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NFL Top 10 -- Week 5
by Wayne Root - 10/03/2012
1) Houston---The Texans are a great example of team-building and trusting your coordinators to do their jobs. Wade Phillips has been a Godsend for the Houston defense, and with him taking control Gary Kubiak has been able to focus on the offense. The Texans have a very talented roster, but J.J. Watt is the anchor for this team and a key reason the team is the AFC's Super Bowl favorite right now. The Houston Texans are the best of the NFL's 4-0 teams and arguably the best overall team in the NFL right now. Watt is a QB's worse nightmare, and Schaub and Foster have the offensive side covered.
2) San Francisco---Last week's final score told the whole story. Final score of 34-0 on the road playing in the Jets home town hanger. It was suggested here last week that the 49ers needed to go back and re-start and re-think. The 49ers won by going back to the basics of what they do so well—running the ball and setting the tempo for the game with hard-hitting plays on both sides of the ball. The key to that is Frank Gore. The San Francisco 49ers proved this week that their Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings wasn't a sign of things to come. With a knockout win this week, the 49ers stay at No. 2 overall, despite the Falcons having a better overall record.
3) Atlanta---Matt Ryan has been the catalyst to everything the Falcons have done on their way to a perfect 4-0 record. There is no better example of that than his play in Week 4. Ryan started the game poorly, throwing an early interception that allowed the Carolina Panthers to build momentum. He shook it off and went on to throw for 369 yards and three touchdowns. No throw was bigger than his 70-yard bomb to Roddy White from his own 1-yard line, trailing by one point with 59 seconds left on the clock. Granted, the Falcons took full advantage of a Cam Newton mis-cue but that's what good teams do.
4) Baltimore---The Ravens went through the motions last Thursday and beat the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens are winning- their 3-1 record tied for second best in the AFC. The defense is still hard-hitting and fueled by the strong play of Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb. What's different is that more than ever before, the Ravens are an offensive team. Ray Rice is still Ray Rice—and that's pretty damn good. The most pleasant surprise has been second-year man Torrey Smith, the team's MVP and spark after four weeks. Joe Flacco has played his best ball at quarterback, and while he still makes the occasional bad throw, Flacco has been good enough to win. It's still a Ray Lewis defense that holds the team together week after week no mater how old the media portrays them to be.
5) Green Bay---The Packers really proved how mentally tough they are after that outright theft in Seattle and then trailing the Saints and having to fight back to avoid dipping to a 1-3 record. A 2-2 record this time of the year is so manageable. Clay Matthews finally gives the opponents something to worry about with his seven sacks thru the first four games. If their defense has improved, it's his spark and effort. We know that Aaron Rodgers is the King Packer but for now, props to Matthews.
6) New England---This is a great challenge for Coach Billichick this year. He loses to Arizona at home, then experiences a back to back loss in Baltimore and then goes on the road and finds himself trailing 21-7. Well, 45 second half points later, his team is 2-2. This type of inconsistent play will leave the Oddsmakers and players perplexed for the next few weeks. My suggestion; do not play on or against the Patriots with out first checking with this Professional Handicapper. You can bet I'll have the game-plan and practice reports along with the thinking coming out of the Oddmakers office.
7) Arizona---I am one to believe Kevin Kolb is back. He was great with Philadelphia. The Cards gave him 63 Million last season but he hurt his toe in week one. He then tried to play thru that injury piling up losses and losing confidence. Then in week 7 he received a concussion because of his lack of mobility. He then lost his starting job in pre-season. This guy will only get better and the organization has given him the offensive weapons. Meanwhile, the defense is one of the best in the NFL and their special team are the best in the league. Who knows, maybe they can even beat the 49ers at home this year. But first things first, Jeff Fisher and the St Louis Rams in Primetime Thursday football.
8) Philadelphia---No turn-overs in week 4 and the Eagles soared to a hard fought win over the New York Giants. Let's get the obvious out of the way. Do these three names ring a bell on defense? Jason Babin at defensive end, DeMeco Ryans at middle linebacker and fellow defender, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. These players are ringing plenty of offensive players bells!! Now back to the offense. Don't get too excited that Vick had no turn-overs. He can and will at any given moment. He's not a great thinker and not a great passer. So when will Andy Reid start to use LeSean McCoy more to establish the run and take some heat off Vick so he throws and runs less? Are you listening Coach???
9) Cincinnati---This is a crucial week for the Bengals. This is when they usually have their letdown. They won on the road last week and now come home to play a mediocre team. Let's see if the Coaching staff prepares them about this. I will be monitoring everything coming out of their practice sessions this week. Meanwhile, it's all about Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Their defense can only get better and it's very good right now. For the remainder of the season, coaching will really play a role as this is a very young team.
10) Chicago---With the Bears winning at Dallas, they overtake the Broncos and nudged them out of the top ten and this was clearly a Jerry Jones beating at every level embarrassing him, their Coach and the entire team!! Congrats to the Bears. With the Vikings winning and the Pack back to 2-2, the Bears needed a win to remain tied for first place in the NFC North. It would have been too humorous to see the Viking at the top. It looks like Cutler to Brandon Marshall will pay dividends. Urlacker, Peppers and CB Tim Jennings are getting the defense to gel. This team can go far as long as they can reel in Jay Cutler and his antics.
THESE TEAMS ARE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!
11) Denver---Beating Oakland at home is nice, warm and fuzzy. Let's see how you do at New England.
12) New Your Giants---As long as you have Eli Manning and plenty of games left to play, you'll be OK.
13) Minnesota---I am one of the few that thinks that Ponder at QB manages the team to perfection as a role player.
14) Pittsburgh---It seems that through week 4, Ben Roethlisberger is the entire team. Their week 4 bye might have helped.
15) San Diego---Their record may say 3-1, but this is not your typical 3-1 team. We'll see how they play this week in New Orleans.