The Stack is back on this Tuesday and during football season we'll have weekly NFL power rankings, because ESPN and the like do it, so why not The Stack? In fact, The Stack may be the first one to come out with the rankings. But first, we need to get to that great Monday night footbal game and some thoughts on the non-NFL stories that made headlines over the weekend so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, September 18:
Falcons dominate Broncos in sluggish MNF game
It was very sloppy early and got good late, and the Atlanta Falcons were able to outlast the Denver Broncos 27-21. The Falcons forced four first quarter turnovers including three Pyeton Manning interceptions. And the Falcons secondary was supposed to be the weakness, the question mark, but they were phenominal. Unfortunately, the game was overshadowed by the terrible officiating. The integrity of the league certainly seems to be at stake with how the officiating was this week, especially this game. The Broncos appeared to have recovered a fumble that would have kept their drive alive. Instead, the replacement refs inexplicably said that Atlanta recovered. That took almost six minutes to figure out. Some pushing and shoving broke out, one penalty against Atlanta. No ejections. No offsetting penalties. Just one. Some missed calls that had to be challenged. It was a disgrace. ESPN's Steve Young seems to be dead on when he said that the league doesn't care. If they cared, the league wouldn't have these officials who are so overmatched officiating the games. It was terrible. I hope to have more on Young's comments in tomorrow's post. All in all, the Falcons look good, Peyton still has some work to do and the officiating sucks.
Redskins lose two defensive starters for the year
Sunday, the Washington Redskins, particularly Josh Morgan, lost their composure which ended up costing them in their 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams. On Monday, they found out they lost more than just the game. Defensive end Adam Carriker and linebacker Brian Orakpo for the season due to injuries. Carriker tore a quad tendon while Orakpo tore his pectoral muscle near. Both are big injuries to the Redskins defense. The Redskins looked like they were going to surprise some people this year with how RGIII has looked through two games and they still could, but it is going to be much more difficult without two of the top defensive starters for the rest of the year.
In other injury news, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is going to be out at least a few weeks with an ankle injury. Don't expect to see him until the beginning of October at the earliest, with the middle of October looking much more likely. Big loss for the Patriots offense, but maybe this means they'll start to use Wes Welker more.
And the NFL is meeting with the players involved in the bounties this week and the NFL has told New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was the one who said Vilma participated in the bounty scandal and offered ten thousand dollars to any teammate who knocked Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game in the 2010 NFC Championship game. Be curious to be in that room and see Vilma's reaction to that. There's more to this story. Stay tuned.
Couple of big upsets in college football over the weekend
Big kudos to Notre Dame and Stanford who knocked off top ten teams over the weekend. Notre Dame went into East Lansing and played some great defense against Michigan State, knocking off the Spartans 20-3. They were all over Sparty. Michigan State could not get anything going against the Fighting Irish defense and what's worse is that Magic Johnson lost a bet with ESPN Radio's Mike Golic, a Notre Dame alumn. Couldn't have gone much worse for the Michigan State.
Stanford also played some great defense against USC, knocking off the Trojans 21-14. The Cardinal forced three Trojan turnovers and were led on offense by running back Stepfan Taylor who rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns. This is the fourth consecutive win over USC for Stanford, the first time that has happened in school history. And Stanford is the only team that USC quarterback Matt Barkley and the rest of the Trojan seniors never beat. Tough to say who's win was more impressive: Notre Dame or Stanford. What do you think? I say Notre Dame. This team finally looks like it's back to being one of the top programs in college football.
And we'd regret not mentioning how embarrassed Arkansas should be following their 52-0 loss to #1 Alabama. It was unbelievable. Arkansas has lost any chance at a BCS Bowl game this year and are on the verge of a very disappointing year. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide look pretty good.
NHL locked out
After weeks of on and off negotiations, the long awaited and expected announcement came down. The NHL locked out the players as of midnight eastern time Saturday night as the current CBA expired. The two sides will remain in contact according to statements issued by both the NHL and the NHLPA, but the both sides remain far apart on the core issues regarding a new CBA, specifically the how the hockey related revenue should be shared. More thoughts on the NHL lockout Wednesday.
NFL week 2 power rankings
1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
Best team in the NFL. Physical defense, smart offense. Super Bowl written all over them.
2. Houston Texans (2-0)
Did I mention Super Bowl? With a rushing attack like that and a defense like the Texans have, don't be shocked if this team is in New Orleans in February.
3. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
Matt Ryan and company have a great offense. Sure they almost gave up the lead to the Broncos, but the defense was great early on and they have the energy and look of a team destined for great things this year.
4. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Yeah they lost Sunday, but the Ravens have the ingredients on both sides of the ball to play with the best of them. This one loss won't sting them too bad.
5. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Why can't the defense play that way every game? Aaron Rodgers looks a little shaky. Don't expect that to last much longer.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
If they hadn't won by only two combined points and if Michael Vick hadn't thrown six picks in two games, the Eagles would be higher. Still, the Eagles are finding a way to win close games, a good sign for this team.
7. San Diego Chargers (2-0)
The Chargers have not gotten off to their historically slow starts. Considering that the two teams they've played are a combined 0-4, that shouldn't be surprising. The run defense has been great.
8. New England Patriots (1-1)
Ouch! Bad missed kick (Gostkowski). Bad ankle injury (Hernandez). Bad loss (Patriots). Glad I'm not in Patriots practice this week.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Ben Roethlisberger is one amazing quarterback. They way he extends plays is impressive. That defense (minus James Harrison and Troy Polamalu) was pretty good too, even if they were playing against the Jets.
10. Denver Broncos (1-1)
Four turnovers in the first quarter, including three Peyton Manning interceptions is not a good way to start a game. Expect that to be an abiration and not the norm as the season continues.
11. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Alright, raise your hands if you had the Cardinals beating the Patriots in New England. If you did you're lying. Not even Cardinals fans thought they'd beat the Patriots in Foxborough with Kevin Kolb as their starting quarterback. That was some performance by them and their defense.
12. Detroit Lions (1-1)
Matthew Stafford has gotten off to a rocky start this season. Apart from that late touchdown drive against the 49ers, the Lions haven't looked great this year. I'd be a little worried if I were a Lions fan.
13. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
I'm going to give the Cowboys a bit of a pass on the way they played Sunday. Two road games to start the year are tough and Seattle is a difficult place to play, but the Cowboys inconsistency means they are not back as one of the top teams in the NFL yet.
14. Chicago Bears (1-1)
Jay Cutler berarding his offensive line only underscores just how bad the offensive line is in Chicago. Luckily for the Bears, they won't face Clay Mathews every week.
15. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
That was some performance against the Cowboys. The defense was great and Marshawn Lynch ran wild. I see them being fairly consistent meaning they could make things interesting in the NFC West.
16. New York Giants (1-1)
Do the Giants really want Eli Manning to set career highs in passing every game this year? I doublt it. Their running game and secondary is a bit of a concern.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Regardless of what you think of Greg Schiano's decision about the kneeldown at the end of the Giants game, the Bucs are a far more tougher team than last year and will continue to be the rest of the year.
18. Carolina Panthers (1-1)
That was some display by the Cam Newton and the Panthers Sunday. If they run the ball effectively, the Panthers will be tough to beat. Good matchup against the Giants Thursday.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Beating the Browns by seven at home doesn't mean the Bengals are back to the team they were last year. It just means they beat a team they should have at home.
20. Washington Redskins (1-1)
RGIII continues to impress, but the injuries to the defense will doom this team.
21. St. Louis Rams (1-1)
The Rams are definitely a better team than they were last year. The offense looks much better and the defense is far more physical. Credit Jeff Fisher for that.
22. New York Jets (1-1)
One week after a dazzling display on offense against the Bills, the Jets were put in their place by Pittsburgh, raising plenty of questions about just how good the offense is.
23. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
If C.J. Spiller runs like that every game, Buffalo's offense is going to be tough to stop. Then again, they aren't playing the Chiefs every week.
24. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
The Saints are in big trouble. Bad defense. Can't protect Drew Brees. Sean Payton's absense is killing this team.
25. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Andrew Luck got his first win as an NFL quarterback. And he did it at home. But the Colts have to play better in the fourth quarter. They were lucky to beat the Vikings.
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Maybe the Vikings should pretend their down by 14 points at the begining of the game and their offense would score points in bunches. Plus, shouldn't they have learned from Jacksonville week one that you need to play defense at the end of games?
27. Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Umm...where did Reggie Bush come from? If he has more performances like that (172 yards, two touchdowns), the Dolphins will win a few more games than most predict.
28. Oakland Raiders (0-2)
Was going to put the Dolphins here, but when you fail to run the ball effectively and get blown out by one of the worst teams in the NFL, you don't deserve to be below them.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
OK, so all of that encouraging play against the Vikings in week one can be thrown out the window. They looked terrible against the Texans and Blaine Gabbert is hurt. Ouch.
30. Tennessee Titans (0-2)
Chris Johnson is beyond disappointing and he is the at the top of the list why the Titans are struggling the way they are.
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Trent Richardson looked pretty good against the Bengals and Brandon Weeden rebounded nicely, but this Browns still have a ways to go.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2)
Only difference between this year's 0-2 start versus last year is that the Chiefs don't have injuries to some of their best players to blame for this year's start.
Coming up Wednesday: Baseball playoff race update, NHL lockout and Steve Young's comments.