Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints Survive: NFL Power Rankings for 2010 Unbeaten
After week two of the 2010 season, a mere one-quarter of the league still holds the tag "unbeaten." There are some familiar names on this list, as well as some newcomers to the 2—0 fold. Many teams have already fallen by the wayside. Here's how things have shaped up after the dust settled.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bring Up The Rear
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The Buccaneers are probably the most surprising team to see on this list, as they had three wins all of last year. They're also probably the weakest. Ultimately, all that matters is how many wins a team gets, and the Buccaneers are tied for tops in that department. Second-year QB Josh Freeman has done enough to keep the team winning, and his passer rating is 95.0. The defense has also done their job in games against the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers, but those aren't exactly confidence-inspiring wins. Until they win against some better competition, they won't get any more respect than they're getting.
Chicago Bears Hunt Down The Seventh Spot On The List
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The Bears looked very good offensively in week two. QB Jay Cutler has already thrown for 649 yards and five TD passes with only one pick, and has a superb passer rating of 121.2. Despite these gaudy numbers, It is RB Matt Forte who is emerging as the star of the team. Forte not only leads the team in rushing, but he also leads the team in receiving through two games. He has 267 yards from scrimmage and three of Cutler's TDs have gone to this back. He has single-handedly kept the Bears winning but won't be able to sustain this level of play all year without getting a little help from his teammates soon. They should have lost to the Lions, though, and they beat a Cowboys team that is yet to look good, so they don't get to be high on this list, but just being on it is an accomplishment.
Dansby's Dolphins Getting It Done The Old Fashioned Way
Dansby and Bell
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Coming in at number six, we have the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have won like an old-school throwback team from yesteryear. It's been all running the ball on offense, and shutting teams down on defense. Their two-headed monster in the backfield consisting of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams has already produced 137 yards on 54 carries through two games.
The defense is tackling anything that moves. Newly acquired LB Karlos Dansby, SS Yeremiah Bell, and CB Jason Allen have a total of 54 tackles between the three of them. Allen has two picks in as many weeks, and the defensive unit as a whole has racked up six sacks already.
To top it all off, after winning a warm-up game against the Buffalo Bills in week one, The Dolphins held the NFC preseason favorite Minnesota Vikings to only 10 points in week two. If they keep this up, they could move up this list as the weeks go on.
Eric Berry's Kansas City Chiefs Break Into The Top Five.
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I debated putting the Dolphins at number five, but the coaching staff in Kansas City, consisting of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss, and head coach Todd Haley, has earned them a spot in the top five on this list. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has this young defensive unit overachieving in a lot of people's eyes.
Rookie safety Eric Berry is proving to be a fantastic pick for the Chiefs. He wreaks havoc from sideline to sideline, causing problems in the backfield as well as down field for opposing offenses. LB Derrick Johnson is playing very well in both pass coverage and in stopping the run, and DT Glenn Dorsey is finally playing like the team thought that he would when they drafted him in the first round in 2008.
As a unit, the Chiefs have held their opposition to only seven total points in the second half of their games this year. They shut the San Diego Chargers offense down on a goal-line stand in week one to win the game, and the pitched a second half shut out in week two at the Cleveland Browns.
Add to that their 137.5 yards a game rushing (fifth in the NFL) and this team is looking very tough to handle for four quarters. If QB Matt Cassel can find any kind of a rhythm this season, this team could boast a winning record for the first time since 2005.
Matt Schaub And Arian Foster Lead The Houston Texans Into The List's Top Half
Schaub and Foster
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The real power in the power rankings start right here with the Houston Texans. This team has wan their games in a variety of ways. The Texans look like an offensive juggernaut thus far. They rank first in the NFL in points per game (32), total yards per game (440.5), and rushing yards per game (157.5).
In week one, it was second-year back Arian Foster who led the Texans to victory over the legendary Peyton Manning—led Indianapolis Colts. Foster had 231 yards on 33 carries in the contest, showing that the Texans may finally have a real running threat for the first time in the franchise's short history.
In week two, QB Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards and three TDs in a come from behind victory in overtime against the Washington Redskins. The Texans were down 20-7 in the first half, but showed an amazing display of resiliency and stole the second half away from the then 1-0 Redskins. With offense like this and an effective pass rush led by DE Mario Williams, this team could make a run at their first playoff berth ever.
Troy Polamalu Helps Steal The Steelers The Number Four Spot
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Coming into the season, many sports writers and sports fans alike had the Steelers written off as a legitimate contender in 2010. They play in the same division as the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom were in the playoffs last season. As if that wasn't enough to overcome, the NFL suspended Steelers' starting QB Ben Roethlisberger four games for an off the field incident.
Instead of folding up and waiting for week five to come along, the Steelers are 2—0 behind back to back strong defensive showings. The team held the Atlanta Falcons to only nine points in week one, and safety Troy Polamalu had a pick in the fourth quarter to stop an Atlanta drive that looked like it could end the game in regulation. Thanks to Polamalu, the Steelers took Atlanta into overtime where RB Rashard Mendenhall busted off a 50-yard TD run to win the game.
In week two, the Steelers held the Tennessee Titans to 11 points and only gave up 53 yards from scrimmage to Titans RB Chris Johnson. Titans QB Kerry Collins could muster up only 147 yards and threw for the team's only TD in the game.
The Steelers have given up a total of 20 points on only 593 total yards in two games. Making this even more impressive is the fact that their two opponents scored a combined 79 points in their other two contests. The Steelers don't have a true starting QB right now which accounts for their lack of offense, but Ben will be back after just two more games. When he is, this team can be scary—good.
Drew Brees Lands The New Orleans Saints The Number Two Spot On The List
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The Saints are the current Super Bowl Champions, so they get some reputation points in the power rankings.
Drew Brees is one of the league's best QBs, and the Saints have equipped him with a stable of tall and fast WRs to throw the ball to. They also have a big pass—catching TE in Jeremy Shockey. even RB Pierre Thomas had a strong showing last season. The team has started off slowly, but they've gotten the job done and scored points at key times in games against the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers to get to 2-0.
The Saints have won their first two games by a total of eight points, but their defense is a turnover—creating machine. They have forced five of them already in 2010.
Brees has led the team on scoring drives every time the team needed him to, and still seems to be one of the leagues best QBs in pressure situation. The Saints haven't looked very impressive yet, but they went 13-0 to start out the year in 2009, and until they lose a game this season, they'll remain very high on this list.
Aaron Rodgers Has The Green Bay Packers Sitting Pretty: The Best Of The Unbeaten
The heir to the thrown
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The Green Bay Packers are playing quite possibly the best football of any team in the league right now. They have outscored their opponents 61 to 27 in two games, scoring seven TDs in the process. QB Aaron Rodgers has been effective in the teams two victories, throwing for 443 yards and four TDs to produce a passer rating of 94.0.
The backs have rushed for 238 yards, and their three rushing TDs have been scored by three different players. What's really impressive is that they've done much of this without the teams starting RB. Ryan Grant was injured in their week one game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, but they're still plugging away with a running back by committee game—plan.
The defense has been very impressive with the exception of letting Eagles QB Micheal Vick run around on them all day, which was only possible because of a hit on QB Kevin Kolb that rendered him incapable of continuing in the week one contest. Also the Packers defense has only given up 506 yards from scrimmage in two games.
The Packers were one overthrown ball away, in one of the highest scoring games in NFL playoff history, from moving on to take on the soon-to-be champion New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs. Who knows how far they will go this year, but for now their sitting on top of the mountain looking down at everyone else.
The Pursuit Of Perfection and Playoff Supremacy For The Trophy Of All Trophies
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Any one of these teams would love to get their hands on a grand prize of this magnitude, and any one of them could. As of now, there are eight teams without a blemish in the win/loss column. Only time will tell us if any of these teams will get to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy. As of now, it still belongs to the New Orleans Saints, but every team on this list is gunning to make it theirs in 2010.