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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 3

There was a rumble at the top of the board on Sunday night, which lead us to crowning the first new #1 contender this season.  After that, it was a fairly mundane week in the Top 12 with only a few teams moving up and down 1-2 spots.  Miami did manage to dethrone Philadelphia for the #12 spot, keeping up what is generally a weekly rotation down at the bottom.  This week should be rather interesting as six of our twelve teams go head to head, with the remaining six facing weak competition.  There's definitely the potential for some flying up and down the board this week.


#1 – Seattle Seahawks

They say to be the man, you gotta beat the man.  Seattle didn't just beat the Niners, they thumped them.

Last Week: 5      Change: +4       Record: 2-0       Next Game: vs. Jaguars


#2 – Denver Broncos

It's hard to say if the Broncos made their opponents look ugly, or if their opponents just played really bad.  I have a feeling that this week against the Raiders, it will be a little bit of both.

Last Week: 2      Change: 0       Record: 2-0   Next Game: vs. Raiders


#3 – San Francisco 49ers

There's no shame in losing to a good team on the road.  However, only putting up three points is cause for concern.

Last Week: 1      Change: -2       Record: 1-1      Next Game: vs. Colts


#4 – Green Bay Packers

The Packers bounced back with a resounding win.  Now we'll see if they can hold serve with the Bears, who already dealt with the Bengals in Week 1.

Last Week: 6      Change: +2       Record: 1-1     Next Game: @ Bengals


#5 – Chicago Bears

It's hard to win and drop two spots.  I'll take some of the blame for under-estimating Seattle.  On the other hand, beating Minnesota by 1 point wasn't exactly impressive.

Last Week: 3      Change: -2       Record: 2-0      Next Game: @ Steelers


#6 – New England Patriots

Speaking of dropping two spots…  While style points don't count in the standings, they do count in the Top 12 and the Patriots haven't been earning many as of late.  They are the beneficiary of a very winnable first three games this year.  Can they take care of business one more time before the first real test in Atlanta next week?

Last Week: 4      Change: -2       Record: 2-0       Next Game: vs. Buccaneers


#7 – New Orleans Saints

While you can't discredit their win over Atlanta, the Saints may have come away the loser in Tampa last week if not for some missed field goals.

Last Week: 7      Change: 0       Record: 2-0      Next Game: vs. Cardinals


#8 – Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons sit pat by beating the Rams, as they should have.  Now they have to take care of business again in Miami.

Last Week: 8      Change: 0      Record: 1-1    Next Game: @ Dolphins


#9 – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals must have loved beating up on a decimated Steelers team after enduring the past decade.  Now they face a Green Bay team which could catapult them up the board if they win.

Last Week: 10      Change: +1       Record: 1-1   Next Game: vs. Packers


#10 – Houston Texans

A lot of people are ragging on the Pats for winning two close low-scoring games against sub-par competition.  Why don't we hear anything about the Texans who won two close high-scoring games against sub-par competition?  I'd say Houston has been equally as unimpressive and they are in better health.

Last Week: 9      Change: -1       Record: 2-0     Next Game: @ Ravens


#11 – Baltimore Ravens

I love it when teams ranked right next to each other are going head to head the following week.  Always interesting.

Last Week: 11      Change: 0      Record: 1-1     Next Game: vs. Texans


#12 – Miami Dolphins

It was between the Phins and the Chiefs for the #12 spot this week.  Ultimately, Miami's two road wins were a bit more impressive.   Now they face the tall order of beating Atlanta to maintain their rare spot in the Top 12.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-0       Next Game: vs. Falcons


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 3

Usually after the second week of the season, I find myself cringing at all the people over-reacting to the surprise 2-0 teams and proclaiming doom for the contenders who slipped up early.  This year, I find myself in a completely different situation, with the field neutralized by a plethora of 1-1 teams. 62.5% of the league is sitting at .500 now, including the entirety of the AFC East and NFC North divisions.  How are you supposed to rank something like that?  What do I do with teams like the Eagles, Cowboys, Jets, Steelers, and Bears who pulled compelte Jekyl and Hyde performances in back-to-back games? 

In the words of Coldplay, nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard…


#1 – San Francisco 49ers

Ok, so this one is easy.  I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't have the Niners sitting atop the NFL universe.  They trounced the Packers and then followed that up with a convincing win over Detroit.  Even if the rest of the league wasn't looking so mediocre, San Fran would still likley be holding this spot with how good they've looked coming out of the gate.

Last Week: 2      Change: +1      Record: 2-0       Next Game: @ Vikings


#2 – Green Bay Packers

The Packers were probably thankful that they had a short week heading into their game against Chicago, as I'm sure the constant droning from the media about their "regression" had to be wearing them thin.  Well, the Packers regressed their way to the tune of a 23-10 victory over the Bears, leaving little doubt who the top team in the NFC North is.

Last Week: 4      Change: +2       Record: 1-1       Next Game: @ Seahawks


#3 – Houston Texans

Houston is the defacto #1 team in the AFC currently, thanks to the mishaps that claimed New England and Baltimore this past week.  While their current resume of two wins against teams from Florida isn't overly convincing, you can only play who's on your schedule.  The Texans took care of business in both games, which is exactly what a Super Bowl contender should do.


Last Week: 5      Change: +2       Record: 2-0       Next Game: @ Broncos


#4 – Atlanta Falcons

Looks like 2012 is going to be an "up" year for Atlanta, who seems to see-saw season to season.  The Falcons defense shut down Peyton Manning on a Monday Night, which, neck injury aside, is not an historically easy task. Combine that with a high-powered offense and the Dirty Birds just may have "sleeper pick" written all over them.

Last Week: 7      Change: +3       Record: 2-0       Next Game: @ Chargers


#5 – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens lost a nail-biter on the road to a potential contender in the Eagles.  Was it a game they should have won?  Probably, but I'm not going to murder them for it.  The Packers, Texans, and Falcons all deserved to rise after their performances last week.  Thus Baltimore falls two spots.   Still, when a team hands you four turnovers, you need to win that game.

Last Week: 3      Change: -2       Record: 1-1      Next Game: vs. Patriots


#6 – New England Patriots

Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

I thought long and hard about this ranking before knocking the Patriots down five spots and one below their upcoming opponent.  After all, if Gostkowski had made that field goal, if the replacement ref didn't overcall Gronk's hold, if Zoltan's punt didn't get blocked, if Aaron Hernandez didn't get injured…

Yup, if "if's and but's" were candy and nuts, then the Patriots would be 2-0 right now.  But this is a Bill Belichick team and the word "if" completely meaningless.  The facts are that the Patriots came up flat at home against an inferior opponent, their O-line is in need of some serious improvement, and they're missing their most versatile offensive player for several weeks.  And that, my friends, is how you stumble your way to a #6 ranking.

Last Week: 1      Change: -5       Record: 1-1       Next Game: @ Ravens


#7 – Philadelphia Eagles

And here is where it all begins to completely fall apart for me.  I feel like my Top 6 are solid, and you can't make much of an argument other than a spot or two for each team.   The bottom half of the Top 12, however, is in complete shambles.  First the Eagles were on the rankings at #8, then they were completely off, and now they're back at #7.  I am flipping and flopping like a mad man on them and I have no defense other than the complete insanity of this team.  The wreek against the Browns, they beat the Ravens, and they turn the ball over eight times in the process.  Seriously, what am I supposed to do with that?

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 1-1       Next Game: @ Cardinals


#8 – San Diego Chargers

The Chargers looked solid these first two weeks, which means we are in for a horrible December collapse.  This is opposed to their other modus opperandi, where they stink up the joint early and then have a meteoric rise come Christmas time.  It's always either one or the other with this team, but one thing is certain:  Norv Turner will manage to make the fanbase completely insane when everything is said and done. 
 

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-0       Next Game: vs. Falcons


#9 – Chicago Bears

I'm probably being a bit harsh on Chicago for getting bruised up by the #2 team on the board, but considering that I had them ranked #10 heading into the year, I think this is pretty consistent.   Unlike Jay Cutler, which is exactly why a team with the potential to be Top 5, is sitting here at #9 .

Last Week: 6      Change: -3       Record: 1-1       Next Game: vs. Rams


#10 – Pittsburgh Steelers

This is another team that fell off the board last week, only to find themselves back on.   Yup, Mark Sanchez in an unfriendly road environment will do that to ya.  The Steelers will be hanging around all season, but I've yet to see anything from them to get really excited about.

Last Week: N/A     Change: N/A      Record: 1-1       Next Game: @ Raiders


#11 – New York Giants

The G-Men won against Tampa, but in a fashion that was far from convincing.  Maybe the 4th quarter heroics was what Eli Manning needed to wake up this season, but the overall performance left me asking more questions about the Giants than it gave me answers.

Last Week: 9      Change: -2       Record: 1-1       Next Game: @ Panthers


#12 – Arizona Cardinals

The 12th spot is always tricky.  This could have gone to any number of teams, but this week, the honor of being just good enough goes to Arizona.  The QB situation is going to be a nagging issue for this team going forward, but as they proved on Sunday, the Cards can play some solid pass defense and wreak havoc on special teams.  Those two skills will serve them well going forward.


Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-0       Next Game: vs. Eagles


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 3

I’m having a hard time remembering a week as volatile as the one we just had on the Top 12.  With three weeks under the belt, it was time to cast aside any lingering feelings from last season or the preseason and truly evaluate the teams based on what they’ve done on the field in 2011.  As a result, we had three teams nosedive from the Top 12, the most shocking of which was Atlanta, who plummeted off the board from #6. The Eagles and Bears also dropped completely off, while three newcomers took their places.  And the Patriots…  Well, let’s just say that they probably aren’t hanging onto that #1 spot after their debacle in Orchard Park.
 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 2 +1 3-0 vs. Broncos
For the fourth week in a row, there’s a new #1 team, with Green Bay reclaiming the top spot they held in the preseason. Barring a massive meltdown vs. the Broncos, it could be a pretty safe bet that they’ll be the first team to hang onto the #1 position this year.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 3 +1 2-1 @ Jaguars
New Orleans has had a tough slate the first three games and performed admirably.  Now the question is how they’ll handle a trip to the cellar in Jacksonville.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 4 +1 2-1 vs. Jets
Tough call here between the Pats and the Ravens.  Both have two wins, one against a Top 12 team, and one embarrassing loss. Ultimately, Baltimore’s crushing defeat of the Steelers in Week 1 tipped the scales for me.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 4 -3 2-1 @ Raiders
There’s no excuse for blowing a 21 point lead, and thus the Patriots fall harder than any team left on the Top 12 board.  That being said, if it takes four interceptions, some horrible officiating calls, and pretty much everything going wrong in the final 33 minutes of the game to take you down, that’s a good sign, right?.  Still, the pourous secondary officially has me worried.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 5 0 2-1 vs. Steelers
Texans faced their first real test of the season and came up short.  Still, hard to knock a team for losing to the Saints.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6

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11 +5 3-0 @ Cowboys
This one boggles my mind.  Not because the Lions are holding the #6 spot, but because having an overtime come-from-behind win against the 0-3 Vikings should be a reason to drop a spot, not go up a ridiculous five places. The problem is that the Jets, Steelers, and Chargers did nothing to impress, and the Falcons, Eagles, and Bears all fell off the board.  Some massive shift needed to occur to right this board, and the undefeated Lions reaped the benefit of it.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7

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N/A N/A 3-0 @ Bengals
Flip a coin here with Detroit, not only for being the surprise team of the season, but for the #6/7 ranking.  Ultimately, you know how flukey I felt this past Sunday’s win was for the Bills, but there’s no denying that Buffalo looks like a playoff contender through three weeks.  On the flip side, they are probably two garbage plays away from being 1-2 and at the bottom of the pile…
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 7 -1 2-1 @ Ravens
Suffice to say that New York has looked lackluster thus far.  There are some big tests the next two weeks with road games against Baltimore and New England.  If they fail, it’s quite possible that the Jets could find themselves three games behind a 5-0 Bills team for the AFC East lead.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo N/A N/A 2-1 vs. Colts
By virtue of beathing Atlanta, the Buccs get themselves on the board.  Still, that shaky win over Minnesota two weeks ago gives me some pause.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo N/A N/A 2-1 vs. Lions
The Cowboys have been in some incredible tight games the past three weeks. Like the Bills and Buccs, a play here or there could have them off the board, but that’s the NFL.  For now, they’re holding onto the #10 spot.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 9 -2 2-1 @ Texans
Eeking out a last second field goal against a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter will earn you no love from me.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 12 0 2-1 vs. Dolphins
San Diego couldn’t do much to earn favor this week with a gimmee game against KC.  Still, if it weren’t for the disasterous starts by some of last week’s Top 12 counterparts, only winning by 3 points could have been enough to drop the Bolts.  The Chargers won’t get much opportunity to help themselves in the rankings against Miami this week, but I think they’ll take that in exchange for what should be a 3-1 start to the year.


+1
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 3

This is the fourth installment of the Top 12 this season, and for the fourth time we’ll have a new team in the #1 slot.  So far, that top spot has been a curse with two of the three teams losing the next game, and the Saints looking very shaky.

And then there’s the Pats, who continue to confuse everyone by giving up 30 points to Buffalo.  I don’t like to drop teams after a win, and I really don’t like dropping my own team following a win.  Still with teams like Atlanta and Pittsburgh putting up some convincing wins, it’s going to be tough to justify keeping New England at last week’s #5 position.

Click “Read More” below to view the rankings!

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 6 5 2-1 @ Bills
This was a really, really tough call.  Green Bay and New Orleans lost.  Indy didn’t look so hot against the lowly Broncos.  It would have been a six spot leap for Atlanta and an eight spot jump for Pittsburgh.  The bottom line is that the Jets beat New England and Miami, their two big division rivals.  They lost by one point to Baltimore.  Those are three Top 12 teams.  That’s good enough for me to swallow my pride and put the Jets in the top spot.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 3 1 2-1 @ Jaguars
The Colts haven’t looked their best this season, but I have a feeling an exhibition vs. Jacksonville could help turn things around.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 7 4 2-1 vs. 49ers
Just an enormous win for Atlanta this week on the road against New Orleans.  They’re an overtime loss away from being the toast of the NFL right now.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 1 3 2-1 vs. Lions
Green Bay shot themselves in the foot with penalties on Monday Night.  However, I still believe when all is said and done, that they’ll have the NFC North and a bye week. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 2 3 2-1 vs. Panthers
The Packers’ loss was uglier than New Orleans’ close loss.  I waffled over their positioning a bit, and ultimately knocked the Saints down for their lackluster performances against Minnesota and San Fran.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 9 3 3-0 vs. Ravens
The Steelers’ D is certainly intimidating.  Still, an overtime win against Atlanta, followed by wins over Tennesee and Tampa is hardly the stuff of legends.  I think everyone is overrating them a bit.  We’ll see how they do against Baltimore this week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 5 2 2-1 @ Dolphins
Take away a kickoff return TD, and another TD off a fumble that lead to excellent field position, and the Patriots defense only surrendered 16 points to Buffalo.  I’d say that’s hardly the sign of the apocolypse that everyone is making it out to be.  Don’t get me wrong, the Patriots have their issues, but so does every team on this list right now.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo N/A N/A 3-0 @ Giants
Making their Top 12 debut…  The Chicago Bears!  The Bears’ victory over Green Bay makes thier Dallas victory seem less flukey and gets them on the list.  Still, they did almost lose to the Lions.  I bet everyone forgets that when they take down the Giants for a 4-0 start.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 8 1 2-1 @ Raiders
The win vs. Indy is pretty much equal to the Bears’ win over GB.  I’d say an overtime win over Washington is about as good as a close win over Detroit.  The reason the Texans are #9 and the Bears are #8…   Chicago beat the Cowboys.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 12 3 2-1 @ Browns
The Bengals looked to be in for a loooooooong season after Week 1.  They’ve since bounced back quite nicely and are continuing their trend of AFC North domination.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 4 7 2-1 @ Steelers
I really don’t like dropping teams after wins, so how does Baltimore fall SEVEN spots???  They barely beat a Jets team that had six first downs the whole game.  They lose to Cincinnati.  They don’t look good against an atrocious Browns team.  The bottom line is that the Ravens are 2-1 but they haven’t looked good in one game this season.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 10 7 2-1 vs. Patriots
Miami fought hard against the Jets.  Their being at #12 and dropping two spots has more to do with Cincinnati and Chicago’s rise than it does with Miami not holding their ground.  It’s safe to say that I’m pretty nervious about New England’s trip to South Beach on Monday Night.
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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