Week Two is over, and it was a great week. We had the trash talk between the Jets and Patriots, the excellent Sunday night game, and plenty in between.
Before you read my rankings, I would like to note that I do NOT make one large ranking. I split them into the AFC and NFC. Why, you ask?
It is a better way of looking at teams and measuring, in my opinion. Who cares if the Ravens are better then the Vikings, or where the Rams match up against the Bengals?
As of now, you want to win your division and have the best record in your conference.
I will be doing these rankings every week with the same format. As the season goes on, there will be more in-depth reasons why a team is ranked where they are. As for now, it is hard to judge. I am still basing some rankings based on final prediction, but trying to use the games at hand.
1—Ravens (2-0) Last week: 5
Who knew? The Ravens have an offense that can win them games. The defense hasn't performed well, but it seems like it is due to losing Rex Ryan as coordinator.
Lewis and Reed will get that defense playing well, and they made a crucial fourth-down stop against the Chargers. If the defense gels, this could be one scary team.
Next game: vs. Cleveland
2—Steelers (1-1) Last week: 1
Well, the Steelers are not undefeated anymore. They played a good game against the physical Bears, but couldn't overcome.
Many may think they should still be No. 1, as kicker Josh Reed rarely misses one kick, let alone two. But football, as we all know, is a team game, and if one person isn't performing well, the whole team isn't.
Next game: @ Cincinnati
3—Colts (2-0) Last week: 3
Who needs to hold onto the ball long when you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback? The defense did not play well, but they are always a dangerous team when Peyton is their quarterback. If the defense can make a run like when they won the Superbowl, teams should watch out.
Next game: @ Arizona
4—Jets (2-0) Last week: 7
Rookie head coach and rookie quarterback? No problem, as the Jets take care of their division rival Patriots at home. The Jets defense has been playing electric, and after facing two high-powered offenses in back-to-back weeks, has allowed only nine points.
That's right, nine points, and no touchdowns. This town finally believes in the Jets, and if Sanchez can stay comfortable, this could be a surprise team this year.
Next game: vs. Tennessee
5—Patriots (1-1) Last week: 2
After all the bulletin board material the Jets gave them leading up to this week, the Patriots came out flat. Held to no offensive touchdowns (a very rare feat for Brady and company), the offense looked weak.
The defense played above expectations, though, but it was a tough game. Don't worry Patriot fans, it's only Week Two, you will rebound. After all, you have this man named Brady as your quarterback, and Belichick as your head coach. Last I heard, they were pretty good at their jobs.
Next game: vs Atlanta
6—Chargers (1-1) Last week: 4
This team reminds me eerily of last year's San Diego team. Start off slow, but get hot at the right time and take off. They played a tough game against the Ravens, and Charger fans should be happy with what they saw, even though it was a loss.
Losing Jamaal Williams hurts big time, as he is a staple of that defensive line and commands double teams. It will be up to Phillip Rivers to keep that team going strong. Next game: vs Miami
7—Texans (1-1) Last week: 8
Were people writing off the Texans after last week's embarrassing play against the Jets? The offense showed up this week, cruising to 34 points. Andre Johnson showed that he is still a top receiver in the league, having 10 receptions for 149 yards with two touchdowns.
Matt Schaub turned in a four touchdown performance. Don't stress yet, Texan fans, there is still plenty of football to be played.
Next game: vs Jacksonville
8—Titans (0-2) Last week: 6
Ouch. Where is the dominate defense that Titans fans came to know and love. I had the Titans up high in the rankings last week, and a lot of that was due to their defense, especially the secondary. If they don't rebound, it could be a tough year for them.
Next game: @ New York Jets
9—Bills (1-1) Last week: 11
After a very disappointing end to the Patriots game, the Bills rebound and cruise to a victory against the Buccaneers. Hey, even Terrell Owens had a touchdown! The offense looked good, and the defense played well.
Next game: vs New Orleans
10—Broncos (2-0) Last week: 15
Did the Broncos win again? After barely putting up any points against the Bengals, and barely squeaking out the win, they come out on fire for 27 points. The running game gave them great ball control, and two touchdowns. Maybe there was a method to Josh McDaniels' madness.
Next game: @ Oakland
11—Dolphins (0-2) Last week: 10
That was the worst two-minute drill I have ever seen in my history of watching the NFL. Seriously. I want to write about the team, but I can't get over just how bad those last two minutes were.
Next game: @ San Diego
12—Raiders (1-1) Last week: 12
Just like the Bills, the Raiders had a close call in Week One to a good team, and rebounded with a win in Week Two. The defense is playing well, and if the offense keeps running the ball with McFadden and Bush, they could surprise some teams and win a couple of games.
Next game: vs Denver
13—Bengals (1-1) Last week: 16
Maybe this team should be higher in the rankings. They lost to the Broncos last week, although in a fluke, and then come out on all cylinders and beat the Packers, a preseason favorite to possibly win it all. This could be a dangerous team and surprise opponents, as long as the offense keeps going.
Next game: vs Pittsburgh
14—Jaguars (0-2) Last week: 9
Hosting the always-dangerous Cardinals, the Jaguars did nothing to impress. The defense didn't do much, and neither did the offense. If they don't turn it around, it is possible Jack Del Rio could be on his way out.
Next game: @ Houston
15—Chiefs (0-2) Last week: 14
Matt Cassell starts for the first team not named the Patriots, and does alright. He threw a couple of picks, but had a beautiful pass to Dwayne Bowe (who had an even better catch) to keep the game competitive.
Next game: @ Philadelphia
16—Browns (0-2) Last week: 13
Browns fans, meet Eric Mangini. The hard nose coach. His latest debacle this week? Fining a player over $1,500 dollars for not paying for a three dollar bottle of water in a hotel while they were on the road.
Next game: @ Baltimore
Key AFC Games in Week Three: Denver @ Oakland, Miami @ San Diego
1—Giants (2-0) Last week: 2
I said their defense would keep them in games and make them a great team, but this week, it was all about Eli Manning and the receivers. Mario Manningham (10 catches, 150 yards, one touchdown) and Steve Smith (10 catches, 134 yards, one touchdown) just toyed with the Dallas secondary all game.
Kenny Phillips played great with two interceptions on Tony Romo. If this team can stay injury-free, especially on the offensive line, a second Super Bowl could be coming.
Next game: @ Tampa Bay
2—Vikings (2-0) Last week: 3
Brett Favre, keep doing what you are doing: Don't make mistakes, and just give the ball to Peterson. All of your troubles will go away.
Favre did play well, though, only having four incomplete passes, and two touchdowns. Short throws, don't force plays, and give Peterson touches. That is the staple of the Vikings offense, and it will work all season long.
Next game: vs San Francisco
3—Saints (2-0) Last week: 7
What a showing by Brees and that offense. My preseason NFC team for the Super Bowl, the offense put up an astounding 48 points on a defense that shouldn't allow more than 20 a game.
Brees threw for three touchdowns, which makes it nine on the year already. For you stat geeks out there, that is a pace for 72 touchdowns this year. This team reminds me of the 2007 Patriots. The defense won't shut anyone out, but that offense will make it near impossible to beat them.
Next game: @ Buffalo
4—Falcons (2-0) Last week: 4
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons was the best move this offseason. He gives Matt Ryan a great target all over the field, especially the red zone. The defense played decent this week, and will keep the game within reach for Ryan and crew.
Next game: @ New England
5—Eagles (1-1) Last week: 1
How could I put a team that just got embarrassed at the five slot? Easy, because when Donovan McNabb gets back from injury, the offense will be fine again. The defense was on the field for way two long, with Kolb throwing three interceptions. They will be fine, and continue making the NFC East race a tight one.
Next game: vs Kansas City
6—Cowboys (1-1) Last week: 6
I don't think I was more impressed with a team after losing than the Cowboys this week. Granted, Romo threw three interceptions, but the running game was astounding, especially against a team that is supposed to be great defensively against the run.
They need to keep handing off to Barber and Jones, and the offense will do fine.
Next game: vs Carolina
7—49ers (2-0) Last week: 12
I will now take the time to pull my own foot out of my mouth. I was wrong about the 49ers. They are a physical team, and as long as the offense can find the end zone, the defense will do the rest to win. Also, welcome back old Frank Gore (16 carries, 207 yards, two touchdowns) This could be a fun team to watch, and a surprise team for the NFC.
Next game: @ Minnesota
8—Bears (1-1) Last week: 9
I have a feeling this could be one of the hardest teams to rank week to week. Week One they played terrible, and had nothing to show for it. This week, they beat the reigning champions, although two missed field goals certainly help them.
Until everything is clicking on all cylinders, I think they are an average team in the NFC. Cutler did play well, though, and found a new favorite target in Greg Olsen.
Next game: @ Seattle
9—Packers (1-1) Last week: 5
Hmm, I'm sure that one didn't go as the Packers planned. After beating Jay Cutler and the Bears last week, they lose to the Bengals this week. The defense didn't show up at all for this game, and allowed 31 points to the Bengals. The race in the North will be a tight one, and the Packers can't throw away games like this.
Next game: @ St. Louis
10—Cardinals (1-1) Last week: 11
Back on the winning side of things, the Cardinals high powered offense proved to be too much. Tim Hightower is showing that Arizona can run the ball, and not rest on the shoulders of Warner. The defense played well against a weak Jaguar offense, but needs to stay sharp if they want to repeat as NFC West champions.
Next game: vs Indianapolis
11—Redskins (1-1) Last week: 10
The defense shows why it's one of the best in the league, allowing only seven points this week. The offense needs to improve, though, if they want any shot at making the playoffs.
Next game: @ Detroit
12—Seahawks (1-1) Last week: 8
A week after their shutout of the Rams, the Seahawks allow 23 points to the 49ers. Allowing over 200 yards on the ground, Seattle had no answer for Gore. Look for an improved defense in Week Three to try and stay in the race for the West.
Next game: vs Chicago
13—Panthers (0-2) Last week: 13
Another week, another loss. Jake Delhomme played much better than his Week One fiasco, but it didn't do much against a high-powered offense. The defense needs to play better, and be able to get pressure on an opposing quarterback if they want to win some games.
Next game: @ Dallas
14—Buccaneers (0-2) Last week: 14
Where are the days of a hard nose defense? While Cadillac had a great Week One, his Week Two rushing was nothing spectacular (nine carries, seven yards), though he did help in the passing game (seven receptions, 56 yards, one touchdown)
Next game: vs New York Giants
15—Lions (0-2) Last week: 15
Sometimes, you feel bad for Lions fans. One of my friends (who is a Lion fan) told me "Hey, the day we heard Millen was gone, it was like we won the Super Bowl." So at least they have that going for them.
Oh, and Calvin Johnson. After drafting receiver after receiver, they finally got it right, and now they have the best one in the league (yeah, I said it).
Next game: vs. Washington
16—Rams (0-2) Last week: 16
Two games played, seven points scored. The once-greatest show on turf is not there anymore, and it seems like the offensive players all belong in a retirement home. On the good side, the defense allowed only nine points.
Next game: vs. Green Bay
Key NFC Games in Week Three: San Francisco @ Minnesota, Chicago @ Seattle
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