@(DST) thanks so much for the insight! I said it would probably be the roughest because I really have not done as much research other than the big names. My draft 2.0 will be more accurate for the front and back half
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:
32. Seattle Seahawks (1-3) - Previously: #32 - Still the worst team in the NFL. They'll look much worse once they travel again.
At least I hope so. I'll be praying that Tarvaris Jackson doesn't have another good game because I'll miss calling him Tarvaris "Poop Salad" Jackson.
Speaking of which, I guess it's a good thing Pete Carroll stuck with his Poop Salad instead of trying his wife's disgusting brownies. Not only did his team look good as a big home underdog; they lost in the end, inching one step closer to winning the Suck for Double Bacon Cheeseburger sweepstakes.
31. St. Louis Rams (0-4) - Previously: #23 - When the Rams went down 14-0 early, I was pretty angry. I yelled incoherently: "What the f*** is going on with the Rams!?"
Seconds later, I realized: "Oh yeah, they're the Rams."
Like I said in my recaps, I have a new appreciation for how bad the Rams are. If I'm the owner, I might be thinking about telling my head coach to sit Sam Bradford until the offensive line improves so my franchise quarterback doesn't suffer long-term physical and psychological damage like David Carr.
30. Indianapolis Colts (0-4) - Previously: #31 - Charlie Campbell (@draftcampbell) covered the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night. Here's his recap of the Tampa-Indianapolis game:
Early in his first NFL start, Curtis Painter moved the ball with some short precision passes to get the Colts a field goal from Adam Vinatieri. Michael Bennett had a strip sack of Painter on the the Colts second possession of the game. The Buccaneers missed a field goal off the upright, and Painter's turnover didn't come back to bite Indianapolis.
Josh Freeman started the game slowly. The Bucs had a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Arrelious Benn called back by a penalty of illegal touching on the second-year wide out. Benn had stepped out of bounds by a matter of inches and it negated a 67-yard touchdown. Tampa Bay challenged the play but the call was upheld.
Midway through the second quarter, the Colts were backed up deep in their own territory. A penalty on Aqib Talib got them a little breathing room. Painter threw a strike to Pierre Garcon in zone coverage between Talib and Ronde Barber. Garcon shed a tackle from Talib and raced down the field 87 yards for a touchdown. The play was reviewed and upheld. At halftime, Painter was 6-of-14 for 137 yards with one touchdown. Garcon had one catch for 87 yards and a score. Reggie Wayne had one catch for nine yards. Joseph Addai had 31 yards on eight carries.
Freeman got the Bucs into the red zone on the next possession. He made a beautiful pass downfield to Benn for a gain of 43 yards. A few plays later, Freeman dived into the end zone for his second career rushing touchdown. Freeman almost got more points just before halftime, but he took a sack and Tampa Bay couldn't get the field cleared quick enough to make their field goal count. In the first two quarters, Freeman was 17-of-24 for 187 yards with one touchdown rushing. Kellen Winslow had four catches for 28 yards. Mike Williams made two catches for 23 yards while Benn had one catch for 43 yards. LeGarrette Blount totaled 32 yards on eight carries.
To start the second half, Freeman led a drive to tie the game at 10. The key play was a 23-yard pass to Williams.
Painter came back to take the lead with a 59-yard touchdown pass to Garcon. It was a tremendous wide receiver screen executed by the Colts. Numerous players hit key blocks downfield on the likes of Ronde Barber and Sean Jones. Garcon kicked it into another gear as he slanted across the field and into the end zone for a Colts 17-10 lead.
The Bucs answered with an 80-yard drive where Freeman finished it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Preston Parker. The key play on the drive came on a fourth-and-1 when the Buccaneers put backup quarterback Josh Johnson into the game. Johnson ran an option with Blount trailing for a potential pitch, but the fast quarterback kept it himself and ran for eight yards.
Tampa Bay took the lead with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. Freeman had an excellent run for a first down on third-and-6. He stumbled and dived to get Tampa Bay a first down. Shortly after that play, Blount broke out a 35-yard run to give the Buccaneers a 24-17 victory over the Colts.
For the game, Freeman was 25-of-39 for 287 yards with one touchdown. Blount put together a strong game with 127 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown. Parker led Tampa Bay in receiving with five catches for 70 yards. Williams had five for 66 yards, while Winslow had five receptions for 33 yards.
Painter played better than his numbers indicate. He was 13-of-30 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He fought hard under constant pressure. Addai led the Colts in rushing with 44 yards on 11 carries. Garcon was the leading receiver with two catches for 146 yards and two scores. Wayne had 59 yards on four receptions.
Both Freeman and Painter saw a good amount of pass pressure throughout the game. Buccaneers defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price played well for Tampa Bay. Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn dished out a massive hit on Painter, while Freeman got rocked by Robert Mathis. McCoy and Clayborn registered sacks, while Bennett had two sacks. Both offensive lines struggled with penalties and missed assignments.
Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo left the game early in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Indianapolis defensive tackle Drake Nevis had a lower back injury. Defensive tackle Eric Foster suffered a gruesome ankle injury just before halftime. Foster was taken to a local Tampa hospital and was going to stay there overnight.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Previously: #29 - I need to complain about a few things that took place in the Buccaneers-Colts game:
1. I loved this random tweet regarding the national anthem:
MNF picked some dudes tailgating outside the stadium to sing the national anthem.
They played a brutal rendition of the national anthem on TV because the Hank Williams "Are you ready for some football?" song was cut out in the wake of Williams' "controversial" comments earlier in the day. If you didn't hear about it, Williams was on FOX News, and likened Barack Obama and some conservative playing golf to Adolf Hitler hanging out with the Israeli prime minister.
Oh, the horror. All Williams did was compare two polar opposites. There shouldn't have been anything controversial about it. Instead, ESPN, in its epic stupidity, decided to can Williams.
Anyone who thinks ESPN was right in doing so needs to clean the sand out of their vag. This includes Twitter user @nastanley, who tweeted the following to me once I expressed my frustration:
Yes screw you ESPN for not support someone openly making racist comments. Says the person that wont let the Vick thing go
Ignorant, guilt-ridden people like N. Stanley need to stop being wusses and quit making everything out to be racist. Williams said nothing wrong. Just leave him alone, and let him do his thing on Monday Night Football for crying out loud. Good God, ESPN blows.
2. How the hell did the Buccaneers not cover this game? They outgained the Colts by nearly 150 yards, yet they only won by seven.
The answer is that they continuously shot themselves in the foot. They committed 14 penalties. They missed a field goal. They had another field goal negated because they had 12 men on the field. Arrelious Benn's long touchdown was wiped out by an illegal touching penalty. They dropped three Curtis Painter interceptions. They also dropped a couple of first-down conversions on third down. It was something I've come to expect from my multi-unit selection this year.
3. Speaking of Tampa penalties, there was some terrible officiating in this game. At halftime, the Buccaneers had nine penalties to Indianapolis' two. Some of the calls definitely were legit, but others were downright shady.
I wasn't the only one who thought so. Forum member pheltzbahr commented:
Someone has a tremendous amount on the Colts. The officiating tells me so.
4. Strange comment from Jon Gruden in the third quarter:
"I like to see big bodies bang!"
Hmm... I think there's a Web site for that.
28. Miami Dolphins (0-4) - Previously: #28 - E-mailer Jeff G. sent over the following e-mail last week:
I was watching the post game interview for the Dolphins (because I use my time wisely) and here's a gem that came out of Chad Henne's mouth:
"I know one thing about these guys: They're not going to stop quitting."
Maybe I should have taken this into account when I bet four units on the Dolphins.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) - Previously: #30 - If you didn't see it, Todd Haley and Matt Cassel got into a heated verbal fight on the sidelines in the first half of the Kansas City-Minnesota game. We don't know what that was about, so I called both men up for an interview:
Me: Hey Todd and Matt, thanks for joining me. I'd like to know why you two were fighting. Matt, since you're not clinically insane, let's start with you.
Matt Cassel: Coach said he was going to bench me if I didn't hang out with him next weekend.
Me: Really? Is this true, Todd?
Todd Haley: Uhh... yeah... I commanded Matt to come with me to Eric Mangini's annual October sleepover, but Matt said he didn't want to go.
Me: Is this true, Matt?
Matt Cassel: Yeah! I don't want to go to that creepy guy's sleepover. I have better plans Friday night.
Me: Why do you want Matt to go with you, Todd?
Todd Haley: Because I said so!
Matt Cassel: Coach, I don't want to go! It's the same thing every time. We spend two hours watching Mangina play Wii Sports, and then he shows us pictures of Erin Andrews while eating macaroni and cheese. It'd be great if he offered us macaroni and cheese, but he hogs it all to himself! And what if Philip Rivers and his cool friends show up to kick our a**es again?
Todd Haley: No, it's going to be different this year. Rivers is going to be in Denver. And plus, I videotaped my neighbor undressing and taking a shower. Eric said we can play the video before he shows us pictures of Erin Andrews.
Matt Cassel: I don't want to see your creepy videos!
Todd Haley: Creepy? Creepy!? I'll show you who's a creep! You're benched, Matt! You're done!
Matt Cassel: If that's what it takes to get out of Mangina's sleepover, I'll gladly be benched.
Me: I would have made the same choice, Matt.
26. Cleveland Browns (2-2) - Previously: #27 - I have nothing interesting to say about the Browns, so here are more Notes from NFL.com GameCenter:
1. "dolphins gonna get destroyed and when you come to buffalo aint nothing but gun shots b praaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
I think it's safe to say this person had a seizure at the end of that comment.
2. "WAT CARSON PALMER SUXZ 2 IT WILL B BETTER IF DEY STAY WIT TROY SMITH"
Ah, so that's why Mike Brown didn't want to trade Palmer.
3. "CRITICS SUK COK!!!!! But they might be right aboot the Raiders winning this one. HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
I had no idea that GameCenter was available to the people in Canada.
25. Denver Broncos (1-3) - Previously: #25 - The electronic sign didn't convince John Fox to start Tim Tebow.
Nice try, Bronco fans. Next time, try something more drastic. I don't know, maybe like buying (renting?) an elephant, getting it "excited," having it splooge all over Fox's car, dipping your finger into the substance and writing "TEBOW MUST START." That might get Fox's attention.
24. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) - Previously: #24 - Fantasy football is driving me insane this year. I don't ever remember it being this chaotic. Chris Wells was a game-time decision, yet he went off for three touchdowns. Kendall Hunter was going to start against the Eagles, so I benched Frank Gore in one league, yet Gore exploded. I also have people yelling at me on my Facebook wall about Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz. Argh!
I can at least take solace in the fact that I'm not the only one having issues with this. I loved this tweet from Around the Horn's Tim Cowlishaw:
Very concerned looks on the 2 [Texas] Rangers I just spoke to in dugout. And their concern? "Why is Torain taking carries away from Hightower?"
23. Minnesota Vikings (0-4) - Previously: #22 - Congratulations to the Vikings, who won Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Sure, they lost in the box score, but they were victorious where it counts most - The Suck for Luck sweepstakes.
Getting the No. 1 pick is extremely important this year, and more teams should follow Minnesota's example and intentionally blow leads in the second half. Even if the Vikings love Christian Ponder, they'll still be able to trade away the top selection to an AFC team for a king's ransom.
2011 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. San Diego Chargers (3-1). Previously: #12
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2). Previously: #5
13. Oakland Raiders (2-2). Previously: #13
14. New York Jets (2-2). Previously: #6
15. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3). Previously: #11
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2). Previously: #14
17. Chicago Bears (2-2). Previously: #15
18. Atlanta Falcons (2-2). Previously: #16
19. San Francisco 49ers (3-1). Previously: #20
20. Washington Redskins (3-1). Previously: #18
21. Carolina Panthers (1-3). Previously: #19
22. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2). Previously: #26
Green Bay Packers (4-0) - Previously: #1 - My NFL Picks are sucking this year, so I'll give something away early. I love the Falcons on Sunday night. This is a big-time revenge game for them, and there are a few great systems that support the pick.
However, I can't bet them. I'm not even sure I can even pick them for zero units. Aaron Rodgers is just way too good. Like I said last week, if you gamble against Rodgers, you might as well set your money on fire. He's just playing out of his mind, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see the Packers go 15-1 or even 16-0.
New England Patriots (3-1) - Previously: #2 - Tom Brady is now 23-11 against the spread after a loss. Maybe I should have made the Patriots my October NFL Pick of the Month.
As for the Raiders, I found this New England-Oakland GameCenter post quite humorous:
wikipedia FACT: Not all poor people are Raider fans, but all Raider fans are poor people.
That's not entirely true. Al Davis is technically a Raider fan, and he's definitely not poor. With tens of thousands of unsacrificed virgins locked away in his dungeon, he's filthy rich.
New Orleans Saints (3-1) - Previously: #3 - A decent win in Jacksonville considering that the yard markers on the field were pointing the wrong way. Blaine Gabbert was confused by this, but Drew Brees, the veteran, was not.
At any rate, 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. "I have Alot of faith in Cincinnati this week Dalton is one heck of a qb and green is a good wide out for rookies but there d is what makes me have high hopes bc Buffalo is coming off a huge win which Alto of the times seems to be a curse for teams"
Just like not being able to spell anything correctly is Alto of the times a curse for getting hired.
2. "Bills will win this weekend and i billieve they will make the playoffs with chan as there new coach"
I don't think I'm going to hire this guy if my picks keep sucking.
3. "Dalton's throwing no ints this game and Cincinnati isn't giveing more then 60 yards rushing bill s suck cinci all the way"
Maybe I'll hire this guy instead. Get ready for some "Tea m A suck team b all the way" analysis.
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) - Previously: #4 - Outside of that weird Week 2 loss at Tennessee, the Ravens have been very impressive this season. Despite Joe Flacco's mid-game struggles, they were dominant against the Jets. Afterward, Terrell Suggs shouted the following during his post-game interview:
"We have to defend M&T!"
That's great. Perhaps Suggs should quit football and work as a bank security guard. There's an M&T Bank right near my house. I can alert them that Suggs will be applying for a job.
Detroit Lions (4-0) - Previously: #7 - I'm still shocked by Detroit's inexplicable comeback. I was amused though by Bill Simmons' tweet after Dallas blew that big lead:
The Cowboys really need to fire Wade Phillips. This has dragged on far too long.
What's even more humorous were the responses to that tweet. Here were some of them:
dude they fired him (phillips)last year
Wade Phillips isn't apart of that organization anymore.
I do believe wade Philipps is no longer with the cowboys.
Amazing. I never thought the GameCenter people would ever learn to use Twitter.
New York Giants (3-1) - Previously: #9 - The Giants could run away with the NFC East. Eli Manning has really been a different quarterback since the second half of the Rams game. Meanwhile, the Redskins are also 3-1, but they're a bit of a fraud. They nearly lost to the Cardinals at home and had trouble putting St. Louis away. The Dream Team has major issues, especially now with Trent Cole and Jason Peters injured. And the Cowboys, well, Wade Phillips needs to go.
Speaking of Dallas, I love how everyone is now off the "Tony Romo is clutch in the fourth quarter" bandwagon. Sure, Romo can beat mediocre teams like the 49ers when no one expects him to, but he'll always choke in the clutch against quality opponents.
Houston Texans (3-1) - Previously: #17 - Though the Steelers squandered away three units because of a dumb Maurkice Pouncey penalty and a blocked chip-shot field goal, I did get a kick out of something in the Pittsburgh-Houston game - the fans in the stands.
The poor people at Reliant Stadium were expecting the worst. When Ben Roethlisberger had possession down seven in the fourth quarter, the camera panned to the crowd. Every single Texan fan just sat there and looked miserable, almost as if they were expecting their team to blow the lead.
Well, they didn't. When it was all over, I was the one sitting there and looking miserable.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) - Previously: #8 - Scroll down to Indianapolis' capsule to read a recap of the Colts-Buccaneers game.
I wanted to use this space to delve more into the Cowboys-Lions contest. When Bobby Carpenter scored on the first of Tony Romo's two pick-sixes, Joe Buck, who was calling the game for FOX, was completely monotone. He expressed no excitement during the play, and he sounded like he was half asleep. Forum member Arcade described it best:
Bobby Carpenter just had a thrilling INT return, and Joe Buck reacts as though he's just found something foul-smelling in his cereal.
I really don't understand why Buck gets to call FOX's top game. He might be a good baseball announcer (I wouldn't know, since I don't watch baseball except for the Phillies), but he's just awful with football games. FOX just signed Gus Johnson to a contract. He should be the play-by-play guy of the top game each week. He somehow made Sunday's 0-3 battle between the Chiefs and Vikings exciting.
Buffalo Bills (3-1) - Previously: #10 - Buffalo moving up after a loss is more of a product of two teams (Steelers, Jets) sliding down after two worse defeats. Pittsburgh is old and slow, while New York is a shell of its former self. Turning into a passing offense with a crap offensive line, two old receivers and mediocre (at best) quarterback may not have been the best decision.
By the way, forum member Swag Dynasty provided this quote by one of the Sunday NFL Countdown analysts (not sure who):
"The Jets aren't the Jets we're used to seeing; the Patriots aren't the Patriots from other years. This is why the Bills are ahead of both of them, those two are trying to figure stuff out and the Bills are just outdoing them."
I'm glad I wasn't listening because I may have suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Tennessee Titans (3-1) - Previously: #21 - It feels odd to have the Titans ahead of both the Steelers and Jets. But like I said, Pittsburgh is old and slow. As for New York, Tennessee has the better offense and defense (at least statistically).
Speaking of the Jets, I had an e-mailer complain about my Spanish Heritage Month comments. Well, in honor of this, I'm proud to announce that October is now Half-Norwegian, Half-Korean Bisexual Heritage Month, and WalterFootball.com is a proud supporter. Click on the link for details.
Top Fantasy Receivers:
Pierre Garcon: 2 catches, 146 yards. 2 TDs.
Hakeem Nicks: 10 catches, 162 yards. 1 TD.
Wes Welker: 9 catches, 158 yards. 1 TD.
Calvin Johnson: 8 catches, 96 yards. 2 TDs.
Steve Smith: 8 catches, 181 yards.
DeSean Jackson: 6 catches, 171 yards.
Eric Decker: 5 catches, 56 yards. 2 TDs.
Vincent Jackson: 3 catches, 108 yards. 1 TD.
Dwayne Bowe: 5 catches, 107 yards. 1 TD.
Greg Jennings: 7 catches, 103 yards. 1 TD.
Jordy Nelson: 5 catches, 91 yards. 1 TD.
Preston Parker: 5 catches, 70 yards. 1 TD.
Josh Morgan: 3 catches. 65 yards. 1 TD.
Dez Bryant: 3 catches, 37 yards. 2 TDs.
Brandon Lloyd: 8 catches, 136 yards.
A.J. Green: 4 catches, 118 yards.
Laurent Robinson: 7 catches, 116 yards.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4 catches, 115 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald: 8 catches, 102 yards.
Jimmy Graham: 10 catches, 132 yards. 1 TD.
Jason Witten: 8 catches, 94 yards. 1 TD.
Jared Cook: 2 catches, 93 yards. 1 TD.
Jermaine Gresham: 4 catches, 70 yards. 1 TD.
Owen Daniels: 5 catches, 69 yards. 1 TD.
Clay Harbor: 3 catches, 55 yards. 1 TD.
Greg Olsen: 5 catches, 50 yards. 1 TD.
Top Fantasy IDP:
Jason Babin: 3 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
Michael Bennett: 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
Osi Umenyiora: 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.