Well, another week with scab referees - and finally a bit of leaguewide reputation damage due to it - comes a week of very chippy football and a whole bunch of ghastly calls. Obviously, refs using this as a way to break into the big time is very hard to tolerate - one can hope that the black eye the league is suffering can precipitate an agreement with the pros. That said, pro sports now is as ripe as any for management trying legitimate union busting - see the ghastly positions of the owners when locking out NBA and NHL players as proof. Yeah these dudes are millionaires, but it does not mean that the labor battles are not legitimate - and a mirror on the increasingly Dickensian society that has been wrought.
That said, 32 games have still been played so far, and with every team having played twice, we have strength of schedule data - granted only very little. Just as last year, the rankings are based on a combination of adjusted scoring margin, strength of schedule, head to head, record vs common opponents and record vs good teams. The rankings are explained here with a cheap plug for my blog. This week's list are after the jump.
1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
2. Arizona Cactus Wrens (2-0)
3. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
5. Denver Broncos (1-1)
6. Philadelphia Iggles (2-0)
7. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
8. Baltimore Edgar Allan Poems (1-1)
9. Houston Non-Oilers (2-0)
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
11. Detroit Lions (1-1)
12. Miami Gardens Porpoises (1-1)
13. Chicago Bears (1-1)
14. Los Angeles Rams of Saint Louis (1-1)
15. Northern New Jersey Jets (1-1)
16. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
17. Greater Providence and Boston Patriots (1-1)
18. Land Mass Surrounding Tampa Bay Bucs (1-1)
19. Northern New Jersey Giants (1-1)
20. Los Angles Chargers of San Diego (2-0)
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
22. Baltimore Colts of Indianapolis (1-1)
23. Los Angeles Raiders of Oakland (0-2)
24. Cincinnati Other Paul Browns (1-1)
25. Cleveland Paul Browns (0-2)
26. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
27. Washington Racially Dicey Nicknames (1-1)
28. Houston Oilers of Nashville (0-2)
29. Carolina Panthers (1-1)
30. Dallas Texans of Kansas City (0-2)
31. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
32. New Orleans Sinners (0-2)
A few notes from this week:
- Obviously schedule fluctuations drive a lot of quirks here. The Redskins have looked quite good for instance, but the Saints and Rams are a combined 0-2 in their other games, and it shows in the wash. Similarly the Cardinals do not pass the eye test, yet they have beaten two opponents who not only are 2-0 combined, but blew out their opponents.
- The rookie QBs have all looked pretty solid so far. Robert Griffin III has been a godsend for the Redskins (as someone who lives in the area as a non-Skin fan I can personally attest). The Redskins, especially with Carriker and Orakpo having season ending injuries, might be a bad team - but they won't be a boring one, and Griffin has given them hope in the one position where you need it the most. I supported their deal with the Rams to move up to get RG3. I mean, if he can solve your QB position for decade, then he is worth 3 first-round picks and you should make that bold move. It's a calculated risk, but a calculation that is totally defensible.
- Andrew Luck has also looked excellent so far. He was the better QB prospect, and continues to be so - the Colts are giving him so much to do and such advanced treatment. His numbers might be worse than Griffin early due to being less of a dual threat to score, but he has done nothing to dissuade the notion that he was the best QB prospect to enter the league since Manning.
- The NFC west dominating the standings early on in the season has been a revelation. Clearly the 49ers are for real. The Seahawks looked great against Dallas, and maybe the Cardinals are not terrible. Russell Wilson is easy to root for. I am still skeptical, but the division looks to have improved.
- The Saints at #32 are the biggest shock - their ghastly defense has amazingly gotten worse with the coaching strife. Their offense has not been bad - 59 points in 2 games! - but they need to be great and it is not working. I think they can still contend, but they have a lot of work to do.
- Remember it's early.
As always, this is a great community with a lot of serious topics and diaries. This is not one of them, but hopefully a welcome distraction during the season.