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Morton 10-15-2010 03:19 PM

(Early) Mid-Season Rankings
 
The NFL season is almost at the half-way point. Where do the teams stand in their respective conferences at this point?

The NFC elite, as I see it:

1. New York Giants - They currently have the best defense in the NFC. Eli Manning has developed great chemistry with his young WR corps, and Hakeem Nicks in particular. The offense is not elite, but it is good enough to make a deep playoff run if it is paired with their elite defense. Barring a sudden improvement on the part of Dallas, look for the Giants to run away with their division.

2. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan is not an elite quarterback, but he is a solid, above-average signal caller. Their rushing offense is solid also. The defense is above-average. An all-around good team that will probably win their division. Whether or not they make a deep playoff run is up in the air, but count on seeing the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Brett Favre has not looked good so far, but I believe that it is merely a matter of time before the Vikings offense "clicks". They have arguably the best running back in the NFL, and with the addition of Randy Moss they once again have a reliable deep threat. The defense, of course, is one of the best in the league, but tends to be slightly weak vs. the pass. With the rash of injuries suffered by the Packers, the Vikings are the favorites to win the NFC North despite their poor record.

4. Dallas Cowboys - This team is the most talented in the NFL, but they simply do not play up to expectations. The defense has looked shakier than it did in 2009. The offense is suffering due to lack of consistent offensive line play. They can still compete for a divisional title and even make a deep playoff run, but they need to dramatically improve their overall level of play and answer questions about their offensive line. If they can ensure that Romo is protected, they have the potential to have the #1 offense in the NFL.

5. Green Bay Packers - A few weeks ago, the Packers were my #1 team in the entire NFL. Losing Ryan Grant in week one was a big deal, but I was confident that the team could persevere without him. Losing Jermichael Finley, however, is an entirely different ordeal. Finley is their matchup nightmare who opens up their entire playbook. Their offense can still be successful without Grant and Finley, but it is no longer the explosive offense it was going into the season. They can still win their division, but it will be tough at this point. It doesn't help, obviously, that their secondary, at this point, is thirtysomething Charles Woodson and a bunch of scrubs.

The rest of the NFC:

6. Chicago Bears - The defense is solid, but questions remain as to whether the offense is nothing but smoke and mirrors. If Martz can fix the protection issues exposed in the Giants game, they can compete for their division and make a playoff run.

7. New Orleans Saints - Their offense is no longer as explosive as it was last year. Losing Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush really hurt. I don't think they can wrest the division from the Falcons, who are a better team this year.

8. Philadelphia Eagles - They might be a decent playoff team with Michael Vick. Regardless of quarterback, however, their defense needs to improve to be considered playoff-worthy.

9. Washington Redskins - The Washington offense is average. The defense is average or slightly below-average, despite the low number of points allowed by them. They will be exposed if they make it into the playoffs.

10. Tampa Bay Bucs - Their young offense is improving, as is their defense. They are still a year or two away from competing, however.

11. Detroit Lions - With Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best, they finally have some elite playmakers on offense. The defense is still more than a year away from being anything more than mediocre, however.

12. San Francisco 49ers - Tons of talent on this team, terrible execution and luck. Can they put it together before the team quits on Mike Singletary?

13. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford will be an elite quarterback some day, but not this year. However, the team is definitely on the right track.

14. Seattle Seahawks - Their offense is inept. Pete Carroll has to sort out his QB situation.

15. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals really miss Kurt Warner. I don't see anything out of Max Hall to suggest a potential franchise QB, but I could be wrong.

16. Carolina Panthers - Their offense is even worse than that of the Seahawks and the Cardinals. They possibly have the worst QB situation in the NFC. I don't know what John Fox will do after 2010, but there is a good chance that he won't be coaching the Panthers.


The AFC elite, as I see it:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - This is the best team in the NFL right now. The defense is the best in the league, and with the return of Roethlisberger they finally have the ability to put up some real points. There are no real holes in this team, barring injury. Pencil them in for the AFC Championship game, and, in all likelihood, the Super Bowl.

2. New York Jets - This is probably the second best team in the NFL right now. You know about the defense, but what's going to take this team deep into the playoffs is the continuing improvement of Mark Sanchez and the suprising late-career resurgence of LT.

3. San Diego Chargers - Suprised to see the Chargers this high? Don't be. Despite horrific special teams play, I think they are a serious playoff contender. Phillip Rivers is once again playing at an MVP level, and the defense has been surprisingly stout against the pass. I think they fix some of their special teams issues and finish the season with 11 or more wins.

4. Indianapolis Colts - The defense is not as good as it has been in the past. I think that the offensive line is regressing. However, Peyton Manning is still one of the top five QBs in this league and I have a hard time imagining the Colts losing more than 6 games as long as Manning is under center. Cliched, but true.

5. Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco is a solid quarterback. The defense is not as elite as the Steelers or the Jets, but it is still playing at a high level. They can contend in their division, but I don't think they overtake Roethlisberger's Steelers.

The rest of the AFC:

6. Tennessee Titans - The Titans have a surprisingly good defense. Chris Johnson is not going to reproduced 2009, but they will score points. Could compete with Indy for the division.

7. New England Patriots - Tom Brady is still elite. Losing Moss will hurt them a little bit, but what's really holding them back from a top 5 spot is their porous defense.

8. Kansas City Chiefs - It's a shame that Matt Cassel sucks as much as he does, because their defense is playoff-caliber.

9. Miami Dolphins - The whole team shows promise, but I'm not sold on Chad Henne just yet.

10. Denver Broncos - Kyle Orton, MVP? Shocking. Their defense and their lack of a ground game will keep them out of the playoffs.

11. Houston Texans - Matt Schaub does not look as good this year as he did in 2009. Regardless of how he plays, however, their atrocious pass defense will keep them from contending for a playoff spot.

12. Cincinnati Bengals - Just like the Chiefs, this team boasts a solid defense but Palmer is going to hold them back all year long.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars - I'm confused by this team. Are they horrible or are they solid? They have looked like both at different times.

14. Oakland Raiders - This is another team I don't really have a read on. Could be higher.

15. Cleveland Browns - One of the worst QB situations in the NFL. They don't have a good enough defense to overcome their shoddy passing offense.

16. Buffalo Bills - And rounding out the AFC is the worst team in the NFL. I'm almost certain that we'll be hearing Roger Goddell announcing their pick first in the 2011 draft. They better pick a QB this time!

My playoff predictions:

NFC Championship: New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons
AFC Championship: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Chargers

Super Bowl: New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Giantsfan1080 10-15-2010 03:36 PM

I think we're a little too inconsistent right now to be placed at #1.

SeanTaylorRIP 10-15-2010 03:51 PM

I read what you are saying but I can't see how you can have Dallas and Minny at 3 and 4 when they each only have one win.

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 03:54 PM

The Bears should not be behind the Vikings or Cowboys nor should they be ahead of the Saints despite a slightly better record. The Cowboys shouldn't be in the top 5 either.....one of the Vikings or Cowboys is going to receiver what amounts to a deathblow this weekend. Climbing back from 1-4 in division with teams currently at 4-1 is going to be damn near impossible.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Giantsfan1080 (Post 2336284)
I think we're a little too inconsistent right now to be placed at #1.

I actually agree with the Giants at #1.....#2 behind Atlanta at worst. The NFC is so mediocre right now, those two really are the top 2 teams.

Bob Sanders Dreadlock 10-15-2010 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeerBaron (Post 2336298)
The Bears should not be behind the Vikings or Cowboys nor should they be ahead of the Saints despite a slightly better record. The Cowboys shouldn't be in the top 5 either.....one of the Vikings or Cowboys is going to receiver what amounts to a deathblow this weekend. Climbing back from 1-4 in division with teams currently at 4-1 is going to be damn near impossible.



I actually agree with the Giants at #1.....#2 behind Atlanta at worst. The NFC is so mediocre right now, those two really are the top 2 teams.

Why not? The saints haven't played like a great team yet this year. They just lost to the max hall cardinals and haven't won a game by more than 5 points.

Giantsfan1080 10-15-2010 04:00 PM

I guess I'd put Atlanta ahead of us but yeah the NFC is terrible right now. At this point I don't feel like we're the #1 or 2 team in the conference so it's really saying something if we are.

Morton 10-15-2010 04:03 PM

Despite the records, the Vikings and Cowboys are still more talented than most of the NFC.

All it takes is Favre to develop chemsitry with Moss & Harvin, and that passing offense is elite once again.

All it takes is for the Cowboys to start playing smart, and limiting mistakes, and their team is about as good as it was last year.

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock (Post 2336303)
Why not? The saints haven't played like a great team yet this year. They just lost to the max hall cardinals and haven't won a game by more than 5 points.

All 4 of our wins have been ugly as sin, and our loss was absolutely miserable. Winning ugly is 1000x better than putting up a good fight in a loss, but eventually, like the Rex Grossman days, I fear our defense will wear itself out as our offense bumbles along.

The Saints will get going I think. If the two teams played today, which would you favor if you had to make a bet? I'm a Bears fan and I'd have trouble not picking the Saints in that one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morton (Post 2336308)
Despite the records, the Vikings and Cowboys are still more talented than most of the NFC.

All it takes is Favre to develop chemsitry with Moss & Harvin, and that passing offense is elite once again.

All it takes is for the Cowboys to start playing smart, and limiting mistakes, and their team is about as good as it was last year.

Also, the Bears beat the Cowboys this year, and with Favre looking like garbage and now being hurt, he might not be able to develop any chemistry with those guys. The VIkings with T-Jack don't scare me at all...

Morton 10-15-2010 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeerBaron (Post 2336309)
Also, the Bears beat the Cowboys this year, and with Favre looking like garbage and now being hurt, he might not be able to develop any chemistry with those guys. The VIkings with T-Jack don't scare me at all...

The Bears did beat the Cowboys, but I fear that the debacle in the Meadowlands exposed some serious flaws in the Martz system. I don't know if they can take that offensive line into the playoffs.

Vikings with T-Jack are still solid, because of the defense and because of Adrian Peterson. But if Favre can play consistently like he played in the second half of the Jets game, they could be elite again. Remember that he didn't even have a week of practice with Moss before that game. Put them together for a month or more, and I think you might see something special.

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morton (Post 2336318)
The Bears did beat the Cowboys, but I fear that the debacle in the Meadowlands exposed some serious flaws in the Martz system. I don't know if they can take that offensive line into the playoffs.

Vikings with T-Jack are still solid, because of the defense and because of Adrian Peterson. But if Favre can play consistently like he played in the second half of the Jets game, they could be elite again. Remember that he didn't even have a week of practice with Moss before that game. Put them together for a month or more, and I think you might see something special.

Can the o-line take them to the playoffs? I think so...they're a lot closer than either the Cowboys or the Vikings right now. A good 3 games or so closer. Deep in the playoffs? Different story......

Also, the Vikings defense hasn't been as good as years past, particularly against the run, where they've fallen to 14th. I don't think they're going to be able to ride it quite the same way as they could a few years ago.

Shiver 10-15-2010 04:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morton (Post 2336308)
Despite the records, the Vikings and Cowboys are still more talented than most of the NFC.

All it takes is Favre to develop chemsitry with Moss & Harvin, and that passing offense is elite once again.

All it takes is for the Cowboys to start playing smart, and limiting mistakes, and their team is about as good as it was last year.


**** the Vikings and Cowboys and their "talent." One of them is about to be eliminated and I don't expect either to make the playoffs. They have big holes in their lineups and they have two of the worst head coaches in the NFL.

yourfavestoner 10-15-2010 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiver (Post 2336330)
**** the Vikings and Cowboys and their "talent." One of them is about to be eliminated and I don't expect either to make the playoffs. They have big holes in their lineups and they have two of the worst head coaches in the NFL.

This, this, more of this. I didn't buy into the hype of either one coming into this year.

Minny was at best a borderline playoff team before Favre got there. The only reason they even made the playoffs two seasons ago was because the NFCN was absolutely terrible. Last year, they had one of the weakest schedules in the NFL and Favre had the best year of his CAREER. Now, he's terrible and they're an average team (at best) again.

Same goes with Dallas. Under Wade, they've been at their best when under-the-radar and at their worst with big expectations. They've got a couple of stars in Ware, Romo, Witten, Austin, and Ratliff but the talent on the entire squad was also severely overrated coming into this year. They pounded a flailing Eagles team twice in a row last year and proceeded to get stomped by Minnesota.

I think it should be mentioned that both of these teams also have major identity issues on offense. Are they running teams? Are they passing teams? What are they good at? They're two poorly run teams with a few stars, a lot of overrated talent everywhere else, and abysmal coaching.

PoopSandwich 10-15-2010 04:50 PM

The browns defense is actually pretty good, the only bad game we had was against Baltimore and that was one player (I guess the Bengals game wasn't great defense but we held them to field goals for the most part.)

About 20-30 of the points (maybe even more) we have given up are off of turnovers because of our ****** offense.

Shiver 10-15-2010 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yourfavestoner (Post 2336336)
This, this, more of this. I didn't buy into the hype of either one coming into this year.

Minny was at best a borderline playoff team before Favre got there. The only reason they even made the playoffs two seasons ago was because the NFCN was absolutely terrible. Last year, they had one of the weakest schedules in the NFL and Favre had the best year of his CAREER. Now, he's terrible and they're an average team (at best) again.

Same goes with Dallas. Under Wade, they've been at their best when under-the-radar and at their worst with big expectations. They've got a couple of stars in Ware, Romo, Witten, Austin, and Ratliff but the talent on the entire squad was also severely overrated coming into this year. They pounded a flailing Eagles team twice in a row last year and proceeded to get stomped by Minnesota.

I think it should be mentioned that both of these teams also have major identity issues on offense. Are they running teams? Are they passing teams? What are they good at? They're two poorly run teams with a few stars, a lot of overrated talent everywhere else, and abysmal coaching.

Also, to quote Bill Parcells: "you are what your record is." End of story.

Hines 10-15-2010 05:06 PM

I'd put Baltimore higher than the Jets. When their offense starts clicking, they'll be VERY tough to beat.

umphrey 10-15-2010 05:07 PM

The NFC sucks this year. The Packers, Cowboys, Vikings, Saints are all playing like crap. Vikings and Saints have hope, Packers and Cowboys do not. Cowboys will be lucky to make the playoffs and the Packers won't win a wildcard game if they get there.

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by umphrey (Post 2336357)
The NFC sucks this year. The Packers, Cowboys, Vikings, Saints are all playing like crap. Vikings and Saints have hope, Packers and Cowboys do not. Cowboys will be lucky to make the playoffs and the Packers won't win a wildcard game if they get there.

Did you accidentally switch the references of the Packers and Vikings around or was this some sort of attempt at sarcasm?

PackerLegend 10-15-2010 05:18 PM

Two 1-3 teams in top 5 is laughable. The Cowboys are the "most talented team in NFL" really? Its really showing, usually a team with so much talent is 1-3 and looks as good as them.

I thought these were rankings? How do you rank 1-3 teams who have looked awful at times in the top 5...

bigbluedefense 10-15-2010 05:21 PM

Im not digging all this love the Giants are getting.

They always perform better when no one believes in them.

Shiver 10-15-2010 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeerBaron (Post 2336360)
Did you accidentally switch the references of the Packers and Vikings around or was this some sort of attempt at sarcasm?


Maybe he's referencing the ungodly amount of injuries the Packers have had? Maybe he is using reverse psychology?

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiver (Post 2336376)
Maybe he's referencing the ungodly amount of injuries the Packers have had? Maybe he is using reverse psychology?

I'll still take the badly injured Packers over the Vikings we've seen the last couple weeks for who has a better shot at the playoffs.

Giantsfan1080 10-15-2010 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbluedefense (Post 2336373)
Im not digging all this love the Giants are getting.

They always perform better when no one believes in them.

For our sake I hope the Giants aren't reading NFLDC.

umphrey 10-15-2010 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeerBaron (Post 2336360)
Did you accidentally switch the references of the Packers and Vikings around or was this some sort of attempt at sarcasm?

We have lines at the MRI machine 5 guys long every week. I checked, over 70% of our defense is hurt. We don't have a single healthy safety out of 5. We only have 3 defensive lineman able to play because we signed a street free agent this week. Our offensive tackles are too old to practice. Charles Woodson has a toe injury and he's not playing well this season. Our defensive leader (Barnett) is on IR. I could keep going for awhile but it's too depressing.

BeerBaron 10-15-2010 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by umphrey (Post 2336384)
We have lines at the MRI machine 5 guys long every week. I checked, over 70% of our defense is hurt. We don't have a single healthy safety out of 5. We only have 3 defensive lineman able to play because we signed a street free agent this week. Our offensive tackles are too old to practice. Charles Woodson has a toe injury and he's not playing well this season. Our defensive leader (Barnett) is on IR. I could keep going for awhile but it's too depressing.

But you have a quality QB who should play this week....that alone puts you ahead of the Vikings who've looked like crap and don't have quality QB play right now. Stumble your way to 9-7 and you'll probably be a wildcard team.

vidae 10-15-2010 05:37 PM

Talent is all well and good, but a team that isn't going to make the playoffs shouldn't be anywhere near the top of this list.


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