Defending Super Bowl Champions: #1
Champs before Defending Champs: #2
You can tell how good a team truly is by the way their leaders speak, conduct themselves following games.
1. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees:“We’ve stayed with the mindset we are the hunter, not the hunted.” Sean Payton: “We came in with the mindset that we were going to win the turnover battle, and we did that decisively.” This team doesn’t beat itself. How about the Bush injury? They have enough weaponry to overcome Reggie’s absence. Overcoming adversity better than any other team. Defense is turnover-machine.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu (see his absurd timed-out “Jump”): “Head & Shoulders has gone above and beyond by insuring my Samoan locks for a cool $1 million dollars,” … “This reinforces that my full and thick hair is unstoppable.” Well the way he and his defense has been playing, I’ll reinforce this: Dick LeBeau’s D is unstoppable. Hines Ward: “They put us in the black jersey thinking that was going to be a mental edge. For us, we fought through it.” So the Titans thought this would effect the Steelers? Nice try. Mike Tomlin: “I know it won’t be me,” “I’m not good enough.” Does it matter who starts at QB? No. Big Ben is back soon. Defense, run game, and special teams can withstand for two more games. Oh, if you love some Mike Tomlin check this out: Tomlin speaks. How can you not like this guy? I can listen to him talk all day, what a coach, and he’s unreal -insanely COOL!
3. Indianapolis Colts: As dominant as the Pittsburgh defense is, you can make a case for Indianapolis’ offense being just as dominant. Peyton Manning, you know this. As for the defense, I was impressed beyond belief by their performance against the Giants. This team is better than it was last year. That’s scary.
4. New England Patriots: Let’s not overreact. Tom Brady had one bad half. The defense had one really, really bad half. They will be fine. And consider this: Tom Brady has found his “Dallas Clark” in Aaron Hernandez. Brady’s ammunition is as fully loaded and powerful as ever. Wait ’till this offense clicks.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: If only Carson Palmer could wake up. Defense showed its true colors against Baltimore. Jordan Shipley is going to make a big difference. Waiting on USC’s “last” and “most recent” Heisman Trophy winner…
6. Green Bay Packers: Is Aaron Rodgers going to step his game up even more, to another level, now that Ryan Grant’s lost for the season? I think so. This dude is just having fun, enjoying football, playing flawlessly. Defense looks improved. Clay Matthews is sick. I’m curious to see how rookie Brian Bulaga fares against Julius Peppers Monday night.
7. Dallas Cowboys: Things are all right. Just need to run the ball more, slow down the pace. Learn to balance up-tempo attack with power game. Once balance is reached, 0-2 start will be long forgotten.
8. San Francisco 49ers: Offense looks as good as it ever has been. Alex Smith, you can see him starting to get it. He’s almost there. They run the ball like no other, and stop it like no other. Still believe they’re championship-caliber. Singletary just needs to do some extra work concerning turnovers/mental mistakes. Can’t beat themselves like they did against Saints.
9. Minnesota Vikings: So the defense gave up two scoring drives to New Orleans; one to start game, one to start 2nd half. One touchdown drive to Miami. Defense is where it needs be, Adrian is running with a full head of steam. Favre will take care of pass woes against Detroit’s shaky secondary. Calm down.
10. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler is playing out of his mind, yet he’s fully capable of playing this way for a consistent period of time. Defense doesn’t allow big rushing plays. They’re finally healthy. Team looks like a contender, however, the offensive line has no shot of holding up. You know the next game is HUGE, they’re bringing out the throwbacks!
11. Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson/Vince Young ran into Pittsburgh’s defense. Benching could pay big dividends for Vince/team in long haul. Nate Washington is finally starting to emerge.
12. Houston Texans: One week it’s Foster, next it’s Schaub-Andre connection making things happen. Offense is dynamic as all get out. As good as they play, can they overcome its defense’s deficiencies in the secondary? It was a breathtaking comeback, but all the balls/calls bounced/went their way. Any chance this continues? I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid just yet, although I’m getting the ingredients out in preparation to make the Kool-Aid. How soon? Beat Dallas at home, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.
13. Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco is a good quarterback. What’s Ray Rice been up to? Team MISSES Ed Reed. Game against Pittsburgh at home in two weeks will tell me a lot more about Flacco. Not buying him leading this team to Promised Land.
14. Washington Redskins: Donovan is Donovan. He looked outstanding against Houston. Team is one call their way from 2-0. Bogus timeout rule. I guess the receivers are more than enough.
15. Miami Dolphins: Fish smell like 8-8, 9-7 team. Nothing jumps out. Middle of the pack. Chad Henne? We going to see Brandon Marshall? Defense is stout as can be.
16. New York Giants: Is defense a bit overhyped? Get rid of Brandon Jacobs. Hakeem Nicks should be more targeted. Still not trusting Eli in big games, let alone games on the road.
17. San Diego Chargers: Mike Tolbert is a load. Defense made David Garrard look like he was back at East Carolina. Never underestimate Philip Rivers.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: See what happens when you build through draft, put together solid coaching staff, and make big momentum-changing plays. This team used to be in an identity crisis, now they actually have an identity.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman is just another good QB. Really? I like the way things are coming to fruition for Raheem Morris’ squad. Ever since he took over the reins of the defense, it’s been really good. Mike Williams is a #1 WR. Kellen Winslow is making plays.
20. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Turner is back hurt. Once again, the “Power Back Theory” after big carry year proves itself correct. However, they probably don’t need him the way Jason Snelling is playing. Defense looks better than I thought. Important game at Superdome Sunday afternoon. They lose, another ho-hum year.
21. New York Jets: Pretty soon it could be Mark Sanchez leading the Jets, and not the defense. Jenkins gone, now Revis is hurt. Holding out did what good? Santonio Holmes back in two weeks, offense could be on the up and up, whereas the defense could be struggling. Will both sides click at once to be considered serious contender?
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid is KILLING this team. Go figure, Mike Vick starts, offense thrives. They actually run the ball, new revelation? What happens when they run more often, they excel. Give the ball to your best playmakers. DeSean, LeSean, and Vick. Talent is there on both sides of the ball, coaching could be downfall.
23. Detroit Lions: Jahvid Best is not big enough to make a serious impact in the NFL. He’s too small. He’s too fragile. Fast enough for Saturdays, yet not Sundays. He won’t be a scoring threat, he’s not strong enough. If only Matthew Stafford hadn’t gotten hurt…this team would be 2-0.
24. Carolina Panthers: Jimmy Clausen, about time. I’ll give this team a free pass. Now let’s see what they can do. Surprised run game hasn’t been that effective.
25. Denver Broncos: Knowshon Moreno (wow, he can make things happen in a hurry), Demaryius Thomas (looks like the real deal), Eddie Royal (wheels to burn, what a YAC killer) -they do have playmakers. Josh McDaniels does have a plan in mind, he does know what he’s doing. Kyle Orton looks really good. Hopefully Champ is ready for Colts.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Jason Snelling dominated you. Derek Anderson looks terrible. I thought the defense was going to be stellar. Tim Hightower is a keeper.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: David Garrard. Can’t play like that if you want to compete in the AFC South. This team can’t win away from home. MJD, something’s wrong him.
28. Oakland Raiders: New QB, new results. Darren McFadden has arrived. Rolando McClain is a bad, bad man. Can I see more Louis Murphy on a consistent basis?
29. Seattle Seahawks: You fooled me Pete Carroll. They got lit up by Denver. Not even close. Embarrassing. Humiliating performance. At least Matt Hasselbeck’s still under center.
30. St. Louis Rams: Two close losses. What’s even more frustrating, two blown leads in the 2nd half. Playing better than I expected. Mark Clayton-Sam Bradford looks like a winner.
31. Buffalo Bills: No C.J. Spiller, no hope. Ryan Fitzpatrick? Are you kidding me?
32. Cleveland Browns: No playmakers on either side. Both QB’s threw game-altering interceptions. 0-9 start, inevitable?