Hey there. It's time of year again, FOOTBALL SEASON!!! Whoo hoo! About time. I can't stand this down time of sports (I'm not a huge baseball fan). Now that we have some meaningful football slated for Thursday, it's time to roll out this week's Heavy Metal Rankings. I was a little green in this field last year. I went ahead and ranked every team from 1 to 32, but I can't do that. Too much analysis and too much time to be able to continue that kind of ranking system. So, I am going to change it up this year and provide a top 9. So here we go, Week 1 rankings are as follows:
1. New England Patriots
C'mon now. This should not be a surprise to football fans everywhere. New England was scary last year with Tom Brady out for all but half a game and the Pats were still feared across the NFL. Now that Brady is back, and looking pretty damn good, there's no reason why the Pats will not be better than they were last year.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The transition from coach Cower to coach Tomlin has not hurt this team at all. They are always in the mist of things come January. Big Ben is showing no signs of a decline and with a defense like that, how can they not be a force to be reckoned with.
3. Tennessee Titans
People will be surprised that the Titans are so high in my rankings but the Titans looked sharped in all of their preseason games. Kerry Collins is doing more than just managing the game, the offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. That, coupled with an improved Lendale White, the Titans will have a strong running game to match a very capable passing attack.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez has single handedly increased Atlanta's stock. Matt Ryan did OK last year in the passing game. Now that he has an experienced and strong TE in Gonzalez, look for the passing game to overshadow the strong rushing attack from Michael Turner.
5. Indianapolis Colts
The team is in a semi-transitional phase. Coach Tony Dungy is out and coach Caldwell is in. Future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison is out, but that doesn't mean that Peyton does not have go to receivers. Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, and Reggie Wayne are more than capable of being on the receiving end of Manning passes. As long Peyton Manning is at the helm, the Colts cannot be overlooked.
6. Arizona Cardinals
I am a little reluctant to place this team so high. The team is run by Kurt Warner's emotions. He lead the team to the Super Bowl last year and it will be difficult to match that intensity for a second straight year. If Warner starts to slip, we may very see Matt Leinart taking the reigns.
7. San Diego Chargers
The Bolts are always in the mist of things but they can never get over the hump. LaDanian Tomlinson is healthy this year and the passing game should be top notch. The X factor for the Bolts is Shawne Merriman. He gives the defense the boost it needs to be a Super Bowl champion caliber defense but his off the field antics can derail the team just as easily.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
Here is a team that may make it all the way this year. The Eagles had one of the top defenses last year but lacked the offensive firepower to put them over the top. Now that their wide receivers are coming of age and Micheal Vick is in the line up, the Eagles can very well catapult themselves into the upper echelon of the NFL.
9. New York Giants
Eli Manning is coming back to prove that he is worth every penny that the Giants paid him in the offseason. That may prove difficult since he's lacking wide receivers. Especially now that Plaxico Burress is going to jail and David Tyree is no longer with the team.
My Oakland Raiders. Dead last in the NFL. The Raiders looked good in the first 2 preseason games and then quickly regressed into the horrid team that was under Lane Kiffin in the beginning of last year. Flashes of greatness was shown by both JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden. The trouble continues to lie in the defense but the Raiders have shown that commitment to excellence by signing pro bowler DE Richard Seymour. Until I see results on the field, I'll be the first to say that the Oakland Raiders are still stuck in the bottom of the barrel.