Posted Wed Sep 23rd by Mr.East
My power rankings are fittingly named the ‘Tentative Ten’ because every week it’s subject to check, and erratically at that.
1. New York Giants
What a defensive line. Chris Canty is injured too. Losing Justin Tuck for the game definitely hurt them but he’ll be back. The secondary is much better than I thought it would be at four picks so far, Cory Webster is doing great especially while Aaron Ross is hurt. Safety Kenny Phillips is really blossoming as well. Their Blitzing will kill them at times causing them to give up big plays. Their defense is such an anomaly, stout at times but they tend to give up the big play allowing 6.7 yards a rush.
Eli Manning is looking like his brother with the help of the young Mario Manningham and the emerging Steve Smith. They’re passing attack should be even more dangerous when Hakeem Nicks returns. The running game is still there, Brandon Jacobs will eat your family and Ahmad Bradshaw is a great change of pace back. The offense rules that clock averaging 35:28 minutes for T.O.P. The key to this Giants team is let the other team shoot itself in the thigh foot instead of your own. Manning is consistent and the defense has already scored two defensive touchdowns.
Glaring Stat: Everyone was questioning the Giant’s passing personnel while hailing the running game at beginning of the season. Now they average 8.7 yards a pass and only 3.5 yards a rush.
2. New Orleans Saints
Two words, Drew Brees. Wow. If I was a young quarterback in the league (hell, any QB in the league) I would worship study his film last season and this one as well. Brees is averaging 9.8 yards a pass, that is amazing. Brees will also benefit by having Mike Bell (remember him?) run the ball effectively and Reggie Bush is an expensive great change of pace back.
The defense has played well. The run defense has been very good, this is because most teams are relying on the pass in an attempt to catch up. However their pass defense has stood on it’s on two feet allowing 6.7 yards a pass and nabbing six interceptions. Keep your eye on Malcolm Jenkins, he is a beast of a special teams player.
Glaring Stat: New Orleans has completed 15/26 (57.7%) of their third downs while their opponents have completed 10/30 (30%).
3. Baltimore Ravens
Offense and defense now? The offense ranks second in points and third and yards (that’s what consistency is 2008 Broncos). The defense isn’t as dominant as it has in the past, playing in two straight shootouts in a row. Though Ray Lewis still knows how to kill a man, just ask Darren Sproles. Their run defense is still performing at an elite level only allowing 82 yards, averaging 2.2 yards a carry in their first two games. LaDanian Tomlinson looked like someone ate his lunch on the sideline. However, the secondary has allowed 580 yards through the air, averaging 8.9 yards a pass.
Joe Flacco is quickly becoming the face of the franchise and Willis McGahee might just have a career year. Ray Rice is really disappointing all of his fantasy owners, but Baltimore ranks fourth in rushing yards.
Glaring Stat: The Ravens have completed 14/28 (50%) of their third down, while their opponents have only completed 9/16 (34.6%). This mainly due to Kansas completing 2/10 third downs.
Matt Ryan is looking amazing, and now he has Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez. I know every AFC ‘Wester’ outside of the Chiefs are happy that he’s gone. John Abraham is providing a great pass rush helping the team tally five sacks already, but the loss of rookie DL Peria Jerry will hurt their depth on the line. Linebacker Mike Peterson has forced a fumble in each game played.
Glaring Stat: The stat that rears its ugly head is that the defense has allowed 240 rushing yards already for an average of 5.1 yards a carry. Back to the drawing board Mike Smith.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson has put his name for MVP consideration. Brett Favre doesn’t really have to do all that much out there now but when he does Percy Harvin makes it easier. If it wasn’t for Peterson the offense would struggle beyond belief seeing how they’ve only converted eight first downs.
The defense is playing at an extremely effective level. The have a great turnover differential of +4, being three picks and a fumble forced by Jared Allen.
Glaring Stat: Extremely balanced team offensively and defensively. Offense averages 5.4 yards a carry, defense allows 4.o, offense averages 5.6 yards a pass, defense allows 5.5 yards a pass.
6. New York Jets
The defense is the glue that holds this team together. Mark Sanchez is turning into a fine young quarterback but should be thankful for running backs like Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. The offense isn’t anything special but it gets the job done and at an average of 33:58 of T.O.P they give the defense enough rest keep performing.
Glaring Stat: The Jets have gotten to the quarterback two times so far. Expect this to change when Calvin Pace comes back from his suspension.
7. Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning hasn’t lost a step, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark have already had huge games which have ensured Indianapolis the win. The running game is very lack luster, they need Donald Brown to earn his keep. This T.O.P game they’ve been playing is amazing… amazing that they’re 2-0 at 24:24 minutes average a game. Peyton can’t continue to pull miracles, the run game needs to be established.
Dwight Freeney (two of the team’s three sacks) is still a monster at the pass rush which really helps their secondary. The main problem with the defense is that they can’t keep the offense off the field past third down. If they don’t step it up on third down then the offense can’t do what it does best… let Peyton Manning throw the ball.
Glaring Stat: The Colts defense has not earned their keep on third down, allowing 21/36 (58.3%) conversions.
8. San Fransisco 49ers
Mike Singletary seems to know what he’s doing. Singletary is also a very scary man, making Vernon Davis and Michael ‘I’m so greedy’ Crabtree cry. It’s as if the players their hearts out because they know the fury that awaits them on the sideline. When Frank Gore is healthy he is one of the best running backs in the league and he will make Shaun Hill’s life a whole lot easier.
The defense is the heart of the team. Patrick Willis just hurts people, plain and simple. Their run defense is one of the best only allowing 106 yards so far. If the 49ers continue playing with this tenacity then they will stomp all over their division and in turn put Singletary as a strong candidate for coach of the year.
Glaring Stat: Patrick Willis says “Get off the field!” If you’ve played the 49ers this season then third down usually means your time is up. Only eight times has the defense allowed a third down conversion 8/28 (28.5%). The percentage as low as it is isn’t even the impressive part. Yes the Ravens have only allowed nine but out of 16, not 28.
What the 49ers don’t have that the Ravens do is an offense. The 49ers offense will put the defense back on the field but then three plays later the offense is right back out for another chance. Due to the defense the T.O.P is 33:04 minutes average a game.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
Their defense really struggled without Troy Polamalu, if he’s not out there they don’t have a chance at make a deep post season run. Fortunately for them he should be out in a few weeks. I don’t like ranking a team higher than a team that just beat them but Jeff Reid really screwed the pooch for the Steelers.
It’s obvious that Ben Roethlisberger has no time in the pocket. I wasn’t really expecting the Steelers to draft an offensive linemen for him due to being last in the first round, and the fact that they nearly always take the best possible player regardless of the position. Unless Big Ben starts getting adequate protection upfront I don’t expect seeing the Steelers come February again. Also, expect to see Willie Parker released at the end of the season, he is way to expensive to keep when Rashard Mendenhall is starting to become effective.
Glaring Stat: The Steelers are usually a team that is on the positive side of the turnover differential but without Polamalu they stand at negative three.
10. Dallas Cowboys
So what if they lost to the Giants? It was a very close and amazing game. Tony Romo struggled but it just gives more reason why he’s not one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. The main problem with this team is the coaching, Wade Phillips is highly incompetent and is wasting the fresh talent on the team. Example one, Felix Jones. Jones was one of the three backs out of Arkansas last year and probably the best. If it wasn’t for an injury he would of had a much more explosive year than he already did. If I was Wade I would try as hard as I can to get the ball in his hands in any way possible.
What the hell is wrong with the defense? Is Wade aware that he has the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL on his team? DeMarcus Ware has yet to register a sack after a 20 sack year. They lost Chris Canty but Igor Olshansky is just as efficient. I don’t expect Dallas to stay up in the top 10 for long. Wade will mess this up and Jerry Jones will send him off at the end of the season. Expect Mike Shanahan to get a call shortly after that happens.
Glaring Stat: Not only has DeMarcus Ware not registered a sack, no one on the entire defense has either.
San Fran above Steelers? 2-0 vs. 1-1. Like I said without Troy Polamalu the Steelers secondary would have a hard team containing a beast like Vernon Davis and ‘Mr. Consistency’ Issac Bruce. Right now I believe that would be a great game to watch.
15-18. Denver Broncos
If I had to put a number on it I’d say anywhere between 15-18. There are a lot of naysayers out there but the next two games are vital for the team’s confidence going into that brutal stretch. The defense is starting to build and it needs to continue. Moving Elvis Dumervil around was a genius idea by Mike Nolan or whoever instituted it. Nolan has been called a creative defensive coordinator, he needs to keep that up to succeed.
The key to the offense is the Correll Buckhaulter and Knowshon Moreno tandem. If Kyle Orton plays like he did in the last half of the Browns game and keeps minimizing turnovers it could go a long way in having improving the lack luster T.O.P which is averages 29:38 over the past two games. The AFC West is Denver’s to loose, let’s just Josh McDaniels knows what he’s doing.
Glaring Stat: Third down isn’t scary anymore! Denver has only allowed 8/29 conversions (27.5%). Also Denver has been great against the run allowing 2.9 yards a carry.
What do you think Nation? Any more deserving teams in the Tentative Ten? Air it out!