Posted on: October 7, 2009 10:34 pm

NFL Week 4 Observations

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Rams... Kyle Boller reminds us that he's, well...Kyle Boller. He barely topped 100 yards passing on the day, threw zero touchdowns and one interception. This is while playing from behind the whole game. Ouch.

Speaking of bad teams... The Toilet Bowl between Tampa Bay and Washington sure lived up to the hype. How does Tampa pick off Jason Campbell 3 times, force a fumble and only put up 13 points? They're making a strong case for the worst team in the league right now.

Willis McGahee is this year's DeAngelo Williams. McGahee was drafted relatively late in drafts this year, a lot like Williams was last year. They're both in a major time share. The main difference is that, well...McGahee is doing better than Williams did last year. After only four games, McGahee already has seven touchdowns. I don't expect him to keep this up, but right now he's on track to score 28 touchdowns on the year...or eight more than league leading DeAngelo Williams last year.

Matt Cassel was the worst free agent pickup of the off season. Remember that glimmer of hope the Chiefs had in the preseason because of Cassel's arrival and a new head coach? Hard to believe there was ever any hope to begin with, at this point. Cassel was almost held to under 100 yards passing for the second straight week. Don't be surprised to see Brodie Croyle in the starting lineup in the near future. It just goes to show how important a quarterback's system and supporting cast is to his production.

The Tennessee Titans season is officially over. Every week so far this year, I gave the Titans the benefit of the doubt and picked them to win. I thought there was no way Jeff Fischer would let this team slip to 0-4 against the Jaguars. Well, I was wrong. Even if they only lose one more game the whole rest of the season, they wouldn't be a lock to make the playoffs (see Patriots last year). Only 2% of NFL teams that start out 0-4 have ever made the playoffs in the history of the NFL. Did Albert Haynesworth really mean THAT much to this team?

The Indianapolis Colts have done well...against bad teams. Before everyone starts picking the Colts to win the Super Bowl this year, remember that none of the teams they've played against so far this year have a winning record. In fact, the best team they've played so far is the 2-2 Jacksonville Jaguars that they almost lost to. Their next three weeks they play the Titans, have a bye, then play the Rams. In other words...we won't get a good idea of how good this team really is until November 1st when they play the 49ers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders. Note to anybody looking to start an expansion team...stay away from pirate names.

Brandon Marshall is your typical wide receiver diva. Did you see him run up and hug Josh McDaniels after the game? What an amazing turn around for their relationship as it seems like only a month ago he was suspended by the team for his behavior. Could it be because the team is off to a 4-0 start? Naw...

Mark Sanchez actually is a rookie quarterback! The prodigy quarterback finally showed that he's a rookie and can make rookie mistakes. In one of the biggest games this week, he threw for only 138 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions...including one for a 99 yard return for a touchdown. Don't worry, Mark...facing the Dolphins 24th ranked pass defense this week should help get you back on track.

Drew Brees is not going to break Dan Marino's yardage record this year... and that's a good thing for the Saints. If he put up that many yards it would only show how one dimensional this team is. The last two games, the Saints haven't relied on Brees at all to score points. He's been more of a distraction to help their run game than anything else. If their running game keeps up and their defense keeps playing like it is, this will be a very tough team to beat.

Darrelle Revis is the second coming of Deion Sanders. This guy is the definition of a shut down corner. Through four weeks he's been matched up against Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Justin Gage, and Marques Colston. The four of them COMBINED have put up 129 yards and no touchdowns. Mohamed Massaquoi put up 148 yards by himself this week! It's getting to the point where if ANYONE scores a touchdown on him this year, I'll be surprised.

Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch are now worthless fantasy players. Instead of giving one of these two players the majority of the carries, the Bills decided to split it right now the middle. Fred Jackson ended the game with 9 carries while Marshawn Lynch received 8. Mix that in with their terrible offensive line and inability to get a passing game going and it's not looking good for either one of these backs.

Tony Romo is more like Tony Oh-No without Owens. After a hot start in week one, Romo has been awful. He's averaged only 212 yards in the past three games and has thrown four interceptions to only one touchdown. Don't Cowboy fans miss the good old days when Romo was only bad in big games?

The Steelers play more like the Penguins... champions for three periods. The Steelers keep forgetting that there's four quarters in a football game. If they could only finish games like they start them, they'd be one of the top teams in the league right now. In week two against the Bears, the Steelers held a 7 point lead in the 4th quarter. They ended up losing that game 17-14. In week three against the Bengals, they were winning 20-9 at the start of the 4th quarter. They ended up losing that game 23-20. Now this week against the Chargers, they held an incredible 28 point lead towards the end of the 3rd quarter. They then allowed San Diego to go on a 28-7 run which put the game at 35-28. Although the Steelers pulled it out with a 38-28 victory, they can't hope for 28 point leads going into the 4th quarter every game just to have a chance anymore. This is a team that desperately misses Troy Polamalu.

Brett Favre knows the Green Bay Packers better than they know him. Every since Favre joined the Vikings, Packer fans have been talking about how well they'll do against the Vikings because of how well they know Brett Favre. At the same time, Vikings fans were talking about how well their offense was going to do because of how well Favre knew the Packers. We can't have both...so which side was right? Well, Favre went out and threw for 271 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He was also never sacked throughout the entire game. I guess that answers that question.

Braylon Edwards is the luckiest man in football. Anyone getting out of Cleveland is a lucky person, but Edwards hit the jackpot when he got sent to the Jets. Although he's had trouble hanging onto the ball and has had some off the field issues, you can't deny his talent and potential. If Mark Sanchez can develop a good rapport with Edwards by the playoffs, the Jets will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

That's all for this week. Check back for more observations every Wednesday.
Posted on: October 4, 2009 1:10 am

My Mathematically Correct Power Rankings

These are a list of power rankings I came up with that have absolutely no opinion involved. Instead, I used a mathematical equation to determine them. Here's how it works...

Offensive points + total yards + passing yards + rushing yards + points allowed + rushing yards allowed + passing yards allowed + total yards allowed. Divide this total by 8. I would then look at their records and give that a rank as well. Teams that are 3-0 received a rank of 1, 2-1 a rank of 2, 1-2 a rank of 3, and 0-3 a rank of 4. I took the sum of the first equation and added the win/loss rank to their total. The team with the lowest score is the "best" team.

For example, the Ravens are the number one ranked team. Here is their equation:

Baltimore: 2+2+5+5+11+7+17+1 = 50 / 8 = 6.25 + 1 = 7.25

The Ravens are ranked 2nd in the league in offensive points, 2nd in overall yards, 5th in passing yards, 5th in rushing yards, etc.

Here's how the they all turned out:

1. Baltimore: 7.25

2. Denver: 7.625

3. New York Giants: 8.25

4. New Orleans: 8.75

5. New England: 10.875

6. Indianapolis: 11.75

7. Philadelphia: 11.75

8. New York Jets: 12.125

9. Minnesota: 12.375

10. Dallas: 15.75

11. Pittsburgh: 16.5

12. Seattle: 16.5

13. San Diego: 16.625

14. Chicago: 18

15. San Francisco: 18.625

16. Cincinnati: 18.75

17. Green Bay: 19.125

18. Washington: 19.25

19. Tennessee: 20

20. Arizona: 21.875

21. Atlanta: 22.125

22. Jacksonville: 22.125

23. Miami: 22.25

24. Buffalo: 23

25. Houston: 25

26. Detroit: 26.5

27. Oakland: 27.125

28. Carolina: 27.25

29. Kansas City: 27.875

30. Tampa Bay: 30

31. St. Louis: 30.125

32. Cleveland: 32.875

Posted on: September 17, 2009 12:02 am

Week 1 Observations

A few observations from week one of the NFL season.

Breakouts for 3rd year WR's aren't looking good. There were a lot of prominent wide receivers entering this season that had high potential of breaking out. The 3rd year is typically when wide receivers see their biggest increase in production but this year looks like the exception to the rule. Anthony Gonzalez was a huge sleeper in drafts this year as he slipped into the starting role opposite of Reggie Wayne with Marvin Harrison retiring. Add that to this being his 3rd season and having Peyton Manning throwing to him and it's hard not to expect big things. That was, until, he hurt his knee and is out 4-6 weeks. Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs was also entering his 3rd year, had a new quarterback in Matt Cassel, and a new head coach in Todd Haley who has been known for developing wide receivers in the past. Now Matt Cassel is hurt and they fired their offensive coordinator shortly before the start of the season. He put up decent week one stats with 40 yards and a touchdown, but he's still not a sure thing by any means. Calvin Johnson was a beast already last season in his 2nd year, but now he has a rookie quarterback that threw for 205 yards, 0 TD's and 3 picks while trailing a below average Saints defense the whole game. Take away one 64 yard gain and he totaled 2 catches for 26 yards. Then there's Tedd Ginn who was barely even looked at and Steve Smith. Out of this whole group, Steve Smith of the Giants appears to be the most likely to increase his stats by the largest percentage as he was targeted 6 times, double the next best receiver.

Bad franchises are cursed. There's no other way to explain it. When you think of terrible franchises, three that stand out are Buffalo, Oakland, and Cincinnati...and look what happened. All three of these teams played well the whole game and should have won. Buffalo loses to New England on a fumbled kickoff return at the end of the game, Oakland completely dominates San Diego the entire game but the Chargers throw up a game winning touchdown with 18 seconds remaining, and the Bungals lose off a circus tip catch with 11 seconds left.

The Packers are completely different from last season. Last year, the Packers went 6-10 with a great offense and a terrible defense. This year, in comes Dom Capers, and he looks to have turned this defense around with his 3-4 scheme and aggressive style. You can credit some of their performance to how terrible Cutler performed, but you can also say the reason he played so poorly was because there was a Packer in his grill almost every play. Meanwhile, their offense looks to be declining this year. They still have enough star power with Rodgers, Jennings, Driver, and Grant to do well, but none of that matters if they don't fix their offensive line. Specifically they need help at center and right tackle. Jason Spitz just won the starting job in late August and right tackle Allen Barbre was consistently letting Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye through. The Packers have potential to do well this season, but that won't happen if they don't fix their offensive line.

The Bears season is over. You might think I'm crazy for saying anyone's season is over after one week, but it's true. It's bad enough to lose your first game against a division rival but when you lose the leader on your defense in Brian Urlacher for the season, that makes it much worse. Even more than his talent, his leadership will be missed on the field. Throw on top of that a quarterback who threw 4 interceptions and virtually no running game, and you're in trouble. If they were in almost any other division, they'd still be contenders for a playoff spot. However, in the tough NFC North, they're not going to do better than either the Vikings or the Packers this season.

The Madden Curse is real. Every year, a new Madden video game is released with a top NFL player on the cover. That player is then cursed with having a decline in production the following year, usually by an injury. If you want to read more on this, and how true it's been, check it out on Wikipedia. This years Madden has Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald on the cover. Polamalu went down with an injury that has him out 3-6 weeks. While Fitzgerald had a good outing with 71 yards and a touchdown, it's not unrealistic to see a dip in his overall production this year if Kurt Warner doesn't start looking better (or if Warner gets hurt).

Michael Turner is not a #1 fantasy running back. All off season I've been predicting Turner will bust this season. He crossed the 370 touch threshold last season and, as history suggests, he will have a sharp decline in production this year. In the last 20 years, there have been 17 running backs to cross this threshold including Turner. Of those 17 running backs, only one (Tomlinson) has come within 100 yards of their production the following year and 8 of those 17 running backs were injured. On top of that, the Falcons had one of the easiest schedules in the league last year. Most of Turner's production came from the bottom 5 defenses in the league. This year, the Falcons have one of the tougher schedules in the NFL and plan to throw more with Matt Ryan developing and Tony Gonzalez joining the team. Week one against Miami...65 yards and no touchdowns. Expect more of the same throughout the year (if he stays healthy) for Michael Turner.

Brett Favre will not end this season like he did last year. Favre had 522 passing attempts for the Jets last season. Put Favre's 21 passing attempts from week one over the course of a full season and that puts him at 336. While there will be games where he'll throw more than 21 attempts, it's obvious that Minnesota is still a run first team and will limit Favre's throws.

Jake Delhomme is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. I don't think I need to explain myself for this one.

The Super Bowl Curse will haunt the Cardinals this year. The Super Bowl Curse says that if you make it to the Super Bowl and lose, you will miss the playoffs the next season. A lot of people considered the Cardinals making the Super Bowl in itself a fluke last year, but now they've lost their offensive coordinator, Todd Haley. It was apparent that this offense isn't nearly the same unit without him and we all know Arizona can't rely on their defense to win games.

Terrell Owens and Trent Edwards are not going to be friends. For the first time in his career, Owens is on a below average team with a below average quarterback. In week one, Owens only had 2 receptions for 46 yards and was already yelling at his teammates in the huddle at the end of the game. If Buffalo gets off to a bad start, expect Owens to pout and play only as hard as he wants to.

The Patriots defense is no longer a top unit. This is a completely different defense with Richard Seymour going to the Raiders and Teddy Bruschi retiring. They made people like Trent Edwards and Fred Jackson look like pro bowlers. While the Patriots offense is still going to be formidable, it's hard to consider them Super Bowl favorites anymore.

Tony Romo doesn't need T.O. That's for sure. Any questions about this guy's ability without Owens was put to rest this week as he went off for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. He still has decent options in Roy Williams and Jason Witten to throw the ball to and an excellent running game, so don't be surprised if he ends up being a top 5 fantasy QB this year.

That's all for this week...more to come later.

-Scott Neuenfeldt
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com