NFL Rankings: Are the New England Patriots Still the Jay-Z of the NFL?
These NFL Power Rankings come with a little bit of a twist. Each team will be paired up with a current hip hop artist that best exemplifies the character of the squad.
There has been quite an upheaval in the past week, and one has to wonder if a Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills Super Bowl was one of the Mayan predictions for 2012.
Regardless, Lions fans are drinking Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid and enjoying the sounds of Cole World: The Sideline Story, while the New England Patriots are left wondering if anyone is watching the throne.
The next ten slides will not only rank the top 10 teams in the NFL but also provide a unique analysis of each team.
10. The San Diego Chargers as Fabolous
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The San Diego Chargers have been successful in many ways over the years. They've won a couple playoff games recently but can't quite get over the hump.
Fabolous had some early commercial success but has been much bigger on the mixtape circuit. Similarly, the Chargers had the best defense and offense in the league last year but couldn't win their division.
San Diego struggled this week with the Kansas City Chiefs but still have enough talent to be ranked in the top 10.
9. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers As Lil' Wayne
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Josh Freeman has already led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to one come from behind victory this season over the Minnesota Vikings. The Bucs are hoping to rebound from being just barely cropped out of playoff picture last year.
Lil' Wayne was recently freed after a year in prison and released Tha Carter IV. Much like Tampa's first game of the season, the album can be considered a loss but Weezy has the talent and will be looking to bounce back.
The Bucs are well-built and are able to play from behind or salt away wins using LeGarrette Blount. Don't be surprised when they squeeze past the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons and make the playoffs.
8. The Houston Texans as Drake
Bob Levey/Getty Images
The Houston Texans are new to the top 10 scene but have been lurking for a few years. Their main problem has been the perception that they are soft and have trouble holding onto leads.
Drake crashed onto the scene a couple years ago, but there are also concerns regarding his toughness. The most recent example was the trending topic, #DrakeCriesWhen. Besides being hilarious, many of the tweets indicated the Young Money artist has a quick tear trigger.
Houston's offense is as explosive as ever, but their defense continues to be a concern after giving up 40 points last week—albeit to the New Orleans Saints.
7. The New York Jets As Kanye West
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
This comparison doesn't require too much detail if you have ever read or heard anything from Kanye West. There are no deficiencies that Kanye won't attempt to overcome with sheer confidence.
The defense has been the core of the team the last few years but Darren McFadden easily piled up the yards in last week's encounter. Mark Sanchez might be required to do more this year than in the past if they hope to return to the AFC Championship Game.
6. The Buffalo Bills as the Game
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills are perhaps the surprise of the season. The team has hardly been relevant since their run of four Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s, but the have raced out to a 3-0 start in 2011.
The Game constantly reminds you that he hails from the West coast. In addition, he is vocal about bringing the West back to their place of prominence enjoyed during the heyday of Death Row Records. His latest release, the Red Album, adds some serious substance to the claim.
The Bills will need to notch a few more wins before anyone takes them seriously but competent quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson's running ability gives them a chance to be legitimate this year.
5. The Baltimore Ravens As Young Jeezy
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Defense has been the cornerstone of the Baltimore Ravens' success throughout the last decade. Joe Flacco has shown some flashes, specifically in their dominant win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the defense will still be the key to any prolonged postseason run.
Young Jeezy's slow, raspy style has always centered around money, drugs and guns and he has been able to sustain success for the better part of a decade. Just like the Ravens, he sticks to what he knows and seems to be around year after year.
Baltimore is looking to win one more title before the defense's collective age catches up with them but Flacco is going to need to stay steady in order for them to take the next step.
4. The New Orleans Saints as T.I.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
New Orleans still has its king in Drew Brees but must consider last year's first round loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a disappointment considering the New Orleans Saints were one year removed from their initial coronation.
T.I. was arguably the most popular rapper of the last seven years and became the self-proclaimed King of the South. After spending the last year in prison, the rubber band man has his sights set on the crown just as the Saints are looking to regain their title.
The Saints are loaded offensively again, but their defense has had trouble keeping teams out of the end zone. But Brees still gives them a great chance to throw the next party in New Orleans.
3. The Detroit Lions As J. Cole
Leon Halip/Getty Images
The Detroit Lions have lit the NFL world on fire so far this with a quality win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a dismantling of the Kansas City Chiefs and a comeback victory over the Minnesota Vikings. There is an obvious hunger to the young team that is demonstrated by their quarterback-killing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
J. Cole has come on quickly over the past year in the mixtape scene and has built steam all summer towards the release of his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. A listen to any of his tracks makes it obvious that the young rapper isn't going to stop until he gets the respect - and money - he deserves.
The Detroit Lions are scary because they haven't seemed to put it all together yet but are still undefeated. However, the lack of a running game, while a prevailing trend throughout the league, is still a concern when closing out tight ballgames.
2. The New England Patriots as Jay-Z
Al Bello/Getty Images
It seems to be the same story every year for the New England Patriots, since any conversation regarding Super Bowl contenders must include them.
Despite his four-interception game this week, defending MVP Tom Brady is on top of his game and is leading arguably the most efficient offense in the league.
Hov's spot at the top has a few challengers but his collaboration with Kanye West on "Watch The Throne" has come out scorching and should dominate the scene for the remainder of the year. New hip hop artists are always arising, but Jay-Z continues to cast a large shadow over the game.
Any team led by Bill Belichick and Brady is going to be near the top of the list, but the lack of a pass rush could doom the Patriots to another early playoff exit.
1. The Green Bay Packers as Eminem
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Packers started the season undefeated, including a win over the New Orleans Saints, and Rodgers has been vocal in his displeasure about the unwarranted criticism.
Ever the controversial character, Eminem has also enjoyed a successful summer but has similarly received little press due to the plethora of successful hip hop albums coming out. Yet, his latest release with Royce da 5'9," entitled "Hell: The Sequel," hit No. 1 on the charts and proved that Eminem isn't relinquishing his belt.
Rodgers and the Green Bay offense haven't missed a beat this year but the number of yards given up by the defense is a growing concern.