New York Giants (6-2) - Previously: #1 - I expected New York to lose to Dallas, so I'm not moving them out of No. 1 despite being inches away from suffered a third defeat. The Giants are still the best team in the NFL, in my opinion.
All Giant fans will undoubtedly love this image from Sunday's victory over the pathetic Cowboys:
Atlanta Falcons (7-0) - Previously: #5 - The Falcons move up with a very impressive showing at Philadelphia. It appears as though the team just needed the bye to recalibrate.
Oh, and acquiring yet another Philadelphia cornerback helped, of course. If you haven't heard, the Falcons traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. What? You're not seeing that story on Twitter or Google News? But it's true. Dick Stockton said so Sunday! I remember the exact quote: "Matt Ryan... swing pass to Rodgers. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tackled by Nate Allen!"
Great job by Mike Smith utilizing DRC on offense. I can't believe Andy Reid didn't try that.
Houston Texans (6-1) - Previously: #3 - The Texans are coming off a bye, so I can talk about the Falcons-Eagles game some more. As you may know, this is the first time that Andy Reid has lost after a bye. This was a momentous occasion, so I had to call Reid up for an interview about this:
Me: Hey Andy, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
Andy Reid: Umm... uhh... no problem, Walt, hem, hem...
Me: I'm sorry about your first post-bye loss. You must be terribly upset. I was surprised, quite frankly. I heard you gave a pre-game speech to your team, which is something you normally don't do. Can you tell us how that went?
Andy Reid: Oh... hem, hem... sure... uhh... injuries... uhh... Jason Kelce... still out... hem, hem...
Me: Wait, no, I was asking for you to tell me what your pre-game speech was.
Andy Reid: Jason Peters... still out... uhh...
Me: No, Andy, I want to hear your pre-game speech!
Andy Reid: Danny Watkins... doubtful... umm... that's all the injuries... hem, hem... uhh... time's yours...
Me: Wait, was this your pre-game speech? You just read off the injury report just like you do at the start of every single post-game press conference you've been a part of in your 14-year career?
Andy Reid: No, there were other things, man. Uhh... umm... I take full responsibility... uhh... I need to put the players in a better situation... hem, hem...
Me: But that's exactly what you say after the game every time!
Andy Reid: That's something I need to work on... hem, hem... umm... I need to do a better job of coaching... uhh... now let's go out there and play a game, hem, hem...
Me: That was the most depressing pre-game speech I ever heard. No wonder the Falcons came out with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown on your pathetic defense.
Chicago Bears (6-1) - Previously: #4 - If you missed it on my NFL Picks page, some lunatic Bears' fan ranted about how I didn't slot his team No. 1:
YOU EFF-AGS AT WALTER SOCCER (YOU DONT DESERVE THE FOOTBALL NAME), YOU F-CKIN EURO TRASH, W-I-L-L BOW DOWN TO THE ALMIGHTY BEARS WHEN ITS ALL SAID AND DONE. YOU DONT HAVE TO LIKE CHICAGO. BUT YOU WILL FEAR AND RESPECT THE BEARS, YOU GREEN BAY BABY DICK GOBBLING [email protected] BEARDOWN ON ALL YOU H0MOS POINT DIFFERENTIAL DONT LIE B1TCH. BEARS ARE #1, PURE DOMINANCE. ONE LUCKY LOSS ON THE ROAD TO A DESPERATE SLACKERS TEAM WHO HAD TO RESORT TO A FAKE FG TD AND REF HELP...means SH1T SUPER BEARS SUPER BOWL B1TCH, DEAL WITH IT
I have no idea where he gets "Euro trash" from because I was born in America, but he probably eats the "peanut butter" that he scoops out of his buttocks, so I won't take too much offense. I do wonder though if he still feels the same way after his team nearly lost to the pathetic Panthers.
Green Bay Packers (5-3) - Previously: #2 - I'm dropping the Packers because of all their injuries. By the way, they shouldn't trade for Steven Jackson or DeAngelo Williams. Yes, they need running back help, but they have bigger fish to fry in terms of their defense. They made Blaine Gabbert look like a semi-decent quarterback. Yes, this guy:
San Francisco 49ers (6-2) - Previously: #6 - Here's a recap of 49ers 24, Cardinals 3:
- This night was incredibly annoying; not just because I lost two units on the pathetic Cardinals, but because I had to drive to my parents' house to watch this game. Hurricane Sandy knocked out my power, and as you may have seen on Twitter (@walterfootball, I went PECO.com to check my status. Here's what I saw:
So, either 2011 years in the past or 7989 years in the future. Great.
Oh, and to make matters even worse, I needed Larry Fitzgerald to get over the goal line at the very end to win one of my fantasy leagues. FML.
- The Cardinals are pathetic. They struggled to do anything. The offensive line couldn't block for either LaRod Stephens-Howling or John Skelton. When Skelton had time, he failed to find open receivers because the 49ers rushed four most of the time. The defense couldn't tackle the San Francisco running backs or cover the wideouts. It was so bad that even the decrepit Randy Moss scored a touchdown, as he easily evaded several Arizona poor tacklers.
- The 49ers, meanwhile, absolutely dominated. The final score could've been an even wider margin had guard Alex Boone not committed a face mask on a good-looking opening drive. The only blemish for San Francisco was the four sacks the offensive line allowed. Alex Smith, who was 18-of-19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns, said afterward that he should have thrown more incompletions to avoid those sacks.
- Two of Smith's scores went to Michael Crabtree (5-72) who had a big game because Patrick Peterson couldn't tackle. Peterson slipped on one of the touchdowns. The other, as mentioned, went to Moss.
- John Skelton was awful. He finished 32-of-52 for 290 yards and an interception. The stats are inflated by garbage-time yardage. He didn't have much of a chance behind an awful offensive line that simply just didn't block the 49ers on several occasions. It was ridiculous how they let the San Francisco defenders just run by.
- Fitzgerald, who missed out on the aforementioned touchdown, caught five balls for 53 yards. He appeared to suffer a concussion at the end of the first quarter, but came back on the field on the next drive.
New England Patriots (5-3) - Previously: #7 - Hey, can you believe that the British people were rooting for the Patriots, huh huh huh???
I have to say that I loved Rob Gronkowski's touchdown dance. That'll easily win the celebration award on this site in February - and he sealed it by saying he was imitating the "nutcracker guys who defend the house."
Denver Broncos (4-3) - Previously: #8 -
Denver has a chance to finish 11-5, maybe even 12-4 with its ridiculously soft schedule. We won't know how good the Broncos are in that stretch, but it'll give time for Peyton Manning to heal while they secure enough victories to get a first-round bye.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) - Previously: #9 - Ben Roethlisberger was unstoppable against the Redskins. I guess he listened to the advice of Cris Carter, who incoherently shouted the following a few weeks ago when the Steelers were struggling: "Big Ben need to get better, Key! Big Ben need to get better, Boom! Big Ben need to get better, Tommy!" Nice job, Cris.
The Steelers, as a whole, will get better when they get all of their players back.
Seattle Seahawks (4-4) - Previously: #10 - This might be the last time I rank the Seahawks in the top 10. A home loss to the Vikings would plummet them to the 16-20 range. So, with that being said, I have to include an amusing picture sent over by Travis J:
2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 - Bottom 10
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) - Previously: #31 - History is about to be made. Brady Quinn is the first quarterback to be featured twice in the same season of Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Brady Quinn: This is causing me too much stress! Oh man, there's another head injury! I guess I can't answer your question!
Derek Anderson: Heyyy waaiitt weerrunnt yeewww my teemammmatee innn Cleveellann??
Brady Quinn: I've endured so many head injuries over the years that I just don't know! Oh boy, there goes another one!
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) - Previously: #32 - Chapter 9 of Mike Mularkey's upcoming book, 101 Ways to Lose a Football Game After Establishing a Big Lead:
Fourth downs are a key part of a football game. Choosing the correct play is extremely important. Some coaches emphasize pounding the rock with a powerful running back. Others think that a play-action strike is best.
All of these options are incorrect and are made my amateur play-callers. The best option on fourth-and-short situations is to have your quarterback roll out, drop eight yards back and fire a pass out of bounds.
There no possible repercussions. If you run the ball, you risk a fumble. If you pass the ball, there could be an interception. Using my strategy ensures that there won't be a give-away 100 percent of the time.
30. Cleveland Browns (2-6) - Previously: #30 - Facebook friend Steve V. posted the following on my wall prior to the season: "Holmgren went on local radio this week and stated that the Browns will never pick below #4 for years to come."
Perhaps he meant that HE would never pick below No. 4.
29. Carolina Panthers (1-6) - Previously: #28 - I love how the Panthers are fielding offers for DeAngelo Williams. I can only imagine their new general manager, sitting and waiting by his phone...
*** Saturday Morning ***
New GM: Oh boy, I can't wait for all these trade offers to come in for DeAngelo Williams!
*** Sunday Morning ***
New GM: Why has no one called yet? Must be Hurricane Sandy. Who wouldn't want a running back averaging 3.4 yards per carry and making more than $5 million per year!?
*** Monday Morning ***
New GM: DeAngelo Williams just rushed for 33 yards on 11 carries. All of the teams will want him now! I can't wait for the phone to ring!
*** Tuesday Morning ***
New GM: Why isn't the phone ringing!??!?! Doesn't anyone realize how great DeAngelo Williams is!?!?!?
*** Wednesday Morning ***
New GM: Phone... no rings... why isn't... the phone ringing... I'm... I... Uhh...
*** Thursday Morning ***
New GM: It's all clear to me. No one is calling about DeAngelo Williams because Ron Rivera and Cam Newton are preventing it. I must... I must eliminate them. Yes... I'll dispose of them quickly and quietly, and then everyone will want to trade for DeAngelo Williams...
28. Oakland Raiders (3-4) - Previously: #29 - How sad is it that the Raiders are just one game out in BOTH the divisional race and wild card positioning? It's unbelievably amazing how terrible the AFC is.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-4) - Previously: #26 - I received this e-mail from Mark K:
With Fitzpatrick, Thigpen and Brad Smith it will be 10 quarterbacks on the roster. One of them has to be good enough to start.
26. Tennessee Titans (3-5) - Previously: #25 - Vince Young recently tried out for the Cardinals, so it's time for the Adventures of Stupid Vince and Senile Bud! In this week's episode...
Bud Adams: I can't believe we lost in overtime to the Colts. Man servant, come hither!
Vince Young: Derrr, I dunno who Heather is she girl ha?
Bud Adams: Who's Heather? Man servant, is this your new girlfriend?
Vince Young: Derrr, I have girlfriend? I dunno even know dis.
Bud Adams: Man servant, sometimes you really confuse me. Why did I call you in here in the first place?
Vince Young: I tink you say you losted to Colted ha.
Bud Adams: We played the Colts and lost? Damn that Peyton Manning and all of his commercials. If he ever happens to hit free agency, I'm going to make sure I get him - no matter what it takes. If I have to give him part of the franchise or cheat the salary cap, I'll do it.
Vince Young: Derrr, I already tink that Peytons is free agents and sign with Broncies.
Bud Adams: Broncos? Impossible. John Elway is their quarterback. Get your head in the game, man servant.
Vince Young: OK but I dunno how to put head in game ha do I walk on field and put head on grass?
Bud Adams: Head on your a**? What are you, some sort of freak, man servant? Get out of here and let me be for the rest of the day.
25. Indianapolis Colts (4-3) - Previously: #27 - What I said about the Raiders applies here. The Colts are actually tied for one of the wild card spots despite losing to both the Jaguars and the Jets. This is going to make for some great betting opportunities in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
24. New York Jets (3-5) - Previously: #22 - Tebow time? No, it was Tebow time in the preseason. The Jets were stupid for not making the move back then and they're even dumber for their homoclitic decision not to bench Mark Sanchez now. Does Rex Ryan really believe that Sanchez gives him the best chance of winning? If so, why even bring in Tebow if you're not going to give him a chance? As my friend and forum member Body Burner once said, "Fat Rex Ryan was so much better than Skinny Rex Ryan."
23. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) - Previously: #23 - I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Matthew Berry for his great fantasy football advice Sunday morning. In consecutive weeks, he gave us Felix Jones and Philip Rivers as fantasy sleepers. Yeah, I mean, casual fans have never heard of those two guys and would never think about starting them until they saw you list them as sleepers.
2012 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Baltimore Ravens (5-2). Previously: #13
12. Miami Dolphins (4-3). Previously: #16
13. Washington Redskins (3-5). Previously: #11
14. Detroit Lions (3-4). Previously: #15
15. Dallas Cowboys (3-4). Previously: #19
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4). Previously: #24
17. Minnesota Vikings (5-3). Previously: #12
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4). Previously: #17
19. New Orleans Saints (2-5). Previously: #20
20. St. Louis Rams (3-5). Previously: #21
21. San Diego Chargers (3-4). Previously: #18
22. Arizona Cardinals (4-4). Previously: #14
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:
As the NFL Draft approaches, I will be making weekly adjustments up until the 27th of April. Rest of the writeups will be coming later this week. Any questions/comments/criticisms can be voiced in the comments. I will respond to all.