Wayne Root's NFL & College Top Ten
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT'S TOP 10 NFL TEAM TO START THE SEASON
Let's first determine the top 2 teams from each Division and then determine the Top 10 based on that. These are the WAR picks for NFL 2011/12.:
EAST: NEW ENGLAND & NY JETS
NORTH: PITTSBURGH & BALTIMORE
SOUTH: INDIANAPOLIS & HOUSTON
WEST: SAN DIEGO & KANSAS CITY
EAST: DALLAS & PHILADELPHIA
NORTH: GREEN BAY & DETROIT
SOUTH: NEW ORLEANS & ATLANTA
WEST: ST. LOUIS & ARIZONA
1) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS---They will at least be tested in Week 1 as they travel to Miami to take on a Divisional opponent. Bill Belichick has this team loaded...and HUNGRY! Tom Brady has all the weapons to win every game...on paper. He has running backs and great tight ends. He has Wes Walker and Chad Ochocinco. If they ever needed any improvement it was on defense, so let's see how Albert Haynesworth and Shawn Ellis help them up front. Belichick has talent, experience and no distractions to begin the 2011 campaign as the favorite to go all the way. Will they? I say No. My Super Bowl picks are San Diego and New Orleans. But the Pats are the popular pick, so let's put them on top. They are "King of the Hill" until someone knocks them off.
1a) GREEN BAY PACKERS---There are plus and minuses for the Pack. First they have a "bulls-eye" as the Defending Super Bowl Champions. But they are in a very weak conference where the second place team might only finish 9-7 or even 8-8. So that takes some pressure off during a 17-week regular season. They return 20 of 22 starters, but will have a more difficult non-conference schedule. Their running back injuries from 2010 are fixed, thus allowing for Rodgers to avoid sacks as opponent's defense can't play pass defense like they did last year. Again, the Pack is not my favorite, but they are defending champs and deserve "King of the Hill" until someone decisively knocks them off.
2) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS---My NFC Super Bowl pick in 2011/12. Here's what I like about the Saints. Everything! I like QB Drew Brees. I like that he throws it to anybody and everybody. I like that they replaced Reggie Bush with mighty mite Darren Sproles and 'Bama superstar Mark Ingram. Big upgrades. I love their offensive genius coach Sean Peyton. I love their defensive coordinator Greg Williams. I love their defense this year. They signed an impressive crop of defensive lineman free agents and re-signed their linebacker corps. This team is a winner!
4) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS--My AFC Super Bowl pick in 2011/12. Take the #1 Offense in all of the NFL in 2010...and the #1 defense in all of the NFL in 2010...and add in 2 superstar defenders LB Takeo Spikes and Strong Safety Bob Sanders...and a new aggressive defensive coordinator Greg Manusky...and you have a recipe for WINNING!
5) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES---I am interested to see how this team handles the pressure. They are NOT a shoe-in as most articles have predicted. Michael Vick is a 50% passer in his career. A $100 million dollar contract will not change that stat when they take the field. Luckily, they have EVERY skill position covered - which Vick will get credit for as the team racks up wins. They have some defensive issues with their very young linebackers and their offensive line show breakdowns to well coordinated blitz packages. The Cowboys will be knocking on their door! I pick Dallas to win the division in an upset, but we'll keep Philly here to start the season. Let's see Dallas knock 'em off their perch.
6) ATLANTA FALCONS---This team is so confident that they were willing to go 0-4 in the preseason. My kind of team! This team is built as for teamwork. No superstars YET! No "go-to" player YET. One young fiery leader- QB Matt Ryan. I love their offense and defense equally and they are very strong at home. They are just a little momentum away from going from a very good team to a dream team!! Will WR Julio Jones put them over the top? Also look for mini-man RB Jacquizz Rodgers to add energy to the Falcon's running game and special teams. I love little guys.
7) PITTSBURGH STEELERS---The Steelers have a chance to move way ahead week 1 as they play host the Ravens. The City of Steel better get used to some apparent flaws from their once glorious team. I'm talking protection from a weak offensive line. Defense and the offensive line is what carries teams to the Championship Game. Pittsburgh's secondary is suspect and will allow more points than the fan base is used to. A 10-6 season is expected and then experience kicks in when it's NFL Playoff time.
8) NY J-E-T-S---This team will be tested weekly on the field and off the field. Rex Ryan will make sure of that. The press will be all over Mark Sanchez this year...more than ever! They've seen and heard him for two season and New Yorkers are impatiently waiting for a Super Bowl appearance. Ryan always adds fuel to the pressure cooker-which the press enjoys. But Ryan's antics and guarantees add to "the city that never sleeps" expectations. Maybe Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Coach Ryan, and the gang-green defense can turn the hope and hype into results this year.
9) BALTIMORE RAVENS---Great test in week 1 at Pittsburgh. This has to be the year of the Flacco. The Ravens are not getting any younger. They have a great offensive line, a great running back and talented wide-outs. Their defensive secondary is getting older, especially at linebacker. It's a toss-up between the Ravens and the Steelers for the Divisional crown, but both will be around in the end!!
10) DALLAS COWBOYS---Jerry Jones gets to check out another Super Bowl site opening week as his Cowboys travel to play the NY J-e-t-s. But this year, the 'Boys have a healthy QB Tony Romo and a more mature WR Dez Bryant. This team is under the radar- unusual for "America's Team." Last year they were a hot pick to win the Super Bowl. After last year's collapse no one is picking them to even win their division-except me! The 'Boys will start off as a complete unit all on the same page. Princeton boy wonder Jason Garrett is the head coach they needed. Rob Ryan is the defensive coordinator they were missing. The Big D "D" should swagger this year with that famous Ryan family cockiness! I pick Dallas to surprise the Eagles in their chase to the top of the NFC East. But let's start them at #10 and make them work their way up.
10a) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS---Here is the "Wild Card." And as usual - it's all about Peyton Manning. If ever there is one player that is the entire team, it's Peyton. The troops are supposed to rally around their fallen leader, but how long will it take for Manning to get back in the saddle? If he misses starts, will the Colts be in a hole by the time he gets back? And when he gets back, how close will he be to 100%?
THE NEXT LEVEL:
HOUSTON TEXANS---They catch a break week 1 when they host the Colts, minus Peyton Manning. This may be the break they need. Can you believe I'm raving about the Texan DEFENSE? Note that Wade Phillips has joined as Defensive Coordinator. A big upgrade. They now have the defensive stars: Mario Williams, Brian Cushing, DeMarco Ryans, lockdown Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and playmaker Safety Daniel Manning. The "D" has confidence and swagger for the first time. If Peyton Manning is not his usual perfect self, this team wins the division. If Peyton makes a brilliant comeback, I predict Wild Card. But either way, it's postseason time for the first time in Texans' history.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS---Do Not downplay this team. They are door knockers. They are contenders. They are a few breaks away. Young QB Josh Freeman is for real. Their defense is nasty. Their offense, while young, is very talented. But they do have a tougher schedule than last year.
DETROIT LIONS---Please keep Matt Stafford healthy and we will all enjoy the "come-up-ness" of this team. Just to watch the Lions defensive front seven is fun, exciting and "old-school". Calvin Johnson, Javad Best and Stafford, along with a old-time black and blue defense could send shock-waves through-out the Midwest!! Can anyone say Wild Card?
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT'S NCAA WEEK 2 TOP 10
1) OKLAHOMA---National expectations of being ranked No. 1 have been in place since returning home from the Fiesta Bowl. Coping with the death of teammate Austin Box was trying. Training camp was 26 grinding days in 100-degree temperatures. Saturday's 47-14 victory over Tulsa showed that OU had been building to a crescendo of efficiency and big-play productivity. And now they get Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, plus a bye week, to prepare for Florida St. It will be an interesting scheduling answer in two weeks time to see how effective this move is.
2) ALABAMA---The Crimson Tide warmed up with Kent St and now travel to State College to play Penn St. Neither Coach knows who their starting QB will be. For 'Bama, the offensive line continues to be a point of concern. They need to block better up front, the backs need to be more aggressive, and in general, the Tide needs to re-establish the run game. As expected Nick Saban will be ready and more than prepared. Still wondering how Paterno is able to "do it" with his age and his injuries suffered last month. It'll be interesting to see what "the Legend" has in store with all the time to prepare for this game between 2 programs with 800+ victories combined.
3) BOISE ST---The Broncos made many small non BCS schools so PROUD. They took on the Bulldogs of the once mighty and proud in Georgia....Did I say PROUD again? They traveled East. To SEC Country. And kicked their butt 35-21!! The game was all Boise; total domination for the "little guys" as predicted by WAR, and wagered by Wayne Allyn Root's clients. Now they get week 2 off to prepare to run the tables and totally screw up the BCS at the end of the season!! Nice win guys!!!
4) LSU---An extremely good performance as predicted by the King of Vegas- Wayne Allyn Root in his first Pinnacle Play of the Season. While the defense was expected to handle the ugly uniforms from the Northwest, it was the 40 points put on the scoreboard that was the headline for the night. They showed the Ducks their power running game along with their speed and strength of a good SEC team. Oregon showed them how to quack! They should have an easy week 2 as they play Northwestern State.
5) FLORIDA ST---Florida St made it's first move of the season by doing exactly what it needed to do on both sides of the ball as their practice game against Louisiana-Monroe was flawless. They beat them 34-0. No bells and whistles, just a nice warm-up for CSU. That's Charleston Southern University. And that's just another game to tweak everything and stay loose for the much anticipated September 17 date with Oklahoma. See ya in 2 weeks!!
6) STANFORD---The Carolina faithful will finally get to see a true Number 1 QB draft pick in North Carolina this week. No, not Cam Newton but 6'4"..240 Lbs of solid rock and brains aplenty from Stanford U. We're speaking of Andrew Luck taking on the Duke Blue-Devils. It would have been interesting to see who Carolina would have drafted had Luck not remained in school. The Cardinal beat not so mighty San Jose St 57-3 in total domination. Luck was 17 of 26 with 4 TD passes and rushed one himself before going to the bench to study Quantitative Analysis 440. They come to Devil Land as an 22 point road favorite. Sounds low to me.
7) WISCONSIN---The Badgers destroyed never-mighty UNLV 51-17. There are plenty of native Las Vegans still wondering how the Rebels managed to put up 17 points. Defense better get to the training facilities and watch some more tape of that game!! The Badgers now play Oregon St to see if OSU can shut down their running game. I doubt if OSU has much talent, as the smart boys in Vegas (the oddsmakers) have made Wisconsin a 20 point favorite. Watch the first half and then hit the parking lot for the greatest tailgate party in the Nation!
8) TEXAS A&M---The Aggies put a leaving Texas size brand on SMU's butt as they whooped them 46-14. Not a very nice way to say so long and good bye and thanks for the memories. Now they get to settle down and take on the Mighty Vandals of Idaho. This game is so one-sided it's not on the big board (or the added games board). Memo to Texas A&M: Not a very smart schedule to prepare for the SEC. Wait until the Aggies find out what a SEC schedule is like week after week. No cupcakes there. But hey, if that's what it took to get out from under the shadow of Texas...a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
9) OKLAHOMA ST---They scored big last week as they laid 61 on Louisiana-Lafayette. BUT...that's not a very good way of assuring T. Boone Pickens that you've strengthened your defense since last year. The Ragin Cajuns put up 34 points on you Cowgirls! That's right. 34 points is not the way to be introduced to the Pac 16. Better find some way to get the job done by Thursday night or Arizona will properly introduce themselves as the PAC 16 welcome wagon and embarrass you in front of ole T. Boone himself!!
10) NEBRASKA---The Cornhuskers warmed up their season by making a mockery over the Mocs of Chattanooga winning in style 40-7. But why the no-huddle Offense? Taylor Martinez ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns out of the no-huddle system. Is this to be a future sneak attack for the Big 10? The Huskers' new system under first-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck revealed lots of triple-option plays and quick short passes. Old-school Nebraska fans surely loved Beck's first call of the game. Tyler Legate's 1-yard run marked the first time a fullback had carried the ball for Nebraska since 2004. But make no mistake, this offense is built around Martinez's strengths as a runner. They get to play at home this week as an 28 point favorite verses Fresno St. WAR predicts the fullback will see the ball at least once more this week. Hey, you gotta be thankful you're getting a carry!
Associated Press Top 25
4 Boise State
5 Florida State
7 Texas A&M
9 Oklahoma State
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