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(Early) Mid-Season Rankings

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  • Morton
    started a topic (Early) Mid-Season Rankings

    (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

  • bigbluedefense
    replied
    Originally posted by yourfavestoner View Post
    Giants still have 15/1 odds to win the SB. That's still a nice bet, too for halfway through the season.
    I'm also very superstitious, so I wouldn't bet on the Giants bc Id feel like Im jinxing them.

    FML.

    I might put a 100 bucks on the steelers if its not too late.

    Leave a comment:


  • yourfavestoner
    replied
    Originally posted by bigbluedefense View Post
    Yeah. But our oline is still mediocre, and outside of Nicks and Smith, we have no reliable 3rd option on offense, so we're very beatable on offense.

    That's my main concern. I think our defense (as long as it stays healthy) will be studly all year, but the offense worries me. It lacks playmakers and the oline is makeshift.



    My pride just won't let me do that haha.
    Giants still have 15/1 odds to win the SB. That's still a nice bet, too for halfway through the season.

    Leave a comment:


  • bigbluedefense
    replied
    Originally posted by HawkEye30 View Post
    Yea i only said the giants because they seem to be runnung the ball well know and the defense looks like its finally putting it all together. And you have eli who's good and it finally seems like nicks has stepped up to be your #1.
    Yeah. But our oline is still mediocre, and outside of Nicks and Smith, we have no reliable 3rd option on offense, so we're very beatable on offense.

    That's my main concern. I think our defense (as long as it stays healthy) will be studly all year, but the offense worries me. It lacks playmakers and the oline is makeshift.

    Originally posted by yourfavestoner View Post
    AFC is only a 1.5 point favorite vs the NFC in the Superbowl. Put your money down NAO.
    My pride just won't let me do that haha.

    Leave a comment:


  • HawkEye30
    replied
    Yea i only said the giants because they seem to be runnung the ball well know and the defense looks like its finally putting it all together. And you have eli who's good and it finally seems like nicks has stepped up to be your #1.

    Leave a comment:


  • yourfavestoner
    replied
    AFC is only a 1.5 point favorite vs the NFC in the Superbowl. Put your money down NAO.

    Leave a comment:


  • bigbluedefense
    replied
    Yup. I don't even think the Giants proved anything yet either.

    The Eagles look better to me as of right now.

    Leave a comment:


  • HawkEye30
    replied
    Is it safe to say that the nfc is wide open and that no one has proven to be the number 1 team in it except maybe the giants?

    Leave a comment:


  • bigbluedefense
    replied
    The AFC is going to be so interesting to watch this year.

    The East will have one very good team miss the playoffs. Will that team be the Jets, Pats, or Dolphins?

    The Ravens/Steelers (whichever loses the division) will be a scary wild card team to play in the playoffs. No one wants that matchup.

    Will the Colts miss the playoffs? The South will be interesting. The Titans are my team to win the division, but the Texans are still clawing, and the Colts still have Peyton Manning and are still winning despite their flaws.

    Will SD wake up and win a division that's begging them to stop Fing up and take advantage of mediocrity? Or will KC prove theyre legit and finally knock SD out of their annual free pass into the playoffs?

    Fun stuff moving forward.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rosebud
    replied
    Originally posted by Morton View Post
    The thing that you people have to realize when reading my rankings is that I've studied the NFL for years and have found that defense tends to prevail in the playoffs. I rank the teams with defense in mind first and foremost. Thus teams like the Saints and the Patriots with mediocre defenses but above-average offenses will be ranked lower than teams with average offenses and above-average defenses such as the Bears or the Jets.
    This is just magnificent.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rosebud
    replied
    Originally posted by yourfavestoner View Post
    It's deja vu from 2008. Remember you guys started out 0-2, the team hadn't gotten used to Spags' scheme yet and was giving up a ton of points, and Coughlin wasn't even going to make it to the bye week.

    Then you rolled off like 8 straight wins or something and eventually made it to the Superbowl.
    Why do you have to say things like that and jinx it? You suck, you're not a giants fan but you actually watch and know what you're talking about our team and you're in general a good guy, but then you gotta go do stuff like jinx us just cause you're not a fan our team. YFS you are most certainly not my favorite stoner...

    Leave a comment:


  • ThePudge
    replied
    Originally posted by Jvig43 View Post
    Ok I'm no Bengals fan but TO is ******* beasting for you guys. Idk how hes more of a problem then Carson I'll throw two interception on our 20 to let the opposing team beat us Palmer.
    T.O. had a great game against Cleveland, but costly drops & an offensive pass interference call on the Bengals final march vs. Tampa Bay cost the team a game. Numbers look nice but it's all about winning. One interception against the Bucs was taken out of Owens' hands, just a disgusting lack of effort on his part. That INT led to the tying score. The INT that led to the winning FG came off of Chad's hands. Two perfectly thrown balls, two INTs, game over. The play before the third INT, Owens backed the team 10 yards up with a bone-head offensive pass interference call... something that crippled the team late the week before (that one being Chad.)

    He's rounded off a number of routes & isn't putting in the effort with Carson Palmer. Just not sure how much he and Chad care about football anymore.

    Stats can be misleading, I suggest people watch the games before making blind assumptions. Palmer's been far from perfect but it's actually the receivers that have been shooting the team in the foot. Most miscommunications between Palmer-T.O. have been Owens being on the wrong page.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jvig43
    replied
    Originally posted by ThePudge View Post
    Right now Chad, T.O., and Bob Bratkowski have held the team back more than Palmer. By no means has Carson been sharp, but the team could easily be 4-1 if those two receivers could hold on to the ball & avoid costly penalties/drops at the worst possible moments. Their play-calling has been pretty awful for the past three seasons.

    Palmer played great against Cleveland, a big loss for the Bengals.
    Ok I'm no Bengals fan but TO is ******* beasting for you guys. Idk how hes more of a problem then Carson I'll throw two interception on our 20 to let the opposing team beat us Palmer.

    Leave a comment:


  • ThePudge
    replied
    Right now Chad, T.O., and Bob Bratkowski have held the team back more than Palmer. By no means has Carson been sharp, but the team could easily be 4-1 if those two receivers could hold on to the ball & avoid costly penalties/drops at the worst possible moments. Their play-calling has been pretty awful for the past three seasons.

    Palmer played great against Cleveland, a big loss for the Bengals.

    Leave a comment:


  • yourfavestoner
    replied
    Originally posted by gpngc View Post
    I agree with the rankings as of right now but this season is going to be so fluid that I don't even know why anyone would want their team to be declared the best or worst in the conference in Week 6. And injuries are insane this year - health will play a HUGE role in who ascends and who descends.

    I do think the Redskins are friskier sleepers than we all assume. This is a HC-QB league and somehow the Skins stumbled upon two of the best of this generation this offseason. A win against IND would be huge, but at 3-3 they'd still be in pretty good shape.

    In fact, the entire NFC East is just fascinating. All four teams could realistically make it to the Super Bowl - I don't think you can say that about any other division. The division games are going to be key and I'd be willing to bet that the division title will be earned on a H2H tiebreaker. Washington has the early advantage, but there's a long way to go.

    As for the Chargers and Colts, I agree with the OP that they are still just as scary as the DTrio (PIT, NYJ, BAL). The problem with these teams has never been regular season performance, so all they have to do is get into the tournament (they both will), and then take another crack at stringing together 3 or 4 winning playoff performances. The Chargers aren't going to lose every game on special teams, and having such ridiculous problems at this point in the season is probably a blessing in disguise. The defense actually hasn't been bad at all. And the offense will probably improve (McNeill shaking rust, Mathews growing, V-Jax back in W12). Scary with Rivers.

    And the great X-factor in all of this is clearly Vick. The Philly D is underwhelming, but he gives you a chance to win every week. If they sneak into the playoffs, I could definitely see him leading his team to a couple of road victories (in Atlanta?). Like I said - the NFC East is just fascinating.

    And the thing about the NFC East is that the wildcard team(s) could have extremely easy road playoff games to deal with. Chicago could win the division due to a soft schedule and the NFC West winner will obviously not be a good team.

    I'm liking my NYG-SD preseason Super Bowl pick right now and damn, Christian Ponder is awful.
    The problem with this is that these are two teams who have to be at home in the playoffs to have a realistic shot at stringing together postseason victories. Can you really see them going on the road in January and upsetting Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore, or even New England? Seeding will be huge in the AFC playoffs this year.

    Leave a comment:

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