Monday, September 27, 2010

Thoughts on MNF, Packers at Bears

This is what a year without Brian Urlacher will do to you. You forget his greatness. I know he's lost some speed, that he doesn't cover the field like he used to. I know that the Green Bay offense line is more sieve-like than anything. I know that the Packers have no running game to speak of. I know the team they played made horrendous, awful penalties. But they won. They won with a great defensive effort and just enough offense to wear one of the NFL's better defenses down. 

In the middle of the second quarter, it was getting iffy. The defense looked like it was wearing down, and the Pack was running just enough to make play-action a great threat. But they held just enough, limiting Green Bay to field goal attempts (1 blocked)  for a good chunk of the game, while their own offense got on track (cue Devin Hester). And that final fumble? Urlacher, whom we haven't seen for a year. Welcome back, Brian.

Team Rankings:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers. Great defense, good enough offense, waiting on Big Ben.
2. Indianapolis Colts. Manning still getting it done.
3. Atlanta Falcons. I don't care about luck, they knocked off the champs.
4. Chicago Bears. Great win versus the Pack. Everything clicked, but still, Green Bay made an awful lot of mistakes. And really, this team is 2-1. Still, this is the surprise team so far. Martz has been good to Forte (in my fantasy teams, I rated Forte high because of what Faulk did under Martz), as well as Cutler. I really believe that as long as Cutler is going to throw picks anyways, you might as well take calculated, smart chances, and with Mad Mike opening the playbook, that's exactly what will happen.
5. Philadelphia Eagles. Vick is showing a return to form.
6. New York Jets. A good two games following a bad loss. We'll see if it can continue.
7. Baltimore Ravens. Need to get that offense on track. Ray Rice needs to do more, and that's not just a fantasy perspective.
8. New Orleans Saints. The offense shows it can shuffle playmakers in and out. The defense might not have any.
9. Houston Texans. Still a dangerous team, but that was a bad loss to Dallas.
10. New England Patriots. Still consistently good, I see them moving up in the next few weeks.
11. Green Bay Packers. Great defense, but that special teams coverage against Chicago was not special. This team needs to play focused because they can't afford mistakes (17 penalties, a record for the club) because they can't grind out wins with their running game. Kinda like the old Colts teams.
12. Kansas City Chiefs. They beat patsy teams, but I have to reward 3 straight.
13. Tennessee Titans. The defense is good again, but can Young show consistent effort and leadership?
14. Cincinatti Bengals. Is '09 Palmer anything like '05 Palmer, except in name? And what happens when he needs to make a throw rather than make open completions?
15. Miami Dolphins. What happens when the run game isn't working?
16. Arizona Cardinals. Barely beat Oakland, yet they play in the NFC's worst division, which could yield a playoff spot.
17. Seattle Seahawks. Ditto.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So they beat some crappy teams. No playoff ambitions here.
19. Denver Broncos. Orton can throw for yards, but he needs to throw for scores. They were ugly every time they got in sight of the endzone.
20. San Diego Chargers. Miss Vincent Jackson now?
21. Minnesota Vikings. Need Vincent Jackson now?
22. Washington Redskins. McNabb is an upgrade and their division is weaker than in year's past, but that loss to Saint Louis was ugly.
23. Dallas Cowboys. Romo will never win a Super Bowl.
24. New York Giants. Coughlin needs to get his team back.
25. Oakland Raiders
26. Saint Louis Rams. Bradford showing some promise.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars. Garrard is not.
28. Detroit Lions. They should have won the Chicago game.
29. San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree curse in full effect. Alex Smith needs to improve in a hurry, and playcalling is only part of it.
30. Cleveland Browns. At least they know who their starter is.
31. Buffalo Bills. And they just found out who their starter is.
32. Carolina Panthers. They still have no clue.

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