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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 4

As promised, it was a crazy week in the Top 12.  Of the six teams that went head-to-head, the lower ranked team won each time.  (Really shows that I know what I'm talking about, eh?)  That, coupled with San Fran's loss to unranked Indy, set the board in a tail spin.  One thing that didn't change?  Your top two teams…


#1 – Seattle Seahawks

They thumped the Jaguars and took care of business.  Now they face an uninspiring Texans team that has played themselves out of the Top 12.

Last Week: 1      Change: 0       Record: 3-0       Next Game: vs. Texans


#2 – Denver Broncos

Should be another cake walk for Denver this week.  At this point, they are just waiting for the Seahawks to trip up.

Last Week: 2      Change: 0       Record: 3-0   Next Game: vs. Eagles


#3 – New Orleans Saints

The Saints defense is playing at a very high level right now, and so is their offense.  Think the team is happy to have their coach back?

Last Week: 7      Change: +3       Record: 3-0      Next Game: vs. Dolphins


#4 – New England Patriots

The Pats finally put the thumping on an inferior team.  Now they get their first real challenge of the season in Atlanta.  Will Gronk or Amendola be back?  If not, it could be a long night.

Last Week: 4      Change: +2       Record: 3-0     Next Game: @ Falcons


#5 – Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, they were a late fumble away from losing the game, but that's football.  Bottom line is that the Bengals have played some tough football this season and are looking good.

Last Week: 9      Change: +4       Record: 2-1      Next Game: @ Browns


#6 – Chicago Bears

They've dropped two weeks in a row despite winning and being undefeated.  Such is life when 7 of 32 teams have yet to lose.

Last Week: 5      Change: -1       Record: 3-0       Next Game: @ Lions


#7 – Green Bay Packers

Dropping three points for a close loss to a good team is a bit harsh.  The bottom line is that the Packers have failed to get it done now twice in three weeks. 

Last Week: 4      Change: -3       Record: 1-2      Next Game: Bye Week


#8 – Baltimore Ravens

Who would've thought the depleted Ravens would be looking better than the Niners at this point?  Not I.

Last Week: 11      Change: +3      Record: 2-1    Next Game: @ Bills


#9 – San Francisco 49ers

It's been two weeks of ugly football for the Niners.  They are here pretty much solely by last season's reputation.

Last Week: 3      Change: -6       Record: 1-2   Next Game: @ Rams


#10 – Atlanta Falcons

It's hard to rank the Falcons higher than the Dolphins after last weeks game.   That being said, if the game was in the Georgia Dome, I think we'd have seen a different outcome.

Last Week: 8      Change: -2       Record: 1-2     Next Game: vs. Patriots


#11 – Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins did what they needed to do to stay ranked in the Top 12.  It looks like the AFC East may be an interesting division after all.

Last Week: 12      Change: +1      Record: 3-0     Next Game: @ Saints


#12 – Indianapolis Colts

Houston played themselves out of this spot.  The Chiefs mad a strong case for it as well.  Ultimately, the Colts had the most impressive win this week of the bunch and so they get to taste the Top 12 for the first time this year.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-1       Next Game: @ Jaguars


 

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 4

What am I supposed to do with these rankings after the complete debacle that was Week 3 of the NFL?  Do I take into account which team won or which team should have won? I have no idea. The best thing I can do is take a cue from the replacement ref – throw a yellow flag, make a completely arbitrary judgement call, and hope that I screw over each team evenly so it all sorts out in the end.


#1 – Atlanta Falcons

The top two spots could go either way right now.  In my heart, I think that Houston is probably the better team.  However, based on what we've actuall seen, I think the Falcons convincing victories over KC, Denver, and San Diego hold a little more weight than Houston's victories over Miami, Jacksonville, and Denver.

Last Week: 4      Change: +3      Record: 3-0       Next Game: vs. Panthers


#2 – Houston Texans

The Texans have had a fairly easy road thus far, and guess what?  It's not getting that much harder.  The Pats are going to have to run off a serious streak of wins, including their Week 10 match-up with the Texans if they plan on winning the AFC's top seed.

Last Week: 3      Change: +1       Record: 3-0       Next Game: vs. Titans


#3 – New England Patriots

Call me a homer if you must. I don't care if they are 1-2. The Patriots don't deserve to be.  It took a series of bad breaks (a tipped interception, a blocked punt, a missed field goal), an atrocious holding call, a major injury to Aaron Hernandez, and some sub-par play for the Pats to fall to the Cardinals.   It took an entire game of piss-poor officiating for them to lose to Baltimore.   The lost both games by a combined three points.  Give me this team on a neutral field, with real refs, against any team, and I'd pick them to win every day of the week.   They might not win every day of the week, but I'd like their chances to.

Last Week: 6      Change: +3       Record: 1-2       Next Game: @ Bills


#4 – San Francisco 49ers

I try to avoid killing teams in the rankings for bad days, but Sunday was a really, really bad day.  Losing a tight game to an inferior opponent happens.  Getting the smack down laid on you is gonna drop you a good amount.

Last Week: 1      Change: -3       Record: 2-1       Next Game: @ Jets


#5 – Baltimore Ravens

I have all the respect in the world for the Ravens. They always play the Pats tough and the games are as entertaining as they come.  I almost wish they were in the AFC East so that we'd be guaranteed for another rematch this season. That being said, they were outplayed on Sunday Night, plain and simple.  And even if you want to take the refs out of the equation, with their tremendous home-field advantage, if they were truly better than New England, they should've won by more than a point.

Last Week: 5      Change: 0       Record: 2-1      Next Game: vs. Browns


#6 – Green Bay Packers

I feel like I'm creating a huge double standard here by raising the Patriots multiple spots after getting screwed, while dropping the Packers by a relatively large amount after theirs.  Here's my logic…    First, the difference right now between #1 and #6 is razor-thin in my book.  I probably wouldn't rank Green Bay #1 or the Falcons or Texans #6, but they're all still pretty close.   Secondly, I was intentionally harsh to the Pats last week, and actually a bit nice to the Packers.  So you can probably adjust last week's ranking by 1-2 points, which makes the change less dramatic.  Thirdly, there's a difference between playing down to the level of an inferior opponent where one bad call by the ref can ruin the game for you, and getting killed all night long by awful calls that swung the game 20+ points out of your favor.

Last Week: 2      Change: -4       Record: 1-2       Next Game: vs. Saints


#7 – Arizona Cardinals

The Cards are for real!  The defense is solid, and the offense is getting it done.  I still don't know if I'd want Kevin Kolb as my QB in a playoff game, but this team is knocking on the door and asking to be let into the upper eschelon.

Last Week: 12      Change: +5       Record: 3-0       Next Game: vs. Dolphins


#8 – New York Giants

The G-Men had their first good-looking win of the season against the Panthers.  If they can string another one together, they will begin to convince me that they belong in the top half of these rankings.. 
 

Last Week: 11      Change: +3       Record: 2-1       Next Game: @ Eagles


#9 – Chicago Bears

The Bears did what they needed to do against St. Louis.   They may be 2-1, but victories against the Colts and Rams will only get you so far.  Monday Night in Dallas will be their true test to move up the board.

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


#10 – San Diego Chargers

I can't kill the Bolts for losing to the #1 team on the board.  I question whether the Chargers are actually better than the two teams below them.  However, based on the evidence they have displayed so far, I will have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Last Week: N/A     Change: N/A      Record: 2-1       Next Game: @ Chiefs


#11 – Seattle Seahawks

Surprise, surprise!  The Hawks were not a team that I was expecting to crack the Top 12 this season.  However, considering they thrashed the #12 team, almost beat the #7 team, and were close enough to the #6 team that the refs were able to turn the game with a single call, I'd say #11 is a reasonable spot for them.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-1       Next Game: @ Rams


#12 – Dallas Cowboys

For me, this one came down to the Cowboys or the Eagles.  I opted to go with the team who didn't turn the ball over thirty-seven gabillion times in three games. 


Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 2-1       Next Game: vs. Bears


 

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 4

After a week of chaos, the Top 12 has decided to settle down yet again.  Four teams didn’t budge a spot.  Only three teams moved more than one position.  Still, that didn’t keep the Romocoaster from derailing the Cowboys and sending them off the board…
 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 0 4-0 @ Falcons
Finally, we have a team that can hold the top spot for more than one week.  Figures that it’s the defending champs.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 3 +1 3-1 Bye Week
Baltimore has now shellacked two Top 12 teams.  Actually, I’d be hard pressed to name another team that’s shellacked even one Top 12 team.  Impressive.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 2 -1 3-1 @ Panthers
The drop isn’t a knock on the Saints.  Baltimore was just more impressive this week.  With the Ravens having a bye, perhaps New Orleans can convice me otherwise with a strong showing against Cam Newton.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 4 0 3-1 vs. Jets
It was a solid win on the road against Oakland, but defensive questions still remain.  I’d really like to see more opposing drives end in punts.  With the Pats’ D, it’s either either a score or a turnover.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 5 0 3-1 vs. Raiders
Texans looked strong against the Steelers.  But just when you thought they had the South wrapped up, along come the Titans…
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6

logo

6 0 4-0 vs. Bears
Detroit is undefeated and living on a prayer.  How many big comebacks can one team have?  After the past decade, I’m sure Lions fans don’t care how the W’s come, as long as they keep coming.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7

logo

12 +5 3-1 @ Broncos
San Diego has yet to impress me, but at least they haven’t shot themselves in the foot.  I can’t say that for many of the teams who dropped below them this week.  And the schedule doesn’t look too rough from here for the Bolts.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 9 +1 3-1 vs. 49ers
The Buccs don’t look like world-beaters, but they’re getting the job done.  They are keeping pace with the Saints and are in prime position for a Wild Card berth at worst.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 7 -2 3-1 vs. Eagles
Classic trap game last week for the Bills, who were flying a bit too high.  Still, they definitely look like the 2nd best team in the AFC East right now, and playoff-worthy to boot!
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo N/A N/A 3-1 @ Steelers
Titans are pulling out some quiet victories.  We’ve got a classic 10/11 matchup brewing, which could have big playoff implications down the stretch.  I see Pittsburgh and Tennessee being Wild Card hopefuls.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 9 0 3-1 vs. Titans
The Steelers just don’t look right.  Still, I rarely penalize for keeping things close vs. a higher ranked team.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 8 -4 2-2 @ Patriots
I feel like I’m setting the Pats up for a catastrophe by dropping the Jets four spots right before they head to New England.  This could come back to bite me. However, Gang Green looked that bad against the Ravens.  It’s deserved.


+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 4

With only four teams from last week’s Top 12 having “convincing” games, there’s some major shakeups in the rankings.  Only one team held firm in their position, and that was last week’s top team, the New York Jets.  Big risers include New England and Baltimore, who both walked away with key divisional wins on the road.  Plummeting is Indy, who choked away another divisional game against Jacksonville.  We also have two new teams breaking through, replacing Cincinnati and Miami who both suffered embarrassingly bad defeats.

 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 N/A 3-1 vs. Vikings
Was my placing the Jets at the top of the rankings last week a feeble attempt to jinx them against Buffalo?  I’m not telling.  What I will tell you though is that the Jets romped Buffalo and gave me no reason to knock them down a peg.  No other team rose to the occasion enough to overtake them.  That makes Jets the first team in five editions of the Top 12 to occupy the #1 spot for consecutive weeks.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 7 5 3-1 Bye Week

It ended up as a blowout, but let’s not forget that the Patriots were trailing 6-7 at halftime.  I normally wouldn’t raise a team this many spots after such a strange win, but other than the Jets, each of the other five teams above the Patriots last week deserve to drop at least a spot.  The only way to make that happen is to put the Pats at #2.

Also worth noting is the fact that everyone is down on the Patriots for their less-than-stellar defense.  Why does nobody remember that they are the #1 scoring team in the league?  I don’t remember anyone being this tough on Indy early in the 00’s.

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 11 8 3-1 vs. Broncos
The Ravens went into Pittsburgh and pulled out yet another close win.  That makes them this week’s big riser, soaring up 8 spots.  To be fair, I was probably a bit harsh on Baltimore last week after their “close” win over Cleveland.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 3 1 3-1 @ Browns
The Falcons beat the Niners because a San Fran defender didn’t have enough wherewithall to realize he could ice the game by falling on the floor.  A win is a win, but against the 0-4 49ers, you need to do better than surviving due to your opponent’s stupidity.  Thus the 1 spot drop. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 4 1 3-1 @ Redskins
The Pack bounced back from their loss to the Bears by letting the Lions come too close for comfort.  Again, a team in the Top 12 shouldn’t be escaping by the skin of their teeth from an 0-4 team.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 5 1 3-1 @ Cardinals
And the theme continues as another top tier team barely gets by the 0-4 Panths.  Shame, shame, shame.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 6 1 3-1 Bye Week
The Steelers were a mere minute away from starting their Rapistbergerless quarter of the season at 4-0.  A close loss to Baltimore is nothing to get down about, and I would have considered keeping them pat at #6.  However, the six teams above Pittsburgh all won last week, so they get the #7 slot.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 9 1 3-1 vs Giants
Unlike some of the other teams above them, Houston actually beat up their basement dwelling opponent by a touchdown and are rewarded with a move upward.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 2 7 2-2 vs. Chiefs
It seems strange dropping a powerhouse team like Indy seven slots, but that’s what happens when you lose half your games, including one to the lowly Jaguars.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo N/A N/A 3-0 @ Colts
I’m not a big believer in KC, but they manage to find themselves in the Top 12 for the first time ever, without even playing a game this week!  That’s what happens when only 4 teams from last week’s Top 12 had a good outing in Week 4.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo N/A N/A 2-2 @ Raiders
San Diego continues their maddening ways, smoking Arizona after stumbling against Seattle.  They absolutely must take care of business against Oakland. A 2-3 start with KC, TEN, SEA, ARZ, and OAK on the menu would be absolutely pathetic.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 8 4 3-1 @ Panthers
As good as Chicago has looked at times this season, they looked that bad against the G-Men.  It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep up their early momentum or ultimately fizzle out.

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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