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NFL Top 10 -- Week 2
by Wayne Root - 09/12/2012
1) San Francisco 49ers-- Not too shabby. Only Wayne Root had these guys at top of NFL poll before week #1. My crystal ball says "Defense wins championships." That's why San Fran and Houston top my list for 2012. We predicted that the 49ers couldn't wait for the shipment of their Lombardi Trophy...so they went to Green Bay and took it!! They were dominant against the Packers at Lambeau and let the league knowing exactly what kind of focus this team will have this season. Knocking off Green Bay (on the road) in impressive fashion puts the San Francisco 49ers in the driver's seat in the NFC. Frank Gore looked great and Alex Smith managed all his talented stars to perfection. We'll get to see if the emotions carried over from last years Detroit Lions game as they meet them this Sunday Night on NBC at home. Maybe the coaches will make up.
2) Houston Texans---Arian Foster and Andre Johnson looked like their regular All-Pro selves in this one. Johnson led the way for the passing game, and Foster's two touchdowns contributed to a 20-point win. After a raise into the $15-million-per-year club with his contract extension, Matt Schaub now feels elite. The Texans defense is very balanced—they're able to stop the run and pass without a drop-off. J.J. Watt is quickly becoming one of the NFL's most dominant defenders. We saw it in the 2011 playoffs, and that same ability was on display again in Week 1. Watt and the Houston defense did exactly what was expected of them against the Miami Dolphins offense, but it was their execution that was most impressive. The Houston Texans will win a lot of football games.
3) New England Patriots---If the resurgent defense can play like they did against the Titans all season, the Patriots will be nearly impossible to beat. The defense looked faster and stronger than in years past. They held Chris Johnson to four yards rushing and knocked quarterback Jake Locker from the game, all while limiting Tennessee to 13 points. Tom Brady and the offense rolled through a very good Tennessee Titans defense en route to 34 points and an easy Week 1 win. They have one of the easiest schedules this year and get to host Arizona this week. I'm sure the Pats are frightened! LOL
4) Baltimore Ravens---The Baltimore Ravens turned a seven-point game at halftime into a 44-13 beatdown on the strength of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and a defense that looked incredible. Joe Flacco was an All-Pro Monday Night. Maybe Flacco wasn't as far off as many thought when he said he was the best quarterback in the NFL. Joe Flacco showed off his arm strength and Torrey Smith's first game in his second season was a great start for a player with breakout potential. The Ravens' "road warrior test" is this coming Sunday at Philadelphia. Last season they graded a "D" on the road.
5) Green Bay Packers---The Packers took a tumble from last week, but everybody will lose sometime this season and losing to the Niners is no embarrassment. Beaten up at home by the 49ers; can they regain last season's 15-1 magic is the only question this week. Aaron Rodgers is still absolutely phenomenal. The reigning MVP was at it again, keeping the Packers in a game that the 49ers had dominated from the get-go. Rodgers' accuracy, timing and pocket protection are in an other-wordly level. On the defensive side of the ball, Clay Matthews looked great. The Packers still have more talent than most teams in the NFL. One loss is easy to overcome. But a short week ahead to host Chicago may shock the nation if they begin 0-2.
6) Chicago Bears---The mark of a good team is that even on their worst of days, they find a way to win. The Bears didn't have their best day, especially in the first half, but they were still 20 points better than the Indianapolis Colts. Looks as though they might have an offense to go with their defense this season. Cutler to Marshall is this years motto. Matt Forte added to the rushing at +100 yards to give the Bears some balance. Now they have a "key" game against the Packers (coming off that embarrassing loss) and at Lambeau Field on a Thursday Night. Now we separate the men from the boys!
7) Dallas Cowboys---A win over the reigning Super Bowl champions is a pretty good way to start the season. Especially on the road. The offensive line did a fine job protecting Tony Romo against a front four that was hyped as the best in the game, which only sacked Romo just twice all game. Their opening win showed evidence they really might have fixed that defense. The Cowboys defense did a fine job, sacking Eli Manning three times and limiting New York's time of possession to just over 25 minutes. The bad news for America's Team were the penalties. Those are game killers that gave back 86 yards. But I'm a believer- as many saw when I put Dallas in the top 7 last week.
8) Atlanta Falcons---Looks like the formerly run-oriented Falcons are officially Matt Ryan's team. The Atlanta Falcons have found their killer instinct. On the road of all places. Anyone who watched Atlanta during Mike Mularkey's run as offensive coordinator saw a team that was too vanilla and too conservative offensively. That's gone under Dirk Koetter. Julio Jones showed everyone the speedster he is, and Julio joined Matt Ryan and the offense to embarrass KC on Sunday. Julio Jones scored twice, Ryan ran another in and the passing game in general looked as good as it ever has during Ryan's time in Atlanta. Nice homecoming welcome expected as they host Denver on MNF.
9) Denver Broncos---Peyton Manning is back. He's healthy and showed the league that the Broncos with him at the helm and their great defense will be on the front page every week. What we saw from Manning in his debut was the intelligence, timing and accuracy that's made him great. It looked like a page from the Colts days 2 years ago, when he had no defense, but they continued to win on his arms and with his leadership. When you think of the word "presence" one must vision Manning. It helped that Demaryius Thomas and the wide receivers played great. Thomas showed the playmaking skills that will make Manning more comfortable and confident in his offense. Note: This was suppose to be the revenge Game of the Century as payback time was all that everyone heard since last years first round of playoffs.
10) Washington Redskins---Robert Griffin III rookie debut, in the Superdome, couldn't have gone better. The Redskins were dominant, and even when the New Orleans Saints fought back, the team was able to fight point for point to keep their lead and win a game that no one thought they had the right of winning. Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing just seven incompletions. It was expected to be a typical New Orleans home game shootout and nobody was disappointed. The Redskins are on the road for the second straight week at St Louis and could be 2-0 before they have their home opener.
Week 2 Teams that are chasing the TOP TEN.
Some of the following teams won; but looked bad. Some of these teams lost which is no big deal in week 1 and will be back on track.
11) NY Jets--Sanchez quickly made the fans forget about Tebow and one TD in the preseason.
12) San Diego--Winning on the road at Oakland is Huge. Doing it with Norv Turner in Game 1 is monumental!
13 Detroit--They remind me of that song- The Lion Sleeps Tonight. It almost happened in real life against the Rams.
14) Philadelphia--Many picked them to win it all this year. They were lucky to just get out of Cleveland alive! More work needed. Nothing's going to matter if Michael Vick can't stop the turnovers. I keep saying- Vick is NEVER going to lead anyone to a Super Bowl win.
15) Pittsburgh---Since the start of 2011, they are 0-4 against the Ravens and Broncos, but 12-2 against the rest of the league.