The 2010 NFL season gets wilder each week. Three more games this week were decided in overtime, and five others were decided by six points or less. Six more road teams won and if not for two blown fourth-quarter leads, that number would have been at eight. While Week 9 was good for some, it was not so good for others, as we had our first firing of the season; though there are a few more that could come fairly soon.
Can’t wait for Week 10? Well, you don’t have to. Week 10 gets started on Thursday this week as the Falcons and Ravens square off in a matchup of division leaders. Week 10 is also the final week of byes and is a do or die week for teams like the Vikings, Dolphins, Cardinals and Redskins.
The rankings this week remain relatively similar to last week, as 13 teams failed to move up or down.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. New York Giants (1): They continue to prove doubters wrong on a weekly basis. Back-to-back 41 point outbursts and 144 points total in their past four games. They have found their stride and seem to be the clear favorites in the NFC.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4): The Steelers held on at Cincinnati to move to 6-2 on the season. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but Steeler wins rarely are. They face a tough stretch the next two weeks against the Patriots and Raiders. Yes, the Raiders. Let’s not forget the Raiders beat the Steelers last year with a mediocre team.
3. Baltimore Ravens (6): Ed Reed has three interceptions in his first two games, showing why even at 32 he’s still one of the best defenders in the NFL. The Ravens are starting to play well on both sides of the ball and are going to rival the Steelers for best record in the AFC.
4. Atlanta Falcons (7): Atlanta claimed the top spot in the NFC South with a win against the surprise Bucs. The Falcons aren’t anything flashy, but they continue to get the job done.
5. New England Patriots (2): According to Bill Belicheck, the Patriots didn’t do anything right this week against the Browns. Who am I to disagree with him? The Patriots looked awful against the Browns. They need to get it figured out because they face the Steelers and Colts in their next two games.
6. New Orleans Saints (8): It appears the Saints’ early season struggles have passed as they have gotten their offense going. Eventually, Reggie Bush will return and give the Saints yet another offensive weapon.
7. Green Bay Packers (9): The Packers are on a roll, giving up just seven total points in their past two games. Their offense finally got on track against the Cowboys. They have a bye this week, which gives them an extra week to prepare for their rematch with the Minnesota Vikings.
8. New York Jets (5): The Jets fall three spots despite their Week 9 win. They looked awful in Week 8 against the Packers and needed a big come from behind win against the Lions this week. Their defense is still dominant but they need to get their offense going.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (10): Andy Reid is 12-0 following a bye. If the Eagles can win the NFC Championship, they will have a week off before the Super Bowl; just food for thought.
10. Indianapolis Colts (3): The Colts fall to a pedestrian 5-3 and just aren’t the same Colts we’ve seen in the past. Injuries have taken a toll and the lack of a running game continues to rear its ugly head.
11. Chicago Bears (14): The Bears got a comeback win against the winless Bills to move to 5-3 and remain within a ½ game of the Packers. Jay Cutler was only sacked once, but he needs help from Matt Forte if they want to continue to keep pace with Green Bay.
12. Oakland Raiders (19): The Raiders have won three straight and are suddenly making my prediction of a playoff appearance seem plausible. Let’s not forget, three of their four losses are by just eight points or less. They rank in the top 10 overall in both offense and defense. Playing in a weak division increases their playoff odds.
13. Tennessee Titans (13): Will Randy Moss help or hurt the Titan’s playoff chances; only time will tell. I say his first game with them this week will give us a good idea of the answer.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12): Tampa showed once again why they should only be considered pretenders for 2010. They are 5-3 on the season. Their five wins have come against teams with a combined 12-27. The three teams they have lost to? They are a combined 18-7. The Bucs are a nice story, but they can’t hang with the big boys yet.
15. Kansas City Chiefs (11): Tough loss for the division leading Chiefs, but the bottom line is that they still lead their division. They also have a favorable schedule coming up as they only play two games the rest of the season against teams with a winning record, and those don’t come until weeks 16 and 17.
16. Washington Redskins (16): The Redskins are coming off a bye and it will be interesting to see how Donovan McNabb plays after his fourth-quarter benching in Week 8.
17. Houston Texans (17): Arian Foster of the Texans got “Calvin Johnson-ed” this week by a terrible NFL rule. Foster, like Johnson in Week 1, had possession in the end zone, but failed to maintain possession for a long enough period. Even if it was a touchdown, it probably wouldn’t have been enough seeing as the Texans probably couldn’t stop a high school team’s passing game.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (18): Since Week 2, the Jags have been consistently inconsistent, losing two in a row, then winning two in a row, and so on. If that trend continues, they will win this week against the Texans and move to 5-4 on the season.
19. San Diego Chargers (22): That was an impressive game by Phillip Rivers. He threw four touchdown passes against the Texans. No, not to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, but to Randy McMichael and Seyi Ajirotutu. The Chargers kept their season alive with the win and look to continue that trend as three of their next four games are at home, against divisional opponents.
20. St. Louis Rams (20): The Rams had Week 9 off but look to continue their turnaround season this week. Regardless of how the Rams’ season finishes, it’s already been a success considering they won a grand total of one game last season.
21. Miami Dolphins (15): The Dolphins' four-game road-winning streak came to an end against the Ravens. They sit at 4-4 and two games behind both the Jets and Patriots. They will start to play better at home though, so expect them to make one last playoff push before the season ends. The good news for Miami is they still have two road divisional games on their schedule, as well as, a game against the winless Bills.
22. Cleveland Browns (24): Rookie Colt McCoy has faced the Steelers, Saints and Patriots in his first three career starts. Chances are he’s 0-3 and suffered some sort of injury, right? Wrong. McCoy is 2-1 and has the Browns in third place in the AFC North. They won’t make a playoff push this year, but you can sure bet they will play spoiler down the stretch.
23. Minnesota Vikings (23): Brett Favre still has some magic left in that 41-year-old body of his. Down two touchdowns with four minutes left in the game, Favre led the Vikings to 14 points, and a game winning field goal in overtime against the hapless Cardinals. The Vikings still have a pulse in the NFC North. Their season will be decided in the next two weeks as they face the Bears and Packers.
24. Detroit Lions (25): The Lions are possibly the greatest 2-6 team of all-time. Four of their six losses have come by five points or less. They lost Matthew Stafford to a shoulder injury once again, but nonetheless they have two very winnable games in a row coming up against the Bills and Cowboys.
25. Seattle Seahawks (21): At one point the Seahawks were 4-2, on top of the NFC West and looking like a pretty solid football team under new coach Pete Carroll. Since then Seattle has gone 0-2 and been outscored 74-10. OUCH. Seattle should get back on track this week against the Cardinals and still have as good of a chance as anyone to win that division.
26. Arizona Cardinals (26): The Cardinals let another game slip away. Derek Anderson played decently, but the lack of a running game continues to plague Arizona.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (27): The Bengals nearly pulled off a 20 point comeback against the Steelers on Monday Night Football but came up just short. Their offense finally showed what they are capable of. If they can get both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco involved in the same game, they could be a scary team. Protecting Carson Palmer has been a huge issue however.
28. San Francisco 49ers (28): The 49ers had an off-week in Week 9, which meant one thing: they couldn’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. At 2-6 the 49ers have a lot of work to be done, but if they can get it going, they can still make noise in the NFC West.
29. Denver Broncos (29): The Broncos have lost four straight and look to avoid a fifth as they face the Chiefs this week. The chances of Denver making the playoffs are slim to none, but if they have any hope, they need to win their division games, of which they have five remaining on their schedule.
30. Dallas Cowboys (30): Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse for Dallas, they give up 28 points in the second quarter on their way to a 45-7 drubbing at the hands of the Packers. Jerry Jones finally had enough, firing head coach Wade Phillips the next day. The Cowboys’ season is officially over and at this point they are just playing for pride.
31. Carolina Panthers (31): The Panthers season got worse, if that’s possible. Matt Moore is out for the season and it would appear as if Jimmy Clausen will be the starter the rest of the way. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be determined, but if the Panthers’ record in his first few games is any indication, their season is going from bad to worse.
32. Buffalo Bills (32): That’s three straight weeks the Bills have had their first win wrapped up, and then, they didn’t. First a 34-point outburst against the Ravens counts for naught as they lose in OT. Then, another OT loss the following week against the Chiefs. And finally, they let another fourth quarter lead slip as they lost to Chicago by three this week. A missed extra point was critical for the Bills.
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