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Broncos, 49ers headline first 2013 power rankings
September 11, 2013 - Andy Heintz
The first week of the NFL season is in the books, which means it is time for the debut of the Hyde Power Rankings. There were plenty of upsets, surprises and impressive wins this weekend. Some of the power teams left us shaking our heads, while others left many wanting more. Here is a run down of my top 10, followed by my bottom five.
10. Chicago Bears
I was one of those who had Cincinnati as a darkhorse in the AFC, but the Bears played very well in head coach Marc Trestman’s debut. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall continued their strong connection in the passing game and Chicago’s defense was led by two interceptions from Charles Tillman.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck took a lot of heat last year for his turnovers even though he threw for a rookie record for yards in a season. The former No. 1 pick out of Stanford had a nice season debut against the Raiders, throwing for two scores and using his legs to run in a 19-yard touchdown late in the game to guide the Colts to another come-from-behind win.
8. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are still a favorite to win the NFC and the Super Bowl despite their loss to arch rival New Orleans in the season opener. The game was in the Super Dome and it was the much-anticipated return of Saints head coach Sean Payton. I chalk this one up to a great game between two playoff-bound teams. And it took a late interception in the end zone for the Saints to pull it off.
7. New Orleans Saints
The Saints will be back in the playoff mix this year. The offense was a little rusty in Payton’s return but Drew Brees got the job done when it mattered most, rallying from a 10-point first quarter deficit. I still don’t know if I trust the Saints defense and finding a clear-cut No. 1 tailback to me will be important as the season goes.
6. Green Bay Packers
Another great game this weekend between two playoff bound teams featured the Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers went into Candlestick Park and nearly pulled the upset. This time though, it was the Packers’ secondary that was torched. Aaron Rodgers played like Aaron Rodgers offensively, but the defense will have to improve if they want to be real Super Bowl contenders.
5. New England Patriots
Tom Brady still found a way to win despite two fumbles from Stevan Ridley and another injury to a key player. The Patriots had to rally but I have a feeling that nothing will come easy for them this season. The key for them, and several other teams at the top, is that they won. And New England still has Brady and Bill Belichik. Plus, winning on the road against a division rival is never easy.
4. Houston Texans
The Texans nearly suffered a monumental loss on Monday night. If Houston drops that first game to San Diego – the Texans trailed 28-7 in the fourth quarter – it likely is forced to chase down New England and Denver all season for that first-round bye. Matt Schaub though picked up his play in the second half, the defense got a big play from Brian Cushing and the Texans survived. That’s what it is all about.
3. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are another team that was less than impressive. They could not run the ball with Marshawn Lynch and they only scored 12 points on the road against Carolina. But the 12 points was good enough for the win as the defense picked up the slack. I don’t trust the Seahawks in road games. They could go 8-0 at home but finish 10-6 with a 2-6 road record.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Teams got to see first hand that Colin Kaepernick does not need to use his feet to win games. He threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday against the Packers and Anquan Boldin proved he still has some tread left in his tires. The Niners’ vaunted defense was carved up by Rodgers at times, but he will make a lot of teams look bad this season.
1. Denver Broncos
It is tough not putting the Broncos in the top spot after what Peyton Manning did to the champions Thursday night. His seven touchdowns tied an NFL record and Wes Welker looked like he had been catching passes from him for several years. The Broncos defense is not as good as they will be later in the season but they did enough to slow down a Ravens team that is clearly not as good as last year.
Bottom Five 5. Oakland Raiders 4. New York Jets 3. Cleveland Browns 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1. Jacksonville Jaguars
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