Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mid-season NFL Power Rankings

Here's how I see the teams stack out just after the mid-way point this season. This is just my opinion of how teams stack up against each other. Apart from their W-L records, these rankings take into consideration the current state of each team at the moment.

1. Colts (9-0) : Two words to describe this team - Peyton Manning. It is hard to imagine how they would fare if he has an off day. Lucky them, does days are a rarity of late.

2. Saints (9-0): I would have given them rank 1b, as they have been dominant and resilient at times. Some may argue that other than QB play, they are better at all other facets of the game than the Colts. I still put them second to the Colts because they are an untested team as far as playoffs are concerned. Moreover, if I had to pick between these two to go undefeated, the Colts are the obvious choice.

3. Bengals (7-2): I bumped them over the Vikings because of the quality of schedule they faced which includes playing the Steelers and Ravens twice each. Add to it the fluky loss to "the miracle play" by the Broncos in Week 1. They more than deserve to be in the top 3.

4. Vikings (8-1): You will be hard pressed to find a team that is capable of beating you in as many ways as these Vikings. Running, Passing, Defense, Special Teams, you name it and they have quick strike potential in every aspect of the game. The only wild card being the health of Favre towards the end of the season.

5. Patriots (6-3): Just when the Patriots seemed to be getting in stride exuding glimpses of their dominant 2007 self, they failed to convert that 4th and 2 to fall victim to the Colts. But knowing the Patriots, that probably did more good than if they had won that game, given their coach's motivational, riling up tendencies. Watch out for these guys in the playoffs!

6. Steelers (6-3): The gritty Steelers, got out-gritted by the Bengals this weekend. With the loss of Palamalu this week, it only gets harder for them to defend their title.

7. Cardinals (6-3): How can a team be this inconsistent? They seem to turn on and off at their own will. But that is good enough for their pathetic NFC West division

8. Chargers (6-3): Its become their way of life: slow start to the season only to finish very strong. Only this time, they were in a big hole with the Broncos 6-0 a few weeks ago and the Chargers got hot ahead of schedule to catch up with the Broncos at 6-3.

9. Broncos (6-3): Have seen highs of being 6-0 and seen lows of losing to the Redskins. Could a team have a more loftier season? The bigger question: Are Josh McDaniel's Broncos for real?

10. Ravens (5-4): They had a strong start to go 4-0 and then had 3 heart breaking last minute losses. The last 2 weeks, they seem to have slowed down even more. If this continues, they'd slip down these rankings real fast.

11. Cowboys (6-3): Their 4 game winning streak just got snapped at Lambeau Field. They will try to get as many wins as they can in November, because, come December, their chances of a win, based on their recent history, will be hard to come by.

12. Eagles (5-4): The Eagles are another of those flaky teams. Their offense can be explosive when they are on a roll with DeShaun Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and some days they can fall to the Raiders. This season, eerily, somehow traces the path of McNaab's career.

13. Texans (5-4): I do not think the Texans have ever been over .500 this late into the season. Too bad they are in the AFC South division and have to play the Colts twice a year, or they could easily be challenging for their division in a year like this.

14. Packers (5-4): The Packers are the youngest team in the league and are trying to find their identity. Once they are comfortable with who they are, they will get to be more consistent. But that is no excuse to lose to a winless Bucs team 2 weeks ago.

15. Giants (5-4): A fast 5-0 start to the season, and now a 4 game losing streak. They are hoping that is not a pattern. Eli seems to be struggling without a big body receiver like Plaxico Burress. Could be a long season for them if they do not win a few games soon.

16. Falcons (5-4): The Falcons seem to be sliding of late, mirroring the play of Matt Ryan. And now with Micheal turner injured, could be a hard couple of weeks for the sophomore QB.

17. Panthers (4-5): The Panthers, after a slow 0-3 start, suddenly have turned the corner. They suddenly realized their strength is to run (duh!!) and Jake has been avoiding opponent Jerseys when he throws. If they put on a run, they could be in play for one of the wild card spots.

18. Jaguars (5-4): Their offense: Maurice Jones-Drew. But how far can this one guy take them?

19. 49ers (4-5): Adding Crabtree should have made them better. But since then, they have lost all their games, except the one where the opponent QB (Cutler) threw 5 picks (and the 49ers barely won). Head-scratcher??

20. Bears (4-5): They have a lot of issues to take care of. On offense: better play calling, better O line, more patient play from Cutler, find him a legit receiver, better rushing. Defense: get healthy and improve secondary. Biggest problem: Coaching!

21. Dolphins (4-5): The wild cat offense will take you only so far. They are going no where without playing some classic regular football (and being good at it)

22. Jets (4-5): Of late, the Jets have been all talk and no-show. Will not be surprised if that continues.

23. Titans (3-6): They start the season 0-6, change QBs to Vince Young, all of a sudden a 3 game win streak? I am hard-pressed to believe that VY is the reason for this change of tide. I bet Chris Johnson has something to say about this.

24. Seahawks (3-6): Plagued by injuries.

25. Bills (3-6): Never a good sign when you fire your coach mid-way through the season.

26. Rams (1-8): Stephen Jackson must be thinking: "How in the world am I stuck with this team?"

27. Redskins (2-7): If I had to guess one coach who would be fired mid-way through the season, I would have bet it would be Jim Zorn. The win over the Broncos probably gave him some breathing time.

28. Raiders (2-7): Is there a more dysfunctional sports franchise in the history of sports? Maybe the Warriors would give them a run? (who co-incidentally are residents of the same city - Oakland)

29. Lions (1-8): They have 1 more win than they did this time last year!

30 Chiefs (2-7): A rebuilding stage for their team.

31. Bucs (1-8): Their record does not surprise me, given they fired their offensive co-ordinator days before the season started.

32. Browns (1-8): They are probably going to fire Mangini after the season. And Mangini traded away some of the best players on the team this season (Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow etc). Talk about having a mess to clean up!!

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