Sep. 13, 2016
Week 1 2016 NFL Power Rankings
Without further ado, here is my debut blog for the Power Rankings in the world of the NFL. For those that are checking this out for the first time, I will only give you my top ten every week.
10. Houston Texans: Bill O' Brien came into this season in the hot seat, and he needed to get his franchise quarterback. The word on the street was that O' Brien was going to draft Christian Hackenberg, he opted to sign Brock Osweiler. Osweiler signed a four-year contract worth $72 million. Houston later added a running game with Lamar Miller and drafted two fast wideouts in Braxton Miller and Will Fuller. Not to mention, the dangerous DeAndre Hopkins leads the receiving game. The stat line on the offense is that Fuller had an 18-yard touchdown, Miller rushed for 100 yards, and Osweiler threw for 231 yards with two TDs. I have to say that it was a balanced strategy from the Texans. Next up, their first tough test against the Kansas City Chiefs.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: We all get the egg in the face and have to eat the humble pie every time we predict the Bengals to win a playoff game. This is a team that hadn't won in the postseason since 1990 when they defeated the Houston Oilers. Heck, the last time they were in a Super Bowl was in 1988. Andy Dalton is an average quarterback at best despite having a 20 touchdown season last year. While the Bengals lost their receiving core in free agency, they got Tyler Boyd. And what about A.J. Green? Well, he closed down Revis Island with 180 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches. Composure will be an essential for this Bengals club. They lost that composure and concentration last year after that playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Bengals can get Godzilla off their backs, maybe Marvin Lewis stays. All they need to do is win a postseason game.
8. Kansas City Chiefs: If this team didn't make that huge comeback, the Chiefs would've been out of the top-10. Down by 17 points to the San Diego Chargers, Alex Smith went Alex Smith (a mockery from that L.L. Cool J Direct TV commercial). With Jamaal Charles inactive as he recovers from a torn ACL, Spencer Ware rushed for 70 yards and one touchdown. Not to mention, 129 yards with seven catches. Andy Reid is a coach that relies on the passing game, and that was the reason why the Chiefs came back. The Chiefs have a murderers row schedule playing Oakland, New York, Houston and Pittsburgh.
7. Seattle Seahawks: In what I call Seahawks football, the game had some drama. The game was lackluster for the most part because both offenses didn't do anything. If you like field goals, both teams combined for three field goals in the first three-quarters. But it was Ryan Tannehill scoring a touchdown to put the Dolphins in the lead. But Russell Wilson passed to Doug Baldwin to regain their lead. While many people will say that I'm giving the Seahawks a pass after this game, it was that dangerous defense that kept them from losing. Don't hit the panic button on the Seahawks. They'll still be a Super Bowl contender at the end of the season.
6. Green Bay Packers: Despite having a lot of haters, the Green Bay Packers won because of Aaron Rodgers. He threw a touchdown to his buddy in Jordy Nelson (welcome back) and threw to Devante Adams on a 29-yard touchdown going into halftime. Rodgers also threw to three separate receivers for 20 or longer yards. That just shows you that the Packers struggled last season without Nelson. Meanwhile, Lacy ran for 61 yards and showed that he is back to his old self again thanks to some work in the offseason. The Packers play two division rivals in the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday night and the Detroit Lions in two weeks.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: If the Pittsburgh Steelers had a key piece on offense and an upgrade on defense, this would be a scary team in the AFC that would be a threat to the New England Patriots. But Martavis Byrant is suspended for the season, and Le'Veon Bell is out for the first four games. However, they started out strong by defeating the Washington Redskins. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 300 yards with 3 TDs. Also, Antonio Brown took Josh Norman to school with 2 TDs for 126 yards receiving. Sammie Coates got into the action, and De'Angelo Williams had a solid game replacing Bell. All in all, a top-5 performance by the Steelers.
4. Carolina Panthers: The reigning and defending NFC Champions were beaten by their Super Bowl opponents last Thursday night. I did see some positives in this contest, as Carolina lost due to a missed field goal. One of the positives is that Kelvin Benjamin scored a touchdown and finished with 91 yards. Tight end Greg Olsen caught seven passes for 73 yards. On the run game, Jonathan Stewart rushed for 64 yards on 15 rushing attempts. Despite the fact that the Broncos defense hit him, Cam Newton still managed to us why he was the MVP last season by going 18/33 with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. While the Panthers are 0-1, the Panthers showed that they are real contenders to win a Super Bowl. They'll get a chance for revenge when they play the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.
3. Arizona Cardinals: The Arizona Cardinals tested the New England Patriots. I was impressed by Carson Palmer, who threw for two TDs to Larry Fitzgerald. By the way, Fitzgerald has 100 career receiving touchdowns. David Johnson controlled the running game, as he rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries, which led to his first touchdown of the season. The reason they lost this game was because Chandler Catanzaro missing a game-winning field goal. Despite the loss, the Arizona Cardinals are still one of the best teams in the NFL, and the top team in the NFC. Was this game a Super Bowl preview? Maybe! But I can say that the Cardinals will go 5-0 in their next five games by playing the likes of the Buccaneers, Bills, Rams 49ers, and the Jets.
2. Denver Broncos: Denver won their first game of the season with a quarterback, who was a third-string player last season. But, it was the defense that stepped up in the second half and gave Trevor Siemian his first NFL victory. C.J. Anderson is ready to be a full-time running back, by getting his first touchdown of the season after rushing for 92 yards, and had the only receiving touchdown. Things got crazy because a rookie fullback by the name of Andy Janovich rushed for 28 yards with a touchdown. There is a concern in Denver with Demaryius Thomas suffering a hip injury. The worry is that he could be out for an extended time, which means that Emmanuel Sanders has to step up. Denver has some tough matchup ahead with the likes of the Colts and the Bengals.
1. New England Patriots: The Patriots pulled off one of the great stories in Week 1 of the NFL season by defeating the Arizona Cardinals. Who was the genius behind this win? Bill Belichick. Jimmy Garoppolo looked good in his debut, going 24/33 for 264 yards and a TD. His only TD pass was to Chris Hogan. LeGarrette Blount added to the lead by scoring a TD on an 8-yard run. The offense controlled the clock throughout the duration of the game by playing for 34 minutes. The issue I have with the offense is they have to fix the turnovers, as they fumbled the ball twice. Why are the Pats number one in these rankings? A few pointers I want to point out. (A) The Pats were a 9 1/2 underdogs. (B) The Pats won without two of their best players in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. That to me puts them at a No. 1 spot. The Pats can expect to stay in this spot if they beat the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at home. If this team is 4-0 when Tom Brady comes back, the Pats can be a very scary team in the NFL. Be afraid, be very afraid.