Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NFL Halfway Point Power Rankings - Saved By The Bell

Quick Happy Birthday to the Karate Kid – Danielsan, Ralph Macchio. He turns 48 today. And for my wife - it's Matthew McConaughy's birthday. He's probably celebrating by doing his favorite things......smoking his face off, hanging out with Lance Armstrong, and playing the bongo the buff. Strange dude.

Anyway.........This week’s rankings are broken down by one of the greatest shows of my childhood: Saved By The Bell. Once they finally got to Bayside High, and before they messed with the college years, the show was amazing. It had all the stereotypes of the supposedly typical high school – the class clown, the jock, the nerd, the cheerleader, the rich girl, the smart girl, and the hapless principle. Halfway through the NFL season, there is a very distinct line between the haves and the have-nots, with a pile of Jekyll & Hydes in the middle.

The Kelly Kapowski Category
Kelly was the “it” girl on the show – the head cheerleader, and the goal of every guy at Bayside High. And she was an utterly sweet girl, giving up her prom after her father lost his job, and the lead singer in the “Zack Attack” band. All the while maintaining her hotness wearing hideous baggy 80’s clothes and keeping us interested in her on and off relationship with Zack. After starring on the show, she went on to grow out of her clean image by getting a boob job and becoming a villain on 90210, but her real prime was being the reason for every fight between Zack and Slater. These are the dominant teams in the league that like Kelly, are the envy of every other beauty queen in the school.

1. Saints (last week: 1) – Another week, another impressive win for the Saints. I’m not sure the Saints can have a perfect season, especially considering they play the Patriots in a few weeks. Do you think Belichick might have his guys fired up to prevent that perfection? And speaking of perfection, I would say Reggie Bush’s girlfriend is a pretty perfect match for Princess Jasmine.

2. Colts (2) – The Colts continue to prove that they can win games even when they are not playing their best game. They are the most methodical team in the NFL, and just continue to do whatever it takes. Peyton Manning has a stranglehold on the MVP award at the halfway point of the season, with only Drew Brees within sight, a distant second.

3. Steelers (4) – Coming off a bye week they head to Mile High Stadium, and hopefully Ryan Clark is smart enough not to put his health at risk and doesn’t play in the high altitude.

4. Vikings (5) – They dominated the Packers, yet their defense still allowed the Packers to get back in the game, almost completely blowing a 24-3 lead. But they are in strong position to win the NFC North, and have a pretty good shot at having the NFC playoffs come through the Metrodome. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, that brings back memories of the 1998 NFC Championship game.

The Zack Morris Category
Zack was the star of the show, always a part of the show from inception in grade school, all the way through the college years. He was able to land the hottest girl on the show in Kelly during the prime years of the show, solidifying himself as “The Man” of the show. However, he was also a scheming kid and it always turned out that his schemes backfired, and he never quite made it to the top. Whether he was trying to rig the homecoming voting, fix Lisa’s mom’s car that they crashed drunk driving, or getting a midterm staged by having Screech call in a flood on that sweet, huge cell phone, he always had a plan to tip the scales in his favor. This is the next tier of teams that has the ability to be among the top teams, but also has the ability to have short periods when their schemes blow up.

5. Broncos (3) – I suppose we can’t be overly surprised by a loss to a Ravens team coming off a bye after losing three straight games. Then again, I picked the Broncos last week on Degenerate Friday, so maybe I can. But the Broncos are perfect Zack Morris team, always coming up with unique schemes, but it blew up on them last week.

6. Patriots (6) – The Pats welcome the surging Dolphins to Foxborough this week after their bye, and you have to believe that Belichick will have his squad prepared for the wildcat offense and the Ted Ginn return show. Brady and the Pats appear to be over their slow start and are again a team to be feared.

7. Eagles (9) – The Eagles pasted the Giants to prove that the loss to the Raiders was purely a one-week aberration. The Eagles and 76ers defeated NY teams during last weekend, but the Phillies couldn’t complete the Philly sweep by losing on Saturday and Sunday. The Iggles now welcome the surging Cowboys to town with a chance to fully take over the division lead. And McNabb reminds me of Zack in that they try to act like they are misunderstood, when in reality they’re both just doofuses.

8. Bengals (7) – Ochocinco spent his bye week clowning around every show on ESPN, as if he isn’t already overexposed. Now the Bengals face another stiff test with the Ravens coming to town and the Bengals have a chance to sweep Baltimore.

9. Ravens (14) – After their three game slide, they proved that they belong in the top 10 teams in the league by smacking the Broncos in the mouth. This was kind of like the episode when they discovered oil under the Bayside football field, and Zack proved he could use his pranks for good by spraying oil all over the executive to show how angry he was over an oil covered duck. The Ravens proved they can use their defense for good against a good Broncos team and will need it again against the Bengals.

The Mr. Belding Category
The bumbling principle, who always had his intentions in the right place, but he constantly fell for every one of the stupid pranks that his students pulled. With his dopey laugh and fake stern look that he tried to give Zack every time he screwed up again, Belding was a key character on the show – and moved from the middle school to the high school with the crew.

10. Cowboys (12) – We have to start taking the Cowboys seriously, as they are tied for the divisional lead, and have a chance to take it outright by beating the Eagles this week. However, can we really take them seriously when they have Wade Phillips as coach? The pudgy dope just stands there clueless on the sideline, unaware of which team is the one he’s rooting for. He’s like Joe Paterno 30 years ago.

The A.C. Slater Category
The stereotypical jock of the show, AC was always in conflict with Zack, and not just because of his Z-Cavaricci jeans. He had a long run of a relationship with Jessie Spano, but often spent time trying to get Kelly away from Zack. He was a basic meathead, yet something was missing (mainly the episode when he dressed in a leotard and danced around like a fairy – not that there’s anything wrong with that) to keep him from being the main star of the show. These teams are dangerous and strong, but have flaws that could be their downfall.

11. Falcons (13) – The Falcons continue to show they can play with the best teams in the league but seem to be missing that finishing ability. They look extremely good, but then do something to keep them from getting over the hump.

12. Giants (8) – One is a misstep, two is a problem, and three is a trend. After getting hammered in Philly, and giving up 40 or more points for the second time in 3 weeks, the Giants have serious flaws that need to be corrected, or they are going to find themselves out of the playoffs.

13. 49ers (18) – The Niners put on a respectable show against the Colts last week, but really need to beat the revitalized Titans at home this week. And can you see the resemblance between Mike Singletary and AC Slater’s military dad?

The Jessie Spano Category
Jessie was the resident smart girl on the show. Always the one who excelled in the classroom, and would get angry with Zack any time he compromised her studying or convinced her to take the easy way out. And who could forget her pill addiction when she was singing “I’m so excited!” However, that took on a whole new meaning when she decided to bare it all in Showgirls – particularly her performance in the pool. These are the teams that have hidden ability, yet you never know if you’re getting the nerd or the stripper.

14. Texans (17) – They are 2 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history, yet they will be hurt by losing their former Badger TE Owen Daniels. And what happened to Steve Slaton?

15. Packers (10) – They continue to beat the bad teams but lose to the good teams. This week it’s another bad team (Buccaneers), so Packer Nation will be feeling okay come Monday. Their o-line and Rodgers (for holding the ball too long) should get a sizeable part of Jared Allen’s pro bowl bonus.

16. Chargers (16) – Not completely dominating a Raiders team was another example of Coach Norv Roper’s squad not playing as well as they should or could. Now they cut former Badger WR Chris Chambers, and there are rumors that it was partially driven by his problems with a former girlfriend.

17. Cardinals (11) – That was a disheartening loss to the Panthers. They are the ultimate Jessie Spano/Elizabeth Berkley team. They perform on stage in NY, and then have a pill (turnover) addiction against the Panthers.

The Stacey Carosi Category
Stacey was the daughter of the summer beach resort owner that the entire crew worked at (with the exception of the rich girl Lisa, who was a member). She joined the show a little later on, after Zack and Kelly broke up, and she would challenge Kelly for the hot girl of the show. Yet, she had a rough side to her that could undermine her hotness, much like these teams that have some warts that can mask their talent. She went on to a very successful sitcom run, in a show where a fat, funny delivery guy way outpunts his coverage by being married to her.

18. Bears (19) – Smacked the pathetic Browns. Whoop-dee-doo.
19. Dolphins (21) - So returning two kicks for TDs is supposed to be redemption for losing your starting WR position? I don’t get it – no one ever questioned his ability to run. But the Dolphins are threatening to make a run at the division.

20. Jets (15) – Another disappointment against the Dolphins. The defense played well, and the offense generally played well. Unfortunately, there is that part of the game called special teams where the Jets got rocked. Time to stop talking and win some games guys – you’re 1-3 within the division.

21. Jaguars (20) – That Oompa-Loompa Jones-Drew couldn’t do enough to prevent the Jags from getting beat by the previously winless Titans. I guess the Jags got blindsided, like Zack when Stacey’s old boyfriend shows up and “pins” her as his girl forever.

22. Panthers (24) – Is Carolina finally turning the corner a little bit? Steve Smith was involved in the air, and the combo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart pounded it on the ground. Most importantly, Jake Delhomme wasn’t the turnover machine. Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s going to be hard to build momentum when they have to go to New Orleans this week.

The Lisa Turtle Category
Lisa was one of the longest-running characters on the show along with Zack, yet she was always a side character that you wouldn’t have known if she was gone. She was the rich brat of the show, and the love interest for Screech. These teams are not good, yet they are hard to write off as among the worst teams in the league.

23. Seahawks (23) – They continue to be banged up, but they welcome the Lions to town this weekend, so they have a chance to feel better for a week.

24. Bills (22) – They spent money, like Lisa buying expensive clothes, on Terrell Owens, but they haven’t been able to find success. They realized that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer at QB, so they’ll welcome Trent Edwards back from a concussion this week. Like it matters – they are not good.

25. Titans (29) – They showed some life with Vince Young under center last week, and now Chris Johnson is spouting off that they can win 10 straight games. Unfortunately for the Titans, their next 10 games aren’t all against the Jags. But they do have talent – this is still the team that won 13 games last year.

The Tori Scott Category
Tori was the tomboy who joined the show sometime in high school. She was a biker chick and always wore that leather jacket around, threatening to beat up guys. She had a fling with Slater and Zack, but overall was a useless character. These teams are also useless, but not the absolute worst.

26. Chiefs (28) – Their biggest concern right now is whether to ever welcome back Larry Johnson, because if they do, he’s very close to passing Priest Holmes as the franchise leader in rushing yards. And fans do not want that toolbox to hold any franchise records.

27. Rams (32) – By finally breaking their losing streak, I’ve rewarded the Rams with a bump out of the bottom category. But don’t misread that for anything other than a one-week exemption – this team still stinks, and needed a fake field goal to get one of their TDs.

The Screech Category
The clown of the show, he was book smart, but completely clueless when it came to social skills or girls. Thankfully Zack was always around to take advantage of him and show him how dumb he really was. Yet, Zack would never explain to Screech that zubas pants with a Hawaiian shirt was not a good combo. And let’s not even get into his career after the show, living in Wisconsin, claiming for bankruptcy, losing his house, and trying to drum up interest in his own sex tape. Like these teams, that’s disgusting.

28. Lions (25) – It was a major setback losing to the Rams last week. Maybe they have not progressed as far as we wanted to believe. But then again, the road back to respectability from 0-16 is a long one and will have bumps along the way.

29. Raiders (27) – They need to end the Tom Cable experience. It’s just another black eye and really hurts the credibility of the entire franchise – which says something because the franchise has taken many hits in recent years. They stayed with the Chargers, but listening to the post game quotes from Shamu Russell, he just doen’t get what it takes to be an NFL quarterback.

30. Redskins (30) – Thankfully the Skins didn’t play this week, so they didn’t have a chance to embarrass themselves and have more rumors about Coach Zorn’s job. This team actually resembles most of Screech’s outfits on the show – nothing matches. Sherm calling plays, Campbell throwing INTs, Zorn not really sure what to do, etc.

31. Browns (26) – They fired their GM this week, but that is not going to solve their problems. Owner Randy Lerner needs to hire a football guy and give him full control of operations, and get rid of Eric Mangini. The Browns have a great offensive tackle, a highly drafted QB, they had a pro bowl WR, and some defensive potential with Wembley, Barton, and the CB from the Ravens. Yet, they have no patience, and blew up the confidence of all of their young players. They are in complete disarray with no light at the end of the tunnel at this point.

32. Buccaneers (31) – Welcome to the bottom, Tampa Bay! And according to Coach Morris, their rookie CB was cussing at him because that’s just how they talk, not because they were angry and having a confrontation. Oh, yeah, I believe that. Ladies & Gentlemen, you’re 2009 Bucs!!!

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