Who's the Boss? Ranking the NFL's 2-0 Teams
Rankings always interest me, but since we’re only two weeks in, it’s premature to start guessing at playoff pictures and wild card possibilities.
So I decided that instead of doing a normal 32-team ranking system, I would rank teams according to their win-loss record (since there are only three possibilities: 2-0, 1-1, and 0-2).
9. Denver Broncos
I was a naysayer over the summer, and I am pleasantly surprised at the play of the Broncos defense.
I honestly thought Josh McDaniels had ignored that side of the ball unforgivably, but instead, by bringing in coach Mike Nolan and committing to other personnel moves, the Broncos defense is playing better than it has in a while.
Next Week Prediction: Loss to Oakland.
Game Question: Can the Broncos defense contain Darren McFadden and make JaMarcus Russell continue to falter?
8. San Francisco 49ers
Doth mine ears deceive me? Success in San Fran? All I know is that it’s about time.
I’ve been waiting for real ascendency from this team for a couple of years after the acquisition of Frank Gore, and finally, with a competent quarterback in the backfield, we can see how much this man has to offer.
Next Week Prediction: Loss to Minnesota.
Game Question: Who comes out ahead in the running back battle, Gore or Adrian Peterson?
7. Atlanta Falcons
I desperately want to come up with some witty line to go with “Matty Ice” Matt Ryan’s rock-solid performance, but alas, I’m not that clever. But the Falcons' front office and head coach surely were when they grabbed Tony Gonzalez from the Chiefs.
Next Week Prediction: Loss to New England.
Game Question: Can the Falcons defense keep pressure on Tom Brady?
6. New York Jets
Well, so much for cringing each time head coach Rex Ryan opens his mouth—turns out the man isn’t just sticking his foot in there.
I can’t wait for the week the Jets and Dolphins play: First, the Joey Porter-Rex Ryan Trash-Talking Super Bowl, and second, Mark Sanchez meets Joey Porter on the field.
Next Week Prediction: Win over Tennessee.
Game Question: The Jets defense stopped the Patriots’ passing game; can they also stop the Titans' running back tandem formerly known as Smash-and-Dash?
5. Indianapolis Colts
They only had possession of the ball last night for 15 minutes and still pulled out the win. The announcers likened Peyton Manning to a General, and I must agree—he’s not just a superior tactician and a strong leader of men, but General Manning wins even when things look bleak.
Next Week Prediction: Win over Arizona.
Game Question: Can the Colts secondary contain Larry Fitzgerald and the other Cardinal wideouts?
4. Minnesota Vikings
I always manage to talk myself into thinking that Adrian Peterson is not as dominant as he is—until game time, when he reacquaints me with reality.
That being said, it’ll be fun to see if the Vikings offense can be as dominating against defenses with more power behind them than the Browns and Lions currently have.
Next Week Prediction: Win over San Francisco.
Game Question: The Vikings stopped the run against the Lions and the Browns; can they also stop it against the 49ers and Frank Gore?
3. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees, Drew Brees, Drew Brees. The man is the most precise technician of those playing his position. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are superb at dissecting defenses, but in terms of pure passing skills, I’m hard-pressed to pick Manning over Brees—so I won’t.
Next Week Prediction: Win over Buffalo.
Game Question: The Bills allowed Byron Leftwich to amass almost 300 passing yards in their last game; how many times that number will Drew Brees acquire?
2. Baltimore Ravens
The only reason they aren’t ranked No. 1 is because the Giants went into the Cowboys' new stadium on opening night and cut them down. If they hadn’t, the Ravens, led by Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco, would be ranked first.
The first image that comes to mind when thinking of Ray Lewis is easily summarized by that one final smackdown of Darren Sproles at the end of the fourth quarter. That one snapshot is indicative of the entire Ravens team: fast, hard-hitting, and dominant.
Next Week Prediction: Win over Cleveland.
Game Question: Should the Ravens defense be allowed to play all 11 men on the field on Sunday? In the interests of sportsmanship, fairness, and, well, possibly pity, shouldn't the Ravens defense be limited to, say, seven men?
1. New York Giants
In two games they have taken down two division opponents, and they accomplished the first in their home opener and the second in their opponent’s home opener.
Furthermore, with the advent of 150 yards receiving against the Cowboys, Mario Manningham might just the wideout the Giants ordered.
Next Week: Win over Tampa Bay.
Game Question: The Giants defense successfully hassled Tony Romo most of the game, but they gave up a combined 251 yards rushing. Can they stand strong against both Byron Leftwich and Cadillac Williams?
Game Question No. 2: Can Manningham and/or Hakeem Nicks further emerge as dominant receivers?