Welcome NFL sports fan! Were three weeks into the season, and already the top teams are starting to separate themselves from the others teams in their conference. Today I’m rolling out my week 4 power rankings, based on what we have seen thru the first three weeks of the season.Small disclaimer here. I am not a fan of any of the teams in my top 10 so no e-mails about how bias I have been. I do encourage comments and rebuttals of why you believe you team deserves to be in the top 5.Without further a dew here are my power rankings.
– The Packers are one of only two undefeated teams left in the NFC conference. Led by the Super Bowl MVP from last season Aaron Rogers, this team is tested and Tough. Rogers has already tossed 8 touchdown passes, to only 1 int. Aaron’s 120.9 passer rating and 71.8% completion percentage are both tops in the league. You add that to a very good pass rushing defense (4th in the league in sacks) who get after the QB, and have play makers at all three levels of their defense, and you get the #1 team so far in the NFC.
The Saints Check in at #2 for me. Their only lost came against the Packers on the road week one of the NFL season. Beating the Houston Texans this last week, in a come from behind performance really showed me some resilience in this team. Drew Brees the unquestioned leader of this offense has them hitting on all cylinders right now averaging 34.7 points per game. Good for 3rd best in the league. On defense their is a great blend of veteran leadership in guys like LB Johnathan Vilma,CB Jabari Greer, and NT Aubrayo Franklin. Meshing with young guns like S Mike Jenkins, CB Tracy Porter, and rookie DE Cam Jordan out of cal.This team has a serious shot to be in the Super Bowl this year if they can stay healthy.
The Cowboys have bee a very resilient team so far this year. Starting the season 2-1 despite the fact that they have trailed in all three games in the 4th quarter. Dallas is one of those teams who have been decimated by injuries to this point. Players who have missed games, or have been injuried for Dallas so far( Miles Austin #1 WR, Terrence Newman #1 CB, Orlando Scandrick #3 CB, Dez Bryant #2 WR, Mike Jenkins #2 CB, Tony Romo #1 QB, Felix Jones #1 HB, Anthony Spencer Starting OLB, Jason Witten #1 TE. Looking at what Dallas has overcome so far this year injury wise, coupled with the fact that the combine record of the three teams Dallas has played so far is 6-3. I think Dallas has done well and deserves this spot for now.
Ah.. the Detroit Lions. Were to put them. Sure some will argue that a undefeated team deserves to be much higher in the power rankings, but I disagree. Looking at what they have accomplished this year, They have beat a 0-3 Kansas City Cheifs, a 0-3 Minnesota Vikings teams, and a 2-1 Tampa Bay team. I need to see more from this ball club before I put them any higher in my power rankings.
The Redskins were flying high heading into their Monday night match up with the Dallas Cowboys. They were 2-0 and could take sole possession of first place in the division with a win. I thought the Redskins played well in that game, especially the defense. It’s hard to win on the road on Monday night, and it’s even harder when that Monday game is against your division rival. Tim Hightower and rookie Roy Helu out of Nebraska have really got the running game going thru the first three weeks of the season. The tight ends have also been a big part of this offense. My only grip, get your WR more envolved on offense, and stop playing man to man coverage so much on defense.
At #1 I have no choice but to put the Buffalo Bills. They have beaten in my opinion two top five teams from the AFC conference in back to back weeks. Beating the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots should let you know this is not the Buffalo Bills from the last 10 years. Buffalo’s offense is led by Harvard grad QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who thru three weeks has orchestrated two fourth quarter comebacks against top tier teams, and who currently is tied for second in the NFL in touchdowns tosses 9, and sixth in QB rating at 103.5. Defensively Buffalo is very opportunistic, ranking second in the league with nine takeaway thru three games.Look for Buffalo to continue this trend this week against a very young Cincinnati Bengals offense.
The Ravens have the #1 score against defense in the NFL. This defense lead by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata, have looked solid against division rival Pittsburgh, and the upstart St. Louis Rams. The big surprise so far this year is how solid the offensive passing game has looked. Joe Flacco QB has thrown 7 touchdowns and just threw for a career high 389 passing yards last week on the road. The running game is solid. Ray Rice is one of the better duel threat running backs in the league. With the addition of FB Vonta Leach during the offseason, who is the best run blocking FB in the league in my opinion. The Ravens have alot to be hopeful for. My biggest question mark for this team… can they stay healthy.
The New England Patriots have been a mainstay among playoff teams for the better part of the last decade. New England has been prolific on offense through three weeks. #1 in total offense. #2 in points scored. #1 in passing offense by a wide margin, and #1 in touchdown passes. So why are they ranked so low? Their defense thus far is so bad, it is almost hard to watch them play. Defensively they are ranked dead last in total yards given up. At a whopping 468.7 yards per game..wow. Also this defense is near the bottom of the league in penalties given up. Perhaps the most telling sign though New England ranks near the bottom of the league in 3rd down %. This defense just can not get off the field allowing almost 47% conversion on 3rd downs. Bottom line is New England’s offense will cover up many of the deficiencies of this teams defense, until they play the better teams.
Houston is a very good team, make no mistake about it. They are 2-1 for a reason, and could easily be 3-0. On Offense this is one of the most explosive teams in the NFL period. Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Owen Daniels need I say more? Houston has averaged an impressive 138 yards per contest on the ground. Despite the fact that last season’s leading rusher Arian Foster has played only a handful of snaps this year. My questions come on the defensive side of the ball. Houston is transitioning to the 3-4 scheme and so far so good. If Houston wants to be considered an elite team, they need to beat other elite teams. Twice last week Houston had the lead against New Orleans, and twice Drew Brees and that offense went down the field and scored. Houston’s defense played well but faltered big time when the team needed them the most.
The last time the Oakland Raiders made the playoffs, was back in 2002. The poor play of this franchise has been well documented by many. It is now 2012, and I think it’s time to except the fact that the Oakland Raiders may just be for real. Oakland’s only lost came in week two on a short week, on the road, to my #1 team in the AFC, The Buffalo Bills. Oakland is currently the #1 rushing team in the NFL and Darren McFadden is averaging a crazy 6.5 yards per rush attempt. The front four on defense for the Raiders may be as good as any team in the league. They will get pressure on the opposing QB and make life difficult. After physically man handling the New York Jets they have a tough task taking on the New England Patriots this week. If they can pull the upset win though, that just might be the signature win this team needs to make everyone believe.