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INSIDER WEEK 3 POWER RANKINGS

By Glenn Bernardi
Jets Insider.com Contributing Writer
September 26th, 2006
The Monsters Of The Midway are back.
The Monsters Of The Midway are back.
1. CHICAGO BEARS {3-0}
I'll let you in on a little secret, the 85 Bears offense never scared anyone, but it was good enough to compliment that ferocious defense all the way to a Super Bowl rout. And the same can be said of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Translation: You don't need a ton of offense when your defense is this dominant; you just need enough O to compliment that D. Having said that, Rex Grossman is no Tom Brady, but compared to Kyle Orton he's John Unitas. So beware the Monsters of the Midway.

2. CINCINNATI BENGALS {3-0} This team is the opposite of Chicago, insane offense and just enough defense to make it matter. If these two teams ever lock horns in the Super Bowl, you'll be looking at the best boxer verses puncher matchup since Ali verses Frazier.

3. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS {3-0}
I actually watched the Hawks jump out to a 42-3 thrashing of the NY Giants before they shut it down in garbage time, and I couldn't wait to rank them #1 in this weeks power rankings, but can you take a bigger hit than losing last years league MVP to a broken foot? Ouch! They're still an elite team, even without Shaun Alexander in the short term, and he'll be back fairly soon, but I have to see them beat the Bears without Alexander {and this week they'll get that chance} before I can rank them #1 without their franchise running-back.

4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS {2-1}
That loud sound you heard on Sunday night was the sound of the so-called experts jumping off the Jaguars bandwagon in droves, but I wasn't one of them. So they lost a game in Indy that they dominated for much of the afternoon, it happens, there's no disgrace in that, and they'll get another crack at the Colts in their building, where revenge will taste sweet.

5. DENVER BRONCOS {2-1}
Mike Shanahan has made a habit of beating Bill Belichick, he may be the one coach who really has Belichick's number, but its still very impressive anytime you can take your team into New England and walk out with a W. Oh yeah, and Javon Walker looks all the way back, which is good news for Denver and bad news for the rest of the AFC West.

6. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS {2-0}
If you started a team tomorrow and had the first two picks in an expansion draft, Quarterbacks excluded, you would at least have to consider LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman on offense and defense respectively, and if I gave you a bonus pick you had to use on a tight-end, I have to believe you would take Antonio Gates as well. All three are Chargers.

7. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS {3-0}
In years past I'd probably have the Colts at #1 this week, or darn close too it, but this team has fooled me for the last time. Right now I really can't envision a scenario where I would rank the Colts #1 until I actually see this team in the Super Bowl, not even if they run the table this year to 16-0. Last year they had everything setup perfectly and they still spit the bit.

8. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS {2-1}
No doubt the loss of Branch, Vinatieri, and various others in recent years has brought this team down a peg, but don't write them off just yet, they're like the Rasputin's of the NFL, you can't kill the bastids. Actually Belichick would be Rasputin, in more ways than one, while Tom Brady is Freddy Kruger. This might not be pleasing to my Jets brethren, but so long as those two birds are still flying around the Patriots will remain a tough out.

9. BALTIMORE RAVENS {3-0}
An elite team should dismantle the lowly Browns, yet the Ravens had a fight to the death on their hands this past week. I'll write that off as an aberration for now, letdown, division rival, etc., but its the reason why have them at the tail end of the TOP 10 this week despite their unbeaten record.

10. PITTSBURGH STEELERS {1-2}
BIG BEN is in full training camp mode after missing so much time due to injuries and illness, so you have to cut the Steelers a break for the time being, after-all they are the defending champs and you don't discount that after three weeks in light of what's happened with their Quarterback, but this is the end of the line in regards to their mulligan. Henceforth they will be judged on the same scale as everyone else.

11. CAROLINA PANTHERS {1-2}
This is their Steve Smith mulligan and the same holds true of Carolina, mulligan time is over, now they'll have to show us if we were right or wrong about them when they were labeled a consensus elite team prior to opening day. For now I say that estimation was correct, but its prove it time for the Panthers.

12. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES {2-1}
This is a pretty good football team, maybe better than that, but a couple of soft wins over the dregs of the league {Houston & Frisco} do not make-up for that monumental collapse verses the Giants in week two. So I'll rank them in the TOP 15 this week based on talent, record, and the fact that they did beat the Giants to a bloody pulp for 3 Qtrs of football, but it will take more than a win over the Niners to redeem that historic el-foldo and make a run at TOP 10.

13. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS {3-0}
Yeah I know they rode an incredible wave of emotion on Monday night, and perhaps no team in football could have beaten them in that setting, but don't kid yourself into believing it was all about the emotion, this team has some talented players too, players who could start for most teams in the league, and its not just Reggie Bush. They may or may not be a playoff team this year, remains to be seen, but Drew Brees is a winner and the Saints immediate future is looking up.

14. DALLAS COWBOYS {1-1}
Terrell Owens has logged more miles on that stationary bike than Lance Armstrong, but he better start playing football soon cause Drew Bledsoe needs all the help he can get, and then some, if they have any designs on providing the tuna with that final victory lap he so covets. Personally I can't even picture Drew Bledsoe winning a Super Bowl, but maybe Owens can change that if he ever decides to take his "BLEEP" off that bike.

15. NEW YORK JETS {2-1}
Its been a great start for Mangini, Chad and the team everyone mocked, ridiculed and lambasted all off season, and if they can steal one of these next two verses Indianapolis or Jacksonville, if they can upend one of these bona-fide elite teams, a lot of those so-called experts will have to start penning those engraved apologies.

16. ATLANTA FALCONS {2-1}
What can I say, a lot of people love Michael Vick's game, I'm just not one of them, and Monday night was just another in a long line of glaring examples why. When will people finally understand that the NFL, unlike college, high school, or pop Warner, is a pocket passers league?

17. ST. LOUIS RAMS {2-1}
Wanna hear something crazy? This Rams team is 2-1 on the strength of its defense. I'm not kidding, this is not a joke, thus far the Rams offense has been a virtual no-show while the defense has been fairly stout. But I don't see that lasting very long. This has to be an aberration. They should be playing 38-31 Games very soon.

18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS {2-1}
I know, I know, they played my #1 Overall team down to the wire and probably should have beaten them, but I have a hard time accepting the idea of a hundred year old Quarterback, who was no big deal in his prime, suddenly leading a team to the playoffs. But I'll keep a close eye on Minnesota and I'll keep an open mind.

19. BUFFALO BILLS {1-2}
This is a good 1-2 football team. You can make an argument that they out-played the Patriots @ New England and the Jets in their building, and thus can easily be 3-0 Overall and 3-0 in the AFC East, having also dismantled Miami. I'm not saying that's what they deserve, you gotta close the deal in this league, but lets give them credit for playing well.

20. ARIZONA CARDINALS {1-2}
What happened to the Cardinals this past Sunday, botching a kneel-down for goodness sake, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I'd definitely wish that on New England or Miami, Buffalo and the Giants too, but what did the poor Cardinals ever do to deserve such a horrible fate? Compared to these poor Cardinals fans, rooting for the Jets has been like rooting for the NY Yankees! The worse part is, that team has some serious talent, talent most GM's would kill for, and they still can't catch a break.

21. WASHINGTON REDSKINS {1-2}
See what I mean about hundred year old Quarterbacks? You just can't trust them, even when they were pretty good in their prime like Mark Brunnel and unlike Brad Johnson. Come to think of it, isn't Drew Bledsoe coming up on his 100th birthday real soon as well? I rest my case!

22. NEW YORK GIANTS {1-2}
So what happened to all of that Super Bowl hype? Yeah that's right, being down 42-3 will knock that delusion right out of your puny little brain, even if you do score a few gimmies in garbage time, and it will knock you out of my TOP 20 too. Lets be honest folks, this team should be 0-3. It took a miracle, and/or a monumental collapse by the Eagles, just to get the Giants their one W at the bye week. And apparently Jeremy Shockey was none too grateful for that one W either. When last seen he was tossing Tom Coughlin underneath the team bus and muttering something about being out-coached.

23. MIAMI DOLPHINS {1-2}
My friends, if you think the Giants were over-rated, you ought to take a look at the Miami Dolphins. They're making the Giants look like Lombardi's Packers!

24. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS {0-2}
Brutally slow start and the Quarterback winds up in intensive care, where have I seen this before and what {OR WHO!!} do they have in common? Hmmmmm? Anyone? Anyone?

25. GREEN BAY PACKERS {1-2}
Sure they're a bad football team, but as witnessed this past Sunday, so long as they have Brett Favre they can never be labeled the worst of the worst. Brett Favre and 52 cab drivers would beat the bottom feeders in this league.

26. SF 49ERS {1-2}
Just think about this, Jet fans, the 49ers have a W while the Chiefs are still looking for their first win. We have much to be thankful for, my friends.

27. DETROIT LIONS {0-3}
What's wrong with this team? Why can't they win? This is not a talent less football team, not by a long shot, yet year after year they play like an expansion team. I don't get it, I just don't get it? Anyway, they stink as usual, what else is new.

28. TENNESSEE TITANS {0-3}
This is the opposite of the Lions, Cardinals, Chiefs, etc. This team has some nice young building blocks but they're clearly in full rebuilding mode. I won't make fun of the Titans, for years they were an elite organization, and Jeff Fisher will get them back to that status so long as the owner doesn't do anything stupid or impulsive like fire his exceptional head coach, who would be scooped up by another team in a nano-second.

29. TAMPA BAY BUCS {0-3}
And this team was supposed to be a contender! That's what makes the NFL so thrilling, unlike baseball you don't have a 162 game marathon, you have a 16 Game sprint and 0-3 can send you directly to the garbage dump. Gruden must be homicidal at this point, to watch it all slip away so quickly, and other than this weeks valiant effort verses Carolina, this team has earned its donut the old fashioned way, by stinking out the joint.

PS. My prayers go out to Chris Simms and the entire Simms family as well. Ironically I also had a ruptured spleen and it too was removed, so I know what this young man is going through, so my prayers and wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

30. CLEVELAND BROWNS {0-3}
Not every coach off the Parcells tree can be a hit, there's always one {off every staff, no matter how good} who fails to meet the standard that was set for him as an assistant. It's starting to look like Cleveland may have plucked the lemon.

31. HOUSTON TEXANS {0-3}
Two Words .. Rock Bottom .. and that pretty much sums up the entire short existence of the Houston Texans.

32. OAKLAND RAIDERS {0-2}
Remember that old Life-Alert commercial, the old lady screaming into her Life-Alert .. "HELP ME PLEASE, I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP" .. well that's the Raiders in a nutshell

BTW, its Raiders Vs Browns this week ... the 2006 seasons first #1 Overall Pick Bowl ... this is a BIG GAME for all of us draftniks out there, as we get to find out which team is ON THE CLOCK?

But of course you can never count out the Texans, even if they don't know what to do with the #1 Pick when they get it.

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