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Yea I'm GONNA Be THAT Guy; Power Rankings


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NFL Power Rankings: The Lions Have Left The Basement

Posted Oct 01, 2009 2:00PM By Josh Alper (RSS feed)

There's a feeling of deja vu at the top of the rankings this week as each of the top four teams won and, therefore, held their positions. The biggest changes come at the rear where the Lions are finally looking down at something other than the bottom of the page. And it's not going too far out on a limb to say that their replacements will be a regular resident at the caboose of the rankings. The Browns are in disarray, more so than usual even, and show few signs of hope.

For those of you who are bored with the same old, same old up top, this week promises at least one change with the Saints and Jets facing off in a battle of undefeateds. The Ravens are in New England and the Broncos host the Cowboys, which might mean major changes in the top ten when next week's rankings come down the pike.

1. Giants (3-0) Last Week: 1

Injuries haven't slowed down the Giants defense one bit. They didn't give up a first down to the Bucs until five minutes were left in the third quarter of last Sunday's shutout. The only dark cloud above their heads is the slow start of Brandon Jacobs, but it's unlikely to trip them up against the Chiefs.

2. Ravens (3-0) Last Week: 2

Joe Flacco is averaging just under nine yards per passing attempt and Ray Rice and Willis McGahee are each going for more than five yards per carry. After years as the patron saints of defense, the Ravens have become an offensive juggernaut.

3. Saints (3-0) Last Week: 3

The Saints have been scoring at will in the first three weeks, averaging 40 points per game. Two tough tests in the Jets and the Giants are wrapped around a bye week, so it won't be until after Week 6 that we find out if New Orleans is the cream of the crop in the division of in the NFL.

4. Jets (3-0) Last Week: 4

The Jets took some haymakers from a desperate Titans team, but got off the mat and won their third straight. The hits keep on coming with this week's trip to the Superdome, but it's clear that this year's Jets don't shrink from challenges.

5. Colts (3-0) Last Week: 6

No Marvin Harrison, no Anthony Gonzalez, no running game, no problem for Peyton Manning and the offense. He could take the field with the Browns and actually win games.

6. Vikings (3-0) Last Week: 7

Why aren't they higher? Lingering questions about their inability to win big against the Browns, Lions and a 49ers team that lost its best player on the first snap. Brett Favre's throw to Greg Lewis was thrilling, but it probably shouldn't have been necessary.

7. Patriots (2-1) Last Week: 9

Rumors of their demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. Their red zone production is still troubling, however. Only four of 13 trips have resulted in touchdowns through the first three games.

8. Broncos (3-0) Last Week: 14

No, they probably aren't going to keep this up but a defense that's allowed only 16 points in three games deserves recognition. Only two teams in history have allowed fewer points in the season's first three weeks, an impressive accomplishment no matter the opposition.

9. Bears (2-1) Last Week: 11

Jay Cutler answered the doubters about his ability to play efficient football over the last two weeks, which means that the questions are now all about what happened to Matt Forte? An improved passing attack was supposed to open the field for the running game, but the Bears are stuck in neutral.

10. Eagles (2-1) Last Week: 13

The revolving cast of characters have hogged the spotlight, so let's take the bye week to turn our attention to DeSean Jackson. The receiver has blossomed into a big play threat on offense and special teams AND he's learned where the end zone actually begins.

11. Chargers (2-1) Last Week: 12

The Chargers have allowed 304 yards in the first quarter and 684 yards over the rest of their games. Perhaps Norv Turner needs to change the clocks in the locker room before sending his defenders out on the field? Or maybe "Lights Out" Shawne Merriman needs to finally turn the lights on.

12. Falcons (2-1) Last Week: 5

The Falcons are spending a good portion of their bye week working on defensive schemes against the run since they've allowed 136 yards per game on the ground. What they aren't doing is panicking after a tough road loss in New England. This team knows they're good enough to push for the playoffs -- the tinkering by the coaching staff now will determine how far Atlanta can advance in the playoffs. - KB

13. Bengals (2-1) Last Week: 18

The victory against the Packers proved they have talent, but the win against Pittsburgh showed they might also have the mental makeup of a team that can win big. Throw in a healthy Carson Palmer and you've got a mix that's worth watching even after the HBO cameras stopped rolling.

14. Cowboys (2-1) Last Week: 15

The Cowboys remain an enigmatic bunch. DeMarcus Ware has no sacks, but the defense made a lot of big plays against the Panthers. The offense has rolled up 200-plus yards on the ground in each of their last two games, but Jason Garrett still called two straight fades on the goal line on Monday night. Focusing on what's working and not on the big names is their best strategy going forward.

15. 49ers (2-1) Last Week: 10

Dealing with Frank Gore's injury will be a problem for a team that has a rather slim margin for error. If they can get through the next couple of weeks without another stumble, it will be time to start talking playoffs. If they can't, the rest of the NFC West will remain in the picture.

16. Packers (2-1) Last Week: 19

Was their mediocre performance against the Rams a sign that they were looking ahead to visiting Mr. Favre or are they just a mediocre team? The defense's performance points to the latter, but a win this week will quell many a fear.

17. Steelers (1-2) Last Week: 7

If this is a Super Bowl hangover, they've got to find the coffee quick. The Chargers won't make it easy to get back on track and another loss will result in much worry around Steel City.

18. Bills (1-2) Last Week: 16

Terrell Owens showed a lot of class by not allowing himself to get pulled into ripping his team after their embarrassing effort against the Saints. Let's see if he keeps it up if the offense keeps scuffling its way toward a losing record.

19. Jaguars (1-2) Last Week: 28

The Jaguars must have the smallest playbook in NFL history. Get the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew only takes up so many pages. But, as they say, it's not the size but how you use it.

20. Texans (1-2) Last Week: 17

Saying this week is a must-win for Gary Kubiak is a massive understatement. A home loss to the Raiders would all but ensure that Elway's former backup would be, at best, an offensive coordinator next season.

21. Cardinals (1-2) Last Week: 21

The bye week probably came at the right time for a Cardinals team that needs to find what they did with last year's potion mighty quickly. They haven't resembled the team we saw in January and February for one moment of this season.

22. Seahawks (1-2) Last Week: 22

The lime green jerseys were a terrific eyesore, but things wouldn't be looking so hot in any color scheme. The Seahawks are sloppy right now in all phases of the game, and they can only hope that injuries are the reason for all their troubles.

23. Titans (0-3) Last Week: 20

The only thing uglier than the Seahawks uniforms may have been the smock Jeff Fisher wore while watching his team blow a lead late to the Jets. Everyone thinks the Titans are better than their record, but it's high time that they actually show it.

24. Dolphins (0-3) Last Week: 24

The Chad Henne era may have come earlier than expected, but it has a chance to get off to a good start with the injury-riddled Bills secondary coming to town on Sunday.

25. Lions (1-2) Last Week: 32

Winning would have been sweet no matter how it came about, but how much sweeter is it when it comes on the back of a strong Matthew Stafford performance? A lot sweeter, which will sustain them until the next victory comes along.

26. Raiders (1-2) Last Week: 25

Everyone who said JaMarcus Russell would turn a corner this season has been proven correct. What's that? They meant it in a good way? Ah, well, better luck next time.

27. Redskins (1-2) Last Week: 23

Tom Cruise is preparing a sequel to Risky Business which features a post-Redskins Jim Zorn operating a brothel out of his suburban home. The twist? It's a documentary.

28. Panthers (0-3) Last Week: 27

The fact that John Fox has to announce that he's sticking with Jake Delhomme after just three weeks of play is not good. Neither is the fact that Carolina is winless. Three "light" games on the schedule after the bye week could bring the Panthers back up to .500 by Week 9. - KB

29. Chiefs (0-3) Last Week: 26

The Chiefs offensive line is going to be featured on a future episode of the show FlashForward. They black out for two minutes and have a vision of six weeks into the future. Matt Cassel is getting sacked there too.

30. Rams (0-3) Last Week: 30

The relative nature of the phrase "good news" was illustrated this week when the Rams proclaimed themselves relieved to hear that Marc Bulger would not miss the rest of the season with an injury.

31. Buccaneers (0-3) Last Week: 29

Raheem Morris has already had to change quarterbacks and the wheels seem to be falling off of the bus around him and the schedule ahead doesn't provide too many sure things. It could be a very long season for this rookie head coach. - KB

32. Browns (0-3) Last Week: 31

We've finally found out the loser of the quarterback battle between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. The game of football.

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6. Vikings (3-0) Last Week: 7

Why aren't they higher? Lingering questions about their inability to win big against the Browns, Lions and a 49ers team that lost its best player on the first snap. Brett Favre's throw to Greg Lewis was thrilling, but it probably shouldn't have been necessary.

They lost Patrick Willis on the first snap?

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