Houston Texans (3-0) - Previously: #1 - The Texans must have felt great to give Peyton Manning his first spread loss as a home underdog since his rookie season, given all of the grief he's caused them over the years. Oh yeah, and they won too. I guess that's semi-important.
Atlanta Falcons (3-0) - Previously: #7 - Atlanta's defense is awesome. They've made the Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers' offenses look completely inept for the most part. And then there's Matt Ryan, who was on pace to throw for 400 yards and six touchdowns at halftime against San Diego, but Philip Rivers couldn't keep up.
Forum member VikingSteve asked me, "Falcons/Texans for the Super Bowl, Walt?" It certainly looks like it right now, but as I replied, "We'll see what the Falcons do in the playoffs."
That's the coherent answer. For an incoherent one, let's refer back to a GameCenter comment from last year:
all im saying is falcons will fall on their faces as usaul.are dont you remember last year?
Heed the wise words of the GameCenter user.
New York Giants (2-1) - Previously: #6 - Man, am I stupid for betting against the Giants when everyone was doubting them, or what? Here's how I felt when the NFL Network analysts were making their predictions:
Marshall Faulk: I'm picking the Panthers because the Giants are too banged up.
Me: Hmm... I wonder if they're all taking Carolina. That would be bad news.
Michael Irvin: I'm takin' the New York Giant because point win championships.
Me: Uh-oh, that's two for two.
Steve Mariucci: Oh boy, golly gee whiz whoo boy, boy I tell ya, both teams are great, I love them both, but oh boy, if Marshall says the Panthers are going to win, then by golly, the Panthers are going to win.
Deion Sanders: Deion Sanders a big believer in Eli Manning. He really is. But he is takin' the Carolina Panthers tonight.
Me: God damn it! Rich Eisen, please save me, for the love of God!
Rich Eisen: Well you're all taking the Panthers, huh? Well, I am too.
I knew instantly that I essentially flushed my $440 down the toilet.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) - Previously: #2 - Nothing against the Ravens' win over the Patriots, but I thought the Falcons and Giants were more impressive, so I moved them up rather than sliding Baltimore down.
Edit: The video was removed, but it clearly showed the ball sailing wide of the goal post. It was no good.
San Francisco 49ers (2-1) - Previously: #3 - And that's why I didn't rank the 49ers No. 1 last week. Alex Smith cannot be relied upon to win a game against a good defense.
If you missed it, there was some bad officiating in the San Francisco-Minnesota game. The refs allowed Jim Harbaugh to challenge a play in the second half when he didn't have any timeouts. Some may think this was simply a procedural error. I disagree. I think the official was just being smart in trying to avoid hate mail from 49er fans - because that fan base, as I've learned over the past year, is king of the hate mail.
Green Bay Packers (2-1) - Previously: #4 - Here's a recap of Packers 12, Seahawks 7:
- No. I can't even do a recap. I'm so disgusted by the ending of this game, so forgive me for not delving into Bruce Irvin's breakout party and a gritty second-half performance by Aaron Rodgers against a monstrous Seattle defense. That's all irrelevant because this game turned into a farce.
If you somehow missed it, the Packers intercepted a Russell Wilson Hail Mary. One ref ruled it a touchback, but the other one signaled touchdown. They then went to the replay, and it was ruled a score. They had to attempt an extra point, but the Packers already ran into the locker room in disgust. Here's a picture:
Here were some of my Tweets after the Touchception happened (@walterfootball):
- @nflcommish doesn't care about player safety or the integrity of the game unless it results in him getting sued. This is a joke.
- #Packers interception and #Seahawks offensive PI. And Seattle wins? Sportsbooks should refund all tickets.
- Fakest win ever, good job replacement officials and @nflcommish. What a joke.
- "Sacrifice these refs to the greater refs as tribute." (Link from the forums)
- Oh, we got everything wrong in the last 2 minutes, but let's make sure we get the final XP rule right!
- I cannot believe Mike McCarthy was that calm. I would have been throwing chairs at the reporters.
New England Patriots (1-2) - Previously: #5 - Well, the Patriots covered as an underdog coming off a loss, but they didn't win for the first time since the Tom Brady Super Bowl era. Signs of decline, or was it bad officiating? I guess we'll find out.
Speaking of crappy refs, e-mailer Joe B. sent me a hilarious e-mail about official Bill Hermansen, who was the one who lost control of the Baltimore-New England game:
Watching the Sunday night game now. When did Clint Eastwood become a referee? What division of college ball was he working before the lockout?
The similarities are uncanny. Take a look:
It makes me wonder if Hermansen is actually Eastwood researching a role for his next movie where he plays a replacement official going blind. That would explain all of the bad calls.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) - Previously: #8 - I'll excuse the loss to the crappy Raiders because Troy Polamalu and James Harrison were out. But the Steelers are on thin ice, as their loss to Denver is looking more and more like it was a really bad one. We'll see how Pittsburgh does at full strength after the bye.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) - Previously: #12 - I never imagined that I would be ranking Kevin Kolb in the top 10, but if you think about it, aside from the running game, is there much of a difference between the Cardinals and 49ers? Both teams have pedestrian quarterbacks, an awesome receiving playmaker (Vernon Davis, Larry Fitzgerald) and a terrific defense. I picked Arizona to win the NFC West prior to the season, and I'd say it's a three-way toss-up right now.
I should note that there were some pathetic officiating moments in the Arizona-Philadelphia game. The official never revealed who won the coin toss. Later on, they incorrectly reported a penalty that should have been a loss of a down for the Cardinals, so Arizona actually had five downs on one series.
Given all of the crappy officiating thus far, you might find this link that Sarah W. sent over pretty amusing.
Seattle Seahawks (1-2) - Previously: #10 - Tweets from other people about the Monday night disgrace:
@Zoltac - Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw a game-winning interception.
@TheMikeAitkens - That gives a new meaning to Seattle's 12th man.
@Fezziksports - I TOLD u guys Sea was the right side.....
@Zachthewriter - If we had real refs the Browns would still be 0-3.
@tonygonzalez88 (Falcons' tight end) - I've been saying give the refs a break but that TD call was ridicules. How do you miss that? Pop Warner refs would have gotten that right.
@nickkroll - These replacement refs are like banging a sex doll w chlamidia. It's not the real thing & u still end up with a nasty itch.
@tkgleat - somewhere Ed Hochuli is doing c*** push ups surrounded by tigers. Drinking expensive Scotch will Mambo #5 is playing in the background
@TCrabtree83 (Packer tight end) - 13th man beat us tonight.
@pdomo - How can that be ruled a TD? The fix is in. Pro wrestling has more integrity than the NFL.
@darrenrovell - If Roger Goodell wants any leverage, he's going to have to overrule the replacement refs here.
@tJLang70 (Packer guard) - Got f***ed by the refs... Embarrassing. Thanks NFL.
@sportsguy33 - Mike McCarthy should have ran back out on the field naked from the waist down.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 - Bottom 10
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3) - Previously: #32 - I wonder if Mike Holmgren still thinks that Robert Griffin is too short to play in his awesome offense.
31. Miami Dolphins (1-2) - Previously: #28 - Yes, yes, the Dolphins beat the Raiders and are still ranked below them. Oakland was playing an early game on the East Coast, and I don't think Miami can beat Pittsburgh like the Raiders just did. Ryan Tannehill sucks, by the way. He may have just set the record for most overthrows in the end zone in a single game, breaking Brady Quinn's record of 58.
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) - Previously: #27 - No matter how many Super Bowls he wins, and no matter how many MVPs he claims, Andrew Luck will always have to live with the fact that he lost to Blaine Gabbert at home.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) - Previously: #29 - Blaine Gabbert is so fortunate that Maurice Jones-Drew ended his holdout. Otherwise, the Jaguars would be 0-3 right now, and everyone would be talking about how much Gabbert sucks.
Well, I still am. Facebook friend Thomas P. posted this on my wall back in August:
Tom Coughlin says the starters will get about 15-18 plays in the first preseason game vs. Jacksonville. Over/under on how many times the Giants first team pass rush will make Blaine Gabbert poo himself?
My response: I think he'll poo himself during warmups.
28. St. Louis Rams (1-2) - Previously: #24 - How many fantasy games did Steven Jackson ruin by playing on a bum knee against the Bears? People who started either Jackson or Daryl Richardson were screwed. I had to start Richardson in one of my five leagues because my running back corps is decimated by injuries, but I still somehow managed to win.
Speaking of fantasy, Tim L. sent me a series of e-mails Sunday:
- Big risk on the Titans pick this week. Then again, I benched CJ2K on my FF team, which means your big risk is now likely a sure success.
- Oh s***, it looks like I intended to sit CJ2K and forgot to actually do it. You're f***ed.
- Nevermind, Titans didn't need CJ2K to win. So I still got screwed and you won! Good job!
27. Oakland Raiders (1-2) - Previously: #30 - It's amazing how good the Raiders can be when they actually play smart football. It's just too bad that they have way too many injuries on defense.
On a semi-related note, my editor found a hilarious note in the New York Time's NFL pick section:
The Chargers defense is being lauded for the minuscule amount of yards rushing it has allowed, but that was against the pass-heavy Raiders and a Titans team that seems to be doing some sort of Weekend at Bernie's act with the remnants of Chris Johnson's career.
26. New Orleans Saints (0-3) - Previously: #20 - The Saints are so poorly coached right now, you almost have to wonder what happens just prior to kickoff...
Interim to the Interim Coach: Oh gosh I'm sorry nervous, I hope this helps!
*** In the second quarter... ***
Interim to the Interim Coach: I wunnnn timmeeeoouutt. I wunnnnn timmmeeoiuutt!
Official: You've already used all three timeouts in the first half, coach.
Interim to the Interim Coach: But I wunnnn timmeeouut. Yeerr myy beesss friieenndd hic! Cannn yaaa givvvee mmeee timmeeooout?
Official: I can't do that, coach.
Interim to the Interim Coach: Yewwww wannnn fiiighhthtt! I'lll fiiiight yewwwww riiiiggghh noowowwww! Hic!
25. Carolina Panthers (1-2) - Previously: #18 - Great job by Cam Newton for doing his stupid Superman cape celebration when the score was 23-7. You're awesome, well done. Also, what's up with Cam chewing the same yellow gum throughout the whole game? Did anyone else notice this? I don't think I've ever seen a quarterback chew yellow gum before during a game. I blame this, as well as the NFL Network predictions, for my four-unit loss on Carolina on Thursday night.
24. Tennessee Titans (1-2) - Previously: #31 - Now, that was the team I expected to see against the Patriots when I bet three units on them in Week 1. If the Titans show well against the Texans, they'll escape the Bottom 10. In the meantime...
It's the Adventures of Stupid Vince and Senile Bud! In this week's episode...
Bud Adams: Hey you, man servant, I just checked my fantasy team and Eddie George didn't do nothin' yesterday. Tell him he's gonna get cut if he doesn't step up his game.
Vince Young: Uhh... ha Eddie Georges not on team anymore boss ha, he now talkin' on da TV with blond womens and odder guy.
Bud Adams: TV? Who's on TV? What blond woman?
Vince Young: Derrr, I tink her name Andrew ha or Joey someting I forget ha.
Bud Adams: Andrew Joey? Sounds like a good football player. Let's sign him immediately. Man servant, get the general manager on the phone ASAP.
Vince Young: Derr, I dunno what AST mean boss. Does it mean like uhh... America... uhh... I forget odder ledders already ha.
Bud Adams: Letters? There's a letter for me? Let me read it, man servant.
Vince Young: Derrr, I dunno what letters ya talkin' bout ha. I try call general manage but I dunno what letter to pressing on phone.
Bud Adams: Phone? Someone's on the phone? Hello? Hello!? Hello!?!?!
Vince Young: Phone no ringing, boss ha. For me for phone work I need press ledder on da phone ha.
Bud Adams: Man servant, what's the meaning of this? It says right here that Eddie George scored zero points for me yesterday. Who's Eddie George?
23. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) - Previously: #25 - Kansas City fans saw some horrible officiating in Sunday's game. I decided that it was time to call an anonymous ref for an interview:
Me: Hey [name withheld], thanks for joining me. You guys have been taking a lot of heat. How have you coped with it?
Anonymous Replacement Official: It's been OK, Walt. We've received plenty of threats, but it's nothing I can't handle.
Me: That's good that you're optimistic about that. Now, let me ask...
Anonymous Replacement Official: Hold on one second.
Anonymous Replacement Official: Hoooolld on, just checking something.
Me: Not a problem.
*** Five minutes later ***
Anonymous Replacement Official: After going over it with the league officials upstairs, I've determined that I'm not handling it well. I'm crying myself to sleep every night, and I'm terrified I'm going to make a poor call on national TV.
Me: What? You changed your mind after conferring with the enigmatic guys upstairs?
Anonymous Replacement Official: Yes, what I said was wrong, and I had to talk with them to get it right.
Me: But why'd you waste my time when you could have just stated your true opinion in the first place?
Anonymous Replacement Official: That's it! Personal foul on you! Fifteen yards!
Anonymous Replacement Official: I've been told to penalize anyone who yells at us. You just yelled at me! That's 15 yards, bub!
Me: But I'm not even coachi...
Anonymous Replacement Official: Hold on one second.
Anonymous Replacement Official: Hoooolld on, just checking something.
*** Five minutes later ***
Anonymous Replacement Official: After going over it with the league officials upstairs, I've determined that the 15-yard penalty should not be enforced because you're not a head coach and this is not an NFL game.
Me: No s***, a**hole.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Dallas Cowboys (2-1). Previously: #15
12. San Diego Chargers (2-1). Previously: #9
13. Detroit Lions (1-2). Previously: #10
14. Buffalo Bills (2-1). Previously: #22
15. Denver Broncos (1-2). Previously: #11
16. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1). Previously: #14
17. Minnesota Vikings (2-1). Previously: #26
18. Chicago Bears (2-1). Previously: #16
19. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1). Previously: #23
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2). Previously: #17
21. Washington Redskins (1-2). Previously: #19
22. New York Jets (2-1). Previously: #21
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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: