#11. Houston Texans (1-0): It felt too wrong putting them in the top 10, so here they are and here they’ll stay until I see something that says Gary Kubiak has overcome his Coach Klein-ness.
#12. Detroit Lions (1-0): The Lions remind me of my golf game – I have the ability to make every shot on the course, I can just never seem to put it all together and sustain it for any significant amount of time. I will always be a bogey golfer (on my good days) and the Lions will continue to be a “What Could Have Been?” team with an absurd D-line and unstoppable aerial attack….on paper. Bringing potential into reality takes the same formula as last year (which they failed to do): #1 – Keep Stafford healthy and #2 – Get something resembling professional-level defense behind the front 4.
#13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1): Tough loss at home to the Lions, but I still believe this is a team with a lot of strong, youthful pieces in place that is on a sharp ascent and ready to take the next step.
#14. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0): It’s almost comical how quickly the national media will turn tail on what they said the week before and show how little research they actually do. Jaguars fans are the only ones who weren’t surprised that Luke McCown looked efficient, the run defense looked stout, the pass rush had improved, and the free agent class of 2011 looked extremely productive.
#15. Dallas Cowboys (0-1): Conditions in which Tony Romo cannot close out a win/come from behind: the Cowboys are trailing in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys are leading in the 4th quarter, it’s the month of December or January, she’s a brunette and/or had higher than a 7 on the Wonderlic.
#16. New York Giants (0-1): I think we’re seeing the window close on the Giants’ long run of dominance. The O-line is old and less effective, the defense is injured and old, and Eli just doesn’t seem like he’s ever going to break through to that next level.
#17. Washington Redskins (1-0): The defense looks better than we thought, the quarterback (Sexy Rexy!) looks better than we thought, and everyone seems to have forgotten what a good coach Mike Shanahan is. He’s making the best of a Dan Synder team and that’s a tall order for anyone. (Sidenote: If you’re a free agent signed to a nice contract by Dan Synder, does that indicate that you actually suck at football or does it metaphysically doom the rest of your career?)
#18. Oakland Raiders (1-0): I like the Raiders identity – power running game and a defense that has the ability to dominate. They’ve had some surprisingly good draft picks along the D-line and Richard Seymour has shown a nice return, thus far. With that much speed in the receiving corps, it would seem that
#19. St. Louis Rams (0-1): I’m telling you know – buy low on Sam Bradford in your fantasy leagues. He’s either still on the waiver wire, being dropped by reactionary owners, or being held onto by those who know. The Rams got harpooned by injuries in week 1, but they’ve got a good defense with a sick pass rush and Bradford is the real deal. Assuming the SJax hammy doesn’t linger for too long (but hammies tend to do that), they’re a well balanced and dangerous team.
#20. Buffalo Bills (1-0): Ryan Fitzpatrick might just be a legitimate NFL quarterback. So weird seeing him wearing the wedding ring during games. Sweet juxtaposition with the mustache.