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NFL 2010 Midseason NFL Power Rankings, Part 3, 16-9

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16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3)

Josh Freeman is the comeback kid. If it’s close and late, he is starting to spoil the Bucs fans with his ability to win games. He’s not a machine though, and couldn’t finish the deal against the Falcons last week.  My question is: if he is so good in a quick offense, why don’t the Bucs run a hurry-up all game long? It’s one of those unanswerable questions like: what exactly is Lady Gaga?  That said, I’m not sold on the Bucs. Their 5 wins have come against Cleveland, Carolina, Cincinnati, St. Louis & Arizona… not exactly a powerhouse in the bunch. They only have 3 tough games left on their schedule, but I see them dropping a few more on the way in.

15. San Diego Chargers (4-5)

Another one of those unanswerable questions is: how does Norv Turner still have a job? Or better yet, how did he get a 3 year extension? Every year he has the Chargers so drastically unprepared to start the season. In 2007 they started 1-3, 0-2 in 2008, 2-3 in 2009, and this year 2-5. Yes, the Chargers always seem to turn it on to finish the regular season, but waste their energy doing that and underachieve in the playoffs. It’s the Norv effect. Teams turn into their coaches in important times, and in important times Norv has the predictability of a Jennifer Aniston movie, and the excitement. See the Chargers in the I-formation? Here comes a run. See Gates flexing out? Guess where the ball is going. Norv is easier to read as Matt Millen in a war room. But, someone has to win the West…

14. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)

The Chiefs are a team that don’t pass the eye test, but with their schedule they could legitimately win 10 games without much problem.  Jamaal Charles is electric, and although he doesn’t get enough touches, does the most he can with each.  Thomas Jones is the consummate professional and a guy that every locker room wishes that they had, well except for the Jets who showed him the door. Dwayne Bowe has blown up lately, but still drops far too many passes, which leads me to Matt Cassel. He has shown the ability to not blow games, which makes him what he is, a perfect back-up QB. The Chiefs paid him like a long-term solution, but they would be much better off grabbing someone with any upside at all. Quick programming note, NBC has announced that Cassel, Alex Smith, Chad Pennington, and Colt McCoy will be starring in a new show as the owners of a fish market in Seattle. Just don’t expect the fish to see fish being thrown more than 8 feet. Enjoy the ride Chiefs fans, in the last 8 games, the best team scheduled is Tennessee, and have 3 games against the CFL South.

13. Oakland Raiders (5-4)

Truth be told, my favorite part of the 1st round of the draft is seeing the Raiders on the clock. It has gotten to be tradition to make up a name and blurt it out. In years past that name had just as much chance of being announced as anyone the Raiders actually picked. That changed this year when they took the correct guy in Rolando McClain. When that happened, I immediately checked Wikipedia to see if Al Davis had died, then spent the next two days wondering who made that pick. Oakland is currently scoring 26 points per game. Scoring 59 in a slaughter of the Broncos helps, that average, but they have only been held under 23 points once in the past 7 games. All this being led by Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski.  Run-DMC has lived up to his hype this year and is on pace for 2000 total yards from scrimmage.  Maybe Al Davis has just been setting us all up for the past 7 years, but the Raiders have 5 wins through 9 games this season. They had 29 wins in 112 games for the previous 7 years, with a seasonal high of 5. The Raiders have a touch schedule ahead of them and won’t make the playoffs, but 8 wins should be enough to get some classic Al Davis leisure suit shots on National TV.

12. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

The Dolphins have moved up 2 spots from my original rankings simply because Channing Crowder won the inadvertently hilarious comments of the week award. They have made the switch from Chad Henne to Chad Pennington, which is awesome. More owners should sell parts of their teams to celebrities if it means more must see TV like this. In reality, Pennington can’t be any worse than Henne, The ‘Phins are struggling to score, and Henne is averaging 1.5 turnovers a game. Miami needs to get their ground game untracked or they will be quickly removed from any possible playoff talk. I just hope that the game tomorrow comes down to the last play, and Pennington has to give it all he’s got on a 20 yard Hail Mary.

11. Green Bay Packers (6-3)

The line between the top 11 and rest of the league is as clear an defined as possible. Any team in the top 11 could legitimately win the Super Bowl this season and it wouldn’t really surprise too many. I have Green Bay listed at 11, and that may be too low, but they have really been snakebit by the injury bug this year. Losing an irreplaceable guy of Ryan Grant’s caliber is never easy.     Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are giving it all they have, but it’s clear that the Pack will go as far as Aaron Rodgers leads them. The D is giving up its fair share of yards, but is 2nd in the league in points against.  Clay Matthews plays like a man possessed and could easily give the Packers their 2nd straight defensive player of the year. Each of their 3 losses have been by 3 points, 2 in overtime. They have a huge game this week against Minnesota, where they have the chance to end any thoughts that the Vikings may have of rallying to win the NFC North. If they lose that game, with Atlanta, New England and the Giants on the schedule, 9-7 might take the division.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3)

The Eagles are averaging 27 points per game when Vick starts.  Reid has given him the reigns to the offense, and the lefty is responding in a big way. He is leading the league in passer rating at 105.3, looks like an actual quarterback now, and still has yet to turn it over. Teaming up Vick with weapons such as DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, & Jeremy Maclin almost isn’t fair to opposing defenses. If they can get fully healthy on defense and ratchet down that aspect of the team, they are as good as any team in the NFC. The real question is, if the Eagles win the Super Bowl and Vick is the MVP, will Disney allow Vick to get the free trip to Disneyworld despite his past transgressions?

9. Tennessee Titans (5-3)

Any team with CJ2K has to try not to be in the top 10 in the power rankings.  Johnson is a flat out beast. Johnson, in having an “off-year” is projected for 1600 total yards and 16 TDs. I still don’t trust Vince Young, or Kerry Collins for that matter, but the Titans are leading the league in points per game, and Randy Moss immediately makes them better. No offense to Kenny Britt or Nate Washington, but if I am looking down the field and I see #84 streaking, that’s where the ball is headed, and more often than not, Moss will make it worth the effort. The defense has been called dirty, but they do their job well. Tennessee is a dangerous team, but still has Houston and Indy twice left on their schedule, so the AFC south is still wide open.

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