I don't think Simmons or Ingram is some kind of franchise savior. Simmons is a great fit as a 4 in the modern NBA though because he can guard inside and on the perimeter, rebound, handle the ball like a guard, and score inside. Even if he never develops a reliable jumper, he is still going to be a very valuable player. I see him as a better version of Draymond Green who can create offense on his own much better than Green.
San Francisco 49ers (13-4-1) - Previously: #1 - There's no way the 49ers would have won after being down 17-0 with Alex Smith at quarterback. Jim Harbaugh deserves all of the credit for going to Colin Kaepernick when most of the pundits though that Smith should be the guy.
Speaking of Harbaugh, I can't wait for a gif of his freak-out upon hearing the official's call after the replay review in the fourth quarter. Perhaps Harbaugh will find this amusing:
Baltimore Ravens (13-6) - Previously: #3 - Loved this post by forum member Lenruk when the Ravens weren't catching crazy passes in the first half:
Fortunately for Baltimore, everyone stepped after halftime. The post-game celebration, however, was a little weird. I thought it was very strange when owner Steve Biscotti gazed lovingly at Jim Nantz and said, "I was hoping you'd be here presenting this to me."
What was up with that? I flew to his office to find out.
Me: Hey Steve, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Congrats on making the Super Bowl!
Steve Biscotti: Oh, thank you, Walt. I was hoping you'd fly to my office to interview me personally.
Me: Really? I'm flattered.
Steve Biscotti: Oh, yes. I've been fantasizing about this moment for years, ever since you've started doing interviews on your Web site.
Me: Fantasizing? Why?
Steve Biscotti: First you, then Jim Nantz... I can hardly contain myself right now.
Me: Uhh... not that there's anything wrong with that, but you're weirding me out.
Steve Biscotti: Why? Just ask my references.
Matt Millen: Did someone call my name? Hey, Walt. I've gotta say, I've enjoyed many a night with Mr. Big Shot Ravens Owner, and no one - I mean no one - I've ever met has been more handy with a pair of kielbasas in his hand.
Me: That's disgusting. Again, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Steve Biscotti: There is definitely not anything wrong with it. Walt, I was hoping you'd be here to spend the night with us.
Matt Millen: Yes, Walt. We'll have so much fun. I have all sorts of kielbasas for us to try. First, I can do you, then Mr. Big Shot Ravens Owner can do me, and then...
Me: Ugh... I'm not sure I'm ever going to conduct another interview ever again.
New England Patriots (13-5) - Previously: #2 - E-mailer Kyle L. said it best:
Walt, big fan of yours here. Just asking that you please do what these lousy announcers in the AFC title game wouldn't do: call out Tom Brady for him quitting on his team. 4th and 4 and he throws the ball away instead of trying to outrun Haloti Ngata for 4 yards? I was embarrassed as a football fan to have witnessed one of the biggest p***y plays I've seen in my life. The media is too scared to call out Brady. ESPN won't say a word. Somebody needs to go after him. Might as well start by going to one of the top ranked sites on the web. Thank you for taking time to read this. Continue the great work.
I agree with this. I have no idea why Brady just quit on the play.
What happened to him, by the way? He used to be so clutch. Ever since he married the Brazillian supermodel and started getting weird haircuts, he's come up short in big moments. And check out what he looked like after Sunday's loss (thanks to my girlfriend Awesome Girl Who Loves Football for this):
Atlanta Falcons (14-4) - Previously: #7 - Sucks that Matt Ryan hurt his shoulder near the end of the game. Who knows how that game would have turned out?
I might as well post the hate mail I received last week:
Only Walt would rank a team that is going to the NFC championship second to last. At least man up and admit you're placing the Falcons 7 because you hate them. Snizzlefist out.
I have a deep disdain for the Falcons. Born and raised in Philadelphia, I naturally developed a strong hatred for them.
HAHA Walt you're an idiot. You really thought they'd hold the game because the Ravens were in OT?! LMAO I saw the tweet but thought it was a joke. Pathetic. Sad you were missing your lovefest game of the year with Rodgers against the Niners.
Umm... yeah. You don't think FOX's advertisers were a bit mad that no one was watching their telecast? I was mad too. It broke my heart not to see Rodgers play the 49ers.
how on earth are the falcons ranked 3 behind the sehawks... whom we just beat... it doesn't make any sense.
The Falcons barely beat the Seahawks at home. Seattle would win most matchups against Atlanta on a neutral field. And just because Team A beat Team B doesn't mean Team A is better. By that logic, the Cardinals are better than the Patriots because they won in New England.
Wow. You're blaming "circadian rhythms" now? That's pathetic. What's for next week? Atlanta losing to San Fransisco & you saying "Atlanta didn't cover the spread because the wind outside the Georgia Dome was a degree colder then expected". Also, your bashing of your hate mail is rather unwarranted. They make better arguments then you do. Oh & Patriots FTW.
Patriots for the loss. And no, the wind was a degree warmer than I expected, so that's why the Falcons didn't cover. Duh.
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: