Friday, October 16, 2009

Tripodi's Top Teams: Week 6

(Last week's ranking in parentheses)

1(1). New York Giants (5-0): Finally, my top team holds its ground. That may not be the case this time next week with a trip to the Superdome to play the Saints on the slate. Ironically, Eli Manning has been more accurate throwing downfield than Drew Brees this season.

2(2). Minnesota Vikings (5-0): Like the Giants, the Vikings did what a top team is supposed to against a pathetic one: Run up the score. This week's matchup with the Ravens will be much tougher, but the Vikings have the passing game to beat the Baltimore secondary, which has struggled allowing big plays.

3(3). New Orleans Saints (4-0): Coming off their bye week, the Saints are locked up in the game of the week with the Giants. New Orleans needs to get Pierre Thomas going against a defense that allows 4.5 yards-per-carry, which will open up passing lanes for Drew Brees.

4(4). Indianapolis Colts (5-0): The Colts better be 6-0 after their game with Tennessee this week...just saying.

5(10). Denver Broncos (5-0): I said they would be close to the top five if they beat the Pats, and here they are. They've earned it too, and it's hard not to believe this defense is legit. They may not keep this up, but Kyle Orton is a great quarterback to have when you can play defense and run the football. He has become one of the better game managers in the league.

6.(8). Atlanta Falcons (3-1): Last week's game with San Francisco wasn't even close. Roddy White finally woke up and they have so many impact players on offense. Defensively, they still need work. Their ability to control the ball on offense is their best defense.

7(12). Cincinnati Bengals (4-1): The one week I don't blog my picks, I win my weekly pick 'em league. I did have the Bengals, knowing they would keep it close against the Ravens. That was a big win, and Carson Palmer-to-Andre Caldwell is becoming a clutch combination. If they're for real, they'll handle Houston at home this week. They've allowed just five catches to opponents' top receivers, so watch out Andre Johnson!

8(11). Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): The Eagles are establishing themselves as the second-best team in the NFC East, because the Cowboys are a mess. They survived without Donovan McNabb and now with him back, they will continue to roll against Oakland and Washington.

9(5). New York Jets (3-2): That was a bad loss to Miami, especially for the defense. The Jets were exposed a bit against the run, but let's not forget why the Dolphins wildcat is more effective than everybody else's: Ronnie Brown is just that good. Buffalo should be a nice bounce-back game for a team that could use one.

10(6). New England Patriots (3-2): Bill Bellicheat was bested by Josh McDaniels, who was just a little bit too happy afterwards. But Denver is good and Brady STILL isn't back, so this team won't be too close to the top until that happens.

11(7). Baltimore Ravens (3-2): My top team from Week 3 loses two in a row? Ouch. The Ravens are a good football team but they've been susceptible to the big play and 3-3 might be in their future unless they can do what no one else has this season: Beat the Vikings.

12(13). Chicago Bears (3-1): This will be a telling game for Chicago. They should be able to score against the Falcons, but can they outscore them? Jay Cutler has been great and his receivers got healthier during the bye week, so there's a chance.

13(9). San Francisco 49ers (3-2): Like the Jets, the 49ers were let down by a defense that had been their rock all season. Every team has a bad day, but San Francisco looked really bad last week. Good time for a week off.

14(14). Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2): Beating Detroit by just a 28-20 score doesn't impress me enough to move up. Troy Polamalu's return this week should help this team look better on defense again.

15(15). Dallas Cowboys (3-2): Dallas doesn't move up either, needing overtime to beat the Chiefs. Miles Austin looked like a superstar with 250 yards and two touchdowns, outside of dropping a couple other touchdowns. Will he be the new T.O. in this offense?

16(16). San Diego Chargers (2-2): Coming off a bye week, the Chargers have had two weeks to prepare for Denver, which might be necessary the way the Broncos are playing. With Jamaal Williams out for the season, they will continue to struggle against the run, which is a recipe for disaster against the Broncos. Unless Philip Rivers puts in another great performance against an impressive defense, this game will be tough.

17(18). Arizona Cardinals (2-2): Arizona won their shootout with Houston last week, thanks to a defensive score from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Cardinals will still get thrown on all day by the Seahawks, and this should prove to be another shootout. Who wins is anybody's guess.

18(17). Green Bay Packers (2-2): Aaron Rodgers against the Detroit secondary should be fun to watch. If you're a Packers fan. This one could get ugly, especially with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson unlikely to play for the Lions.

19(23). Seattle Seahawks (2-3): The Seahawks threw all over the Jaguars and you really see the effect a quarterback like Matt Hasselbeck has on a team. We'll see if he can get the better of Kurt Warner this week, who has had his shares of struggles.

20(28). Miami Dolphins (2-3): Big jump, but I was impressed with how their offense rolled over the Jets. Chad Henne showed flashes, and if he can play close to that level every week, this team will be okay. Just not a playoff team.

21(24). Carolina Panthers (1-3): I know a win over the Redskins is nothing to write home about, but this team has more potential than the rest. It just shows how many bad teams there are this season.

22(21). Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3): The Jaguars looked awful last week. Maurice Jones-Drew couldn't get it going, and David Garrard isn't much more than a better version of Jason Campbell. And that defense...

23(22). Houston Texans (2-3): Arizona didn't even have to run the ball against the Texans to win the game. Cedric Benson and the Bengals will not give this run defense a break this week. And Matt Schaub will need to look for other options if Leon Hall and the Bengals secondary can keep Andre Johnson in check. Bad matchup for Houston.

24(19). Tennessee Titans (0-5): Seems like an 0-3 start really got to this team. They have played terribly the past two weeks and get Tom Brady this week, who should rectify his "struggles" this season against the league's worst pass defense. If Vince Young isn't starting by midseason, I don't know what the Titans are doing.

25(25). Detroit Lions (1-4): Detroit kept it close with Pittsburgh this week, but outscoring Green Bay without their starting quarterback or best wide receiver doesn't seem likely. This one won't be as close as last week.

26(20). Buffalo Bills (1-4): The Bills lost to a team whose quarterback completed two passes. All game. T.O. has gotten lost in Buffalo and on a one-year deal, the Bills would be wise to ship him for anything, since he won't help them win this season and seems unlikely to re-sign. If Trent Edwards doesn't improve soon, this team's next quarterback might be Sam Bradford.

27(27). Washington Redskins (2-3): Washington lost to Carolina, proving to anybody who thought their 2-2 record meant something that it really didn't. They get the Chiefs this week, so 3-3 looks like a strong possibility. But with only Oakland as a patsy game the rest of the way, 3-3 could easily become 4-12.

28(31). Cleveland Browns (1-4): So Derek Anderson really isn't much better than Brady Quinn after all. But now Quinn is selling his house? That's about the most interesting storyline surrounding this team, even after a win. Pretty sad.

29(26). Oakland Raiders (1-4): No hope in sight until their Week 9 bye: Eagles, Jets, Chargers.

30(29). Kansas City Chiefs (0-5): After playing Dallas close last week and leading much of the game, Kansas City has another chance for their first win against a lesser NFC East opponent. They have to get it eventually, and Jacksonville in Week 9 also looks like a chance if they don't get it done here.

31(30). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5): I wonder which is going to be a worse game, Tampa Bay-Carolina or Washington-Kansas City? And can either of them match last week's Bills-Browns boredom?

32(32). St. Louis (0-5): Rams-Jaguars could also be in the running for week's worst, but I have a feeling Jacksonville might show up. And even if the Rams do, they don't stand a chance, even against the Jaguars.

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