Wayne Root's NFL & College Top Tens
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT'S NFL TOP 10 FOR WEEK 3
1. New England---The Pats are the class of the AFC and the team that gets to wear the infamous bulls-eye. Tom Brady has passed for 940 yards in his first two games and looks as if no one can stop him. He has speedy receivers and has re-introduced the importance of tight ends with Gronkowski & company taking over the game. Their defense looks much improved but their defensive backs play too far off the receivers inviting some huge plays. They get to play a surprising 2-0 Buffalo Bills team this week.
1a. Green Bay---Can the Pack be back if they never left? They are the class of the NFC and look to remain at the top as the Super Bowl Champs that they are. If they have one problem it's their pass defense. They are giving up 400 yards per game and rank last. They may need to hold off the blitzing and take care of business in the secondary. But even though they were behind 13-0 against Carolina, Aaron Rodgers showed why they are still the one to beat, as he had his team clamp down and took the game away from the Panthers. They play at Chicago this Sunday.
2. NY Jets---Will the Jets go as far as Mark Sanchez takes them, or will the QB's worst nightmare, Super- Cornerback Darrelle Revis, keep them in every game as he wrecks havoc in the secondary? Revis and crew are in the top 5 secondaries and I'm sure that Sanchez is not. Thank goodness that the Jets running game is better than holding it's own or the Jets offense would be in big trouble. We'll get to see how they play on the road as they travel to the newly-improved Raider Nation.
3. New Orleans---No need to say the Saints have an explosive offense. That is well documented. However, Mark Ingram is developing into a short yardage back that was missing from last season. They need to work on pass defense and pass rushing. Luckily for them, they have the top coach in the NFL to lead them in Sean Payton. They've played 2 good games to open the season and will have a chance to see if their defense needs to be overhauled this week as the Houston Texans, with Andre Johnson, will put them to a test.
4. Houston---With Peyton Manning gone, just go ahead and give the Texans the title- AFC South champs. Now we get to see how they can play against one of the best in the NFL as they travel to New Orleans. Between the Texans and the Brees-led Saints, they might burn up a few light bulbs on the scoreboard this weekend. They need to find a way to put pressure on the quarterback, or if not, they'd better be prepared to score 45 points if they want to win this game.
5. Philadelphia---America's Team's dream turned into a nightmare late in the game as their star QB, Michael Vick, suffered a concussion and then somehow allowed the Atlanta Falcons to score 2 late touchdowns on 80 yard drives to win the game. Ouch. Before you blame the departure of Vick, think again. The Eagles could not get a single stop when the Falcons were in the red zone. This remains to be an issue. Now back to the offense. The reason Vick is all over the field getting banged around in the first two games is because the offensive line stinks. He is NOT running all over the field by design. It's unclear till Saturday if he will be on the field.
6. Pittsburgh---The Men of Steel listened to me and burned week one's game film and rebounded from an awful showing to completely shut down the Seahawks on Sunday. Receivers were getting open and the Steelers moved the football at will. Combined with a strong running game, it was clear the Seahawks were outclassed. Defensively, the Steelers front 4 is one of the best, but their secondary is getting older and slower. They travel to play the Manning-less Colts on NBC Primetime Sunday night.
7. Baltimore---As I predicted, teams look much different from Week 1 to Week 2 and nowhere in the NFL did this ring more true than the Ravens horrible performance against the Titans. 229 total yards on the road will not win many games!! The Ravens are at best under-manned in the wide receiver department making QB Joe Flacco's ability to move his team very difficult. So it remains the job of the defense to keep them in every game. They get to take their traveling road show to St Louis and see if they can "man-up" against the Rams.
8. San Diego---I could like this bunch if Norv Turner was fired. Other than Philip Rivers, who's the most recognized player on the Chargers team? The player that they threw the ball to just once. A man that can be a game changer if they want to make first downs over and over. It's TE Antonio Gates. Way to game plan Mr. Turner! No catches the entire game!! Hopefully he's on the hot seat this season, and is lucky that the entire AFC West is awful and the division title is gift-wrapped for the Chargers this year. Oh well, it's still September and the Bolts have at least one win under their belts. They try for their second win this week as they host hapless Kansas City.
9. Detroit---The Lions are 2-0 and are showing the league that they mean business.The defensive front is aggressive and relentless. They get pressure on quarterbacks and are quick off the ball to stop the run. The Lions are tenacious in the trenches. On offense, the Detroit has many targets for QB Matt Stafford to throw to. The Stafford-to-Johnson hookup is still one of the top 3 in the NFL and should continue to remain as the Lions have a solid running game to help with the balance. Their only issue lies in the young secondary which is athletic but struggles in coverage. They will be tested in a conference game this Sunday as they travel to a wounded 0-2 Minnesota Viking team.
10. Atlanta---The Falcons re-asserted that they are a force to be reckoned with in the NFC with their win over the Eagles last week. The offense was efficient in the red zone, as they were 5-for-5 when in deep. They did not settle for field goals. Matt Ryan has recorded 14 game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in his career. That characteristic will take this team far. The defensive front does a good job of generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and they will need to be good in that regard, because there are issues in Atlanta's secondary. They have another tuff test on the road this week as they play Tampa Bay.
10a. Dallas---From goat to hero. QB Tony Romo. One week he's the goat, the next week he shows amazing heart after suffering a rib injury and PUNCTURED LUNG, yet comes back into the game to lead the Cowboys to a comeback victory and saving them from 0-2. Can you say H-E-R-O? This guy is John Wayne with a football. I am impressed beyond belief at his toughness and bravado. The Cowpokes have many injuries to deal with. Three cornerbacks are hurt, Dez Bryant is banged, Miles Austin is out for 3 to 4 weeks, RB Felix Jones is still having shoulder problems...and then there's Romo. This will clearly make the next few weeks an uphill battle. They open up at home this Monday Night in the most intensive NFL rivalry against the Washington Redskins who are sitting at 2-0. Stay tuned as the King of Monday Night has this game pegged!!
Chicago.....Remember they are the defending NFC-North Champs.
NY Giants....Eli Manning need to improve his leadership if he wants what his brother has.
Buffalo....Their young HARVARD quarterback is up and coming, and they can flat out run the ball!! Look for them to pull some upsets.
Tampa Bay...They showed tremendous heart (and fabulous young QB) in winning after falling behind 17-0.
Oakland....Good running backs and good defense will take them a long way again this season.
Washington...2-0? Are you sure that's not a mistake? Grossman at QB? The football Gods are playing with us.
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP 10 FOR WEEK 4
1. Oklahoma---The Sooners played well enough to win 23-13 in the hostile environment of Florida St. Nothing fancy in this game but it keeps them on top of the polls as they head into this weekend to play a conference game with Missouri...unless there is no conference...or Missouri is in the SEC or something!! Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Sooners was their defense. Minus a somewhat lucky downfield pass that broke for a touchdown the Seminoles had nothing going most of the game. Oklahoma takes on Mizzou this weekend in what should be a bit of a payback game from a year ago. Missouri beat Oklahoma last year when the Sooners were ranked No. 1.
2. Alabama---The Crimson beat North Texas 41-0 in their last warm-up game entering into some conference games. Nothing to report in this one-sided affair. This week they should be in hog heaven as they take on the Razorbacks of Arkansas. Last year, Arkansas had Alabama on the ropes leading 20-7 in the third quarter. The Hogs lost the lead and the game 24-20. Petrino has yet to beat Alabama as a head coach. That gets under his skin. Bama's kicker has had a stiff back and had 2 misses last week and factors as this can turn a bitter rivalry game around in a second! And I say rivalry in terms that everybody in the conference hates Alabama.
3. LSU---LSU invaded Mississippi St and tattooed them defensively and came away with an awesome road victory 19-6. This may be the team to beat in the SEC. We'll see but for now the Tigers have a non conference game this weekend. #3 LSU's game at #16 West Virginia on Saturday night marks the second time the schools have met in football, after the Tiger's 20-14 win last season in Baton Rouge. Both teams are undefeated for this blockbuster matchup, hugely important not only for West Virginia but for the Big East. With the primetime kick comes the first-ever visit by ESPN's College Gameday,
4. Boise St.---The Bronco's showed the ESPN Nation more of their talent as they defeated Toledo in a Nationally televised Friday night game. The came away with an impressive 40-15 win on the road against a team that almost defeated Ohio St the week before. Now it's Tulsa turn to play on the blue carpet as they get to enter Bronco Nation at their own risk. Kellen Moore is the real deal and the entire team is continually focused on big scores to persuade the pollsters and the public that they belong at the top!
5. Stanford---They're smart true student-athletes. And they can win! Another impressive game that was billed as a possible close game saw the Cardinal in the desert beating Arizona 37-10. They got the job done on both sides of the ball. Andrew Luck is the very, very real deal!! Luck continued to prove why he is the best nation's best quarterback, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns .Throughout the game, Luck easily carved up the Wildcat defense, and showed that if he can't get it done with his arm, he can do it with his feet. Luck finished with 36 rushing yards as well. They get the Bruins of UCLA this week.
6. Wisconsin---The Badgers are focused to show the rest of the Big 10 that it's their conference. No OSU's or Michigan's anymore. They took their incredibly talented offense across the state line and walked away with a 49-7 win over Northern Illinois. This week, it's mighty South Dakota turn to lose by 50+ points. For the first time in a long time, this team belongs to a Quarterback; Russell Wilson is a much needed and much welcomed compliment to the Badger backfield. Look for more big things down the road for this team.
7. Oklahoma St.---The Cowboys proved they can play and win on the third shift last week as they defeated Tulsa 59-33 in a game that began after midnight. This week it's their turn to put it to Texas A&M. 82,500 tickets have been sold for this game. T. Boone Pickens team better shore up the defense for this game as this will not be a walk in the park for either side. The oddsmakers opened this line with the Aggie's a 2.5 favorite. Should be a great game.
8. Texas A&M---A&M warmed up for their game this week with a non-conference game against the Vandals of Idaho. It was ho-hum at best as the Agricultural school from the south learned all about potatoes from the college from the north and in between walked away with an unimpressive 37-7 win. Now 82,500 fans are getting the game in which they've been awaiting. Here's one "did-you-know?: The Aggie's do not have a senior on their offensive line, but pass protection has been flawless thus far. On 69 pass attempts, A&M quarterbacks have not been sacked. Add that to their running game and this all points to a great college game between two top 10 ranked teams.
9. Nebraska---The Cornhuskers defeated Washington 51-38 last weekend. Nebraska heads on the road for the first time in 2011, when it travels to Laramie, Wyoming. The Huskers enter the game with a 3-0 record following a 51-38 victory over Washington in Lincoln. The Nebraska offense topped 40 points for the third straight game and rolled up more than 300 yards on the ground to key the victory. The Nebraska-Wyoming game is one of only seven matchups in the nation this week between a pair of unbeaten teams.
10. Oregon---The Ducks are in the top 10 replacing Florida St after they lost at home. The Ducks have recovered since their opening week loss to LSU. They defeated Missouri St 56-7 and now turn their attention to conference play as they get the injured Arizona Wildcats. Oregon has averaged 539 yards per game so far this season, tied for sixth in the country and should have a fairly easy time in the desert as Arizona's defense has allowed 473 yards per game, 111th best in the nation. Maybe that explains the 15.5 point spread the Ducks get to lay on the road.
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