Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 5

We're a quarter of the way through the season, and five of the original Top 12 teams from the preseason are nowhere to be found.  The most suprising of the group has to be the Atlanta Falcons, who started the season at #2 and are now 1-3 after losing to the Pats on Sunday.  This week, we waved goodbye to Atlanta and Baltimore, with Detroit and Kansas City taking their place.  Our big riser is the Niners, who moved up four spots to respectability after demolishing the Rams, and our biggest faller are the Bengals, who dropped four spots after falling to the lowly Browns.  

This week is shaping up to be a very exciting one, as eight of our Top 12 teams go head-to-head.  And of the four remaining teams, three are going up against teams who were on the Top 12 at some point earlier this year. Only Kansas City has it "easy" going on the road to Tennessee this week.  You know what that means?  Next week's board will likely look nothing like this one's. 


#1 – Denver Broncos

At the moment, they are outpacing the 2007 Patriots.  I don't think that winter will be kind to this Mile High team, however.

Last Week: 2      Change: +1       Record: 4-0       Next Game: @ Cowboys


#2 – New Orleans Saints

The Saints took care of business to make it to 4-0, and they've looked impressive nearly the entire way.  There's very little to complain about so far in the Big Easy.

Last Week: 3      Change: +1       Record: 4-0   Next Game: @ Bears


#3 – New England Patriots

That was by far the best win of the year for the Patriots, who seem to be improving each week.  With Gronk and Amendola set to return, expect the Pats to continue their trend upward.

Last Week: 4      Change: +1       Record: 4-0      Next Game: @ Bengals


#4 – Seattle Seahawks

Let's remove the hype for a second.  What do we have?  An ugly win against the Panthers.  A strong blow-out win agains the Niners.  A blow-out agains the horrendous Jaguars.   A nail-biting win against a Texans team that basically threw away the game.  Out of the four, only the Niners win was special.  And the Carolina and Houston wins weren't so great.  Is this any better than what the Patriots have done?  Certainly not.  Is it any worse?  Probably not, either.  But I'm tired of the Seattle hype, so the Seahawks are dropping to #4 this week.

Last Week: 1      Change: -3       Record: 4-0     Next Game: @ Colts


#5 – San Francisco 49ers

The Niners finally looked like who we thought they were.  Now can they keep it up?

Last Week: 9      Change: +4       Record: 2-2      Next Game: vs. Texans


#6 – Chicago Bears

I dropped the Bears in consecutive weeks when they won.  It's only fair that they stand pat after a loss.  I'm still trying to figure this team out.

Last Week: 6      Change: 0       Record: 3-1       Next Game: vs. Saints


#7 – Green Bay Packers

The Pack stood firm during the bye.  Now they have a surprising semi-must-win game against the Lions.  It would not look good for them if they fell to 1-3 while Detriot sat at 4-1. 

Last Week: 7      Change: 0       Record: 1-2      Next Game: vs. Lions


#8 – Indianapolis Colts

The Colts thumped the Niners.  Can they continue their NFC West dominance?

Last Week: 12      Change: +4      Record: 3-1    Next Game: vs. Seahawks


#9 – Cincinnati Bengals

When you lose to the Browns, you deserve to drop four spots.  Can anyone argue this?

Last Week: 5      Change: -4       Record: 2-2   Next Game: vs. Patriots


#10 – Detroit Lions

This is a huge game for the Lions coming up.  If they win this one, they will have gone a long way towards putting the Packers in the rearview mirror and establishing themselves as a legit NFC North threat.   If they lose…  It could be the same old Lions.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 3-1     Next Game: @ Packers


#11 – Kansas City Chiefs

How great would it be as a Pats fan if the Chiefs continued to roll and somehow sent Peyton Manning on the road in the Wild Card Round?  Of course, that's assuming the Patriots wrapped up a bye week and the Broncos wouldn't be coming to Foxboro to start things off…

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 4-0     Next Game: @ Titans


#12 – Miami Dolphins

Not the best effort by the Dolphins, but we'll give them the nod for the unexpected 3-1 start.  Certainly the Falcons, Ravens, and Texans don't deserve this #12 slot any more than they do.

Last Week: 11      Change: -1       Record: 3-1       Next Game: vs. Ravens


 

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 5

It's a quiet week for the Top 12, as eight of the top nine teams all walked away with wins.  That's not to say that there wasn't some mild shifting going on, but nothing overly stunning.   With a lot of the big dogs playing sub-par teams, there is room for some excitement next week if our Top 12 underpeform.


#1 – Houston Texans

I have yet to fully buy into the Texans hype given the relative cream-puff slate of teams they've played so far.  Still, they can only play the teams they are scheduled to play, and thus far, they've done exactly what you'd expect them to do.  They've won handily with relatively few miscues or close calls.  Nobody else on this list can say that, which is why I'm putting Houston in the top spot.

Last Week: 2      Change: +1      Record: 4-0       Next Game: vs. Panthers


#2 – San Francisco 49ers

The Niners rise this week has little to do with their drubbing of the reeling New York Jets.  That's what they were supposed to do.  However, in retrospect, it turns out that their slip-up to the "lowly" Vikings wasn't to such a lowly team after all, and I've taken that into account.  They lost to a quality opponent on the road that they were likely underestimating.  It happens.

Last Week: 4      Change: +2       Record: 3-1       Next Game: vs. Bills


#3 – Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta remains perfect, but not without some razor-thin close calls.  A win is a win, but they haven't been quite as dominant as their record would suggest.

Last Week: 1      Change: -2       Record: 4-0       Next Game: @ Redskins


#4 – New England Patriots

The Patriots drop 52 points on the road and fall a spot?   Well, first remember that the margins here at the top of the board are razor thin.  And then also keep in mind how we all felt five minutes into the third quarter when the season seemed to be unraveling out of control.  That Buffalo win was both inspiring, as well as a strong reminder that this team still has some work to do.

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


#5 – Baltimore Ravens

Beating the Browns by only a touchdown won't get you much love from me.  It's good enough to keep the Ravens at #5, though.  We'll see if they can do a bit better on the road against KC.

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


#6 – Green Bay Packers

The Pack eeked one out against New Orleans to avoid a 1-3 start.  Bad calls aside, it seems that this Green Bay team has taken a step back from the dominant force we've come to expect over the past 20 months or so. 

Last Week: 6      Change: 0       Record: 2-2       Next Game: @ Colts


#7 – Arizona Cardinals

I was tempted to move the Cards up the rung, but I still can't bring myself to put a Kevin Kolb-led team over one with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.  Strange as it may seem though, I may be making the wrong call by hesitating there.

Last Week: 7      Change: 0       Record: 4-0       Next Game: @ Rams


#8 – Chicago Bears

The Bears are doing everything to convince us that they're the best team in the NFC North and they're making a decent case for themselves.  The only counter argument is their Week 2 loss to the Packers, which happens to be a really good one.

Last Week: 9      Change: +1       Record: 3-1       Next Game: @ Jaguars


#9 – Philadelphia Eagles

One week the Eagles are on the board, the next week they're off.   And so continues their rollercoaster of unpredictability after a huge win over the Giants.   With the PA Bowl looming large, the Eagles will get another big test to prove that they belong amont the NFL elite.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A      Record: 3-1       Next Game: @ Steelers


#10 – San Diego Chargers

A 3-1 record may give Norv Turner a slight bit of job security.  Still, this upcoming matchup against the 0-4 Saints just wreeks of a typical San Diego stumble.

Last Week: N/A     Change: N/A      Record: 3-1       Next Game: @ Saints


#11 – New York Giants

Three spots may seem like a big stumble for a team that lost a close game on a missed field goal.   However, that's what happens when three teams below you experience success the same week you take a fall.  The G-Men should rebound nicely against the Browns.

Last Week: 8      Change: -3       Record: 2-2       Next Game: vs. Browns


#12 – Minnesota Vikings

I was debating between Cincy and Minny for the #12 spot this week.  Ultimately, only one team has knocked off the Niners, which allowed the Vikes, arguably the surprise team of the season, to earn the nod.  


Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 3-1       Next Game: vs. Titans


 

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 5

Overall, it was another calm week in the Top 12.  The Top 4 have been the Top 4 for weeks now.  The only major action occurred towards the bottom of the pile, with the Buccs and Titans getting thrown off the list in favor of two teams who haven’t spent much time on the board over the past three years – the Raiders and Niners.  If you had told me this summer that Buffalo, Detroit, Oakland, and San Fran would be a combined – 16-4 by Week 5 I never would have believed you.  The Packers, Ravens, Saints, and Pats are 17-3 by comparison.  Unreal…
 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 0 5-0 vs. Rams
Green Bay clearly deserves the top spot, but I’d appreciate it if eveyone could take a quick break from making out with Aaron Rodgers, and remember that the Pack almost lost to Carolina, eeked out a last-minute goal line stand against New Orleans, and have played Denver, Chicago, and Atlanta – none of which are Top 12 material.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 2 0 3-1 vs. Texans
Baltimore holds firm at #2 during the bye week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 4 +1 4-1 vs. Cowboys
New England has played Buffalo, San Diego, Oakland, and New York so far this year – all of whom are Top 12 teams.  Take away 33 minutes of pure insanity in Buffalo – and you’d be looking at an undefeated team who had a very rough first five game.  Patriots nation has no reason to be down on this squad.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 3 -1 4-1 @ Buccaneers
Bottom line – Spots 3 and 4 could’ve gone either way this week.  The Pats won a bigger game, so they get the nod.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5

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6 +1 5-0 vs. 49ers
Can the Lions keep their hot streak going?  The surprising Niners will be a tough test this week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 9 +3 4-1 @ Giants
The Bills look like a bonafide playoff contender at the moment.  I’m convinced that they are for real.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7

logo

7 0 4-1 Bye Week
Another mediocre win against a bad team.  It’s not SD’s fault that they have a weak schedule, but I’d expect some larger margins of victory.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 5 -3 3-2 @ Ravens
The Texans had a chance to pull away in the AFC South and they blew it.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 11 +2 3-2 vs. Jaguars
The Steelers rose to the occasion this week and kicked the Titans right off the board. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo N/A N/A 3-2 vs. Browns
The Raiders have played four straight games against Top 12 teams.  They have to be happy with their 3-2 record, which could easily be 4-1 if the Buffalo game had gone their way.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo N/A N/A 4-1 @ Lions
San Fransisco may have wrapped up the NFC West with their fourth win.  Will any of their division rivals make it to that number?
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo 12 0 2-3 vs. Dolphins
This spot could have gone to a number of teams.  Ultimately, there’s no shame in playing a close game against the #3 team on the board.  I’ll keep them around this week.


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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 5

Last week the Top 12 was out of control with teams flying up and down the charts.  Things appear to be stabilizing after Week 5.  The first four slots remain unchanged, with some minor shuffling in the middle of the pack.  We bid farewell to the Chargers and Chiefs after their losses, making the AFC West join the NFC West as divisions without a Top 12 team.  Interestingly enough, the NFC West has yet to hold a single spot in all six editions of the rankings so far. The AFC and NFC each hold six spots a piece, but five of the top seven spots belong to the American Football Conference.

 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 N/A 4-1 @ Denver
The Jets continue their reign atop the rankings and probably will until they lose a game or some team lays enough of a smackdown on someone to warrant a major rise.  Consider me annoyed.  Brett Favre has screwed me over yet again with his lame Monday night performance.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 2 N/A 3-1 vs. Ravens

Some may say the Moss trade could warrant a drop in the standings on a bye week.  I personally think we’re about to see a more effective and creative offense emerge in Foxboro.

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 3 N/A 4-1 @ Patriots
It’s a boring week atop the Top 12 with the Top 4 teams staying put.  That won’t be the case next week with the Ravens and Pats facing off.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 4 N/A 4-1 @ Eagles
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 7 1 3-1 vs. Cleveland
The Steelers move up two spots without even playing a game.  That’s what happens when the teams above you collapse.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 5 1 3-2 vs. Dolphins
The bar was set so high, it’s not all that shocking that Green Bay is disappointing people.  I won’t knock them down too much for an overtime loss to a Top 12 team.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 9 2 3-2 @ Redskins
Indy knocked off the undefeated Chiefs, but didn’t score a TD until last in the 4th.  These definitely don’t appear to be the Colts we’ve grown accustomed to.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo N/A N/A 3-2 vs Lions
The sleeping Giants have awakened, and have now posted back-to-back thrashings of teams in the Top 12.  That earns them a semi-decent spot in the rankings in my book.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 12 3 4-1 vs. Seahawks
Beating the Panthers shouldn’t earn anyone a 3 spot jump.  However, Chicago keeps getting it done against some bad teams, while others stub their toes.  If they keep that trend up, they might just win the NFC North.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 6 4 3-2 @ Buccaneers
Unfortunately for the Saints, their 2010 effort has done little to warrant a spot in the Top 12. One of these days, what happened in 2009 will no longer matter.  If they lose to Tampa, that day might be some time next week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 8 4 3-2 @ Raiders
Houston just doesn’t know how to handle success.  The four-way tie they hold for the AFC South lead this week, could be the last time they hold the top spot all season.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 3-2 vs. Colts
The Skins have been on the Top 12 bubble for a while now.  2-0 in the division with a win in Green Bay is good enough to get them in this week.

 

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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