Green Bay Packers (3-0) – Aaron Rodgers once again played great, throwing for 297 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers stay undefeated and stay atop the power rankings another week. The pass defense needs to clamp down, though.
Last week’s rank: 1
Buffalo Bills (3-0) – Oh yes, they did. The defense stepped up big time and helped bring the Bills back from a 21-0 lead early by the Patriots. They intercepted Tom Brady four times, and that’s what kept the Bills in the game enough to be in position for the eventual game-winning field goal from Rian Lindell. Fitzpatrick has busted out this season after an impressive season a year ago. Fitzpatrick went 27-40, for 369 yards, two interceptions and touchdowns.
Last week’s rank: 17
New England Patriots (2-1) – Tom Brady threw four picks, which allowed the Bills to get back into the game and get an upset win over the Pats. Brady went 30-45, 387 yards, and four touchdowns, but those four picks. The Patriots are looking pretty one dimensional and that’s not what a championship caliber team puts out onto the field. Wes Welker had 16 catches for 217 yards.
Last week’s rank: 2
Detroit Lions (3-0) – The Lions overcame a 20-0 halftime deficit to get an overtime victory of Minnesota. It was the Lions’ first win in Minnesota in 13 years. Matt Stafford threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns, including a long pass to Calvin Johnson in OT which set up the game-winning field goal by Jason Hanson, who was on the Lions the last time they won in Minnesota.
Last week’s rank: 7
New Orleans Saints (2-1) – The Saints had to come back with a huge fourth quarter from Drew Brees and they beat the Texans 40-33. Brees threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Jimmy Graham, one of my breakout players for this year, continued his great play, catching four passes for 100 yards and a score.
Last week’s rank: 4
New York Jets (2-1) – Darren McFadden was just too much for the Jets. They allowed him to rush for 171 yards and two touchdowns…definitely not what Rex Ryan expects from his defense. The Jets committed two turnovers and the Raiders had none.
Last week’s rank: 3
Houston Texans (2-1) – Houston’s high powered offense looked like it was going to win the battle against the Saints’ high powered offense. Until a late collapse (23 points in the fourth quarter), the Texans were in line to beat New Orleans. Matt Schaub threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns. The Texans are atop the AFC South, tied with Tennessee.
Last week’s rank: 6
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) – The Ravens took out their aggressions from a bad loss against Tennessee the week before against the Rams in a 37-7 beating. Rookie wideout Torrey Smith had a huge day, as he caught five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
Last week’s rank: 9
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) – The Steelers just couldn’t get the running game going against the Colts on Sunday night. Luckily, Big Ben and Mike Wallace played really well. The two hooked up for 144 yards on five connections, one of them resulting in a touchdown. It took a late field goal by Shaun Suisham late in the fourth to pull out the win. What concerns me is that the Steelers let the Manning-less Colts hang with them…
Last week’s rank: 10
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) – Bad news for the “Dream Team.” Michael Jordan…er…Michael Vick will be out 3-4 weeks because of a non-throwing hand injury. The offensive line isn’t blocking well enough and the defensive backfield was not playing up to their standards at all. Andy Reid needs to get things fixed and figure out a way to win without Vick, and when Vick comes back, a way to win then, too.
Last week’s rank: 5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) – The Falcons are struggling and the Bucs took advantage. They staved off a fourth quarter rally by the Falcons and went on to defeat Atlanta 16-13. They shut down Michael Turner, but allowed Roddy White and Julio Jones to both get over 100 yards receiving…however, they were both kept out of the endzone. The Bucs improved to 2-1 and are tied with the Saints atop the NFC South.
Last week’s rank: 13
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) – No touchdowns, but Dan Bailey (the Cowboys’ kicker) got the job done, scoring all of Dallas’ points, in a 18-16 win over the Redskins. Felix Jones ran for 115 yards in the win. Injuries have knocked the Cowboys off their track so far and they have a tough schedule coming up (Lions, then the bye, Patriots, Rams, Eagles). The NFC East is going to be as tight as ever.
Last week’s rank: 12
San Diego Chargers (2-1) – The Chargers came back from their loss in New England to defeat the surprisingly bad Chiefs, 20-17. Ryan Mathews ran for 98 yards and two scores, but it took a late interception of Matt Cassel by Eric Weddle to seal the deal. My Super Bowl pick isn’t looking dominant so far, but they’re in decent position. They’ll be battling with the Raiders the rest of the way for the division.
Last week’s rank: 14
Atlanta Falcons (1-2) – Matt Ryan had three turnovers in the Falcons’ close 16-13 loss in Tampa. Matt Ryan was said to have had worked very hard in the offseason, but it’s not showing up right now. He has a 81.5 QB rating and has five touchdowns, but four picks. It seems as Matt Ryan goes, so goes the Falcons.
Last week’s rank: 11
Oakland Raiders (2-1) – Darren McFadden ran wild against the Jets, running for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Even though they didn’t convert a single third down, they didn’t have to in order to win. They had more than double the Jets’ rushing yardage total and got two turnovers from the Jets. McFadden is definitely the star of this team. I’m concerned if a defense shuts him down, who will they turn to on the offense? I think the Raiders can only go so far.
Last week’s rank: 19
New York Giants (2-1) – The Giants backed up their talk during the week and knocked Mike Vick out of the game, thus being about to finish off Philly and hold onto the win, unlike last year.
Last week’s rank: 16
Chicago Bears (1-2) – We all knew the Bears’ offensive line was a trouble area. They drafted Gabe Carimi, but let go Olin Kreutz. The offensive line has allowed 14 sacks this year, tied for worst in the league. Wide receiver is also a problem area, but I’m not going to count the Bears out yet…not after what they accomplished last year with the same problems they have now.
Last week’s rank: 8
Washington Redskins (2-1) – The Redskins couldn’t get much going against the Cowboys on Monday night. They held the Cowboys to field goals (six to be exact), but couldn’t match them. Washington has been one of the surprise teams this year. Mike Shanahan has done a good job and Rex Grossman is in the “prime” of his career.
Last week’s rank: 15
Tennessee Titans (2-1) – The Titans are tied with the Texans atop the AFC South, but the two rosters are drastically different in terms of talent. Especially now that Kenny Britt is out for the year with a torn ACL. Britt’s injury cuts short a season which would have brought him to the forefront of the NFL’s rising stars at wide receiver. Chris Johnson was shut down, only rushing for 21 yards, but Matt Hasselbeck had a nice day, throwing for 311 yards and two TD’s.
Last week’s rank: 18
Carolina Panthers (1-2) – Cam Newton didn’t quite have the same type of success he had in his first two games in the league, but I think he’d trade great stats for the win any time. It was a downpour of rain for most of the game and it caused sloppy play by both squads. However, the Panthers overcame a few big plays by the Jaguars and came back to pick up the win.
Last week’s rank: 21
San Francisco 49ers (2-1) – The Niners improved their record with a good receiving day from Vernon Davis and they took advantage of the three Bengals’ turnovers. Guess who’s in first place in the NFC West. The schedule hasn’t been tough, but they’ve done pretty well considering expectations for this year.
Last week’s rank: 26
Arizona Cardinals (1-2) – Kevin Kolb’s two interceptions prevented the Cardinals from defeating the Seahawks. Games against Seattle are ones that they should win. I mean, Seattle is a mess right now. If Arizona wants to get to eight wins (which will probably win this division), they’ll have to play a little better.
Last week’s rank: 20
Cleveland Browns (2-1) – It’s not always pretty, but the Browns have a 2-1 record. They had to face the Dolphins without Peyton Hillis, but Colt McCoy led the Browns to a game-winning touchdown pass to Massaquoi. The schedule hasn’t been tough, so we’ll see how much further they take this road.
Last week’s rank: 29
Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) – “Flaming Red” Andy Dalton didn’t have a good day and his two picks really hurt the Bengals in their close 13-8 loss to the 49ers. They went 1-10 on third downs, were 0-2 in the redzone, and committed three turnovers.
Last week’s rank: 25
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) – The Jaguars last two opening drives of a game have ended in safeties. You can’t get much worse than that offensively. Blaine Gabbert’s NFL starting debut started off bad, but did improve a little bit. He went 12-21, 139 yards, 1 TD-1 INT. The offensive line is playing poorly and they just don’t have the receivers to support a rookie QB. Del Rio’s seat is perhaps the hottest in the league.
Last week’s rank: 24
St. Louis Rams (0-3) – The Rams have had trouble scoring points this year. They’ve scored the fourth least amount in the entire league. Steven Jackson has been out and the wide receivers aren’t anything to be scared of, but it’s time for Bradford to step his game up. He had another average game, throwing for just 166 yards. He doesn’t have receivers, but if he’s going to be great, he needs to make those around him better.
Last week’s rank: 23
Seattle Seahawks (1-2) – Seattle has allowed the most sacks in the league this year and scored the third least amount of points. The schedule hasn’t been too harsh, either. Andrew Luck sweepstakes, here come the Seahawks!
Last week’s rank: 30
Denver Broncos (1-2) – The Broncos defense did an excellent job of containing Chris Johnson, but still couldn’t pull out a win. However, what the defense didn’t do was stop Matt Hasselbeck, who threw for 311 yards, two TD’s, no picks, and a 119.1 QB Rating. Kyle Orton had a subpar day, going 24-39, 173 yards passing, and two touchdowns with two picks. That came out to 4.4 YPA…ouch.
Last week’s rank: 27
Miami Dolphins (0-3) – Tony Sparano’s seat is almost melting it’s so hot. Chad Henne is very average at quarterback and that doesn’t help Sparano’s cause either. The 17-16 Browns’ comeback win hits the nail in the coffin another time for Miami.
Last week’s rank: 22
Minnesota Vikings (0-3) – Three games, three blown leads in the second half. Sunday’s overtime loss to the Lions is the worst of the three. They were up 20-0 at the half, but Detroit battled back. The letdowns in the second half I think are contributed to the players. They’re either slacking or playing contain too much to protect a lead.
Last week’s rank: 28
Indianapolis Colts (0-3) – Peyton Manning may not play this year, but there is a chance he could get to play in December. Why would the Colts even risk that? This year is down the drain with him out for a few months from now anyways. Draft Matt Kalil from USC with your top pick and protect Manning for as long as you can suck the talent out of him.
Last week’s rank: 31
Kansas City Chiefs (0-3) – Kansas City’s season is already going down the tubes. Charlie Weis leaving offensive coordinator and Jamaal Charles being out for the year are big reasons why the offense is doing so poorly and obviously, without the big running threat from Charles, the passing game is going to be more easily defended. Cassel played better than his first two games, but he’s going to have to step up even more if the Chiefs are going to get out of this hole.
Last week’s rank: 32