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Old 09-16-2009, 12:15 PM    (permalink
tjsunstein
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Default Week 1 Power Rankings

What's more debatable than weekly power rankings? ESPN did one and it had me in the mood to write up a list of my own. Here it goes. 1-32.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - Big Ben is on top of his game and this team looks primed for another run at the championship. They need to establish more of a run game as the season goes on.

2. New York Giants - This team is clicking everywhere. It's good to see Osi back to form. Manning continues to control this offense and Bradshaw is ready to fill the void left by Ward. The young wideouts stepped up and made some plays as well. All is well in New York.

3. New England Patriots - Great teams find ways to win football games. It took a boneheaded play for the Patriots to capitalize but in the end, it's the score that mattered. The Brady Bunch overcame adversity and put a W on the board. The defense took a major hit this offseason and it showed Monday Night. I have confidence Belichick will make it right.

4. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez didn't waste any time. The addition of Tony G. is going to give defensive coordinators headaches every week. The offense was helped by a strong defensive performance. They'll be tested by Carolina on Sunday but if it's anything like last year's Week 12 game, then the Falcons will solidify their spot up here.

5. Philadelphia Eagles - The defense looked like it was being run by Jim Johnson from the booth in heaven. Weak side blitzes got to the Panthers quarterbacks all day, all three of them. Causing turnover after turnover. Not all of it was good news, though. McNabb has a broken rib and his return doesn't have a timetable.

6. San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers continues to impress me. Leading the team down the field to overcome a hard fought division game is never easy and Rivers does it in front of the Black Hole. Darren Sproles is, dare I say, more important to the team than Tomlinson.

7. Indianapolis Colts - An ugly win is still a win and you can't count that against any team in week 1. Anthony Gonzalez will be out a couple of weeks and Marvin Harrison is no longer a Colt. All of the sudden the Colts look pretty thin at wide reciever. Reggie Wayne displayed why he is the number one reciever in Indianapolis but someone else is going to have to step up for Manning and company.

8. Baltimore Ravens - Did I see some explosiveness from the Ravens offense? Uh oh. Joe Flacco with a 300 yard passing game? The Chiefs may have been in it for the most part but they were held to 188 net yards compared to the Ravens 501. You be the judge.

9. Tennessee Titans - The Titans put up a great fight against the defending champs on the road. Always tough to win at Heinz field so I think this team is again a legitimate contender but they have to prove a couple of things. The Titans had to uncharacteristically air it out last game. Although against the Steelers, the running game wasn't impressive and the secondary needs to play much better.

10. Minnesota Vikings - They drugged Favre. They played conservative football. Adrian Peterson did his damn thing out there. This is going to be a tough team to stop if they keep everyone fresh. Peterson and Brees will have an epic fight for offensive player of the year.

11. Green Bay Packers - The switch to the 3-4 looked like the right move on Sunday night. Now they have to figure out their offensive line situation. Rodgers evolved his game. He missed a couple of recievers down field but hit Jennings when it mattered most.

12. Dallas Cowboys - The offense looked on point and capitalized off of every mistake the Bucs made. The run defense was unimpressive, though. Tony Romo looks like the real deal even without T.O. this year. I had to bring T.O. up, sorry.

13. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees. 6 touchdown passes. They played the Lions, but so what. 6 touchdown passes!?! Certainly set the tune of this team for the season. They're going to try to outscore you because the defense is suspect.

14. New York Jets - Rex Ryan brought over the tenacity on defense with him and Mark Sanchez looked sharp in his debut. Leon Washington is the X-factor for this team. Who needs wide recievers when you have Dustin Keller? Defense is going to have to carry this team all year long if they want to stay competitive. Look for a rendition of the '08 Ravens but far less dominant.

15. Seattle Seahawks - Matt Hasselbeck put the doubters to rest with his three touchdown scores. The defense pitched a shutout. Oh right, they played the Rams, though. All of the sudden the NFC West is a wide open race again.

16. Chicago Bears - Peter King picked them to go to the Super Bowl. Jay Cutler was consistently throwing into coverage and they forgot they had this guy named Matt Forte. Did I mention that Brian Urlacher will miss the rest of the season? Bad news all over. The honeymoon is over, Cutler.

17. Arizona Cardinals - The offense was unable to get anything going without Steve Breaston and a beat up Anquan Boldin. Dealing with some injuries in the recieving core is something they will have to overcome if they want to repeat any of the magic they had last year.

18. Houston Texans - Came into the season with high expectations and didn't live up to the billing against the Jets. The offense has to come up with something different now that everyone knows what Slaton is capable of.

19. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins turned the ball over 4 times in week 1 against the Falcons. Last year they were so successful because of the best turnover ratio in the league. Easier said than done, but they need to limit the mistakes.

20. Washington Redskins - Ran the ball for 51 yards on 20 carries. The line was manhandled by the Giants, nonetheless but never a good start. The offense could never get into rhythm. No one is giving them a chance in the NFC East and they proved everyone right. Nothing clicks with this team and the 100 million dollar man was a non factor.

21. San Francisco 49ers - Limited their mistakes and benefitted from costly turnovers. The least impressive performer was Frank Gore who only managed to run for 30 yards on 21 carries. They won but it wasn't textbook. They can't expect to win every game with performances like that.

22. Buffalo Bills - Leodis lost the game for them. Or was it the offensive coordinator? Owens was targeted a total of 4 times. Had two catches, a drop, and an offensive pass interference called against him. If you want to win football games, give it to your playmakers.

23. Oakland Raiders - The Raiders poured some optimism into the Black Hole with the game they played on Monday Night. The running game is the strong point. So why have Russell throw the ball 30 times? Russell needs to speed up his maturation process a ton.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars need playmakers. Williamson was a non factor last week, Jones-Drew can only do so much, and why not pass it to Holt more? Only 122 passing yards for Garrard last week.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The bright spot? Cadillac was back to running with promise. The not so bright spot? The defense. The secondary let up too many big plays. Part because of missed assignments and part because of missed tackles. Surprisingly, the Cowboys only outgained the Bucs by 12 yards.

26. Carolina Panthers - Jake Delhomme looked like the same quarterback from the playoffs. Not a good sign. The key to this season will be how he bounces back from his two previous games this coming week.

27. Kansas City Chiefs -They hung in there with the Ravens, I will give them that. Then again, the Bills hung in there with the Patriots, the Raiders with the Chargers, and the Jaguars with the Colts. It will take more than one week to prove to anyone that they can't be overlooked.

28. Denver Broncos - It took a miracle with 11 seconds to go to beat the Bengals. The defensive unit looked solid but there was a noticeable downgrade on offense without Cutler.

29. Cleveland Browns - Adrian Peterson isn't fair. We get it. I expect a Brady Quinn coming out party against the Broncos. Braylon needs to get more involved if this team wants to be a serious threat.

30. Cincinnati Bengals - Ugly game capped by a tough loss. There are still some believers in this team but they didn't gain any fans after that one.

31. St. Louis Rams - No signs of life. Struggled both offensively and defensively and wore down as the game went on. 2/12 on third downs. They were shutout by the Seahawks but yet came away with a +2 turnover ratio.

32. Detroit Lions - They are a few years away on the defensive side of the ball. By a few years, I mean a complete makeover. Stafford is only a one more piece in place to very large unsolved puzzle. It's going to be another ugly year.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:38 PM    (permalink
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I think 6 is too high for the Chargers....
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:48 PM    (permalink
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While we looked good we did struggle a lot in the redzone, 4 redzone trips, 3 FGs. I wonder how much of that had to do with Fat Albert and that strong washington D and how much that had to do with our lack of a major redzone target other than the Boss. I wouldn't say that Haynesworth wasn't a factor, he did a very good job of shutting down the inside.

Plus I think the Falcons are a little high because I do still question that D. They had a strong showing in week one, but I'd like to see them keep that up for a few weeks before I start to believe in that D.
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Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.

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Old 09-16-2009, 01:11 PM    (permalink
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I tried my best to catch most of games. From what I saw in the Giants-Redskins game was Haynesworth being contained pretty well. I didn't see him disrupt much of Eli's pocket. Even on DeAngelo's interception nearly the whole line was within 3 yards of Eli except Haynesworth and he was being singled. On the forced fumble by Cater, if I recall correctly, Haynesworth wasn't even on the field. Haynesworth was in on the play on 4th and 1, I do remember that but he was injured on the play as well. Jacobs ran right into that one. He may have been a force on occasion but I just didn't see it anything any other DT couldn't have done. A non factor is rather harsh I will admit but he didn't come out the way I thought he would. The Giants offensive line is one of the best though with Pro Bowlers on the inside. I guess we'll find out if the money was worth it as the season wears on and if he holds up down the stretch. Right now, I'm skeptical.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:35 PM    (permalink
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I think that you are underrated the 49ers. Think of it this way, if they can win without production from their best offensive player, imagine how much better they will be when he gets on track. Swap the 49ers and the Cardinals and these are okay.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:44 PM    (permalink
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Theoretically, what you said sounds good. I'm not sold on what the 49ers offensive production will be. Do you think every game is going to be spot free like last weeks? I don't. Let's see what kind of game the 49ers play against Seattle before moving them up. Remember, it's only week one and alot is to be proved.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:09 PM    (permalink
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The funny thing is it wasnt even the offensive lines fault that we lost, they actually did a pretty good job.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:25 PM    (permalink
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The funny thing is it wasnt even the offensive lines fault that we lost, they actually did a pretty good job.
Like I said, I tried to catch most of the game that I could without neglecting other games. From what I saw, the Giants didn't give the Redskins any chance at running the ball and looking at the stats it shows. Portis had 62 yards on 16 carries. Seems decent right? Well, factor in his first run from scrimmage was 34 yards. Leaves 15 other carries for a combined 28 yards. Was Portis' vision bad? Was he dancing too much? How do you account for that without blaming the offensive line?
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:43 PM    (permalink
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I tried my best to catch most of games. From what I saw in the Giants-Redskins game was Haynesworth being contained pretty well. I didn't see him disrupt much of Eli's pocket. Even on DeAngelo's interception nearly the whole line was within 3 yards of Eli except Haynesworth and he was being singled. On the forced fumble by Cater, if I recall correctly, Haynesworth wasn't even on the field. Haynesworth was in on the play on 4th and 1, I do remember that but he was injured on the play as well. Jacobs ran right into that one. He may have been a force on occasion but I just didn't see it anything any other DT couldn't have done. A non factor is rather harsh I will admit but he didn't come out the way I thought he would. The Giants offensive line is one of the best though with Pro Bowlers on the inside. I guess we'll find out if the money was worth it as the season wears on and if he holds up down the stretch. Right now, I'm skeptical.
Haynesworth didn't dominate but we doubled him a lot and also ran away from him quite a bit. Haynesworth certainly made his presence felt, we just did a great job of containing him.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:54 PM    (permalink
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Like I said, I tried to catch most of the game that I could without neglecting other games. From what I saw, the Giants didn't give the Redskins any chance at running the ball and looking at the stats it shows. Portis had 62 yards on 16 carries. Seems decent right? Well, factor in his first run from scrimmage was 34 yards. Leaves 15 other carries for a combined 28 yards. Was Portis' vision bad? Was he dancing too much? How do you account for that without blaming the offensive line?
We couldnt run the ball you are right but as far as pass blocking goes we did a great job. Campbell had more than enough time he just holds onto the ball too long. He stood their and let Osi smack the ball out of his hand instead of stepping up in the pocket. I think the main reason we couldnt run the ball is because it is so easy to know when we are running. We have a 2 back rotation so 90 percent of the time if clinton portis is in the game we are running the ball, and if ladell betts is in the game we are passing the ball. The offensive line played better than any other unit on the team its just the QB and the Head Coach suck.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:00 PM    (permalink
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Haynesworth didn't dominate but we doubled him a lot and also ran away from him quite a bit. Haynesworth certainly made his presence felt, we just did a great job of containing him.
Fair enough. Being game planned around isn't exactly the impact the Redskins had in mind I would assume. He did step up on the 4th and 1 in all fairness to him. I guess we'll see him get very little brought his way kind of like the Asomugha treatment.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:02 PM    (permalink
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I would actually agree with the rankings.

From top to bottom.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:03 PM    (permalink
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We couldnt run the ball you are right but as far as pass blocking goes we did a great job. Campbell had more than enough time he just holds onto the ball too long. He stood their and let Osi smack the ball out of his hand instead of stepping up in the pocket. I think the main reason we couldnt run the ball is because it is so easy to know when we are running. We have a 2 back rotation so 90 percent of the time if clinton portis is in the game we are running the ball, and if ladell betts is in the game we are passing the ball. The offensive line played better than any other unit on the team its just the QB and the Head Coach suck.
I was going to mention that Campbell holds on to the ball too long. Kudos for pointing that out. I agree with you, though. The offense is far too predictable and when playing a division rival who sees you so often, you would think they would mix it up a bit. And that Randel El loss of 11 is not mixing it up.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:05 PM    (permalink
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6. San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers continues to impress me. Leading the team down the field to overcome a hard fought division game is never easy and Rivers does it in front of the Black Hole. Darren Sproles is, dare I say, more important to the team than Tomlinson.

23. Oakland Raiders - The Raiders poured some optimism into the Black Hole with the game they played on Monday Night. The running game is the strong point. So why have Russell throw the ball 30 times? Russell needs to speed up his maturation process a ton.
Sigh I guess I have to start coming around on this, eh TJ? With Ladainian nursing a twisted ankle after this week it's obvious that Sproles' role (hehe) is crucial to the team. Rivers is also absolutely ridiculous. With no time in the pocket, leading those last two touchdown drives he once again reinforced just how much of a baller he is.

Never thought I'd say it but I think the Raiders should be higher. Seymour and Ellis add a presence to the line, the LBs are solid, and the secondary is more than nifty. On O, they can run it. If Jamarcus and his wideouts get it together they're pretty close to real respectability..
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:14 PM    (permalink
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Sigh I guess I have to start coming around on this, eh TJ? With Ladainian nursing a twisted ankle after this week it's obvious that Sproles' role (hehe) is crucial to the team. Rivers is also absolutely ridiculous. With no time in the pocket, leading those last two touchdown drives he once again reinforced just how much of a baller he is.

Never thought I'd say it but I think the Raiders should be higher. Seymour and Ellis add a presence to the line, the LBs are solid, and the secondary is more than nifty. On O, they can run it. If Jamarcus and his wideouts get it together they're pretty close to real respectability..
I did lift the Raiders up a considerable amount from where I had them coming into the season somewhere in the bottom 5. Week 1 is the toughest to make a fair judgement on teams. I'd like to see the Raiders continue to develope their run game and use it as effectively as they did on Monday Night. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this team needs to be consistent. Everyone can get happy in their pants after what they showed last week but it won't matter if they put the same product that the have the last however many years back on the field next week.

Sproles' role wouldn't be nearly as effective if not for Tomlinson so really, who is more important? Something to think about.

Also, to comment on the Raiders defense. Ellis and Seymour definitely benefits the whole defense, creating more pressure thus bad throws. I'm still wondering if Rivers' touchdown throw to Jackson was amazing placement or a bad throw turned great. I guess we'll never know completely.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:24 PM    (permalink
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I did lift the Raiders up a considerable amount from where I had them coming into the season somewhere in the bottom 5. Week 1 is the toughest to make a fair judgement on teams. I'd like to see the Raiders continue to develope their run game and use it as effectively as they did on Monday Night. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this team needs to be consistent. Everyone can get happy in their pants after what they showed last week but it won't matter if they put the same product that the have the last however many years back on the field next week.

Sproles' role wouldn't be nearly as effective if not for Tomlinson so really, who is more important? Something to think about.

Also, to comment on the Raiders defense. Ellis and Seymour definitely benefits the whole defense, creating more pressure thus bad throws. I'm still wondering if Rivers' touchdown throw to Jackson was amazing placement or a bad throw turned great. I guess we'll never know completely.

Yah impossible to say on the Rivers throw, but on the other hand he has been making gold out of seemingly impossible tosses for a while now.

We might find out about Sproles this week, LT could sit out. Michael Bennett off the bench.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:56 PM    (permalink
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I know no one is giving the Saints a lot of credit for beating the Lions but we did put up almost 50 points easily. Hell, we toyed with them a good bit. The Lions defense did look improved and their offense is a work in progress. You can already tell, though, that should have drafted Michael Oher instead of Brandon Pettigrew.

The Saints defense is still trying to gel but it looks a lot faster and more aggressive. This week against the Eagles will prove more than the Lions game did. What killed New Orleans against Detroit was our atrocious Special Teams play and turnovers. Reggie Bush fumbled a punt return which led to a Lions TD and Mike Bell's one and only fumbled led to a Louis Delmas fumble return for a TD.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:01 PM    (permalink
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I know no one is giving the Saints a lot of credit for beating the Lions but we did put up almost 50 points easily. Hell, we toyed with them a good bit. The Lions defense did look improved and their offense is a work in progress. You can already tell, though, that should have drafted Michael Oher instead of Brandon Pettigrew.

The Saints defense is still trying to gel but it looks a lot faster and more aggressive. This week against the Eagles will prove more than the Lions game did. What killed New Orleans against Detroit was our atrocious Special Teams play and turnovers. Reggie Bush fumbled a punt return which led to a Lions TD and Mike Bell's one and only fumbled led to a Louis Delmas fumble return for a TD.
I still think the Pettigrew pick can pan out. Obviously living in the now their line is freaking terrible, but having a talented underneath/mid route TE will do wonders for Calvin over the next few years. Not to mention Stafford.

If the Lions had any concern at all about Oher's ability to play LT, they could justify passing pretty easily given that they had drafted their RT in the 1st round the year prior.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:02 PM    (permalink
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I know no one is giving the Saints a lot of credit for beating the Lions but we did put up almost 50 points easily. Hell, we toyed with them a good bit. The Lions defense did look improved and their offense is a work in progress. You can already tell, though, that should have drafted Michael Oher instead of Brandon Pettigrew.

The Saints defense is still trying to gel but it looks a lot faster and more aggressive. This week against the Eagles will prove more than the Lions game did. What killed New Orleans against Detroit was our atrocious Special Teams play and turnovers. Reggie Bush fumbled a punt return which led to a Lions TD and Mike Bell's one and only fumbled led to a Louis Delmas fumble return for a TD.
It's not that no one is giving them credit, it's just that it was expected. That was the way it was going to be and everyone accepted it as normal. Had it not turned out the way it did then everyone would have been shocked. What happens against this Philadelphia defense will change a lot of moods around the NFL and their fans, good or bad.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:39 PM    (permalink
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I'll just do divisions, since it's always prickly doing 1-32 after the 1st WK. Got questions about possibly elite teams who played creampuffs, but I'll put together a Top 6 in each conference who look like Playoff contenders.

AFC North:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Cincinatti Bengals
4. Cleveland Browns

AFC East:
1. New England Patriots
2a. NY Jets
2b. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins

AFC South:
1a. Indianapolis Colts
1b. Tennessee Titans
3. Houston Texans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West:
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Oakland Raiders
3. Denver Broncos
4. Kansas City Chiefs


NFC North:
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions

NFC East:
1. NY Giants
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Washington Redskins

NFC South:
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West:
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. St. Louis Rams


AFC Contenders:
1: Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. New England Patriots
4. Tennessee Titans
5. San Diego Chargers
6. Baltimore Ravens

NFC Contenders:
1. NY Giants
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Minnesota Falcons
5. Green Bay Packers
6. San Francisco 49ers
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:43 PM    (permalink
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Good rankings, I agree where the raiders are. Hopefully we improve enough to be out of the bottom 10.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:50 PM    (permalink
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I still think the Pettigrew pick can pan out. Obviously living in the now their line is freaking terrible, but having a talented underneath/mid route TE will do wonders for Calvin over the next few years. Not to mention Stafford.

If the Lions had any concern at all about Oher's ability to play LT, they could justify passing pretty easily given that they had drafted their RT in the 1st round the year prior.
I definitely understand the drafting of Pettigrew but the recent success of first round QB's the past couple of years has been based on those teams drafting OL. If a top left tackle is on the board after you had already drafted someone you wanted as your franchise quarterback then you have to take him.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:50 PM    (permalink
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You seriously think the Atlanta Falcons are the 4th best team in the NFL right now???

The Niners beat the team that was seconds away from winning the Superbowl, and they're ranked 21st?

I actually think these rankings are pretty horrible.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:57 PM    (permalink
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I think you can't base it off one game.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:01 PM    (permalink
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22. Buffalo Bills - Leodis lost the game for them. Or was it the offensive coordinator? Owens was targeted a total of 4 times. Had two catches, a drop, and an offensive pass interference called against him. If you want to win football games, give it to your playmakers.
No way would I blame the offensive coordinator. Maybe the defensive coordinator that let Keith Ellison stay out and get burned in coverage on the last two TD.
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