Monday, September 21, 2009

NFL Weekly: Mark Sanchez & the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons,

I don't know how "weekly" my NFL posts will be this year, but I got a few things on my mind that I want to get out there.

AFC East: Mark Sanchez can play and the New York Jets are no joke this season. Sanchez will have his ups-and-downs for sure, but the Jets have both a solid offensive line and defense, so as long as they keep Sanchez in good situations there's no reason why the Jets can't make the playoffs this season just like the Falcons and Ravens did last year with rookie QB's. My guess is that the second place team in the AFC East will most likely make the playoffs and that team could very well be the Jets. Hell, the way the Patriots have played the first two games they are no lock to win the division. I think the Jets will be in the mix at the very least.

AFC North: I'm still extremely high on the Ravens this season and I think they will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. Joe Flacco has been solid so far in the first two games and their win on the road against San Diego should not be taken lightly. I'm a little surprised the defense has given up 50 points through two games, but I still think the Ravens will win the AFC North and be as much of a threat as any to win the AFC.

AFC South: The Titans have started off 0-2 and I think they might struggle the whole season the match what they did last year. They won games last season due to their defense, but the Texans ran up 34 points on them at home and that is not a good sign for the Titans. They got a huge game from Chris Johnson, so they can't really expect to score 31 points every time they take the field. If they don't get their defense to play at the same level as last year, then I think they will struggle to make the playoffs. I think Jeff Fisher will get them on the right track, but it won't be easy now that they have dug themselves a little hole. Meanwhile, Indy will have a chance to take a early lead in a division that I expect to be extremely close with their matchup against the Dolphins on Monday Night. Indy has struggled on the road in the past few seasons, especially on grass, and it will be interesting to see how they play in Miami.

AFC West: This is the division I'll probably have the least to say about all season. I still expect the Chargers to win the AFC West going away. They shouldn't hang their heads about a loss to a tough Ravens team. It will be interesting to see which team emerges as the second place team in this division. My money is on Denver, who I think will find a way to win some games with their offense. I thought JaMarcus Russell was going to be improved this season, but after starting the season 19 for 54 passing, I think it's safe to say he's still got a long way to go.

AFC Power Rankings

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. New England Patriots
4. San Diego Chargers
5. Indianapolis Colts

NFC East: The Giants look like they won't miss Plaxico Burress as much this year as they did last year with Mario Manningham & Steve Smith stepping it up this season. Of course the Cowboys secondary still looks horrible, so that may be a factor too, but the Giants look like they will be better offensively this year. The Eagles better hope Donovan McNabb comes back soon, because they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender with him at QB and likely not even a playoff team without him in the tough NFC East. I hope he comes back as well, because he's not going to get too many more shots at a championship and I would like to see him make the most of the talent he has around him this season.

NFC North: The Vikings have beaten up on the Browns and Lions to start to season 2-0. That really doesn't tell us much, since those two teams are probably 2 of the worst in the NFL. They get the 49ers at home next week, who should at least give them a challenge with their tough defense. The Bears showed a lot by beating the Steelers with Jay Cutler playing much better than he did in his Bears debut. The Packers showed that their defense is still shakey after getting torched at home by the Bengals for 31 points. They were particularly bad against the run giving up 151 yards on the ground. I picked the Bears to win the NFC North and despite the Vikings 2-0 start, I think Chicago will be the better team by seasons end.

NFC South: I really like the Falcons and Matt Ryan continues to impress me at QB. Their defense seems to be improved through the first two games as well, but since they were both home games, I'll be looking to see how the Falcons play on the road against New England in Week 3. That's a huge statement game for this Falcons team because New England will not want to fall to 1-2, so I expect Atlanta to get the Patriots best in that one. Meanwhile, New Orleans continues to score points in bunches and Drew Brees is making an early run for NFL MVP. If New Orleans ever gets any kind of defense then you'd have to consider them as a legitimate Super Bowl threat. I think they'll make the playoffs for sure this season and should battle with Atlanta for the division title all season long.

NFC West: The 49ers are off to a somewhat surprising 2-0 start thanks to their tough defense and the running of Frank Gore. Mike Singletary will have this team in a winning position every week, but I still think Arizona has more talent then them and if they can stay focused they will repeat in the NFC West. Seattle lost QB Matt Hasselbeck to an injury and I'm starting to wonder if he is too injury prone to keep Seattle as a winning team at this point in his career. I thought they were going to have a solid season, but now I'm not so sure and I think the Cardinals and 49ers will both finish ahead of them.

NFC Power Rankings

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. New York Giants
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Dallas Cowboys

More: NFL & NFL Weekly

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