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NFL Top 15 -- Week 7
by Wayne Root - 10/11/2012
1) Houston---The Texans are a solid argument for the NFL's best team, but the Jets did expose some weaknesses on special teams and in the offensive play calling in Week 5. The Texans lack the killer instinct on offense to take a lead and extend it. With the loss of Brian Cushing at LB, and an upcoming game against Green Bay, this could be the start in a shift at the Number 1 spot. I still think the way the 49ers are playing, they'd beat anyone, including this week's #1 team (or "weak #1 team").
2) San Francisco---What a great team, especially the past two weeks playing the Jets and Bills. Jim Harbaugh's team is on a tear after losing to the Minnesota Vikings, ripping off 79 points versus only three allowed in their last two games. Can you believe that QB Alex Smith is almost the highest rated QB at 108.7? He was booed and offered as trade bait only a year ago. He almost lost his job to free agent Peyton Manning a few months ago. This team has the makings of the next Super Bowl Champs.
3) Atlanta---Few teams are playing as well as the Falcons are right now, and the fact that they can win close games against the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers goes a long way in showing that this year will be different than any other under Mike Smith. With Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan in place as coordinators, these Falcons are more aggressive, more thorough, they have a better game plan. Matt Ryan is awesome with the leagues highest rated play at 112.1. The Falcons have scored 24 points or more in every game this season.
4) New England---The Pats have scored 83 points their last 2 games after losing in rare back to back games. That tells me that Tom Brady is still the man! This team has a good chance to play their remaining games to a tune of 10-1. And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....Bill Belichick and Brady reappeared. But, they do get to travel to play in Seattle this week to try to make it 3 in a row.
5) Baltimore---Wayne Root saw a letdown, a tuff environment to play (they even boo their own) and a team that hasn't sold the oddsmakers on their road game ability. So Wayne made Kansas City his Pinnacle Game of the Year last Sunday. And delivered. It's hard to complain about how Baltimore played when a few professionals expected it. The Ravens did get out of town with a W, but that was all they got away with. They just need to survive until Terrell Suggs returns (supposedly) next month. Joe Flacco was surprisingly horrible last week.
6) Chicago---What dominating back to back weeks the Bears have had crushing Dallas and Jacksonville. Between Forte, Bush or Jay Cutler, the offense is clicking. The 41 points they put on the Jags on their own turf, says a lot about the Bears O-game. Defensively, they have that side of the ball together. I bet they wish they could continue to play while they're hot, but this is their bye week.
7) Pittsburgh---As long as Big Ben gets some love from his fellow players and doesn't have to do it alone, this team has chemistry to hang in and pile up the wins. Rashard Mendenhall returned and played well offering the balance the offense needed. James Harrison and Troy Polamalu's name recognition puts fear in to their opponents minds. All the Steelers need to do is to hang in and be healthy for the playoffs which may prove to be a huge task as seven of their starters on defense are older than 30.
8) Minnesota---Who would have thought that the Vikings would be one field goal away from a perfect 5-0 start? Let's give props and early lead for Coach of the Year to Leslie Frazier. Christian Ponder is the anti-egomaniac Quarterback running and managing the offense. He's backed by a very determined AND healthy Adrian Peterson. And their defense may be one of the best. Let's see how they respond to week 6 on the road at Washington.
9) Green Bay---It seems that an immediate turn-around occurred last Sunday when Cedric Benson went down. But for a good team, with a proven leader, they still should have managed a win. Now they've lost 2 close games they should have won. Forget about week 1 vs. San Francisco, it's the Seahawks and Colts they'll be remembering if they miss the playoffs. They need a superhuman effort this week as they face the Houston Texans.
10) New York Giants---With the score 17-7 and Cleveland leading, the Giants (never to panic) went to their run game. The final score was Giants 41-27. The Giants are a difficult team to figure out from week to week. They know how to win. The are survivors as seen last season. Let's see which team shows up this Sunday as they get to play the best; the 49ers.
THESE TEAMS ARE LOOKING TO MOVE INTO THE TOP TEN
11) St Louis---The Rams did what the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles could not: They beat the Cardinals.
12) Arizona---One loss to the St. Louis Rams won't end the Arizona Cardinals' season, but it does give the rest of the NFL a blueprint for beating the Cardinals.
13) Denver---The Broncos may prove that all you need is defense and an improving Peyton Manning
14) Cincinnati---The Bengals have no consistency on either side of the ball. They might even lose to a desperate and hungry Browns team if they continue at this pace.
15) Philadelphia---It's good to be in the NFC East. All 4 teams are almost the same in terms of talent. It's a "last man standing" race!