Hock's Take: NFL Power Rankings for Week 1

Matthew HockingCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 1

The Steelers had to change their gameplan on the fly, but it ended up working all right. When the running game never took off, Ben Roethisberger responded with one of his best passing games as a pro. They’ll miss Polamalu for the next stretch of games, though.

2. New York Giants
Last Week: 2

It was ugly at times, but one thing you can say about the Giants is that their defensive line is getting back up to full speed. Next week against Dallas might go a long way in deciding the division, already.

3. New England Patriots
Last Week: 3

The Patriots looked flat-out ugly this week, but Tom Brady worked his magic and came up with two scores in the last four minutes to beat the Bills. They’re going to have trouble defending even decent teams this year, however.

4. Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 5

Barely beating a Jaguars team that looked completely lost most of the time is not a good way to start things off. But, they have a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the season.

5. Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 6

Whatever they gave Adrian Peterson in that IV at halftime, make mine a double. And don’t tell the league. I don’t want them banning “fluids.”

6. Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 4

Sure, they won, but can you really get excited about the start of the Second Coming of Jeff Garcia? You just know Michael Vick is counting down the days until he can get back and show everybody what a mediocre scrambling quarterback is really supposed to look like.

7.  Atlanta Falcons

Last Week: 7

It’s a little hard to get pumped up about the Falcons. Yes, Matt Ryan has thus far avoided the Sophomore Slump, and Tony Gonzalez is going to be great for them, but it’s going to take a string of these victories before I’m ready to put them into the playoffs.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Last Week 8

I was actually impressed more by Joe Flacco than I was by Ryan this week. I didn’t think much of Flacco as a passer last year, but he came to play this week. Of course, the defense can’t be too excited about getting carved up by Brodie Croyle.

9.  New Orleans Saints

Last Week: 17

I’m not ready to hand them anything, because the defense is still really questionable, but when you don’t have enough plays to get all your offensive weapons their shots, that’s a good thing. When Pierre Thomas comes back, that offense is going to be scary.

10. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 18

For at least a week, the Cowboys have answered all the questions about their offense. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the Bucs' safeties are terrible. Let’s see how Romo holds up against a real defense, which he really only plays twice this season.

11. Seattle Seahawks

Last Week:  14

A good, hard-fought blowout against one of the NFL’s worst teams. I have to think that the Seahawks are the favorite right now to win the NFC West, but then again, Jim Mora Jr. has proven me wrong before.

12. Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 11

The Packers actually looked pretty good for most of Sunday night’s game. The defense looked capable, Rodgers looked great, Jennings looked good, but that offensive line is terrible. And if Aaron Rodgers takes too many more shots, they’re looking down the barrel of Matt Flynn, NFL starting quarterback.

13. San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 13

A win’s a win, right? Yeah, but Tomlinson is hurt (again), and it took a late run (both figuratively and literally, by Darren Sproles) to put the Raiders away. Now, maybe the Raiders are better than we thought, or maybe the Chargers are as mediocre as we thought.

14. New York Jets
Last Week: 21

Ok, even I have to admit, I was wrong about these Jets. They’re not world changers or anything, in fact, I don’t know that they’ll finish above .500. But Rex Ryan has the team believing in his scheme and playing above their heads, which not many coaches can say.

15. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 10

Chris Johnson never really got to show off his pop, Kerry Collins looked old, and the Tennessee secondary fell asleep midway through the first quarter. Not a good start to the season for the Titans.

16. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 19

By all rights they had this win. But as has happened the last three times they were on Monday Night, they just let it slip through their fingers. Like so much buttery popcorn.

17. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 25

I just…don’t know what to say. It’s better to be lucky than not very good? You can’t tell me that the Broncos are going to be a good team this year. They’re not. But they’re in first place in the AFC West.

18. San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 24

Word is the 49ers have offered Michael Crabtree an altered deal to come in and work this year. Under the new deal, the 49ers will pay Crabtree’s bus fare to and from the stadium, and in return, Crabtree will attempt to sell all the leftover Michael Crabtree jerseys in the concourse.

19. Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 9

I don’t know which takes precedence here, the Superbowl Loser Curse or the Madden Curse. The Superbowl one, this week, I guess. Kurt Warner is starting to look like an old man with bad hips, and the Cardinals defense is starting to revert back to form.

20. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 12

How’s that Jay Cutler trade working out? Yeah, you can blame most of those picks on the receivers, but it wasn’t a good debut for the new star QB. Especially not with things looking down defensively with Brian Urlacher out for the year.

21. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 28

The Raiders should’ve won. They had the Chargers reeling, but they couldn’t finish them off. Some would blame that on the Raiders poor defense down the stretch, but I just blame it on them being the Oakland Raiders.

22. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 16

What happened to the NFL darling Dolphins from a season ago? They looked really sloppy this week, and they are going to have to change in a hurry because their schedule doesn’t let up for another nine weeks.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 29

There was a lot to like about Tampa Bay this week. Not that they’re going to win many games this year, but you have to feel good about Cadillac Williams. The guy’s blown out both his knees, but he still looks like a NFL-caliber running back. Maybe it doesn’t last but still, it’s nice to see.

24. Houston Texans
Last Week: 20

Matt Schaub looking confused? Check. The running game never getting on track? Check. The defense showing flashes of looking good before ultimately being steamrollered? Check. Never change, Houston Texans!

25. Washington Redskins
Last Week: 22

I have to admit, that fake field goal was pretty awesome. But when that’s your only offensive output, that’s…probably not a good thing. Jason Campbell wasn’t Jay Cutler bad, which is fortunate, but he’s clearly not the quarterback of the future in Washington either.

26. Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week:  23

If they would’ve scored another point at any time during the game, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now. But like Kanye West defending a terrible Beyonce video, Brandon Stokely wrenched the game from their hands.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week:  26

They played it close with the Colts, but more due to the Colts ineptitude early than their own play. Maurice Jones-Drew is an elite level running back, but there’s no talent around him and without Fred Taylor there to spell him, he’s going to wear down awfully fast.

28. Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 17

I think the headlines in Carolina said it best: Jake Delhomme and the Panthers were in playoff form on Sunday. Delhomme couldn’t hold onto the football, and looked like he was about to die every time he took a snap. On the plus side, Jon Fox said that Delhomme is still going to be the starter this year, so the rest of us will be entertained.

29. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 30

The Chiefs blew a lot of chances to win their game, but ultimately, they’re just not as good as the Ravens. Brodie Croyle is no Matt Cassel. On a lighter note, the Chiefs are looking into signing Bobby Wade, thereby giving them more slot receivers than any team in NFL history.

30. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 27

Forget the fourth-quarter touchdown that they scored against the Viking’s third-string defense. Cleveland’s only offense in this game came against the Viking’s special teams. Now there’s no doubting the Vikings have a very good defense, but there’s also no doubting that the Browns have a very, very bad offense.

31. Saint Louis Rams
Last Week: 31

My mother once told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

32. Detroit Lions
Last Week: 32

The Lions streak continues! Matthew Stafford was honestly not as bad as his stat line suggests, but he’s going to be eaten alive by NFL defenses this year. And Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback, but six touchdowns? SIX?! Yikes.


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