Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NFL Week 4 Review

Another crazy week of comebacks in the NFL. It is getting to the point where you can't turn off a game at halftime if your team is down by double digits. Lots of teams made a statement this week. Some for the better, some for the worse. Lets get into the Review. And at the end, POWER RANKINGS!!!

Team of the Week: San Francisco 49ers
-At 3-1, the 49ers may have already clinched the NFC West. Seattle and Arizona each have one win. St. Louis has none. I thought the 49ers were the worst team in that division before the season. Now they have a two game advantage. The team has a poor offensive line, but Frank Gore found holes and was able to gash a weak Eagles front seven. Alex Smith still isn't a good QB, but if the team relies on Frank Gore heavily then it can hide Smith's inabilities to play QB in the NFL. The 49ers defense made some key plays in this game to contain Mike Vick and the Eagles. It's a big win for a franchise that has been down in recent years. The 49ers have two big games coming up, hosting Tampa Bay then going to Detroit, so it will be interesting to see how they perform against two top teams in the NFC.

Game of the Week: NY Giants 31  Arizona 27
-It was tough for me to pick a Game of the Week this week as I didn't think any one game really stood out. But this one was pretty good and close before the Cardinals went up 10, but then the Giants came back and took the lead, albeit on a controversial call. Victor Cruz "gave himself up" on a first down catch even though he was apparently never touched down. The referees ruled that the play was not challengeable, but I think it was a bad call. The whistle was blown way too quickly. The Cardinals blew a golden opportunity to make a statement in the NFC West, while the Giants took a big step to staying on top in the NFC East. It may be the Giants division to lose with both the Eagles and Cowboys struggling. Good Eli Manning has shown up two weeks in a row, and that is a good sign for Giants fans.

Goat of the Week: Tony Romo
-Congratulations go out to Tony Romo for winning this award twice in the first four weeks. The Cowboys were up big in this one, but Romo threw two bad picks that were returned for touchdowns, and it took all of the momentum out of the Cowboys sails. The Boys are now 2-2, but they could just as easily be 0-4. Romo better get things right and quickly. They beat the Redskins on all field goals, and they barely beat the 49ers in overtime. This was suppose to be a better team with everyone back healthy this year, but there may be more questions then they wished they have.

Other Week 4 Notes
-Lots of injuries in Week 4. The most significant? The Patriots losing LB Jerrod Mayo for 4-6 weeks. The Pats defense was already weak, and losing their best player will not help matters. The Patriots are already a one dimensional team on offense, and they will pretty much have absolutely no defense for the next few weeks with Mayo gone. The Pats did a surprisingly good job holding the Raiders to 19 points, but they need to hope that more teams don't take advantage of their poor secondary. The Patriots worked on improving their run game against Oakland, now they need to get their defense on the right track.

-If I'm Pittsburgh, I'm worried about my lack of productivity on offense the last few weeks. They have one big play TD against Indianapolis, and this week against Houston they were only able to score ten points. Now both Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall are facing injury concerns. The defense was the concern in Week One, but they have played better since then. If Big Ben and/or Mendenhall are out extended periods of time, it could mean trouble for the Steelers already slow offense. And having no offensive line doesn't help matters.

-Hopefully, that was more of a wake up call than a reality check for the Bills. The Bills weren't going to win every game, but this Cincinnati one was one they were supposed to win. The Bengals just out muscled them on both sides of the ball. Being 3-1 is still a great thing for Buffalo. I was thinking 2-2 at best through the first four games. The offense needs to get back to form and the defense can't give up big plays against rookies like A.J. Green, or give up a drive like they did that allowed Cincinnati to win the game. The Bills have two tough games coming up, home against Philadelphia and at the NY Giants. A split in those two games would be just what they need.

-The star is clearly off of Mark Sanchez in New York. He looked dreadful last night against Baltimore. I was never a believer in Sanchez, even after the Jets playoff run last year. I didn't think he could lead a team to a Super Bowl, and he is proving that point right now. The Jets need to get back to what they are good at: running the football. Give the ball to Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson and let them gain yards on the ground. Mark Sanchez hasn't shown he can win a football game if he is being leaned on yet. The Jets may be in more trouble than they realize this year. A trip to New England next week will not make matters any easier.

Hey, I'm Just Sayin...
-Could even The Avengers stop the Packers offense?

-Is it the Rams schedule or are they just not as good as people thought?

-I told you Matt Hasselbeck still had something left. Didn't I? No? Are you sure?

-Are the Chiefs really happy they won this week? Now they fall behind in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.

-Christian Ponder, come on down! You're the next contestant on: Give the Vikings fans a reason to still watch this season!

-Will the Lions star fade in prime time next week?

1. Green Bay Packers (4-0)- If you look up unstoppable in the dictionary, a picture of Aaron Rodgers may indeed be in there.

2. Detroit Lions (4-0)- They may have stolen the title of "America's Team" from Dallas this week. They are currently America's Sweethearts. Calvin Johnson is a beast.

3. New Orleans Saints (3-1)- The Saints could easily be 4-0. The offense is playing great and the defense is putting pressure on the QB.

4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)- They had a hicc-up at Tennessee, but otherwise the defense has shown up and the offense hasn't done anything to cost them any games yet.

5. Houston Texans (3-1)- That was a big win for Houston against Pittsburgh, but now they need to hope Andre Johnson isn't hurt too seriously.

6. San Diego Chargers (3-1)- The Chargers have done a good job of avoiding their typical September slow start. Now they need to hold off a talented Raiders team.

7. Tennessee Titans (3-1)- The Titans have surprised me, and many others this year. There next two games are huge tests: at Pittsburgh and home to Houston with a bye week in between.

8. Buffalo Bills (3-1): The Bengals were simply more physical. This team still has the tools on offense to hang with anyone. They just won't surprise others anymore.

9. New England Patriots (3-1)- I may have them low, but their defense will be a huge liability in the coming weeks with the loss of Jerrod Mayo.

10. New York Giants (3-1)- The good Eli Manning has shown up the last few weeks. Maybe Bad Eli has finally been put to rest?

11. Washington Redskins (3-1)- You have to be concerned about Rex Grossman's play the last two games. The Skins won't be here long if he continues to play this bad.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)- They're winning ugly, but they are still wins. If the Bucs played a team with a better defense Monday, then they would have gotten destroyed.

13. San Francisco 49ers (3-1)- They pretty much control their own destiny now in the NFC West. Jim Harbaugh has these guys playing some decent football. If only they had a decent QB.

14. Atlanta Falcons (2-2)- The offense finally played a good game this week, but the defense was beaten by a bad Seahawks team. That has to be a concern.

15. Chicago Bears (2-2)- They've lost to 2 of the best teams in the NFC, and both weren't close. Now they have to go to a red hot Detroit team on Monday night.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)- The offense is a major concern for this team, especially the line. You have to wonder if Big Ben can make it through the hole season healthy.

17. Oakland Raiders (2-2)- Fans probably wish they showed more of a fight against New England. They can't keep kicking themselves with stupid penalties.

18. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)- The defense is playing really tough. If the offense plays like they did in the 2nd half against Buffalo, they could be dangerous.

19. New York Jets (2-2)- I had questions about this team before the season started. Mark Sanchez is proving me right, he's not a franchise QB.

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)- They have a bye week to recover from Tony Romo Collapse Part 2. And get healthy. This ship needs to get righted quickly.

21. Cleveland Browns (2-2)- They disappeared in what should have been a statement game against Tennessee. The offense is struggling.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)- The Miami Heat struggled early on, but they play an 82 game season. These guys only have 12 games left.

23. Carolina Panthers (1-3)- They're fighting, showing promise, and keeping games interesting. That's all you could ask for from such a young team.

24. Seattle Seahawks (1-3)- They almost pulled off a huge upset against Atlanta. Their home field advantage will keep them in most home games.

25. Arizona Cardinals (1-3)- This team is better than their record shows. Now the defense needs to start playing up to par.

26. Denver Broncos (1-3)- Are the Tim Tebow murmurs getting to this team? You would have to think that they are a distraction.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)- They've only scored 39 points in four games. That's the struggles you go through with a rookie QB.

28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)- They finally won a game, but there appears to be some problems growing between Todd Haley and Matt Cassel.

29. Indianapolis Colts (0-4)- The Colts have been competitive the last couple games. The defense was gashed late on Monday night, which is one of the main problems.

30. St. Louis Rams (0-4)- Injuries and a brutal schedule have crippled this team, and things don't appear to be getting any better.

31. Minnesota Vikings (0-4)- Look at the positive: At least they didn't blow a double digit second half lead against Kansas City.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-4)- Gut call: Next year, this team will be run by Bill Cowher and quarterbacked by Andrew Luck.

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
Green Bay vs Atlanta: Falcons haven't forgotten the Divisional Round Playoffs from last year
NY Jets vs New England: Patriots haven't forgotten the Divisional Round Playoffs from last year
Philadelphia vs Buffalo: Bills can't lose two in a row, but the Eagles can't fall to 1-4. What gives?

That's all from me today.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

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