Houston Texans (4-0) - Previously: #1 - Of all the teams, the Texans should be happiest that the real NFL officials are back. Why? Check out this e-mail that Jason G. sent over prior to the conclusion of the referee lockout:
Eagles-Browns (90 percent bet on the Eagles; Penalties: PHI 12-110, CLE 3-35) Referee Kent Roan
Patriots-Cardinals (90 percent bet on Pats; Penalties: ARZ 5-39, NE 8-60)
Vikes-49ers (93 percent bet on 49ers; Penalties: SF 6-60, MIN 1-10) Referee Kent Roan
Kent Roan is going to ref the Titans-Texans game and I have a feeling the Titans will get a ton of penalty yards and cover the spread. I'm going to put maybe a unit or two on the Titans Just a heads up, especially if the trend is heavily in Tennesee's favor.
A replacement official gambling scandal or pure coincidence? Fortunately (or unfortunately, in my case because I had a unit on the Titans myself), we'll probably never find out.
Atlanta Falcons (4-0) - Previously: #2 - The Falcons did a great job of pulling out a victory, but their fans should be very concerned about Matt Ryan's pass protection. Surrendering seven sacks to the Panthers, a team that struggles to pressure the quarterback, is definitely not a good sign.
New York Giants (2-2) - Previously: #3 - I'm not moving the Giants down. They were missing their top wideout and lost their best safety in the first quarter, and yet they were still one play away from winning on the road in Philadelphia. New York is a top-three team despite its record, in my opinion.
Giant fans should consider themselves sort of lucky though. Because of that loss, I'm sure none of them flipped over to ESPN for SportsCenter afterward. Those of us who did were greeted with a double-overtime WNBA game! I kept this on, only because I was waiting for SportsCenter. I barely watched it, but I heard the announcer incoherently yell, "AN INSTANT CLASSIC IN SEATTLE!!!" Yeah, OK. I'll look for that one on ESPN Classic.
New England Patriots (2-2) - Previously: #7 - OMG OMGO MG HOW CAN TEH PATRIEETS BE AHEED OF TEH RAVINS THEY LOSTED TO THEMS OMG OGM OMG!!!
The Patriots were up nine in Baltimore and should have won if the replacement officials ruled the final field goal correctly. If you still think that kick was good, you may want to look at this. And this video actually works this time (thanks to forum member Clov).
I love how New England now has a solid running game to complement Tom Brady. The defense is still an issue though. The secondary sucks.
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) - Previously: #4 - I think I speak for everyone when I say that we need a break from the Ravens being on nationally televised games. The announcers talk about the same crap every time:
Announcer 1: IS JOE FLACCO ELITE QUARTERBACK!?
Announcer 2: Boy, I'll tell ya, Joe Flacco has come a long way in the past five years, and now he's close to that elite level!
Announcer 1: BUT WHERE FLACCO COMPARE TO BRADY, MANNING, RODGERS, BREES!?
Announcer 2: Boy, I'll tell ya, he's knocking on the door to join that exclusive company!
Announcer 1: OF COURSE FLACCO HAVE RAY LEWIS AND ED REED SO HE NO NEED TO DO MUCH!!!
Announcer 2: Boy, I'll tell ya, the baton may have been passed to the offense in Baltimore!
San Francisco 49ers (3-1) - Previously: #5 - Teams should get drunk before the game to see if they can still beat the Jets. It'll be fun.
By the way, I loved this blurb on Rotoworld: "Behind Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, and a running back or two in the 49ers' passing-game attack, Randy Moss is getting to the point of droppable in fantasy leagues."
Rotoworld's a nice site, but this type of analysis pisses me off. Oh, so Randy Moss is finally droppable in fantasy leagues, eh? No, Moss is not droppable because he should have never been owned in any leagues in the first place.
Green Bay Packers (2-2) - Previously: #6 - Why do the refs, whether they're real or replacements, hate the Packers? I decided to get to the bottom of this by calling up Jeff Triplette for an interview:
Me: Hey Jeff Triplette, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
Jeff Triplette: Not a problem, Walt. I love your site, so it's my pleasure.
Me: Oh, thank you, you're too kind. How does it feel to be back?
Jeff Triplette: It's quite a relief. I don't even really care about the officiating part. You have no idea how good it feels to be out of the house. If my wife asked me to clean the gutters one more time, I was going to lose it.
Me: I hear ya. Now, let's get to the real issue. Why does it seem like all officials hate the Packers?
Jeff Triplette: Because they are scum and I hate them... I mean, umm... what are you talking about? No official hates the Packers, I swear.
Me: Really? Then how do you explain all of the bogus penalties?
Jeff Triplette: It's an act of God, I'd say. Because God hates those mother fu... I mean, because it's just a random occurrence.
Me: Hmm... I'm not so sure. The calls have been really bad.
Jeff Triplette: BAD!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN REALLY BAD!? I CALLED THAT GOLDEN TATE TOUCHDOWN LEGITIMATELY!!! I mean, what did you say?
Me: Wait, what? You called the Golden Tate touchdown? I thought that was replacement ref Wayne Elliott.
Jeff Triplette: Umm... who's Wayne Elliott? Never heard of him.
Me: OK, I think I've solved this mystery. Let's find out who you really are!
*** Realizing that Triplette is wearing a mask, I grab his hair and pull it off. Beneath, it's... WAYNE ELLIOTT!
Me: Caught you, Wayne Elliott! Now tell me why you hate the Packers so much!
Wayne Elliott: Because I'm a Bears' fan and wanted the Pack to lose!
Me: Well, your days of refereeing are officially are over because you've been caught red-handed.
Wayne Elliott: Argh! I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) - Previously: #8 - The Steelers had a bye, so here's a recap of Bears 34, Cowboys 10:
- This gave epitomized everything that's wrong with the Cowboys. They can look good, even great at times, but they make dumb mistakes and completely spontaneously combust. It's amazing how many stupid errors they made in this blowout loss. I'll try to list them all, but I'll probably miss a couple.
* Tony Romo went 31-of-43 for 307 yards, one touchdown and FIVE interceptions. The first was Dez Bryant's fault. He ran the wrong route, allowing Charles Tillman to return the pick for a touchdown. The second bounced out of Kevin Ogletree's hands. The third looked like a fumble, as Henry Melton beat beleaguered guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and slapped the ball out of Romo's hands and into Lance Briggs', who also ran it back for six. The fourth and fifth were all on Romo, but he had a large deficit and was just trying to make something happen.
Romo had some terrible plays in addition to the final pair of picks. He had Bryant and Miles Austin-Jones for open touchdowns when the game was close. He inexplicably overthrew both of his wideouts.
* Dez Bryant sucks. If you didn't watch this game, you'd look at the box score and think, "Oh, Dez caught eight passes for 105 yards. That's pretty good." No. It wasn't. In addition to causing the aforementioned pick-six, Bryant dropped a whopping three passes, including two that would have been big gains. He was also responsible for an illegal-motion penalty. Bryant is very talented, but he's an idiot. It's safe to wonder if he'll ever have the mental capacity and concentration to be a consistent NFL receiver. Right now, he's one of the most inefficient players in the league.
* DeMarco Murray tried to help the Bears as well. He fumbled twice, but his team pounced on the ball on both occasions. He finished with just 24 yards on 11 carries, but saved his PPR fantasy owners with seven catches for 57 receiving yards.
- Jason Witten, who screwed up the past two weeks, didn't make a single mistake. In fact, he caught 13 passes for 112 yards and a late, garbage touchdown from Kyle Orton. Austin-Jones, meanwhile, snagged four balls for 57 yards and a score.
- While the Cowboys were turning the ball over left and right, the Bears played a very clean game, turning the ball over only once when Jay Cutler held the ball too long and was stripped by DeMarcus Ware in the pocket. Cutler finished 18-of-24 for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
- Cutler's scores went to Brandon Marshall (7-138) and Devin Hester (3-38), who torched Morris Claiborne on a deep pass in the third quarter. I didn't see Marshall drop any passes, which is ironic considering that he usually has problems with that.
- Matt Forte returned prematurely from a high ankle sprain. He rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries. It seemed like he re-injured himself in the first quarter, but he retook the field shortly after being sidelined. The Bears took an unnecessary risk with him, and they're extremely fortunate that he didn't suffer a setback.
- A weird thing occurred on Chicago's sideline. Cutler sat down on the bench, and Mike Tice followed him because he wanted to talk to him. As soon as Tice took a seat next to his quarterback, Cutler sprung up and walked away, apparently having no interest in talking to his offensive coordinator. If the Bears lost this game, this is all ESPN would be talking about; instead, it's just a footnote.
I don't think it's a big deal. Quarterbacks and coaches tend to have sideline spats during games, and besides, I'm sure Tice was just asking Cutler what brand of beer he likes best.
- A funny exchange between my editor Ryan and his girlfriend Shannon, who had Romo on her fantasy roster:
Ryan: Well, Romo s*** the bed.
Shannon: He did more than that, he s*** the whole house and a neighborhood.
Arizona Cardinals (4-0) - Previously: #9 - I swear, if the Cardinals scored a touchdown in overtime to cover, I would have had a nervous breakdown.
Speaking of betting, I imagine that Cardinal fans are praying that I pick against their team for Thursday's game. I'm now 0-4 on Thursday nights, and some of my readers have taken notice, including Chris W. who wrote this on my Facebook wall:
Let me know who you got in the Rams-Cardinals game, I'm gonna go put $5,000 down on the other team. Don't worry I'll split it with you... course that'll pry be when your Thursday jinx ends. So on second thought, I will attempt to place this wager in Millen dollars.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) - Previously: #16 - I'm reluctantly placing the Eagles in my top 10. They've beaten two quality teams, which gives them the edge over Chicago, but they're seriously three plays away from being 0-4 right now. Not turning the ball over Sunday night was a positive sign, but I don't expect that to continue. Their mentally challenged quarterback just can't grasp blitz schemes.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 - Bottom 10
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4) - Previously: #32 - Yes, the Browns are still the worst team in football despite playing Baltimore closely. At 0-2, they brilliantly decided to look past the Bills - Trent Richardson said as much - so they passed up a winnable game to put all of their energy into what was their Super Bowl - and yet they still lost even though the sleepwalking Ravens didn't give a damn about them. Pathetic.
Next time, Browns, try to win against beatable teams.
31. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) - Previously: #30 - If you haven't heard, head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia. Let's hope for a quick recovery.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Previously: #29 - Forum member Blowflu on the state of the Jaguars:
Jaguars' major problems before Gene Smith takes over as GM: Offensive Line, Wide Receivers, Defensive End
Jaguars' major problems after Gene Smith takes over as GM: Offensive Line, Wide Receivers, Defensive End, Quarterback
Can't wait until someone fires this guy. This guy would be Matt Millen 2.0 if the Jags had more top-five picks over his tenure. He's about 75 percent of a Millen right now.
29. New York Jets (2-2) - Previously: #22 - Can you think of one thing the Jets do well? They can't pass. They can't run. They can't catch. They can't protect the quarterback. They can't get to the other quarterback. They can't stop the run. They can't stop the pass. They can't stay healthy. And they can't coach; otherwise Tim Tebow would have been named the starter weeks ago.
Forum member Arcade, a 49er fan, summed it up even better: "God, we are running all over them. Seriously, the Jets' season is over. They have four actually good players. Two of them are seriously injured (maybe), and one is a center."
28. Oakland Raiders (1-3) - Previously: #27 - Speaking of the Jets, I think it's time that they're featured in... The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Mark Sanchez: Hahaha I''veee beeennn pplalayyiinn druuunnkk myy whooole caaarrruurr annnn nooo onnnnesss noootticccceed hic!
Derek Anderson: Oh, OK.
27. Tennessee Titans (1-3) - Previously: #24 - It's hard to blame the Titans too much for that loss, given that Kenny Britt was out and Jake Locker got hurt. In the meantime...
It's the Adventures of Stupid Vince and Senile Bud! In this week's episode...
Bud Adams: Man servant, get in here! What's this about Jake Locker separating his shoulder? Who the hell is Jake Locker?
Vince Young: Ha, Jake Locker guy who trowing ball on team wit number T logo ha.
Bud Adams: Throwing the ball on my team? That's Steve McNair. Tell him to get in here pronto so he can explain this.
Vince Young: Derrr, I tink Steve no can come in here no more.
Bud Adams: Who? What is this paper I'm holding? Separated shoulder? I have a separated shoulder? Man servant, get me to the hospital, quickly!
Vince Young: Derr, I tink is not you who have separated shoulder is da odder guy ha.
Bud Adams: My shoulder is separated! It says so right here on this paper. Get me to this Dr. Jake Locker right away!
Vince Young: Derrr, I didin know Jake Locker become a doctor ha. I tawt he trowing ball ha.
Bud Adams: Jake Locker's throwing the ball? But he has a separated shoulder! Tell him to stop right now, man servant. Call him now!
Vince Young: Derrr, I dunno number to call and I tink I mean he trowing ball on team but not now because he have separring shoulder ha.
Bud Adams: Jake Locker has a separated shoulder? Maybe we can hang out in the hospital together because we both have separated shoulders.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) - Previously: #23 - The Chiefs aren't as bad as they looked Sunday. They just made tons of dumb errors, so the game should have been closer.
By the way, the crowd needs to cool it with booing Matt Cassel. Do you not remember how bad Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko were recently? Do you really want to see Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi play? They're a billion times worse.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-3) - Previously: #31 - Ryan Tannehill looks good at times, but he makes too many mistakes. He could be this generation's version of Jake Plummer.
Oh, and something interesting about Tannehill's No. 1 receiver, Brian Hartline. One of the CBS announcers said the following during the game: "Hartline put a move on Gay."
It's about time an athlete came out of the closet.
24. New Orleans Saints (0-4) - Previously: #26 - I love how Drew Brees blamed the replacement officials for disrupting his team's offensive rhythm. If the Saints keep losing, here are some other things they can blame:
- Roger Goodell
- The real officials
- World hunger
- Level 3 of BattleToads
- The main character's bad acting in Grimm
- Rosie O'Donnell's human feeding farms
Those are just some ideas. Feel free to add more to that list, Drew.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-3) - Previously: #25 - You know, I always thought that Ron Rivera looked familiar... and then I re-watched some episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and I realized that he's Commander Adama!
So say we all. So say we all.
So say we all! So say we all!
SO SAY WE ALL! SO SAY WE ALL!
2012 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Chicago Bears (3-1). Previously: #18
12. Seattle Seahawks (2-2). Previously: #10
13. San Diego Chargers (3-1). Previously: #12
14. Denver Broncos (2-2). Previously: #15
15. Minnesota Vikings (3-1). Previously: #17
16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1). Previously: #19
17. Washington Redskins (2-2). Previously: #21
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2). Previously: #11
19. Detroit Lions (1-3). Previously: #13
20. Buffalo Bills (2-2). Previously: #14
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3). Previously: #20
22. St. Louis Rams (2-2). Previously: #28
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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: