The NY Jets are not the best team in football. No Sir, they are not. But they are pretty good…. Here are my power rankings at this point – and I keep in mind the potential of each team based on their talent and coaching base.
Bear in mind that the “any given sunday” rule very much applies in the NFL. And it takes a lot of work even to get a win in this league. Just ask Cam Cameron and the numerous “ex” NFL coaches (not mentioning the present one in Alabama).
1. Pittsburgh Steelers - They have the top defense and an elite-level quarterback returning from suspension, Ben Rothlisburger, who is well rested and hungry to make a positive statement toward his personal legacy as an NFL player. And very good coaching. They may be the best team in football right now. (Contending with NFC teams like the Green Bay Packers and perhaps the Atlanta Falcons).
2. Baltimore Ravens – Not playing consistent football in every instance but capable of beating any NFL team right now.
3. NY Jets - Their defense is stout and their special teams is also. But their offense still has a quarterback who can be shaken and is being brought along slowly. He has not made errors, this is true. But could he take a season of being sacked like Brett Favre did just last year? Or, heaven forbid, 15 seasons like Brett Favre. Or even one game like Jay Cutler just went through or that Eli Manning endured at the hands of the Jets defense in their 3rd preseason game against the NY Giants. No, Mark Sanchez is still green and not just from the uniform. But, and this is very relevant, he does definitely have talent. And if that talent ever does actually ignite then the other teams in the league may become toast. I predict they will have a breakdown mid-season sometime and limp into the playoffs as a wildcard team with all of the sports “commentators” and “analysts” saying, “who could have predicted this?”. In the entire NFL, this team is about #5, truth be told and when you remove the hype.
4. San Diego Chargers – Inconsistent and suffering from a bad front office that allows players to sit out entire seasons and does not effectively handle the personnel issues, this team is ready to go all the way to the big dance otherwise. They’ve got a head coach though that needs to pump up his own necessity level and push the team to actually rise up and fight. That is the one guaranteed thing that Rex Ryan over in “Classy Team Central” does always do – bring up the fight in his own team; albeit he also sometimes motivates the opposition as well.
5. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins have the talent and the coaching to rise higher than this. And they are actually a better team than the
NE Patriots (partly because the Pats are now without Randy Moss). And they are aging. And the Dolphins were the better team up until the Miami Special Teams unit decided to defect. But I know that this is an arguable point. But that is my argument. And I also happen to think that if Chad Henne started going downtown more often and the injured players (Jared Odrick, Jake Long, John Jerry, Channing Crowder) play up to their potential and the special teams unit gets even up to being average, then this team can beat all of the above.
6. New England Patriots – Again, partly because the Pats are now without Randy Moss, and they are aging, this team is not what it once was just a few seasons ago. But that is what seasons do to a team – change it for the better or the worse. Look for the Pats to have an aggressive draft and trade practice during the off-season. As long as Bellichick resides in Massachussetts, the Patriots will be a formidable team to play but not necessarily a top team in the league.
7. Houston Texans – Injuries and poor offensive schemes took a very promising start and changed it into something like a coke that has been left out overnight: flat and sugary but without a real punch. Oh they possess the players and the coaching to make it happen. And I believe they will get it together over the mid-term of the season and contend for a playoff spot. But they ain’t there yet.
8. Tennessee Titans – Badly in need of a consistent quarterback and more depth, this team yet possesses enough talent to beat all of the
above teams on any given sunday. Or should that be Any Given Sunday? Anyway, a Don Shula or Bill Parcells or Bill Walsh would have this team hitting 11-5 and narrowly losing in the playoffs. They have a good coach now, but are steps away from what is needed for excellence in this league.
9-16. All of the rest.
In conclusion, let’s just say that 1/4 of the season has been played and there are no undefeated teams; for the first time since 1970 no team has gone past week #5 undefeated. And the Dolphins have another 12 games to play and can still end up at 14-2 if they work hard. So be of good cheer. And at least you are not a Buffalo Bills fan or a (heaven forbid) jets fan.
Every player worked-out at practice again today and the team is looking much better after the bye week. Look for a big game by Chad Henne and another good defensive effort to stop the Packers from going “all the way”. Now stop looking at that cheerleader and focus on the game!