NFL Power Rankings 2010: A Quick Quarterly Review Of All 32
Lions, and Vikings, and Bears: oh my; and that's just under ten percent of the list. The season is officially underway as we've passed the first quarter mark. We've had upsets, trades, injuries, and surprise teams who have seemingly come out of nowhere.
It's a great year to be an NFL fan. The power is starting to shift,—somewhat—and I for one couldn't be more intrigued. Some of the leagues more powerful teams from previous years have remained intact high on the list from, but there are some newcomers to the top ten as well. Here's how the league has shaped up through my eyes so far.
The Buffalo Bills, 0-4: Number 32
If you were looking for a picture of lack of leadership, it would look like the Buffalo Bills team logo. They've already switched starting QBs, they still have no idea who their number 1 running back is, have scored the 27th fewest points in the league, and rank dead last in points allowed (125.) There are no signs of things getting any better any time soon for the Bills.
The Carolina Panthers, 0-4: Number 31
The Panthers are also stuck in the starting QB revolving door. Rookie QB Jimmy Clausen is just too green and has no real help in getting any better right now, and Matt Moore hasn't looked any better. The running game of DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart has seemed to stall dead as well, resulting in the team having the league's worst offense (46 points scored.) Talk about going nowhere fast.
The Arizona Cardinals, 2-2: Number 30
The Cardinals are yet another team who has been forced to switch signal callers before things even really get a chance to get going, and it isn't due to injury. In the offseason, this team's depth was totally depleted.
They lost a hall of fame QB in Kurt Warner, one of the best linebackers in the league in Karlos Dansby, and on of the leagues bet WRs in Anquan Boldin. It has sent this team spiraling downward to boast the fourth worst scoring offense (58 points) and the second worst defense in points allowed (118.) Enough said?
The San Francisco 49ers, 0-4: Number 29
Amidst predictions of a breakthrough year, the only thing the 49ers have broken through is the cellar floor. They've already fired their Offensive coordinator after getting crushed by the Kansas City Chiefs. They have the 31st ranked offense in scoring (52 points) and have given up almost twice that (103 points.) The two games they had a chance to win this year were lost in the last minute.
Some teams find ways to win. This team finds ways to lose. They just look lost.
The Cleveland Browns, 1-3: Number 28
The Browns are once again one of the leagues worst, but they may be headed in the right direction. THey finally closed a game out in their week four win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns bent far but didn't break in the fourth quarter this game.
Offensively, the team still has yet to put the ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter, but they did get their fist second half points in week four, The team is improving, so I took them out of the cellar on the list for now. Josh Cribbs has been held somewhat in check thus far, but he did have a big TD catch against the Chiefs in week two.
The Browns are still bad, but they're getting better.
The Oakland Raiders, 1-3: Number 27
The Raiders only win came in week two against the St. Louis Rams. Since then they've lost back to back games, one of which was to the number 30 team on this list (Cardinals.) The only real bright spot to speak of is RB Darren McFadden, who has well over a third of the team's total offense with 554 yards from scrimmage.
Defensively, they've defended the pass well. Their ranked third in passing yards allowed (575,) but teams are scoring at will on this unit (107 points allowed.)
The Raiders are still the Raiders until they prove otherwise.
The Detroit Lions, 0-4: Number 26
The Detroit Lions are probably the best 0-4 team in the league, but they are still 0-4. Until they get starting QB Matthew Stafford back and start winning games, they won't move much higher on the list.WR Calvin "Megatron" Johnson is looking good (20 catches 3 TDs,) and rookie RB Jahvid best is an early offensive ROY candidate.
If this were a list of only offenses, the Lions would be much higher up on it. Unfortunately for them, the game is played on both sides of the ball. They can't stop anyone from scoring points (106 allowed,) with the exception of the Bears. The Lions look to be turning a corner, but until they actually make the turn they'll be nothing more then the same old Lions
The Seattle Seahawks, 2-2: Number 25
The Seahawks are in the worst division in football, and they've gotten one of their two wins as a result of that by beating the 49ers. They beat the Chargers despite themselves, and Matt Hasslebeck is looking like his best days are behind him (4TDs, 6 Int.)
The Seahawks are swimming in a pool of mediocrity for the time being. They are yet to determine a number 1 option at WR, and their running game is one of the worst in the league (27th ranked.) The Seahawks are ranked 28th in yards gained (1109) and 25th in yards allowed (1499.)
Head coach Pete Carroll is hoping that his third NFL tour will be charmed, but there are going to be some rough seas on his way to success.
The Washington Redskins, 2-2: Number 25
I'm rarely one to "believe the hype" in most cases, and the offseason acquisition of Donovan McNabb was no different. The Cowboys beat themselves in the Skins' week one win, and the Eagles were forced to rely on the services of unwanted QB Kevin Kolb after Michael Vick left early due to a rib injury in Washington's week four win over the Eagles.Since this is a power ranking, I can't move them out of the bottom quarter of the league.
The Redskins have the 31st ranked passing defense in the league, as well as the 31st ranked defense overall in yards allowed. They aren't scoring much either, averaging just 18.2 points per game. McNabb is completing only 57.9 percent of his passes and has only 3 TDs in four games.
They may just be starting slow, but with the Skins looking as bad as they did last year it's hard to imagine them picking up speed any time soon.
The St. Louis Rams, 2-2: Number 23
Are we witnessing the return of the greatest show on turf? No, we probably aren't. However, what we are witnessing is the emergence of a star-to-be rookie QB named Sam Bradford. The number 1 overall pick in 2010 is looking like a real pro already and is running away with the offensive ROY award.
The Rams acquisition of WR Mark Clayton from the Baltimore Ravens has helped out quite a bit as well in the Rams two game win streak that has gotten them a share of the NFC West division lead. Again, it's the worst division in football, but the Rams may be the best of the worst right now.
The most surprising thing about the team at a glance is their defense, though. They're ranked fourth in the league in points allowed (52) and have only given up four TDs in four games. This team has already matched their win total from 2009, and one more win matches their win total from 2008 and 2009 combined.
The Rams have a long way to go, but for the first time since Kurt Warner left, they look better than they did the year before.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-2: Number 22
When the Jags have lost, they have really lost, but they have wins against the Broncos and the Colts. The Jaguars are a team that is built around RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew has 371 yards from scrimmage so far this year.
The team's defense is ranked 30th in total yards allowed (1,619,) passing yards allowed (1,215,) and points allowed (111,) but they have played the league's top three passers already this year in Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Kyle Orton.
In close games, the Jaguars have found a way to win. beating the Colts didn't hurt their status on this list either, but it certainly isn't guaranteed that they won't start slipping down the list fast. It could go either way with them, but for now here they are.
The Chicago Bears, 3-1: Number 21
The Bears were one of only three unbeaten teams going into week four, but they managed to put up only 110 total yards on Sunday night against the New York Giants. They had two QBs leave the game due to concussions. On top of all of that, the Bears defense gave up nine sacks in the first half of the contest.
The Bears beat the Lions in week one on the worst technicality since the tuck rule when Calvin Johnson had a TD catch waived off inside the final minute of the contest. In week three the Packers gave the Bears another win by committing 18 penalties, many of them on big third down stops and forced turnovers that they had to give back.
The Bears' luck finally ran out against the Giants. They've been exposed, so it may just get worse from here on out. After that game, though, I'm not sure it could.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-1: Number 20
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers break the top 20, and the crowd goes wild. Who would have thought that this team would start the season 2-0? Well, before they got dismantled by the Steelers, that's exactly what they did.
The Buccaneers biggest asset is their youth. Theit starting QB Josh Freeman is in his second year in the NFL, and his number 1 target WR Mike Williams is in his rookie season and getting better every game.Williams averages 11.3 yards per catch and has 2 TDs in three games.
they have running backs by committee, and their defense is respectable. They aren't looking great, but they've done enough to hold onto a winning record. They have earned their spot.
The Denver Broncos, 2-2: Number 19
The Broncos starting QB Kyle Orton is having his best season as a pro so far in 2010. He leads the league in passing with over 1,400 yards in only four game. He also has thrown 6 TDs to only 3 picks. He is playing out of his mind, which is great for the Broncos.
No one else on the team is matching his level of play though. They have WR by committee, RB by committee, and a mediocre defense. Their record is very accurate to their level of play. Still, any time a QB is playing like Orton is right now, one must take notice. They will be in a lot of games if Orton keeps this up.
The team did pick up RB Marshawn Lynch this week from the Bills to help out in the team's rushing attack, so if that move works out for them they could actually move up on this list in the weeks to come.
The Tennessee Titans, 2-2: Number 18
The Titans are a question mark on the list, so I stuck them right around the middle of the pack. The Titans have one of the leagues two most talented RBs in Chris Johnson. Johnson is averaging a mere 3.8 yards per carry right now, but that shouldn't last. He is always one carry away from taking the ball in for a TD, no matter where he is on the field.
They rank 7th in points scored (98) and 8th in points allowed.(68,) but their losses have each come by one score. This could be a very dangerous team if they can get some consistency out of starting QB Vince Young. Young has a winning record in his career as a Titan, but his stats would lead you to believe otherwise.
The Titans have been labeled a "dirty" team, especially this week by the Broncos,but dirty or not they come to play every week and are usually an intense matchup for their competition.
The Philadelphia Eagles, 2-2: Number 17
The QB tag team of Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick have the Eagles looking like two different teams depending on which QB is in, but it doesn't matter how many teams they look like. all that matters is that the Eagles get wins, and the team is 2-2.
There is much controversy over in Philly, but I'm going to focus on the team's performance and potential. WR DeSean Jackson is an absolute lightning bolt with great hands, but as of now he appears to have a QB who's arm can't keep up with Jackson's legs.
Kolb being the starter is the main reason I've left Philly out of the top 12 on the list, but When Vick comes back we just don't know if he'll be the same guy he was before he left.
This team is on the verge of being a playoff team of making the 2010 season a complete wash.
The Cincinnati Bengals, 2-2: Number 16
Another team surrounded by hype, the Bengals have looked sloppy in their wins and explosive in their losses. This is a team just loaded with firepower, but they can't seem to get it all together at once. QB Carson Palmer has never been the same since his knee was blown out in the 2006 playoffs, but he now has more weapons than he's ever had.
T.O. had 10 catches for 222 yards and a TD against the Browns in week four; Chad Ochocinco had 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD against the Patriots in week one. With stat lines like these, it's surprising to the naked eye as to how they could have lost both of these games.
The running game needs to pick up soon. RB Cedric Benson is having a slow start, but once he gets going there is no reason the the Bengals shouldn't win some more games.
The Miami Dolphins, 2-2: Number 15
The Dolphins started out hot, going 2-0 on the road , but have since gone 0-2 at home leaving fans scratching their heads wondering how good the Dolphins really are. The Jets won in a close one in week three, but the Patriots beat them in every facet of the game in week four 41-14.
The Dolphins will go as far as their running game takes them. The duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams can be potent, but if opponents figure out how to shut them down it will be a long season for Miami. Their stats aren't even worth mentioning, but they have just enough grit to get it done in close games.
The Dallas Cowboys, 1-2: Number 14
The Dallas Cowboys are the second best1-2 team in the league from a talent standpoint. They have talent at every skill position. The offensive line needs to get healthy, but once the starters return QB Tony Romo will have all say to throw the ball, the Cowboys loaded backfield of Barber, Jones, and Choice should have big holes to run through, and the team should get rolling and win some games.
They lost to the Redskins in week one largely due to self-inflicted penalties. They lost in week two by a TD to the Bears. In week three, they beat up on the Texans, and in week four they had a bye. Look for the Cowboys to come back hot from this point on.
I'm not saying they'll go deep into the playoffs or even make it into the playoffs, but I am saying they'll be competitive.
The New York Giants, 2-2: Number 13
Eli Manning and his offensive line have the Giants looking like a good pick in the NFC East this season. they have been getting great production out of RB Ahmad Bradshaw with his 442 yards from scrimmage. Eli Manning has thrown a lot of picks that were right in hes receiver's hands, but they were dropped and picked costing the Giants some games.
The defense is ranked third overall (1,021 yards allowed) and had nine sacks in the first half against the Bears in week four. They shut down the Panthers in week one, but the Colts and Titans both blew the Giants out in weeks three and four.
Still, the Titans game was closer than the score indicated. The Giants will be alright as long as the offense settles down and stops turning the ball over.
The Minnesota Vikings, 1-2: Number 12
This is the best 1-2 team in the league. Just look at the lineup. It's going to start working in Minnesota. The Vikings just acquired WR Randy Moss on Wednesday morning, and Brett Favre is just loving life right now.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson just got a big portion of the work load taken off of his shoulders. With Moss there, opponents won't be able to stack the box on every down. Peterson already had 447 yards from scrimmage with no breathing room. TE Visanthe Shiancoe will also be able to roam the middle of the field with little attention being paid to him.
The Vikings defense is ranked second in points allowed per game (12.7.) They have great pass rushers as well as run stoppers. Bringing Moss in to help an offense that was already starting to gel right before their bye week makes this team just ridiculous on paper.
The Atlanta Falcons, 3-1: Number 11
The Falcons have squeezed out some close wins this season, but a win is a win. After losing in week one to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Falcons have strung together three wins in a row, the last two by total of five points.
They beat the defending champion Saints in overtime in week three by three points and pulled out a nail biter in week four against the 49ers by two points with a field goal inside of the game's last minute.
The Falcons have the 6th ranked offense in the NFL 4th ranked rushing offense. They have the 10th ranked pass offense as well. This team is playing very well offensively, and as long as the defense can keep teams from running up the score, the Falcons will remain in the playoff hunt in 2010.
The San Diego Chargers, 2-2: Number 10
Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has the 3rd most passing yards in the league this year. The team has the top rated offense in the league and the support of the 11th ranked defense.
The Chargers have lost two games by a total of 2 TDs, but their two wins have come by a total of 56 points. When they get it going, not too many teams can keep up. Weak defenses beware. Their getting it done on the ground and through the air.
The Houston Texans, 3-1: Number 9
The Texans shocked NFL fans right out of the gate by running all over the Colts with second year running back Arian Foster in a 34-24 win. Foster has an astounding 687 yards from scrimmage through four games.
The offense is ranked second in the league behind only the Chargers. Even Texans QB Matt Schaub has gotten in on the action. Schaub had almost 500 yards in a loss against the Redskins in week three.
The defense is nothing special, but the running and passing game alike are enough to outgun even the best of offenses.
The Kansas City Chiefs, 3-0: Number 8
The Kansas City Chiefs have shocked everyone by remaining the only undefeated team going into week five. They've gotten it done with an old school brand of football. They run the ball better than any team in the league with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles yielding 160.1 yards per game, and their defense is stifling. The team has given up only 12.7 yards per game, which is tied for second in the league.
Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers has two picks in as many games, and LB Tamba Hali has 3.5 sacks and is great at stopping the run as well. Add to that hard hitting rookie safety Eric Berry, and you have a recipe for defensive success under the guidance of Romeo Crennell.
The New England Patriots, 3-1: Number 7
The Patriots have been one of the league's top franchises for a decade now, but Minnesota's gain this week was the Patriot's loss. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots offense does without Randy Moss. I know they won all of their championships without him, but that was a different team.
Still, they throttled the Dolphins in Miami in week four basically without Moss. He was only targeted twice, and the Pats skated to a 41-14 victory. Tom Brady is one of the leagues best QBs, and Belichick is one of the leagues best coaches. For now, I'm going to say that they'll be fine.
The Baltimore Ravens, 3-1: Number 6
The Ravens defense is still playing like a Super Bowl caliber bunch after all these years. They rank 5nd in points allowed (55) and 2nd in yards given up (943.) The Ravens are doing what they always do.
What is so scary this time around is all the weapons that the Ravens offense now has. They acquired two stud WRs in the offseason in Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They still have RBs Ray Rice and Willis Mcgahee, and if QB Joe Flacco can develop any kind of rhythm with these wide outs, their opponents had better watch out.
The Indianapolis Colts, 2-2: Number 5
The Colts are this high because of one man: Peyton Manning. He's had the best start to any season in his hall of fame career this year. He has 1,365 yards, 11 TDs, Only 1 pick, and a QB rating of 112.2—after only week four. Manning is carving up every defense that he faces.
As a whole, the offense ranks 2nd in points scored and 3rd in yards gained. The Colts running game has been non-existent, as had the defense—especially against the run. It hasn't seemed to matter too much, though, since Manning is having Tecmo Bowl numbers this year.
The New Orleans Saints, 3-1: Number 4
The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints have been getting things done the hard way this season. They've won three games by a total of 10 points and lost the other game in OT by three. The Saints aren't doing anything too pretty or spectacular, but they are winning football games.
Saints QB Drew Brees is still putting up numbers and is probably the main reason for the team's success thus far in 2010. Brees has thrown for 1,131 yards, seven TDs, only two qicks, and has a QB rating of 102.4. Brees is still looking as good as he ever has, and when the team gets the injured Reggie Bush back they'll have one more big play threat in the lineup.
The Green Bay Packers, 3-1: Number 3
The Packers lost their number 1 RB, Ryan Grant, for the season. It didn't look good for the Packers, seeing as how they have no capable backup RBs on the team. As it turns out, when you have Aaron Rodgers you don't need a running game.
The Packers still hand the ball off occasionally just to keep the defense honest, but Rodgers has basically put the offense on his shoulders. His stats aren't gaudy, but he's getting enough points on the board to win games.
The defense has also done it's part, picking off five balls already.
The New York Jets, 3-1: Number 2
The New York Jets lost in week one to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 10-9, and they never looked back after that. They suddenly found some offensive production and have been playing great defensively without CB Darrelle Revis for most of their games.
Second year QB Mark Sanchez is suddenly a beast. He isn't throwing for a lot of yards (711,) but he has 8 TDs in the last three weeks and no picks all season. Combine that with the running game of LT and Shonn Greene giving them 671 yards and another 3 TDs, and the Jets have become the force that they predicted they'd be. They are who they thought they were.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-1: Number 1
The Steelers were supposed to be on the bottom half of this list after losing their starting QB Ben Roethlisberger to a four game suspension. No one thought that backup QB Dennis Dixon could get the Steelers to a 3-1 record. As it turned out, they were right.
Veteran QB Charlie Batch took over in week two and kept the team rolling. he even threw 3 TD passes in week three, but it wasn't the offense that has gotten the Steelers to where they are.
The Steelers Defense has given up the fewest points per game (12.5) in the NFL. they've allowed the 5th fewest yards and the fewest rushing yards, and to top all of that off, they have forced a league best 12 turnovers in four games.
As if that wasn't dangerous enough for their opponents, after their week five bye they get Roethlisberger back in a tuneup game against the Browns.
All I can say is Father help us all.
That's All Of Them: Onward To The Goal
Well that about does it. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed the lengthy and in depth preparation it took to write it. There's still a long way to go before someone gets to hoist one of these babies into the air again, but the journey is 90 percent of the fun.