Jaguars QB David Garrard and his team will look to move up the Power Ranking this week as they take on the Houston Texans
Though early the 2009 NFL Season is starting to take shape with some interesting results. The NFL continues to be a parity driven league as there are 14 teams at (1-1) – Texans, Packers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bengals, Bills, Patriots, Redskins, Steelers, Chargers, Raiders, Cardinals, Bears, and Seahawks. Then there are 9 “Have” teams at (2-0) – Ravens, Jets, Giants, Falcons, Niners, Vikings, Colts, Saints and Bronco. And 9 “Have Not” teams at (0-2) – Browns, Rams, Chiefs, Lions, Jaguars, Panthers, Titans, Dolphins and Rams.
For the 23 teams that are either 1-1 or 0-2, there is still good news as since 2002, 48 of 84 (57.1%) teams made the playoffs after starting at those marks. Last year, the Chargers and Dolphins started 0-2 and still made the playoffs as each won their respective division.
Now on to the rankings for this week.
1. Giants (1-0) – The G-Men helped by Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s blunders overcame a sloppy day running and stopping the run. Quarterback Eli Manning and his receivers, namely Steve Smith and Mario Manningham seemed to mature in front of our eyes as the Giants claimed the top spot. Tom Coughlin will need his team to run the ball to avoid a letdown at Tampa.
2. Colts (2-0) – Peyton Manning continues to amaze as the Colts made the most of the little time that they had the ball in their big MNF win over the host Dolphins. The future hall of famer passed Colts great John Unitas in franchise career wins (119) in the victory. Expect an aerial show in the desert as the Manning, Wayne, Clark, and now Garcon travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals on NBC Sunday Night Football.
3. Jets (2-0) – The J-E-T-S, QB Mark “Cool Hand Luke” Sanchez, and their brash head coach Rex Ryan backed up their big talk with a potential “Changing of the Guard” win over the Patriots. Next up for Ryan’s crew is another big test as the tougher than their record Tennessee Titans come to the Big Apple in search of their first win of the season.
4. Vikings (2-0) – Brett Favre and the Vikings put in a yeoman effort in taking care of business against the hapless Detroit Lions. Brad Childress’ team will finally get a real challenge this week as the Vikings host Mike Singletary’s rising Niners in FOX’s game of the week.
5. Ravens (2-0) – The Chargers put up the aerial numbers, but in the end LB Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Ravens laid the wood at the right times in a big road victory. Though the Cleveland Browns are now one of the NFL’s most downtrodden teams, they are a dangerous team in coming to Baltimore for “Art Modell” bowl.
6. Saints (2-0) – Led by record setting QB Drew Brees, Sean Payton’s offense is looking like the 1999 St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” group. The Saints clobbered the Eagles in Philly via another offensive explosion. Expect more aerial fireworks as the Saints coming to Buffalo looking for a win over T.O and the Bills.
7. Steelers (1-1) – The 2008 Super Bowl Champions fell from their perch atop the rankings as a combination of the Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a strong Bears defensive effort and Steelers kicker Josh Reed’s potential GW misses spelled the champs doom in Chi-Town. In a true grudge match, the Steelers travel to Cincy to face a tougher than expected Bengals squad led by Ocho Cinco.
8. 49ers (2-0) – Look out for “Iron” Mike Singletary’s hungry young squad. For the second week in a row, the Niners served notice to the NFC West that they are the new sheriffs in town by beating the Seahawks. In a highly anticipated FOX Sunday afternoon tilt the Niners travel to the Vikings in a game to prove who is a contending NFC team.
9. Falcons (2-0) – Not many people are talking about Mike Smith’s efficient team at this point in the season, but everybody better take notice of QB Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons. In a get out of the way win, the Falcons pushed former NFC South champ the Carolina Panther aside. Next up for Matty Ice and his team is a trip back to the Boston area for a huge showdown with the Patriots.
10. Patriots (1-1) – In a classic AFC East grudge match, Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady was harassed by Rex Ryan’s attacking Jets defense over and over as he lost in the Meadowlands for the first time. Brady will look to outplay from Boston College star Matt Ryan as the Falcons come to New England looking for respect.
11. Eagles (1-1) – The Birds had no answer for the Saints high-powered offense and their special teams didn’t do them any favors in losing the field position battle. In a more dangerous than expected game, the much injured Eagles and newly activated QB Michael Vick host the Chiefs before they head off to their bye week. Andy Reid’s team better be careful as the Birds are 4-6 going into the bye under the veteran coach.
12. Broncos (2-0) – We really don’t know how good Josh McDaniels’ squad really is at this point in the season, but they are undefeated after beating up the Browns last week. In an old-time AFL battle, the Broncos look to distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West as they travel to Oakland.
13. Chargers (1-1) – The Bolts moved the ball and scored a lot of points, but in the end the Ravens led by LB Ray Lewis stuffed them when it mattered most. In a game that could have future playoff implications, the Chargers host the Wildcat happy Dolphins who are looking for their first win of the season.
14. Cowboys (1-1) – All eyes were tuned in for the opening of billion dollar Dallas Cowboys Stadium, stadium last week, but Cowboys QB Tony Romo was not ready for primetime as Eli Manning and Giants beat them on SNF. In their second primetime match-up in two weeks, the Cowboys will look to bury the 0-2 Carolina Panthers season as they host them on Monday Night Football.
15. Cardinals (1-1) – The 2008 NFC Champs and QB Kurt Warner (NFL record for completion %) found their “A” games in Jacksonville as they beat-up on the reeling Jaguars. In a Sunday Night Football special, the Colts and Peyton Manning come to town looking to extend their 11-game winning streak.
16. Packers (1-1) – HBO’s Hard Knocks’ heroes, the Bengals surprised the entire NFL by beating the Packers in Lambeau and Ocho Cinco even came back from a Lambeau Leap unscaved. come to town looking for their first victory of the season. The Pack will look to get back on the winning side of the ledger against the rebuilding Rams.
17. Bears (1-1) – Lovie Smith’s team and QB Jay Cutler looked a lot better than in Week 1 as they hung tough and beat the Super Bowl champion Steelers. A cross-country trip to Seattle awaits the Bears as they take on the injured Seahawks.
18. Texans (1-1) – The Houston’s new team beatup their old team (Tennessee Titans formerly the Houston Oilers) as quarterback Matt Schaub went deep to Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson over and over. The Texans continue their tour of the AFC South as they host the Jags who look like they are ready to fall further down the NFL’s ladder.
19. Bills (1-1) – The rebuilding Bucs were just the medicine that T.O and the Bills needed. VH1’s favorite reality star got in the endzone and now the sky seems the limit for Alex Van Pelt’s offense. In a sure to be shootout, the Saints and the golden arm quarterback Drew Brees are coming to Buffalo and they are not in search of some wings.
20. Bengals (1-1) – Ochocinco and the Bengals took over historic Lambeau Field by storm as they pulled the NFL’s biggest victory of Week 2. In a game where Steelers receiver Hines Ward better have his head on a swivel, the Super Bowl Champion Steelers come to Cincy in an old fashioned AFC North grudge match.
21. Seahawks (1-1) – The Hawks were beaten-up as Singletary’s Niners continued to show the NFC West that they are the division’s new lead dogs. Without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (ribs), the Seahawks and backup QB Seneca Wallace will look to slowdown the Bears and QB Jay Cutler.
22. Raiders (1-1) – The reeling Chiefs were just the medicine that the Raiders needed to forget their MNF season opening loss. Head Coach Tom Cable will need a better effort from quarterback JaMarcus Russell as the Raiders host the division leading hate rival the Denver Broncos.
23. Redskins (1-1) – It was not pretty, but the Skins barely beat the Rams despite the a booing home crowd. On the hot seat head coach Jim Zorn will need much more offense from QB Jason Campbell as the Redskins attempt to be the Lions first victim since the 2007 season.
24. Titans (0-2) – Who would have thought it after two weeks that the 2008 AFC South champion Titans would be 0-2. But the truth hurts as the Texan went downtown on them in a big win over Jeff Fisher’s guys in Houston. In a huge game, the Titans travel to Gotham to take-on the red hot NY Jets.
25. Dolphins (0-2) – On Monday Night Football, the Wildcat and the Dolphins ran all over the Colts, but Peyton Manning had the final answer. In search of a much-needed win, the Dolphins travel across the country to face the Chargers.
26. Panthers (0-2) – John Fox’s team looks like they are facing a letdown season after the Panthers fell to the Falcons. It will be a Monday Night Football showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, which will either save or move closer to the end of the Panthers season.
27. Buccaneers (0-2) – Head coach Raheem Morris’ squad didn’t have an answer for the offensive Bills as T.O and his mates please their home crowd. The top ranked New York Giants come to Tampa looking to continue their Beast of the East roll.
28. Jaguars (0-2) – Cardinals triggerman Kurt Warner was pinpoint as the Cards quickly made a laugher out of a game with the hapless Jags. The Houston Texans will host the Jags in an AFC South battle that could spell doom for head coach Jack Del Rio, if his team loses.
29. Browns (0-2) – I don’t know how the Dawgs head coach Eric Mangini got a nickname like “Mangenius”. The Browns continued their losing ways as the Broncos outmuscled them. The Browns travel to Baltimore as them attempt to stop LB Ray Lewis and QB Joe Flacco.
30. Chiefs (0-2) – The hated Raiders put a big “L” on the Chiefs and big offseason pickup QB Matt Cassel is being questioned already after only one game. It will be back to Pennsylvania for Chiefs RB Larry Johnson as he leads his team against the Eagles in Philly.
31. Rams (0-2) – Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s defense did not allow a touchdown, but the Redskins were just a little bit better. The Rams will try to defend their home turf against the Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers.
32. Lions (0-2) – The Lions losing streak is now at 19 games after a rather easy win by the Vikings and QB Brett Favre. I have a feeling this could be the Lions week as they host the Redskins in a “loser” leaves town match.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)