Here's the Ranking for teams 17 through 32. I mentioned in Part 1 of this post that Eric (I love Google more than life itself) Nagel joined me in compiling these rankings. He took the odd numbers, and I took the evens. You may have noticed the different writing styles? One writing with youthful aplomb, with hints of video game angst scared by immersion into Explorer 37.0, while the other scribe wafts uplifting prose marked by the keen incites enjoyed by millions... Er, uh, OK - 10s...
#17 - Buffalo Bills - Buffalo is probably the biggest tease in the NFL. Will they? Won't they? C.J. Spiller has been the biggest surprise in the league so far. They are going to have a tough stretch with him out and Fred Jackson still hurting from a previous injury, but when both of them return, watch out. They have a decent enough defense and offense to hang around in games people wouldn't expect them to.
#18 - Tennessee Titans - This team can't win without Chris Johnson, right? Wrong! I think they've consigned themselves to CJ never being the RB he once was, and moved on to other ideas. Jake Locker really hasn't impressed me all that much, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Hasselbeck coming off the bench very soon. The return of Kenny Britt gives the Titans their second under performer for 2012. His knee just isn't ready, and route limitations make him more a threat, than anything real. Last week the Titans were gifted a sloppy game where they were on the receiving end of turnovers that turned into scores. That's not going to happen all that much Titans, so it's time to find an offense to score a few points. What the Titans have going for them is a surprising toughness. They play every down with energy, and that'll see then through every game in their division except against Houston.
#19 - New York Jets - To be honest, I thought about moving them around just so I wouldn't have to talk about them. I loathe this team. I don't think Sanchez is a good QB, and his play this year is only proving that fact. I have a strong feeling that Ryan will throw him under the bus for Tebow at some point, which will probably destroy the Jets completely (they are not a team built for Tebow- they can't run the ball). With Revis gone, they are going to have trouble with such a difficult schedule. The outlook is not good.
#20 - Washington Redskins - The short honeymoon of RGIII is over. He's finding his way, though the physical style of the NFL is going to take its toll on him very soon. This talented young player started the year with a Top 10 defense to take pressure off him and provide decent field position. Injuries have taken a bit out of the Redskins defense, and their secondary is alarmingly weak. Fantasy Football owner should start RGIII as often as possible until injury ends his rookie campaign. He'll be playing catch up in games for the rest of the year. Alfred Morris has been a pleasant surprise this season, and when Pierre Garcon returns from injury this team will be fun to watch on offense.
#21 - Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning is having some serious issues. He isn't playing like his former self, both physically and mentally. The Broncos took a huge gamble on him, and so far it's had mixed results. Still, this is Peyton Manning we are talking about. I think given more time, he'll start playing better- but the Broncos are just going to have to live with that process. They've got a good, but not great defense. They need to execute and stop making mental errors if they want to win more games.
#22 - Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins' wide receiver corps is no where near as bad as some may think. Brian Hartline has some game, so this offense may not be as toothless or one dimensional (re: Reggie Bush) as many would have predicted. Ryan Tannehill has only been sacked 4 times, yet he has a 58.3 passer rating. I think they rushed him into starting way ahead of schedule. Miami's offensive line has done well enough on running plays to have Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller averaging just under 6 yards per carry. The problem with the Dolphins will be in position depth. Thin is an understatement when you look at their roster. I still don't see them winning more than 4 games this season, 6 at the outside.
#23 - Detroit Lions - The Lions are hit or miss this season. They obviously have the ability to stay in games with an offense headlined by Calvin Johnson, but Stafford has had a wishy-washy start to the season. Considering how Shaun Hill played against the Titans, it might be a good thing to give Stafford a break. If the team learns to call a taxi after drinking, they've got enough talent all over the place to go back to the playoffs, but they need to stop doing stupid things off the field (and on) if they want to get back to winning.
#24 - St. Louis Rams - This team has vastly improved. The Rams defense will wind up a Top 10 defense by year's end. The addition of Cortland Finnegan has made their secondary one to be taken seriously. The team has rookies contributing, which is something that hasn't happened for a few years now. The Rams are in serious trouble on the offensive line. They started the year playing well as a unit, but injuries have thinned a already suspect line. Sam Bradford is tied for second with the Bengals Andy Dalton for being sacked the most times in the NFL this year (12 sacks). This puts him on the blistering pace to hit the turf around 60 times this year. Ouch! The Rams have very little to smile about in their wide receiver corps. Free agent addition Steve Smith hasn't done anything of note, and dropped passes still haunt this unit as a whole. Danny Amendola shined so far, but teams will adjust to his short yardage pass routes. The "Run First" offense of Brian Schottenheimer hasn't materialized, and this team now finds itself in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. They lack a few pieces from being a good team, and coach Jeff Fisher has them playing at a higher level than they have in the last decade. I see this team's schedule as their biggest plus going forward. They have some winable games if they can keep Sam Bradford upright.
#25 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tampa is lucky that the Saints and Panthers are playing bad. This fact might allow them to win a few more games than you'd expect, but they desperately need a spark on offense. They also need to find some way to stop the pass (although that number is boosted by Eli Manning's epic second week performance). They are lucky that they play the Skins, Saints and Vikings, as all have defensive issues. That might give Josh Freeman the confidence boost he and the Bucs need.
#26 - Oakland Raiders - Simply woeful, and if the team listens really hard they can hear the ghost of Al Davis screaming. Lots of talent, but zero ability to show it. Their game against the Steelers showed they have the tools to be competitive, but they need to find consistency. Carson Palmer is #8 among quarterbacks in passing yardage, and he's only thrown two interceptions thus far. The big problem is his receiver's health. They can't seem to stay on the field? I really like rookie WR Rod Streater. This kid is going to shine in a year or two. They play in one of the weakest divisions in football, so wins will be there, just not often enough to make the post season.
#27 - Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton is falling back to Earth, and this team relies on him to make it happen. Of course, after the type of season he had last year, the expectations were even higher. It's going to be interesting to see how he responds to the even higher pressure this year (so far it hasn't been good). They need to get something going on defense or they are going to dig their own grave with Atlanta, Seattle and Dallas coming up.
#28 - Kansas City Chiefs - The win against New Orleans is the high point of the year for KC. This team has serious issues, though I'm really glad to see running back Jamaal Charles returning to form after last year's injury. matt Cassell has struggled this season , and his wide receivers add question marks. The Chiefs defense is, well... It bad, there's just no other way to put it. They will put pressure on the offense to score, and that'll be the team's undoing. The great fans in Kansas City deserve better than this...
#29 - New Orleans Saints - The lack of off-season direction has nuked this team. They've got talent, but absolutely no execution. Spagnuolo's defense is looking terrible, and he could find himself out of another job by next year when the team looks for a scapegoat. The offense has had some misfires early on, but they've scored enough points in all three games to win. Spags needs to get his act together quick, or they are going to sink.
#30 - Jacksonville Jaguars - This team intrigues me. OK, they're not very good, but they aren't missing all that many tools to become a very good team either. Blaine Gabbert isn't a horrible quarterback, he's just been beaten to death since his first rookie start. They lack wide receiver options, and the addition of Justin Blackmon with there first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was a mistake. He's never going to be the #1 wideout they'd envisioned. The Jags defense has played well above where many would have thought, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew will keep them in quite a few games. This team need draft day help in the first round next year. If it were me, I'd spend every draft pick next year on OL and WR, but that's just me...
#31 - Indianapolis - This team will be good soon, but they aren't there yet. Andrew Luck has gone through some struggles, but ultimately is playing well enough for them to win a game or two. They have some tough games ahead, but they also have games against Jacksonville and Cleveland, so I'm thinking much of the season will be hit or miss.
#32 - Cleveland Browns - Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden has really impressed me so far. It he wasn't throwing passes to Greg Little, you'd be impressed too. I wouldn't have put the Browns this low in the Ranking based on how well their defense has played this year. They are a seriously physical unit that's making teams pay to play. This team need to cut Greg Little, and do it right now. The rest of the receiver corps is actually pretty decent, though a tad inexperienced. This group should be spending this season getting to know Weeden and running every route in the receiver tree. I have concerns about Trent Richardson's durability over the course of the season. This will be a tough season for Browns fans, but i see you turning a corner next year if you find a WR who can catch the ball. Did I mention you should get rid of Greg Little?