Power Poll - Week Two

We figured that on these here Internets there aren't enough power rankings listed during the NFL season. And if Kige Ramsey can offer his thoughts on the league every week, why can't we? So here is your official IWIWAR Power Poll after week two of the NFL season, with perhaps a comment or two on the teams. From the bottom ...

32. Kansas City (0-2) - Brodie Croyle is perfect thus far this year. However, he's only 4 for 4. And the Chiefs are 0 for 2.

31. Atlanta (0-2) - Joey Harrington is struggling and taking too many sacks. So their solution? Sign Byron Leftwich. The single-game sack record might be up for grabs when the Falcons play the Colts on Nov. 22.

30. Miami (0-2) - What happened to those Auburn tailbacks from the 2005 draft? Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams had great rookie years. Cadillac had a sophomore slump last year and isn't off to a great start this year, while Miami's Brown was decent in 2006 but has 65 yards through the first two games of 2007.

29. St. Louis (0-2) - I think Bill Simmons put it best on his podcast this week, when he described the Rams as a great fantasy team. Marc Bulger always puts up great stats, and Steven Jackson is one of the top running backs in the league, but when your schedule is set up for you to come out of the gates with a pair of winnable home games and you lose both of them, I don't see the rest of the season going very well.

28. Buffalo (0-2) - The Bills played okay in a week one heartbreaking defeat to Denver, but last week against the Steelers, they looked lost. J.P. Losman was awful. Lee Evans couldn't get open. And 103-year old Marv Levy is still their general manager.

27. New York Giants (0-2) - We'll call them the Time Machine Team. The players are acting as happy to be playing for Tom Coughlin as the 2002 Jacksonville Jaguars, and they made Brett Favre look like the 1996 version of himself in last week's loss to Green Bay.

26. Oakland (0-2) - The Raiders have been surprisingly competitive in their first two games. And they wouldn't be winless but for Mike Shanahan's sneaky but perfectly legal late timeout in overtime last week. They could play spoiler down the stretch.

25. New York Jets (0-2) - Unfortunately for the rest of the AFC, the best thing for the Jets is Chad Pennington's injury, because Kellen Clemens is clearly a better option at quarterback and Gang Green might be contending for a playoff spot by year's end.

24. Cleveland (1-1) - Its hard to rank the Browns higher than this when it was just one week ago that they appeared to have a legit shot at an 0-16 record. But that's what 51 points of offense will do for you. Here's a question - will Cleveland score more against Cincinnati this year than it will against the other division rivals, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, combined? Probably.

23. Philadelphia (0-2) - I had the "pleasure" of attending Monday night's slug fest between Washington and Philly and one of the first things I realized was that the Eagles aren't that good. They just aren't. Donovan McNabb was awful.

22. Jacksonville (1-1) - The Jags have a 1-1 record but got there with an 0-2 effort on the field. Luckily they played Atlanta last week. Maurice Jones-Drew hasn't gotten on track and David Garrard looks like he might be the catalyst for the end of the Jack Del Rio era by January.

21. Cincinnati (1-1) - Carson Palmer threw six touchdown passes. The Bengals were playing the Browns. And they lost. Enough said.

20. Minnesota (1-1) - The only team Tarvaris Jackson could look like an NFL quarterback against is the team ranked just below the Vikes in my rankings.

19. Carolina (1-1) - With a 14-0 lead at home against the Texans, Carolina looked to be on its way to a 2-0 start and maybe to be putting 2006 behind. But it wasn't to be, and the way the Texans shredded Carolina's supposedly vaunted defense doesn't bode well. If not for Steve Smith, the Panthers would be ranked in the bottom five of the league.

18. New Orleans (0-2) - I'll give the defending NFC South champs the benefit of the doubt. There's no doubt that they've looked bad through the first two weeks, but both losses were on the road. There's too much talent on that team for them to be this bad.

17. Tampa Bay (1-1) - I could see the Bucs hanging around in a relatively weak division for the entire season. Jeff Garcia is just good enough to make that happen, though not good enough to make them a serious threat.

16. Tennessee (1-1) - The Titans seem like an 8-8 team - no more, no less.

15. Arizona (1-1) - The Cardinals could easily be 2-0 or 0-2 at this point. This seems to be the right place to stick them.

14. Seattle (1-1) - This team could be the best team in the NFC by season's end, and that's not saying much. If they win the conference, it will be an indictment of the talent in the NFC rather than a compliment to Mike Holmgren and the squad.

13. San Francisco (2-0) - This has to be the most overrated 2-0 squad of the bunch. The 49ers haven't accumulated 200 yards of offense in either game and yet they still managed to win, mostly because of costly turnovers by Arizona and a missed field goal by St. Louis.

12. Denver (2-0) - Why should we be impressed by the Broncos? They needed Jason Elam's heroics to win both of their games against bad teams, including the last second field goal to win in week one. And last week against the Raiders, if not for Shanahan's timeout, they would have lost a home game against a division rival.

11. Detroit (2-0) - I'm not ready to drink the Kool-Aid yet, but the Lions have persevered to win a pair of games that they would have lost in past seasons. Jon Kitna looks good, Calvin Johnson looks better and the defense is much improved.

10. Houston (2-0) - It is unfortunate that Andre Johnson is out for this week's game against Indianapolis, because I think the Texans can compete with the Colts. Matt Schaub has been very impressive. It says here that Houston will finish second in the AFC South.

9. Baltimore (1-1) - Ravens fans may be hoping Steve McNair chooses to sit out a few more games. Kyle Boller played well in his absence and gives the Ravens a better chance to contend in the AFC. I don't think people realize how bad McNair was last year and how much the defense covered for him.

8. Green Bay (2-0) - The Pack looks good. Not quite "contender" good, but maybe "have one last decent season so Brett Favre will retire" good.

7. Chicago (1-1) - Honestly, the Bears were the hardest team to rank in the entire poll. They have an unimpressive win over the team I rank worst in the league, and they lost in week one to San Diego, which got blown out in week two. The talent is there, but it all comes down to quarterback. If Rex Grossman is even close to competent, they will still win 10 or 11 games.

6. San Diego (1-1) - The Chargers really disappointed on Sunday. Despite Cameragate or whatever you want to call it, Norv Turner's boys came out totally flat and were embarrassed by the Pats. LaDanian Tomlinson isn't racking up the yards, Philip Rivers looks like Ryan Leaf and the defense was shredded by Tom Brady and company. They are too good to stay down, though.

5. Washington (2-0) - This might be a surprise to some people, but I was really impressed with the 'Skins on Monday night. Jason Campbell made the plays to win both with his feet and with his arm. The touchdown he threw at the end of the first half was a perfectly-placed ball. And he stepped it up on third down to keep a few drives alive.

4. Dallas (2-0) - The Cowboys offense is clicking on all cylinders. Maybe Jerry Jones did know what he was doing when he lured Jason Garrett back to take over that side of the ball. And no matter what you think of Wade Phillips as a head coach, there's no doubt that he's good as a defensive tutor.

3. Pittsburgh (2-0) - While I think the Steelers could beat both the Colts and Patriots, at this point there's no reason to justify that other than my blatant homerism. The Steelers dominated two bad teams. That's what good teams should do. We'll know a lot more about this team in the next month.

2. Indianapolis (2-0) - I don't know how they've done it, but somehow Indy managed to convince its run defense that it is still last year's playoffs. That's the biggest difference in this team compared to a year ago at this time. We know the offense will score. If the defense dominates, it is scary to think about how good Indy could be.

1. New England (2-0) - Personal feelings aside, I don't see how you could rank the Patriots anywhere other than the top spot. They absolutely demolished the Chargers on Sunday night. And now they're playing with a chip on their shoulder because of Cameragate. Why, oh why, did the rest of the league feel a need to motivate the Patriots?


Week Two - Steelers 26, Bills 3

Another week and more of the same from the Black and Gold, with a dominating defense and an efficient offense leading the way in the win over a clearly inferior opponent. So what does that mean? Honestly, I'm not sure. Does the Cleveland win look better now because the Browns outlasted Cincinnati in a 51-45 shootout? Sure it does. Is Cleveland any good? No, they're still bad. The Bengals' defense is just worse. And Buffalo played pretty well in week one against Denver, but J.P. Losman and company had about as much success against the Steelers as Idaho Senator Larry Craig had in Minneapolis International Airport.

The Good
The offensive line looked better than in week one, opening good holes for Willie Parker and Deuce Davenport while giving Ben Roethlisberger the time he needed to look downfield when the plays called for it. Fast Willie had the usual bounce in his step and did a good job of breaking runs outside when the opportunity arose. Matt Spaeth caught his second touchdown in two weeks, leaving him on pace to shatter the team's single-season record of touchdown receptions by a tight end. The defense was aggressive and didn't allow Losman to get comfortable. Rookie tailback Marshawn Lynch had a couple of nice runs along the way to 64 yards, but for the most part, the Steelers were able to use the early lead to force Buffalo into throwing the ball. Larry Foote did a nice job of getting interior pressure that led to a few sacks by the outside linebackers. LaMarr Woodley looked good after subbing for James Harrison in the second half. And DeShea Townsend continued to play well and hold off Bryant McFadden for the starting corner spot opposite Ike Taylor. Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda only had to punt one time.

The Bad
For the second week in a row the Steelers should have had the game in hand by halftime but couldn't convert on some prime chances. Last week it was the numerous drives starting in Cleveland territory - this week it was the offense driving down the field but settling for field goals. As a result, the Steelers only led 12-0 at the half instead of at least 20-0 as it should have been, and when Buffalo ran the opening kick of the second half back to Pittsburgh's 30-yard line, it looked like the Bills might climb back in the game. Speaking of that play, even though the story is that Mike Tomlin didn't see the replay of Terrance McGee stepping out of bounds on that return, someone associated with the Steelers had to have seen it, right? It was obvious that he was out of bounds, and luckily the lack of a challenge flag didn't come back to hurt the Black and Gold. James Harrison got stretchered off at the end of the first half but was okay and wanted to come back to the game in the third quarter, which the doctors had to convince him was a bad idea.

The Ugly
It might be a theme on here with Alex Smith and Matt Leinart playing Pittsburgh in the next few weeks, but man, it must be tough for a young quarterback to have to try to solve Dick LeBeau. In week one, Charlie Frye (who'd played a few games against the Steelers in the past two years) played so bad that he got traded two days later. And he was replaced by Derek Anderson, who looked awful against Pittsburgh but managed to bounce back with five touchdowns against Cincy. Week two saw Losman give it a shot, and he failed to impress. He was 15 of 25 for 154 yards with no TDs, no INTs and one fumble lost, but the Bills offense never really threatened. That's certainly not a good sign for the aforementioned Smith and Leinart. And in a criticism of the CBS broadcast, how could Harrison's neck injury be ignored during the halftime show and only shown when the broadcast team came back for the call of the second half? Not only is that bad to ignore a possible news-worthy event, but especially since it was just one week after Buffalo's Kevin Everett suffered a potentially paralyzing injury, and this was Everett's team involved in maybe another such situation seven days later! Luckily Everett's prognosis is much improved and Harrison is fine and should play this week against the 49ers.

Up next: San Francisco (2-0)


Where's the Bills Post?

As I was at the late end of a debauchery filled weekend and did not see the game, only listened to the highlights, I feel unfit (hungover) to comment on the game. So where's Mario? Winning free tickets to the Eagles game at around 6:15 today. I have no doubt he will post first thing when he gets back.