Week Two In Review: NFL's Top 10 Teams
Two weeks are in the books, and it is a little clearer as to who is surging up to the top of the NFL charts, and who is starting to crumble.
So far, this season seems to be about change. The Patriots, Steelers, and Chargers are not looking too good right now, while the Jets, Ravens, Falcons, and Saints seem to be making the surge to the top.
What constitutes a top 10 team? For me, it is quality of victory. Does a team beat quality opponents, or do they beat inferior ones?
If a team is beating and competing hard against good football teams, then they will likely find themselves in my top 10.
So, without further ado, here is a look at the NFL's top 10 teams through week two of the 2009 regular season.
Let the debate begin!
10: San Franciso 49ers (2-0)
Someone pinch me! The San Francisco 49ers?! The Shaun Hill led San Francisco 49ers?!
Okay, I am not a believer in the 49ers' hot 2-0 start, even though they beat the top two teams in the NFC West, but I will give it to them this week.
The 49ers held the high powered offenses in Seattle and Arizona to just 26 points combined through the first two games, and have already recorded four sacks and three interceptions on D.
Guess Mike Singletary is having a big impact, eh?
Offensively, it is all about Frank Gore. Gore is third in the league in rushing yards with 237 yards through the first two weeks.
Meanwhile, Issac Bruce is defying father time with 109 receiving yards. Even Vernon Davis, who is better known for spending time in Singletary's dog house, has seven catches for 72 yards this year.
Can the 49ers really keep this up with a guy like Shaun Hill behind center?
I kinda doubt it, but we shall see.
9: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
For the first time since the 2007 season, I will not have the Steelers in my top three. The Steelers have looked pretty shaky this year, and we are only two weeks into the season.
Pittsburgh could have easily lost to Tennessee in week one, and got outplayed by the struggling Bears in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Even though Santonio Holmes is having a break out year with 14 catches, 214 yards and a touchdown, the Steelers can't run the football.
Willie Parker leads the team with 66 yards rushing, which is not a good sign. And add the fact that safety Troy Polamalu will miss the next seven weeks due to a leg injury, there are bad signs out there for one of the league's best defenses.
8: Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
Okay, so the Vikings are 2-0, but what can anyone say when a team beats the two worst teams in football in Cleveland and Detroit to start the year.
Brett Favre has been average, nothing spectacular. He has yet to throw an interception, but it is only a matter of time before Favre makes Viking fans want to jump out of a window with one of his poorly timed picks.
At least Adrian Peterson continues to be the beast of the NFL, leading the league in rushing with 272 yards.
Defensively, the Vikings have six sacks! One of the best defenses in football is feasting off of the dregs of the NFL.
7: Chicago Bears (1-1)
I could easily name either the Packers or Vikings ahead of the Chicago Bears, but considering that Green Bay got demolished at home against the Bengals, and the fact that the Vikings' two wins came against the Browns and Lions, I am hard pressed not to think that Chicago is the better of the NFC North trio.
The Bears could have beaten Green Bay in week one, even with Jay Cutler playing poorly. The Bears had a 15-14 lead in that game, until Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings for the winning touchdown.
The shock of that loss could have set the Bears back, especially with the champion Steelers coming into the Windy City. Well the Bears tightened up their chin straps, and came back to beat the Steelers in the fourth quarter.
Cutler was very good, throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns, including a seven yard bullet to Johnny Knox to tie the game at 14.
Cutler and running back Matt Forte orchestrated a brilliant final minute drive to set up Robbie Gould for the game winning field goal.
The Bears are playing a tough schedule right now, and they have played impressively so far. The Bears—the best right now in the North.
6: Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
The Colts are no longer the run and gun team that they used to be throughout this decade, but they still know how to win, even in ugly fashion.
The Colts were totally outplayed by the Miami Dolphins, holding the ball for only 15 minutes, the lowest TOP for a team that won a game since 1977.
That is why Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the NFL.
No matter what the circumstances may be, as long as the game is close, Manning will find a way to win the game. Manning was 6-for-7 in the fourth quarter, leading the Colts on two touchdown drives to beat back the Dolphins 27-23.
The Colts have depth problems at wide receiver with the absence of Anthony Gonzalez (leg), but the Colts still have Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne to create havoc for opposing defenses.
As usual, the Colts D is a problem. They were run over by Chad Pennington and the Wild Cat Dolphins all night long, giving up 403 yards of offense.
If the Colts have any plans of returning to the top of the AFC, then the defense will have to step it up.
5: Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Joe Flacco has arrived.
The guy who reignited the Ravens franchise last season by leading them to an 11-5 finish and a berth in the AFC title game, is playing at a Pro Bowl level right now.
Flacco has thrown for 497 yards and five touchdowns. He looks poised and comfortable in the pocket as he picked apart the Chiefs and Chargers in the opening two weeks.
Willis McGahee is having a renaissance season, rushing for 123 yards and three touchdowns and one receiving touchdown this year. Add McGahee's numbers to Ray Rice's 144 yards and the Ravens have a solid one-two punch.
Problem: Defense. The Ravens D has been exposed in the first two games.
It is one thing when Phillip Rivers rips apart a defense. It is another when Brodie Croyle rips apart a defense, especially one that is considered by many to be the best defense in football.
The Ravens clearly miss Rex Ryan's edge, but there is still time for them to improve and return to their dominant form of years past.
4: N.Y. Jets (2-0)
How about the NFL's new bad boys!
The Jets have taken to Rex Ryan's style of brash and aggressive football by smacking around the Patriots and Texans to open the season.
The Jets defense has been the best in the NFL, as they have yet to allow an offensive touchdown, and have succeeded in putting a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, even if they don't sack them.
Offensively, Mark Sanchez is doing just enough. He has shown some great poise in the pocket, and his touchdown drive to open the third quarter against New England was a big statement for the rookie.
Look out for Gang Green, these guys are really nasty, and really good.
3: New Orleans Saints (2-0)
The Jets may have the most sick defense in the NFL this early season, but the Saints have the best offense in the game.
In each of their two games New Orleans has put up 40-plus points on their opponents, and have watched Drew Brees rip apart the NFL once again.
Brees is tops in QB rating (132.9), second in passing yards (669), and first in touchdowns (nine). If Brees keeps it up he will be a shoo-in for league MVP.
The Saints also have the number one offense in football averaging 468 yards per game, and 46-and-a-half points per game.
2: Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
The Falcons were no fluke after all.
The Dirty Birds are 2-0 and look poised to have their second straight winning season. Matt Ryan is playing more like an experienced 10-year veteran this year, rather than a second year pro, throwing for 449 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Ryan had a brilliant start to his career in Atlanta last year, and it looks like he could be one of the best in the league very soon.
The addition of Tony Gonzalez has been a boon for the Falcons. With Gonzalez, Ryan has a reliable source to go to when he is jams, and so far the veteran leads the Falcons in receiving with 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Did I mention Michael Turner has 170 yards rushing? Yeah, he has been great too.
1: N.Y. Giants (2-0)
Eli Manning continues to impress. Even though he has a Super Bowl ring to his credit, this year is a big year for Manning to take full control of an offense that is going with youth at wide receiver.
And, right now he is making this group into one of the best passing attacks in football.
Manning has developed great chemistry with Mario Manningham (13 rec. 208 yards, two TD) and Steve Smith (16 rec. 214 yards, TD).
The trio ripped apart a suspect Cowboys secondary on Sunday night, and it looks like the G-Men could be developing their version of the Greatest Show on Field Turf with these young receivers, Manning, and power back Brandon Jacobs.
The Giants D is starting to return to health after a scary summer and training camp, and that is a good sign for the best team in the NFL.
Look out world, here come the Giants!