Thursday, 4 October 2012

NFL Power Rankings - Week 5

1 (2) Houston Texans (4-0) - Another week and another impressive win for the Houston Texans.  I've questioned them in recent weeks but I now think they have to be ranked as the number 1 team in the NFL.  The Texans blew away the Titans this week by a score of 38-14.  They only had 297 yards total offense but they got 2 touchdowns from their defense, with Daniel Manning and Kareem Jackson both returning interceptions for a touchdown.  If the Texans can keep this form going through the season, they'll be a hard team to beat.

2 (1) Atlanta Falcons (4-0) -
The Falcons move to 4-0 after a fortunate win against the Panthers.  Matt Bryant kicked 2 field goals in the last 5 minutes, including one as time expired to seal a 2 point win.  The Falcons struggled on the ground, giving up 199 yards.  The offense had another decent day with Matt Ryan throwing for 369 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.  Ryan was sacked 7 times though, which cost the Falcons 64 yards.  Roddy White had a great day, catching 8 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.  Michael Turner had his best game of the season, rushing for 103 yards off just 13 carries and also had 3 receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.

3 (5) San Francisco 49ers (3-1) –
The 49ers got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion, running out 34-0 victors over the New York Jets.  Alex Smith wasn't great for the 49ers, throwing for 143 yards on 21 attempts.  He always has a limited role and his job is more about game management.  The running game led the way for the 49ers in this win.  9 different players ran the ball for the 49ers and they picked up 245 yards between them, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.  This 49ers team are a good side but I feel if you got a lead against them, they would struggle, as we saw last week against Minnesota.

4 (3) Baltimore Ravens (3-1) –
The Ravens picked up a win on Thursday with a less than impressive performance against the Browns.  The game was tight in the first half with the Ravens leading 9-7 at the end of the 2nd quarter.  The Ravens scored 2 touchdowns in the 3rd and gave up just a field goal to build a 23-10 lead.  The Browns had 2 field goals in the 4th and Baltimore held on for the win.  Joe Flacco had another solid game, throwing for 356 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  The running game managed just 101 yards from 27 carries. Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin combined for 228 yards receiving and Smith also had a touchdown.  

5 (6) Arizona Cardinals (4-0) -
The Cards go 4-0 after edging out the Dolphins in overtime.  Miami led 13-0 at half-time but Arizona came back well and led 14-13, before a 4th quarter touchdown and 2 point conversion, left the Dolphins 7 points ahead.  Kevin Kolb found Andre Roberts in the end zone with just 15 seconds left to send the game to overtime.  Tannehill was intercepted in his own half and Arizona managed to get the ball up the field far enough to set up Jay Feely for the game winning field goal.  The Cards had to rely on the passing game as their rush was restricted to 1.9 yards per carry.  Kolb responded well, throwing for 324 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  Andre Roberts led the receivers with 6 catches for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns.

6 (4) New York Giants (2-2) -
The Giants drop to 2-2 after a tough loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Giants will point to a penalty before they missed the field goal,as time expired, as a key factor in the loss.  It was a bad penalty to give away, as it took them out of Lawrence Tynes field goal range.  The other key play was Eli Manning's interception when he was in the red zone.  It was a bad pass and Manning seem to be trying to force a pass into triple coverage.  A touchdown or a field goal on that drive, could have swung the game in the Giants favour.  Eli threw for 309 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Once again the Giants had 2 receivers who caught passes for over 100 yards.  Victor Cruz caught 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.   Domenik Hixon had 6 catches for 114 yards.  The Giants only averaged 3 yards per rush.

7 (8) New England Patriots (2-2) –
New England got their offense firing in a big way in the 2nd half on Sunday.  The Pats ran in 45 points in the 2nd half to run out 52-28 winners in Buffalo.  Tom Brady had a great game, throwing for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He even managed a rushing touchdown as well.  The Pats running game got going, with Steven Ridley and Brandon Bolden combining for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns.  If the Pats can carry this form into their coming games, they will be a hard team to beat.

8 (7) Green Bay Packers (2-2) -
The Packers managed to sneak a win on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.  It wasn't their best performance but they will be happy to pick up the win.  Aaron Rodgers threw for 319 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception.  Cedric Benson led the running game with, 84 yards from 18 carries.  There's still something missing from this Green Bay side but they have enough talent on the roster to find a way to make it work.      

9 (9) Chicago Bears (3-1) -
The Bears picked up a big win in Dallas, over the Cowboys, running out 34-18 winners.  The Bears defense came up big, intercepting Tony Romo 5 times, including taking 2 back for touchdowns. The Bears offense had a steady day with quarterback, Jay Cutler throwing for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Running-back, Matt Forte, had a decent return from injury, running for 52 yards off 13 carries.  The Bears find themselves at 3-1 and need to keep winning games as they have a tough division.

10 (12) Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) -
No turnovers = a win over a very good New York Giants team.  It was a tough battle between two sides, who on their day can beat any team in the NFL and on this occasion the Eagles edged it by 2 points.  The Eagles have a great record against the Giants, winning 8 of the last 9.  Michael Vick had a decent game, throwing for 241 yards and a touchdown.  DeSean Jackson caught 6 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown but the star of the show was LeSean McCoy.  McCoy ran for 123 yards and also caught 3 passes for 17 yards.  If the Eagles can keep the ball then they will go far but unfortunately turnovers look like they could creep in at any time and ultimately I think it will be their downfall.

11 (13) San Diego Chargers (3-1) -
The Chargers got back to winning ways with a win in Kansas City, over the Chiefs.  The Chiefs had a bad day, turning the ball over 6 times and against San Diego, you won't get away with that.  Quarterback, Philip Rivers, completed 18 of his 23 passes for 209 yards.  He had 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Ryan Matthews led the running attack, picking up 61 yards off 14 carries.

12 (16) Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) -
Another win for the Bengals and once again the explosive combination of Andy Dalton to AJ Green, proved too much for the Jags to handle.  Green caught 6 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.  Dalton threw for 244 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  The Jags done a decent job on BenJarvus Green-Ellis, restricting him to 3.2 yards per carry.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Bengals are the best team to watch in the NFL.

13 (20) Minnesota Vikings (3-1) –
The Vikings are flying right now and got another very good win in Detroit, over the Lions.  This week, their special teams unit won them the game.  Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff and then in the 3rd quarter, Marcus Sherels returned a punt.  They added 2 field goals and held the Lions at bay to pick up the win.  Adrian Peterson had another good day, running for 102 yards.

14 (11) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) –
The Steelers were on a bye this week and will be hoping the rest does them good.  They have started 1-2 and need to pick up a win this week when they host the Philadelhia Eagles.

15 (19) Denver Broncos (2-2) -
I did say in my preview that it is never a good idea to right off a Manning and it looks like it was a good call.  Peyton Manning, once again, looked like the quarterback we all remember.  He completed 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Manning was supported by a good display from running-back, Willis McGahee who had 112 yards on the ground and a touchdown.  The win keeps the Broncos one win behind the Chargers in the AFC West.

16 (10) Dallas Cowboys (2-2) -
Dallas suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.  Quarterback, Tony Romo had 5 interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns.  Kyle Orton finished the game for the Cowboys and led a touchdown drive,so there are other options for the Cowboys, if they decide they have had enough of Tony Romo. 

17 (21) St Louis Rams (2-2) –
The Rams picked up a crucial win over the Seattle Seahawks to go 2-2 for the season.  It was a tight game and the sides were close on almost every statistic.  The difference between the 2 sides was turnovers.  The Rams only turned the ball over once, but the Seahawks turned it over 3 times.  Sam Bradford threw for 221 yards and an interception.  The running game was kept quiet, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

18 (22) Washington Redskins (2-2) -
Robert Griffin III got his 2nd win in the NFL, leading the Redskins to a 24-22 victory in Tampa Bay.  RG3 had another good game, throwing for 323 yards.  On the ground he had, 36 yards and a touchdown off 8 carries.  Questions will be asked of Redskins kicker, Billy Cundiff.  Despite kicking the game winning field goal, I can't see the coaches being happy with the fact that he missed three before that one.  The miss from 57 yards can be forgiven but the 31 and 41 yarders will not have gone down well.

19 (15) Buffalo Bills (2-2) –
The Bills suffered a heavy defeat at home to the Patriots after conceding 45 points in the last 23:10 of the contest.  The Bills led 21-7 after an early, 3rd quarter touchdown but the Patriots exploded into life from then on and ran out easy winners.  Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick had a mixed day throwing for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns.  On the downside he also had 4 interceptions.  Buffalo also had 2 lost fumbles.  Turning the ball over 6 times against the Pats is a recipe for disaster and ultimately the Bills paid the price.

20 (14) New York Jets (2-2) –
The Jets suffered a humiliating defeat at home to the 49ers, losing 34-0.  I have no idea how Mark Sanchez still has a job but Rex Ryan has stood by him to this point.  Surely Tim Tebow will get the nod before long.  Sanchez completed less than half of his passes for 103 yards and an interception.  The Jets running game was equally bad, managing just, 2.6 yards per carry.  The defense couldn't stop the 49ers from running the ball and gave up 245 yards on the ground.

21 (17) Seattle Seahawks (2-2) –
The Seahawks fall to 2-2 after a disappointing defeat to the Rams.  Quarterback, Russell Wilson, had three interceptions and no touchdowns.  Seattle were led by a strong display from running-back, Marshawn Lynch.  Lynch had 118 yards and a touchdown.  The Seahawks may now be thinking about a change at quarterback.  Russell Wilson has not impressed me and they have Matt Flynn on a big contract.  I wouldn't be surprised if Flynn gets the nod in the next few weeks.

22 (18) Detroit Lions (1-3) -
Big plays on special teams killed the Lions this week as they lost at home, to the Vikings.  The Lions had over 100 yards more offense than the Vikings but they gave up a kickoff return touchdown and punt return touchdown and it cost them the game.  Matt Stafford threw for 319 yards and he scored with a rushing touchdown.  However, it wasn't enough for the Lions, who drop to 1-3.

23 (23) Tennessee Titans (1-3) -
The Titans suffered a defeat at the hands of the Texans in Houston on Sunday.  They had more yards of offense than the Texans but they had 3 turnovers which let them down.  On the plus side for the Titans, they finally got a performance from Chris Johnson.  Johnson ran for 141 yards off 25 carries.  It's the first time this year he has shown signs of his past glories and much of the Titans hopes rest on his shoulders.

24 (25) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) -
The Bucs slide to 1-3 after a home defeat to the Washington Redskins.  The Bucs scored a field goal with 1:42 left to go ahead by a point but the Redskins went straight up the field and scored a field goal of their own as time expired to seal the win.  Quarterback, Josh Freeman had a better day, throwing for 299 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  The running game was solid too, averaging 4.4 yards per rush.  Tampa Bay need to pick up some wins or it looks as though their season will be over early.

25 (24) Oakland Raiders (1-3) –
Oakland suffered a heavy defeat to divisional rivals, Denver on Sunday.  The game was close at half-time but Denver blew the Raiders away in the 2nd half, scoring 27 unanswered points.  The Raiders offense was very poor.  The rushing attack, only picked up 56 yards off 16 attempts and Carson Palmer completed just 19 of his 34 attempts for 202 yards.  The one positive for the Raiders is, they never turned the ball over but it didn't do them any favours as they were still well beaten.

26 (26) Indianapolis Colts (1-2) -
The Colts were on a bye week but it wasn't all rest and relaxation for them.  The franchise has been rocked by the news that, head coach, Chuck Pagano, has been diagnosed with leukemia.  My thoughts and prayers are with him at this time and I wish him a speedy recovery. 

27 (29) Carolina Panthers (1-3) –
The Panthers can consider themselves very unlucky to have lost this game.  In the end it took 2 field goals in the last 5 minutes of the game for Atlanta to come out on top but the game really could have gone either way.  The Panthers matched the Falcons in almost every category and there was only one key difference.  Atlanta had 2 penalties for 15 yards but the Panthers had 9 penalties for 64 yards.  In a game that was decided by just 2 points, the difference of 49 penalty yards becomes huge.  Cam Newton had a decent game for the Panthers, throwing for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also picked up 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

28 (31) New Orleans Saints (0-4) –
The Saints can consider themselves unlucky to have lost this one.  They certainly looked a lot more like the Saints we remember from previous seasons.  Drew Brees had a big game, throwing for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The running game was quite poor, averaging just 2.4 yards per carry.  The Saints biggest fault so far has been teams have killed them on the ground.  This week they gave up 102 yards on the ground from 25 attempts.  It's not a great figure but it is a huge improvement on the previous three games.

29 (30) Miami Dolphins (1-3) –
Another tough loss for the Dolphins, losing in overtime to the Cardinals.  The Dolphins were 22 seconds from victory and will no doubt be gutted to have lost another overtime game.  Quarterback, Ryan Tannehill had a memorable game, throwing for 431 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions.  Davone Bess caught 7 passes for 123 yards but he was outdone by Brian Hartline who caught 12 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown.  If Tannehill can cut out the turnovers then this Miami offense could be dangerous.

30 (27) Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) –
The Chiefs suffered a heavy loss at the hands of divisional rivals, San Diego.  The Chiefs were the masters of their own downfall, turning the ball over 6 times.  The Chargers punished them and picked up 17 points off those turnovers.  Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassel played well, turnovers aside.  Charles had 115 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns.  Cassel threw for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Turnovers are hurting the Chiefs and they need to take better care of the football.

31 (28) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) -
Jacksonville struggled to get their offense firing in this game and only got 212 yards of total offense.  Maurice Jones-Drew picked up 38 yards from 13 carries and Blaine Gabbert threw for just 186 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Gabbert was sacked 6 times, which cost the team, 43 yards.  The defense were unable to get on top of the Bengals and it resulted in a comfortable loss.

32 (32) Cleveland Browns (0-4) –
Another defeat for the Browns but they can be quite proud of their efforts this week.  Not many gave them a chance in Baltimore but they kept the game close and held their own against a team many people expect to be one of the best in the AFC.  The Browns were behind by just 2 points at half time but could only manage 3 field goals in the second half.  If the Browns had been able to carry one of those drives into the end zone, they may have managed to nick a win.  Brandon Weeden threw for 320 yards which was a good performance but the problem was, he completed less than half of his passes, threw no touchdowns and did have an interception.

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