NFL Cream Of The Crop – Week #2

As we head into the second week of NFL action there were a few teams that gave quite the surprise on kickoff weekend. Did anyone expect the New York Jets offense to explode after idling through preseason? Or for Robert Griffin III to play out of his mind on the road in the Superdome? Or for the Denver Broncos offense to look so smooth guided by their new QB, Peyton Manning?

Well that last one shouldn’t be a shocker, but after missing all of 2011, many experts were split as to what they’d see from Manning. On opening day, he didn’t miss a beat, knocking off the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 in an impressive win. Despite this great showing, it was not enough for Denver to make the Cream Of The Crop this week.

If your new to this series, fellow We Got this Covered writer Dave Gilbert and myself will be taking alternating looks at the top 3 and the bottom 3 teams in the NFL. Last week I had the Bottom Of The Barrel, and Dave had the Cream Of The Crop. Before I get into my picks this week, here’s the top 3 as seen by Dave Gilbert last week:

1. New England Patriots
2. New York Giants
3. San Francisco 49ers

And now on to the Cream Of The Crop – Week #2

1. New England Patriots

I can’t argue with Dave and his top choice from last week, so they stay at the top. The Patriots are perennial Super Bowl contenders thanks to Tom Brady, but if week 1 was any indication it looks as though the young Pats defense will make some hay this year. They held Titans running back Chris Johnson to 4 yards on 11 carries and scored a defensive touchdown by returning a fumble.

The offense was its usual good self, but a couple new faces made their mark. New starting tailback Stevan Ridley had 125 yards rushing and a TD and new #1 wide out Brandon Lloyd chipped in with 5 catches for 69 yards.

2. Baltimore Ravens

Even if I had the top 3 last week I would have held off on adding the Ravens, but after week 1 saw their new-look no huddle offense operate so efficiently, they deserve their #2 ranking. I think QB Joe Flacco (21/29, 299 yds, 2 TD in week 1) is set to have a breakout year this season, RB Ray Rice is a top 5 running back, and that defense led by 37 year old Ray Lewis (11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) will still be dominant.

3. San Francisco 49ers

How can I not keep the 49ers in the Cream Of The Crop after going to Lambeau Field and beating the Packers? Their stingy defense continues to be tough to run on as the Pack only managed 45 yards on the ground with 27 of them coming from QB Aaron Rodgers. And speaking of Rodgers, he did go over 300 yards passing, but he was sacked 3 times, picked off once, and harassed all day.

49er QB Alex Smith had another solid day (20/26, 211 yards, 2 TD) and the offense was clicking on the ground to the tune of 186 yards rushing.

Be sure to check out Dave Gilbert this week as he takes on the ‘Bottom Of The Barrel’ and ranks teams 30-32.