NFL Preseason Week 4 Powre Rankings (53-Man Roster Edition – Week of August 30-September 5, 2011)
REGULAR SEASON KICKOFF EDITION
Preseason is over, final cuts have been made and the first Regular Season game of the 2011 NFL Season is slated for Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7 PM. ARE YOU READY?
BTW, I will be cutting out of the room about 30 minutes early so that I do not miss the opening kickoff at the bar, so this is a telepathic reminder to the five people who have to do their final presentations at Mercy College that evening to not spend 30 minutes apiece. I did mine in 10. “JOO CON DOOOOO EEET” in 10-15 also, or else I’m going to do put the finger in the air and walk out crouched like I have severe back woes.
… wait, I do have back woes ha.
Anyway, here are the FINAL PRESEASON RANKINGS:
1. Green Bay Packers.
They appear locked in and ready to pick up where they left off last year and THEN some.
2. New York Jets.
The Jets’ D, which sometimes gets overlooked because they don’t rack up tons of sacks, interceptions or stylish plays, is very underrated. It remains to be seen how much synergy they have forged in less than a month together offensively, but if they can improve on last year’s offensive statistics and get a less conservative/predictable play selection from Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, they have to be the favorites in the AFC.
3. Detroit Lions.
As I’ve said all offseason: LOOK OUT.
And do not say you weren’t warned for virtually an entire year.
4. San Diego Chargers.
I, for one, think the Bolts will get off to a quick start this year. But will they FINISH playing .850 ball though, like they seem to always do in the second half of the season?
5. Houston Texans.
6. New York Football Giants.
Some elements of preseason are scrutinized too heavily, some are overlooked too frequently as unimportant. It appears many people, especially overly negative Giants fan(atics) want to drive home every negative to the point where it the molehill becomes a mountain in their minds. That’s the Giants’ offense minus Steve Smith and Kevin Boss. The same people often overlook how great the defense played all preseason, even despite massive injuries. It does not matter who is at RCB, the Giants simply do not give up big plays deep because of the range of Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips. Plus the team admittedly held back showing much offensively in the preseason, as they play each of the AFC East teams they played in preseason in the second half of the season.
7. New England Patriots.
Belichick usually knows what he’s doing (in conjunction with their front office, with regards to players’ contract situations and the salary cap for upcoming seasons), so getting rid of S James Sanders was not shocking. However, getting rid of S Brandon Meriweather was a headscratcher, despite Meriweather’s lackadaisical tendencies at times. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the Patriots most likely had this in mind.
But for a secondary that was one of the absolute worst in football last season, and no real experience or depth remaining, you have to wonder how successful the Patriots will be against the pass (29th overall in 2010) regardless of their defensive line, which has yet to play together for more than two quarters all preseason?
8. Philadelphia Eagles.
They have big names, guys who were great once in the past, but the same woes that plagued them throughout 2010, costing them each of the 6 games they lost, causing them to be blown out in the first half miraculous comeback versus the Giants in Week 15, many of which were simply masked by Michael Vick’s immense escapability — cannot be overlooked any further. The Eagles have a sieve of an offensive line. Their defensive line is just a mess of bodies outside of Trent Cole, their linebackers are lost, inexperienced and really are not playmakers and their safeties are gimpy and inexperienced. That’s not a recipe for a “Dream Team”. That’s a recipe for another 2010 season. And given the chances of Michael Vick repeating what he did in 2010 are slim, they will have to shore those issues up very quickly.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They have a lot of youth, which does help them in some instances, but there will be 2-3 games where that youth will cost them in crucial situations. They had a few games down the stretch that were almost completely attributable to the relative lack of experience on the part of the players, as well as head coach Raheem Morris. They are going to be contenders for the NFC South crown, however.
10. New Orleans Saints.
This is about right, wild card or division jockeys.
11. Indianapolis Colts.
12. Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens seem to be employing the Brian Cashman (New York Yankees General Manager) strategem of acquiring has-beens and hoping they can recapture their former glory. With the Ravens’ signing of C Andre Gurode on Sept. 4, they now have a half dozen castoffs who were once Pro Bowlers or had Pro Bowl-esque careers before coming to Baltimore. That kind of shakeup is usually not good for chemistry, but I really didn’t think the Ravens needed to do much beyond tinker with their lines a bit. Flacco to Evans may be a major theme this year. LOOK OUT.
13. Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas is better than last year, but I dunno by how much. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan loves to blitz. Everyone knows this, but Dallas really does not have the secondary personnel to employ his scheme.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Aging defense, more-frequently-exposed Polamalu and heightened competition in the AFC means they are a fringe playoff team.
15. Kansas City Chiefs.
Todd Haley will either be vindicated or exposed as a fraud “offensive genius”. Last time we heard that title for a coach, we saw Brian Billick Head Coach one of the league’s perennial offense-inept teams for an entire decade.
16. Atlanta Falcons.
They’re either gonna be fluky (again) 13-3 good or 8-8/9-7. I’m going for the latter.
17. Carolina Panthers.
Cam Newton will take his lumps, and he has to be glad that he doesn’t have to face the Giants’ defense again, but they feature a fine (not great) defense. Disturbing is how little the Panthers think of Jim Clausen, that Derek Anderson is actually battling for the backup role to Newton.
18. St. Louis Rams.
19. Arizona Cardinals.
20. Seattle Seahawks.
21. San Francisco 49ers.
Simply because I’m obligated to mention the NFC West.
22. Chicago Bears.
5-11 team. Continuing to strip away from what little offensive talent they featured to begin with.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars.
They may not have a season full of blackouts for once.
24. Washington Redskins.
Rex Grossman didn’t specify WHICH season that they’d win the NFC East. For all we know, he might have meant the year 2018, when the NFC East will consist of them, the Bengals, Browns and Bills.
25. Cleveland Browns.
I really do believe they’ll be better. But they have to prove it to me in the first 4-5 games this season.
26. Buffalo Bills.
They’ll be a thrill-a-minute (mostly negative to their fans, though), because they have a few playmakers. However, not nearly enough, particularly in their division.
27. Oakland Raiders.
Darius Heyward-Bey still SUCKS.
28. Minnesota Vikings.
29. Miami Dolphins.
30. Tennessee Titans.
Chris Johnson will be facing 9 man boxes all season, and forcefed the ball 375 times, so Bud Adams can stick it to him for holding out for a month. I just hope “CJ2K” hasn’t already seen his best days. The Falcons did this to Jamal Anderson, if you recall.
And you remember what happened to him after that 410-carry season.
31. Denver Broncos.
32. Cincinnati Bengals.
“We’ll be a better team this year” – Marv Lewis.
If 3-13 and no arrests, no me-first players and getting the top pick in next year’s draft is “better”, then we see eye to eye, “coech”.
Side Note: Biggest mystery of the NFL, outside of how Kevin Gilbride still has his job — HOW MARVIN LEWIS STILL HAS HIS.