NFL POWER RANKINGS
Firstly it is so great to have football back and I hope you are all excited as I am. I need to caveat these power rankings a little, so far we have only seen one preseason game for most teams. I don't want to get carried away but some things stood out and this will be the basis of what is discussed below.
Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings look like they haven't missed a beat since the Super Bowl. That back shoulder throw for the TD was a thing of beauty. James Starks looked really nice as well and I don't think it will be too long before he usurps Ryan Grant as the starting RB in Green Bay.
The Defense looked scary against the 49ers. It just seemed to be sack after sack on whoever was at QB. Mark Ingram looked pretty sharp in his debut and I have high hopes for him in his rookie season.
I am starting to think Bill Belichick is setting up a retirement home in Foxborough with all the vets that he is bringing in. Most of the Patriots starters sat out or had limited snaps but both Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mallett looked great. I think given a few years to mature and learn the NFL game Mallet could be a legitimate starter.
This is a bit of a jump up the rankings for the Falcons but I was very very impressed with Julio Jones and he will bring some much needed explosiveness to the offense. Also Michael Turner looked like he was in great shape and had nice burst in his limited carries.
Things aren't looking good right now for Jeremy Maclin the team is being very hush hush, let's just hope it isn't anything too serious. If Steve Smith can return to only 80% of what he was in New York the Eagles have a steal on their hands. The Eagles are the trendy pick right now but I am not sure if Mike Vick has what it takes to lead this team to the Super Bowl.
Washington seemed to run all over the Pittsburgh D which is a little worrying. I don't see this being a problem in the regular season. Big Ben only had 3 pass attempts and his overthrow to Mike Wallace was a little rusty but I think this team will be as good as ever in 2011.
Apparently the Ravens aren't very high on their rookie receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss as they acquired Lee Evans to be the team's number 2 opposite Anquan Boldin. I think this is a great move and should help Flacco and Boldin in equal measures. This is still going to be a run first team with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams but having a legitimate deep threat will hopefully stop teams loading the box.
Writing this on Monday afternoon I won't be able to comment on their first preseason game but I still think this is high for the Jets. It may be because they aren't a very flashy team and win with Rex Ryan and their Defense. I just don't like Mark Sanchez as an NFL QB. Shonn Greene should be set for a monster year.
As a Colts fan I am having nightmares about what happens when Peyton finally hangs up his cleats. Dan Orlovsky looked woeful and Curtis Painter wasn't much better. Between Addai, Brown and Carter the Colts are praying they have some semblance of a running game this year because Manning is the best in the business working off play action.
I am putting it on record now I think Vincent Jackson is going to have a monster year. No one throws the deep ball better than Phil Rivers and that 48 yard bomb was just awesome to watch. As for Ryan Mathews turning up to camp out of shape, what an idiot. I hope the Chargers give Mike Tolbert the starting job.
As with the Jets I am writing this before the Texans first preseason game. I am looking forward to seeing how the Texans new 34 looks. If the Defense can be somewhere near middle of the league this team will have a legitimate chance of making it deep into the postseason.
I don't know if anyone saw Cris Carter's comment that Calvin Johnson isn't a top 5 NFL receiver but it made me laugh. Megatron is in my opinion the best WR in the NFL. Matthew Stafford looked amazing against the Bengals. As a football fan I pray that he and Jahvid Best stay healthy because this offense will be a pleasure to watch. The Lions will officially be my team in Madden 2012.
Felix Jones showed some good moves in the preseason opener. He played all 16 games last year and if he does it again he could put up some monster numbers. Right now they may actually be better than the Giants but I want to see a bit more from this team before I move them up.
Not much to report on really as most of the starters for Chiefs either sat out or played limited snaps. Jon Baldwin flashed some of his ability but by all reports he is struggling against press coverage in training camp so I am not sure how much he will be used at the start of the season. I think that between Jamaal Charles and the defense they have a shot at winning the AFC West but I do think San Diego are much better than them right now.
There was a nice fumble recovery by Mason Foster who I think could be a stud in the Tampa 2. Josh Freeman continues to impress me. I actually saw him on his NFL debut at the London game in 2009 and the amount he has come on since then is astonishing. He could be a top 10 NFL QB this year. Right now it is going to be tough for this team to make the playoffs with the Saints and the Falcons in their division but it is not out of the question that they finish 3rd in the division at 10-6 and makes it in with a wildcard spot.
The O-line is a farce; I think Jay Cutler should be given a medal for bravery. They might be better served standing 5 cardboard cut outs in front of him instead. J'Marcus Webb was abysmal against the Bills. I am pretty down on the Bears at the moment just because I don't see how they get through a full 16 games with Cutler under center.
Sam Bradford didn't look as good as I had hoped his stat line of 7/12 for 45 yards and a TD is pretty underwhelming considering the expectations on him this year. He did have a nice rapport with rookie TE Lance Kendricks who caught 5 balls. Right now they are my pick to win the NFC West.
Blaine ‘Sunshine' Gabbert looked a little out of rhythm but he showed some of his massive potential. I think giving him a year to sit on the bench and learn may be the best idea. MJD's knee is still a lingering issue and I am not sure if anyone outside of the Jaguars staff really knows how much of a problem it is. Rashad Jennings looked good in his 6 runs and would likely be a serviceable back up.
I am starting to think this could be a very painful year for all involved with the Dolphins. Chad Henne looked like garbage and is an interception machine. I can't understand why they didn't trade for Orton as he is miles better than Henne. Daniel Thomas had a great 25 yard reception along the sidelines and could be a stud in fantasy this year. The Defense will be a top 10 unit and is pretty much the only saving grace on this team right now.
That throw that Kolb made to Fitzgerald was pretty bad, however number 11 can make any QB look good at times. I am loving the trust that these 2 look to be building and I have high hopes for the both of them this year. Beanie Wells looked in shape and ready to go maybe he can be worthy of that 31st pick that Arizona spent on him.
They have to pay CJ2K the money he deserves. He is an elite player and is worth every single dollar. I understand RB isn't the position you want to throw money at but I think Johnson is a very special player and certainly worth it.
WOW Colt McCoy looked like the second coming of Joe Montana. That throw to Josh Cribbs was pinpoint. I know Peyton Hillis started wearing down last year but he is still a stud when healthy. Right now they are better than the Bengals and could be in for a pretty decent year.
It was great to see Shawne Merriman back. I remember the days when he arguably the best pass rushing OLB in the league. Let's hope he can stay healthy. I thought the wildcat was dead.....but apparently that's why you pay Brad Smith $16m.
Without Darren McFadden playing there isn't that much to talk about because he is basically the offense in Oakland. The front 7 for this team is underrated and think teams will struggle to run the football on them this year. However the secondary is pretty shaky and they are going to miss Asomugha a lot.
Jimmy Clausen actually played pretty well. The pick six was a bit ugly but he showed he could move the ball. Greg Olsen looked really good and is a massive sleeper at TE this year. As much as I think Cam Newton is a slime ball he looked halfway decent and will likely be the opening day starter.
I got my wish; they ran the Pistol with Kaepernick. It was fun to watch and that 28 yard scramble shows that he is much faster than people realize. Alex Smith was pretty awful but that was more to do with his line as he was pressured on every drop back. Roman Harper seemed to have a homing device for him all day. It is hard to rank the bottom 9-10 teams as they are all mediocre but until the season starts it is impossible to know who will suck the most.
I think the QB mess in Denver is going to hurt this team badly down the line. Kyle Orton is a decent NFL QB, but he will never be anything more than an average player at the position. I know Tebow plays the position very ugly but he is effective. Plus watching him play is always loads of fun. Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee are going to make a good backfield this year and I expect Jon Fox to pound the ball a lot.
I am starting to think this could be a really bad season for the Vikes. The O line looked pretty dreadful and we all saw what McNabb looked like behind a bad line last year. Adrian Peterson is going to have to play out of his mind to carry this team.
Tarvaris Jackson looked atrocious. I mean you know it's bad when clipboard Jesus aka Charlie Whitehurst looks much better than you. Losing Russell Okung to a high ankle sprain was pretty much the worst thing that could have happened to this line. If it lingers like last year he will miss a lot of time. And if that happens Marshawn Lynch is going to average about 2 YPC.
Rex Grossman.....NFL caliber QB...wow never though I would write that. He looked amazing going 19/26 for 207 and a TD. I think someone just put Andrew Luck into his uniform though as I cannot believe he is capable of those sorts of numbers. Just as you think Shanny has got it all back together he decides to bench Grossman and put John Beck in as the 1st team QB in practice.
That pick that Andy Dalton threw to Chris Houston was U G L Y. I don't think he has the physical tools to be an NFL QB. If he is the week 1 starter this team is going to have a shot at 0-16. Cedric Benson looked lively which is odd as he usually resembles a sluggish fat man.