Pre-Season - Dec. 23rd, 2011
9. Carolina Panthers – Barry Foster. Did we skip anything?
8. Green Bay Packers – It’s hard to identify just what this team is going to do. They have some playmakers in Brett Favre and Leroy Butler but, Leroy’s interception skill isn’t high enough to make him a high impact cover safety and they’re weak in the middle. They have a running game that would operate better as another part of their passing game and average wide outs. The reliance on Brett Favre might be heavy for a couple seasons… and it may take some a supreme effort from Reggie White to get this team man game wins but, anything is possible. Just don’t expect to see them in the playoffs anytime soon with a new coach.
It’s very likely we could see a couple new teams with o-for records against man teams this year. It’s going to be tough to come by victories!
7. St Louis Rams –Coach Pastor comes on board with no experience in the Man League and, to someone who has watched new players come and go, no shot at competing in season one. The Rams have a solid foundation with Bettis and Chris Miller on the O to build on but… the D needs to be overhauled. Coach Lutton did a great job building the team and a terrible job executing with those players. Perhaps Coach Pastor with a few years of getting a serious beat down from the Saints will learn this team and finally bring a Man Bowl to The Lambs?
6. Detroit Lions – Barry Sanders, Bennie Blades, Herman Moore, Henry Thomas. Coach Jones will need to overcome Scott Mitchell for at least a couple years (as he is missing season one)… but having Barry in the backfield is a great X factor, when he can stay healthy. Injuries are crushing for this team because after Barry… you pretty much just stop running the football. The biggest problem with the Lions is that they’re in the same division as the Bucs and the Bears… and that doesn’t help anyone make the playoffs and maintain success. With that said, Coach Jones did win a Man Bowl in season 1. Sadly, he is not attending Season 1 and isn’t the Falcons anymore so, that might have been their shot!
5. Minnesota Vikings – The back field kills this team. You have to like Warren Moon and Cris Carter/Jake Reed combination but, when you can’t move the ball on the ground, the one dimensional game comes back to haunt you. One of the hardest things to do in the NFTLG is create a dominant passing game that doesn’t rely on simply throwing the ball into coverage every play. That will catch up with you when you play against Wolford and Carrier twice a year. Trying to establish a running game with marginal running backs is also difficult when you play against the Dragon and Thomas Everett twice a year as well. Coach Summerfield will need to hone his skills in the preseason in order to have any shot of getting this team to compete the way Coach Soffer got them to. Jack Del Rio? Better turn his game up to a never level!
4. Atlanta Falcons – This is the team that Coach Soffer wanted to take over before but… they were missing their top corner, DJ Johnson. Johnson is back and now the excuses have to be gone. With the best core of linebackers in the league, can Coach Soffer get back on the playoff roll he was early in his career? It’s not spoken of too often in league circles but… Coach Soffer had a disappointing run on his first go through with the Falcons. Can he turn that around? Scoring 11.55 points a man game won’t work if he wants to rise back to prominence. He has a gift when it comes to coaching up linebackers and with DJ roaming free, this might be Coach Soffer’s best opportunity to make a run!
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Coach Pine is back after a half season away with the Giants and he’s ready to take on the world. Starting from the beginning reunites him with former Buc, former Giant, current Buc, Errict Rhett and Trent “I went to a god damn pro bowl once ya know” Dilfer. While a lot of the moving parts changed for this team over the years… their style of play never did. They play smash mouth football that uses precision passing. Will Dilfer’s lack of ball skills lead them down of an upsetting playoff loss or will it simply force Coach Pine into an even more smash mouth style of play? Will Thomas Everett be up to the challenge of Brett Favre? Can the Dragon keep being the Dragon? (cuz really… can you say anything bad about him) or will injuries plague him again?
2. Chicago Bears: Having to start this team over deprives Coach Fonovic of one of the major pieces that made his team’s cream rise to the top: Jim Everett. With Everett back in Saint’s gold, the Bears are going to struggle mightily on offense. Teams will stack the box and force them to throw with two of the worst starting QBs in the NFTGL. While Salam is a solid back, it’s hard to imagine him dominating the ground against 7-8 in the box the way that a Natrone Means could. The key to this team winning will be the prized combination of Donnell Wolford and the godly Mark Carrier. The lack of a linebacker in the middle wont impact them as much since Carrier is one of the best in the biz at both crunching backs and picking the ball off. The quack will struggle without Everett; can the Bears make it work?
1. New Orleans Saints: As an off the shelf product with no additions, the Saints match up with the rest of the teams in the man league very well. Despite not having the hitting power at LB to run with a dime formation, the Saints are a tour de’ force at cornerback… and by that we mean they have Eric Allen. Did they need someone else? A good quarterback with a top flight wide receiver and some running backs that can bang on the inside make this team the early favorite if you talk to the rest of the league but, will their lack of speed out of the backfield and lack of a dominate leader in the middle stop them from winning the first Man Bowl? Having Coach Bordier back certainly helps as he knows this team inside and out.
Mid-Season - End of Week 9
8. Same Louis Lames - Well. At least everyone else in the league is better then Hartley.
7. Green Gay Slackers - Computer Shame and the first loss to a brand new team for Coach Lutton does not bode well. At least everyone in the league is better then Hartley still. Right? The league has grown to the point where Coach Hartley couldn't just walk in and
6. Minnesota Vikings - Quack Quack Duck Duck is alive and feeling it. Coach Summerfield has his first man win but, he'll need to draw up a real game plan for future games. The Quack can’t sustain.
5. Chicago Bears - Swept Gay Bowl I and II to rank above the Vikings in the power rankings but... they were destroyed by the Bucs in their meeting. Kramer/Walsh is a painful combination. I'm not sure if the Bears can survive this season with the two of them. They have a hard road with them.
4. Atlanta Falcons - Sick Defense and a suspect O... can the Falcons put it together? They have a chance to do something special with Tuggle and Sons; now they need George to show-up. And maybe a running game? Ironhead...?
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Injuries? No excuses. The Bucs have played gritty smash mouth ball the way Coach Pine has always loved. Tough tight games have give the NFC central a feeling of being wide open... if Coach Summerfield can take the next step and beat the Bucs and Bears. A heartbreaking loss to the Panthers will either ignite this team or crack the armor.
... 2. Carolina Panthers - They have had some luck in taking down the Bucs but, luck is a major part of what makes a team a Man Bowl winner vs a Man Bowl chump. With a tie against the Saints, their follow-up in Week 13 will be a huge battle for a possible first round bye.
1. New Orleans Saints - Walking the walk that they talked before the season kicked off, Coach Bordier has the troops fired up but can they keep it going. Circle Week 15 on your calendars. ATL NO II: Tuggles Revenge? Foster v Allen Pt: II? The last half of the season is going to be baller.