Semi Weekly NFL Super Recap: Quarter Edition + The Picks
(with three things that were learned in weeks three through four and each team's MVPs so far)
1. Indianapolis Colts (4-0), Week 2 Ranking: 7
1. Donald Brown and Joseph Addai form one of the best running back committees in the league. The only problem that Indy faces is which one to start.
2. Pierre Garcon is a valuable deep threat. He fits perfectly into the Colts passing attack with Wayne as Manning's number one, Clark as the possession receiver, and Garcon as the guy Manning looks for down field. Peyton Manning continues to make average receivers look very good.
3. This is Peyton Manning's year. It appeared, after two weeks, that Drew Brees would be running away with the MVP award. Now it looks like nobody can take it away from Manning. He is on the fast track to winning his second consecutive MVP trophy.
MVP: Peyton Manning- Manning has been dominant, leading the league in touchdowns, passing yards, and completion percentage. Easy choice.
2. New Orleans Saints (4-0), Week 2 Ranking: 3
1. The offense isn't what it looked like after weeks one and two. Brees has gone two consecutive games without a touchdown. The running game has looked good, but there have been many injuries in the backfield.
2. The defense has won the Saints their games for the past two weeks. They've allowed only 17 total points over the last two weeks. Darren Sharper has been a constant disruption, picking off two more passes in week four.
3. Pierre Thomas is explosive. He has 212 yards and three scores through two games. Imagine when he gets a full week of resting from injury.
MVP: Drew Brees- Brees is the face of the Saints franchise. He is definitely the third best quarterback in the league behind Manning and Brady, no question.
3. New York Giants (4-0), Week 2 Ranking: 2
1.Eii Manning is earning his 100 million. Eli has been great so far this year, truly playing like the elite quarterback is being payed to be.
2. Steve Smith is Eli's favorite target. Through two weeks, it was not apparent if Smith or Manningham was the number 1 guy in New York. Now it's clear as crystal.
3. Brandon Jacobs will never be an elite running back. Jacobs is great in the red zone, but is not explosive like any other of the games elite.
MVP: Steve Smith- Plaxico's got nothin' on Steve Smith. Smith is leading the league in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
4. Minnesota Vikings (4-0), Week 2 Ranking: 8
1. Brett Favre is a new man (but still an old man). He's only thrown one pick and has looked very good so far.
2. Adrian Peterson still has a fumbling problem. If he wants to have a shot at being the greatest ever, he needs to stop.
3. Jared Allen is one of the most underrated defensive ends in the league. The guy never gets any love when the game's elite are discussed, but he's always around the ball and making plays.
MVP: Percy Harvin- Harvin has been the catalyst to the offense. He stretches the field so well and has made big play after big play for Minnesota. They aren't 4-0 without him. I'm not sure I can say the same about anybody else on that team.
5. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 1
1. Ray Rice and Willis McGahee are the best tag team in football right now. They have combined for almost 500 yards and 6 scores so far this season.
2. They have to be very, very happy that Derrick Mason didn't retire. He is Joe Flacco's favorite target and a huge part of their offense.
3. Even if the stat sheet doesn't show it, Ray Lewis still makes just as big of an impact on defense as anybody in the league. He is always in the middle of big plays.
MVP: Joe Flacco- The Ravens running game was expected to be good, but their passing game as elevated them from good team to great team. Flacco has the ability to be a truly great quarterback, he is just now showing it with the coaching staff letting him loose a little bit more.
6. New England Patriots (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 12
1. Tom Brady will eventually find his groove. Each week he has gotten better and better. He has still made some un-Brady like throws, but should be in full form by midseason.
2. The defense is improving steadily. They've handed two undefeated teams their first losses in back to back weeks, only allowing 31 total points. They should be able to really contain some of the offensively challenged teams in their division now.
3. Wes Welker is a key cog to their offense. Having him out there always gives Brady that option of the 5-6 yard slant across the middle to him. That moves the ball very effectively. With him out, Brady has to rely on deep passes more, which is not the best part of his game.
MVP: Tom Brady- Brady having success is the key to the Patriots having success. When he has played well, the Pats have won. When he has played bad, they have lost. He's about to hit his stride too.
7. Denver Broncos (4-0) Week 2 Ranking: 13
1. Brandon Marshall is there to stay. He has had good chemistry with Orton and looks like he is getting along with teammates. He's still good by the way.
2. Josh McDaniels will not suffer the same fate as other Patriots assistants. It looks like he is the only smart one of Belechick's disciples.
3. The defense is incredible. Are they ever going to allow teams to score points? Dallas's 10 are the most any team has put up. Amazing how much a team can improve in one year.
MVP: Elvis Dumervil- He is going to lead the league in sacks. He is constantly wreaking havoc around the QB and has been very consistent, getting two or more sacks in the last 3 games. He's the front runner for defensive player of the year right now.
8. New York Jets (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 4
1. Derrelle Revis has established himself as the best cornerback in the NFL. He has allowed a combined 92 yards and zero touchdowns to Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, and Marques Colston while matching up with them. Nobody shuts down guys like that.
2. Leon Washington is one of the fastest backs in football. Why not give him the ball 20 times per game?
3. Mark Sanchez will still have his "rookie" games. His 138 and three interceptionswon't happen often, but in the playoffs he can't be counted on to lead them very far.
MVP: Darrelle Revis- The whole Jets defense has been spectacular, but Revis leads a secondary that has only allowed one passing touchdown all year. Consider that they've faced Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Schaub; and it's just that more impressive.
9. San Francisco 49ers (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 6
1. Their defense is the most underrated in the league. Watching them totally destroy the Rams was breathtaking. Yeah, it was the Rams, but still an amazing defensive performance.
2. They don't need Michael Crabtree, but they'll get him anyway. He just adds more depth to a team that is a little short on offensive weapons. Who knows how effective he'll be, but it doesn't matter too much with guys like Vernon Davis finally stepping up.
3. Patrick Willis has taken his place as the best linebacker in the league. Linebackers are the most important player on defense, why do they continue to go so late in the first round? Baffling.
MVP: Patrick Willis- Move over Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and Co., Patrick Willis has now taken over as the leagues top backer. He's all over the field, all the time.
10. Atlanta Falcons (2-1) Week 2 Ranking: 5
1. They'll still have trouble playing on the road against good teams. That's bad news come playoff time.
2. Roddy White is not as big a part of the offense. Tony Gonzalez has picked up some of the slack, but White is a big time playmaker who needs to get the ball more if the Falcons are going to win 11-12 games.
3. Matt Ryan will still have an occasional sophomore slump. He's not quite an elite quaterback like most have made him out to be. He still needs one or two more years before he can be considered to be a top 5-6 quarterback.
MVP: Matt Ryan- The Falcons live and die with Ryan. Turner isn't the same back he was last season and Ryan has so many options now. The season rests on this young man's shoulders.
11. Chicago Bears (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 11
1. Jay Cutler is proving himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the league. As much as I hate the guy, he makes the Bears about 15-20% better than when they had Orton under center.
2. Losing Brian Urlacher really hurt them. They could have really rebounded this year defensively. They are a borderline top ten defense without him so far. With him, they are probably borderline top five.
3. Matt Forte is still struggling. He may have had 120 yards on 12 carries against Detroit, but almost 100 of those yards came on two carries. Getting 20 yards on 10 carries isn't very impressive. Oh yeah, he was playing the Lions as well. He won't get that many wide open holes against anybody else.
MVP: Jay Cutler- Without Cutler the Bears lose the Pittsburgh game. He makes them so much better than last year offensively. Cutler can sling it with the best of them.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 9
1. The defense cannot stop teams at the end of games. Every game has come down to the last possession for the Steelers this year. They certainly aren't to win 12 games again if that keeps happening.
2. Richard Mendenhall could have a breakout season. He was great on Sunday against San Diego. The Chargers defense might be horrible, but Mendenhall looked so good. It's hard to imagine Willie Parker returning to being the starter until Mendenhall struggles.
3. The need to rush the passer better. The pass rush was almost non-existent in losses and was not during the fourth quarter of the Chargers game either. Woodley, Harrison, step it up.
MVP: Ben Roethlisberger- Big Ben keeps getting better at escaping rushers and making big throws. He has an insane completion percentage of 73.8 right now. With that offensive line that is a small miracle. Let's see if he can keep it up.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) Week 2 Ranking: 16
1. Kevin Kolb is legit. When McNabb is gone, they'll be good with Kolb.
2. DeSean Jackson is a big play machine. He has consistently found ways into the end zone this year with long plays, whether it be receiving or punt returning.
3. The New Orleans game was a total fluke. The defense is very good. They are closer to team they were against the Panthers than the team they were against New Orleans.
MVP: DeSean Jackson- He is one of the top five receivers in the league right now, the way he is playing. He is one of the fastest players in the league and has figured out NFL defenses.
14. San Diego Chargers (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 10
1. Vincent Jackson has emerged as a top flight receiver. He's top ten in the league right now. Expect to see him put up about 1,300 yards, 10+ touchdowns for many years to come.
2. Shawn Merriman has been a complete non-factor. A couple of years ago he was all over the field. Now, he is non existent.
3. They defensive line needs help up the middle. Letting Richard Mendenhall gain over 150 yards in his first start in the NFL is unacceptable.
MVP: Philip Rivers- Rivers is the fire behind this team. It is easy to tell who is the leader of that team by watching their games. He's also developed into one of the best fourth quarter QBs in the league.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) Week 2 Ranking: 18
1. Cedric Benson will be consistent for them this season. He has continued to be very good.
2. Carson Palmer is finally finding his groove. He has the skills to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. With a new and improved Chad Ochocinco, he has finally been able to put those skills to use.
3. The offensive line has done a phenomenal job so far. Palmer has only been sacked once all season, and Palmer is very immobile.
MVP: Cedric Benson- This is not the Cedric Benso we've seen in years past. Benson now brings a ground threat that Bengals had during their playoff run with Rudi Johnson.
16. Green Bay Packers (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 19
1. Aaron Rodgers has horrible protection. How can he be sacked 20 times in four games? That is ridiculous.
2. Greg Jennings just disappears from games sometimes. Big time receivers don't do that.
3. They have one of the best playmaking defenses in the league. It seems like every week they score a defensive touchdown. Now if they could stop somebody...
MVP: Aaron Rodgers- Rodgers has led a fourth quarter comeback and has looked very good. He is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league for sure and is still improving. Now if he could get some protection...
17. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 14
1. Tony Romo continues to be unreliable in clutch moments. He's had moments where he could have made plays to bring his team back or put the other team away in both Cowboys losses, but didn't. Has there ever been a quarterback that can play great for a whole game a just totally melt down in the fourth like Romo?
2. Roy Williams is just as bad as T.O. He's a major crybaby and doesn't even have T.O. like talent.
3. They have crazy running back depth. Barber, Jones, and Choice could all be quality starters in the NFL.
MVP: Tashard Choice- When Dallas's top two backs went down, Choice filled in very well. He has made them a lot better by giving them a third starter quality back.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 26
1. David Gerrard is very unappreciated. He is always solid and rarely turns the ball over.
2. The defense has been revived in the past two weeks. That's Jack Del Rio football.
3. Mike Sims-Walker could be a 1,000 yard receiver for them. He certainly the number one target over Torry Holt.
MVP: Maurice Jones-Drew- MJD is on of the best backs in the league for sure now. It's amazing that such a small back can be so good. He's crazy fast and elusive and has surprising power,
19. Houston Texans (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 15
1. The defense is one of the worst in the league. Every game they play will be a shootout.
2. Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels give Matt Schaub two very reliable targets to throw to if Andre Johnson is covered. Daniels is his favorite end zone target.
3. Steve Slaton is showing signs of explosiveness, but it was only against Oakland. He looked good on three of four runs against the Raiders, but otherwise they shut him down pretty much. He needs to find himself from last season if the Texans want make the playoffs.
MVP: Matt Schaub- Schaub has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league stat wise through four weeks. His eight touchdowns are tied for third in the NFL. He has a many options and will put up great numbers all year long.
20. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 17
1. Anquan Boldin needs to be healthy. Fitzgerald can't play against double teams every week.
2. Beanie Wells should be the starting running back. He is averaging a full yard per carry more than Tim Hightower, yet has only gotten 16 carries. They need to run him more.
3. They need to improve their pass defense. Rodgers-Cromartie might not be the star everybody thought he would be.
MVP: Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz hasn't put up gaudy, 2008 playoff numbers, but he has still been the focal point of the offense. He frees up everybody on the team and still makes a lot of big plays and catches a lot of touchdowns.
21. Miami Dolphins (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 27
1. The Wildcat is in full force for the team that made it popular in the NFL. They run it so much and teams still can't stop it. It can't be that hard to figure out.
2. Chad Henne isn't too much of a down grade from Pennington. Henne has much better physical gifts than Pennington, if he plays smart he could make the Dolphins a better team then they were with Chad.
3. The defense is still pretty good. They haven't allowed any teams to really blow up on them.
MVP: Ronnie Brown- Brown seemed like a typical 1,000 yard, 5-6 touchdown back that there are plenty of in the NFL. He has looked much better than that so far. He could rush for 1,300 yards and 10+ touchdowns this year.
22. Tennessee Titans (0-4) Week 2 Ranking: 20
1. LenDale White should've stayed fat. He's lost his power, which is the only thing that made him good.
2. Kerry Collins needs to go. Give Vince Young a shot. He's got to be better than Collins at this point.
3. What happened to the pass defense? The run defense was supposed to be bad with the departure of Haynesworth, not the other way around.
MVP: Chris Johnson- Johnson's speed is other worldly. In the open field nobody can catch him. Nobody. If Tennessee wasn't losing in every game he'd be leading the league in rushing by more than 100 yards. He is averaging over six per carry. Insane.
23. Seattle Seahawks (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 23
1. T.J. Houshmandzadeh wishes he was still in Cincy. Now Palmer's healthy and the Bengals are cruisin' and the Seahawks top passer is out and they stink. Bad luck for Housh.
2. Nate Burleson is still a very talented receiver. People forget that when he played a whole season as a starter, he was a 1,000 yard receiver. That was a long time ago, but it is clear that he has talent.
3. Is Julius Jones really the starting running back still. He's been very ineffective the past few games and they need a new number one back. Justin Forsett, please.
MVP: Matt Hasselbeck- Hasselbeck has only played in one game, but he is clearly the most valuable player to the Seahawks. With him, the Seahawks can win 8-9 games, but without him they are going to have another dud season. He can still play and they desperately need him back.
24. Washington Redskins (2-2) Week 2 Ranking: 25
1.Dan Snyder has horrible luck. He continues to sign some of the biggest free agents every year, and every year they disappoint.
2. Santana Moss is one of the best playmakers in the NFL. A poor man's Steve Smith perhaps. They need to get him as many touches as possible.
3. Clinton Portis's struggles might not be his fault. That offensive line is horrendous.
MVP: Santana Moss- Santana has kept the Redskins in their past two games. His 57 yarder against Tampa all but won the game for Washington.
25. Carolina Panthers (0-3) Week 2 Ranking: 22
1. They need to get Steve Smith the ball in any way possible. They need to do more of those screens they used to give Smith 2-3 a game when he had his breakout season. Putting him as a kick returner or punt returner wouldn't be a bad idea either. Maybe not all the time, but once a game give Smith the ball with open field.
2. The Panthers need to stop kidding themselves. Jonathan Stewart is not the same talent that DeAngelo Williams is. Why are they splitting carries almost evenly. Williams should get about 70 percent of the carries there.
3. They need to protect Jake Delhomme better. Of course a quarterback is going to play bad when a 6'5," 280 pound defensive end is about to drive him into the ground.
MVP: DeAngelo Williams- DeAngelo Williams is one of the best backs in the league and has been very good for Carolina so far. He scored in two of three games and has a 4.4 yards per carry. Three straight teams with bad run D's are the perfect recipe for him to be able to keep up last season's pace.
26. Buffalo Bills (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 21
1. They need to figure out a way to get Terrell Owens more involved in the offense. He might not be what he used to be, but he is just as good as Lee Evans or whoever else Edwards is throwing to.
2. The New England game really sucked the life out of them. After a whipping of Tampa Bay, they've looked awful for two straight games, especially offensively
3. They committed to Marshawn Lynch as their starting running back. He almost split carries down the middle with Fred Jackson in his first game back.
MVP: Fred Jackson- There has been one bright spot for Buffalo so far. He is playing much better than Marshawn Lynch right now. He is the main reason they have won a game and kept up with the Pats in week one.
27. Detroit Lions (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 30
1. Kevin Smith is a touchdown vulture if there ever was one. In the games where he has scored a TD, he has 35 carries for 50 yards and THREE touchdowns. He needs to start running better.
2. Calvin Johnson is going to explode once Stafford settles in. Last week is a sign of whats to come in Detroit. Calvin all day.
3. The Lions have a decent offense, too bad their defense still sucks. They need to start worrying about the D now that Stafford and Johnson are there.
MVP: Matthew Stafford- Stafford hasn't put up great numbers or anything (he has a -3 touchdown-interception ratio), but he has the respect of teammates and a confidence about him that is promising for Detroit. Lions fan must be happy about the thought of the strong armed Stafford throwing bombs to Calvin Johnson for many years to come.
28. Cleveland Browns (0-4) Week 2 Ranking: 31
1. Muhammad Massaquoi looks like Derek Anderson's favorite target. What a game in week 4.
2. Jerome Harrison is a big upgrade from Jamal Lewis. Lewis is just a big,fat,washed up running back that used to be good.
3. Derek Anderson becoming the starter really helps them. That is how sad the state of affairs in Cleveland are.
MVP: Josh Cribbs- Cribbs is just a big play machine. Punt returns, as a receiver. They need to get him on the field more.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) Week 2 Ranking: 28
1. Getting Derrick Ward for as much as they did was a bad decision. He's been hurt and hasn't been effective.
2. Why aren't they starting Josh Freeman instead of Josh Johnson? Johnson's only in his second year, why not start the guy you took in the first round.
3. Antonio Bryant needs to get fully healthy fast. He's the only good wideout that they have.
MVP: Cadillac Williams- Williams has been very solid so far after coming back from a very serious injury. He's been the only good thing about Tampa's offense so far.
30. Oakland Raiders (1-3) Week 2 Ranking: 24
1. Darren McFadden looks to be yet another Oakland bust. He has been ineffective and injured so far this year. Al Davis is horrible.
2. Even if Michael Crabtree held out he would have been a better draft pick than Darrius Hayward-Bey. Heyward-Bey has a grand total of TWO catches this year.
3. Jamarcus Russell might be the worst number one pick in NFL history. He has completed only 39.8 percent of his passed. Horrible.
MVP: Tom Cable- At least he brings some kind of news to the Raiders.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (0-4) Week 2 Ranking: 29
1. Larry Johnson is as done as Shaun Alexander or Priest Holmes were when they were done. He doens't have explosiveness anymore.
2. Dwayne Bowe needs to get healthy. He is all that they have as far as receivers go.
3. Kansas City is the opposite of Denver. Their awful defense has gotten worse.
MVP: Matt Cassel- Cassel isn't very good, but he's been the only good thing for the Cheifs so far. Veterans like Larry Johnson have stunk and Cassel has just stunk less than everybody else.
32. St. Louis Rams (0-4)
1. Kyle Boller might actually be an upgrade over Marc Bulger. Either way, they're horrible under center.
2. Steven Jackson needs the ball more if they want to win. GIVE HIM THE BALL!
3. This team is worse than the 2009 Lions. They've been shut out in half of their games so far.
MVP:James Laurinaitis- Laurinaitis somehow slipped to the second round in the draft. He was a sure thing if there ever was one and has proved his worth so far. He's the ONLY good thing about the Rams. He will be a very good, Pro Bowl caliber linebacker.
MVP: Peyton Manning
Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Manning
Defensive Player of the Year: Darren Sharper
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Percy Harvin
Defensive Rookie of the Year: James Laurinaitis
Comeback Player of the Year: Tom Brady
Coach of the Year: Rex Ryan
Quarter All-Pro team
Offense (I don't know enough about offensive lineman to pick them)
QB Peyton Manning
RB Chris Johnson
RB Adrian Peterson
WR Vincent Jackson
WR Steve Smith (Giants)
TE Dallas Clark
K Sabastian Janikowski
KR Johnny Knox
DE Antwan Odom
DE Jered Allen
DT Casey Hampton
DT Kris Jenkins
OLB Terrell Suggs
OLB Elvis Dumervil
MLB Patrick Willis
MLB Ray Lewis
CB Darrelle Revis
CB Champ Bailey
S Darren Sharper
S Dawon Landry
P Shane Lechler
PR Joshua Cribbs
End of the year, If I had to pick...
MVP: Peyton Manning
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Sanchez
Defensive Rookie of the Year: James Laurinaitis
Comeback Player of the Year: Tom Brady
Coach of the Year: Rex Ryan
Last Weeks Picks: 10-4 (7-7 vs. spread)
(Upset of the Week: 0-1, Game of the Week: 1-0, Lock of the Week: 1-0)
Overall: 40-22 (36-26 vs. spread)
(Upset of the Week: 1-2, Game of the Week: 3-1, Lock of the Week: 2-0)
*picks vs. spread are in parenthesis
Buffalo vs. Cleveland:Buffalo 20-14 (Cleveland +6.5)
Detroit vs. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 31-7 (Pittsburgh -10.5)
Kansas City vs. Dallas: Dallas 27-17 (Dallas -8.5)
St. Louis vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 35-14 (Minnesota -10.5)
New York Giants vs. Oakland: New York 30-10 (New York -16.5) (Lock of the Week)
Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay: Philadelphia 37-7 (Philadelphia -13.5)
Carolina vs. Washington: Carolina 24-20 (Carolina -3.5)
Baltimore vs. Cincinnati: Baltimore 21-10 (Baltimore -8.5)
San Francisco vs. Atlanta: San Francisco 17-14 (San Francisco -2.5)
Seattle vs. Jacksonville: Seattle 31-27 (Seattle -0.5)
Arizona vs. Houston: Arizona 34-31 (Houston +5.5)
Denver vs. New England: New England 24-13 (New England -3.5)(Game of the Week)
Tennessee vs. Indianapolis: Indianapolis 34-24 (Indianapolis -3.5)
Miami vs. New York Jets: New York 20-10 (New York -1.5)
Upset of the Week: none
Game of the Week: Denver vs. New England
Lock of the Week: New York Giants over Oakland
Bold Prediction of the Week: The Rams will be the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
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