Mostly agree with your rankings; with the optimism bias from being a cardinals fan personally, I'd argue you could make a 1 star increase at each position, but their current rankings are also fair. I very much disagree with the 1 star ranking at special teams however, as we have a pro bowl gunner in Justin Bethel being joined by some high upside athletes in the kick coverage team and kick return game. Probably the best coverage unit in the game, which coupled with a punter who is below average (don't think he's as bad as stats show- his hangtime is rediculous, and it seems the staff went with him for this reason. I'd choose a distance leg with our coverage team, butI digress). In short, I'd say 3 stars is fair. A perfectly average special teams unit, whose only limitation really seems to be Drew Butler's distance and the uncertainty of a new long snapper (but both seem pretty reliable this far)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-3) - Previously: #8 - Here are my thoughts on the Eagles-Redskins game:
1. Some people have asked me if this performance by the Eagles was legitimate, or if it was the result of Washington sucking. Well, both, but more of the former.
I have no idea how anyone can stop this Eagles offense. They have so many weapons, and the defense can't really focus on containing them because they have to worry about QB Dog Killer's ability to pick up first downs with his one-of-a-kind scrambling ability.
After the game, Trent Dilfer said that this victory put the rest of the NFL in "panic mode." I couldn't agree more.
2. In case you missed this blowout, the Eagles led 35-0 right after the first quarter. In the first 15 minutes, they registered 280 total yards of offense. QB Dog Killer was 8-of-8 for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Philly's 28-0 advantage was the largest lead any road team has ever maintained at the end of the first quarter in NFL history.
3. As for the Redskins, the big news item going into this game was Donovan McNabb's 5-year, $78 million contract. The timing of this was bizarre, as McNabb was benched in his last start. While $78 million sounds like a lot for a declining quarterback, Mike Tirico reported that the deal contains only $10 million guaranteed, so it's a pretty good contract for the Redskins. Overall, I like the extension; despite this blowout loss, having McNabb around brings some stability to Washington.
McNabb went 17-of-31 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, two of which weren't his fault. McNabb certainly didn't have a good game, but he wasn't terrible either. He hit some deep passes, but was betrayed by his crappy receivers.
4. A funny GameCenter post (thanks to forum member Hyperborean): "Vick isnt killing dogs this time, hes killing redskins!"
5. A strange comment by Jon Gruden: "If you're looking to buy a football fan a Christmas present, get 'em a DeSean Jackson touchdown highlight reel."
Umm... what? Forum mod VBSiena had the best response: "Please don't buy me a DeSean Jackson TD reel. I will not accept it."
New England Patriots (7-2) - Previously: #9 - OK, I'm ranking the Patriots as the No. 1 AFC squad after a very impressive win at Pittsburgh, but I don't think they're the best team in the conference. No, I'm not on crack. Just hear me out.
I don't think there is a "best team" in the league this year, aside from the Eagles. Every other team in this Top 10 has flaws and is susceptible to some of the other squads in these rankings.
It's kind of like a rock-paper-scissors thing for these AFC teams. Here's what I'm talking about:
New England Patriots. STRONG AGAINST: Steelers, Ravens. WEAK AGAINST: Jets, Colts.
The Ravens and Steelers thrive on stopping the run. The Patriots don't run the ball. Instead, Tom Brady just torches their weak secondaries. On the other hand, the Jets and Colts both defend aerial attacks well.
New York Jets (7-2) - Previously: #10 - Another rock-paper-scissors:
New York Jets. STRONG AGAINST: Colts, Patriots. WEAK AGAINST: Ravens, Steelers.
The Colts beat the Jets last year, but that AFC Championship was pretty close. Now that Mark Sanchez has more experience, I think New York can knock off Indianapolis.
By the way, I received the following e-mail from an angry Jets fan who didn't like my pick in the New York-Cleveland game:
So the Browns can run the ball, but suddenly the Jets cant? Excuse my language, but f*** you sir. The Jets have the best run defense in football, and the Browns defense is not that stout. You're jumping on a bandwagon, and you're going to look stupid as hell when the Jets run defense stops Peyton Hillis. Consider checking yourself into a mental institution.
Hillis ran for 82 yards on just 19 carries. I guess I won't be in a mental hospital anytime soon.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - Previously: #1 - More rock-paper-scissors:
I'll never forget that Pittsburgh-Indianapolis playoff battle five years ago. As a young columnist for the Centre Daily Times (a newspaper in central Pennsylvania), I wrote that the "Steelers had no chance against the Colts."
Oops! You should have seen the hate mail I received. Unfortunately, it's all on my old computer that doesn't work so well anymore, but it looked like this:
"You're a f***ing idiot! You're so f***ing stupid! Why don't you just die and go to hell! Just f***ing hang yourself already!!! If I ever see you, I'm going to rape you and eat your brains! Here we go Steelers, here we go!!!!!"
I wish I were joking, but I received like 100 of these. Hopefully I'll be able to dig them up sometime.
Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - Previously: #5 - Even more rock-paper-scissors:
Indianapolis Colts. STRONG AGAINST: Patriots, Ravens. WEAK AGAINST: Jets, Steelers.
Peyton Manning tends to struggle against tough 3-4 defenses in the playoffs - except versus the Ravens, who have never been able to figure him out. And after getting pwned by the Patriots between 2001 and 2005, Manning suddenly owns the rivalry between he and Tom Brady. Maybe Brady's beautiful hair will tilt the balance in his favor again.
Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Previously: #4 - The Packers were on a bye, so here's an e-mail from Jeff J:
During a broadcast few weeks back, I heard an announcer say, "Greg Jennings may be the best receiver you've never heard of." Me and my boys had to rewind it to make sure that's what he said... then headed to the waiver wire to see if he was available!"
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) - Previously: #2 - The Ravens are only strong against one team, as we all saw in the season opener:
By the way, did anyone else think it was out-of-character for Ray Lewis to spend the entire week complaining about having to play a road game on short rest? Well, I wasn't at the post-game press conference in Atlanta, but I imagine that Lewis looked something like this:
New Orleans Saints (6-3) - Previously: #6 - There's no rock-paper-scissors dynamic in the NFC. If the Eagles don't make it, I think the team with homefield advantage is going to make it to the Super Bowl. The Saints and Falcons are so powerful in their dome, but I don't think either stands much of a chance if they have to play at a cold and windy Lambeau, Lincoln Financial or New Meadowlands. Conversely, the Giants and Packers would be at a severe disadvantage in the Superdome or Georgia Dome.
New York Giants (6-3) - Previously: #3 - Perhaps the Giants should only schedule 1 p.m. games from now on until they remember to pay the electric bill.
Let's go to Notes from NFL.com GameCenter - a list of a few stupid comments I read on NFL.com's GameCenter and my thoughts on them:
1. "it is just senseless trash talk that i, a twelve year old, is more maturre about than most 45 year old fans"
GameCenter - the new headquarters of NAMBLA!
2. "may the fines will start to cut down in the lions stupid penalties. i hope lol."
Does this guy say this for grace before dinner every night?
3. "look at him tryin to sound smart why am i here, im hear talkin to cincy an pit fans not some aints fan who clearly doesnt know football try me kimbo lookin mafu"
He's not trying to sound smart. You're just dumb.
Atlanta Falcons (7-2) - Previously: #11 - Like many of you, I nearly suffered a seizure listening to Bob Papa, Matt Millen and Joe Theismann completely botch that Ravens-Falcons game.
Fortunately, I was able to muster enough mental strength to post the following Tweet ( @walterfootball), "According to these NFL Network announcers, Matt Bryant is throwing passes to Harry Davis against the Raiders defense."
Credit e-mailer Mike for having the same mental stamina because he was able to send over the following message:
I'm watching the Ravens Falcons game on NFL network, and I have to say that Matt Millen is the worst announcer I have ever heard, it makes me angry, like seriously I'd rather listen to a woman... the question is is he a worse GM/president or announcer, or does he just stink at life?
Matt Millen. So stinky at life that people would rather listen to a woman.
2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10 - Bottom 10
32. Carolina Panthers (1-8) - Previously: #32 - The Panthers are so horrific that they're probably not going to win anymore games this year. That begs the question, will they take Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft?
Jimmy Clausen made some nice throws against the Buccaneers, but he has been pretty bad overall; like a C- or so. If he keeps playing this way, the Panthers will need to take Luck.
HOW-EV-AH, Jerry Richardson is super cheap and won't want to spend No. 1 money on a QB. So, I think the new CBA will play a big factor into Carolina's decision. If there's a draft salary scale, and rookies are no longer being awarded $500 trillion contracts for doing nothing, the Panthers will take Luck. But if Richardson has to mortgage five of his mansions to pay Luck, he may just pick A.J. Green or Marcell Dareus.
31. Buffalo Bills (1-8) - Previously: #31 - Forum member Wraith, who visited Orchard Park for the first time to see the Bills "battle" the Lions, e-mailed me the following tidbit:
If you ever go to Buffalo stay away from Gennessee beer and go to Duffs which has incredible wings. My friend thought the can of Gennessee beer I bought was Guiness.
OK, screw getting Andrew Luck. Buffalo's first order of business is to get their s*** together in terms of their beer so they don't screw any other tourists.
30. Arizona Cardinals (3-6) - Previously: #28 - The Adventure of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask continues!
The following interaction occurred during the Seahawks-Cardinals game:
Hasselbeck: Oh man, I am so awesome. I was just featured in South Park.
Anderson: Hic... hey mannnnnn, take a sssip ffffrom hic this fffflask.
Hasselbeck: I know your tricks, Anderson! Instead of drinking out of your flask, I'm going to rub the alcohol on the broken bone on my wrist to make it feel better.
Hasselbeck: It'll be cool when I win this game! Muhahahahaha!
29. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7) - Previously: #27 - Prior to the Monday night game, Carson Palmer was interviewed about playing with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. He had the following response:
It's been fun, it's been interesting, it's been miserable, it's been an adventure.
I must have been the only one who caught this. I love how he just stuck "miserable" in there. Palmer can't say anything bad publicly about those two clowns, so I bet he snuck that in intentionally to let everyone know that he's really depressed and crying himself to sleep every night.
It's OK, Carson. Just seven more weeks, and it'll all be over.
28. Detroit Lions (2-7) - Previously: #20 - If only Matthew Stafford were healthy...
More Notes from NFL.com GameCenter (the third from Wraith):
1. "i noe that the Browns are a young rebuilding team and all , but lets face facts , the Jets are not gonna loose two games in a row"
All that analysis on my picks page, and I got the Jets-Browns selection wrong. This guy noes more than I do, apparently.
2. "TEXANS OMG U GUYS PICKED UP JASON ALLEN HHAH GOOD LUCK WITH THE WORST COVER MAN CORNER IN THE LEAGUE NOT MENITION YOUR GONNA WATCH THE MAN DROP ABOUT 3 INTS EVERY GAME GOOD LUCK WITH THAT CANCER ON YOUR TEAMMMM"
Charlie Villanueva was definitely not pleased with this post.
3. "bolden you effing idiot flack o"
This guy has mastered the difficult art of nonsensically putting together random words in a sentence.
27. Denver Broncos (3-6) - Previously: #30 - If you missed it, Todd Haley snubbed Josh McDaniels on the post-game handshake. Here's a picture:
1. What were the odds that this would happen? -500? -1,000? These are the two of the biggest a**holes in the NFL. There was no way there was going to be a handshake.
2. Someone call the fashion police! Forum member Eagles4Life pointed this out: "The bigger question here is why is Josh McDaniels wearing a hoody under a hoody with the top ones sleeves rolled up?"
3. I wonder why these two jerks couldn't shake each other's hand. There has to be something beyond the Broncos running up the score. I'll have to think about this...
26. San Francisco 49ers (3-6) - Previously: #29 - I am now a Troy Smith fan. He looked great against an underrated Rams defense.
By the way, I hate reading ridiculous stats like this one provided by a highly trafficked fantasy Web site last week:
The 49ers are 14-0 when Frank Gore has 24 or more carries.
In other news, the sky is blue, there are weirdos at my gym, and Rosie O'Donnell eats large mammals.
Stats like these are so stupid. Sure, Frank Gore is awesome, but maybe he's getting all of those carries because, I don't know, the 49ers were ahead in the first place and were running out the clock?
25. St. Louis Rams (4-5) - Previously: #23 - An e-mail from Andy W:
Walt, I caught this at a CBS Sports chatroom and thought you'd enjoy it.
[SETUP: Rams-49ers game, 4th quarter, under 1 minute remaining]
JFLDEMONS: What's being reviewed?
CALLMEZEKE: Replay officials are trying to figure out which team sucks worse.
I guess the officials said the following afterward: "The ruling on the field is confirmed. The Rams suck worse, so we are going to whistle them for an unbelievably horrid pass interference penalty even though the quarterback will be throwing off his back foot, and the ball won't be anywhere near the receiver. 49ers win."
24. Minnesota Vikings (3-6) - Previously: #17 - The teams the Vikings beat this year: Detroit (2-7), Arizona (3-6) and Dallas (2-7). Interesting...
So, I couldn't come up with what Haley and McDaniels had a beef about. Why not interview them?
ME: Hey Josh, thanks for joining me.
MCDANIELS: "I am Josh McDaniels and I'm so f***ing awesome."
ME: Josh, I have to call Todd up... Hey Todd, thanks for joining me.
HALEY: "Hey Walt. The girl next door was laying out in her bikini, so I videotaped her teeheehee. Want to watch?"
ME: Hmm... maybe later. I also have Josh McDaniels here for a three-man interview.
HALEY: "What!? How dare you!?!? I hate Josh McDaniels. I f***ing hope he falls into a volcano and tears his ACL."
MCDANIELS: "Hey Turd Haley! You're just jealous of me because I'm Josh f***ing McDaniels, and I'm f***ing awesome."
ME: Guys, guys, can we just be civil here?
HALEY: "How can I be civil!? Josh McStupid deserve to drown in urine!!! He needs to be tortured!!! He's a cancer!!!"
CHARLIE VILLANUEVA: "Hey, hey, hey..."
MCDANIELS: "Turd Hailstick got yelled at by Charlie Villanueva haa haa!!!"
HALEY: "But Josh McDoodoo ran up the score on my team!!! There's no way I'm letting him watch the videos of my neighbors anymore!!!"
MCDANIELS: "I'm Josh f***ing McDaniels, and I do whateva I want, b****! I don't go to team meetings and I kill people. Whateva! I do whateva I want! Whateva!!! Whateva!!!"
23. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) - Previously: #26 - I'm disgusted that the stupid Cowboys finally tried hard and ruined my Survivor Pool entries. I'm particularly disturbed by the reports that came out of Dallas all week, including one where lethargic corner Mike Jenkins said he brought a notebook to film study for the first time all season.
Really? Was Wade Phillips that poor of a coach, or is Jenkins just that big of a douche? Maybe both? And if it's the former, why wasn't Wobbling Wade fired earlier, like, two years ago?
I wonder what sort of exchange the two had when Phillips was still around...
Wade Phillips: Hey Michael, did you forget to bring your notebook again?
Mike Jenkins: Hell to the yea-yuh!
Wade Phillips (looking down, depressed): Oh...
Mike Jenkins: Notebooks are for losers, dog! I ain't bringing no notebook!
2010 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. San Diego Chargers (4-5). Previously: #12
12. Tennessee Titans (5-4). Previously: #7
13. Miami Dolphins (5-4). Previously: #14
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3). Previously: #16
15. Houston Texans (4-5). Previously: #13
16. Oakland Raiders (5-4). Previously: #15
17. Cleveland Browns (3-6). Previously: #19
18. Chicago Bears (6-3). Previously: #22
19. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4). Previously: #18
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4). Previously: #25
21. Seattle Seahawks (5-4). Previously: #24
22. Washington Redskins (4-5). Previously: #21
Run Defenses, Pass Defense, Pass Protection:
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: