Sports Opinion & Analysis

NFL Power Rankings: Part I

In NFL on October 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Some sites out there like to come out with their Power Rankings before the season even starts, because apparently training camp and meaningless preseason games are good indicators for how a team will fare during the regular season.

I think those rankings are worthless.

And that’s why I waited four weeks, so the teams could play and a large enough sample set could be observed  to make a more accurate judgment.

With that said, here is the first installment of Hitotleftfield.com’s first ever NFL Power Rankings.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)

If you’re from Cleveland, it’s bad enough the original Browns and Lebron left, but now your left watching a rookie quarterback already old enough to retire. Maybe it’s time you think about moving to a different sports market. I hear Baltimore and Miami are nice.

31. New York Jets (2-2)

“No, I don’t want you talking to me because you ruin the career of every quarterback you come near.”

Quite possibly the worst 2-2 team in history. They’ve already lost their best defensive player (Darrell Revis), and now their best offensive threat (Santonio Holmes) for the entire season. What’s next, chants of “Tebow” to replace Mark Sanchez? Oh wait, that’s already happening?

I love me some miracle comebacks, but prepare for this train wreck to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Tebow!

30. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

You know you have a steep hill to climb when your fan base’s biggest complaint is, “Man, if only we had a better long snapper…

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

Which one of these statements is more true:

Blaine Gabbert is not a true NFL quarterback, or Justin Blackmon is not a legitimate wide receiver. 

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be both.

28. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)

“I should have stayed for my Ph.D…”

Keep telling yourself “Peyton only won one game as a rookie,” Indianapolis.

27. Detroit Lions (1-3)

What happened? A team that was a stomp away from being a contender a year ago is hands down one of the worst teams in the league. They can’t throw, they can’t run, and they can’t defend.

This is the Detroit Lions though. A regression to the mean, and all that.

26. Tennessee Titans (1-3)

Chris Johnson has let us all down too many times to be trusted. Whether you’re Bud Adams, or just some dude with an underperforming fantasy team, you know not to put too much stock in CY20 just yet.

Let’s see what happens if Jake Locker returns from injury, or if Matt Hasselbeck takes over the team like he thought he would when he originally signed there. Either way, don’t expect too much.

25. New Orleans Saints (0-4)

“Would someone take a bounty out on me and get me out of here for a while?”

New Orleans is either the best 0-4 team ever, or the worst good team in the league. Granted, the Saints have a lot of problems. Jonathan Vilma’s not back, their coach is banned, and things haven’t been falling their way. Yet, when you tally up the point differentials from their four losses, it only adds up to 20 points.

Why the team’s record might suggest the ‘Aint’s are back, I would suspect New Orleans gets their act together and wins at least seven games in this soon to be forgotten season.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

Dwayne Bowe finally appeared, and you can take Jamaal Charles off the milk carton, but that’s only because you’re replacing his picture with Matt Cassel’s.

Take that back, let Cassel continue to be MIA, and let the Chiefs go out and find a quarterback who actually might get the job done.

23. Miami Dolphins (1-3)

Ryan Tannehill looked for real against against the Arizona Cardinals. Then again, Arizona tends to let rookie quarterbacks look that way. If the Dolphins defense continues to stop the run like they have, this team might be a sleeper in a year or two.

22. Carolina Panthers (1-3)

“Yeah buddy! Only down 42-to-7!”

Cam Newton needs to grow up. Plain and simple.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)

The Bucs have had some tough loses against some decent teams, yet in their three losses, the point differentials were only 14 total points. This is a young team with a lot of upswing. I know there is a lot of anti-Josh Freeman sentiment in Tampa, but look at it this way: Freeman is young and physically talented. Let one coaching staff consistently work with him and see what happens before giving up hope.

I mean, look what a little consistency did for Alex Smith in San Francisco.

20. St. Louis Rams (2-2)

It’s the Rams, but it’s also Jeff Fischer, so I really don’t know what to think. While sometimes they look solid and lose, other times they look horrible and still manage to win. Granted that win was on a trick play, but a W is a W is a W is a W…

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)

The Steelers lost in Peyton Manning’s Denver debut, and even let the Raiders beat them by a field goal. Pittsburgh’s one and only victory so far has come against the Jets, who turned out to be a disaster. If the Steelers continue playing this way, they will rank even lower come week eight. The only saving grace for them so far is that they had the week four bye, and they have a tendency to not play so great early on, only to really come together when it matters most.

18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

The Cowboys destroyed the defending Super Bowl champions in the season opener and looked like they might be one of the teams to beat in the NFC.

Then, they lost to the Seahawks. Then, Tony Romo was intercepted a bajillion times at home on Monday Night Football.

“Wow, it really is easy to catch these things!”

This team is like mayo, yet slightly spoiled mayo.

17. Buffalo Bills (2-2)

When Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t throwing picks, Fred Jackson is getting injured.

Yay.

16. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Let’s be honest, the Seahawks should be 1-3. They should not have the Monday night win under the belt.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to change, and right now Seattle sits at .500, and doing so with one of the more bone crushing defenses in the league. That, and only that, is their saving grace, and what keeps them competitive each week.

15. San Diego Chargers (3-1)

Don’t be fooled by the Chargers 3-1 record. So far the Bolts have only beaten the Raiders, the Titans, and the Chiefs. What happened the one time they came up against a contender? Atlanta blew them up, 27-3, and Phillip Rivers only scored three points for my stupid fantasy team. Bah!

14. Washington Redskins (2-2)

“Less offensive than “Tebowing,” yet works your core out more than “Planking.”

Mike Shanahan+Robert Griffin III+Alfred Morris=Outstanding potential.

13. Minnesota Vikings (3-1)

Raise your hand if you honestly saw this coming?

Liars.

12. Denver Broncos (2-2)

Peyton Manning might be back to old form, but the talent around him simply isn’t.

He has worked more with less, I suppose, but it will take a little longer for this thing to jell to truly see the results.

11. New York Giants (2-2)

Their offense hasn’t seemed explosive and their defense has not seemed impressive. Then again, that can be said about their team last year, and it 2007. Right now, this team is just good enough right now to stay in the hunt. And, so it seems, that’s the way Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning like it.

10. Chicago Bears (3-1)

Da Bears are off to a 3-1 start, and are currently in the lead for their division. Jay Cutler knows better than you Mike Tice, so don’t try to talk to him, okay?

“Mom, he’s touching me!”

9. New England Patriots (2-2)

The Patriots are .500 only four games in the season. Do you really think Tom Brady and Darth Vader Bill Belichick are worried yet?

Gronk smash!

8. Green Bay Packers (2-2)

2010 seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

A stolen touchdown and some inconsistency has kept the Packers from competing at the level everyone thought they would be at. Yet, for all the talent on the team, this is pretty much where I expect them to stay for the rest of the season. Good, but not nearly good enough.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)

Speaking of good, but not good enough, the Bengals are off to a terrific start, yet I don’t see them going further than a great regular season. On the plus side, their two best offensive players are only in their second year. Expect great things to come out of Cincinnati (for a change) in the future.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

The Eagles have come out of three wins by the skin of their teeth. Between Andy Reid always on the hot seat, and Michael Vick potentially always on the verge of getting benched for rookie Nick Foles, this team is a media nightmare.

Watch out if the Dream Team’s talent ever matches up to their drama.

5. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

Before, if someone said Joe Flacco was an elite quarterback, you usually knew it was Joe Flacco saying in. Now, everyone seems to be buying in.

Oh, and they have Ray Lewis. Which is nice.

4. San Francisco 49ers (3-1)

Everyone thought this team might be the best, or at least second best team in the league. They still might be, but unfortunately they did have that stinker against Minnesota. While the Vikings are proving they might actually be for real, other teams have also faced that type of adversity, yet found the will the win. Granted, the Niners came back the following week, but  the blowout against the Jets doesn’t do anything to truly evaluate San Francisco, because the Jets are simply awful.

The 49ers shouldn’t be too worried though. We are only 25% done with the season, and if the Niners continue to play the way they are expected to, don’t be surprised if they’re at the top of the mountain come Part II of the rankings.

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-0)

“Go ahead and boo me now!”

The most unappreciated unbeaten out of the three remaining unbeatens. Sure, some of their wins have been lucky and at the last second, but the Cardinals have won 11 out of the last 13 games. Luck is one thing, but when you consistently make a habit of it, it’s something else entirely.

Oh, try to beat this team when they play at home.

Unless/until the Cardinals come back to Earth, credit has to be given where credit is due.

2. Atlanta Falcons (4-0)

“They don’t call me Matty Ice for nothing!”

Everyone knew Matt Ryan could lead an offense. Who knew he’d suddenly have a defense to back him up?

1. Houston Texans (4-0)

So far, simply the best.

There has been no better team over the first four weeks than the Houston Texans. They have the best receiver, the best running back, and a decent quarterback. Their defense has somehow gotten better without Mario Williams. While Arizona and Atlanta has had to squeak by a few of their games just to get a win, the Texans have looked dominant week in and week out.

Going into the fifth week of the season, the Houston Texans are the best team in the NFL.

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  1. So now that the Cardinals have come back to earth with that embarrassing loss last night, are you going to update the rankings?

  2. Absolutely not. This was for the first four weeks of the season. The next power rankings will come out after week eight, and will cover all eight weeks of the season. Also, the loss was embarrassing, but on par with the loss San Francisco suffered against Minnesota. Read this article, only replace “San Francisco” with “Arizona.”

  3. I’m just kidding around. I just wanted to throw in a dig at you after last night’s game. Overall I think your rankings are good.

  4. Typical Niners fan! I didn’t say squat when the Vikings destroyed San Francisco, yet last night I was getting text message after text message from people!

    Anyway, thanks for the positive response. I tried to be as fair and objective as possible!

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