the fourth quarter if you are down, or need a change of pace, or need to close out the game. Tebow isn’t a rhythm QB, he hasn’t shown that he needs to get into a flow yet, but he has shown he has a knack for getting down the field and getting scores when the game is in a frenetic pace.
Take advantage, use his special skills set and develop the rest of his game as the season goes along, but right now he isn’t ready for an entire game.
Turning the Corner:
24. Carolina Panthers: I was talking to one of my co-workers about the weekend that was, and we got to the Panthers, and he called them the “Don’t Give a Shit” team. He thinks they are the most dangerous team in the NFL partially because they haven’t tapped into what made them successful previously, and it is what I have been harping on all season… RUN THE DAMN BALL.
Between Williams, Stewart and Newton they should be averaging between 30-40 carries a game, not 30-40 passes a game like they have in many, many of their losses.
This team should scare everyone that’s left on their schedule, and will probably cost someone a playoff spot; I’m looking at you Atlanta and Tampa.
23. Cleveland Browns: I don’t even know what to say about last week’s debacle. It was just ugly, and the tapes need to be burned, like now.
22. Kansas City Chiefs: Hey remember how I said Todd Haley was my pick for first coach fired? Me either, I even went back and erased it so there is no proof.
The Chiefs seem to be playing better with the walking wounded roster they roll out every game. Add to the fact they play in the AFC West with a Chargers team that is imploding as we speak, and who knows what Carson Palmer is going to bring to the Raiders.
I don’t want to put them this high yet, but I can’t afford to keep them any lower with the bag of crap in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Not much to say here. Bye week and now a HUGE game against the Cowboys. Actually there is one thing to say. THANK GOD I DON’T WORK SUNDAY.
20. Tennessee Titans: I’m a little embarrassed I have been so high on the Titans and then they get absolutely torched by the Texans. Chris Johnson has been phenomenal in his role as the invisible man, and if we want to talk about getting paid and doing nothing, this is it.
The most disappointing aspect to me was that they were in Nashville and just got taken to the woodshed.
19. Washington Redskins: The injuries may be too much to overcome at this point, and they need a QB to command that team, as well as a running back to stay healthy.
I think things are starting to look down in the nation’s capital, and I’m not just talking about the Obama Administration.
18. Oakland Raiders: They need the bye week, badly. They need to get Carson Palmer into football shape and they need to figure out how to work with him.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I have no idea what to think of this team now that they have no running backs left that can do anything. Their offense and defense is mediocre, and all the guys that played so great last year getting them to the brink of the playoffs have regressed in either performance or from injuries.
Now they need to get a running back healthy, get their defense healthy, and those players to get back to making plays namely Josh Freeman.
Freeman is a bit of an enigma to me, as I have given him tons and tons of love since draft day 2009 and thought he could be the best quarterback coming out of that draft.
Now, he seems to be getting back into the bad decision making, ball forcing, over thinking quarterback he was through his first 16 starts.
He needs to get back into his groove, he needs to find his comfort, and he needs a reliable running game Damnit. Without that, this Bucs team is dead in the water for this season.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Can Tony Romo do the impossible? Can he actually win a playoff game? Scratch that, can he get this Cowboys team to the playoffs should be the actual question.
On a side note, I want to know what the leash for Felix Jones is going to be. He can’t stay healthy, he has proven to be a game breaker when on the field, but it just doesn’t seem like he will ever be able to stay on it.
15. Atlanta Falcons: 10-100, 11-20, 16-56. 21-114, 26-70, 27-139, 27-122.
The first three sets of numbers are Michael Turner’s numbers in the three losses. The second sets of numbers are his stats in wins. Do I need to continue on with this?
Matt Ryan is not an elite QB, he is actually more of an above average game manager, and when you expect him to be more, they lose. That is all.
(By the way, for those Bucs fans that want to criticize me because of the Bucs being behind the Falcons, SHUT IT. Get healthy and prove me wrong, because I can’t stand the undeserved credit the Falcons get so I am pulling for you, I just don’t see it yet.)
14. Chicago Bears: PAY MATT FORTE. Wait, that’s what I said about Chris Johnson. Never mind, continue to do what you are doing Chicago because you always seem to be right in the middle of the title race in the NFC.
The thing they need to figure out is Lance Briggs. They need him to step up, shut up and make plays.
13. Houston Texans: I am not impressed with the Texans, actually let me rephrase that, I haven’t been impressed until this win against the Titans in Tennessee. Their defense is what they need to continue to play like it did last Sunday if they want to become a playoff team for the first time.
I don’t care what the offense has done or will do; this team needs its defense to continue to produce without its best player in Mario Williams.
12. New York Jets: Here they come. I wanted them to not win, I wanted them to not make the playoffs, and there is still a chance, but I wanted to be right, and be smarter than everyone else.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. We shall see, but they seem to be finding their footing and starting to make plays. They will have four big games coming up after their bye week with Buffalo, New England, Denver and Buffalo again. They have to step up the run defense, and find a way to only lose one game in this stretch.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: The best rookie QB in the league has his team in the thick of the playoff race, and they will have two first rounders in an unusually deep draft. Things may finally be looking up in the Nati, now if they could only hit on both of those firsts.
10. Detroit Lions: Coming back to earth or just a bump in the road? It is imperative that they FIND A RUNNING GAME, because the Stafford injury bug is starting to rear its ugly head.
By the way, if Ndamukong Suh is really one of the best DT’s in the league, or the best, why can’t he impact their run defense? They play a 4-3, I know they implement that retarded wide 9 formation, but he has to be more controlled in his attacking. His continued over penetration is opening up just mammoth running lanes for the opposition, and needs to stop if he truly is the best in the game.
9. Buffalo Bills: The bye week came at the perfect time as they had lost 2 of their last 3, and their defense needed a reprieve, which they should get this week going against the band aid crew from DC. By the way, it’s a joke that the poor fans in Buffalo have to lose a home game to Toronto. It’s not like they are the Tampa fans.
8. San Diego Chargers: They are almost out of the top 15, and that loss against the Jets was a joke of a loss for them.
I have always given Phillip Rivers the benefit of the doubt, but it may be time to question his abilities to lead a team to anything but good regular seasons and early playoff exits.
7. Baltimore Ravens: I don’t even really have a lot to say right now. This is what I get for picking them to win the Super Bowl. Moving on.
6. New York Giants: I have to give Eli credit, and seriously consider him in the MVP discussion right now. Look at all the injuries this team has dealt with, and yet, they somehow have found a way to hang around the top of their division.
The problem: After this week against Miami, they have to go to New England, then to a suddenly red hot San Francisco, then get Philadelphia at home, go to the Big Easy and take on my NFC favorites in New Orleans, then have the defending Super Bowl Champs at home, then go to Dallas. That is one of the nastiest five week stretches in the NFL, and they will most likely be nursing a two game lead after this week, yes I have Philly beating Dallas to save their season.
If the Giants are still at the top of the NFC East, and that is a giant IF, then you have to like them to get into the playoffs with three games to end the season in the Meadowlands with Washington, @ Jets, then Dallas.
If they do that, then all the Eli haters will have to eat a large amount of crow.
The Five Favorites:
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: I was impressed with the passing game of Pittsburgh, but of course since they became an elite passing team they haven’t won a thing, but still Big Ben to Little Wallace is one of the deadliest connections in the NFL in a long time.
The defense looked… ok. I think they caught a break in Beanie Wells going out at the end of the first half, and the linebackers and secondary seemed a step slow against an awful Cardinals team.
They have a brutal three game stretch before the bye, and if they can find a way to win two of three, will be in the driver’s seat for another AFC North crown.
4. New Orleans Saints: I wouldn’t say they have a bad loss on their schedule with their only two being against a great Packers squad in Lambeau and a team coming off an embarrassing loss in Tampa at home. I wouldn’t say they have any breathtaking wins either at this time but they have two big division matchups prior to their bye week. If they head into the bye at 7-2, which I think they will, they come out with 4 of their last 6 at home, and the two road games against a still finding themselves Tennessee team and a rebuilding Minnesota.
This team needs to win all three before the break, and get ready to make a run and at least make me look good in one of my Super Bowl picks.
3. San Francisco 49ers: I have them one win away from locking up this putrid division. They run the ball really well, and you can’t even imagine running on them, and that is a formula in the NFL to win games. If there is a question mark for this team, and trust me there is more than one, it is Alex Smith.
Can he make the throws necessary when they need him too? In their one loss he couldn’t, and that cost them a perfect start to the season.
They have an easier second half schedule, with the only opponent they face on the road with a winning record being Baltimore, and get the Giants and Steelers at home. The question isn’t whether or not they win the West, if they don’t it would become the biggest choke job in NFL history you can’t lose a division lead when you will literally need to win only two more games the rest of the way, it is whether they are good enough to push for a first round bye and to host a playoff game in week two of the post season.
2. New England Patriots: And the beat goes on for the best regular season team in a long time. The only question remaining for this team is whether or not they can stop anyone. If they can, they have to be a heavy Super Bowl favorite. If they can’t, well maybe they will actually win a post season game for the first time since Jan 20, 2008. Bryan and Coley can now go pray to their Tom Brady figurines to make this happen.
1. Green Bay Packers: I know, I know, wake me when they beat someone with a pulse. Never mind that they have beaten three teams in the top 15 in the league and they just play the schedule they are dealt.
Aaron Rodgers is on cruise control in the quarterbacking sense, and looks like he is poised to wrestle away that mantle of best in the league from Mr. Brady.
Got a question on the draft, or a comment on the power rankings? Email me email@example.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you