The Browns have a quarterback controversy (with Nobody holding a slight edge over both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson), Chad Pennington is out for the season, and New York has two very good football teams. If it wasn't for that last part, I would say it's any odd-numbered year of this decade, but since both the Giants and the Jets are good, it must be Tuesday in 2009, which means it's time for POWER POLL RANKINGS!!!
32. Cleveland Browns 0-3 (32)
And with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select...Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma. With Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn having a pants-shitting contest, quarterback is an obvious need (thank God we got Brett Ratliff for Mark Sanchez!), and Bradford is apparently the best of the Bradford-Tebow-McCoy-Snead bunch (even with his shoulder injury). His greatest trait is his accuracy, which is something neither Anderson nor Quinn (nor any other Browns QB in the franchise era) has ever possessed. The downside to Bradford is his slight build, his 3/4 release (same as Bernie's, but also the same as David Carr's), and (obviously) his injury problems. Cleveland fans may groan if yet another quarterback is taken in the first round, but anyone who drives by the Browns practice facility and smells the quarterbacks going through their reps will tell you this team needs a new signal-caller.
31. St. Louis Rams 0-3 (31)
With the Marc Bulger-era mercifully over (hopefully, although now reports are saying he may be back in a week)before he gets killed, Kyle Boller gets a chance to have the tattered remains of his career ended in St. Louis. At least Rams' fans have 2-3 more weeks of Steven Jackson (163 total yards vs. Green Bay) doing his best Zack Greinke impression (awesome player on a horrific team in Missouri) before Jackson starts showing up on the injury report as questionable every week.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-3 (28)
Last Monday night, Peyton Manning had the ball for just under 15 minutes yet still managed to throw for 303 yards. This past Sunday afternoon, Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson (already a bad start) had the ball for slightly over 15 minutes, and managed to throw for 58 combined yards. The Bucs total of 86 yards was almost outdone by the Colts' first play from scrimmage Monday night (80-yard TD pass to Dallas Clark). Johnson is getting the start this week at Washington, and after leading the team in passing and rushing vs. the Giants (51 combined yards), why not?*
*Where is Josh Freeman in all of this?
29. Kansas City Chiefs 0-3 (30)
If, by some miracle, everything went absolutely right for Brady Quinn and the Cleveland Browns' play-calling one glorious Sunday afternoon, you'd have to imagine the result would be something very similar to Matt Cassel's check down-heavy 14-18, 90-yard, 2 TD day.
28. Washington Redskins 1-2 (27)
Jason Campbell has to be pissed that his one good game of the year (27-41, 340 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was wasted in a loss to the Lions*. Instead of everyone talking about how Campbell is finally coming into his own, the focus is instead on the Lions snapping their losing streak and Jim Zorn probably getting fired before the season is over.
*Even though Detroit beat them, I'm sure Campbell would gladly play the Lions every week +. In 3 career games vs. Detroit, Campbell has averaged 306 yards, a 75.8 completion percentage, and has thrown 5 TDs to only 1 INT.
+Of course, I'm sure every QB in the league wishes he played Detroit every week.
27. Oakland Raiders 1-2 (25)
Since I could never come up with a joke nearly as funny, I'm just going to post JaMarcus Russell's stat-line each week. This week: 12-21, 61 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. (A shocking stat from this game: the Broncos never even hit Russell, which leads me to believe that he was this bad while facing little-to-no pressure. Astounding.)
26. Detroit Lions 1-2 (29)
The Ford family celebrated the end of the Lions' 19-game losing streak by giving each fan in attendance 10,000 shares of Ford stock, or roughly 83 cents. (Detroit: America's Rotting Heart!)
25. Miami Dolphins 0-3 (23)
Chad Pennington is going to miss the rest of the season, leaving the reins of the Dolphins offense in the hands of Chad Henne and Pat White. Those two splitting snaps could be a sitcom/reality show/buddy cop movie (Four-Year Starters, Life-Long Friends? Mediocre and Raw? Wolverine vs. Wildcat? Drop Back, Take Off? Five And Eleven?) .
24. Carolina Panthers 0-3 (24)
Jake Delhomme 2009 total turnovers: 8 Carolina Panthers 2009 total touchdowns: 3
23. Buffalo Bills 1-2 (21)
Kudos to the Bills for holding Drew Brees to a pedestrian 172 yards and 0 touchdowns. Boo to the Bills for allowing Pierre Thomas to pile up 126 yards and 2 TDs on only 14 carries, as well as for only passing for 156 non-fake-field-goal yards of their own. (Also, did you see the how badly Trent Edwards missed TO on a couple of bombs? Owens is lucky the Buffalo media consists of a Buffalo Sabres hockey puck signed by Dominik Hasek, a box of Flutie Flakes, and Jame Gumb, or the world may have actually heard him complaining about it.)
22. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-2 (26)
Just as I was writing the Jaguars off, they pull off a big road win in Houston. I'm still writing them off--Houston apparently isn't going to win at home this season--but at least the 500 people in Jacksonville who even know the Jags exist get to have a good week.
21. Seattle Seahawks 1-2 (19)
When I picked Seattle to beat the Bears, I was counting on the Qwest Field crowd to come through (especially since I forgot Matt Hasselbeck wasn't playing). Well, the crowd came through, but Olindo Mare and the Seahawks fourth quarter defense did not, as Seattle dropped a game they should have won.
20. Arizona Cardinals 1-2 (18)
I may be wrong, but I get the feeling Kurt Warner is really wishing he had just retired after the Super Bowl. Every time he went to the sideline ripping off his helmet in disgust, you got the feeling he was about to just tell Ken Whisenhunt to let Matt Leinart go out and get his ass kicked by the Colts.
19. Tennessee Titans 0-3 (16)
It's do or die for both teams when Tennessee visits Jacksonville next week. Hopefully some Titans fans will make the journey down south to at least fill the field level seats at Alltel Stadium.
18. Houston Texans 1-2 (14)
The one thing you could always count on the Texans for--winning at home--has gone completely out the window this season, while the week I play the guy who owns Kevin Walter is of course the week Walter gets more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than Andre Johnson.
17. San Francisco 49ers 2-1 (18)
Last week, the Redskins showed just how bad a team can look and still win against the Rams. This week, the 49ers looked about as good as a team can in a loss. With St. Louis coming to town next week, San Fran should have no trouble bouncing back.
16. Denver Broncos 3-0 (22)
Since I couldn't find any other teams that fit the bill, it's safe to assume that the Broncos are the worst 3-0 team since 2002.
15. Dallas Cowboys 2-1 (13)
The little victory within the larger team win: Tony Romo had 0 turnovers Monday night vs. Carolina. (The defense also had 3 sacks, their first 3 sacks of the year.)
14. Atlanta Falcons 2-1 (9)
Despite the amazingly advanced rate of his development, Matt Ryan still hasn't solved the puzzle that took even the great Peyton Manning nearly ten years to solve: how to succeed against a Bill Belichick defense.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-2 (7)
Before you start thinking that the Steelers are in trouble, remember that if their kicker hits two makeable kicks in Chicago, and if Limas Sweed holds onto the ball in the end zone in Cincinnati, the Steelers are 3-0 and still considered one of the three or four best teams in the league. Enjoy this low ranking while it lasts (I know I will).
12. Green Bay Packers 2-1 (20)
While the Pack cruised to a relatively easy victory over the Rams, Leonard Little's two sacks of Aaron Rodgers (bringing his season sacked total to 12) has to be eating away at Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay coaching staff.
11. Cincinnati Bengals 2-1 (15)
Since the Browns are unwatchable, and I'm in Bengal Country, I have decided to officially hop on the Cincinnati Bandwagon (for this season only, and not until after the Browns play the Bengals this Sunday. I'm also hopping on the Cincinnati Bearcats Bandwagon, and I should have a new post up soon detailing my regional sports allegiance switches.)
10. New England Patriots 2-1 (11)
Even though the Pats beat the Falcons with relative ease, New England fans still have to be concerned by Brady, who overthrew Randy Moss a couple of times for sure touchdowns.
9. San Diego Chargers 2-1 (10)
Philip Rivers season yardage total: 991. The number of people who have noticed Rivers is averaging over 300 yards a game: 1 (me!).
8. Philadelphia Eagles 2-1 (12)
Kevin Kolb bounces back from his terrible 391-yard day in last week's loss New Orleans with a superb 327-yard day in this week's win over Kansas City. (It is amazing what winning and losing does to perception).
7. Chicago Bears 2-1 (8)
Does anyone even remember Jay Cutler's 4 interceptions versus Green Bay anymore?
6. Minnesota Vikings 3-0 (6)
I hate Brett Favre, but that throw he made to win the game vs. San Francisco was amazing, as was his 40-yard dash down the field to throw a block on a Percy Harvin run-after-catch (which was shown a ton on the Blitz with TJ and Boomer, who I still think are the best at NFL highlights).
5. New Orleans Saints 3-0 (2)
Can Drew Brees bounce back from his mortal day in Buffalo against the green menace that is the New York Jets? Before the season started, did you ever think that Saints-Jets would upstage Ravens-Patriots for the Week 4 game of the week?
4. Baltimore Ravens 3-0 (5)
Baltimore looked very good against the Browns, but that's like saying a $500 gift certificate is worth more than an $800 credit card bill (the Browns are not only nothing, they are negative).
3. Indianapolis Colts 3-0 (4)
All of us who were anointing Drew Brees MVP after the first two weeks were reminded of Peyton Manning's greatness (24-35, 379 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT at Arizona) while Brees went into Clark Kent mode in Buffalo.
2. New York Jets 3-0 (3)
It's official: the Jets, their defense, and their quarterback are all for real.
1. New York Giants 3-0 (1)
Although the point differential was only 24, the Giants shutout win over the Bucs was one of the most glaring discrepancies between two teams' talent and skill level I've ever seen.