Alright, after watching as many games as I could over the weekend and yesterday it’s time for me to list the top 12 teams in the league based on their performances during Week One. This will be a weekly feature, unless I forget and start slugging Early Times Whiskey to the face. Side note, you need to win games to get on this list. And I’m sticking with six NFC teams and six AFC teams.
1 Dallas Cowboys: An impressive win at Cleveland with complete domination on both sides of the field. They introduced their new weapon and first round pick Felix Jones to the NFL who had 62 yards and a score on nine carries. With him, Marion Barber, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten, and Tony Romo Dallas arguably has the most feared offense in the league. An offense that only can be stopped by a defense that has three pro bowl-caliber cornerbacks. What team can that be? You’ll find out Monday Night.
2 Pittsburgh Steelers: What I liked about the Steelers victory was their ground attack. A lot of questions circled around the O-line after they lost all-pro guard Alan Faneca to the Jets, but Willie Parker’s 138 yards with three scores silenced the critics for at least one week. The Steelers are at their best when they are running the ball and limiting Ben Roethlisberger’s attempts. Nothing against Big Ben who I feel is a good, efficient quarterback, but the Steelers traditionally win with defense and pounding the ball. One more note, Hines Ward continues to get it done. He is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the league.
3 Philadelphia Eagles: Yes, I’m being a little homerish with this selection, but after that performance against the Rams on Sunday how can you not rank this team high. The Philadelphia offense continues to put up huge numbers in the air without a number one receiver. Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis, and rookie DeSean Jackson all put up 100 yard games. McNabb looked healthy, the defense didn’t give up one touchdown, and the special teams played their best game in almost three years. Oh yeah, Brian Westbrook is also pretty good.
4 Green Bay Packers: This is the same team that went 13-3 last year with one exception, Brett Favre. And to be quite honest, the addition of Aaron Rodgers to this offense might be for the better. He went 18-22 for 178 yards and two scores (one on the ground) without chucking the ball up for grabs. Ryan Grant continued where he left off last season after a shaky preseason and their defense was able to keep Adrian Peterson somewhat in check. Side note, Tarvaris Jackson is horrible.
This is where things started getting messy. Sorry.
5 Buffalo Bills: What? Yeah, I need to fill this spot with an AFC team. Remember, you must win to get on this list. And the Bills impressively won by beating Seattle 34-10. Do I think this will last? Probably not, but with Tom Brady going down (did you hear?) the AFC East is up for grabs. The Jets, Bills, and Dolph….well….the Jets and Bills are licking their chops right now. Tom Brady’s injury could give the Bills the spark they need to return to the playoffs. Marshawn Lynch is a stud. Roscoe Parrish is a valuable threat on special teams. And their defense is getting better (5 sacks and 1 INT on Sunday). But, the Bills will only go as far as Trent Edwards takes them. I cringed when I wrote that.
6 New York Giants: They would be a lot higher on this list if the offense didn’t disappear after the first three drives last Thursday night against Washington. During the first quarter I thought I was watching the same Super Bowl team from last year. Then Eli started throwing off his back foot to the other team. Remember, this Giants team was miserable last regular season. Fans wanted Eli’s head as they barely squeaked into the post-season. They had a great run in the playoffs, but this team is capable of playing like crap. With that said, Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress are men amongst boys.
7 New England Patriots: This team has zero shot at winning anything. I’m putting them at seven for fun, so we all can watch them drop off. You remember that Randy Moss that played for the Oakland Raiders? Anyone wanna bet that after a Week Nine loss to the Colts which sends New England to 4-5 that Moss will be half-assing routes again? Let’s enjoy this Patriots collapse together people. Side note, Matt Cassell and Sam Cassell pronounce their last names differently, but both are equally effective at the NFL quarterback position.
8 Denver Broncos: Will this be Jay Cutler’s year? He’s entering his second full season as the Broncos starting quarterback. He looked outstanding in Monday Night’s victory over Oakland and that was without star wide receiver Brandon Marshall who was serving his one-game suspension for being a turd. The addition of him to go along with rookie sensation Eddie Royal and tight end Tony Sheffler gives Cutler some nice weapons on offense from here on out. Mike Shanahan is still carrying 32 running backs on the roster with all of them getting an equal amount of carries.
9 Carolina Panthers: I don’t know how they did it, but they squeaked out a win in San Diego against the Chargers without wide receiver Steve Smith who is serving a two-game suspension for punching a teammate’s face. You really never know what you’re gonna get with this team. They have the potential to beat anyone and they have the potential to lose to anyone. They will be an interesting team to watch and if they can get their running game in tact with DeAngelo “don’t call me Hall” Williams and rookie Jonathon Stewart, they could be a dangerous team to play.
10 Tennessee Titans: The Vince Young injury could be a good thing. Kerry Collins is an upgrade. Did I just type that? Wow. Seriously though, the Titans have a strong defense, great special teams, and a rough -and-tough ground attack. If they can continue to be effective in those aspects of the game, the Titans should be able to throw up some wins this year no matter what the quarterback’s name is. Well, unless that quarterback’s name is Matt Cassell.
11 New York Jets: When you can’t put the Jaguars, Colts, and Chargers on this list because they all lost, the pickings get slim. But the Jets should be right here. It was fun watching Favre play his gun-slinger role. Thomas Jones looked like he had some life in him. I don’t know. Nothing really popped out in front of me to be impressed with this team yet. They had a lot of overhaul during the offseason, so I’ll give them time to adjust. It might take them till Week Five till everyone is on the same page. But you better believe they will be ready this week at home against the Patriots. Wait, that made no sense. Screw the Week Five same page thoughts.
12 Chicago Bears: The New Orleans Saints should be right here or somewhere on this list, but I want to write about the Bears. This Bears team reminds me of the 2006 team that went to the Super Bowl. I’m not saying they will be playing in Tampa come February, but take a look. The 2006 team had a great defense, a great running game, and an easy schedule. The 2008 team seems to have a great defense, a great running game, and an easy schedule. Kyle Orton seems to be able to win football games. That was a very impressive win against the Colts on Sunday. Maybe this team is better than we think they are. But sometimes things aren’t the way that they seem? Okay, fine…put the New Orleans Saints right here.