NFL Power Rankings (Week 2!)
September 22nd, 2017 by The Staff
This Week’s Episode:
“Your defense is offensive”
Ten years ago, the hopeless, hapless and helpless Raiders drafted Jamarcus Russell, setting into motion a cap space nightmare made flesh that insured they would be hardly anything more than perennial AFC West bottom-feeders for the better part of a decade. Well, a mere three years after picking up Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Gabe Jackson in the 2014 draft, the Raiders have transformed into quite possibly the most explosive offensive threat in pro football – as evident by the team’s 45-20 mangling of the New York Jets last Sunday. Powered by veteran ball carrier Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders are just as explosive running the ball as they are throwing it, as indicative of Jalen Richard and Cordarrelle Patterson (who is actually a slot receiver by position) each breaking off 40-yard plus TD runs against N.Y. If this defense (in particular, the secondary) improves, this team could become a MAJOR postseason player – if not an outright dynasty in waiting.
There’s nothing flashy about the no-name offense of the Ravens, but they’re certainly getting the job done. In Baltimore’s 24-10 win over Cleveland, Joe Flacco went 25 for 34 for 217 yards and 2 TDs (plus an INT), with Javorius Allen (5 receptions, 35 yards) and Jeremy Maclin (four receptions, 31 yards) each reeling in TD passes. Still, as solid as the team’s rushing defense may be (they held Isaiah “Kill All Cops” Crowell to just 37 yards on the day), their pass defense seems fairly suspect; I mean, did these guys REALLY let DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan tag team ’em for 300 yards? Another reason for the Baltimore hype train to be awfully cautious: Pro Bowl lineman Marshal Yanda is officially out for the remainder of the season.
In yet another sign that the biblical Apocalypse is nigh, Denver QB Trevor Siemian (231 yards, 22 completions) threw four touchdown passes in his team’s 42-17 rectal execution of the Cowboys last Sunday. The run games of the two teams couldn’t have been any more divergent; while Dallas struggled to rack up 40 yards on 14 carries, the Broncos easily accumulated 178 yards on the ground, with top producer C.J. Anderson racking up 118 yards and one end zone visit on 25 carries.
After Monday night’s game, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who thinks Matt Stafford isn’t worth his record contract dollars. Going 15 for 21 for 122 yards and two scores, Stafford led the Lions to a facile 24-10 victory over the G-Men, with Detroit’s defense holding New York to just 62 yards rushing … and sacking Eli Manning’s ass five times for a net loss of 31 yards.
It wasn’t pretty, but Cam Newton and company nonetheless managed to pull out the 9-3 win against Buffalo over the weekend. Both teams were held to less than 200 yards passing and neither squad could reach triple digits in terms of rushing yards; alas, the Panthers got within field goal range more times than the Bills, and that was the big decider in the ball game. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the game, of course, is the injury to Pro Bowler Greg Olsen, whose broken leg is going to keep him out of action for the next two-to-three months.
Kareem Hunt’s outstanding rookie year continues. In the Chiefs’ 27-20 win over the Eagles, the first-year pro out of Toledo collected 81 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and he currently leads the League in total rushing yards. Alas, after a 400-yard-plus performance against New England on opening night, Alex Smith’s numbers looked a little more, well, Alex Smith-like; KC’s QB finished the game with a more down-to-earth 251 yards and one TD pass on 21 completions.
Well, there’s no hurricane rust on the Bucs. In their 29-7 beatdown of Chicago, Jameis Winston went 18 for 30 for one TD, with Mike Evans leading the receiving corps with 93 yards on seven receptions. Alas, as good as the Bucs’ run defense was (they held the Bears to an absurd 20 yards on the ground), they also let the Bears get way more aerial yardage than they probably should’ve; thankfully, the Bears were more than happy to turn the ball over four times so their foes had ample opportunities to capitalize on Mike Glennon’s fuck-ups.
The Steelers had no problem surmounting the Vikings in a facile 26-9 home victory. Big Ben went 23 for 35 for two touchdowns, with top receiver Martavis Bryant hauling in three passes for 91 yards and one trip to the end zone. Le’Veon Bell had a pretty good showing, collecting 87 yards but no scores on 27 touches, and the defense looked tremendous, too, holding Case Keenum to just 167 yards passing on 20 completions and Dalvin Cook to just 64 yards on 12 carries.
|He may not stand for the flag, but at least he knows how to get down to the beat.|
THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS
Don’t let the 34-23 final score fool you – the Falcons/Packers shindig last Sunday night was never that close. Indeed, in the opening of the third quarter a fumble returned for a touchdown gave Atlanta a 31-7 lead, and everything Green Bay posted afterwards was the definition of garbage time pointage. Matt Ryan had an alright showing (19 for 28 for 252 yards for one TD), but the hero of the day for Atlanta was definitely back Devonta Freeman, who finished the contest with 84 yards and two touchdown trips on 19 touches.
The Dolphins just barely eked out a win against the Chargers in their first game of the season in L.A., with an errant kick from the recently displaced powder blue jerseys giving Miami the 19-17 victory. Jay Cutler went 24 for 30 for 230 yards and one passing TD, while Jay Ajayi looked just as good as he did last season, accumulating 122 yards on 28 carries. Still, that passing defense is just the worst; at the final horn, the Fins allowed Phillip Rivers to complete 31 of 39 passes for 331 yards and one score.
After destroying the Colts 46-9 in week one, the Rams followed suit by dropping a 27-20 loss to Washington. Stats-wise, there isn’t much to talk about; Jared Goff was just sorta’ OK with 224 yards and a 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio on 15 completions while Todd Gurley looked fairly solid carrying the pigskin 16 times for 88 yards and one score. The team’s rush defense, however, was downright putrid, allowing the Redskins to rack up 229 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
After a ten-point loss to the Raiders in week one, the Titans rebounded in a big way by besting divisional foes Jacksonville by a whopping 21 points. The pass and run game both clicked for Tennessee; Marcus Mariota finished the affair 15 for 27 for 215 yards and a 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio, while Derrick Henry led the backfield’s combined 179-yard, three touchdown day with 92 yards and one TD on 14 touches.
Even though the Eagles lost 27-20 to the Chiefs last Sunday, there’s still plenty of positives for Philly fans to take away from the game. For one, Carson Wentz posted great numbers again, going 25 for 46 for 333 yards and two touchdown passes – that, in addition to the extra 55 yards he picked up scrambling. And Philly’s defense looked pretty solid, sacking KC’S Alex Smith four times for a cumulative 19-yard loss. Alas, Philly’s offensive line looked equally terrible, allowing Chiefs’ defenders to drop Wentz six times for a net yardage loss of 34.
In the Bills’ 9-3 loss to Carolina, only kicker Stephen Hauschka could net any points for Buffalo. Perhaps the low-scoring affair was inevitable; after all, averaging 234.5 yards per game, Buffalo currently has the League’s second stingiest defense … behind Carolina, of course, who leads the Leage with 196.5 yards allowed per game.
Well, Tom Brady decided to be Tom Brady again last Sunday. Following a shocking 15-point loss to the Chiefs at home on opening night, the Pats took out their frustrations on the figuratively-but-might-as-well-be-literally-defenseless Saints, walloping Drew Brees and amigos 36-20. Brady led the League in passing yards in week two, accumulating 447 yards and three touchdowns on 30 completions, with Gronk leading New England’s receivers with 116 yards and one touchdown on six catches.
After a dominant 22 point victory over the Texans in week one, the Jaguars quickly reverted to form and got their asses waxed 37-16 by the Titans last Sunday. Blake Bortles went 20 for 34 for 223 yards, one TD and one INT, with Allen Hurns leading the Jags’ receivers with 82 yards and a score on six receptions. After topping 100 yards in his regular season NFL debut, Leonard Fournette was far less impressive in week two; he got a touchdown, but he only recorded 40 yards on 14 carries.
|Yeah, like anybody expects a segment literally sponsored by Gilllette to be anything other than a Tom Brady dick-suck-a-thon.|
THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Down at one juncture by two dozen points, there’s not a lot that can assuage the Green Bay faithful following their prime time 34-23 loss to the Falcons. Granted, Aaron Rodgers had decent stats (33 for 50 for 343 yards, two touchdowns and one INT), and Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery both looked solid with 75-yards-plus and one TD haul a piece. But what the hell happened to the run game? The Packers sputtered out on the ground, racking up just 59 yards on 19 carries, while letting their adversaries chalk up 141 on 27 carries.
With seven minutes and some change left in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson connected with Paul Richardson on a nine yard pass to give the Seahawks a 12-9 victory over divisional foes San Fran. Even in victory, Wilson chalked up one of his worst performances ever under center for Seattle; he finished the game 23 for 39 for 198 yards, got sacked three times and had four of his passes deflected by 49ers defenders.
Kirk Cousins’ 11-yard zip to Ryan Grant with less than two minutes in the fourth was the game winner for the Redskins, who bested the Rams 27-20 at the L.A. Colosseum. Washington’s run game definitely helped out the sluggish passing attack; while Cousins could only accumulate 179 yards in the air, the combined Redskins backfield was able to rack up 229 on the ground, with backs Rob Kelley (12 carries, 78 yards, one score) and Chris Thompson (3 carries, 77 yards and two touchdowns) leading the charge.
The Vikings offense just couldn’t get started against the Steelers. In the 26-9 road loss, Case Keenum had just 146 yards on the day after factoring in the two times he got sacked for negative 21 yards, while Pittsburgh’s defenders recorded six deflections and hit the QB seven times. The lone positive out of the experience? Kicker Kai Forbath looked pretty solid, knocking three field goals to give Minnesota their only points on the board all afternoon long.
Just one week after throttling the Giants, the Cowboys themselves wound up getting strangulated by the Denver Broncos in a pitiful 42-17 ass thrashing. Dak Prescott went 30 for 50 for 238 yards, two touchdowns and two INTs, while Ezekiel Elliot wrapped up the game with an atrocious eight yards on nine carries. At least Jason Witten got you some fantasy points, though; he completed the game with 97 yards and a touchdown on ten receptions.
With 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cards were down 13-3. About five minutes later, Carson Palmer would hit J.J. Nelson for a 45-yard TD strike, and barely four minutes after that Phil Dawson would boot the game-tying field goal. Seven minutes into O.T. Dawson would knock another one through the uprights to give Arizona the hard-fought, extra-innings victory; if you listen very, very closely, you can still hear the residents of Indianapolis cursing their television sets.
Deshaun Watson may not have had any TD throws in his 15 for 24, 125 yard passing day against the Bengals last Thursday night, but he at least managed to put points on the board with a 49-yard rushing TD. Beyond that, there really isn’t much to celebrate concerning Houston’s 13-9 win over Cincinnati. Well, except for maybe the DeAndre Hopkins’ 73-yard, seven reception day, but at that point, we’d really be stretching it.
Yeah, I know it’s going to sound like a backhanded compliment, but the Chargers really are the best winless team in the NFL. Indeed, both of their losses have been by three points or less, and in each outing the team was undone by a last second special teams snafu. That’s not to say there aren’t some major problems with their run game, though. The Chargers – who now play in a soccer stadium that can barely hold 30,000 people – only put up 44 yards on the ground last Sunday, while allowing the Dolphins to rack up 111.
|No, a half-starved Somalian teenager didn’t steal Hue Jackson’s wardrobe; that’s actually what the quarterback for the Cleveland Browns looks like.|
ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT
After a shockingly close loss to the Steelers in week one, the Browns quickly reverted to standard operating procedure with a 24-10 loss to the Ravens last Sunday. Quarterback play from both DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan were downright atrocious, with the former going 15 for 31 for 182 yards, zero scores and THREE interceptions and the latter going 5 for 11 for 118 yards, one garbage time TD and one INT. To put that in perspective, their COMBINED QBR of 60.6 was still 14.2 points lower than that of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco.
49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer may have had the worst day of any QB thus far in the NFL season when his team got bested by Seattle over the weekend. In the 12-9 loss, Hoyer had a grand total of just 99 passing yards on the day, which you might as well roll back to just 89 because he got sacked twice for minus ten yards. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he also lobbed an interception, had five passes deflected and got hit ten times by Seattle defenders. Well, I guess at this point, it’s not like Colin K. would be any WORSE of an option at QB, would it?
In the Bengals’ 13-9 Thursday night loss to the Texans, Andy Dalton went 20 for 35 for 224 yards and no touchdowns. He got sacked three times, was hit five times and had five passes deflected. Meanwhile, the team’s backfield combined for a lowly 82 rushing yards on 24 carries, and some players for Cincinnati are already clamoring for the Red Rifle to get benched in favor of Colin “Fuck White People” Kaepernick. Considering they’re traveling to Green Bay on Sunday, one can only hope the revitalized Bungles have plenty of guffaws in store for us over the weekend.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially if you’re talking about New Orleans’ porous defense. In their 36-20 loss to the Patriots, the Saints gave up 555 yards of total offense; just two games into the 2017 campaign, and New Orleans has already allowed their opponents to rack up 1,025 yards. Averaging 388.5 passing yards alone per game, theseSaints are on pace to break the League record for most yardage given up in a single season – by almost 1,000 additional yards!
After a stellar showing in week 1’s surprisingly close game against Atlanta, the Bears got shellacked 29-7 by Tampa Bay over the weekend. Mike Glennon had 301 yards on 31 completions, with a one-to-two TD-to-INT ratio (with one resulting in a pick six for Robert McClain) while Jordan Howard was held to an ABSURD seven yards rushing on nine carries. Oh, and their only points came in the form of a pointless TD with less than two minutes left in the game – when they were already down by 29 points.
The G-Men are just two games into the season and they’re already in total implosion mode. They followed up their demoralizing loss to the Cowboys in week one with an equally demoralizing 24-10 loss to the Lions on Monday night, one in which Eli Manning went 22 for 32 for 239 yards and one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio. Even worse, the Giants’ rushing game was practically rudderless; at the final horn, New York’s backfield could only produce 62 yards worth of ground-based offense – and yet, they’re still only the second worst pro football team playing home game at MetLife Stadium!
The jets on 9/11 fared better than the Jets last Sunday, as they got waylaid by the Raiders 45-20. Josh McCown had 166 yards and two touchdowns (both tosses to Jermaine Kearse, who finished the game with 64 yards on four receptions) but he also got sacked four times for a net loss of 21 yards. And defensively, this team couldn’t do shit; they let Derek Carr (23 for 28, 230 yards) connect with Michael Crabtree (six receptions, 80 yards) for three touchdowns, and their defenders didn’t even hit the Raiders’ QB once. Factor in two costly turnovers which immediately led to Raiders’ touchdowns and you have what might just be the most holistically dreadful performance of the fledgling NFL season thus far.
In the 2011 season, some accused the Colts of intentionally losing games on purpose so they could “Suck for Luck” and pick up the highly touted QB as the first selection in the NFL draft.Well, today, the Colts are running an entirely different campaign, “Suck without Luck,” as they dropped a 16-13 overtime heartbreaker to Arizona. Ex-Pat Jacoby Brissett wasn’t much of a factor in the game; going 20 for 37 for 216 yards, he had no touchdown passes or runs and was sacked four times for a cumulative loss of 26 yards. But on the bright side? At least they managed to hold Chris Johnson to 44 yards rushing on the day. Tis a pity they couldn’t stop Carson Palmer’s old ass from dropping 332 yards on them in the air, though …