Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Power Rankings Through Week 4...

Today ESPN came out with its weekly updated power rankings for the NFL. The results were as follows:

1. New York Giants (3-0)
2. Tennessee Titans (4-0)
3. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
4. Buffalo Bills (4-0)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

Now although ESPN is arguably the most credible source for sports analysis, I'm hear to question their rankings. So here are mine:

5. San Diego Chargers (2-2)
Although it is understandable San Diego has slipped in the rankings, based on their 2-2 record thus far, as far as I'm concerned, they're still a top five team to beat. San Diego is basically seconds away from being undefeated right now. They gave up a game-winning TD in week 1 to Carolina on a phenomenal catch by TE Dante Rosario as time expired. Just when the lightning didn't think it could get any more heartbreaking, Ed Hochuli blew his whistle a second too soon on the season's most controversial play, giving Denver the second chance it needed to beat the Chargers. Those few seconds are the difference between the Chargers being 2-2 and 4-0. Let's not forget that Ladanian has seen limited time with an injury as well. Without Merriman, the Chargers have dropped a little in my power rankings, but they're still a top five team in the NFL to me.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
While the Steelers may be nursing injuries right now, I don't believe it takes away from their talent. "Fast" Willie Parker will be back in action soon enough, and when "Big Ben" recovers from the shoulder injury he's nursing, the Steelers should look like a championship caliber team again. They've fought the weather and some tough defenses on national television, and prevailed in both games. Their only loss came against a strong Philadelphia defense, in a game in which Big Ben was sidelined in the second half with an injury. Look for a healthy Steelers team in the next few weeks to turn some heads around the league.

3. Tennessee Titans (4-0)
At 4-0, I think Tennessee deserves some respect. However, I'm not jumping on their bandwagon just yet. They've had some quality wins and their defense looks strong; I'm not denying that. However, I just can't see them stacking up against the top teams in the NFC. I also anticipate AFC teams, like the Chargers, Steelers, Bills, Broncos, and maybe even the Colts, emerging as bigger AFC powerhouses as the season drags on. Tennessee's wins over Jacksonville and Minnesota were impressive, but Jacksonville has been struggling and the Vikings seem to have issues right now. They didn't beat the Vikings team many predicted to win the NFC North. It should be interesting to see how Tennessee fairs with a pretty difficult schedule for the rest of the year.

2. New York Giants (3-0)
The Super Bowl Champs, my team, the New York Football Giants, have picked up where they left off last season, winning games. And thanks in part to Dallas, Green Bay, Philadelphia, San Diego, New England, and Pittsburgh losses, the Giants have moved up in the ESPN rankings to #1. Their preseason rank was #6; where's the respect for the Super Bowl champs? The truth is, they haven't been given any, even as Super Bowl champs; until now. The way ESPN sees it, the Cowboys beat the Eagles, the Redskins beat the Cowboys, and the Giants beat the Redskins; therefore, the Giants deserve the #1 ranking. While this may be true, it's hardly analyzing. The fact of the matter is, head to head, the Cowboys seem to have an edge on the Giants. That doesn't mean that when it matters, the Giants can't outperform them. They proved they could in the playoffs last season. But before I put the Giants ahead of the Cowboys in the power rankings, they have to prove to me that taking down "Big D" wasn't a one-time thing. To be honest, I have faith in the Giants. I just need to see them show faith in themselves, and execute when they roll into Dallas. All they need to do is play every game like they have something to prove. They can't let the ESPN power rankings fool them. They need to understand that no one thinks they're as good as they are. If they play to prove they deserved the Super Bowl title last year, they'll be a hell of a football team this year.

1. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
If my analysis of #2 didn't ruin the surprise, my #1 right now is the Cowboys. Big D is out for revenge. They realize a legitimate chance at a title was stripped from them last year. They were the big favorite entering the playoffs, and let a wild card and division rival steal their hopes and the Lombardi trophy. Now Dallas, especially with Tom Brady sidelined for the season, sees a clear path to becoming NFL champions. They're looking to leave Texas Stadium, in it's last year, on top of the world. They have the components to do it too. They've got the best offensive line in the game, a solid ground game (which they need to utilize more), the best wide receiver in the game, and an extremely talented tight end and quarterback. If their defense helps Dallas' offense outplay opponents, the Cowboys will be the team to beat again in the NFC come playoff time. Only this time, they won't be looking ahead to an intimidating 18-0 opponent, when the Giants come into town.

ESPN rounded out the top 10 with: 6. Washington (3-1), 7. Carolina (3-1), 8. San Diego (2-2), 9. Philadelphia (2-2), 10. Tampa Bay (3-1).

Here's the rest of my top 10: 6. Denver (3-1) 7. Washington (3-1) 8. Philadelphia (2-2) 9. Buffalo (4-0) 10. Tampa Bay (3-1).

Image taken from Yahoo! Sports

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