Posted on: November 3, 2009 1:11 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 8

1.) New Orleans (7-0) [no change]
 Atlanta played tough to the end, but the Saints held on and got an impressive win.  They'll be on the lookout for Coy Wire the next time they play.
2.) Indianapolis (7-0) [no change]
 No TD's for Peyton Manning, and the winning score is thrown from Joseph Addai to Reggie Wayne.  A weird week for the Colts, but they'll take the win anyway.
3.) Minnesota (7-1) [+4]
 Brett Favre went back to Lambeau and played well in another win against his former team.
4.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [no change]
 The Steelers maintain their position thanks to the bye week.
5.) New England (5-2) [no change]
 The Patriots got the bye at the perfect time after their London excursion.
6.) Cincinnati (5-2) [no change]
 The Bengals are also well-rested after a week off.
7.) Dallas (5-2) [+2]
 Dallas took advantage of their schedule, beating a bad team and setting up an important game against Philadelphia next week.
8.) Denver (6-1) [-5]
 Despite losing to the Ravens, the Broncos aren't out of the Rankings just yet.  Truth be told, they're still one of the best teams in the league...they just had to slide after the loss.
9.) Philadelphia (5-2)
 The Eagles return to the Rankings after a strong showing against division rival NY Giants.  As stated above, they have another important division game next week.
10.) Houston (5-3)
 The Texans enter the Rankings for the first time (possibly ever, as far as mine are concerned) after an impressive display against Buffalo.  Ryan Moats could be the go-to guy for the next couple weeks if Steve Slaton doesn't learn the Tiki Barber ball protection method.

A Look at Week 8:
Week 8 was a bit odd and unpredictable.  Good teams lost, teams we thought were good but maybe aren't lost, and plenty of bad teams played as badly as we figured they would.  As far as the Rankings go, Arizona's loss was a big one.  Not only are they 4-3, but they have a problem with winning at home.  The expectation after last week was that they were ready to take off and go on a long run of winning.  Obviously, that didn't happen, as they lost to Carolina.  It's really an inexcusable loss.  And the way they lost it was particularly bad: the run defense that had served them so well in previous weeks crumbled.  Other than Arizona, Green Bay and Atlanta losing meant that a three-loss team had to go into the Rankings for the first time.  I'm never really a fan of that until it's completely necessary.  This year it's been necessary in a couple weeks to do things that I don't really care for as far as the Rankings are concerned.  It goes hand-in-hand with how I do them, though, so I got no one to blame but myself for being too stubborn to change.  Of course, I can always blame teams for losing....

A further recap of Week 8's best.

Denver (3) at Baltimore (unranked):
 Well, what do you know.  The consensus was right, for once.  The desperate team that had just lost three in a row got it done, even without a Herculean effort from Joe Flacco.

San Francisco (unranked) at Indianapolis (2):
 I was concerned about this game for good reason, as it turns out.  The offense was mostly Matt Stover kicking FG's for the Colts, which surprised the hell out of me.  Peyton Manning threw for almost 350 yards, but no TD's.  As big a surprise as anything that happened in Week 8, easily.

Minnesota (7) at Green Bay (10):
 Aaron Rodgers couldn't complete the comeback, again, but both QB's played well in this one.  I do have to say that Rodgers must be frustrating the hell out of fantasy owners who have his top two receivers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.  While Rodgers is throwing TD's to no-names like John Kuhn, Spencer Havner, and James Jones, Jennings and Driver are languishing.  And don't even get me started on Ryan Grant.

Atlanta (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 New Orleans overcame a late fumble and an inexcusable muff of an onside kick to win.  That right there sums up a #1 team.  Yes, it's terrible that they fumbled and screwed up the onside kick recovery, but the fact that both those things happened and the Saints still won anyway speaks volumes about their greatness.

The best games coming up next week.

Baltimore (unranked) at Cincinnati (6):
 I really do hope Cincinnati is well-rested, because this return match is going to be killer.

Miami (unranked) at New England (5):
 The Wildcat vs. Tom Brady's right arm.  Miami is already 3-0 vs. the AFC East, but they haven't played the Patriots yet.

Houston (10) at Indianapolis (2):
 Houston's run defense had been the major bugaboo for them until the last couple weeks.  Now they don't have to worry about it much, since they get Peyton Manning and the Colts.  I'm sure Manning will be raring to throw some TD's.  Like, five or six.
Carolina (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 This game begins the easy stretch of New Orleans schedule before they play New England at home.  Good luck.

Dallas (7) at Philadelphia (9):
 First place in the NFC East, anybody?  Bring it!

Pittsburgh (4) at Denver (8):
 Game of the Week?  Possibly.  The Steelers are a tougher nut to crack than Baltimore, and we already saw what happened when Denver took them on.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 27, 2009 8:17 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7

1.) New Orleans (6-0) [no change]
 An impressive comeback keeps the Saints in the top spot for this week.  The schedule gets a little harder as they face Atlanta, but after that they have three gimmies until they face New England.
2.) Indianapolis (6-0) [+2]
 The Colts took advantage of another easy opponent and thrashed the Rams.  Peyton Manning didn't throw for 300 yards, yet they still won by a huge margin.
3.) Denver (6-0) [no change]
 Bye week for Denver means they stay in the same spot.
4.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [+2]
 The Steelers defense secured the win against previously undefeated Minnesota.  Ben Roethlisberger played below par, and has the bye week to think it over.
5.) New England (5-2) [+2]
 Going to London didn't affect Tom Brady or the Patriots in the slightest.  They beat another outmatched team.
6.) Cincinnati (5-2) [+3]
 A stunning blowout by the Bengals moves them up after a bad loss to the Texans.
7.) Minnesota (6-1) [-5]
 They lost to Pittsburgh, so down they go.  Luckily for the Vikings, there aren't a whole lot of good 1-loss teams.
8.) Arizona (4-2) [+2]
 Big win for the Cardinals, but how do they follow it up?
9.) Dallas (4-2)
 Same as above.  How do they follow it up?
10.) Green Bay (4-2)
 The Packers face off against Minnesota in one of the biggest games of the week.

A Look at Week 7:
It seems that more than ever, Week 7 illustrated the disparity between good and bad teams.  The good teams played really well in Week 7.  The bad teams looked pretty terrible.  There were also a couple exceptions: Houston, Buffalo, and Arizona beat teams that I thought were sure-fire winners (yeah, that's what I get for picking Carolina).

A further recap of Week 7's best.

Minnesota (2) at Pittsburgh (6):
 As it turns out, neither Big Ben nor Mendenhall was the difference between the Vikings winning and losing.  It turned out to be the Steelers defense, which turned two Brett Favre turnovers into 14 points.

Atlanta (5) at Dallas (unranked):
 Surprisingly, Dallas outplayed Atlanta and forced Matt Ryan to look pretty bad.  Tony Romo was the difference here; his ability to evade the defense was key to scoring TD's.

Arizona (10) at NY Giants (8):
 Arizona showed up, the Giants kind of didn't.  Kurt Warner outplayed Eli Manning, but the Cardinals defense is what made the difference.

The best games coming up next week.

Denver (3) at Baltimore (unranked):
 It seems that the consensus is that Denver is going down against Baltimore.  They're 6-0, but not everyone is on the bandwagon yet.  A win here further cements the Broncos as a contender, if they're not already.

San Francisco (unranked) at Indianapolis (2):
 Not so much a game to watch because of the game, but because of how great Peyton Manning is playing this season.  San Francisco might be a tougher challenge.  They looked more explosive in the second half of Week 7 than they had at any time this season.  Whether their defense can keep up with the Colts offense is another story.

Minnesota (7) at Green Bay (10):
 Could be the game of the week, if you happen to ignore the Monday night matchup.  It's the Brett Favre bowl all over again, except the stage is Lambeau Field.

Atlanta (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 The #1 team in my rankings takes on their last tough game for the next four weeks.  With a win here, they can easily hit the New England game 10-0.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2009 1:51 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

1.) New Orleans (5-0) [+1]
 They beat the best team, so the Saints are now #1 in my Rankings.  Drew Brees played fabulously, but the defense is something to be reckoned with too.
2.) Minnesota (6-0) [+1]
 The Vikings were both very good and very lucky.  They were very good on their last drive, and very lucky that Steven Hauschka botched a short FG.
3.) Denver (6-0) [+2]
 A solid win yesterday propelled the Broncos above the bye-week Colts.  The defense could have been better.
4.) Indianapolis (5-0) [no change]
 Bye-week for the Colts means no movement up or down.  Good thing, too, since there weren't a ton of good teams after this week.
5.) Atlanta (4-1)
 Matt Ryan led the game-winning drive again for the Falcons.  He's for real, and so is Atlanta.  I'd wager that it's because of Ryan that Atlanta is for real, though he had some help from Michael Turner as well.
6.) Pittsburgh (4-2) [+4]
 After a rough start to the season, the Steelers are starting to round into form.  It helps that their schedule hasn't been too tough so far.
7.) New England (4-2)
 What else can I say but amazing?  In snowy Foxboro the Patriots shut out the Titans and put up 59 points on them at the same time.  Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss all had fantastic performances.
8.) NY Giants (5-1) [-7]
 No shame in losing to New Orleans, but it means the Giants take a fall.  They're down, but certainly not out.
9.) Cincinnati (4-2) [-3]
 The Bengals had the look of an elite team until they got brushed back by the Texans.  Ouch.
10.) Arizona (3-2)
 The best team remaining that won this week.  Ouch for me.

A Look at Week 6:
There was a lot of good football in Week 6, but a lot of absolutely terrible football too.  The Patriots/Titans game was a good example of that, as the Patriots were awesome, and the Titans couldn't have been worse.  Tom Brady looked like he was playing Madden 2010 rather than an actual NFL game.  Philadelphia is one of the biggest offenders also, since they lost to Oakland.  They were looking like a good team, one that would challenge the Giants, Vikings, and Saints.  Instead, they're bounced out of the top ten and have a very bad loss on their resume.  Good thing there are no polls or BCS standings in the NFL, because the Eagles just dealt themselves a critical blow.  Not that there's no time to recover, of course.  It's still pretty early in the season, but Philadelphia's schedule is pretty unkind down the stretch.  Cincinnati is the other big offender this week, losing a winnable game at home to the Texans.  The Jets also lost a winnable game at home against Buffalo, with Mark Sanchez throwing FIVE INT's.  Terrible.

A further recap of Week 6's best.

Baltimore (unranked) at Minnesota (3):
 No defense to be seen here.  Adrian Peterson did run all over Baltimore, but didn't score.  Neither did Sidney Rice, despite having 176 yards receiving.  Hauschka's missed FG was the difference.

NY Giants (1) at New Orleans (2):
 New Orleans was ready for this game.  The Giants, not so much.  They did score 27, which is a good day against most teams.  Against the Saints, it wasn't nearly enough.

Chicago (8) at Atlanta (9):
 I guess the Bears just weren't ready for Matt Ryan.  They didn't play too badly, but errors in the red zone late hurt a ton.

Denver (5) at San Diego (unranked):
 So much for the desperate team winning.  The AFC West was just won by Denver, barring an utter miracle.

The best games coming up next week.

Minnesota (2) at Pittsburgh (6):
 The schedule continues to get tougher for Minnesota.  Big Ben's arm and Rashard Mendenhall's legs provide ample threat to the Vikings' winning streak.

Atlanta (5) at Dallas (unranked):
 The Cowboys host one of the hotter teams in the league.  It's time for Tony Romo to shine.  It wouldn't hurt if the defense showed up, too.

Arizona (10) at NY Giants (8):
 Offense vs. Offense, Warner vs. Manning.  Should be a hell of a game, and high-scoring too.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 13, 2009 1:23 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 5

1.) NY Giants (5-0) [no change]
 Though he only played the first half, Eli Manning helped the Giants roll again.  Next week is the biggest game of the year so far, when they go down to New Orleans.
2.) New Orleans (4-0) [no change]
 The Saints were also on a bye this week.
3.) Minnesota (5-0) [no change]
 Is it just me, or is Favre the icing on the cake?  Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson were great as usual.
4.) Indianapolis (5-0) [no change]
 Peyton Manning and the Colts won another game and look to cruise to the AFC South title.  Where's the competition?
5.) Denver (5-0) [no change]
 Apparently, the Broncos are no fluke.  I didn't get the memo until yesterday, though.
6.) Cincinnati (4-1) [+4]
 Now leading the AFC North, the Bengals have the look of an elite team.
7.) Philadelphia (3-1) [+2]
 Donovan McNabb returned and made an immediate impact, throwing a long TD to Jeremy Maclin.
8.) Chicago (3-1) [no change]
 The Bears had a bye in Week 5, and thus stay where they were.
9.) Atlanta (3-1)
 Coming off a bye, the Falcons went on the road and knocked San Francisco out.  Incredible games by Roddy White and Michael Turner.
10.) Pittsburgh (3-2)
 The Steelers make it in by the skin of their teeth, being the dubious last good team this week.

A Look at Week 5:
If Week 5 proved anything (and I'm not sure it did, really), it proved that the middle and bottom of the league are getting full, and the top is sparsely populated at best.  There were only a few good matchups; Baltimore's offense failed to show up for the first time this season, and the defense failed them late, something I didn't expect to see.  New England went to overtime in Denver and lost as the Broncos continue to prove their worth.  If they're not considered an elite team by now, something's wrong.  In the AFC West, there are the Broncos and Chargers; the other two teams are perennial bottom-feeders.  Still, I think the Wild Card is coming out of the AFC East, even though both of the heavy hitters in that division lost in Week 5; the Jets were on the road in Miami and lost on a TD by Ronnie Brown with :06 left on the clock.  Ouch.  That was definitely a great game though, and one that I didn't expect.  The other good matchup was Atlanta and San Francisco; thanks to Roddy White and Michael Turner, that one turned into a beatdown quickly.  Where San Francisco's defense (and offense) went during that game, who knows.
Other than that, the teams at the top delivered beatdowns to weak opponents.  Dallas bucked that trend by going to OT in Kansas City, though.  Miles Austin had the game of the week with 10 catches and 250 yards.  His two TD's were crucial as well.

A further recap of Week 5's best.

Cincinnati (10) @ Baltimore (unranked):
 Cincinnati won it late thanks to Carson Palmer and three bad penalties on the Ravens' defense.  Good win for Cincinnati and its DC Mike Zimmer.

Oakland (unranked) @ NY Giants (1):

 As expected, it was a beatdown of epic proportions.  Eli Manning only played the first half and it was over.

Atlanta (unranked) @ San Francisco (7):

 That bye really did work wonders for Atlanta.  After starting out fast, San Francisco might be fading.

New England (6) @ Denver (5):

 Tom Brady is now 7-1 in overtime games.  Not too bad.

Indianapolis (4) @ Tennessee (unranked):

 Five games, five 300+ yard performances for Peyton Manning.  The guy just doesn't quit.

The best games coming up next week.

Baltimore (unranked) @ Minnesota (3):
 Defensive struggle?  Or will Adrian Peterson run all over Baltimore like Cedric Benson just did?

NY Giants (1) @ New Orleans (2):
 Game of the Week, easily.  The two best teams in the NFC face off with an early conference lead on the line.

Chicago (8) @ Atlanta (9):
 Both teams are looking to prove they're no fluke.  Both are trying to keep up with better teams in their own division, too.

Denver (5) @ San Diego (unranked):
 If Denver wins, the AFC West race is practically over.  If San Diego wins, there's quite a bit of doubt.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 6, 2009 12:59 pm

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 4

1.) NY Giants (4-0) [no change]
 A nice schedule is aiding and abetting the Giants' stay at the top.  They're great all-around and continue to win.
2.) New Orleans (4-0) [+2]
 Knocked out the Jets temporarily and looked very impressive doing so.  Drew Brees and the offense can exhale now; the defense can play!
3.) Minnesota (4-0) [+2]
 Adrian Peterson hasn't done a whole lot since Week 1.  They keep winning anyway.
4.) Indianapolis (4-0) [+2]
 The Colts are an unstoppable offensive juggernaut and can make it 5-0 with a win in Tennessee.
5.) Denver (4-0) [+2]
 The Broncos are suddenly a very good team.  Credit the defense, and coordinator Mike Nolan.
6.) New England (3-1) [+2]
 They took another game I thought they had no chance of winning.  Tom Brady is improving, but the defense needs to step up too.
7.) San Francisco (3-1)
 The 49ers are no fluke either.  They're back after an impressive dismantling of St. Louis.
8.) Chicago (3-1)
 Ever since Week 1, the Bears have been nearly unstoppable.
9.) Philadelphia (2-1) [no change]
 Philadelphia had a bye week, and as such does not get penalized.
10.) Cincinnati (3-1)
 The Bengals are either really lucky, or really good.  For now, I'll split it down the middle.

A Look at Week 4:
There were definitely some exciting games in Week 4.  The Broncos weren't afraid of the Cowboys, and though neither team played as good as they're capable of, Denver earned the victory.  Pittsburgh practically lost its defense in the 4th quarter and still pulled out a win against San Diego.  Last night, Minnesota looked impressive at times against Green Bay.  There are now only five undefeated teams left this season, and it would not be a complete surprise to see more of them fall.  At this point, it looks like it'll take a great performance all the way round to beat one of the remaining five; they're all playing well right now and look to have few to no weaknesses.

A further recap of Week 4's best.

NY Giants (1) @ Kansas City (unranked):
 Not quite as big a beatdown as the previous week for the Giants.  A good win as long as Eli Manning's heel injury proves to be nothing big.

Baltimore (2) @ New England (8):
 There was plenty of offense in this one, but surprisingly, Baltimore had the ball last and couldn't put it into the end zone.  Not exactly what I was expecting from Joe Flacco and company.

NY Jets (3) @ New Orleans (4):
 Did the Jets not show up, or did New Orleans just blow their doors off?  I had no idea the Saints defense would come up that huge, which is why I picked the Jets to win.  Whoops.

Dallas (unranked) @ Denver (7):
 Denver flat-out outplayed the Cowboys when it counted.  Bad tackling and bad playcalling sunk the Cowboys this week.

Green Bay (10) @ Minnesota (5):
 Game of the Week?  Sure, why not.  Brett Favre took on the Packers in the Metrodome and pulled out the win.  Greg Jennings and Donald Driver barely showed up for the Packers; on the other side, Adrian Peterson was hardly the force one would expect.

The best games coming up next week.

Cincinnati (10) @ Baltimore (unranked):
 Two 3-1 teams square off to determine the early leader in the AFC North.  Should be one of the better games on the slate.

Oakland (unranked) @ NY Giants (1):
 If the Texans can make Oakland look utterly lost, what will the Giants do to them?

Atlanta (unranked) @ San Francisco (7):
 The Falcons come off their bye refreshed (hopefully) and ready to continue their march to the NFC South title.

New England (6) @ Denver (5):
 This one could go either way.  Just like Jets/Saints in Week 4, I expect the better offense to come out on top.

Indianapolis (4) @ Tennessee (unranked):
 The Colts look to continue their winning ways.  Against that Titans defense, it shouldn't be too much trouble.
Category: NFL
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