Well fans here we are again with our second year of NFL Power Rankings on NFLGridironGab.com. Last season our picks always drew a lot of great response from fans, so by all means, feel free to debate your points at us by leaving a comment on what you like or don’t like about where we have our teams ranked. Like last season, here are the top 5 and bottom 3 in each conference.
NFC Top 5
1. Dallas – The Cowboys were the best of what turned out to be a bad weekend for the contenders in the NFC. They piled on 478 yards of offense in a 45-35 win over the Giants Sunday night. The offensive line remains the focal point, along with the running game, and both did well, allowing just one sack and rushing for 142 yards. Tony Romo only completed 15 passes but still had 345 yards and four scores. This week at Miami should be an interesting test for Big D.
2. Seattle – The Hawks hung in and after trailing 6-0 at home to Tampa Bay they really took over and used their main offensive weapons – Matt Hasslebeck and Shaun Alexander to secure a 20-6 victory. We’ve said all along that the Hawks still have the talent to be a contender, it all sits with players staying healthy and playing up to their level. The defense did a nice job vs a weak TB offense, bending but not breaking.
3. Chicago – Sure they lost Sunday, but look who they lost to, and look what they did in that loss. They held the best player in the game, LaDainian Tomlinson, to just 25 yards rushing, and overall maybe the best team in the league to 263 total yards. The issue was their offense, only 202 yards, and the fact their defense was on the field for 37 minutes and 71 plays. Now with Mike Brown and Dusty Dvoracek out for the season, the defense will be tested. They will get back on track though this week at home vs the awful Chiefs.
4. Minnesota – If you can run the ball and stop the run, you are going to win some games in the National Football League, and the Vikings look like they are going to be able to do that in 2007. You have to love the look and play of rookie RB Adrian Peterson, as he went over 100 yards on the ground and scored on a 60-yard pass out of the flat. The defense shut down a bad Falcons team, holding them to 96 yards rushing and taking two picks back for scores. The big thing for the Vikings is not turn the ball over (1 turnover Sunday) and not allow the big play. This could be an interesting team to watch.
5. Carolina – Are the Panthers back? They were the sexy pick to be the NFC rep in the Super Bowl in 2006, but missed the playoffs. Sunday in St.Louis may have been their rebirth, as they stopped Marc Bulger and Stephen Jackson pretty much cold in a 27-13 win. Jake Delhomme was mistake free, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The running game ran for an impressive 186 yards, with the Foster and Williams 1-2 punch going for a combined 156 yards. They could be looking at 2-0 with a home game this week vs the Texans.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Atlanta – Sorry Falcons fans, get ready for a long year and a lot of empty seats at the Georgia Dome. I can’t believe some people brought the belief that Joey Harrington was going to be able to get the job done. Face it – he stinks. As for the rest of the team, they will play hard for new coach Bobby Petrino, but they look like a snake, or should I say – dog bitten team in 2007.
2. Tampa Bay – By the end of 2007, Jon Gruden and Jeff Garcia might both ride into the sunset together. The Bucs are going to be a bad team again in 2007, following up a 4-12 season last year. Cadallic Williams is now hurt, and Derrick Brooks showed his age allowing Maurice Morris to run past him on a touchdown pass in their 20-6 loss to the Seahawks. Tampa Bay is now 11 games under .500 since they won the Super Bowl. Ouch.
3. New York – Big Blue scored 35 points and lost by 10?! What a way to start the season, you lose your starting running back and quarterback for what looks to be an extended amount of time, and it looks like your defense is going to be pushed to stop a lot of teams this season. Tom Coughlin’s seat will get hotter with each loss.
AFC Top 5
1. San Diego – The Chargers had a tough time vs the tough Bears defense, but they found a way and used a little trickery with LT throwing a TD pass to win 14-3 at home. Phillip Rivers didn’t have a great day, but the defense and LT bailed him out in the end. Look for an emotional and physical battle this week in New England vs the Pats on Sunday night.
2. Indianapolis – The Colts score 41 points on opening night vs the Saints and they are second?! Well, let’s just say that The Chargers played the Super Bowl team in the NFC, while the Colts played the NFC Championship game loser. It’s all good, we’ll see how good the Colts are as they have a lot more tough games coming up, and this week on the road vs the Titans should be a good early test. Boy does that defense look 10 times better already this season though.
3. New England – So much for Tom Brady’s shoulder and Randy Moss not playing in the preseason. Those two stole the show on Sunday in a 38-14 thrashing of the Jets at the Meadowlands. Moss looked like the Moss of Minnesota, not the Moss of Oakland. If he and Tom can keep it up, they might be in the top three 1-2 QB-WR combos this season. The O-line also did a good job keeping the Jets away from Brady, and the defense stopped the Jets ground game cold. Big game this week vs the Chargers at home.
4. Denver – The Broncos should have been a playoff team a year ago, and on Sunday they pulled off a gutsy call by rushing the field goal unit on the field with seconds remaining to pull off a 15-14 win over the Bills. The offense put up a whopping 470 yards, but just 15 points, which will have to be adressed. Travis Henry looks like a solid offseason pickup, going for 139 yards in the win. They cannot afford to put their guard down vs Oakland at home this week.
5. Cincinnati – The Bengals and Ravens always seem to have good games, and while allowing a lot more yards and only rushing for 55 themselves, the Bengals were able to pull out a 27-20 win Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals have to stay focused if they are going to win games, as the defense will have their issues and the offense has been known to sleep walk at times. They should be 2-0 after Sunday at Cleveland.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Cleveland – What a mess this is already. Their starting QB lasted only into the second quarter, they had five turnover, and how aobut 4 penalties…ON ONE PLAY! Yes, the Browns are who we thought they were, and that is one awful football team. If Romeo Crennel wants to see the bye week as coach, he’d better listen to the fans and put Brady Quinn is as the starting QB. Now.
2. Kansas City – The Chiefs are going to be bad as well in 2007, as their QB’s are just not very good, the O-line got pushed around, and the defense looks like they are going to be challenged this season. Larry Johnson’s holdout really put the Chiefs in a tailspin they look like they might be in all season.
3. Miami – The Dolphins are going to have to scratch and claw each week, and this week they did that, and still came up short in DC vs the Redskins. Ronnie Brown needs to get better line production and holes for his efforts, and Trent Green needs to stop whinning about how the league does overtime and get the ball downfield more. It was nice to see Chris Chambers show up back to the form of a few years back. This week vs the Cowboys is another tough game.