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NFL Week 3 -- Top 10
by Wayne Root - 09/19/2012
1) San Francisco 49ers---The NFC North teams, Packers and Lions, could not move the ball against the 49ers. And that's bad for the rest of the NFC as that division is the best in the NFC Conference. And the news only gets worst for the rest of the league. San Francisco now also has an incredible offense. Alex Smith is the micro-manager to Mike Crabtree and Frank Gore and 5 other receivers. And throw in Kendall Hunter and Vernon Davis and this might be the team to challenge the 72 Dolphins! San Francisco is 15-3 in the regular season under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers don't have any obvious weaknesses.
2) Houston Texans---As of week 3, this is the leading team to meet the 49ers in the Super Bowl. And with the talent on this team, it will be worth the wait while we get to watch the Texans play. The Texans are not only the AFC's best and most talented, but they're a complete team with the balance to win on the ground, in the air or when the offense can't generate big points. The combination of a potent, balanced offense and a defense that's tough and disciplined will make Houston damn-near impossible to beat this season. The Texans are breezing through an easy schedule for what should be a 14-win season. They face a test this week at Denver.
**Important to note in media interviews I picked San Fran vs Houston to meet in Super Bowl.
3) Green Bay Packers---That's more like it. Our preseason No. 1 took out its frustrations on division rival Chicago. The Pack never left. Losing Game 1 to the 49ers was only a waking call to a sleeping giant. They bounced back by crushing the Bears. Aaron Rodgers kicked butt; not the Bears but his own offense. The protection up front was much improved, and even the run game was able to generate an impact. When the offense is firing, no one can stop Green Bay. The Packers can't be overlooked as a Super Bowl contender. Even if many fans wanted to overreact and freak out after a Week 1 loss, the Packers showed this week why they're a top team in the NFL right now. Green Bay gets the MNF spotlight as they play in Seattle.
4) New England Patriots---Let's assume for this week that the Arizona game was played as a "look ahead" contest to this weeks meeting of the two AFC favorites. A home loss to Arizona either will be a wake-up call or the beginning of the Patriots' demise. New England needs to put that loss behind them and prepare for the Baltimore road game. Losing back-to-back with Tom Brady is a rarity. The only thing the Patriots need to do to win this week is find their offensive line and give Brady the protection he needs to be the play master.
5) Baltimore Ravens---Joe Flacco is taking less "flack" than prior years as he's becoming the quarterback he's supposed to be. The Ravens need to incorporate Ray Rice in their game plan and establish the run. Baltimore needs to give Rice the ball after giving him a big contract this summer. Then Joe can pick the opponents defense apart. The inconsistency is coming from the O-Coordinator, not Flacco. The Ravens defense looks good. The ravens should have beaten the Eagles last week soundly, but the 2nd half they looked confused on what they were doing. Now the simple game plan this week is Rice first, pass second and play smart hard hitting pressure defense all at home and sent Brady and the patriots packing.
6) Atlanta Falcons---Two starts, two solid games by the higher than normal flying Falcons. Mike Nolan's defense made a statement against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Falcons looked sharp, picking off Manning three times in the first quarter and forcing another fumble in front of the home crowd and the MNF audience. This is a team talented enough to win the division--and more. But with the saints losing, the falcons need to worry about letdowns as they are not being challenged and pushed by New Orleans...at this moment. Atlanta travels to San Diego; a team I can't remember being 2-0 to start the season so it could be a wild and wooly match-up.
7) Philadelphia Eagles---The Eagles should be 0-2. Cleveland and Baltimore gave them games. Last year's Vick led team would have lost both games so for now, let's give Vick some slack and some credit. Michael Vick hasn't been great, but LeSean McCoy has been. Good teams win even when they're not at their best, and the Eagles we saw in the first half of Week 2 were far from their best. Andy Reid's squad came out ready to roll in the second half and showed what type of team this can be. The defense looks fantastic. If they stop turning it over, the Birds can be as good as anyone. Let's see how they play an undefeated Cardinals team on the road this Sunday.
8) Detroit Lions---The Lions have nothing to be ashamed of by losing on the road to San Francisco. That may happen 7 more times to teams that play there. But it could have been prevented had they managed to have a running attack. The offense hasn't really clicked yet, but the 49ers' defense had a lot to do with that Sunday night. The 49ers safeties then would have had to move up and Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson catches would have been played of the highlight reels. Stafford goes DEEP and Johnson brings it in for a TD. The safeties were caught sleeping...but maybe that will happen this week as Detroit travels to play Tennessee.
9) Pittsburgh Steelers---The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped a tough loss on the road in Week 1, but they rebounded with a punch to the face of the New York Jets. Now the team sits at 1-1, tied for first in the AFC North and in good position to establish themselves as the team to beat in the division. Ben Roethlisberger is going to carry this offense until the Steelers can establish a running game. The offensive line needs to do 2 things: give Ben protection and at the same time, open up holes to get the running game established. The Steelers defense looks very good even with James Harrison out. Pittsburgh has a very dangerous test this week so they need to prepare and not take playing an 0-2 Oakland Raiders team on the road lightly.
10) San Diego Chargers---Give Norv the contract extension; his Chargers teams is 2-0!!! The Chargers couldn't have had a better start to a make-or-break year for the coach. It’s tough to get a read on this team after two week. The San Diego Chargers’ ranking is partially due to preseason expectations and partially due to their play thus far. That play hasn't been great, but good enough that you have to consider whether the first two games were just meant to happen as they are bad teams in the Raiders and Titans. But, we get to know the Chargers this week somewhat as they play host to Atlanta; a 2-0 team with talent.
Others ready to move up after this week and replace Top Ten Teams!!
11) New York Giants---The champs barely avoided an 0-2 start, thanks to Eli Manning. Pass rush anybody??
12) Denver Broncos---It could take a while, but Denver still has an opportunity to be very good despite its turnover-filled debacle against Atlanta. Three TO's to start a game??
13) Chicago Bears---Good Jay, bad Jay. The Bears go as Cutler goes, and he doesn't handle Green Bay well. Always inconsistent.
14) Arizona Cardinals---The Cardinals are looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1974, well before the team moved to Arizona for 1988 season. Can they beat Vick this week? If they do, they move into my Top 10!
15) Dallas Cowboys---They were pushed around and beaten up in Seattle. The memory of a big Week 1 win faded quickly. Too long of a layoff between games. Home opener in Jerry's House this Sunday...and they better play well for him, or heads will roll.