Posted 9/21 by Michael Brown, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
My apologies for the lack of a thought process to create an intro this week.
After having to endure Sunday night football commentator Sterling Sharpe, my
vocabulary now consists of just one adjective - "special". As in,
"special players make special plays when the situation calls for them to
be special". He later went on to add, "This special player is so special
that his special talents could especially be put to special use in the Special
Olympics!" OK, he didn't say THAT one
but he may as well have.
Before we really begin: Since the rankings are now into a second week, I included
a section to show who has gained or lost the most since the previous week. Those
moving up will be called 'Super Shufflers Of the Week' in honor of the greatest
song and dance this country has ever known. Those dropping the most each week
earn the distinction of Plungers Of the Week because - well, they're in the
toilet. As promised, this space is yours to rant/vent/call me a moron, whatever.
Your questions and comments are in italics, with my responses following. This
week's e-mails were topnotch; keep em coming! On to the letters
From a reader named Matt G:
You must be sniffing glue over there to think the Vikings are a number 4. I
will state the obvious: Without Moss, they're worse off offensively. Burleson
simply can't handle the load, and it's obvious. As for the running game that
you think 'will come around'? Well, I think Daunte out-rushed Bennett and Williams
combined. I don't think Darren Sharper is enough to save their pitiful defense.
So why so much respect? It must have been a joke.
No, sadly I was serious. At this point, there is no doubt I way overrated the
Vikings. I expected the loss of Moss would impact the quality of the receiving
game, but I still felt they had enough firepower there (plus a solid run game)
to at least move the ball relatively well. After all, they were one of the top
offenses in the league last year, so I figured losing Moss might drop them to
the 5-10 range offensively. As it stands, just about everyone underestimated
the loss of Moss, and it appears I was mistaken on my projections. I did like
their changes on defense, though, and expected that the defensive upgrades would
outweigh the loss of Moss offensively. Thus, I figured they would be a challenger
for at least a championship game berth. At this point, they may still win the
division because I can't trust any of the other three teams to have a quality
season, but it is clear that right now, the Vikings are a mess.
From a reader named Dana Cornibe:
4. Minnesota Vikings 0-1 (-)
5. Cincinnati Bengals 1-0 (-)
I noticed in your bio you've never been drunk. Are you sure? I think you're
a little off here. Both of these teams really need to prove it on the field
before such high rankings.
Having already discussed the Vikings in the previous question, I'll focus instead
on the Bengals here. I stick to my assertion that they are one of the league's
best teams, and definitely on the rise. Defensively, they have improved, and
offensively I love them just about as much as any team in the league (see my
preseason rankings for both Palmer and Chad Johnson for confirmation). Will
they finish the year at #5? Perhaps not. But I expect them to be an elite team,
so I'd rather not take the weak way out and start them off low, only to slowly
move them up game-by-game. I'd rather be either right about them, or wrong about
From a reader named Chach Master:
Power rankings are based on the now, not the could. Your rankings make no sense
at all. How can the Chiefs win and still be behind the Vikings and the Chargers,
who have losses? How can the Bucs be 26 when then knock off your #4, the 0-1
Vikings?!? Jets at 11, after looking horrible, are ahead of Buffalo who actually
has a win. Footballguys rules but CBS does a much better power ranking.
I have to respectfully disagree about the methods for rankings teams. While
I do take into account what teams have done, I also have to weigh my expectations
for each team - especially early in the season. More specifically, take the
Panthers, for example. Based on your logic, I should have had them no better
than 17th coming into this week, because there were sixteen teams that had a
win, and Carolina did not. So I couldn't possibly have them higher than someone
who actually won. But what did Carolina do? They went out and whipped the defending
Super Bowl Champs. This is the very reason I rank based on my own interpretation
of the teams and don't get bogged down by a team's record, especially in Week
two. The problem with ranking teams based solely on records is what to do when
a team like New England loses in Week 2. Should I drop them below, say, the
Giants or Bucs just because those teams are 2-0? I don't think anyone would
say either team is better than the Giants, and I can't put them ahead just because
they have a better record right now. I don't know how CBS does their rankings,
but I base mine a whole lot more on quality of team than simply record. If I
were basing it simply on the teams' records, I could simply list the teams from
1-32 based on record each week and be done with it. Not much room for personal
interpretation in that.
Any other comments/questions/complaints/death threats should be e-mailed to
me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If selected, your e-mail will appear in this space next week.
Rk - Team Name - Record (Last week)
- Indianapolis Colts 2-0 (2)
Just keep on rolling, with Manning and the offense doing very little. Scary
proposition for the rest of the AFC.
- New England Patriots 1-1 (1)
That wasn't enough to make me think much less of them, but I can't keep them
in the top spot with a loss. (And yes, I realize this contradicts my response
above but when you're talking about the top spot, a 2-0 team that has dominated
deserves the spot more than a team that looked awful the previous week).
- Cincinnati Bengals 2-0 (5)
Yeah, those Aikman-to-Irvin comparisons don't seem so far-fetched now, do
- Pittsburgh Steelers 2-0 (6)
Absolutely rolled against two of the worst the league has to offer. I'll refrain
from a big jump until they beat a quality team.
- Atlanta Falcons 1-1 (3)
Vick had better be healthy - soon. He means more to the Falcons than Jennifer
Lopez's butt means to her career.
- Philadelphia Eagles 1-1 (7)
Now THAT is how you respond to a tough loss.
- Carolina Panthers 1-1 (12)
And that was WITHOUT Kris Jenkins! Man, what a defense.
- Kansas City Chiefs 2-0 (10)
I'm man enough to admit it - I was wrong about this defense. It's pretty decent
- New York Jets 1-1 (11)
Chad Pennington's new nickname? AFLAC. Figure it out - it's not difficult.
- Jacksonville Jaguars 1-1 (13)
I'm not saying the Leftwich play where he twisted his knee looked like fun,
but it didn't look like the worst thing I ever saw, either. No, that honor
goes to either Joe Thiesman, Bryant Young, Willis McGahee, Ed McCaffrey, or
Napoleon McCallum. Perhaps one day we'll have a contest.
- Washington Redskins 2-0 (17)
Mark Brunell had one amazing game Monday night. He spent the first 55 minutes
making the worst passes I've ever seen, and then made the two best throws
of the season in a span of 5 minutes. Of course, "proving" Joe Gibbs
is a genius in the process. (riiiiight)
- Dallas Cowboys 1-1 (8)
Hey Roy Williams
Santana Moss just called, and he said he has your wallet,
- New York Giants 2-0 (18)
Why do I get the feeling that this won't last?
- Seattle Seahawks 1-1 (23)
Just when I thought I was out
- Minnesota Vikings 0-2 (4)
Sadly, who else could possibly win that division?
- Denver Broncos 1-1 (16)
If Ron Dayne becomes a 1,000-yard rusher, I think it will then officially
be time to declare this situation 'wacky'.
- San Diego Chargers 0-2 (9)
Losing two winnable games, with the upcoming schedule they've got, could spell
- Saint Louis Rams 1-1 (20)
Want to hear a funny joke I was told in the preseason? OK, here it is: Marshall
Faulk is going to cut into Steven Jackson's playing time
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-0 (26)
To do what Cadillac Williams did, against the defense he did it against
count me impressed.
- Buffalo Bills 1-1 (15)
Alright, so the defense didn't look QUITE as good this week. Perhaps I overrated
them a bit.
- New Orleans Saints 1-1 (21)
Instead of complaining about the game having to be played on the road, why
not play a little defense?
- Arizona Cardinals 0-2 (19)
That one hurt - a lot. When the division winner is going to win 8, 9 games
tops, you've got to be able to pull out divisional games like that at home.
- Oakland Raiders 0-2 (22)
Watching their last game, do you also get the feeling that Randy is well within
reach of a 2,000/20 season? Me too. Too bad the defense couldn't stop a girl
- Tennessee Titans 1-1 (30)
Fisher's mustache is still intact, therefore, so are the Titans' chances.
- Baltimore Ravens 0-2 (14)
I know I used this last year, but I really think Jamal Lewis needs to check
and see if the Space Jam monsters stole his talent.
- Chicago Bears 1-1 (31)
It's a shame that their offense isn't better, because you know what? This
defense is terrific.
- Miami Dolphins 1-1 (28)
Wow, I wonder which was the REAL Gus Frerotte - Week 1 or Week 2? Hmmm.
- Detroit Lions 1-1 (24)
Do NOT bail on Kevin Jones. Repeat - do NOT bail. 96 yards in Week 1, a very
tough Bears D in Week 2, and no Cory Schlesinger yet. If you can afford to
be just a little patient, he will pay off. Now, the team on the other hand
- Cleveland Browns 1-1 (32)
Outside of Braylon Edwards, would ANY of their offensive skill players start
for ANY other team in the entire league???
- Green Bay Packers 0-2 (25)
I like how people are expecting them to turn it around simply because they
have Favre. It needs to be said: Favre is part of the problem. I love the
guy as much as anyone, but c'mon
facts are facts.
- San Francisco 49ers 1-1 (29)
The game was 28-0 at halftime, and Alex Smith only gets to throw one pass?!?
- Houston Texans 0-2 (27)
Andre Johnson owners, together now
Alright, you may wanna count to ten.
Super Shufflers Of the Week (+)
1. Seattle Seahawks +9
Beat the team that I think is going to the Super
Bowl, and you, too, can move up nine spots!
2. Tampa Bay Bucs +7
Not quite a believer yet, but 2-0 is 2-0. At least
this proves they aren't completely awful.
3. Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans (tie) +6
These seem flawed,
because they are. If not for two miracle passes, Washington moves down and not
way up. And the Titans moved up basically because everyone around them in the
Plungers Of the Week (-)
1. Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens (tie) -11
Well, this is what
0-2 gets you. Not JUST 0-2, mind you
but an ATROCIOUS 0-2.
3. San Diego Chargers -8
Their precipitous fall was as much a product
of their high initial ranking. There's room to climb, but it'll be really, really