NFL Cream Of The Crop – Week 7
Welcome to this week’s look at the NFL’s cream of the crop. As we move ahead to week seven of the regular season, we are beginning to get a sense of which teams are at the top of their game, and which teams are just downright awful.
Last week, Lester Wiltfong had the top three looking like this:
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Houston Texans
3. San Francisco 49ers
Well, I can tell you that two of those teams are still in the top three, but one team has had to make room for a more worthy contender. Let’s find out who.
1. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are now the only unbeaten team in the NFL and for this reason alone they deserve their place at the top of this chart. They survived a close encounter with the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, eventually winning the game 23-20.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has announced to the world that he has arrived as one of the best passers in the league. Only Tom Brady and Eli Manning have thrown more yards than Ryan and only Aaron Rodgers has thrown more touchdowns.
As a team, the Falcons have averaged 28.5 points per game, while only allowing 18.8 points to opposing teams. In today’s NFL, scoring heavily is paramount if you want to be successful, and Atlanta have had no problems lighting up the scoreboard.
The Falcons get a well deserved rest this week. They return to action in week eight as they travel to an under-performing Philadelphia Eagles team. They have some other tough matchups on their schedule, and while I don’t see them going unbeaten, they could come pretty close.
2. Houston Texans
Yes, I know they are coming off a huge loss to the Packers, in a game which saw them give up 42 points, but they are still one of the best teams in the league.
They have a 5-1 record, and average 28.8 points per game. Running back Arian Foster is second in the NFL with 93.5 rushing yards a game, and is top of the class with seven rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Texans are strong against both the pass and the rush, and don’t allow the opposition to score too many points against them. Wide receiver Andre Johnson might not be as effective as he has been in seasons past, but they haven’t had to rely too heavily on him this year. In Arian Foster, the Texans have one of the best rushers in the NFL, and with their dominant defense, they should have no problems making the playoffs.
3. Baltimore Ravens
This week sees the 49ers no longer considered the cream of the crop, as they make way for the Baltimore Ravens, who make their return to the top three. The Ravens overcame the Cowboys in a close game last week, taking their record to 5-1.
Like all the teams mentioned, the Ravens score heavily and stop opposing teams doing the same. Quarterback Joe Flacco has a passer rating of 92.0, also throwing just four interceptions this year. Running back Ray Rice rushes for an average of five yards every time he touches the ball, and has rumbled in for five touchdowns as well.
In veteran linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens have a player still capable of playing at a high level. Despite his age, he is still fourth in the league with 57 tackles, but he suffered a torn tricep against the Cowboys, which will see him miss the rest of the season. Next week will be a stern test for the Ravens as they take on cream of the crop colleagues, the Houston Texans. That looks set to be a hard-hitting affair, as both teams seek to take their record to 6-1.
Don’t forget to read Lester’s post as he breaks down the bottom three teams for this week. Until next time, enjoy the games.