New England Patriots (1-0) - Previously: #4 - The Patriots are the No. 1 team, by far. I didn't even come close to considering anyone else. The offense looks as good as always, but the difference is the defense. Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower are the real deal. They caused major problems for the Titans, and they can only improve.
Houston Texans (1-0) - Previously: #3 - The Texans looked like they were sleepwalking through the first half until Ryan Tannehill and his inept receivers started turning the ball over on every single drive. They should be better next week.
By the way, I got a kick out of CBS color analyst Dan Fouts exclaiming this after an Andre Johnson score: "All Andre Johnson does is catch touchdown passes!"
Umm... no. He doesn't. He's never had double-digit scores in any season. Fouts, stop drinking the entire week and start actually preparing for your broadcasts.
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) - Previously: #7 - Here's a recap of Ravens 44, Bengals 13:
- It's almost hard to believe the Ravens were up just 17-13 in the middle of the third quarter. The Bengals did a good job of keeping up after Baltimore established a quick, 17-3 lead, but the Ravens just turned into a machine after Marvin Lewis eschewed a 4th-and-1 opportunity inside the 5-yard line in favor of a field goal.
- In prior years, if I looked at the box score and saw that Ray Rice had just 10 carries (68 rushing yards, two touchdowns), I would have lashed out at Cam Cameron. I'll still never understand why he ran 5,000 reverses in the first quarter, but calling continuous passing plays was wise because Joe Flacco was on fire. He went 21-of-29 for 299 yards and two touchdowns with a couple of long pass-interference penalties. He was unstoppable in his fast-paced, no-huddle offense. He opened with a 52-yard bomb to Torrey Smith on his first play and never looked back.
- It was disappointing that Smith finished with just two catches for 57 yards. He drew a pass-interference flag on Nate Clements in the end zone, so he could have easily hauled in a touchdown.
- Flacco's scores went to Dennis Pitta (5 catches, 73 yards) and Anquan Boldin (4-63). Pitta was targeted nine times. He's worth picking up as a backup fantasy tight end, as Flacco loves throwing to him.
- The Ravens may have found their kicker. Justin Tucker connected on all three tries, including one from 46. I'm sure though that Baltimore fans really want to see how he handles clutch attempts, and understandably so.
- Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata made up for Terrell Suggs' absence. Lewis had 14 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. Ngata notched two sacks. Reed, meanwhile, pick-sixed Dalton, but had to go into the locker room for an issue with his hamstring.
- As for the Bengals, Andy Dalton was a pretty mediocre 22-of-37 for 221 yards and the aforementioned pick-six. He missed A.J. Green (5-70) deep downfield on several occasions, as his long accuracy continued to be an issue. He did a nice job of spreading the ball around, particularly to slot receiver Andrew Hawkins (8-86).
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He had some really tough runs, though he blew a blocking assignment on one play that resulted in a crucial Dalton sack.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) - Previously: #12 - Dominating the Packers in Lambeau earns San Francisco a nifty No. 4 ranking. Oh, and I guess I should note that my new strategy is to rank the 49ers super high so that I don't get hate mail from their lunatic fans.
Speaking of which, I really wanted to mess around with this guy:
Unfortunately, he didn't respond. If he did, asking me what I was talking about, I was going to try to convince him that the replacement officials admitted that they made numerous errors and Roger Goodell awarded the Packers a victory as a consequence. Damn it, Michael, why didn't you just e-mail me back?
New York Giants (0-1) - Previously: #1 - The Giants lost to the Redskins in the season opener last year. I'm not moving them down much because they suffered a defeat to a really good Dallas team that really was preparing to beat New York since January.
Anyway, I feel like this would be a spot in which I'd list some GameCenter comments, but NFL.com sucks because it installed a Facebook chat app. But here's a Giant-related comment I have stored:
"very1 hates on each other like we are all humans...im a huge giants fan...probably the biggest in Houston Texas. but come on u see me hatin on cowboys no MLK"
I'm not sure how Martin Luther King Jr. got involved, but I'm sure he would have said that all Giant fans and Cowboy fans were created equal.
Chicago Bears (1-0) - Previously: #8 - The Bears had an impressive victory - except for their first couple of drives in which Jay Cutler was 1-of-10 with a pick-six. What the hell was that about? It's almost like Cutler was thinking, "I hate WalterFootball.com. He makes fun of fat women, and I love fat women, especially Rosie O'Donnell. For revenge, I'm going to give him hope by going down 7-0, and then I'm going to rally and destroy the Colts. Next time don't make fun of Overlord O'Donnell, jerk!"
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) - Previously: #9 - I thought the Falcons would look past the "lowly" Chiefs, but they apparently wanted to make a statement because they lost two consecutive season openers on the road. This Atlanta team is better than anyone else in the NFC South - and it isn't even close.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) - Previously: #20 - I need to see the Cowboys win when it counts before I can finally become a believer, but the defense finally matches the offense, thanks to the additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.
Speaking of Claiborne, my friends at Wonderlic sent me the results of his exam, which he happened to score a 4 on. Here's Page 1:
Green Bay Packers (0-1) - Previously: #2 - What the hell happened to this team? Why did they refuse to cover anyone on the 49ers on Sunday? I know the defense was missing Desmond Bishop, but one man wouldn't have made the difference. Seriously, how could they have so many blown coverages in one afternoon?
The most puzzling thing is what Mike McCarthy said in the post-game press conference: "Our defense did some good things today."
What? When? I must have fallen asleep when the Packers made all of those great plays that McCarthy referred to. It's amazing that they didn't beat the 49ers with all of those great plays.
Denver Broncos (1-0) - Previously: #14 - Close call between the Broncos and Lions for the No. 10 spot, but Denver's victory was much more impressive than Detroit's.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2 - Bottom 10
32. Cleveland Browns (0-1) - Previously: #32 - If you watched Sunday NFL Countdown, you may have noticed that they showed tweets of fans sending in their pictures as they were getting ready for kickoff weekend. One of the pictures was of two little kids, decked out in Browns' gear. They looked so happy to be going to what perhaps was their first Browns' game.
I don't think they're so happy now. In fact, I think Brandon Weeden's epically horrific performance could put them in therapy.
- (Ragnarok) Average number of times the members of this board have jacked off in the past 24 hours
- (Hunter) His A-ball ERA
- (CKane) The amount of time he spent under a giant flag before the game.
- (Swag) The number of boys Jerry Sandusky...well...you know.****ed up the a**.
- (Ragnarok) Walt's age minus his girlfriend's age
31. Miami Dolphins (0-1) - Previously: #31 - How did Jeff Ireland manage to put together what could be the worst receiving corps of all time? Seriously, he should be embarrassed. I guess I can't talk though because I somehow managed to put together what could be the worst picking weekend of all time.
Ireland and I should start a club. It could be called the "We Suck at Our Jobs, but What Are You Going to Do About It?" organization. We could have a blast discussing how inept we are, and we can also ask random NFL players if their mom is a whore. It'll be so much fun.
30. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) - Previously: #27 - Andrew Luck. The best quarterback prospect since Robert Griffin.
29. St. Louis Rams (0-1) - Previously: #29 - Those of you who have followed my preseason recaps may appreciate some of this officiating ineptness:
28. Buffalo Bills (0-1) - Previously: #16 - Hope you enjoy your $100 million, Mario Williams. You're going to be playing on a lot of losing teams through many cold winters in Buffalo.
I might as well interview Williams to see how he's holding up.
Me: Hey Mario, thanks for joining me. Sorry about your opening-day performance. That was pretty brutal.
Mario Williams: I know. The refs cheated us. If they called the Jets for punching me in the face, we would have won.
Me: Won? But you were down 41-7 at one point.
Mario Williams: It's bulls***. They were punching me in the face and it totally affected the outcome of the game.
Me: What? That's like me saying my picks were the result of the annoying mosquito in my office that keeps biting me.
Mario Williams: Yeah, exactly! If there was no mosquito, you would have gotten all of your picks right.
Me: Hmm... I think you're on to something there.
Mario Williams: See? Me getting punched meant that we lost, and you getting bitten means your picks sucked. It's bulls***! Why's no one doing something about this?
Me: Yeah! Seriously! This is f***ing ridiculous!
Mario Williams: I'm telling ya, man.
Me: Ugh, hopefully we don't get screwed over next week. By the way, how do you feel about playing for the Bills now?
Mario Williams: We're going to lose a lot, but let me tell you what, Walt - making sure the $100 million is safe and secure in my large vault is my No. 1 priority. I get mad when they punch me during games, but I'll take that any day over losing even 1 percent of what I have in my vault.
Me: I wish I had a vault filled with $100 million. Then I wouldn't care about my picks.
Mario Williams: Yeah, it sucks you can't be awesome like me.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) - Previously: #30 - The coaching staff is doing a hell of a job improving Blaine Gabbert's play by installing a short passing game.
Gabbert's makeup artists and stylists are also doing a good job. Just check out what this girl Tori B. said to my girlfriend on Facebook:
"Gabbert does play like crap, but his saving grace is that he is sooo cute!"
26. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) - Previously: #27 - Maybe that game-winning drive was what Kevin Kolb needed to boost his confidence. We'll see. Regardless, it was a far cry from what the Cardinals had at quarterback two years ago...
Brandon Weeden: Hoolyllyl cccururupp i icaaannet't't seeeee riririghgtt nnoowowww whoawowoaoaot whaat colororo iss myy tewaamammamttees jeressuseesss swhiooowowoaoao whooaoaaa!!!
Poor Weeden was already terrible, but drinking from Derek Anderson's magical flask made him that much worse. Maybe he'll only throw three picks if he avoids that next week.
25. Tennessee Titans (0-1) - Previously: #19 - The Titans are already grumbling about their offensive coordinator? After Week 1? It's going to be a long season in Tennessee. Maybe the front office should have, I don't know, upgraded the offensive line since it was kind of its greatest weakness.
Anyway, it's the Adventures of Stupid Vince and Senile Bud! In this week's episode...
Bud Adams: Hey you, Steve McNair, why did we get blown out yesterday?
Vince Young: My name not Steve McNair ha, dat was da odder quarderback before me on da team ha.
Bud Adams: Weh? Who's Steve McNair?
Vince Young: Derrr, da guy who trow da ball on da team dat have da number T and a circle with da fire coming out ha?
Bud Adams: Team? What team? Whose team? What are you talking about, Steve?
Vince Young: Derrr, you really confusin me again ha. Why am I always confuse ha?
Bud Adams: Vince, where's Jeff Fisher? That mustachioed bastard is going to pay for that loss.
Vince Young: Derrr, mustache is dat like da hair under da mouth ha?
Bud Adams: Steve, quit stallin' and get my hemorrhoid cream! My a** is burning up!
Vince Young: Ha, derrr, you just da A-word ha but i dunno what da hemoid cream is ha.
Bud Adams: Who has hemorrhoids? You, Vince? No wonder you sucked yesterday.
24. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) - Previously: #23 - I talked about the stupid preseason homer broadcasters in my NFL Preseason Recap pages. Here's one I missed, per e-mailer Zach H:
Hey Walt, I know you post things about biased commentators in your weekly picks and not sure if you saw this one before. It was in the preseason game in Minnesota against Houston and it was less then a minute to go or so before halftime and I believe it was either Mayock or Paul Allan that when they looked at the Vikings' first eight games of the regular season, they predicted the Vikings would go 7-1.
I was blown away on how stupid the guy was on coming to his conclusion. Like one example I remember was " Leslie Fraiser doesn't lose in Washington so that's a W." Stupid things like that on those lines and the other commentator was kind of shocked, and when the biased guy asked him if he agreed, he flat out said "No I do not." It was so hilarious; I had to listen to it a couple of times because I couldn't believe it.
The Vikings' homer is really bad; he's almost as egregious as the Raiders' play-by-play guy who once said, "The Cowboys are America's team, but the Raiders are the planet's team!"
23. Cincinnati Bengals (0-0*) - Previously: #24 - I already discussed the Bengals, so here's a recap of Chargers 22, Raiders 14:
- There's a reason why the Raiders are known as the dumbest team in the league. As always, they killed themselves with stupid mistakes and penalties throughout the game. It first became noticeable when defensive tackle Tommy Kelly was whistled for being offside on two third-and-short situations during the same drive in the second quarter. And to make it worse, Kelly was laughing after this when he sat down on the bench. It's refreshing to know that he cared so much about winning this contest.
Other moronic errors included a Rod Streater fumble in San Diego territory on the first drive; a Taiwan Jones fumble on a reverse; a botched snap on TWO punts (after long-snapper Jon Condo suffered a concussion); a blocked punt; 12 men on the huddle when going for it on fourth down; and of course, various other penalties.
How many years is this going to happen? It's really ridiculous, and it needs to stop. Dennis Allen must make a statement immediately. He has to suspend or cut a starter like Kelly to establish some discipline and control. I don't see that happening though because A) the Raiders will always be the Raiders, and B) Allen looks like he's 13 years old, so no one's going to listen to him.
- The Raiders' offense was really anemic. Carson Palmer threw for 297 yards and a touchdown, but a lot of that came in garbage time. Palmer rarely looked downfield because of his limited arm strength; he completed just one pass longer than 21 yards. He settled for all checkdowns, which is why Darren McFadden collected 13 catches for 86 receiving yards to go along with his 32 rushing yards on 15 carries. McFadden didn't have any running room because the Chargers did not respect the deep ball whatsoever.
It's amazing how much Palmer sucks. As forum member El Guapo brilliantly put it, "It's like I'm watching the old Chad Pennington Jet offense after he hurt his shoulder." Palmer is just so limited right now. It was so frustrating that I tweeted (@walterfootball), "It's time for Terrelle Pryor."
I'm being serious about Pryor. Palmer is awful. Pryor is not a good passer right now, but he can air it out and make stuff happen with his legs. His mere presence would have opened things up for McFadden. I'd criticize Allen for not making the switch, but it was his first game as a head coach, and Denarius Moore was out, so Palmer didn't have his top receiver. Allen better go with Pryor if Palmer has another stinker like this one next week.
- Philip Rivers also looked like he had diminished arm strength, but of course, he was a billion times better than Palmer. Rivers went 24-of-33 for 231 yards and a touchdown. He had just two passes of longer than 17 yards, including a 46-yarder to Robert Meachem. The long, first-quarter reception looked promising for Meachem's fantasy evening, but he finished with just two catches for 49 yards. Malcom Floyd (4-66) caught the score.
- Antonio Gates left the game with a rib injury, which scared me because I own him in two fantasy leagues. He would eventually return, but he posted a disappointing stat line of four catches for 43 yards.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Detroit Lions (1-0). Previously: #6
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1). Previously: #10
13. Washington Redskins (1-0). Previously: #21
14. New York Jets (1-0). Previously: #25
15. New Orleans Saints (0-1). Previously: #5
16. San Diego Chargers (1-0). Previously: #22
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0). Previously: #26
18. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1). Previously: #11
19. Carolina Panthers (0-1). Previously: #13
20. Seattle Seahawks (0-1). Previously: #15
21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0). Previously: #17
22. Oakland Raiders (0-1). Previously: #18
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Run Defenses, Pass Defense, Pass Protection:
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: