NFL Power Rankings for Week 8 (Oct. 22nd, 2013)

jamaal-charlesOne obvious question to ask at this point in the NFL season is this: who’d have thought that after eight weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs would be the lone unbeaten team? This year’s biggest surprise team not only leads a very tough AFC West, but also the entire league. Their rival, the Denver Broncos, lost a close road game against the Colts in Peyton Manning’s spoiled homecoming. This loss has no doubt impacted the power rankings, which you can see below.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-0); beat Houston 17-16, moves up one spot – Many people still harp on how the Chiefs can’t be number one due to Alex Smith’s inability to throw downfield. And while we were in that boat earlier, it’s hard to keep doubting KC when they continue winning. We’ll see if they can keep up the incredible season as they soon get into the meat of their schedule.

2. Denver Broncos (6-1); lost to Indianapolis 39-33, drops one spot – The return of Von Miller wasn’t enough to spark a better defensive effort. And despite throwing for 386 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 INT, Manning wasn’t able to engineer a rally with two backup offensive tackles in the lineup. This loss by no means discredits the Broncos, though.

3. Seattle Seahawks (6-1); beat Arizona 34-22, moves up one spot – Russell Wilson finally came alive after throwing for 235 yards and three TD’s. And the defense has always been alive, as evidenced by the seven sacks they tallied on Carson Palmer.

4. New Orleans Saints (6-1); bye week, drops one spot – This isn’t the first time that the Seahawks and Saints have flip-flopped in our rankings. And it won’t be the last since these teams are so evenly matched.

5. Indianapolis Colts (5-2); beat Denver 39-39, moves up four spots – The Colts make andrew-lucka big leap after grabbing yet another win over a tough opponent. They lay claim to victories over Denver, Seattle (road) and San Francisco (road). And all of this coming despite a lack of a running game.

6. San Francisco (5-2); beat Tennessee 31-17, retains same ranking – San Francisco spoiled Jake Locker’s return to the Tennessee lineup by jumping out to a 17-0 lead. From then on, it was pretty much over since the Niners are great at running the ball and controlling the clock.

7. Green Bay Packers (4-2); beat Cleveland 31-13, moves up one spot – The injuries are mounting on Green Bay, but it hasn’t slowed them down. This time, Jarrett Boykin stepped in and grabbed eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.

8. New England Patriots (5-2); lost to New York Jets 30-27 (OT), drops three spots – New England picked up their second loss following a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chris Jones. He violated a new rule that states you can’t push teammates into the offensive line, which gave Nick Foles a second chance to kick a game-winning field goal.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2); beat Detroit 27-24, moves up one spot – Andy Dalton had his best game of the season after throwing for 372 yards and three touchdowns. He’s finally starting to utilize his weapons, which means the Bengals could continue rising.

10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3); beat Philadelphia 17-3, moves up two spots – The Cowboys are looking like the cream of the crop in the NFC East, which isn’t saying a whole lot. However, you do have to give them credit for winning without both DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware.

11. San Diego Chargers (4-3); beat Jacksonville 24-6, moves up four spots – We philip-riversrealize that a victory over Jacksonville doesn’t necessarily justify moving up this far. But San Diego has been a pretty good offensive team this year, and none of the teams immediately in front of them looked too good.

12. Detroit Lions (4-3); lost to Cincinnati 27-24, drops one spot – As long as Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson stay healthy, the Lions won’t have a problem filling up the box score. Unfortunately, their defense keeps allowing opponents to fill up the box score as well.

13. Chicago Bears (4-3); lost to Washington 44-41, drops five spots – As if an upset loss to Washington isn’t bad enough, the Bears will also be missing Jay Cutler (groin) for four weeks or more. Add in the fact that Chicago travels to Green Bay this week and their freefall may continue.

14. Miami Dolphins (3-3); lost to Buffalo 23-21, drops one spot – The Dolphins got off to a terrible start after a Nickell Robey interception return made the score 14-0. From here, it was all about playing catch-up, which Miami did after taking the lead. However, Mario Williams came up big by forcing a Ryan Tannehill fumble and setting up a game-winning field goal for the Bills.

15. New York Jets (4-3); beat New England 30-27 (OT), moves up six spots – Aside from the Chiefs, New York may be the second biggest surprise team. Most people expected them to be terrible; however, they’ve been very competitive and are actually in the playoff hunt.

16. Baltimore Ravens (3-4); lost to Pittsburgh 19-16, drops two spots – After starting the year with a 3-1 record, the Ravens have gone 1-3 and are averaging less than 20 PPG during this span. Baltimore isn’t out of the AFC North race yet, though, since they have the Bengals coming up in a couple of weeks.

17. Arizona Cardinals (3-4); lost to Seattle 34-22, drops one spot – It’s little surprise that Arizona couldn’t come up with a win against a very tough Seattle team. But sooner or later, they have to start reaching up for victories if they want to be a playoff contender.

18. Atlanta Falcons (2-4); beat Tampa Bay 31-23, moves up five spots – With Julio harry-douglasJones done for the season and Roddy White out for this game, Harry Douglas filled their shoes masterfully by catching seven passes for 149 yards and a TD.

19. Carolina Panthers (3-4); beat Saint Louis 30-15, moves up four spots – The Panthers are taking advantage of a soft spot in their schedule and saving Ron Rivera’s job in the process. They have another very winnable game at Tampa Bay before things heat up again.

20. Tennessee Titans (3-4); lost to San Francisco 31-17, drops three spots – Tennessee was thoroughly dominated at home, but the score made this game look closer than it was. The Titans didn’t score until the fourth quarter, when Locker threw a couple of TD passes.

21. Cleveland Browns (3-4); lost to Green Bay 31-13, drops three spots – Just two weeks ago, the Browns were riding high and tied for first in their division. Now, they’re two games out of first and Brandon Weeden is their quarterback again.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4); lost to Dallas 17-3, drops three spots – It’s amazing how big a difference a week can make. Before this game, many believed that it was Nick Foles time to take the reigns in Philly. But after his anemic performance, before leaving the game with a concussion, Eagles fans can’t wait for a healthy Michael Vick.

23. Washington Redskins (2-4); beat Chicago 44-41 moves up two spots – Washington grabbed a much-needed win by taking down the Bears at home. But the celebration may not last long since this porous defense will be subjected to the Broncos and Chargers in the coming weeks.

24. Houston Texans (2-5); lost to Kansas City 17-16, drops four spots – Case case-keenumKeenum (271 yards, 1 TD) did surprisingly well for being on the road against a tough Kansas City defense. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent Houston’s season from falling even further down the tubes.

25. Buffalo Bills (3-4); beat Miami 23-21, moves up three spots – The Bills deserve a round of applause for beating a solid team on the road, despite a hobbled CJ Spiller and their starting QB still being out. But they face two rough upcoming matchups against the Saints and Chiefs.

26. Oakland Raiders (2-4); bye week, retains same ranking – Oakland comes out of the bye week with a chance to really establish themselves in home games against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4); beat Baltimore 19-16, moves up two spots – Are we seeing a resurgence in Pittsburgh? Or just a subpar team collecting a couple of wins? This week’s contest against the Raiders will go a long ways towards answering these questions.

28. New York Giants (1-6); beat Minnesota 23-7, moves up three spots – It wasn’t pretty, but the Giants finally got their first win of the season. With games against Philadelphia and Oakland coming up, the Giants could possibly get another win or two before playing Green Bay at home.

29. Saint Louis Rams (3-4); lost to Carolina 30-15, drops five spots – Any slim playoff hopes that the Rams had disappeared with Sam Bradford’s season-ending injury. Rookie RB Zac Stacy provides a nice spark, but it’s not going to be enough this year.

30. Minnesota Vikings (1-5); lost to New York Giants 23-7, drops three spots – Anybody watching this game had to feel sorry for Josh Freeman. Just two weeks after being traded, he threw 53 passes in an offense that he’s still learning. Was Christian Ponder really so bad that he couldn’t have played one or two more games until Freeman was ready?

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6); lost to Atlanta 31-23, retains same ranking – With Doug Martin (torn labrum) reportedly done for the season, things only get worse from here.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6); lost to San Diego 24-6, retains same ranking – A week after challenging the Broncos through three quarters, Jacksonville took a step back in this performance.

NFL Power Rankings for September 17th, 2013 (Week 3)

russell-wilsonIt’s always hard gauging how good certain teams are following the first week of the NFL regular season. And while two games aren’t a perfect barometer either, this at least provides a little more information on who some potential playoff teams are. This being said, you can expect to see two woeful teams from last year, in the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, make big jumps in our Week 3 NFL power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (2-0); beat New York Giants 41-23, retains same ranking – It’s much harder picking a number one this week than last, due to Seattle’s stellar play. But for our money, Denver is still top dog after another dominating victory. And what’s amazing is that this defense doesn’t even have Champ Bailey or Von Miller yet.

2. Seattle Seahawks (2-0); beat San Francisco 29-3, moves up 2 spots – After a narrow win over Carolina, Seattle came out and destroyed their NFC rivals. Marshawn Lynch powered the offense with 98 rushing yards, 37 receiving yards and three total touchdowns. And the defense stifled Colin Kaepernick despite not having CB Brandon Browner, DE Bruce Irvin or SS Chris Clemons.

3. New Orleans Saints (2-0); beat Tampa Bay 16-14, retains same ranking – It took a late Garrett Hartley field goal, but the Saints were able to pull off this tough road win. Jimmy Graham continues to impress after piling up 179 yards on 10 catches. The defense is also playing well after allowing just 31 points in the first two weeks.

4. Houston Texans (2-0); beat Tennessee 30-24 (OT), moves up 3 spots – Houston finally seems to have found a solid receiver to play deandre-hopkins-texansopposite Andre Johnson. DeAndre Hopkins grabbed eight balls for 117 yards and a touchdown in just his second career game. As usual, the run game was strong with Ben Tate and Arian Foster combining for 182 yards on just 28 carries.

5. San Francisco 49ers (1-1); lost to Seattle 29-3, drops 3 spots – You could make a case for San Francisco falling even further. However, Seattle is a tough place to play, and the Niners did just beat Green Bay last week. You can bet that this early season blowout loss will fire them up over the next few games.

6. New England Patriots (2-0); beat New York Jets 13-10, drops 1 spot – It’s hard to move this team down because A) they’re the Patriots, and B) they’re undefeated. However, the offense is going through some obvious growing pains with a completely new lineup of receivers.

7. Green Bay Packers (1-1); beat Washington 38-20, retains same ranking – This was even more of a blowout than it looked on paper thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ 480 passing yards and 4 TD tosses. But the pass protection wasn’t ideal as Rodgers was sacked four times. We’re still waiting to see what Eddie Lacy can do too since he had a subpar first game and was knocked out on his first carry against the Skins.

8. Atlanta Falcons (1-1); beat St. Louis 31-24, retains same ranking – Atlanta got pretty banged up in this one after seeing several players, including Stephen Jackson, head for the locker room early. But Matt Ryan (374YDS, 2TD) and Julio Jones (182RYDS, 1TD) were able to do enough to hold off a scrappy Rams team.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1); beat Pittsburgh 20-10, retains same ranking – The Cincinnati defense is as good as it was advertised this past aj-green-footballoffseason. And the Bengals offense is filled with weapons, including AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovanni Bernard.

10. Chicago Bears (2-0); beat Minnesota 31-30, retains same ranking – The Vikings kept it close with a kickoff return score and a returned-fumble TD. But once again, Chicago got some late-game heroics from Jay Cutler after he found Martellus Bennett for a TD with 10 seconds left. We still need a few weeks though to see if the Bears pass protection keeps holding up like this (just 1 sack allowed).

11. Miami Dolphins (2-0); beat Indianapolis 24-20, moves up 5 spots – The Dolphins leap up our rankings thanks to a win over a playoff team. Ryan Tannehill is definitely showing why the Dolphins drafted him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft while WR Mike Wallace and TE Charles Clay look like potent receiving threats.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0); beat Dallas 17-16, moves up 7 spots – It’s still early to tell, but Kansas City looks like a team capable of grabbing a Wild Card spot in the AFC. Alex Smith has provided steady quarterback play while Jamal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are explosive weapons who could turn any play into a touchdown.

13. Baltimore Ravens (1-1); beat Cleveland 14-6, moves up 2 spots – In a week where a lot of mid-range teams lost, Baltimore won and moves up…simple as that. The offense wasn’t anything to brag about, but the defense did sack Brandon Weeden five times, eventually sending him to the locker room in the fourth quarter.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1); lost to San Diego 33-30, drops 3 spotsmichael-vick-1There’s no denying that Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense is putting points on the board. And it seems to have rejuvenated the careers of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. Vick threw for a career-high 428 yards, while Jackson hauled in 10 catches for 193 yards last game. But the question is, what’s this fast-paced offense doing to the defense?

15. Detroit Lions (1-1); lost to Arizona 25-21, drops 4 spots – After a ton of hype surrounding Reggie Bush and the Lions, the buzz was deflated as they lost to Arizona. When Bush went down with a left knee injury, this turned into the same Detroit team from last year. The Lions’ fortunes may totally hinge on how healthy their star running back can stay.

16. Dallas Cowboys (1-1); lost to Kansas City 17-16, drops 3 spots – Dallas really failed to take control of the NFC East after losing this close one. When looking at the passing stats, it’s almost hard to figure out how the Cowboys scored just 16 points. Tony Romo threw for 298 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions while Dez Bryant burned KC for 141 receiving yards and a TD.

17. Indianapolis Colts (1-1); lost to Miami 24-20, drops 3 spots – With everybody losing around them, Indianapolis avoids a freefall. The Colts did sack Tannehill five times, which is a definite positive. Also, Andrew Luck piled up 321 yards and a TD through the air. But it’s tough to see this team making the playoffs again with the improvements made by Wild Card candidates like Miami and Kansas City.

18. St. Louis (1-1); lost to Atlanta 31-24, retains same ranking – Last week’s game looked like it was going to get out of hand when Atlanta went up 24-3 early. But St. Louis stormed back thanks to Sam Bradford finding some of his young receivers for scores. Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis are going to be one formidable receiving trio to deal with.

19. Arizona Cardinals (1-1); beat Detroit 25-21, moves up 6 spotscarson-palmer-arizonaCarson Palmer is the QB solution that Arizona was searching for all of last season, while Rashard Mendenhall is providing something of a running game. If this team stays healthy, it could finish over .500 for the first time in years.

20. San Diego Chargers (1-1); beat Philadelphia 33-30, moves up 8 spots – Did Phillip Rivers just decide to take a couple years off, then come back strong in ’13? He’s thrown for 714 yards, 7 TD’s and just 1 INT through two games. The latter stat is a huge turnaround from last year.

21. Tennessee Titans (1-1); lost to Houston 30-24 (OT), drops 3 spots – There’s no shame in losing to the Texans in overtime. But it’s still a loss nonetheless and so the Titans drop in our rankings. There’s reason for optimism since Jake Locker showed some surprisingly good accuracy late in the game as he threw for a pair of touchdowns.

22. New York Giants (0-2); lost to Denver 41-23, drops 5 spots – As a team that usually comes in with Super Bowl aspirations, this is a tough position to be in. Eli Manning has thrown an alarming seven interceptions already. David Wilson has failed to solve the running game, while veteran Brandon Jacobs doesn’t appear to be anything more than TD vulture.

23. Buffalo Bills (1-1); beat Carolina 24-23, moves up 2 spots – Rookie ej-manuelQB EJ Manuel played like a 10-year veteran as he engineered a game-winning drive – capped off by a 2-yard TD throw to Stevie Johnson. If he keeps playing like this, Buffalo will have a complete offense.

24. Washington Redskins (0-2); lost to Green Bay 38-20, drop 2 spots – The Skins have been largely non-competitive in their first two games. Robert Griffin III has only managed to play well when the dogs have already been called off.

25. Minnesota Vikings (0-2); lost to Chicago 31-30, drops 2 spots – Had the defense held Chicago on the game-winning drive, we might be talking about Minnesota being a team in the 14-18 range. But as it is, they’re 0-2 with a below-average quarterback.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2); lost to Cincinnati 20-10, drops 2 spots – This is a shame since the defense is so good. Pittsburgh might want to abandon the running game altogether.

27. New York Jets (1-1); lost to New England 13-10, moves up 2 spots – The Jets have been very competitive on the road, with both games being decided by a combined 4 points. When New York returns home, they could be somewhat surprising.

28. Oakland Raiders (1-1); beat Jacksonville 19-9, moves up 3 spots – Oakland’s 6-point loss on the road to Indy last week says more than their win over the Jaguars. Still, head coach Dennis Allen has brought some respect to this organization.

29. Carolina Panthers (0-2); lost to Buffalo 24-23, drops 8 spots – The pass protection has looked pretty bad for Cam, and he’s been sacked seven times already. If it wasn’t for his elusiveness, this figure would be in the double digits.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2); lost to New Orleans 16-14, drop 3 spots – The Bucs have their running back of the future in Doug Martin. If things keep up like this, they could turn to their quarterback of the future, Mike Glennon, earlier than expected.

31. Cleveland Browns (0-2); lost to Baltimore 14-6, drops 1 spot – Time to start worrying about Brandon Weeden at quarterback? Trent Richardson has really been bottled up (31CAR, 105YDS) due to a serious threat from the passing ame.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2); lost to Oakland 19-9, retains same ranking – This is shaping up to be one of the worst offensive teams in NFL history. At least backup QB Chad Henne can advance the ball past the 50-yard line though.

NFL Power Rankings for September 11th, 2013

peyton-manning-broncosThe 2013 NFL season is officially underway after a largely unsurprisingly weekend. Most of the top teams secured victories as expected, with no major upsets happening. Of course, as with every NFL season, we can expect the power rankings to get shaken up throughout the year. But for now, you won’t see a lot of shockers in our Week 2 NFL power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (1-0); beat Baltimore 49-27 – The offseason loss of DE Elvis Dumervil and the six-game suspension of LB Von Miller figured to impact this team in a terrible way. But the defense did well enough against Baltimore to inspire hope. More importantly, Peyton Manning crushed the Ravens with 462 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The addition of Wes Welker only makes this offense more dangerous than last year’s version.

2. San Francisco (1-0); beat Green Bay 34-28 – Colin Kaepernick has an obvious connection with Anquan Boldin already. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and 3 TD’s, while Boldin showed he still has plenty of juice left with 13 catches, 208 yards and a TD. A tough road game against Seattle this week could vault the Niners to the top.

3. New Orleans Saints (1-0); beat Atlanta 23-17 – Following a one-year suspension, head coach Sean Payton is back and you can definitely tell. The Saints won a high-profile matchup on the strength of Drew Brees’ arm (357PYDS, 2TD, 1INT). The defense was surprisingly effective at keeping Atlanta off the board.

russell-wilson4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0); beat Carolina 12-7 – A win is a win, especially on the road. But you’d like to see Seattle beat the Panthers a little more handily. Russell Wilson picked up where he left off from last season with 320 passing yards and one TD. This team has a serious chance to move up with a victory over San Francisco.

5. New England Patriots (1-0); beat Buffalo 23-21 – New England continued their domination of the Bills with a come-from-behind win. Stevan Ridley’s fumble turned into a 74-yard defensive TD for Buffalo. But Tom Brady was still able to lead this team back with 288 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

6. Houston Texans (1-0); beat San Diego 31-28 – Falling behind 28-7 to the Chargers is a terrible way to start the year. But give Houston credit for battling back on the road and taking this game. LB Brian Cushing’s late 18-yard interception return proved to be the difference maker.

7. Green Bay Packers (0-1); lost to San Francisco 34-28 – You can’t fault the Pack for losing a close one on the road to the Niners. The secondary is cause for concern though after giving up monster games to Kaepernick, Boldin and Vernon Davis. At least Aaron Rodgers and the passing game is as rock solid as ever.

NFL: AUG 16 Pre-Season Colts v Falcons8. Atlanta Falcons (0-1); lost to New Orleans 23-17 – Toss up between Atlanta and Green Bay for the seventh spot; but the Falcons struggled to put points on the board. Still, their offense moved the ball well with Matt Ryan throwing for 304 yards and Steven Jackson adding 122 total yards.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1); lost to Chicago 24-21 – The Bengals suffered a loss at Soldier Field, but hung tough despite three turnovers. A.J. Green looks virtually uncoverable after racking up 162 yards, 2 TD’s and drawing some crucial pass interference penalties. Now if only the running game could catch up (63 yards).

10. Chicago Bears (1-0); beat Cincinnati 24-21 – Wait, didn’t Chicago beat the Bengals? Yea, but Cincinnati actually looked more impressive in this game. If not for some late game heroics by Jay Cutler (242PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) and home field advantage, Chicago wouldn’t even be in the top 10.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0); beat Washington 33-27 – This game was much more of a blowout than it appears since Washington added some garbage-time touchdowns. The offense features a lot of dimensions, with LeSean McCoy racking up 181 yards on the ground and DeSean Jackson adding 104 receiving yards and a TD.

reggie-bush12. Detroit Lions (1-0); beat Minnesota 34-28 – Detroit looks to be back this year after a strong game against the Vikings. Following a 78-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson, the Lions D-line did a good job of bottling him up. Reggie Bush seems to be the extra weapon that this offense needed after compiling 191 total yards.

13. Dallas Cowboys (1-0); beat NY Giants 36-31 – Here’s the good news: Dallas beat their NFC rivals, and Tony Romo looked good with 263 passing yards and 2 TD’s. The bad news? They needed six turnovers from their opponent to pull off this home game victory.

14. Indianapolis Colts (1-0); beat Oakland 21-17 – Is the Raiders line really this good, or does Indianapolis have pass protection concerns? Despite getting knocked around, Andrew Luck threw a pair of touchdowns and rushed for the game-winning, 19-yard TD to earn this comeback victory.

15. Baltimore Ravens (0-1); lost to Denver 49-27 – We had doubts that the defending champs would be as good as last year. And their secondary looked pretty bad against a stellar Broncos team. But let’s see how this club performs against the non-elite before passing judgement.

16. Miami Dolphins (1-0); beat Cleveland 23-10 – Nice road win for a young team. The defense is among the league’s best after sacking Brandon Weeden six times and intercepting him three. QB Ryan Tannehill looked good in posting 272 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. But the running game is somewhat of a mess at this point.

eli-manning17. New York Giants (0-1); lost to Dallas 36-31 – New York doesn’t deserve an honor badge for committing six turnovers. But if they don’t cough the ball up this much, we might’ve been discussing a very good road win.

18. St. Louis Rams (1-0); beat Arizona 27-24 – In a battle between two much-improved teams, St. Louis emerged victorious. After a couple of down seasons, Sam Bradford (299PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) and the passing game look to be back. TE Jared Cook is quite a weapon after collecting 141 receiving yards and 2 TD’s in his Rams debut.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0); beat Jacksonville 28-2 – We can’t truly tell how good Kansas City is because they beat the worst team in the league. But then again, it was a dominating road-game performance that saw the Chiefs dismantle Jacksonville. Stayed tuned for more on this team after they play the Cowboys at home.

20. Tennessee Titans (1-0); beat Pittsburgh 16-9 – Tennessee opens the year with an impressive road win in Pittsburgh. But almost all of the impressive stuff happened on the defensive end, with the Titans holding Pittsburgh to just 195 yards. Now it’s up to QB Jake Locker to actually show he can lead a successful team.

21. Carolina Panthers (0-1); lost to Seattle 12-7 – This wasn’t a great day for Carolina as QB Cam Newton struggled mightily with just 163 total yards. But they nearly pulled out the victory, until a late DeAngelo Williams fumble inside of the 10.

robert-griffith-thanksgiving22. Washington Redskins (0-1); lost to Philadelphia 33-27 – After playing terribly for most of the game, Robert Griffin III came alive, ending the contest with 329 passing yards and 2 TD’s But his earlier pair of interceptions put this one out of reach.

23. Minnesota Vikings (0-1); lost to Detroit 34-28 – Adrian Peterson can’t carry this offense alone. Especially with quarterback Christian Ponder tossing three picks and fumbling once.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1); lost to Tennessee 16-9 – If this weren’t Pittsburgh, we’d probably be ranking them lower. Mustering 195 yards of offense at home is pathetic. But this team has the tools to win – especially on defense – so we’ll wait and see what happens.

25. Buffalo Bills (0-1); lost to New England 23-21 – Part of why Tom Brady and company didn’t look so hot is because of the Bills defense. The Buffalo running game will be much better in future games (specifically CJ Spiller), while EJ Manuel showed good poise for a rookie QB.

26. Arizona Cardinals (0-1); lost to St. Louis 27-24 – After opening up a 14-point lead, the Cardinals couldn’t hang on in this road contest. Still, there is hope with Carson Palmer (327PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) directing the offense.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1); lost to NY Jets 18-17 – The Bucs were a late-game Lavonte David penalty from winning their first game. But the fact that they let the Jets beat them in any way is bad.

28. San Diego Chargers (0-1); lost to Houston 31-28 – San Diego started with a bang as Philip Rivers came out firing four TD passes. However, things began spiraling downward late in the third as they blew a 28-7 lead.

29. New York Jets (1-0); beat Tampa Bay 18-17 – The Jets will take wins any way they can get them. Geno Smith was better than expected with 256 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Unfortunately, Smith appears to be the team’s only legitimate running threat after gaining 47 yards on six carries.

30. Cleveland Browns (0-1); lost to Miami Dolphins 23-10 – After an uninspiring home loss, Cleveland has deflated all of the hype they gained in the preseason. This team’s hopes rest on the arm of Weeden, which isn’t exactly a thrilling prospect.

31. Oakland Raiders (0-1); lost 23-17 to Indianapolis – The D-line looked good against the Colts, and Terrelle Pryor gives this team life after throwing for 217 yards and running for another 112. As a whole, the Raiders will look bad at times, but not nearly as bad as people expected.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1); lost to Kansas City Chiefs 28-2 – After making the Chiefs look like a Super Bowl contender, it’s clear that Jacksonville is in for a very long year. They only moved past their own 36-yard line once in the entire game!

Von Miller Suspension Further Weakens Broncos Defense

von-miller-suspensionThe Denver Broncos received a big blow today when it was reported that Von Miller is facing a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It was initially thought that he’d fight the suspension, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter now say that he’s “not likely” to fight the matter.

The league began investigating Miller when he provided a diluted urine sample, just after spilling a sample he gave during an offseason workout. He couldn’t give another sample right away, so he provided another one after consuming lots of fluids during the workout. This all amounted to suspicion that the 6’3″ 250-pound linebacker was trying to avoid giving a pure sample.

At this point, Miller is currently trying to convince the NFL to lessen his suspension to four games. But if he’s unsuccessful, it would mean the Broncos playing against the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles without their star defender.

von-miller-suspension-1Since being drafted out of Texas A&M with the second overall pick in 2011, Miller has been exceptional for Denver. In ’11, he attained Rookie of the Year honors after racking up 11.5 sacks. Last year Miller was a First-Team All-Pro after tallying 18.5 sacks in his second season.

Now the Broncos will likely lose this production for the first six games of the season. They won’t be the only losers in this matter either since Miller stands to miss $806,162 of his $2,284,125 base salary. It would prove even more costly if Denver tries to recoup the $1,215,265 signing bonus that their All-Pro is due.

Von Miller isn’t the only key defender that Denver will be without since they lost Elvis Dumervil in the offseason thanks to a fax machine error. The standout defensive end informed the Broncos that he’d accept a paycut to stay with them at 3:25 pm – 35 minutes before a 4:00 pm free agency deadline that had to be met. However, his now-fired agent Marty Magid didn’t fax the paperwork until 4:07 pm, seven minutes past the deadline. This forced Denver to release Dumervil, who provided them with 11 sacks last season.

elvis-dumervilWith Dumervil now in Baltimore and Miller likely to miss much of the season’s first half, it’s very questionable as to if the Broncos can repeat their success. Last year they gained home field advantage throughout the playoffs after finishing 13-3. They lost 38-35 to the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Playoff round. However, this didn’t completely demolish what was otherwise a very good season.

Now Denver is facing an uphill battle without two of their most important defenders. Sure quarterback Peyton Manning is back with a full arsenal of weapons. But the D will have to get inventive with stopping opponents. Free agent pickup Shaun Phillips should provide some relief in Miller’s absence. The outside linebacker collected 9.5 sacks for San Diego last year. And fifth-round pick Quanterus Smith could be seeing a lot of time at defensive end. The 6’5″, 255-pounder compiled 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his senior season at Western Kentucky.