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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings and Predictions: Some top teams go down

Like most weeks in the NFL, Week 8 featured both shocking and expected results. Some top teams improved their position in Week 8, proving they are who we thought they were, while some top teams felt like stinking up and confusing everybody. All in all, it was a pretty good week for me, anyway. My Dolphins won, the Jets lost, and I absolutely dominated in my Fantasy Football game. But that's beside the point! Time to get to Week 9's power rankings, and I think you will find them quite... surprising!:

Biggest Winner: Detroit Lions (+7) 
Biggest Loser: Dallas Cowboys (-6) 

1. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, +2): The Colts are aways good at home and this does not change against the Texans, they have proved they are still the team to beat in the AFC South. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning and nice pick six last week early to help them out by Kelvin Hayden, a serious threat in that Colts secondary. Even after all those injury woes they have including TE  Dallas Clark being out for the season, they may be the best team in the NFL. That's called depth.

2. New York Giants (5-2, +2): Moving to #2 in their bye-week was mainly due to other teams, but the Giants may be one of the best teams in the NFL. The Giants defense is just brutal and is playing good, disciplined football. On offense, I do believe that Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw can keep this ship on course. Time will tell, though.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2, -2): Their Sunday night matchup did not go according to plan as the Steelers fell to the former Super Bowl champion Saints. I'm quite disappointed specifically by the play of Ben Roethlisberger. Simply put, he did not play too well. The defense still played great, they did everything they could to keep them in that game but an untimely fumble by Heath Miller basically sealed their fate. You can only keep that Saints offense contained for so long.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, +2): The Ravens are back up to #4, but they will want to have a strong showing against the Miami Dolphins if they want to keep this position. The Bills haven't looked too bad in their last matchup, and maybe Week 7's game was somewhat of a fluke. Still, the defense that is supposed to be so good looked to be a vulnerability. They hope they will get that act together. This team surely has the talent, and is a real Super Bowl contender.

5. New York Jets (5-2, -3): Zero. That's the number of points that the Jets offense were able to put up at home, coming off the bye, against a Packers defense who barely have any defensive starters left. Mark Sanchez seems to have regressed to his turnover-prone ways, ruining his strong start with four interceptions in his last two games. Add in an extremely questionable call by Punter Steve Weatherford to go for a fake punt on a 4th and 18 on your own 20... wow. How do you lose when your defense holds Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 9 points?

6. New England Patriots (6-1, -1): Well they're on the top of the AFC East now and still winning but for some reason, I still don't see them more than #6, there are five teams in the league I consider better. I mean, I don't see the offensive explosiveness this season, and their defense continues to allow teams to drive down the field like they're nothing. Eventually I think if they continue to play like this they will hit a wall. Eventually, they'll stop playing poor teams. But now that Randy Moss will be waived by the Vikings (which is hilarious), I wonder if the Patriots will look to sign him if he clears waivers? That would surely make the trade look like highway robbery for the Patriots.

7. Atlanta Falcons (5-2, +0): The Falcons probably did not enjoy their bye week much, watching both division rivals in contention for the AFC South win their games. They will have a chance this upcoming Sunday to pull away as they host the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I still think this team is all-around the best team in this division.

8. New Orleans Saints (5-3, +6): Well, they played one of the best teams in the league and won, that's all that you can really hope for. They seem to struggle against teams they shouldn't but play well against teams that are actually good. Drew Brees did have a pick against the Steelers, but that is to be expected when playing a defense of that caliber. All things considered, he played pretty well. But what I'm really impressed with is the Saints defense, who despite being hurt in the defensive secondary has been able to play well. There may be something to those complicated blitz packages they like to use.

9. Miami Dolphins (4-3, +3): They have been road warriors this season. 4-0 on the road, 0-3 at home. But they won't be able to do it all on the road, eventually they will need to win at home. Good news for them next week though, they will be away again, this time against likely the best team they've had to play away all season, the Baltimore Ravens. No doubt Dan Carpenter is one of the best Kickers in the league, but the Dolphins need to score more touchdowns and less field goals if they want to win consistently. Still, they are playing outstanding defense at the moment, and it is winning them games. The Bengals really only scored 7, and after that poor opening drive for the Dolphins defense, the only points they allowed should've been a pick if Chris Clemons decided not to give Terrell Owens a free touchdown. Oh well.

10. Green Bay Packers (5-3, +3): What a statement win for the Green Bay Packers, being able to overcome all of those injuries to hold the New York Jets to 0 points in New Meadowlands Stadium, with the Jets coming off their bye! It was amazing, and hilarious. This team has resiliency, this team has heart. And now, they may have put themselves in the position to be the favorites in the NFC North once again.

11. Tennessee Titans (5-3, -2): Tough loss against the Chargers, but it is very tough to beat San Diego at home. Concerning injuries however for Kenny Britt and Vince Young. I hope for their sake they aren't serious, since they are key offensive starters. You can't rely on Chris Johnson for everything - teams have been stacking the box to stop him.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3, -2): Time to see some Michael Vick action again as he comes off his injury this week, this offense is much more dynamic with him in the game. He will need to bring his A-game though, as the Eagles host the Colts. I think the real key will be the Eagles defense. If they can't stop Peyton Manning, it will be a long day for the Eagles.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2, -3): Yikes! Almost falling the Bills is atrocious. Wow. Actually I was kind of hoping for a tie but Ryan Succop decided to actually make a field goal the last few seconds of overtime to switch things up (he missed one too). A bit of positive news for them, though... Jamaal Charles looked scary good in this game, rushing for 177 yards, an average of 8.0 YPC. You'd think with that kind of production, though, you'd come away with more than 13 points... guess not. He how has 666 yards on the season (hehehe, couldn't resist).

14. San Diego Chargers (3-5, +2): Antonio Gates! Wow, what a juggernaut he is. Sorry, just had to say it, he is having an absolutely phenomenal year. Aside from that, the Chargers have finally won since I've been picking them, beating the Titans. They always seem to get hot late in the season, which is bad news for the Chiefs who are looking to be the favorites in that division. San Diego is still ranked #1 in offense AND defense. This team will be fine, I think. AFC West beware.

15. Houston Texans (4-3, -4): So the Texans were unable to sweep the Colts on Monday night... well, at least it was expected. The season is not over for these guys, they are still in the battle. They want to get back on track next week in order to not fall behind in a very tight AFC South battle (and perhaps more importantly) a very tight AFC wildcard race.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2, +4): For the record, I'm still not buying this team completely... they are being real pirates this year, though! Pillaging weaklings but running in terror and being dominated by real threats. If talented undrafted rookie RB LeGarrette Blount can stay out of trouble, he can have a long productive career with these Buccaneers. He has played very well since becoming the #1 guy. QB Josh Freeman is also playing well, even more so now that Tampa Bay can apparently run the ball. Still, they have a lot of problems including defense and beating actually talented teams. I don't know how long they can keep up this overachieving. 

17. Oakland Raiders (4-4, +4): Could the Raiders really be legit? They are certainly trying to put a claim on it, having two great games in a row. They did not take a step back after their domination of Denver in Week 7, holding Seahawks to only 3 points in their 33-3 bludgeoning of them. Darren McFadden looks to have become the elite running back that he was hoped to be. The defense is playing great. This is the first time I've ever ranked the Raiders over 20th in any of my Power Rankings, since they have been god awful since I have been doing them.

18. Washington Redskins (4-4, -3): Benching Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman when the game is on the line against the Detroit Lions? Wow, did not see this one coming but this just goes to show you that the Redskins are a pretender. They aren't too much better they were last season, and this team will not do well. They are 4-4, and I expect them to stay on their roller coaster ride, coasting off at an even 8-8.

19. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, -2): Ayup, the Vikings have official become a joke in the NFL, as they are going to waive Randy Moss after only four games with the team. After paying a 3rd round pick to get him. I mean, yeah, this points to some behind-the-scenes issues with Randy Moss, but also points to some serious problems with the Vikings coaching staff and front office. Head Coach Brad Childress should and will be gone after this season. He has lost this locker room.

20. Chicago Bears (4-3, -1): How many times will Jay Cutler get sacked next week against the winless Bills? Dang, it appears to me the Bills may get their first win of the season if they can play some solid defense. Jokes aside, the Bears are worse than their record suggests. Their offensive line is still horrendous. Maybe they corrected some problems in their bye week. Then again, maybe not. Remains to be seen, I guess.

21. Seattle Seahawks (4-3, -2): This is the second time this season the Seahawks have been limited to 3 points in a game. That's completely unacceptable. They were dominated all day by the Raiders (earlier in the season by the division rival Rams). I mean, they still may be the creme of the crop in the NFC West but I think any team coming out of that division will lose early in the playoffs. This division just sucks.

22. Detroit Lions (2-5, +7): Coming off the bye, the Lions made a huge statement against the Redskins. Honestly, the Lions are a team that is being turned around. They won't make the playoffs or anything this season, but they are a serious threat. A solid defense combined with good offensive play in every facet gives this team big-play potential on both sides of the ball. Look for them to give most teams they play this season some trouble.

23. St. Louis Rams (4-4, +5): Well we saw they can beat the Panthers, but will they be able to beat other teams? 4-4 is a nice turnaround for the Rams, and the defense is solid, but Sam Bradford lacks receivers to throw to and Steven Jackson, while one of the better backs in the league, isn't a miracle worker. They could end the season around the middle of the pack, however. I wonder if they will look into Randy Moss to give Bradford a serious receiver? They do have a pretty high waiver claim priority, and would make some sense..

24. Arizona Cardinals (3-4, -1): Heart-breaking loss after almost having a major comeback win against the Bucs. Max Hall is not the answer, at least not yet. They should probably just stick with Derek Anderson at QB. The defense played well despite giving up some big plays and we also had a Larry Fitzgerald sighting for the first time this season, as he caught 6 balls for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Likely his best game of the season.

25. San Francisco 49ers (2-6, +5): Nice job by Troy Smith engineering a win in London against the Broncos. The real key for them was getting Frank Gore involved, early and often. He is the key for this 49ers offense. The sad part is for the NFC West, at 2-6 the 49ers may still be in this division race. They are only two wins behind the division winners... and have a chance to play each team in the division at least once more each. It may be a long-shot, but hey. Mike Singletary is trying to save his job, here.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4, +1): They destroyed the struggling Tony Romo-less Cowboys, for whatever that is worth. Their defense needs to get better though if they want to compete against other, better teams. They play in a tough division and is likely the worst team in their division, so usually translates into a failed season.

27. Denver Broncos (2-6, -5): The failure to turnaround in London against the one-win 49ers may have put the nail in the coffin for Head Coach Josh McDaniels, he seems to have rammed this franchise into the ground. The front office must feel awful right now after giving up on proven coach Mike Shanahan and trading both their franchise QB and elite WR. I really thought this team was pretty good, guess I was wrong. 2-6 is awful.

28. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5, -3): Silly Bungles. After a good opening drive, their offense looked nothing short than putrid against the Dolphins. How can you not move the ball when you have a receiving corp including elites like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens? Oh well. Cedric Benson had another poor game, no surprise there. The one bright spot last week was the defense playing pretty well, limiting the Dolphins to field goals instead of touchdowns. Still, your offense needs to score more than 14 (7 of them a gift touchdown that should have been an interception) points if you want to win games.

29. Cleveland Browns (2-5, -3): Kinda odd putting them so low, I guess I just see other teams as better. I mean, the Browns are really pretty solid. Seneca Wallace should be back which provides stability at the QB position. Peyton Hillis is awesome. Defensively, they have played well. I mean, they will beat teams who sleep on them. They don't have the talent to really be a contender yet, but they will win some games.

30. Dallas Cowboys (1-6, -6): Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me six times, shame on you. That's how I feel about the Dallas Cowboys right now. At this point, I don't even want to mention the Tony Romo excuse because you know what, they had only 1-win with him, too. This team isn't disciplined, doesn't give any effort whatsoever... long story short, they suck.

31. Buffalo Bills (0-7, +1): No, they don't have their first win but they have been playing very good football as of late. If it weren't for a shank miss by Rian Lindell, a kicker who is normally very good, they would have gotten their first win of the season against a good Chiefs team. They played great against the Baltimore Ravens a week before. Call me crazy, but I'm going out on a limb here saying the Buffalo Bills aren't the worst team in the league. 

32. Carolina Panthers (1-6, -1): And so I drop the Panthers to #32. They may have a win, but I don't think they are really any good at all. No, they're awful. They can't do anything offensively and defensively they are just average enough to stay in some games. I rank them at #32 for the sole reason that if the Bills and the Panthers were to play, I could not see the Panthers winning.

Formulaic Power Rankings

These Power Rankings are formula-based, the exact formula and explanation on how it is calculated can be found here on my blog.

Formulaic Biggest Winner: Oakland Raiders (+9) 
Formulaic Biggest Loser: Tennessee Titans (-9)
  1. New York Giants (71.1, +1)
  2. Indianapolis (66.7, +2)
  3. New York Jets (64.2, +0)
  4. Pittsburgh (63.8, -3)
  5. New Orleans (63.6, +2)
  6. San Diego (62.3, +4)
  7. Baltimore (61.9, -2)
  8. Philadelphia (60.0, -2)
  9. Atlanta (59.3, -1)
  10. Miami (59.0, +2)
  11. Kansas City (58.0, +3)
  12. New England (56.5, +1)
  13. Oakland (55.8, +9)
  14. Houston (53.6, -3)
  15. Green Bay (53.5, +0)
  16. Tampa Bay (50.9, +1)
  17. Chicago (49.8, +1)
  18. Tennessee (49.1, -9)
  19. St. Louis (46.5, +6)
  20. Cincinnati (44.8, -1)
  21. Dallas (42.6, -5)
  22. Minnesota (42.6, +2)
  23. Washington (41.3, -2)
  24. Denver (40.7, -1)
  25. Detroit (39.3, +6)
  26. Seattle (38.9, -6)
  27. Jacksonville (37.4, +2)
  28. San Francisco (37.2, +0)
  29. Arizona (37.0, -3)
  30. Cleveland (36.2, -3)
  31. Carolina (33.6, -1)
  32. Buffalo (22.8, +0)
    Predictions for Week 7

    Prediction accuracy for Week 6: 7-6 (53.8%)
    Overall prediction accuracy: 30-25 (54.5%)

    Mark Sanchez needs to play better than he did in the last two games.
    New York J (5-2) @ Detroit (2-5): New York J by 10. Can the Lions pull of a second upset win at home? Possibly, but the Jets are a lot tougher than the Redskins and will be angry on offense after being shut out by the Packers. Surely I'm rooting for the Lions, but I can't quite see it. I do not believe the Lions will be able to move the ball well against the elite Jets defense. Go Lions! Prove me wrong!

    Tampa Bay (5-2) @ Atlanta (5-2): Atlanta by 7. Atlanta is the better team right now, at least to me. The Buccaneers have a chance to prove that they are legit though, every other time they had an opportunity they didn't just come up short but was completely destroyed. The Falcons were my pre-season pick for the NFC South, but the Buccaneers do have the NFC South "curse" on their side, I suppose.

    San Diego (3-5) @ Houston (4-3): Houston by 3. I do not trust the Chargers on the road, they will need to come out hot against the Texans. Philip Rivers can score points against this poor Texans secondary, but he will need help from his defense to limit scoring drives from the Texans' Matt Schaub and Arian Foster attack. Should be a good game, actually.

    New Orleans (5-3) @ Carolina (1-6): New Orleans by 14. Major upset alert for the Saints, who seems to struggle against poor teams but Carolina is a dreadful team. The Saints should not lose this game by any stretch of the imagination but anything is possible in division games, I suppose.

    Chan Gailey has the Bills playing good football right now.
    Chicago (4-3) @ Buffalo (0-7): Buffalo by 3. Upset alert! That's right, I'm predicting the Bills' first win of the season after going 0-7. They're at home in a stadium that is tough to win in against an average - below average team after having two good showings against better teams, the Chiefs and the Ravens. The Bills proved in those games they can play offense, and play defense. Now they just need to put it together to equate to a win. I think this game will be a defensive struggle.

    Arizona (3-4) @ Minnesota (2-5): Minnesota by 7. As much as I dislike the Vikings right now, they should be able to bounce back and get a win against the Cardinals at home. The Cardinals should not be able to run or pass very well in the Metrodome, while the Vikings simply need to keep running with Adrian Peterson to seal a victory.

    New England (6-1) @ Cleveland (2-5): New England by 10. The Patriots should be able to beat the Browns, but anything is possible in the NFL. Eric Mangini has a lot of history with Bill Belichick, so this game may be a little more emotional than what would normally be expected from a game featuring a "winning team" against a "losing team" from two separate divisions. And the Browns would love to be a spoiler this season.

    Miami (4-3) @ Baltimore (5-2): Baltimore by 3. I think my Dolphins can win this game. However, I must be honest. Baltimore is the more talented team, on both sides of the ball, and they are coming off a bye week. Still, Miami may be able to exploit a defense that was exploited by the Bills two weeks ago. And the Dolphins defense is not likely to allow as many points as the Bills did. Should be an interesting battle.

    New York G (5-2) @ Seattle (4-3): New York G by 10. Should be a pretty easy for the Giants, playing a team who has struggled on offense. I think the Giants defense will be able to contain the Seahawks soundly while the Giants offense is legitimate, and should be able to score nicely against the Seahawks.

    How will Vick's return impact the Eagles?
    Indianapolis (5-2) @ Philadelphia (4-3): Indianapolis by 7. Should be a good game, and the Colts aren't as good on the road than at home, but the Colts will likely handle the Eagles. Michael Vick will be back so he will have to be very good in order to outscore Peyton Manning and the Colts... even with the Colts having a banged up receiving corp.

    Kansas City (5-2) @ Oakland (4-4): Oakland by 3. Upset alert. The Raiders and the Chiefs playing a MEANINGFUL game? What?? Anyway, at home I like the Raiders. They have been outstanding lately and the Chiefs are coming off a poor performance against the Bills. If this were at Arrowhead, I may think differently, but the Raiders may be able to take down the Chiefs.

    Dallas (1-6) @ Green Bay (5-3): Green Bay by 10. Should be an easy win for the Packers, the Cowboys suck. That's all that I really need to say.

    Pittsburgh (5-2) @ Cincinnati (2-5): Pittsburgh by 3. The Steelers want revenge after the Bengals swept them last season, but they better be careful. If there was one team in the NFL I could see the Bengals winning against, it is the Steelers. It has been tough battles in recently seasons between these two teams, so the Steelers will have to be careful to now allow their slum to continue.

    Byes:  Denver (2-6), Jacksonville (4-4), San Francisco (2-6), St. Louis (4-4), Tennessee (5-3), Washington (4-4)

    Results of Last Week's Poll

    Last week, I asked my readers "Which team is most of a surprise this season, for better or worse?" between the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Minnesota Vikings.

    The winner of this poll was the Dallas Cowboys in a blow-out, commanding 75% of the vote. The honorable mention with the remaining 25% goes to the Kansas City Chiefs. I did vote for Dallas, who could have predicted THAT collapse?

    This week's poll is "Which 2009-Draft class QB looks to be the best so far?" between Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, or Matthew Stafford?

    Vote on the right-sidebar of my blog!

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