Week 3 is here, and we’re starting to figure out a little bit about the league. No. 1, if you have a key player go down, it’s start to think about the 2012 season — hello KC, Indy. If you can’t score points, don’t bother showing up — yes you Minny. Our top 2 remain the same, but there is plenty of movement everywhere else, well except for the very bottom, I think Indy may not move out of that spot.
32. Indianapolis (32): I believe that the team that wins the Super Bowl will be the one that was lucky enough not to have any of its most important players miss significant time due to injuries. This seems to me to be shaping up as the year that the big boo boo makes all the difference. Is that because of the lockout? It very well could be. By the way, Peyton Manning apparently went to Europe to investigate stem cell therapy this week. I hope he gets healthy, I also hope he’s smart enough to target Sept. 2012 as his return date because this boat is sinking fast.
31. Kansas City (23): Was I just talking about injuries? The Chiefs have now been blown out by a combined score of 89-10 in two games, and have lost Jamal Charles for the season. Great googly-moogly indeed.
30. Seattle (30): If the Seahawks were the 90s grunge movement, they’d be Hovecraft. No one liked their music, they never had a hit and they were just a footnote because they had ties to Pearl Jam. Oregon is clearly the best football team in the great northwest, and might be favored against the Seahawks.
29. Minnesota Vikings (31): For 2 quarters on Sunday it looked like the Vikings may have found their mojo. Adrian Peterson was running roughshod over the Bucs and Donovan McNabb didn’t look like a castoff from a Division III JV team. What a difference another half can make. Tampa saved their season and ruined Minnesota’s in one fell swoop.
28. Miami Dolphins ( 26): At least in the opener against New England they were able to put some points on the board, but Henne and company turned it over and just did stupid things with the ball against Houston. Starting 0-2, after two home games, does not bode well for the future.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (22): An on to quarterback No. 3, already. Blaine Gabbert could very well be the future of the NFL, and rookie QBs have done pretty well this season. But, the Jags’ offense has produced just 19 points in 2 games and throwing a rookie to the wolves hardly seems like a recipe for initial success. The Jaguars are in for a long season, but we knew that already.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (24): You have to hand it to the Bengals, they’ve been in both of their games to date. It’s nice to see that things aren’t really changing in The Queen City, though. This week 2 Bengals players were found to have had a big shipment of weed sent to their town home. Hey guys, you’re professional athletes, learn from your ilk. Just ask Robert Parrish about using the mail for drugs. If you’re going to lose, might as well go down with the munchies.
25. Cleveland Browns (29): There’s nothing like a game against the Colts to make you feel like a Super Bowl contender. The Browns teased Indy for 3 quarters before Peyton Hillis put the game away for them in the fourth. With games against Miami and Tennessee the next two weeks, both at home, the Brownies have a chance to move up the rankings pretty quickly (the Bengals are drooling after the Brownies reference, I meant the football team guys).
24. Denver Broncos (25): I don’t know how the Broncos defeated the Bengals last week, other than the fact that they were playing the Bengals. Denver is so beat up that they had Tim Tebow play wide out in the game. They have problems at WR and Knowshon Moreno is also hurt. I can’t help but wonder if having Tebow on the field is like having just 10 players, and here’s why. By now Kyle Orton has to just hate TT, with the fans chanting for his insertion behind center after every incomplete pass. Will Orton even throw the ball to the guy? He should, though. If Tebow shows that he can play that spot, maybe they’ll use him there full time, or make him an H back. This gives us all reason to at least pay attention to Denver, which I hear is also a city that the Bengals receivers would enjoy.
23. Carolina Panthers (28): The Panthers very well could finish with one of the worst records in the league this year, but they’re going to do it in an enjoyable manner. The Panthers are the most fun bad team to watch. Cam Newton has played like he should wear a cape so far, but it hasn’t resulted in any wins. Still, they’re competitive and fun, which is a lot more than you could say about any of the other recent entries from Carolina.
22. Tennessee Titans (27): My fantasy football league is a keeper league, and we’re allowed to keep one guy from the previous season, but not in successive seasons. I had to decide between Chris Johnson and LeSean McCoy, and I went back-and-forth and back-and-forth and finally decided on Shady McCoy over CJ2K. I’m pretty happy about that decision. Johnson has been nonexistent for the Titans so far, and until he starts doing his thing the Titans are going to be mediocre at best. Another fantasy note, Rob Bironas had a big week for TT last week, hitting 4-of-5 field goals. He missed a chippy in the first quarter. If he’d had made it, I would have gotten another 3 points. He missed, I got -1 for that kick. I lost by 2 points. That is all.
21. St. Louis Rams (15): We had such high hopes for the Rams. They play in a bad division, and they have up-and-coming talent. This looked like the leap year for St. Louis. But they’re one of the most beat up teams in the league, and they looked pretty horrible against the Giants on Monday Night Football. The next 5 games for STL are all tough. The team that ranks last in rushing defense gets Baltimore this weekend, then Washington. After that its games against Green Bay, Dallas and New Orleans. Ouch. The fans are going to start pulling out the paper bags.
20. San Francisco 49ers (20): When you allow a quarterback with broken ribs and a partially punctured lung to dice your defense in the second half you kind of deserve to lose.
19. Arizona Cardinals (19): If things go the way they should, and the Cards win at Seattle this weekend, Arizona will somehow be 2-1. Well, someone has to win that awful division.
18. New York Giants (21): The next time you think you’re having a bad day, just pause and think about Domenik Hixon. I know he’s made more money the last two years than you and I will probably make this decade, but I have a feeling that 20 years from now we’ll be walking with less of a limp. The Giants could also be without their No. 2 receiver, Mario Manningham, who is concussed, and Hakeem Nicks always seems to have some kind of nick that is keeping him on the injury report. Eli Manning is clearly not as good as he was in the recent past, but let’s keep in mind that his receivers look like they’ve played a real life version of Gears of War and he no longer has a good tight end to throw to.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14): Talk about saving your season. They were down 3 scores at halftime to Minny, and looked dead in the water, but Josh Freeman rallied the troops and the Bucs found a way to win. They’ve got a huge test this weekend against Atlanta, which has big time divisional implications.
16. Dallas Cowboys (13): Yes they pulled off a comeback despite having Romo and Felix Jones and Dez Bryant and Miles Austin banged up. They won the battle, but it’s not looking good for the war right now with all of those injuries.
15. Oakland Raiders (11): I still believe when it’s all said and done that the Raiders could win the west. They nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback, only to lose in catastrophic fashion. That grab that Denarius Moore made, with 2 DBs on his back, was one of the plays of the season. Coach Hue Jackson said that he intends on building a “bully of the west” team with Raiders. Unfortunately bullies tend to commit stupid penalties.
14. Chicago Bears (9): Da Bears have a tough road to hoe. They’re not necessarily a bad team, despite what happened against New Orleans last weekend. The problem is, even if they’re a top 14 team in the NFL, they by no means have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs because they have to play 2 games each with two of the best teams in the NFL, the Lions and Packers. After Week 1 I thought maybe that defense was pretty good, but now I wonder because the Saints made them look silly. Of course, the Saints make most defenses look silly. But, the Saints don’t play a lot of D themselves, and the Bears did nothing against them.
13. Buffalo Bills (17): So this week we really find out just how good the Bills might be. I have no doubts that they will score points against the Patriots, but can they stop the Pats enough to win (no one shuts NE down, but they can be slowed). When you look at the list of undefeated teams in the NFL, this is the one that jumps out at you. The Bills haven’t been good in a long, long time. This is their chance to show the world just how far they’ve come. It’s going to be a really fun game to watch. All I know is that locals are so fired up right now about this team that they have forgotten where they live, which is a good thing.
12. Washington Redskins (18): Just like Buffalo, we’re left wondering if the Redskins are for real. Monday night the Skins have a chance to make a real statement against the beat up Cowboys. Washington can run the ball, and with Tim Hightower and Roy Helu sharing the load, they can throw fresh legs at Dallas over and over. I think they’ll win, and somehow the world we live in will have an undefeated Washington team in it.
11. Houston Texans (16): Quick, which team has allowed the second fewest points in the NFL after 2 weeks. Yup, Houston. They’re climbing the rankings, and whupping up on teams that they should whup up on. I’m fired up for Houston, because I love the Ben Tate story. Last year Tate was set to be the Texans’ No. 1 running back and then he got hurt, and it looked like he would be Wally Pipp‘d by Arian Foster. Now Foster’s been slowed by an injury and Tate is doing the Wally Pipp-ing.
10. Atlanta Falcons (12): Something’s just not right about this team. Yes, they beat the Eagles at home last Sunday night and avoided an 0-2 start. Still, I didn’t feel like they played all that well. Do they win that game if Mike Vick doesn’t get hurt? Probably not. They’ve got a very big divisional game with Tampa Bay this weekend, which means that one way or another it will be close in the 4th quarter, because 12-percent of the games that Josh Freeman has ever been a part of has not been close. Last weekend the Falcons got the job done late, can the dirty birds do it again?
9. San Diego Chargers (10): You know if Vincent Jackson hadn’t sat out most of last season with a contract dispute that Chargers team very well may have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. Yes the Chargers are accident prone, like the two Phil Rivers picks, or Mike Tolbert’s oops I ran the wrong way and now I’m coughing it up fumble, but they have a ton of offensive talent and are better on defense than they looked against New England. This team is dangerous, and they wear my favorite uniform in the league. I actually own a Rivers’ powder blue jersey that I got on Ebay ridiculously cheap. I wore it to Wal-Mart last weekend and had 3 different people ask me why I was wearing an SD jersey. It was weird.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8): When you’re down, and feeling like your football team might not be all that good, just invite the Seattle Seahawks to town and it’s sure to make you feel better about yourself. Just ask Pittsburgh, which tore through Seattle last weekend. All I know is it’s gotta be tough to host home games when Batman’s nemesis is wreaking terror on the field.
7. Baltimore Ravens (6): We’ll give the Ravens a bit of a mulligan. They dominated Pittsburgh in week 1, in a rivalry game, so they were likely to come out a bit flat in week 2. Baltimore’s biggest problem is they just don’t know which Joe Flacco is going to show up from week to week. In the end, that is going to be their Achilles Heel.
6. New York Jets (7): Defensively the wreak mayhem at every turn. Offensively, though, they’ve got issues. They are always in the game because the defense is just that good, and Sanchez does make plays, but the league right now centers on putting up the most points. I don’t know that they can.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (3): They’ve dropped from the top spot in the preseason, to 3 last week, to 5 now. Mike Vick is going to play despite his concussion, which will probably be helpful this weekend, but in the long run is kind of a dumb decision, very shortsighted. Head injuries aren’t to be messed with. Speaking of injuries, I think the team that wins it all in the end is the team that stays healthiest on the list from 12 down. Players are dropping like flies in 2011.
4. New Orleans Saints (4): It certainly was nice to see the Saints bounce back and destroy the Bears. Every game they play is like watching a track meet, and I really like the 3-headed monster at running back. Darren Sproles is a weapon that is being truly unleashed by Sean Payton, Mark Ingram is a punishing runner and Pierre Thomas is a solid all-around player.
3. Detroit Lions (6): Ahh, America’s Team. Holy moly did they put a hurting on Kansas City. I was expecting to see Matt Cassell wave the white flag on the sideline in the 3rd quarter. They’ve scored the most points in the league, and allowed the fewest. Say it with me ‘the Lions are for real.’ You feel better now, don’t you.
2. New England (2): Offensively this team is about as close to perfect as you’re going to find. They will cross the 1,000-yards passing mark in the first half against Buffalo, probably in the first quarter. When they have to run, they run. Tom Brady is not just a surgeon, he’s Dr. James Andrews with a football. New England needs to improve its passing defense, though. They’ve given up a ton of yards through the air, and Buffalo will probably move the ball well against them too. It’s just proof positive that there are no perfect football teams, but man the Pats sure look good.
1. Green Bay (1): There was a great video I saw over the weekend of the Packers lining up before the first game against New Orleans and Aaron Rodgers basically telling his team that they’re the defending champs and everyone’s gunning for them, but they’re the best, so they’re going to set the tone. Obviously that isn’t verbatim. What’s important is that they understand that every team is gonna give them their best shot, and that is exactly what the feisty Panthers did, and the Pack got the job done on the road. It was impressive, and even though the Pats are nipping at their heels, the champs stick at No. 1 until they prove otherwise.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.