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NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: (last updated: 10/28)
Septamber was another winning month for our complemenatry selections making it now five consecutive positive
months. We have been offering free winning seletions eight of ten months in 2014.
Added 30 units units in September. The MLB season finished profitable with a
76-58 (+477.21) record. Hopefully you followed some of the action. Time to turn to football and basketball and we hope to
deliver you the same great results for free!
1. Denver Broncos (6-1): The Denver Broncos are the NFL's best team. You can qualify that however you'd like. They're the most talented, best on paper, tied for the fewest losses and my midseason pick to win the Super Bowl.
In whatever way we measure or project, the Broncos are atop the NFL right now. Peyton Manning is playing at a level never before seen in terms of football intelligence at the quarterback position. And with targets like Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker, his decisions are leading to big yards and points.
But perhaps the best facet of this team is the defense. Led by Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, the Broncos are shutting folks down on a weekly basis. And while we all know how great Manning is, it's the defense that makes them my current choice to win the Super Bowl.
2. New England Patriots (6-2): The New England Patriots are back. Or did they ever really go away?
A 6-2 record (with losses to Kansas City and Miami) puts them as the second-best team in the AFC standings, but on the field, they're also showing the type of commanding play that makes the No. 2 ranking legitimate.
The offense is rolling now that the line has continuity and with Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright becoming comfortable in the offense. A healthy Rob Gronkowski has been a nice addition, too, and we're seeing Tom Brady settle in and begin to attack defenses again. That 51-point outburst against the Chicago Bears? That's what they're capable of.
The Patriots should be considered a legitimate threat to the Denver Broncos in the AFC. And if they can keep playing at the level we saw in Week 8, they might be the only team capable of beating the Broncos in Denver. Thankfully, this all sets up perfectly for the Week 9 showdown between Denver and New England in Foxborough.
3. Arizona Cardinals (6-1): A huge win over the Philadelphia Eagles has Arizona moving way up in the rankings this week.
The Cardinals are getting it done at home with wins over Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco in Glendale.
Are the Cardinals ready to win the NFC West? How about the entire NFC?
4. Dallas Cowboys (6-2): The Cowboys played on Monday Night Football, and the 20-17 overtime loss to Washington leaves them set up for an inevitable fall down the rankings this week.
The scary aspect of the game wasn't just the loss—every team will have a bad week and lose one—but that all the preseason concerns about Dallas came true in Week 8. The offensive line had trouble adjusting to blitz protection, the defense was picked apart and in the final minutes (including overtime), Romo couldn't get the job done.
I know the idea that Romo isn't clutch is largely a myth, but look at the pocket on the final play of the game and you see an injured, timid Romo panic instead of stepping up and to his left to easily run for the first down.
Winning will cure any and all concerns in Dallas, but fans have seen a second-half collapse from this team before, and that has to be on everyone's mind heading into Week 9.
5. Detroit Lions (6-2): The Detroit Lions had plenty of excuses if their Week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons resulted in a loss. The road trip to London, an early start time (9:30 a.m. ET), injuries to Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, their top three tight ends and Nick Fairley, and the late-week suspension of defensive tackle C.J.
Mosley—any one of those excuses would have made sense if the Lions lost.
And for two quarters, it looked like they might.
A 21-point deficit faded away as Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate pulled the Lions back into it. Corey Fuller stepped up. Theo Riddick stepped up. And by the end of the contest, Matt Prater had won it with a field goal thanks to a delay of game taking his missed attempt off the board.
Sometimes, the ugly wins are the best ones, and in Week 8, the Lions learned they can win dirty and shorthanded.
NCAA Football Power Rankings (last updated: 10/28)
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-0):
Still the No. 1 team and got the expected challenge from Kentucky, but the Bulldogs left with their undefeated record intact.
RB Josh Robinson refuses to be ignored -- ran for 198 and two TDs. Worry is about QB Dak Prescott, who reportedly left the stadium
in a walking boot. Bulldogs host Arkansas on Saturday.
2. Florida State Seminoles (7-0):
Had the weekend off and many are focusing on the relative lack of dominance exhibited by this year’s team (national champs
won each game by an average of 39.5 points). My thought? Their winning streak is now at 23 -- that’s dominance enough. Consensus
seems to be that FSU will get really tested this Thursday at Louisville. Me thinks it will be a solid win for the Garnet and Gold.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1):
Don’t blink, the Crimson Tide are rolling and blasted Tennessee by 14 points, but it wasn’t that close (Bama got out to a 27-0 lead).
WR Amari Cooper got back in form in a BIG way with a school-record 224 yards on nine catches and two TDss --
185 of those yards came in the first quarter! Tide take a break this week then head to Death Valley for the annual showdown
with resurgent LSU on Nov. 8.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1):
Many still don’t believe in the guys from South Bend, and I understand the reasoning. What is their best win? Truthfully,
I was more convinced by what I saw from them in their loss at Florida State. They had an R&R day on Saturday and are prepping
for a meeting with Navy in Landover, Maryland, Saturday night. Look out for RB Tarean Folston, who has 289 yards from scrimmage in his last two games.
5. Auburn Tigers (6-1):
You always have to be careful when dealing with a Steve Spurrier team, and Saturday was no different as the Tigers had to sweat out
a seven-point win at home (and South Carolina should have gotten an extra play as Auburn had two defenders on the field wearing the
same number, which is a penalty). HUGE game Saturday as they travel to Oxford for a clash with an angry No. 10 Mississippi.
NBA Preseason Rankings (last updated: 10/28)
1. Cleveland Cavaliers:
This Cleveland Cavaliers roster is absolutely stacked. It was a complete overhaul this season to turn a pretender into a championship contender. LeBron James was obviously the biggest addition, as he returns home for some unfinished business. Trading for Kevin Love was a move that put them over the top. They traded away some key pieces to the future, but they did it to win now. Love and James join star point guard Kyrie Irving, who may become the most important player in the NBA this season. He’s going to be the distributor that gets his two future Hall of Famers the ball. Oh yeah, they also added Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, and could be bringing on Ray Allen as well. Miller gives them a three-point shooting machine, and he makes clutch shots. Marion gives them a defensive presence off the bench. Allen gives them another three-point shooter that is a champion, if he does choose to join LeBron. Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao become x-factors in the starting lineup. Waiters is an underrated shooter. Varejao is a double-double almost every night. This Cavs team should be championship or bust this year. First-year NBA head coach David Blatt has too much talent to not get to the NBA Finals. We could be looking at a dynasty that moves from Miami to Cleveland.
2. San Antonio Spurs:
The team that may stop the Cavs come June could, of course, be the San Antonio Spurs. Year after year they find themselves making a deep playoff run. It seems like they get a year older and a year wiser. This could actually be the last year of their reign as this could mark Tim Duncan’s final season. The Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili trio returns under the NBA’s best head coach, Gregg Popovich. The defending NBA champions bring back an almost identical roster to last season, which also will include rookie Kyle Anderson, who will cause mismatches against opposing benches. This team has the talent, leadership, depth, and basketball IQ to win another title. They have not been capable of winning back-to-back titles, but you just cannot count out the Spurs with Popovich manning the sidelines. The Spurs are still the best in the west, until someone proves otherwise.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder:
The Thunder always finds a way to fall short in the playoffs. Could this be the year they overcome it? Well, a Kevin Durant foot fracture doesn’t help. Durant won’t miss much more than a month, so Oklahoma City isn’t too worried, but they will obviously need their MVP as many games as possible. The Thunder needed a bit more depth and they got a bit of help. Anthony Morrow gives them an outside shooting threat. They need some help shooting so Russell Westbrook isn’t taking 36 shots a game. Durant should be getting the rock every possession in the final minutes. Kendrick Perkins became a liability on offense, which will need to change. Serge Ibaka has extended his range and he is expected to have another solid season. Steven Adams became a factor off the bench last season. With Durant out, Jeremy Lamb is going to be a guy to keep an eye on as he should see significant minutes. Reggie Jackson will look to take the next step after playing well when Westbrook was hurt last season. Westbrook has shined, but he needs to avoid erratic play. Sometimes he lets his emotions get the best of him at big moments late in games The question for the Thunder will remain whether they can stay healthy. They certainly have the talent to make a run. This may be Scott Brooks’ last chance if they don’t get to the Finals. This needs to be the year they get over the hump, or Brooks gets the pink slip in OKC.
4. Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers underachieved last season. They also had to battle the Donald Sterling distractions that came up in the playoffs. They now have a new owner in Steve Ballmer and have their great coach Doc Rivers back. It’s time to win now for this team. They have too much talent and too much depth to not be an upper echelon team in the West. They bring back almost the same roster, but got some much-needed front court depth with the addition of Spencer Hawes. The 7’1? power forward extended his range, becoming one of the NBA’s best shooting big men. He’s going to add something special off the bench for the Clippers. We know all about their starting five, highlighted by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. They will need to dominate the front court. Their bench is a big strength with Jamal Crawford, Jordan Farmar, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Hawes leading the way. Crawford has absolutely shined off the bench, taking home the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season. The “Big Baby” gets a whole year in Hollywood to get himself back on the map. Farmar and Turkoglu are both serviceable veterans off the bench. This roster could be the deepest in the league. The Clippers need to take the next step this season, because the window with CP3 leading the way is not going to be open for much longer.
5. Chicago Bulls:
The Chicago Bulls season all rests on the knees of Derrick Rose. Sky is the limit for this year’s Bulls team if their MVP point guard can stay on the court. That has been the issue. Rose has an awesome supporting cast thanks to a terrific offseason. The biggest move was the addition of Pau Gasol. He adds a veteran, championship presence to an already scary front court. Him and Joakim Noah might just be the best one-two punch in the low post in the NBA. They also have the tenacity of Taj Gibson coming off the bench. It’s going to be interesting to see the role of rookie Doug McDermott, who was a scoring machine at Creighton. Aaron Brooks and E’Twaun Moore also give the Bulls a bit of backcourt depth. They have added some offense. We already know they will be in the top five defensively. They have maybe the best defensive head coach in the league in Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls are the only team in the East that could really give the Cavs a run for their money, but again it all depends on the health of their superstar point guard. It’s going to be quite the battle to watch atop the Eastern Conference.
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