SPORTS YAPP: Thoughts and Power Rankings

Ten Things We’re Yappin’ About

1. The Carolina Panthers are a tough team every single week to beat, but they can’t seem to pull out the wins. Cam Newton has brought new life to the franchise and has helped make the Panthers’ games one of the most entertaining games each week. They always have a chance in the fourth quarter, but the more veteran teams routinely find a way to seal the victory.

2. The Green Bay Packers are clearly the best team in the league. I wondered if their motivation and drive would be the same as last year, but I’m convinced they’re even more focused and determined. Aaron Rodgers completes passes each week that I can’t even comprehend.

3. Speaking of the Packers, did you see the jerseys they wore on Sunday? I’m not a huge “jersey guy,” and I’m more concerned about football than fashion, but I have to admit I like old school jerseys. It let’s everyone remember the history of the team and may trigger memories of former players and coaches. Some of the new jerseys are too cute. Just stick to the classics.

4. The 49ers and Lions game was great, especially the ending. It’s not good for coaches to have a “scuffle” during the handshake, but it certainly adds to the storyline and potential rivalry between Coach Harbaugh and Coach Schwartz. There is a good chance they meet each other again in the playoffs, which would be fantastic. Coaches do need to have better self-control and class after a game, and I personally didn’t think that Coach Harbaugh did anything that deserved Coach Schwartz to go after him…but either way, I’m hoping they meet again.

5. I’ve been really intrigued with how well the young quarterbacks across the league have been playing. Andy Dalton has helped the Bengals win three in a row, Blaine Gabbert has kept the Jaguars in games, Cam Newton is putting up huge numbers, and Christian Ponder was sharp late in the game against the Bears last night. Even Curtis Painter played pretty well yesterday.

6. The Eagles finally won again, but I was surprised they didn’t capitalize more on the four interceptions they forced against Rex Grossman. The best play of the day was when LeSean McCoy celebrated a great run by punching his coach in the gut. It was hilarious to see Andy Reid’s reaction.

7. Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Steelers, gives the best press conference interviews every week. He’s so passionate that it’s hard to tell if he just won or lost.

8. I’m really surprised that Rex Grossman, Alex Smith and Jason Campbell began the season as their team’s starting quarterbacks. Rex Grossman helped the Redskins get a couple early-season victories, but now he’s playing like he used to and might lose his starting gig. Alex Smith may not be putting up huge numbers for the 49ers, but he is playing well enough for the team to be 5-1. Jason Campbell got injured yesterday, but he has helped restart the Raiders’ offense this year. All three have had up and down careers, and I’m curious to see how this season turns out for all of them.

9. Finally, the Bengals traded Carson Palmer.  I think Palmer will be really good in Oakland.

10. Predicting the AFC South champion is usually easy because of the Colts. But not this year. I pick the Texans to pull it off even though they’re 3-3.

Week 6 Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodgers puts on a show every week. It’s not unrealistic to wonder if they can go undefeated.

2. Baltimore Ravens- I think the Ravens are the best team in the AFC. Ray Rice is a top running back that can hurt opposing defenses in so many different ways.

3. New England Patriots- Many people thought the Cowboys would knock them off this weekend (me included), but the Patriots continue to role. The Patriots are now 2-0 against the “Ryan Brothers,” too.

4. San Francisco 49ers- Jim Harbaugh is Coach Of The Year at this point. He’s brought such an inspiring and positive attitude to the organization.

5. Detroit Lions- They probably should have held on to the lead against the 49ers, but one loss may be beneficial for them. They were starting to get a lot of attention, and this loss can be a mini wake up call.

6. New Orleans Saints- Drew Brees has been such a clutch quarterback in New Orleans, but he was the opposite of that down the stretch against the Bucs. No need to panic, but it was surprising.

7. Oakland Raiders- They held on to get the win despite Jason Campbell going down and a Cleveland onside kick. They’ve continued to impress me this season. They will keep rolling with Carson Palmer now.

8. Buffalo Bills- Ryan Fitzpatrick took the blame for the loss to the Giants. Fitzpatrick continues to understand what it takes to be a starting quarterback. It’s all about leadership and owning mistakes. The Bills have a lot of good things going for them despite the loss.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers- At least they’re winning again, but they need to beat top teams in the league to prove they’re here to stay.

10. San Diego Chargers- They better get Phillip Rivers playing at a higher level if they want to hang on to the division lead. The Raiders are right at their heels.

11. New York Jets- It was nice to see them beat the Dolphins, but their true tests are coming up with games against the Chargers, Bills and Patriots.

12. Chicago Bears- They needed a game like they had against the Vikings on Sunday night. They were dominant in all aspects of the game, and it was good to see the defense play better, too.

13. Atlanta Falcons- I still can’t figure out why their offense isn’t more dynamic, but they did pull out a good win against the Panthers by giving the ball to Michael Turner. The Falcons desperately need a winning streak.

14. Philadelphia Eagles- The turnaround has begun. I think this team will get it together and start winning games. Their bye this week should really help.

 

15. New York GiantsI still can’t figure this team out. One week I’m impressed, and the next week I’m disappointed in their performance. They rattled the Bills on Sunday and pulled away with a nice win.

16. Cincinnati Bengals- They finally traded Carson Palmer, and now they can completely move forward with their solid young team.

17. Dallas Cowboys- They need to stop talking and start winning. Dez Bryant must become more involved.

18. Houston Texans- When everything clicks and they are healthy…they are a really good team. However, injuries have held them back so far this year, and inconsistency has been a big issue.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Freeman seemed to look more like he did last year in Tampa’s solid divisional win against the Saints. They showed that we can’t rule them out just yet.offense and young receiving core.

20. Cleveland Browns- They deserve credit for recovering an onside kick and giving themselves a chance against the Raiders, but they need more production out of their

21. Washington Redskins- The Rex Grossman experiment was cute, but the team needs to transition to John Beck.

22. Carolina Panthers- It’s the same story every week with the Panthers: playing good teams down to the wire. Cam Newton showed he’s only a rookie by throwing three interceptions, but he continues to make dynamic plays.

23. Denver Broncos- We have to wait a whole extra week to see Tim Tebow as the starter. That’s better for him and the Broncos, though, because it gave them two weeks to prepare.

24. Tennessee Titans- The biggest question for them is…will Chris Johnson be an elite running back at all this year?

25. Jacksonville Jaguars- They may be competitive, but they won’t win many games this year.

26. Arizona Cardinals- Let’s wait and see how the bye week helped them.

27. Seattle Seahawks- They’ve been better than I thought they would be, but what production will they get out of the quarterback position moving forward?

28. Kansas City Chiefs- They can throw the ball all over the field, but will that translate into wins?

29. Minnesota Vikings- Christian Ponder is their future at quarterback, and I’m curious to see how Donovan McNabb will handle being benched.

30. St. Louis Rams- I hoped they could turn it around, but it’s not looking very good.  With Sam Bradford banged up, they take a step back. Steven Jackson ran the ball well on Sunday which is obviously a positive sign.

31. Miami Dolphins- Who will they spend their top draft pick on?

32. Indianapolis Colts- They still can’t win a game without Peyton Manning. It’s truly amazing how important he’s been to their success.

Email SPORTS YAPP radio host and Sports Spectrum staff member at bryce.johnson@sportsspectrum.com. Also, follow him on Twitter - @sportsyapp

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