Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Colonel Mortimer's NFL Rankings Week Three: The Dream Warriors

I promise this won't turn into a purely football blog. I have some things planned, but for now, the rankings:

1. Dallas Cowboys (3-0) (2): Remember when I said I’d keep the Giants number one until they lost. Well, I lied. After the Giants needed overtime to beat the NFL equivalent of Troy and the Cowboys' second consecutive win against one of the better teams in the leagues (the Packers and Eagles), it'd be unfair not to award them top honors.

2. New York Giants (3-0) (1): see above. I continue to be impressed with Eli’s clutch performances since mid-season last year, especially considering how he was one of the least clutch QBs in his first three seasons.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) (6): It seems pretty evident which division is the class of the league right now.

4. Tennessee Titans (3-0) (7): You have to be impressed with Fisher and co.; they have a strategy that plays to their personnel’s strengths, adhere to it, and win, no matter how unsexy it may be.

5. Denver Broncos (3-0) (9): I am little reluctant giving them such a boost, they are a blown Ed Hocculi call and a missed Martin Gramatica field goal away from a 1-2 start, but Cutler & Brandon Marshall are playing out of their gourds (Autumn seasonal reference!)

6. Buffalo Bills (3-0) (11): It wasn’t as planned, and it made myself and and I am sure other Survivor league pickers uneasy, but their win against Oakland on Sunday was the type of game they historically lose (last year’s Monday night game against Dallas, the Music City Miracle game, Super Bowl XXV), obviously this was a little less meaningful then those last two, but you get the drift.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) (3): Ben Roethlisberger was sacked so many time he left a permanent indentation in the field at Lincoln Financial Stadium.

8. Green Bay Packers (2-1) (5): Look on the bright side Rodgers, Brett never beat the Cowboys either.

9. New England Patriots (2-1) (4): Is Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Dolphins evidence that the rest of the league is ready to enact revenge on Bellicheck's team for their success and scoring run-ups the last few years now that Brady is out for the year? They have a bye week and then play the Niners, the result of that game will probably be revelatory.

10. San Diego Chargers (1-2) (12): The positive of the Chargers bad start and LT’s injuries is that it has given Phillip Rivers the ability to develop into one of the league’s better passers. When LT comes back full strength and they take advantage of 4 games against Oakland and Kansas City, the 0-2 start will be long forgotten.

11. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) (8): It’s hard to fathom that one of the best prepared teams of the last decade are a Minnesota drive ending in a touchdown instead of a field goal away from an 0-3 start.

12. Tampa Buccaneers (2-1) (16): Antonio Bryant bests Brandon Lloyd in the battle of disposed 49ers receivers with improbable 100 yards receiving games.

13. Washington Redskins (2-1) (18): After their first week loss, a near shut out against the Giants, I pondered how long it would take Jason Campbell and the offense to effectively run Jim Zorn’s schemes. One week, I guess.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) (17): The Jags finally get their vaunted running game in motion and not so coincidentally it results in their first win.

15. Arizona Cardinals (2-1) (10): With games at New York (Jets) followed by the undefeated Bills and Cowboys, we will see if the Cardinals hot start was for real.

16. New Orleans Saints (1-2) (13): Good offense, porous defense. Third verse, same as the first.

17. Minnesota Vikings (1-2) (18): Gus Frerotte joined Kerry Collins and Brian Griese in the ranks of journeymen quarterbacks who lead their team to a victory filling in for the opening day starter in week three.

18. Carolina Panthers (2-1) (15): Since their appearance in the Super Bowl, John Fox’s team has consistently been the most inconsistent team in football able to beat or lose to any given team on any given day.

19. Baltimore Ravens (2-0) (24): Hard to judge if this start is for real, their victories so far have been at home against two winless teams, but the defense seems back to it’s vintage stinginess.

20. Chicago Bears (1-2) (19): Wasn’t defense supposed to be their strength? 407 passing yards by Brian Griese!

21. San Francisco 49ers (2-1) (22): Grounded optimism is what I am sensing with Niner fans. Sunday’s game represented the largest margin of victory (18 points) in the Mike Nolan era and the first time the team has scored 30+ points in consecutive weeks since Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens donned the red and gold. But, and it needs to be reiterated, we beat the lowly Lions. A better judge of our improvement will be in the next two weeks, at New Orleans, a team that is defensively lacking, but has decimated SF the last two years and the defending AFC Champions New England Patriots who will come in with two weeks to prepare (they have a bye this week) after their humiliating loss to Miami.

Question. If the 49ers continue to show promise and end up with a .500 or above record, or even (gasp!) an improbable trip to the playoffs, what happens in the off-season? I think Mike Martz’s success could possibly lead to Mike Nolan’s dismissal. If the team continues to impress, do the Niners want to risk losing their offensive coordinator for the sixth consecutive year? Leading the Niners from one of the worst statistical offensive years in league history to a winning squad will get Martz some serious head coach looks, and after feeling unfairly let go after the 2005 season with the Rams, it’s safe to say that he would consider them. I see the Raiders, who will want an experienced coach after Lane Kiffin, being prime candidates for hiring Martz, especially when you consider how Al Davis loves high octane scoring attacks. So…do the Niners risk losing him? Or fire Nolan and promote Martz to insure his stay?

Food for thought.

22. New York Jets (1-2) (14): The Jets are starting to look like a team who went 4-12 last season that are lead by a 39 year old quarterback.

23. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) (25): Julius Jones has been a pleasant surprise, and it appears some of their receivers are returning shortly. Things could turn around for them, in the meantime, the Rams did just fine for self image improvements

24. Atlanta Falcons (2-1) (27): Last year they were the team that made mediocre squads feel better about themselves by beating them, this year they are the mediocre squad capable of beating bottom feeders. Hey, it’s a start

25. Miami Dolphins (1-2) (28): After quarterback after quarterback changes the last three years, it appears that their best option the whole time was Ronnie Brown.

Between November 19th, 2006 and today, the Patriots have only lost two regular season games. Both to the Dolphins.

26. Cleveland Browns (0-3) (21): Derek Anderson’s carriage is quickly turning into a pumpkin, appropriate since like a pumpkin on November 1st, the Browns playoff hopes have been squashed.

27. Houston Texans (0-2) (23): Matt Schaub is starting to look a lot like his predecessor, David Carr.

28. Oakland Raiders (1-2) (26): While you have to feel bad for Lane Kiffin, a part of me secretly wishes that Al Davis has something spectacular planned for when he does eventually fire the coach. Perhaps a Goodyear Blimp flying above during the first quarter of this game with an attached sign reading: “Okay, now you’re fired, Lane. Just Kidding. Haha. I was kidding about the just kidding part. Seriously get the hell off the field”

29. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) (-): After being on hiatus the first two weeks, the Bengals offense makes a cameo appearance in an overtime loss to the Giants. Will they be back…tune into this week’s exciting cliffhanger.

30. Detroit Lions (0-3) (-): Hey they’re improving, after starting the first two games in a 21-0 hole, they start week three in a 21-3 hole.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3) (-): Remember a time when a Herm Edwards coached team “played to win the game”?

32. St. Louis Rams (0-3) (-): In 1999, his first year with the St. Louis Rams, Trent Green suffered a season ending injury from a Rodney Harrison hit, ending what would have been his first year as a starting quarterback in the pros. An obscure backup named Kurt Warner filled in and lead the team to a Super Bowl victory. Several years later, after an injury filled season and a handful of ineffective starts, Kurt Warner is replaced by an obscure backup named Marc Bulger, who leads them to a couple of playoff appearance before himself becoming injury plagued and ineffective, in 2008, nearly a decade later, he is replaced by Trent Green in his second stint with the Rams. Things came full circle, although probably not for Green’s best interests.

1 comment:

Mummbles said...

its kind of funny you mention the martz-nolan thing, someone in the mercury news touched on that as well. with all the previous assitant niner coaches who get jobs even though the teams are not that good, just kind of shows people covet the coach no matter how bad the team does. i remember jim mora jr got a job after his d was just average and norv turners offense wasn't rankes too high but he got the head coaching job in san diego. it would be nice if we could keep an offense coach around more then one year. even mike singletary has been rumored to be getting head coaching looks and his defense is nothing thata awesome (it also might have something to do with nfl rules that a minority coach needs to be interviewed).

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