I’ve almost recovered from the knee-shot heard ‘round the world.
I’ve accepted the fact that the Patriots are no longer the best team in the NFL, or even the team to beat in their own division (more on this later).
I’ve accepted the fact that there’s a new favorite in the AFC East, though I refuse to buy into the fact that the Jets are that team.
The Jets barely beat the Miami Dolphins. You remember the Miami Dolphins. While their retired players were making jerks of themselves by rapping about going undefeated 1,000 years ago and doing interviews on every radio and TV show with an audience of more than three, their current players were struggling to win a single game.
The Jets hung on to beat a bad team. Good for them. They’re still not in the Power 10. Maybe next week, if they can beat the Brady-less Patriots.
The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, have vaulted from middle of the NFL pack to the NFL Power 10 with their shellacking of the Seattle Seahawks.
Their fans told me they were good. I didn’t see it. I see it now.
I’m not completely ready to admit I was wrong on Buffalo, but I’m close. Close enough to put them at No. 7 in this week’s Power 10.
This week, we’ll be debuting the Bottom Three.
Hint: If you’re team gets blown off the field by a bad team with a rookie quarterback and a first-year head coach, you’ll probably find them in the bottom three.
1 (1) Patriots 1-0
The Patriots are not the best team in the NFL.
But I put them here in the preseason, and they’re staying here until they lose. Mostly to make me feel better, but I also have some statistics to back this up.
The Patriots have won 20-straight regular season games (a new record), they’ve won 24 of their last 26 games overall.
Their only losses were to eventual Super Bowl champions, the Colts and the Giants.
When they lose, I’ll move them down...maybe all the way out of the Power 10 (especially if they lose to the mediocre Jets this weekend).
But they stay at No. 1 until they lose.
2 (4) Cowboys 1-0
The Cowboys were impressive in their complete beat down of the Cleveland Browns. Their offensive line was so dominant that they single-handedly (well, 11-handedly) ended the Comeback Player of the Year talk about Shaun Rogers.
Tony Romo was impressive, as was just about everyone else wearing a Cowboys uniform.
Of course, it’s the regular season.
3 (6) Giants 1-0
Either the Giants’ defense is better than we thought, or the Redskin’ offense is much, much worse than we thought. Offensively, this team still has issues. Say what you want about Eli Manning, but he still wastes timeouts, makes ill-advised passes while in the clutch of defenders that end up getting picked off, and takes stupid delay-of-game penalties at inopportune times.
That said, I’d take him in a heartbeat over Jason Campbell.
4 (8) Steelers 1-0
The Steelers went from “forgotten team in the AFC” to “AFC Super Bowl Favorite” in one weekend. The Patriots lost Tom Brady, the Chargers lost, then lost Shawne Merriman for the year. The Browns were hammered by the Cowboys. The Colts lost to the Bears, and looked terrible doing it.
The Steelers destroyed Houston, a pretty decent team, and didn’t break a sweat doing it. The AFC better keep an eye on Big Ben and company.
5 (-) Eagles 1-0
The Rams are a bad team, but the Eagles made them look like a bad high-school team. If Donovan McNabb is healthy all season, this team is going to do some damage in the NFC.
DeSean Jackson, by the way, is the real deal. No doubt about it. Only the second-best rookie wide receiver of the weekend, but pretty damn impressive nonetheless.
6 (9) Packers 1-0
18 of 22, 178 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions is a pretty good stat line, but it doesn’t tell the whole story for Aaron Rodgers. For one week, he looked better than the guy he replaced. He dealt with the pressure and actually flourished. Had he not had a beautiful 60-yard touchdown pass called back, he would have had an even better day.
For one week, Aaron Rodgers won over his critics, his teammates, and most impressively, the pro-Brett Favre crowd in Green Bay.
Not too shabby.
7 (-) Bills 1-0
I couldn’t have been more impressed with what the Bills did to the Seahawks. If the Bills can go to Jacksonville next week and win, they will officially go from AFC East competitor to AFC East favorite.
That’s assuming they’re not already the favorite.
8 (-) Saints 1-0
My lone remaining Super Bowl pick (OK, the Pats aren’t eliminated, but seriously) was able to ride a hot Drew Brees and a resurgent Reggie Bush to a huge victory over the defending NFC South champions.
It wasn’t the cakewalk I expected, but it was impressive nonetheless. The NFC may be better than we think. The Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Saints, and Packers are all good enough to beat anyone in the AFC.
9 (3) Colts 0-1
The Colts are the only one-loss team in this week’s Power-10. It’s hard to read too much into their offensive performance. Peyton Manning was clearly rusty, and the Bears took advantage by basically daring him to throw while shutting down the running game.
If they try that same gameplan in November or December, the Colts will torch them. It’s not time to jump off the Indianapolis bandwagon; after all, it wasn’t Peyton Manning’s knee that Bernard Pollard destroyed over the weekend. And as long as he’s playing, the Colts will win more than they lose.
10 (-) Broncos 1-0
OK, it was the Raiders. And the Raiders are terrible beyond words. I understand that.
But the Raiders have a great secondary, and the Broncos made them look silly. Eddie Royal looks like a real steal. When Brandon Marshall comes back next week, they’ll make a tremendous one-two punch at the wide-receiver position.
The Raiders’ offense made the Broncos’ defense look better than it really is, so don’t get too carried away. But Jay Cutler may be the real deal after all. If he really is the next John Elway, the Broncos may be able to give the Chargers a run for their money in the AFC West.
(9) Jaguars 0-1
Offense looked completely pedestrian in their loss to the Titans.
(7) Browns 0-1
Completely outclassed by the Cowboys.
(10) Redskins 0-1
Not too early to admit I overrated the Redskins after the Jason Taylor trade.
(2) Chargers 0-1
Losing to the Panthers without Steve Smith, then losing Shawne Merriman for the season makes for a real bad weekend.
30. Rams 0-1
The Eagles are pretty good, but that was a beat-down of epic proportions.
31. Raiders 0-1
Dear Raider fans,
You deceived me. Your team still sucks.
PS: You didn’t really deceive me, I was just playing along.
32. Lions 0-1
How, in God’s name, do you get blown off the field by the Atlanta Falcons? Seriously? The Lions are the worst defensive team I’ve ever seen.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.