J.J. McDermott, NFL Columnist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs
With at least eight games being decided in the fourth quarter alone, there was plenty of suspense and excitement around the NFL in week two!
Now this week’s NFL Power Rankings with a few surprise moves among the ranks.
Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants team were firing on cylinders in week two earning them the right for their stay at the top of the Power Rankings this week. Manning went off on the poor St. Louis secondary throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Manning and the Giants offense torched St. Louis for 41 points as the defense kept Marc Bulger on his back with 6 sacks on the day and adding one interception. Overall, it was a solid outing for the reigning world champions.
After a week one blowout of the Cleveland Browns, the Cowboys gave up 37 points to an Eagles offense that was lacking their top two receiving targets. I don’t want to put the play of the Cowboys down but there is still room for improvement especially with the injury of safety Roy Williams now. This week’s match up versus the Packers should be another excellent test for this Cowboys team.
With the hottest offense in the NFL, the Broncos crack the top five this week. After a dominating win over rival, Raiders, the Broncos came back this week and upset the Chargers. They may have won on a late controversial call but it was still a huge win for the Broncos. With favorite target, Brandon Marshall and blazing fast Eddie Royal, Jay Cutler has some deadly targets to throw to all season long.
The weather played a major factor in the lower production of the Steelers offense this week but was able to pull off another win. Willie Parker has and will continue to lead the way as quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger may be limited on his throws due to his separated shoulder.
I repeat, Favre who? Aaron Rodgers looked solid once again, lighting up the Lions defense for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Packer fans can honestly agree, Rodgers has picked up where Brett Favre left off last season. The Packers were the kings of the jungle Sunday afternoon, blowing past the Lion’s offensive line for 5 sacks and forcing two interceptions that went for touchdowns. If only Ryan Grant would hurry back from his injury, this Packer team would be that much more lethal.
The Patriots may have toned down their passing offense but played good all around football on Sunday. Matt Cassel played another mistake free game versus a hungry Jets team. On a positive note, Cassel seems to have found his rhythm with Wes Welker, making him his top receiver in Sunday’s bout. Still working on his timing with Randy Moss, Cassel missed his opportunity to hit Moss on a deep route in the game only to under throw him leaving Moss with only two catches for 22 yards on the day. The Patriots offense has continued to rush the ball heavily and we anticipate that they will continue its work on stretching the field throughout the year.
Two weeks in and two comeback wins for the Panthers to start off the year. The Panthers defense was solid in preventing a running back from rushing for 100 yards once again. Speaking of rushing, rookie running back, Jonathan Stewart took over the running game in the second half pounding the ball in for two touchdowns on the day. Jake Delhomme struggled this week versus a tough Bears defense but help is in sight, favorite target, Steve Smith, is back from his two week suspension energized and ready to contribute in week three versus the Vikings.
The Titans took advantage of a struggling Bengals team rushing for 177 total yards in their week three win. They may have a quarterback that is older than dirt leading the team but Kerry Collins was efficient when called upon and even threw for a touchdown. As long as the defense continues to show up and keep them in games, the Titans will continue to win, even if that means without Vince Young.
Two weeks in and my sleeper pick is looking pretty good right now. Trent Edwards looked fantastic on Sunday and rookie James Hardy stepped up and caught his first touchdown pass of his career, a beauty of a throw that only a 6’5” monster like Hardy could grab.
Kurt Warner must have been drinking from the fountain of youth last week. Warner blew up the Dolphins defense to the tune of 361 passing yards and three scores. If he continues to play at this level at age 37, Warner should be a top ten quarterback this season. One negative thing being, the ground game still has not been stellar and is in need of some assistance. Edgerrin James currently is averaging a pitiful 3.9 yards per carry. If James continues, look for backup, Tim Hightower, to steal more carries than just at the goal line for the Cardinals.
Week two brought some trouble for the Colts but luckily, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colt’s offense rallied to come back from a 15 to 0 deficit to beat the Vikings 18 to 15. Marvin Harrison again, is looking rustier than the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz after just one catch this past week to go along with his costly fumble from week one. Harrison will need to step it up and get back to form with the injury to Dallas Clark. The big problem they are fighting in Indianapolis is the injury bug. Three of their starting offensive linemen are hurt which is making Joseph Addai’s job as running back a difficult job to have.
This past week’s match up was by far one of the most exciting Monday Night Football games watched in some time, with seven lead changes throughout the course of the game. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they came up short but the season is just beginning. The Eagles put up a fight against the Cowboys but thankfully for us, the Eagles and Cowboys duel again in week seventeen which by then, the Eagles should have welcomed back receivers Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis.
It is now two weeks in a row that the Chargers have lost heart breakers by less than three points in each game. It has been a tough start of the season for the Chargers, losing Shawne Merriman and now LaDainian Tomlinson’s toe acting up. What can be said for the Chargers is that they have the tendency to start slow and finish at the top of their game so only time will tell when they break out of their current funk.
Brett Favre could not get comfortable in the pocket and threw from his back foot several times including one throw that lead to an interception in the Jet’s loss to the Patriots. At one point in the game, the Jets decided to attempt to run the ball into the end zone three consecutive times. Why not use their legend, Favre when you continue to get stuffed at the line?
Acquired through an off season trade, Brian Griese filled in for a banged up Jeff Garcia throwing for 160 yards and a touchdown. The defense pressured rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan all afternoon forcing two interceptions as Earnest Graham finished off the their NFC rival Falcons with a 68 yard touchdown run. They have not been flashy on offense but their squad played solid football in week two.
Just when they thought they had a win in the bag, the Bears lost a close one to the Panthers who rallied back from a 17 to 3 deficit through the third quarter. Matt Forte has energized the long forgotten run game in Chicago as Kyle Orton has played surprisingly well and has yet to turn the ball over. If the defense plays to form, the Bears may have a chance at a winning season.
A 67 yard touchdown from Jason Campbell, Campbell’s first and only on the day, to Santana Moss sealed the deal for the Redskins with three minutes and change on the board to clinch a tough home game win. The sleeping giant, Redskins woke up Sunday; Clinton Portis and the run game looked good, rushing for two scores on the day while Jason Campbell controlled the passing game.
They may have come out the gate running last week but this week their run game was less than stellar, rushing for 55 yards total. Without target, Marques Colston, Drew Brees struggled on the day throwing for just 216 yards and two interceptions. Saints fans can only pray that the Saints receivers will step it up in the coming weeks until Colston is back from injury.
With Alex Smith out of the quarterback picture, J.T. O’Sullivan looks to be the right player for the job in Mike Martz’s system after an overtime win over the Seahawks. O’Sullivan overcame being sacked eight times and threw for 321 yards and a touchdown to lead the 49ers to a win. Isaac Bruce showed that he still has something to prove and Bryant Johnson showed flashes why he was signed by the 49ers in the first place.
The Ravens game versus the Texans was postponed in week two due to Hurricane Ike. Hopefully the extra week off will provide the Ravens with extra time to heal and get healthy especially rusher Willis McGahee.
Matt Ryan showed that he was a rookie this past week, throwing for two interceptions while Michael Turner struggled and was held to only 42 yards rushing on the day. It may not have been the showing the Falcons were looking to show after last week’s opening win over the Lions.
After getting demolished in week one, the Raiders hit the ground running in week two, literally. The Raiders steamrolled the Chief defense, rushing for a combined 300 yards. The Raiders had a solid running game but lacked any sort of pass offense; JaMarcus Russell threw for just 55 yards. The other positive note to add was Oakland was able to hold running back Larry Johnson in check all day long, Johnson was only able to produce 22 yards rushing on the day.
Once again the Vikings suffered inconsistent play by quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. After leading at the half, 15 to 0, Jackson and the Vikings offense were not able to put any points on the board in the second half as the Colts battled back to win the game. The Vikings are put in a difficult 0 and 2 record to begin the year, leading us to ask, how much longer will Jackson be the starter in Minnesota?
Offensive line injuries as well as lack of big play receivers have been the cause for concern for the Jaguars this season. One of the leading rushing teams of the league last year, the Jaguars running game was ineffective as they were only able to put up a lame 98 yards total in week two. Without the holes they have had the past two years, the Jaguars offense will continue to not be the same this season.
Where are the Browns from 2007? Derek Anderson and the Browns offense struggled again this week, yes I know there were gusts of wind over fifty miles an hour but still. Anderson threw for two interceptions and Jamal Lewis was only able to put up 38 yards rushing. A sluggish offense, injuries, and weak secondary are killing the Browns chances to repeat a ten win year in 2008.
Now up to six hurt wide receivers this season, the Seahawks have been hunting for replacements. The only steady play on offense has been from free agent running back Julius Jones and rookie tight end John Carlson. Hopefully with the signing of Koren Robinson and trade for Keary Colbert, the Seahawks may have a chance to get back on track this season.
The Texans game last week was postponed due to Hurricane Ike and will play at Rice Stadium until their stadium is fixed. The Texans look to turn around their beginning of the season after a week one beat down loss to the Steelers.
Carson Palmer struggled once again but at least made it past the 100 yard barrier this past week. The downfall were the thirty mile an hour winds which only aided Palmer throwing two picks on the day. The Bengals are 0 and 2 for the first time since 2003 and we can only hope that their high powered offense will waken up from its slumber.
The Lions attempted a late comeback in Sunday’s loss but came up short in the end. After taking back the lead, 25 to 24 in the fourth quarter, the Packer offense rallied back and scored ten unanswered points. Sadly for the Lions, they were intercepted twice in their comeback but even worse, both interceptions were brought back for touchdowns. The Lions defense has much to be desired, it is ranked one of the worst in the NFL to begin the season.
One week after Chad Pennington sought revenge on his former team but came up short, the Dolphins were spanked from start to finish versus the Cardinals in week two. The Dolphins run game of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, both averaged less than three yards a carry in week three. The poor run game, lack of receiving threats, and a rash of penalties on defense may have left the Dolphins right where they were last year, fighting for a single win this season.
Brodie Coyle, Damon Huard, and now onto third string quarterback, Tyler Thigpen, the Chiefs are struggling to get points on the board. Once a premier running back, Larry Johnson was held in check by a team that he used to dominate. What the Chiefs do have on their side is time, with more than twenty rookies on their current roster.
The past two weeks have been a pretty dark time for the Rams organization. With play makers like Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, and Torry Holt on offense, we have expected more from them as a team. Giving up ten sacks on offense and keeping their quarterback on his back for most of the game, they have only completed a paltry 3 of 24 plays on third down. The Rams have been outscored 79 to 16 in the past two weeks making them dead last on our Power Rankings.
This is the way the rankings look for right now; tune in next week once again to see how your team fairs!