Buck’s Weekly Column

Look back to some of our posts dating back to August. Yes we were the ones who said the Baltimore Ravens are for real and finally Pittsburgh Steeler fans have to admit it. Baltimore 9-2 squeaked past Cleveland, San Diego and Tennessee in all games they should have lost but they did what Super Bowl Contenders do: They find a way to win. The only thing that matters is they are 9-2 and can clinch the AFC North with a win Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Indy Colts are the crop of the AFC at 10-1 and San Diego at 9-2 are a step better than the Ravens but the playoffs are all about matchups and the Ravens have the best chance to end Peyton Mannings hope of reaching the big game. Baltimore resembles the Steelers in 04 and 05 with their ability to pound the ball and grind the clock out. The only difference between the two teams is Baltimore has a even more dangerous defense than the 05 Steelers D. A defense that gave Peyton Manning fits last January and Baltimore has the ability to do the same.

How about the turn around in Tennessee. Vince Young is already proving to be a difference maker and if the young Titans keep developing they could be a sleeper pick next season to squeak into the playoffs. What in the world happened to the New York Giants. Three weeks ago their penciled in as top 2 team in the NFC, now the playoffs are not a certain. To much of the blame goes on the quarterback, so Eli Manning is not the only one at fault. Growing tensions between players and coach Tom Coughlin could lead to a dilemma whether to get rid of Coughlin. Coaches like Coughlin are great for turning around franchises but after a while players tune them out. Just ask Kevin Constantine. Are the Broncos finished? Mike Shannahan has turn the QB reigns over to rookie Jay Cutler out of Vanderbilt. Denver at 7-4 are looking for a jump start and even if things don’t turn out well for the Broncos in the final 5 games, starting Cutler now is a smart move rather than going into next season with Cutler gaining no experience. What a better experience to learn from than being in the middle of playoff race even if Cutler’s not ready mentally to play yet. Some teams realize it’s time to look towards next year a move the Steelers still haven’t seemed to realize. Once again, Why is Cedric Wilson and Nate Washington playing over Santonio Holmes?

Buck’s AFC Power Rankings
1. Colts 10-1
2. Chargers 9-2
3. Ravens 9-2
4. Patriots 8-3
5. Chiefs 7-4
6. Jets 6-5
7. Bengals 6-5
8. Broncos 7-4
9. Jags 6-5
10.Bills 5-6
11. Dolphins 5-6
12. Titans 4-7
13. Steelers 4-7
14. Browns 3-8
15. Raiders 2-9
16. Texans 3-8

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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