NFL Week 10 Power Rankings: Things Far From Fine After Crazy Week 9
Brett Favre exploded for 446 yards, Michael Vick solidified his role as the starter in Philly—for now—The Chiefs collapsed in the fourth quarter again, and the Browns pulled off yet another upset, but what does it all mean? Well, the next 32 slides should shine some light on that question.
This is my full power ranking, including all 32 teams from worst to first. Prepare yourselves for the incredible amount of information stuffed in this little article. There was a lot of shifting that took place this week, so after we let the games begin (and end), we now let the chips fall where they may.
32. The Carolina Panthers (1-7) Steal The Cellar Spot
The Bills have finally moved out of the cellar, but that left the cellar door open for the Panthers to fall through. After getting blown out 34-3 by the Saints on Sunday, the Panthers remain the league's lowest scoring team in the NFL with 88 points.
They also have the NFL's worst giveaway/takeaway differential at -11. They have the league's worst point differential as well, being outscored by 12 points per game. This is a bad team getting worse, if that's even possible. I hate to see a team that literally should not win a game, but the Panthers literally shouldn't win another game.
31. The Dallas Cowboys (1-7) Are Simply Lost, and Found at 31
The Cowboys are certainly not the Super Bowl contender that experts thought they were in the fall of 2010. These guys are undisciplined, unlucky, and unbelievably bad this season. They took the worst butt kicking of any team this week when they were mauled by the Packers 45-7.
The week 9 game actually prompted team owner Jerry Jones to do something he's never done before: fire the head coach in mid-season. Head coach Wade Phillips is out, and offensive coordinator Jason Garret is in his place taking over the head coaching duties. I don't know how much that will help though. His offense is a big part of the problem.
They're ranked 19th in points scored and starting QB Tony Romo's absence is only making things worse for the unit. On the other side of the ball, the defense has given up 29 points per game, the second most in the NFL this season. This team is what their record says they are.
30. The Buffalo Bills (0-8) Get A Little Respect, But Not Much
The Bills have lost their last three games by a total of nine points and two of them were overtime losses, but they were still losses. It's enough to get the Bills out of the cellar, but not enough to take them off of the basement steps.
The Bills are making strides in the right direction, but they are still winless. They've allowed the most points per game in the NFL at 29.1, and they are 26th in points scored. This adds up to a bad, bad team, though they are getting better.
Teams still don't have to pass against them because their defense is dead last at stopping the run. If the Panthers and Cowboys weren't so bad, the Bills would still be dead last on my list, and I can't see myself moving them past 30 until they win a game.
29. The San Francisco 49ers (2-6) Had Possibly Their Best Week This Year—the Bye
The 49ers were another team that ESPN kept telling us was going to be so good this year, but don't believe everything you hear. These guys are a defensive minded team that doesn't play good defense. They are ranked 16th in total defense and 19th in points allowed, and their inability to stop the pass is a big reason.
On offense is where they really struggle, though. They have scored the 30th least points per game. They have one of the league's worst QBs in Alex Smith. Smith is so bad that when third string QB Troy Smith played the Broncos in the team's last game, he may have won the starting job—and he's the third string QB.
The 49ers are just bad. They can't seem to get it right this year, and head coach Mike Singletary is looking more and more confused on how to fix things week to week. They could still turn it around, but I doubt they will.
28. The Denver Broncos (2-6) Can't Run and Can't Hide From This List
The Broncos lost to the 49ers, but I have them above them on this list because of QB Kyle Orton. The passing game of the Broncos is ranked third in the NFL, but they can't run the ball at all. They're dead last in rushing offense.
On top of that, they're 31st in the NFL at stopping the run. They are 27th in points allowed (27.9 per game) and 29th in point differential. They can't score and can't stop other teams from scoring, and they can't run or keep other teams from running all over them. That never goes well for any football teams.
They have to play the Kansas City Chiefs' no.1 rushing attack this week, so don't look for the Broncos to move up any time soon.
27. The Arizona Cardinals (3-5) Are Flying Into Turmoil Every Week
The Cardinals are one of the worst teams in one of the worst divisions in the league, the NFC West. They've allowed the 28th most points in the NFL, and they have no real starting QBs on the roster. In fact, their offense as a whole is pretty terrible. The team QB rating is 59.7.
The Cardinals are ranked 31st in passing offense and 28th in rushing offense. On defense they aren't really much better. They rank 27th against the pass and 28th against the run. how they have even three wins is a bit of a mystery to me.
They're coming off of a heart-breaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings 27-24 in overtime, a game in which the Cardinals led by 14 points in the fourth quarter. This year is a loss already for this team.
26. The Detroit Lions (2-6) Pass By Another Loss In Week 9
Lions QB Matthew Staford is a good QB, and he has some legitimate weapons in WR Calvin Johnson and TE Brandon Pettigrew. They don't have much more than that, though. The Lions were up 20-10 on their way to their third win of the year against the Jets last week, but at the last minute the Jets stole the win in overtime.
It was a typical Lions game: close but no cigar. The Lions have scored the seventh most points in the league, but their defense is ranked 24th overall and in points allowed, and the offense is ranked 24th overall. This team is almost decent, but for now they're just another bad team.
25. The Chicago Bears (5-3) Are Overachieving, But For How Long?
The Bears started out the season 3-0, but since then they've only managed to go 2-3. QB Jay Cutler has looked very good in the team's wins, but horrible in the team's losses. RB Matt Forte is the team's only real playmaker, and they still don't have a no.1 receiver.
The Bears score only 18.5 points a game, which is ranked 27th in the league. The Defense is solid, ranked seventh overall and fourth in points allowed, but the offense is just abysmal. Cutler has been sacked 28 times this year and thrown seven picks to only nine TDs. The Bears are 29th in total offense and are no better than 21st in every offensive category there is.
The Bears are far worse than their record indicates, and I'm not buying the hype here.
24. The Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) Are Last In the AFC North?!?
The Bengals is a team loaded with potential, but potential doesn't win football games. High performance and team effort does, and the Bengals are lacking in both categories. The Only Bengal having a truly good year is 36 year old WR Terrell Owens.
Owens is on pace to have over 100 catches and 1,300 yards on the season. QB Carson Palmer is having a decent year, but mainly because of Owens' great year. Bengals RB Cedric Benson isn't exactly the back he was last year and the defense isn't stopping anyone from scoring. They've given up the 23rd most points in the league.
Ultimately, they can't seem to put four halves together in any of their games. They get about 20-30 minutes of good play and at least 30 minutes of stagnant offense. 2-6 is 2-6 I suppose.
23. The Washington Redskins (4-4) Win By the Skin Of Their Teeth
The Redskins are winning in many different ways this year, but they just don't look very good while doing it. QB Donovan McNabb is having the worst season of his career, and in the team's last game he was benched during the last two minutes of a game against the Lions in which they were trailing by only six points.
The Redskins just aren't remarkable in any way this season. They have the 31st ranked defense in the NFL this year, and the offense is ranked only 23rd in the league in points scored. This just isn't a very strong team.
I believe it's safe to say that they won't be making it into the playoffs this season. If a team is already dead in the water after eight games, there's no reason they should be any higher than this on my list.
22. The Seattle Seahawks (4-4) Have Officially Been Exposed
The Seahawks were 4-2 just two weeks ago, but they've lost their last couple of games by an astounding combined score of 74-10. In fact, all four of their losses have all been blowouts in which they've scored a total of 27 points. The Seahawks still lead their division, but with play like this they won't lead anything for very much longer.
The Hawks have scored the second least amount of points in the NFL this year, and the defense that was so heavily touted as being good is ranked 27th. Their head coach, Pete Carroll, has tried and failed in teh NFL before, and starting QB Matt Hasslebeck is out with an injury leaving the team in the incapable hands of Charlie Whitehurst who got mauled in his first NFL start last week. Need I say anymore?
21. The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) Are Coming Off Their Biggest Win This Year
The Jaguars looked to be pulseless after getting annihilated by the Titans on Monday Night Football in week six and then blown out in week seven by the Chiefs in week seven, but in week eight they got a charge from the NFL's newest shock paddles known as the Dallas Cowboys, a game the Jaguars won 35-17.
I'm not saying the Jags are for real, but they play in the toughest division in football and are at .500 right now. They're ranked 28th in points allowed and they're 29th in total defense, but if they can build on their big win then they may be able to salvage a respectable season in 2010.
20. The Cleveland Browns (3-5) Are One Of the Biggest Winners On The List
The Cleveland Browns are moving on up in my power rankings after impressive back-to-back blowout wins against the Saints 30-17 and the Patriots 34-14. On top of that, their losses to the Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Ravens came by a total of 11 points. I was one of their biggest critics, and now it appears I'm becoming one of their biggest supporters.
Rookie QB Colt McCoy has really inspired this team with his nearly mistake free play. Since having two picks in his first game against the Steelers, he hasn't thrown any picks and has a completion percentage of 67.6. It's some kind of miracle, but the Browns are looking legit.
They don't have any remarkable stats to speak of, with the exception of the rushing TDs. They have scored nine TDs and allowed only one on the ground, and they've given up the 11th least points in the NFL this year. I'm becoming a believer, but I can't move them out of the 20's just yet.
19. The St. Louis Rams (4-4) Are Still Turning Heads
Rookie QB Sam Bradford is still in the lead for the offensive ROY award, and he has the Rams tied for first in their division with the pretender Seahawks. This is a team we will most likely see in the playoffs. This is also a team that won three games in the last two seasons, so they are on fire by their standards.
The Rams actually have a tough defense right now, ranked seventh in points allowed, eighth in running defense, and 10th overall. Keep an eye on this team. They're young and going in the right direction.
18. The Miami Dolphins (4-4) Are Still Treading Water
The Dolphins are a strange team. They're winless at home, but they are 4-1 on the road. I have to give them credit for road wins. This is the part of the rankings that are unremarkable teams with not much to be said about, so I'll be brief in the next few slides.
The Dolphins are playing very vanilla football, and as a result are a middle of the pack team. The running game isn't running very well, and QB Chad Henne isn't throwing the ball with any kind of efficiency. The defense is ranked 13th and they're 17th in points allowed. That's about it.
17. The Oakland Raiders (5-4) Is Another Team On The Move
The Raiders just won a big division game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Oakland last week, but they're still a half game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West standings. Also, there's another team in the West who is really rolling right now. I mean no disrespect to the Raiders, but for now they get the short straw out of the three teams with a shot at winning the division.
They have a bit of a QB controversy between Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell, but neither QB is really on fire this year. Still, they have the second ranked rushing offense in the NFL, mostly due to RB Darren McFadden, and they've scored the sixth most points in the league while allowing the 13 most points.
I'm not completely sold on the Raiders just yet, but that's a lot more than I said about them last week. Check back in a couple of weeks when I have a better idea of what I'm looking at.
16. The San Diego Chargers (4-5) Seem to Be Clicking—Finally
The Chargers seem to be doing it again. You know what I'm talking about. They started out slowly, but they always do. They have the top ranked offense and second in defense in the league. They score points by the truckload, and QB Philip Rivers is on pace to throw for 5,000 yards this year.
The running game and the turnover battle are the only two spots with any tarnish showing, but until they get on track with their discipline and carelessness with the ball, I can't say they're back until they are.
15. The Minnesota Vikings (3-5) Are Possibly The Most Talented Bad Team Ever
Brett Favre just threw for a career high 446 yards at age 40. This guy is still good, and the Vikings have lost every loss by one score with a chance to win late. I count the Jets game in with this because they actually lost that game by two. The final Jets TD had no baring on the game's outcome.
The Vikings also have quite possibly the best RB in the league in Adrian Peterson. He's on pace to rush for 1,700 yards and catch for 500 more. This guy is a monster, and the rest of the cast of Vikings stars include WR Percy Harvin, DE Jared Allen, the Williams "twins" and WR Sidney Rice is coming back soon.
This team is capable of catching fire at any moment, and until the Vikings are mathematically eliminated, I'm not counting them out.
14. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3) Proved To Be Contenders In Division Loss
Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, WR Mike Williams, and RB LeGarret Blount are young and budding stars on this roster. The Bucs were an afterthought coming into the season, but now they're anything but. They lost to the division leading Falcons on Sunday, but it was by one score in a game that they were in right up until the end.
The Bucs aren't statistically the best team out there, but as their young coach said, "stats are for losers." I obviously don't believe that's always the case, but it is the case sometimes. The Buccaneers is one of those teams that finds ways to win, and they don't have a stat line for that.
13. The Atlanta Falcons (6-2) Fly Onto My Radar
The Falcons beat the Bucs last week, and they looked good doing it. The easiest and hardest part about ranking these last teams is that they're all good. The Falcons are no exception. They have the no.1 WR in football in 2010 in Roddy White, and QB Matt Ryan is looking better every week.
The team has the tenth ranked scoring offense and is ranked tenth in points allowed. They're ranked sixth in rushing offense and rushing defense. They're fifth in giving up turnovers and tenth in forcing them. The only real reason I have them so low is that they play in the NFC, which is still in my opinion the weaker conference.
12. The Houston Texans (4-4) Are Offensive to Their Competition
The Texans play in the AFC South, which is the toughest division in football. They are tied with the Jaguars for third in the division, but they're also only a game back of the Titans and Colts who both lead the division. They have the sixth ranked offense in the NFL and it's mostly due to RB Arian Foster who is the league's leading rusher. QB Matt Schaub hasn't even hit his stride yet, which is the scariest thing about this team.
Their only real weak spot is the pass defense, which is ranked dead last. The Texans have the most rushing TDs in the league, and they lead the league in team yards per carry. QB Matt Schaub is on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards, and he hasn't even played his best football yet.
They just lost to the Chargers, but they were one tipped pick away from probably winning that game. This team is gonna be in the hunt this year for sure.
11. The Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) Are Inconsistant, But Looking Good
Michael Vick returned last week, and he led his team to a victory against the Colts by outplaying Peyton Manning. The Eagles are very close to being a complete team. They have the fourth ranked offense and the 12th ranked defense in the league. No matter what QB they play with, they have a chance to win.
The Eagles are scoring 24.8 points per game, and they have the fifth ranked rushing attack. This team is very dangerous, and if they keep on winning they'll be in the hunt in January.
10. The Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) Fall to Raiders But Lead the West
The Chiefs lost a tough game to the Raiders on Sunday, but it was in Oakland and it's one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. It's no wonder that game was a tough one. The Chiefs have a division lead fot teh first time in five years this late in the season. They are having trouble closing out games, but they have the no.1 running game in the NFL, have scored the 12th most points, and are eighth in points allowed.
The Chiefs also have turned the ball over less than any other team in the NFL. They're also ninth against the run. This is a very good team, and they'll probably be in the playoffs at the end of the year. They're young with just the right amount of veterans. This is another very dangerous team. Watch out.
9. The New Orleans Saints (6-3) Are Back On Track With Back-To-Back Wins
The defending Super Bowl champs have their first game winning streak since their first two games of the year, and after beating the Steelers and the Panthers by double digits, they seem to be rolling. They will be getting back RB Reggie Bush after their week 10 bye, and that is probably going to be the last piece needed for these guys to make a big run.
They Saints have one of the best QBs in the league in Drew Brees, and Brees has hit 14 different receivers for completions this season. This team is getting hot at just the right time, and with no one loss teams in the league, they have a legitimate shot at getting a first round bye in the playoffs. Forget all the talk about the Saints being done, because they're anything but.
8. The Baltimore Ravens (6-2) Are Starting to Gel Offensively
The Ravens are usually a little higher on people's power rankings, but I think there are better teams out there. That being said, they are a very good team. They have all the pieces, and if QB Joe Flacco can stay focused and consistent, this team can do a great deal of damage.
They've beaten the Steelers and Jets, and they've lost Bengals. They have more of a good team than any really standout players this season. They aren't top ten in offense, but they are ninth on defense and sixth in points allowed. They put up 26 points while giving up just 10 last week to the Dolphins.
This team is going to be in the playoff race, to be sure.
7. The Green Bay Packers (6-3) Are Getting Healthy On The Opposition
The Packers started off a little slow, but they're getting some of their mojo back the longer the season plays on. Starting QB Aaron Rodgers is really playing well, and the defense is the team's strongest asset. They're second in the NFL in points allowed, and the team as a whole is second in point differential. Tese are big numbers.
They just got done demolishing the Dallas Cowboys 45-7 on Sunday night, and the week before they shut out the Jets in a 9-0 win. If the offense gets on a roll, this is a Super Bowl caliber team. This defense is the real deal, and they just keep getting better every week.
After winning three straight, the Pack is definitely back.
6. The Indianapolis Colts (5-3) Still Have Peyton Manning
The Colts just lost to the Eagles, but even God took a day off. As long as this team has Peyton Manning under center, they are one of the best teams in the NFL. They have the most first downs, the third ranked offense, the third most points scored, and the sixth best point differential.
Manning has the second most passing yards in the league, the fewest picks (4), 16 TD passes, and a passer rating of 96.1. Manning has also been sacked less than any other QB in the league. As goes Peyton, so goes the Colts, and right now Peyton goes as far as he wants to.
5. The New York Jets (6-2) Are Still The Best Pass Stoppers For My Money
The Jets offense has cooled a little, but the defense is still smoking hot. They are third in points allowed and the have the best CB tandem in the league in Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis. They are sixth in total defense and fourth against the run. They faltered early to the Lions on Sunday, but they held them scoreless in the fourth quarter and stole the game away in overtime.
The Jets also have the fourth ranked rushing offense in the league. LT and Shonn Greene are terrorizing defenses this season as a wicked on-two punch. Also, this is an offense that has only turned the ball over nine times all year, the second fewest in the NFL.
The torch may be passed in the AFC East now, but we'll see for sure in January.
4. The Tennessee Titans (5-3) Recruited a Helping Hand On an Already Good Team
The Titans are one of the most complete teams in the game. They have a great running game with RB Chris Johnson, a defense that's ninth in points allowed, and the highest scoring offense in the league this season. Now they add instant offense to the mix with the acquisition of Randy Moss.
Even if Moss doesn't come in and add a ton of catches, he's going to suck up an extra defender on just about every play he's on the field. This will clear out the box for the run and free up other receivers to make catches in single coverage, and like I said, this team is already the highest scoring team in the league: yikes!
3. The New England Patriots (6-2) Getting It Done With The Patriot Way
The Patriots are back at it again, and they are getting it done the way they have all decade: with interchangeable defensive pieces, little known receivers, running back by committee, and the one constant on the team being Tom Brady.
The Patriots did just get embarrassed on the road in Cleveland, but this could have been a game that they just weren't ready for. Maybe the Browns are just that good, too. They did beat the Saints the game before. At any rate, it doesn't stop me from ranking the Pats high on the list. As long as Belichick and Brady are there, I'm not counting them out of anything. Don't forget, they were the only one loss team in the NFL coming into week 9.
This team isn't quitting any time soon, and they certainly aren't going anywhere this season—except to the playoffs.
2. The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) Survive Near Meltdown to Maintain Elite Status
The Steelers are defined by their defense, which gives up the least amount of points per game in the entire league this year. They get the job done with a stingy no. 1 run defense, a total defense that is in the top five, and forcing turnovers while taking care of the ball themselves. This was the case once again in the Monday night game against the Bengals.
The Steelers caused a turnover on each of the Bengals' first two possessions and one more in the game. this team is getting things done in typical Pittsburgh Steelers fashion. Hard nosed defense, a tough running game, and now they have one of the toughest QBs in the league in Ben Roethlisberger. This is one of the best teams in the game today.
1. The New York Giants (6-2) Pulling a Power Play, Perched Atop Power Rankings
The Giants have really gotten to be the most dangerous team in the league. They have the fourth most points in the league, but they haven't scored less than 28 points in a game since October 3rd. Not only do they have the league's second ranked offense, but they also have the no. 1 ranked defense in the league. This is the most complete team in the NFL, hands down.
They have the receivers with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith, the backs with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and the QB Eli Manning. On defense they have the most devastating group of pass rushers in the league led by Osi Umenyiora and a strong secondary spearheaded by Antrelle Rolle and Aaron Ross.
Until they stop lighting teams up, they're the best.
That's The Run Down. Things Are Really Starting to Heat Up
Well, there they are: all 32 teams on the trophy quest in ascending order. There are some very tough contenders and some very soft pretenders in this mix, and this week promises even more twists and turns including surprise upsets and teams just digging their hole deeper. As always, good luck to all the NFL teams, and be sure to strap in on Sunday for a full slate of NFL action: I love this game.