Another dynamic weapon emerges for Peyton.
1. Indianapolis Colts (3) – Manning is finding new targets. Not fair. Defense not a concern when offense can do whatever it wants, whenever, wherever, however, whichever way it desires. Blair White will turn into a gem.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (2) – Rashard Mendenhall has me for a ride. Didn’t think he’d look this impressive. Mike Wallace is just getting started, watch out when #7 returns. #1 defense, and it’s not even close. Yet, in the long run, I take offense over defense, that’s why I have Indy #1 and Pittsburgh #2. Big Ben, do you have anything to say to that?
3. New Orleans Saints (1) – A kicker does ’em in dirty. Notice the “birds” didn’t do ’em in “dirty”. Team was in position to complete a come from behind victory. Despite it’s struggles, loss of Reggie, I admire their resiliency. Rush defense has to improve. Lance Moore can be make waves.
4. New England Patriots (4) – Tom Brady and Randy Moss make things look too easy. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a player at Ole Miss, and still is a player. About time he gets the rock. I have a bad feeling, sooner or later, the defense will let this team down immensely.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (5) – Just as New England’s Achilles heel is their defense, you could say the same thing for Cincy and Carson Palmer. My biggest question mark heading into the season was Palmer. It’s turning into a disappointing reality. Defense, run game, everything else; spot-on. We give Pittsburgh and Baltimore (undeservedly) all the credit for being “tough”, how about Marvin Lewis’ Bengals?
6. Dallas Cowboys (7) – Do we really know how good Tony Romo is? Borderline Top 5 QB? If Marion Barber and Roy Williams come to play every other week, this could be the most dangerous team in the NFC. Defense is the NFC’s best and you can’t say otherwise -they are that good. DeMarcus Ware means to Dallas what Troy Polamalu means to Pittsburgh. Pressure still enormous: “Dallas or Bust”.
7. Minnesota Vikings (9) – Adrian Peterson. Game on. People tend to forget he is a game-breaker and one of the best players in the game today. Defense looks lights out. Percy Harvin, secondary, and Favre…still waiting. Bye week will do wonders.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (22) – Speed on offense cannot be matched. Defense is getting to the QB. Stage is set. Super Bowl contender. There, I said it. Maclin is flying under the radar, four touchdowns, taking advantage of DeSean. How do you cover both of these guys plus Vick? Can’t wait till they play Dallas.
9. Tennessee Titans (11) – For those who wondered why I still had them ranked ahead of Houston, now you know why. Chris Johnson is as good as it gets, yet, the defense is making a case for Top 5 status. What they did the Giants was remarkable. Quite possibly a threat to Indy’s supremacy atop the AFC South. Jeff Fisher is an early Coach of the Year candidate. Talk about team that just gets the job done. Consistency.
10. Chicago Bears (10) – Team rolling the dice with risky Jay Cutler. Toughest , most physically gifted QB in the NFL. Is there any other QB that’s doing more with less? Mike Martz is his OC, the OL is horrendous, no true #1 WR. Offensive game plan needs to insert more runs, short passes. Teams are going to start teeing off; as if they haven’t already. Defense is classic “bend but don’t break” and its working to perfection. Love the approach. Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and Brian Urlacher are shoe-ins for Hawaii. Bears don’t win this game last year. Devin Hester is taking punts to the house? Is this a team of “destiny”? Seems like they are catching all the breaks, good sign. 7-0 heading into November/Bye week? You can’t say enough about how the past two prized off-season acquisitions have saved this team. Who saw this quick turnaround coming?
11. Green Bay Packers (6) – Aaron Rodgers is officially an elite QB; if he wasn’t at elite status to begin with. He was nearly impeccable on the road against a tough D. Was successful every way imaginable. Did it with no OL/run game. Despite the heartbreaking loss, I came away thoroughly impressed by their performance. I like how they played in a “ugly, grind ’em out” type of battle. NFC North race is going to be sensational. If you don’t know, now you know: Jermichael Finley is ridiculous.
12. New York Jets (21) – Starting to buy into this team. I’ve been rocking back and forth trying to figure them out. They’ve played three worthy opponents thus far and have been near outstanding. Mark Sanchez, nothing short of excellence. Santonio Holmes, two more weeks. Still down on the run game. Very capable winning close games. You can see team is starting to have fun once again. Playing loose, jitters are gone.
13. Baltimore Ravens (13) – What happened to this vaunted run defense? Peyton Hillis? Really? By far, Anquan Boldin is the team’s MVP. Flacco made some really, really good throws. Ray Rice has surprised me, he’s doing next to nothing. Big John Harbaugh supporter. Pittsburgh game will tell a lot. Early must win if they think its Super Bowl this season. Still don’t think they are going to make Playoffs in loaded AFC.
14. Atlanta Falcons (20) – Statement win. Huge confidence booster. Game meant more to them than it did New Orleans. “Matty Ice” played just like that, to his name. Trap game ahead. Team very likely could be 3-0, yet more so 1-2.
15. Kansas City Chiefs (18) – Offense is clicking on all cylinders. Dominated a solid 49ers defense. Speaking of defense, they have given up only 38 points. Tamba Hali tomahawked Alex Smith thrice on Sunday. Run game is their rock/identity, but the aerial attack keeps getting better -looked razor sharp, precisely crisp in its last victory. AFC West Champions? I think so. Team believes.
16. Houston Texans (12) – Andre Johnson’s injury should worry Houston fans. On the other hand, Arian Foster is so legit, could they put more emphasis on the run? How do you let Roy Williams get you twice? Matt Schaub looks out of rhythm.
17. San Francisco 49ers (8) – Still have hope. Is this the week against Atlanta on the road? I’m not so sure. This team is still going to finish above .500 and win the NFC West. Change of OC will do lots of good because it means more Frank Gore, their calling card. Watch it happen.
18. Miami Dolphins (15) – Brandon Marshall is finally involved. Yet, big game is not enough at home against Jets. This will be the story all year long: team just isn’t talented enough. Lacking a few more skilled players. Where’s the run game? Pass defense looked out of place versus New York.
19. San Diego Chargers (17) – Philip Rivers can do without Vincent Jackson. But Ryan Matthews too? Too much to overcome. Defense lacks punch. Leon Washington beat them. Can’t let that happen if you want to retain division crown. That’s now two losses pinned on the special teams unit. Letdowns reveal big weakness which could make for big difference down stretch.
20. Seattle Seahawks (29) – Where’s the love? Well, there’s no run game, Hasselbeck is just Hasselbeck, and the secondary got shredded apart and ripped to pieces. No difference makers on offense. However, Seattle has found a future perennial Pro Bowl safety with Earl Thomas.
21. New York Giants (16) – Can it get any worse? Three really bad plays makes for a 19-point differential? Are they that bad? Red zone woes were ugly. When they crumble just a bit, they shatter dramatically. Eli Manning is still the team’s biggest problem, yet he has company to join him. Still can turn it around, too much talent to go to waste.
22. Washington Redskins (14) – Donovan is playing rather well. They finally have a real QB, and it’s about the only thing going for the Nation’s Capital. Interested to see what a healthy Ryan Torain can do, really like this kid from Arizona State. As for their second loss in a row, the Rams ain’t that bad…
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19) – Free pass? Wow did they get beaten up or what. LeGarette Blount scored his first TD. I’m rooting for this guy.
24. St. Louis Rams (30) – Sam Bradford is playing like the man. Too bad Steven Jackson is hurt once again. Don’t sleep on this defense, it looks strong. Closer to 3-0 than 0-3. Amazing improvement from last year.
25. Arizona Cardinals (26) – Derek Anderson, can he be any more pathetic? Come on, he shouldn’t be this bad. Chris Wells is back. This team is one of the worst 2-1 teams I’ve seen. Should be 0-3, that’s the bottom line. Kurt Warner quit dancing and get back on to the field, they need you desperately.
26. Detroit Lions (23) – Jahvid Best is alright (minor grade-two toe injury), he will play against Green Bay. A call for more Calvin Johnson is valid. I feel sorry for this team. There is promise, potential and players in place to be good -right now.
27. Carolina Panthers (24) – If there was ever a week to get back to basics and run the football, this is the week, against New Orleans. Team has a legitimate shot for an upset if it keeps things simple and makes a play or two in the clutch. Can we see some life? Too talented of a team to be this lackluster.
28. Denver Broncos (25) – Knowshon Moreno is out again with a hamstring. Kyle Orton is being forced to throw for close to 500 yards. They found a solid QB, yet frankly, the truth is, this team is two to years away -that’s all there is to it.
29. Oakland Raiders (28) – Talk about a team that just shoots (or kicks) themselves in the foot time after time again. Janikowski, I can’t even talk about him. Also, another AFC West team that can’t defend kickoff returns. Darren McFadden looks like the player he was at Arkansas. Louis Murphy is a big-play threat. It’s the little things that kill a team, especially this squad.
30. Buffalo Bills (31) – About time they use their most explosive weapon. Spiller is a flat out player, make no doubt. Fitzpatrick played well without hesitation against N.E., I have a weird feeling they will keep it close with the Jets.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (27) – Awful, just plain awful. Trent Edwards just got brought in. Enough said.
32. Cleveland Browns (32) – Peyton Hillis is their best player. You just get this feeling they will not win a game this year. Coaching change in line.