Mid-season NFL Power Rankings

Tuesday, November 8, AD 2011

Now that we’ve reached the mid-point of the NFL’s 2011 season, it seems an opportune time to take a look at where the teams stand.  Looking at the pre-season rankings, I haven’t done too badly.  Some of the teams near the top haven’t been as dominant as I expected, but they’re all still in the playoff mix.  I did drastically underrate the 49ers, Bengals, and Bills.  Also, I kind of screwed up on my Cam Newton is going to be an abject failure prediction.  Yeah, sorry about that.  (Record and pre-seaon rank in parentheses.)

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12 Responses to Mid-season NFL Power Rankings

  • Paul, how do you have the Eagle at 19 and Broncos at 27 when both have same record? Also, where does it say there’s only one way to win a football game and only one style? The wishbone/wildcat/option may be passe but still works when executed properly. Tebow is 3-3 as a starter and is excoriated because the MSM doesn’t like his religious views and otherwise sings from the same hackneyed page about QB play. Given time and with a few more offensive weapons and a better defense, Tim could lead a team to the playoffs.

  • how do you have the Eagle at 19 and Broncos at 27

    The Eagles, as overrated as they are, do have a net point differential in their favor. In other words, they’ve been more impressive in defeat than the Broncos have in victory.

    Tim could lead a team to the playoffs

    I’m sure he could, but unfortunately for him the UFL just disbanded.

    Long story short, he’s the NFL version of David Eckstein, only not as good at the game.

  • Paul,
    Regarding the Bears, I don’t think the Cutler has made you look foolish at all. You simply underestimated how bad his offensive line was last year. It is no great shakes this year either, but it is gradually improving from awful to mediocre, especially in support of the running game. The combination of re-establishing a running game plus some improvement in pass protection (which follows in part from the improvement in the running game) allows Cutler display his skills. The biggest rap on Cutler is his demeanor. He is hard on himself and hard on his teammates, and because he hides neither he is not the poster child for sportsmanship. Fair enough, but neither was Johnny Unitas if you are old enough to recall.
    The Bears are still pretty doggone good on defense and special teams. While I concede a fan’s bias, I expect they’ll be in the thick of things at the end as I predicted.

  • The Giants are right where they want to be just in time for their usual mid-to-late-season meltdown. Fortunately for them, 8-8 or 9-7 is good enough to win the NFC East this year.

    As for the team you have at #16, their biggest claim to fame at this point is that they play across the street from the Texas Rangers.

  • The Giants are right where they want to be just in time for their usual mid-to-late-season meltdown.

    Somebody addressed this on a Giants blog just recently, and this tendency is a tad bit exaggerated.

  • The fact that it’s considered enough of a trend that someone felt the need to address it sorta speaks for itself.

    It’s happened, and it’s happened multiple times, in the Coughlin era. Still, even with a meltdown, the Giants ought to be good enough to win the East.

  • True, but I think it’s one of those things that gets a bit exaggerated, like the fact that Romo is a choker.

    On second thought, that’s pretty much true.

    By the way, how weird is it that the Cowboys are basically the fourth best (read: worst) team in Dallas? Everyone else is doing so well, including the Stars, that the Cowboys are kind of an afterthought.

  • I agree with you. Although you’re right about it being exaggerated like Romo being a “choker” – he’s a choker … except when he’s not. He’s had lots of late-game heroics as well as late-game meltdowns. The Coughlin-era Giants have been the same way – lots of late-season heroics and some late-season meltdowns. But at least they have a Super Bowl ring to show for it, unlike Romo.

    And, yeah, the Cowboys have pretty much become an afterthought. I think they’re still ahead of the Stars in the hearts of the people (although certainly not on the playing surface), but they’ve fallen behind the Rangers and Mavs in terms of popularity. Something I would have never believed could happen when I was a kid. But there it is. I know in my own loyalty rankings I have the Rangers far ahead of everyone else, then the Mavs, then the Cowboys (hockey is a yankee/canuck sport, so who cares?) – again, something I would have NEVER considered a possibility as a kid. But Tony Romo ain’t Roger Staubach; Dez Bryant ain’t Drew Pearson; and Felix Jones ain’t Tony Dorsett.

  • And Jerry Jones sure as hell ain’t Tex Schramm! Until the Cowboys fire the current GM, they’ll never put a consistent winner on the field. Unfortunately, the owner (Jerry) has a vested interest in not firing the GM (again, Jerry).

  • Tony Romo is often the best player for the Cowboys’ O. Other times, he’s the 12th man for the opposing team. Jekyl and Hyde. I agree with Jay… fire Jerry! I do take some solace in that the recent success of the Mavericks and Rangers has to be eating him alive.

  • As long as Danny Snyder owns the Redskins, a 6-10 season is almost inevitable. How they get to 6-10 is the only question, and as you point out, it has been especially entertaining this year after a hugely sucessful preseason and a 3-1 start.

  • Jets will move up a few notches after this weekend. Down with them dreaded Pats!

NFL Power Rankings

Wednesday, September 7, AD 2011

Real football is finally slated to begin tomorrow night with the meeting of the previous two Super Bowl champions.  Instead of doing a division-by-division breakdown, I’m simply going to list the teams in order from 1-32.  This is simply my list as we’re not repeating our efforts last year at TAC to do a weekly power ranking poll.  I might revisit the list during the mid-season, but for now this is how I see the season playing out.  As is done with fantasy rankings, I’m breaking the teams out into tiers.

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15 Responses to NFL Power Rankings

  • You may well be right about my #16 Bears, but I’m not so sure. After splitting the regular season (including a very close season ending loss in a game that was key for the Pack and meaningless for the Bears), the Bears lost to your #1 Packers by a touchdown in the NFC Championship last year — an outcome more comparable to your #2 Steelers in the Super Bowl than your #10 Falcons. And Cutler played great last year behind an offensive line that was the consensus worst, by far, in the NFL. God knows what he might be able to do if he had Rodgers line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not convinced the Bears belong in Tier One, but Tier Three — I don’t think so. If the Bears do not fix their O-Line they will likely perform no better than last year, but if the O-Line improves there is no reason to believe that they can’t be in the thick of things.

  • What is this futbol of which you speak? 🙂

  • Longtime Steelers fan here…..they have an old defense and a mediocre at best secondary that Aaron Rodgers shredded in the Super Bowl. Rodgers was throwing deep passes over the middle, his receivers were getting open…and dropping the ball. 31-26 was a fluke. It could have been worse.

    Pittsburgh has not gotten any younger on defense.

    As for the Pack, great team, the coach is a good Catholic from the Greenfield neighborhood in Pittsburgh, but nobody repeats as Super Bowl champs any more. There will be a hangover of sorts, sometime during the season, and they will slip.

  • Good points about the Steelers, but I still think they’re still a notch above the rest of the AFC. I don’t think the Jets have enough firepower to knock them off, the Chargers will choke, and the Pats are not as impressive as people think. I hope I’m wrong – well, only about the Jets not having enough firepower to overtake them.

    As for Da Bears, I see what Mike is saying, but if we’re going by single games they are a team that lost at home . . . to the Redskins.

    But this is all speculation. That’s why they play the games. And as my less than stellar MLB predictions show, I probably will get most of these wrong.

  • Chargers ranked too high; always slow out of the gate. Great fantasy team, but with Norv Turner at the helm they’ll never get the the SB.

    Jets overvalued once again. Rex Ryan talks big but with an inconsistent and still green Sanchez taking snaps, look for 9-7 at best and maybe out of the playoffs.

    Pats and Steelers each will win divisions as usual and go deep. Of course, the Pack are solid faves to repeat and, as a WIsconsinite, they’re my pick to go all the way.

    As for the rest: YAWN.

  • As to my Lions, I’m in Fox Mulder mode now: I want to believe.

    While the point about Matthew Stafford and his Magical Mystery Shoulders is a good one, the offense percolated reasonably well under Shaun Hill. In fact, the Lions won two of the four games in their season-ending winning streak under the field leadership of the legendary Drew Stanton. Why? Because their running game finally came to life.

    The guys to watch on the Lions offense are RBs Jahvid Best and Maurice Morris/Jerome Harrison (they also picked up an RB on the waiver wire from the ‘Skins, but I know bupkis about him). If they can rack up, say, sixteen hundred yards between them, the Lions can contend for the wild card.

    They can, but it’s about 40-60 that they will. Best is a Reggie Bush-style runner, not a load carrier. Morris and Harrison are the high-carry backs, and the best one can say about their respective careers is that each has a good work ethic and isn’t afraid to try to move the pile.

    If rookie Mikel Leshoure hadn’t blown his achilles during the second practice, I’d flip the odds.

    Sooo…I’d probably have them at 18 or 19. The national consensus tabbing them as a “Surprise Pick/Team of the Future” makes me queasy.

  • Dale, sorry to rain on your parade but the fragile Stafford will go down by game 3. Calvin Johnson and not much else. 3rd place would be a step up.

  • Joe:

    No, no, no. I won’t deny a strong likelihood of a Stafford injury (which is inexplicable given his clean bill of health prior to the pros). The offense is much, much better than that. Johnson is obviously a god among men, but he’d be that on any team. Pettigrew is a top-flight tight end, Burleson is a genuine NFL No. 2, and their O-line is good if not great with (finally!) some capable depth players.

    Also, you’re ignoring the defense, which will be better yet with a much-improved linebacker corps. The front seven will be formidable. Overall, the D will keep them in more games.

  • The key thing about the 2010 season was that the NFC West was historically bad. So the teams I think you overate are the ones who played a lot of games against that division: Saints, Chargers and Rams. Though you are rightfully skeptical of the bucs and falcons.

    Other than that is the usual anti-Philly Zummo bias with regard to the Eagles. (For the record I’m a Bears fan.)

  • Other than that is the usual anti-Philly Zummo bias with regard to the Eagles.

    Guilty as charged.

    Of course, just because I’m biased doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

  • With game 1 in the books, it looks like you’re on target with the Packers. The offense looked … unbeatable.

    Of course, the Saints defense picked right where it left off last season. And it that continues, I don’t care how many points Brees and Co. put up, New Orleans won’t smell the playoffs. 🙁

    P.S. – “In a league that so often touts parody …”. Actually, with Chad Ochocinco in the league, that’s probably true.

  • The Packers won a shootout, and their run defense was solid. Intimidated the Saints into passing on 4th and 1 in the red zone, which is something. But Brees picked their secondary to pieces–410 yards and three touchdowns. Sure, it’s Brees–he’s hard to stop. Still, they’re going to have to find a way to stop a good passing game at some point.

  • And it you’re not biased against the Eagles this year, you either live in their blackout zone, aren’t paying attention or happen to be as nutty as Al Davis. I’m a bit tired of their hype machine myself.

  • Green Bay’s offense sorta sputtered in the second half though. One of their two TD’s was a 108 yd KO return (featuring an incredible acrobatic barrel roll). After rolling up 28 first half points, I expected more of a blow-out.

    Despite their 2nd half lack of production, Green Bay is still formidable. Having a healthy Ryan Grant will make Rodgers even better.

    New Orleans blew it with the 4th and 1 – I would’ve taken the 3 points, if it were me. Go for the sure points on the road. And the extra play at the end? What in the world made them think they would be able to run it up the gut? I would’ve called a play-action with a pass into the flat to Sproles (who would outrun anyone on GB’s defense to the corner) or their tight end. For a minute there, I thought I was watching the Lions’ offense.

    Speaking of which – good call, Dale, on the Fox Mulder reference. I’m closer to investing time in watching them this season, but with the Tigers closing in on a division title, I’ll be paying closer attention to them seeing that they’ll have at least one playoff series.

    And then there’s the Red Wings…

  • Larry:

    Yeah, the Tigers are absorbing my attention, too, but there isn’t much overlap between the NFL schedule and the MLB. While I’m not exactly recommending a three hour investment in the Lions every Sunday (got too burned by that during the Millen-ium), I’m closer than I have been in years. They longer constitute child abuse for my eldest son to watch.