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Texans remain on top of NFL rankings
October 3, 2012 - Andy Heintz
The National Football League is just four weeks in and already plenty of "experts" are speculating who the best teams are and who the pretenders are. To me, it is much too early to know any of that yet and none of this really matters at this point in the season. The Giants were 9-7 last year and not on anyone's radar for a Super Bowl title, but won it again under Eli Manning.
For the sake of argument, conversation and speculation, here is my latest NFL Power Rankings. There is a little movement at the top but for the most part, the teams in the top 10 are very similar to last week.
1. Houston Texans, 4-0 I know they have not played anyone who is considered to be a great team, but when great teams play subpar competition, they are expected to be blow them out and Houston has done that. The Texans have not been in a close game yet. J.J. Watt is leading the way for a great defense and the offense features one of the best running games in the league. We have not seen a lot of holes so far this season.
2. Atlanta Falcons, 4-0 The Falcons were exposed last week by the running abilities of Cam Newton so if they want to stay near the top that will have to get cleaned up. And it will start this week against Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. I love the way the defense has played overall though and Matt Ryan so far has looked much better than in previous seasons. With Michael Turner running the ball and plenty of weapons on the outside for Ryan, the Falcons will likely be in the mix all season.
3. Baltimore Ravens, 3-1 The Ravens will be consistent all season because they win with defense and a smash-mouth style that allows you to be in most games. Plus, Joe Flacco is turning this offense into something special. He is not elite yet but is closing in on a top 10 ranking as an NFL QB. It is hard not to like this team. The win against Cleveland was not impressive, but they were coming off a short week and an emotional Sunday night victory.
4. San Francisco 49ers, 3-1 I still feel like the 49ers are the best team in the NFC but they have a loss and Atlanta doesn’t. However, three of San Fran’s four games this year have been road games, including back-to-back games where the team never returned to the Bay Area, instead opting to stay the week in Ohio prior to Sunday’s game in New York. This is still one of the league’s best defenses and the offense may get a boost with Colin Kaepernick in the wildcat.
5. Arizona Cardinals, 4-0 The Cardinals showed some holes this past week as rookie Ryan Tannehill torched the Cardinal defense for more than 400 yards. Kevin Kolb appears to be playing well so far and Andre Roberts could be that No. 2 WR that they are looking for. Arizona will need a running game though before it’s all said and done and they still don’t score enough points for me to believe this team is actually a Super Bowl contender.
6. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-1 The Eagles have won their three games by a combined four points, but it says something about a team when you win close games. They are winning the games at home and the only loss in Arizona came because they turned the ball over. If Michael Vick can protect it, and if Andy Reid realizes his best player is LeSean McCoy then I think the Eagles can have one of the best offenses in the league. The defense is much improved too.
7. Chicago Bears, 3-1 The Bears impress me one way and then lay a big egg the next. This past week, they impressed me with their win over the Cowboys in Dallas. Not sure if Tony Romo is going to continue to be that bad, but the Bears obviously found a way to slow down the Cowboy offense. To me, the success of this team comes down to the play of Jay Cutler. He can be a stud at times, but also flashes plenty of subpar moments as well.
8. New England Patriots, 2-2 The Patriots are a few points away from being undefeated so let’s not jump off this bandwagon. Tom Brady will still have this team as one of the best in the league before it’s all over. And if scoring 45 points in the second half of a game you trailed by 14 in doesn’t show that, I am not sure what will. Brady plays with an edge that you can’t teach and that more quarterbacks need. And who is Brandon Bolden?
9. Minnesota Vikings, 3-1 I wasn’t sure that San Francisco losing to Minnesota in Minneapolis was going to be a good thing, but it turns out the Vikings were not who we thought they were. But are the Lions? Right now, it looks like the only real win they have had this season was against San Francisco. They needed two special teams TDs to beat a struggling Lions team, but finding ways to win is important. And it is time they get placed in the top 10.
10. New York Giants, 2-2 It is tough for me to count this team out. I actually though they would beat Philadelphia this past weekend, but the loss came on the road and the Eagles are off to good start. That game could have gone either way. The Giants win that game if it is played in December. I still like Eli Manning and the offense and the defense can be one of the league’s best. The Giants should get to 3-2 this weekend and then head to San Francisco for an NFC Championship.
Bottom 5 5. New Orleans; 4. Jacksonville; 3. Oakland; 2. Tennessee; 1. Cleveland.
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