We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and there are lots of wacky things happening. The Chiefs are 3-0 and the only undefeated team. That’s a far cry from last year, when the Colts and Saints were unbeaten almost all the way to the end of the 2009 campaign. There are also some interesting candidates emerging for MVP consideration, as well as for Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year. And like last year, we’ll start to analyze them in power rankings fashion. For this week and maybe the next few, we’ll put this in one post and give three names for each category. Around the halfway point of the season, more candidates will emerge so we will separate things out. Sound good? Right. Let’s go……..
MVP Power Rankings
1. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles—Do we even have to spell this out? He steps in for Kevin Kolb in Week 1 and almost leads the Eagles to victory against the Packers. Then he wins against Detroit and Jacksonville before having his ribs crushed on a meaningless play vs. Washington last Sunday, knocking him out of the game early. Kolb comes back in, and the Eagles lose. Vick is averaging 200 yards passing per game, has 6 TDs and no interceptions, and is also averaging 7.2 yards per rush on 26 carries and one TD on the ground. He has a QB rating of 108.8 while Kolb’s is 71.1. Simply put, this team is dangerous with Vick, and not scaring anyone without him. That’s the very definition of MVP.
2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans—The Texans were tied with Oakland 14-14 last week in the third quarter, and Foster had been benched for personal reasons by Gary Kubiak. He came in mid-way through the second quarter, and while Derrick Ward had been carrying the load acceptably, Foster opened things up with a 74-yard touchdown, which ignited the Texans to 17 unanswered points. He has 689 all-purpose yards (172 yards per game) and 5 total TDs. That’s not just fantasy magic, that’s plain magic.
3. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers—Kevin Greene is the linebackers’ coach for the Packers, and that guy was nasty when he played. He’s made Matthews his pet project, and Matthews has responded to the tune of 7 sacks through four games. That’s on pace to shatter Michael Strahan’s NFL record of 22.5 sacks. Matthews just has a sick nose for the ball, too, and is around it on almost every play. And the Pack needs him, because with no running game to speak of, the pressure can’t all be on Aaron Rodgers and his receivers.
Honorable mention: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
COY Power Rankings
1. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams—The Rams were giving up 31 points per game in 2009, and so far this season they are giving up 13 per game. Spags is a defensive guru…remember the 2007 Giants and what they did to Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Brett Favre and Tom Brady in the postseason? Well, he’s finally got that D humming and his upstart Rams, led by rookie QB Sam Bradford, are 2-2 and atop a weak NFC West. It’s too early to anoint this team a division winner, but it’s not nearly out of the realm, either.
2. Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs—You can’t really not put a 3-0 team here when nobody else is undefeated. This, despite the fact that the guy is saving Jamaal Charles touches like he’s hoarding cookies under his bed.
3. Rex Ryan, New York Jets—His team is 3-1, including 3-0 in the division, and the only loss being by a 10-9 score to the Ravens. They have scored 106 points while giving up 61, a league best differential of 45 points. The Jets are for real, and they can back up all that swagger that trickles down from their head coach.
Honorable mention:Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears; Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
ROY Power Rankings
1. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams—Bradford was a winner at Oklahoma and he carries himself like a winner in St. Louis, something this franchise desperately needed at the quarterback position. Bradford has thrown for 944 yards in four games with 6 TDs and 6 interceptions. That’s a pace for 3776 yards with 24 TDs and 24 picks. If this kid can limit his picks, and lead his team to a division title, he’ll practically be a lock for the Pro Bowl. But that’s still a big “if” at this point.
2. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions—We all know he’s a beast, but he’s already racked up 15 tackles and 3 sacks. The Lions still have a ways to go on defense, but this young anchor has already made an impact.
3. Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions—Despite being slowed by injury, Best won the starting RB gig in Detroit and has responded with and average of 98 all-purpose yards per game with 5 touchdowns. Not only is this something the Lions haven’t had the likes of since *maybe* Barry Sanders, but it takes so much pressure off of Calvin Johnson to carry the offense.
Honorable mention: Rolando McClain, Oakland Raiders
Posted in: NFL
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