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NFL Macho Power Rankings: Week 9

Every reason to celebrate: Pitt jumps to #2 in Power Rankings.

Another week, another set of interesting games and developing storylines. With losses by top-5 teams, the standings shifted quite a bit. Let’s take a look at where I rank teams this week:

1. Green Bay Packers (7-0)Last Week: 1

Pundits are still wondering aloud whether this team will be the second in five years to go 16-0. It’s quite possible – especially if Detroit lingers in the background for the division title.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)Last Week: 5

Exorcised some demons by beating Brady and the Pats, having lost five straight before Sunday’s game. They will need to continue to rely on Big Ben’s big plays, stingy pass rush to fend off Ravens, Bengals in highly competitive AFC North.

3. San Francisco 49ers (6-1)Last Week: 3

The surprising Niners keep rolling along to first 6-1 start since 1998. Antonio Pierce is calling them the second-best team in the NFC. With Frank Gore’s run game and stingy D, they actually could be.

4. Detroit Lions (6-2)Last Week: 6

Showed the breadth of their skill set, especially on defense – including seven sacks and two defensive touchdowns – against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Titus Young could prove to be a valuable third option at wide receiver, moving forward.

5. Buffalo Bills (5-2)Last Week: 9

Looked good in 23-0 beatdown of Redskins. RB Fred Jackson starting to dominate again, with 3rd straight 100-yard game. Fairly easy schedule could see them with a 10+ win record.

6. New England Patriots (5-2)Last Week: 2

With an offense no longer as explosive as the start of the season, and a below-average defensive backfield, Pats could stumble down the road. Doesn’t mean you should doubt Brady, Belichick & Welker.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)Last Week: 7

Silently ascending AFC ranks with a dominant win at Seattle; Dalton-to-Green is the best QB-WR rookie duo so far this year. Best not to overlook struggling TEN, with looming division matchup vs. PIT in two weeks.

8. New York Giants (5-2)Last Week: 10

They don’t win easy, but they simply win: after trailing for most of the game against the winless Dolphins, Manning, Manningham and the Giants D-Line preserve their fifth win of the season.

9. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)Last Week: 12

It was a tale of two halves: while they looked hungover from JAX loss last Monday in first 30 minutes, Ray Rice and D woke up in second half to beat free-falling Cardinals.

10. Atlanta Falcons (4-3)Last Week: 8

With an entire month that features very winnable games – including a division matchup with a reeling New Orleans Saints team – the Matt Ryan-led Atlanta Falcons control their playoff destiny.

11. New Orleans Saints (5-3)Last Week: 4

Also impossible to defend their embarrassing loss to the Rams in St. Louis; defense gave up 323 offensive yards (including 183 yards on the ground) to a zero-win team, while Brees struggled offensively (2 INTs, 6 sacks).

12. Houston Texans (5-3)Last Week: 14

I said last week that Houston would need to lean on RB Arian Foster to succeed going forward. Fast-forward to Sunday: Foster has 112 yards, TD on the ground in key win vs. JAX, maintaining division lead.

13. Chicago Bears (4-3)Last Week: 13

Da Bears will need to rely on RB Matt Forte, and his 155.9 total yards per game, if they want to stay in the NFC North race. Luckily, they play the Eagles after the bye, on Monday Night (19th overall in rush defense).

14. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)Last Week: 20

While gaffes by the Chargers helped, Kansas City has proved a determined Matt Cassel and pass game can win games – from an 0-3 start to a virtual tie atop AFC West.

15. New York Jets (4-3)Last Week: 16

Four wins vs. teams with a combined 9-20 record. Three losses vs. teams with combined 14-7 record. Next four games vs. teams with combined 17-11 record. Uh-oh.

16. Oakland Raiders (4-3)Last Week: 17

The good news? Silver and Black are tied for first in AFC West without even playing a game. The bad news? The prospect of Kyle Boller or Carson Palmer leading the offense going forward. They’ll need RB Darren McFadden to step up more than ever.

17. San Diego Chargers (4-3)Last Week: 11

All Philip Rivers had to do was take a routine snap, and they are most likely leading division. Because he couldn’t do that, they take a brutal loss, tie KC and OAK atop AFC West. Ouch.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3)Last Week: 18

Coming off the bye, they have a chance to pounce on a reeling Saints team they have already beaten once this season. They may need LaGarrette Blount to duplicate Steven Jackson’s tilt against NO’s D.

19. Tennessee Titans (4-3)Last Week: 21

How does a team win when their main running back gains only 34 yards on 14 carries, and their defense gives up 399 yards? When their QB controls the offense to win possession time battle. And they’re playing the Colts.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)Last Week: 26

Looked like the “Dream Team” they billed themselves to be in a Sunday Night thrashing of the Cowboys. RB “Shady” LeSean McCoy has proved to be their greatest asset, with 185 yards rushing this week.

21. Dallas Cowboys (3-4)Last Week: 15

On the flipside of that Sunday Night debacle, Rob Ryan’s highly-touted rush D was gashed in a 34-7 rout. Very winnable games in four of the next five weeks (including ARI, SEA, MIA), however, may cure what ails them.

22. Cleveland Browns (3-4)Last Week: 19

Despite struggles at San Francisco, QB Colt McCoy seems to be improving, with 241 yards and 1 TD vs. one of the stingiest D’s in the NFL. Doesn’t get easier next week in HOU.

23. Washington Redskins (3-4)Last Week: 23

Washington was embarrassed in Buffalo with coach Mike Shanahan’s first-ever shutout loss. Going 0-3 after a 3-1 start, the losing streak may reach four with the 6-1 49ers coming to the Nation’s Capital next week.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)Last Week: 25

The Jags are stuck in neutral after a big win vs. Baltimore last week. Couldn’t get their offense going against a revitalized Houston team, with a mere 174 total yards.

25. Denver Broncos (2-5)Last Week: 22

In QB Tim Tebow’s first real test, he fell flat on his face – in more ways than one. However, questions of whether he works best in the shotgun will keep the experiment going at least another week.

26. St. Louis Rams (1-6)Last Week: 31

Perhaps riding momentum the baseball Cardinals wrought with their recent World Series run, the Rams and Saints looked like they inexplicably switched uniforms on Sunday, including Steven Jackson’s 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

27. Minnesota Vikings (2-6)Last Week: 29

Won a close game against the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year in Cam Newton and the Panthers. While Christian Ponder looked impressive (236 yds, 1 TD), RB Adrian Peterson helped a little (162 total yds, 2 total TDs).

28. Carolina Panthers (2-6) Last Week: 24

While Cam Newton threw for 290 yards and 3 TDs on Sunday, Carolina continues to struggle, losing four of their last five. On the bright side, they have one of the best offenses in the league.

29. Seattle Seahawks (2-5)Last Week: 27

QB Tavaris Jackson was lone bright spot (323 passing yds) in a team that continues to struggle. With rival San Francisco prospering, it makes you wonder what head coach Pete Carroll must be thinking.

30. Arizona Cardinals (1-6)Last Week: 28

The Cardinals had the reeling Ravens on the ropes on Sunday, only to have the game snatched away in the final minutes, almost single-handedly by RB Ray Rice. Such is life in the NFC West … for teams not named the 49ers.

31. Miami Dolphins (0-7)Last Week: 30

The Dolphins sure have a knack for losing fourth quarter leads, doing so for the second week in a row against the Giants. I will not say that the Dolphins are throwing games or anything. But, I will say this: #SuckForLuck.

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-8)Last Week: 32

Owner Bill Polian says that Jim Caldwell is doing a good job, and that Peyton Manning may actually play at the end of the season. I’m sorry – did you think I was going to talk about their game? Aww, that’s adorable.

1 Comment on NFL Macho Power Rankings: Week 9

  1. Niners are surprising, but when you look at the stats, it’s there, especially on defense. Typically defenses are ranked by total yards allowed, in which case the Niners are #10. But when it comes to total points allowed, the Niners are #1, at 15.7 pts allowed/game. I think that’s the more important stat considering you win/lose by points and not yards gained/allowed.

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