NFL Goes Awol: Drew’s Review Week 5

NFC

1. SEAHAWKS – I won’t overreact to a loss on the road to IND. The Colts are legit. They humiliated SF in their own building, but Seattle stuck around until the end of the fourth. Their rushing attack and defense will continue to dominate, and they will use this loss as fuel to build strength. Tennessee is in for a long day in Seattle on Sunday.

2. SAINTS – This Payton and Ryan team is on a roll. Offensively they’re as good as they’ve been. Top ten in the league in scoring, third downs, and red zone. The scary thing is that their defense is shutting down. They pressure the QB very well and keep points off the board. If this defense is legit (and it’s looking like it) we could have a Super Bowl contender in New Orleans. They’re tested once again in Foxboro this weekend.

3. BEARS – A tough loss at home to NO hurts, being it the second consecutive game. If they win that game they’re up there at #2. They only lost by a TD to a team that is proving to be a contender. Chicago is still lead by veterans and they’re putting up huge numbers on offense. Stats may not agree, but their tough defense is always producing prominent field position, so the yards aren’t there but the points are. They lost a DT and some secondary injuries are lingering, so a win could really boost morale here.

4. PACKERS – This is a weird team for me. Aaron Rodgers is still great. Everyone on offense is getting significant touches and producing. They’re running game is FIFTH best in the league… that’s right. They’re also scoring as much as ever and are phenomenal against the run. BUT, they’ve lost two games against playoff contenders. Yes, both on the road but their only wins are Washington and their last win wasn’t impressive. The Lions were horrible on offense without Calvin and the rushing attack was non-existent. The game was within a touchdown into the fourth. If Clay misses time they could be in a deep one.

5. COWBOYS – Tony Romo is one of the best. If you didn’t see that on Sunday you’re a mild NFL fan and a POS critic. He almost outplayed Manning (and they both threw STUPID interceptions with the game in heat) until of course the very last second. This offense is insane with Murray back, and once Austin is healthy, Wow. It’s like Romo is cursed. He ALWAYS has games of brilliance, but the play that matters the most, he can’t deliver. The ‘clutch’ aspect as we can see may not be there. But this guy is fun to watch.

6. 49ERS – This team needs to just stick to their identity. Power running and beat teams up on defense. They found a little groove but there are still clear issues. I’m still going to say that I don’t think this team will meet the hype. They have no consistent production at WR. They’re not as physically gifted as Crabtree who can get separation and Colin isn’t that accurate. He struggles to throw against man coverage, and gets happy feet in the pocket. With Willis and Aldon missing time, they’re in for a tough road to the playoffs.

7. FALCONS – The only way this team is going to survive is through Steven Jackson. Julio Jones is done for the year, Roddy is ailing, and they’re 1 – 4. Hopefully Jackson can run through wonders these next few weeks to try and salvage the season, but will Roddy return in time to create the balance they’ll need? Do they trade Gonzalez? It’s not looking great.

8. LIONS – The addition of Reggie Bush has been amazing so far. His backup isn’t too bad either. Detroit can flat out score in any way but their defense still needs help. They had a chance to tie GB early in the fourth, let’s see what they do against a solid Browns team.

9. EAGLES – A beautiful offense needs a beautiful defense badly. They score almost at will but they also can’t stop anyone. With Vick hurt we’re not sure if the offense will sustain, although Foles finished the game very well. They took out the Giants so there’s a chance in beating a young Glennon, but that defense is stout.

10. REDSKINS – For some reason I still have high hopes for this team, but maybe I’m crazy. I think Alfred Morris has real talent and they should continue to ride that run game with RG3 making plays beside him. That will help the defense some, but maybe not enough to carry them to the top 6.

11. BUCS – From what I’ve seen from Glennon, he could be a solid starter in the NFL. It seems that every young QB is playing well so early in their NFL years. He has a great defense to back him up and all the weapons on offense to compete. Let’s see what he can do.

12. CARDINALS – Arizona needs to find their RB fast, or find a timeshare that works. Their defense is pretty sound with playmakers like Mathieu and Peterson over the top. Daryl Washington is back and is already dominating. Can Carson make it happen finally?

13. PANTHERS – Cam isn’t turning the ball over, their defense has vastly improved with Kuechly, they’re running well and everyone on offense is getting production. They just keep losing.

14. VIKINGS – A QB carousel is always scary. Especially if none of them are truly proven in the league. Good thing they have AP. Just give it to him. Always. Seriously. He’s that good. Your QB’s aren’t.

15. GIANTS – The offensive line is completely down. Injuries are everywhere. Andre Brown, David Wilson, Stevie Brown and a new MLB. It might be time to look to next season.

16. RAMS – Sam Bradford is playing very well to start the season. Efficient. That’s all they’ve got. They have the worst offensive coordinator in the league. Tavon Austin is irrelevant and they have no idea who their starting RB is. Trouble is setting in.

AFC

1. BRONCOS – This offense is brilliant. Peyton Manning really does it all. They throw deep, intermediate and short. The run down your throat and bounce it outside, and their screen game is outstanding. They’ve shown they can outscore any offense like Dallas but can they win ALL those games? They’ve yet to face an elite defense so we’ll let those games answer all the questions. It gets interesting down the stretch facing KC, NE, KC, TEN consecutively, then HOU in 16. The most intriguing game to me though, this Monday Night at the Colts. Talk about storylines.

2. PATRIOTS – They’re 4-1 without Gronk, Amendola and a run game. They’re only #2 because the Broncos are playing insanely well. Aqib Talib is playing lights out, making every WR he faces work for catches. When Gronk returns it will help tremendously for Ridley to find running lanes, and the offense will be back to normal. They hope its sooner than later.

3. COLTS – Another great performance by Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano. This team is always extremely prepared on Gameday. Luck is on the road to becoming an elite player very soon. So intelligent, So poise and confident. Teams keep underestimating this guy in the pocket and moving with his feet. He delivers every week and is a perfect leader for this team or ANY team. The whole league is turning into a passing frenzy while the Colts are a little different. Like the Seahawks and Niners, the Colts are building tough. They’re physical in the trenches on both sides with power running and controlling the clock. They have trouble stopping the run but they don’t give up points, 6th in the NFL in points allowed. Watch out for this squad.

4. BENGALS – This roster has it all. There are veterans in the secondary that make plays on the ball. Great against the run and can create pressure on the QB. They have all the offensive weapons they need with great coaches in Marvin Lewis, Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, but Andy Dalton still struggles with accuracy and timing. The win against the Patriots was big, but again, NE was without Gronk, Ridley and fully healthy Amendola. I’ll wait to see what Cincinnati can do down the road.

5. CHIEFS – What a statement KC has made through these 5 weeks. Andy Reid is the man. Jamaal Charles is having a great year, and is the only one in my eyes that could end up in the MVP voting. Alex Smith is as solid as ever but still doesn’t really take shots downfield. Almost none. It’s hard to see this lasting that way especially when the top 4 teams can each put up 30. Their defense is very underrated and if they can get homefield advantage behind DEN, things will get very interesting.

6. RAVENS – There were questions about this defensive squad before the season when they lost Lewis and Reed, but defense is actually winning Baltimore some games. As usual, very tough against the run but also making it hard to find success throwing with Lardarius Webb back. Ray Rice has struggled early, but isn’t much more to blame than his blockers up front. They’re moving the ball through the air but also killing drives with so many INT’s. Flacco can only do so much. He needs Ray Rice to be Superman since Boldin isn’t there to make him look good anymore.

7. TEXANS – A QB change could be coming and that could really set this team back. They did make the playoffs without Schaub, but a repeat with that route is highly unlikely. They have all the pieces, just getting subpar play with their commanders behind center. Which QB on the roster will bring them to the playoffs this year, IF at all?

8. DOLPHINS – Tannehill is sort of lost behind the shadows of Luck, Wilson and RG3 but is really playing just as well. They’re really leaning on his arm to win games while they try to find production on the ground. The defense isn’t helping much, and who knows which Mike Wallace will show up on Sundays. They’ve shown they can compete beating IND and ATL, but they’ve also recently lost two in a row. Miami looks to bounce back against a new QB in Buffalo.

9. BROWNS – Even without Trent Richardson the Browns are still tough to beat. It seems they can win with any QB. They do have very dangerous weapons with Josh Gordon and promising rookie Jordan Cameron. Mcgahee is a great addition to get positive runs and pass blocking, and their defense is top 3 and LEGIT.

10. TITANS – The loss of Jake Locker was heartbreaking. They will have to lean on Chris Johnson who is having a nice season. If they can keep playing great defense there’s a shot here. Hopefully Fitzpatrick still has some of the magic that we’ve seen before. Juuust a little bit.

11. CHARGERS – I really want to like this team. I love what Mike McCoy has done with this offense, but they’re giving up too many points. Rivers can’t keep carrying this team. He’s looking like an elite QB with Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal and rookie Keenan Allen out wide. Mathews has been solid early and can maybe keep opposing offenses off the field with his legs.

12. JETS – I’m loving what I see from New York so far. Who would have thought this defense would be this good this year. You can’t find ANY running room against them and Cromartie is having another Pro Bowl year. So many negative things were said about Geno Smith before the year but I think he’s playing a lot better than people think. He has had his rookie mistakes but all rookies do. He stands tough in the pocket to deliver throws and can make plays with his feet. He throws a beautiful seam pass which not a lot of young QBs are doing. Smith also throws picks but then has a game of 3TDs in the dome in ATL which was his third 4th quarter game winning drive this year! I can’t wait to move this team up in rankings when everyone thought the worst for this team coming into the year.

13. STEELERS – Le’Veon Bell is back and made a huge statement in his first game with two TDs. If you saw the play versus the Vikings where Bell lowered his shoulder into a tackler and crushed that defenders hopes and dreams faster than the snap of an ACL, you now understand why they drafted him. Run Bell, let Ben throw downfield. C’mon Todd Haley.

14. RAIDERS – Their defense isn’t the best but they’re big and strong, and solid against the run. Pryor can make plays, throwing and running. A supplemental draft player creating highlights left and right. Hey, this kid was a STAR at a big time college (Ohio State) and was very well-coached. I’d like to see him succeed in this league.

15. BILLS – Injuries hit Buffalo pretty bad. E.J. Manuel was beloved by their fans immediately and what’s not to like? He was playing so well and will now sit for a month or so, leaving the reigns to Thad Lewis and/or Jeff Tuel. They’re running well but it doesn’t help that C.J. Spiller is in and out of practices and games with ailing injuries. If that continues, hopes may fall quickly in Buffalo.

16. JAGUARS – Twelve different times I saw Jacksonville ignore MJD in the red zone and goal-line plays against the Rams on Sunday. They can’t get anything going on offense and they continue to ignore MJD. Just trade him if you’re too stupid to use him.

Here’s another picture of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, just for fun.