With all the talk about the NBA lockout circulating among the press, it's getting tougher and tougher to remember that the NFL went through its own labor strife just a few months ago. It's amazing what a few weeks of great NFL games can do to one's memory.
Nearly halfway through the season, it has become the season of the quarterback in the NFL. Every football fan knows that you can't win unless you have a great quarterback, but few seasons have had as many storylines that have centered around the QB position. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have separated themselves as the best. The Colts have been awful for one reason: Peyton Manning's injury. Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have had better-than-expected seasons as rookies. A handful of teams have been awful, sparking a "Suck for Luck" conspiracy in which teams are tanking to get Stanford QB Andrew Luck in the draft.
Oh, and did I mention all the fervor about Broncos QB Tim Tebow? Did you hear that he inspired the latest craze that will take over for planking? Well, he did; it's called "Tebowing."
And that doesn't nearly cover all the quarterback stories. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store. Here are the Week 8 NFL Game Power Rankings:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
Average Ticket Price: $231.96
The Steelers and Patriots have developed a fierce rivalry over the last decade, albeit one that has been dominated by Tom Brady and the Pats. In Brady's seven career games against Pittsburgh (regular season and playoffs), he has a 6-1 record while throwing for 2,807 yards, 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Wait, I thought I said this was a rivalry? (As a Patriots fan, I'm pretty sure I just jinxed them.)
While teams like the Packers, Patriots and Ravens continued to flex their muscles as the top teams in the NFL, it was a couple of up-and-coming teams (and their coaches) that were the story in Week 6. No one can say that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions head coach Jim Schwartz aren't fiery competitors, but I think that everyone can agree that maybe they shouldn't have let it spill onto the field like they did last week.
As most NFL fans have seen by now, following a 49ers victory over the Lions, Harbaugh gave Schwartz an enthusiastic handshake and slap on the back. Schwartz was not happy about that and attempted to start a fight. Needless to say, while unfortunate, it was AWESOME! If I were a 49ers or Lions fan, I would love to see that emotion that shows how much they both care about winning. With both teams at 5-1, their fans have a lot to be excited about.
There are plenty of great games this week even with some powerhouse teams on bye week, including the Patriots and Giants. Here are the Week 7 rankings:
1. New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
Average Ticket Price: $205.89
Last year, this game would have been one of the most anticipated match-ups of quarterbacks of the entire season. But with Peyton Manning out due to injury, and the Colts 0-5, Saints fans won't be getting the game they hoped for during preseason. No doubt the average price has come down since Manning's injury.
Week 6 of the NFL season is officially here and for the third time this season a New England Patriots home game takes the top spot in our NFL Game Power Rankings. It's only the team's third home game this season, meaning that when the Patriots take to the field at Gillette Stadium their fans will come out in full force.
The Patriots welcome "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys, to Foxboro this Sunday. The Cowboys are coming off a much needed bye week after a tough loss against the Detroit Lions in a game where they had a 24-point lead in the third quarter. Quarterback Tony Romo has gotten a lot of criticism for his inconsistent play, but he should be able to put up big numbers against a struggling Patriots secondary.
Like every week in the NFL, there should be plenty of great games for fans this weekend. Here are all of the NFL Game Power Rankings for Week 6:
1. New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys
Average Ticket Price: $319.80
There is no disputing what will be the top game for Week 6. The Patriots and Cowboys are two of the most storied franchises in the league with some of the biggest names in the game, both on and off the field. The average price for this game is 30% higher than the next game on the list and nearly 363% higher than the last game in the rankings. Gillette Stadium will be rocking this Sunday.
Wait, the NFL season is already one-quarter of the way complete? Noooooo! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was keeping my fingers crossed that the NFL lockout would end and we would get back to football. Now, it feels like the season is going by too fast. But I digress. Week 5 of the season is here and it is full of interesting match-ups on the schedule, including a few interesting intra-division rivalries.
The top game in our power rankings for this week, which could have been predicted before the season started, is the Jets vs. Patriots game in Foxboro, MA. The Jets knocked the Pats out of the playoffs last season, embarrassing the heavily favored Patriots 28-21. Quarterback Tom Brady made no secret that the game haunted him in the offseason but said this week that he would not use that loss to fuel his motivation for this week. Yeah, right.
Other great divisional games this week include Bears-Lions, Saints-Panthers and Chargers-Broncos. Here are the rest of the NFL Game Power Rankings for Week 5:
1. New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Average Ticket Price: $327.72
The trash-talking in this rivalry seems to have been coming from only the Jets side for the past few seasons, and it always starts with Jets head coach Rex Ryan. He recently told reporters that this game is a match-up of "Hall of Fame" coaches, speaking of himself and Pats coach Bill Belichick, who has three Super Bowl rings to Rex's zero. Ryan may want to work on his 25th ranked offense before enshrining himself into the HOF.
Last week's games did not lack drama and surprises. The Patriots looked like they were in for another blowout win, up 21-0 in the second quarter against the Bills with Tom Brady ready to break more passing records. But the Bills quickly turned it around to win 34-31 while picking off Brady four times. Similarly, the Lions were down 20-0 to the Vikings at halftime and roared back (pun intended) to win 26-23 in overtime. Other games including the Colts-Steelers, Saints-Texans and Cowboys-Redskins all came down to the end as well.
NFL fans hope for similar excitement in Week 4, and there are plenty of games that may just fit that bill, including the Packers, who are part of the top ranked game for the second straight week. Here are the Week 4 NFL Game Power Rankings:
1. Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos
Average Ticket Price: $238.31
The Packers enter their second home game of the season undefeated and the Broncos don't pose much of a threat to change that.