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Week 17's Power Rankings represent the last week of the NFL regular season. Like pretty much every season, there was a lot of drama, and there actually seemed to be more drama than usual heading into the final weeks. But most of that is over now. The last week of the season won't go far in determining who's in and who's out, but there's some seeding on the line. Here's how the Top Ten stacks up to close things out:
1. Green Bay Packers (14-1): Aaron Rodgers recovered quickly from his "bad" game to thoroughly punish the Chicago Bears at Lambeau. The obvious MVP had a 5:8 touchdown-to-incomplete pass ratio on the Pack's way to clinching the top seed.
2. New Orleans Saints (12-3): Drew Brees is having himself an MVP-type season as well, and if Rodgers were playing like a football demigod, Brees would win the award. But the second seed in the NFC might have to do.
3. New England Patriots (12-3): The Pats clinched a first round bye in the AFC and their offense is really clicking these days. Their defense remains suspect, however.
4. San Francisco 49ers (12-3): The Niners took care of business against the Seahawks, and they're right up there in the NFC playoff picture. But Alex Smith is no Mr. Brees and that may hurt them come postseason time.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4): The Terrible Towels played well without Big Ben in Week 16, but his injury comes at an inopportune time. They'll need every ounce of Ben to survive the AFC playoffs.
9. Atlanta Falcons (9-6): Atlanta's in as an NFC wild card team, but this is not the dominant team of last season. A weak showing against the Saints on Monday Night doesn't increase confidence in their postseason chances.
10. New York Giants (8-7): The Giants don't really deserve a spot in the Top Ten, but they're currently leading the NFC East, and they're playing better ball than the rest of the teams reaching for the playoffs.
In local news, the Arizona Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention thanks to their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. John Skelton again had a painful start and an impressive finish, in the Tim Tebow fashion. Although the Cardinals were aggressive in snatching a new quarterback this offseason, there remains a giant question mark there. They won a lot more games with Skelton, but he's not even close to being an easy answer.
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in football.
Yes, you read that right.
The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games including three overtime victories and are trying their best to stay afloat in the playoff race. One thing is certain: nobody would want to play them if they did get in with how well they're playing right now.
ESPN moved the Cards up two spots to no. 17 in its power rankings mentioning how the Cards have trailed in the second half of every game this season.
SBNation moved the Cards up one spot to no. 18 and are still in shock of how almost random this run of games have been.
Week 16 of the NFL Power Rankings reflect a wacky weekend in the National Football League. The hopes and dreams of the Green Bay Packers going 16-0 have officially been obliterated thanks to Kyle "Dave Grohl" Orton and his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs. The fears and sad-making of the Indianapolis Colts going 0-16 have officially been obliterated thanks to the Tennessee Titans. Two of the league's most intriguing stories took severe blows in one Sunday. Anyway, on to the Top Ten:
1. Green Bay Packers (13-1): Yeah, they lost, but they're still number one. Aaron Rodgers had his "worst" game of the year, but still threw a touchdown pass and had no turnovers.
3. New England Patriots (11-3): Tom Brady is also likely to surpass Dan Marino's yardage record. But more importantly, he deflated Tebow-mania a bit with the Pats' drama-free victory over the Denver Broncos.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4): A loss to the 49ers was somewhat unexpected, but it's not embarrassing. They still have a fighting chance to win the AFC North.
7. Houston Texans (10-4): Well, it wasn't a great week for T.J. Yates and team. The surprisingly successful rookie QB was thoroughly outplayed by Cam Newton, but doesn't matter much; the Texans are till going to the playoffs.
8. Atlanta Falcons (9-5): After stumbling quite a bit, the Falcons seem poised to snag an NFC wild card spot after winning a couple in a row.
9. Detroit Lions (9-5): The Lions also appear firmly in grip of an NFC wild card spot. All they need to do is win one of their last two to eliminate some of the outliers like the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
10. Denver Broncos (8-6) (tie): The Power of Tim Tebow couldn't help the Broncos overcome the Patriots, but the Mile High Messiah still has his team in control of their own playoff destiny.
In local news, the Cardinals kept up their improbable winning ways; their streak is now up to four. It took an overtime period and a critical punt return by Patrick Peterson, but Arizona got an exciting win to continue an interesting turnaround it what seemed like a wasteland of a season. There's still an outside, outside chance they can make the playoffs, but they'll need a little divine intervention, and I think Tim Tebow's hogging it all.
Week 15 of the SB Nation Arizona NFL Power Rankings brings us more heroics from Mile High demigod, Tim Tebow, and his Denver Broncos. They topped the Chicago Bears 13-10 with their third overtime victory of the season. The Tebows have now won six straight and seven of their last eight, and look to be steamrolling (generally by 6 points or fewer) their way into the playoffs. Now onto the rest of the elite:
1. Green Bay Packers (13-0): The Pack is playing to win all 16 in the regular season, and it certainly looks like that's a reasonable accomplishment. They may have lost Greg Jennings for the remainder of that journey, but at this point, only an injury to Aaron Rodgers is likely to detail the cheese machine.
2. New Orleans Saints (10-3): Drew Brees and his Nawlins boys have finally overtaken the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC. They had a tough time putting away the pesky Tennessee Titans, but all that matters at this point is the W. Brees' outstanding play under center continues.
3. Baltimore Ravens (10-3): Apparently a lot of Ravens fans read these Arizona power rankings, so they'll be pleased, maybe, to see the Ravens make a nice jump. They did beat the Indianapolis Colts pretty convincingly, but they're most here because of faltering competition and a stout defense.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3): Ben Roethlisberger suffered an ankle sprain in the Steelers' win over the Cleveland Browns, so that might set them back a bit. Probably not, though, as Benjamin seems to be immune to prolonged ankle problems.
5. Houston Texans (10-3): Little Man Yates, as in T.J. Yates, has been a surprise success playing in lieu of Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, and his non-disastrous fill-in work has helped the team to their first playoff berth and first 10-win season.
6. New England Patriots (10-3): On the surface, this team is playing as well as they always have. Tom Brady's second in passer rating and his team has ten wins. But their horrendous defense ensures Brady needs to score and score big every week. That might get exhausting.
7. San Francisco 49ers (10-3): One wouldn't think a team only sustaining their third loss of the season would fall this far in the rankings, but it's how they lost that's troubling. The Niners' inept offense -- in particular, their woeful red zone play -- will probably keep them from getting very far in the postseason.
8. Denver Broncos (8-5): Tim Tebow will probably never lose another game, ever. But it sure would be nice if he could play decently in the first three quarters of a game. It'd be a lot easier on everyone.
9. New York Jets (8-5): The Jets have fairly quietly won three in a row at a time when they really needed to. But overall, it's been a disappointing season filled with injuries and underperformances. None of their wins are particularly impressive, but they've got eight of them, so that's something.
10. New York Giants (7-6): Yeah, there are other teams with better records, but Eli Manning isn't on those teams. The other Manning has played well this season and his team plays in a winnable division. The Giants can still squeeze their way into the playoff picture.
In local news, the Arizona Cardinals pulled out a win over the San Francisco 49ers, despite losing Kevin Kolb (again), this time to a concussion-esque injury. John Skelton was shaky in the beginning, but ended up throwing three touchdowns, and the continually improving Cardinal defense locked things up again, allowing only one TD. Arizona is hanging around the playoff picture, but it will take some effort to make it in.
Well, well, well...The Arizona Cardinals have decided that being subpar for the entire season just wasn't going to cut it.
After a dramatic 19-13 OT win over the Dallas Cowboys, the Cardinals are now winners of four of their last five games, sit at 5-7, have garnered the respect of the nation's Power Rankings and are making some late season noise as one of the ‘teams you don't want to play'. They're a long shot to make the playoffs, but they'll scare some people trying to.
Sportsline moved the Cards up four spots to no. 24, pointing out how much the defense has improved. ESPN moved the Cards up seven spots to no. 18, also pointing out how the defense has only allowed five touchdowns in their past five games. SBNation moved the Cards up eight spots to no. 20 but reminded us of how damaging their early season six-game skid now is.
The Cards are playing hard and winning games. At the very least, they can be proud of that.
As we enter Week 14 of the NFL Power Rankings, the New Orleans Saints are probably playing the best football of any team outside of the Green Bay Packers. Drew Brees, in a contract year, has had a fantastic season, augmented by new playmakers like Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, and Mark Ingram. Unfortunately for them, a lot of their NFC competition is also playing well. The 2011-2012 NFL playoffs are shaping up to be an interesting set of matchups. Anyway on to the Top Ten:
1. Green Bay Packers (12-0): There's not a whole lot of drama left for Green Bay. The New York Giants represented one the last reasonable threats to their undefeated regular season and, while there was some drama in that game, the Pack still prevailed. The season finale against the Lions might be tough, though.
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-2): The Niners clinched the yucky NFC West over the weekend with a thrashing of the cellar-dwelling St. Louis Rams. While it was not a stretch to see this team winning their division, how dominantly they've been winning has been mind-blowing.
3. New Orleans Saints (9-3): Drew Brees is well on his way to passing Dan Marino's regular season passing yards record and his stellar play is pushing the Saints towards the front of the NFC. He's been helped by the team's surprising and above average running game.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): The Steelers started off slowly against the Cincinnati Bengals, but then stepped all over their collective throat in the second quarter, laying out 28 points. They created some separation from Cincy, but the Baltimore Ravens continue to haunt Pittsburgh's AFC North dreams.
5. New England Patriots (9-3): The Patriots haven't looked all that hot this season - and they just squeaked out a win over the winless Indianapolis Colts - but they've got most of their top players healthy and on the field, so they should continue their playoff-worthy play.
6. Houston Texans (9-3): The Texans have now won two games without starting QB Matt Schaub. Now, star wide receiver Andre Johnson might miss more games. Can Houston score their first franchise playoff berth without their two best players? Sure seems possible these days.
7. Baltimore Ravens (9-3): The Ravens are probably the least-impressive 9-3 team this season. Their three losses have all been against lesser competition. They did take care of business this week against the Cleveland Browns, but their success just doesn't feel as tenable this season.
8. Denver Broncos (7-5): There is a giant mess of teams at 7-5; however, the Broncos crack the Top Ten ahead of the others because of the steamroller momentum they've got going. Their stellar D has kept things close to allow for Tim Tebow to pull off late-game wins, both with his feet and now his arm, apparently, as Sunday proved.
9. New York Jets (7-5): They got a much-needed win against the Washington Redskins to keep them in the playoff race. Their remaining competition isn't too stuff, but there are a lot of AFC teams hovering around them in the standings.
10. Tennessee Titans (7-5): The Titans have been a surprising team this season. Matt Hasselbeck has been a nice stop-gap QB for them and Chris Johnson is finally rounding into form. They beat the downward-spiraling Buffalo Bills to keep their head above water.
In local news, the Arizona Cardinals got yet another exciting, last minute-ish win against the Dallas Cowboys to end the ‘Boys' winning streak at four games. Kevin Kolb looked pretty good in the second half of his return from injury and the team's defense continues to play well. Don't let this get to your heads, Cardinals fans, but the team is actually in the NFC Wild Card race. At the very least, they've ensured that they'll be at least as good (or bad) as last year's team. After the first handful of games this season, it seemed like they'd actually be a lot worse.
Week 13 of the NFL Power Rankings are here and guess which team is still on top, the Green Bay Packers. Surprise! They are still undefeated and are getting better defensively as the season moves towards its final destination. The San Francisco 49ers finally lost a second game and quarterback injuries are going to be tough for the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans to overcome. The Oakland Raiders, however, are surging so that's fun.
1. Green Bay Packers (11-0): Aaron Rodgers and the Packers feasted on the generous Lions who threw picks and stomped their way into critical mistakes on Thanksgiving morning. This team is rounding into form on the defensive side of the ball to complement the assumed MVP and his merry band of pass catchers. Scary good.
2. San Francisco 49ers (9-2): The Niners certainly weren't embarrassed in their big test against the Ravens and it's hard to punish them for that loss, on that day, in that environment, against that brother. They've all but locked up the NFC West and should be a dangerous playoff team.
4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3): When it matters most, the Ravens play well. They've suffered some bad losses this season but they are healthy (for the most part) and like most teams, improving. The battle for the AFC North will be fun to watch and we can only pray for a rematch in the playoffs against the Steelers.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3): The Kansas City Chiefs remain a feisty team and they gave the Steelers all they could handle at home. Big Ben Roethlisberger shook off a broken thumb (Mr. Tough Guy) and fired 21-31 to get the win.
6. New England Patriots (8-3): All they do is win, win, win no matter what and Tom Brady can't be stopped, certainly not by the Philadelphia Eagles mess of a team. The Pats have a fairly easy schedule remaining and certainly aren't worried about the Jets or Bills catching them. The playoffs and Tom Brady were made for each other.
7. Houston Texans (8-3): The Texans won but they lost Matt Leinart for the season and now they have T.J. Yates running the show. Even with Arian Foster and a solid defense, it's hard to see this ending well. Actually, they only have the Bengals, Panthers, Colts and Titans to close out the season so they should be able to still reach the postseason where their first game will be a blast!
8. Oakland Raiders (7-4): Remember when we all made fun of the Raiders getting Carson Palmer? He's won three-straight after his first start and is doing just enough not to lose the game and that's been without Darren McFadden. They only have a one-game lead on the Tim Tebows, however, so this one could come down to the wire in the AFC West. And yes, the Raiders gave up too much for Carson Palmer.
9. Dallas Cowboys (7-4): They didn't blow the doors (fins?) off the Dolphins on Turkey Day but they got the job done and they should be able to hold off the Giants and win the NFC East because someone has to.
10. Detroit Lions (7-4): It's hard to have a lot of love for the Lions at this point. They have just two wins out of six since their 5-0 start and don't exactly look...disciplined. Fortunately for them, the Bears lost Jay Cutler so they still might sneak into the playoffs although they do have the Saints, Raiders and Packers left on their schedule.
We won't bother with the teams outside the Top Ten, because well ... they're not that good. In local news, the Arizona Cardinals (and John Skelton) pulled out a win against a horrible St. Louis Rams team no thanks to their quarterback (John Skelton). Beanie Wells ran roughshod over the Rams and Kevin Kolb will be back next week as the Cardinals start the end of their season with four of five at home.
So much for the backup quarterback honeymoon.
Realization set in this weekend during a 6-for-19 performance by John Skelton that maybe the Cardinals were in too much of a hurry to come up with an excuse to get rid of Kevin Kolb that they forgot why Skelton was the backup in the first place. Well, he reminded them of it on Sunday, giving the national Power Rankings plenty of reason to drop the Cards even farther down the rankings.
ESPN spoke on the Skelton performance (or lack thereof) while dropping the Cards four spots to no. 27.
Sportsline ended all talks of Skelton starting even after Kolb returned and dropped the Cards two spots to no. 30.
And SB Nation didn't even feel it was necessary to talk about the Cards, saying that if you read about the Seattle Seahawks, it's the same info. That should tell you something. Oh, and they dropped them three spots to no. 28.
Well, the NFL Power Rankings for Week 12 don't contain a lot of surprises, but one team in the Top Ten took a significant injury hit that's likely to affect their fortunes. The Chicago Bears are on a five-game winning streak, but Jay Cutler broke the thumb on his throwing hand in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers. Although the Green Bay Packers have a strangehold on the NFC North, it remains one of the most interesting and competitive divisions in the NFL.
1. Green Bay Packers (10-0): Aaron Rodgers and his band of cheesehead gentlemen had themselves a little scare against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Rodgers threw a touchdown pass with under three minutes to go to keep the undefeated Pack lossless.
2. San Francisco 49ers (9-1): The Niners pushed their win streak to eight with a thumping of the woeful Arizona Cardinals. San Fran was helped immensely by Arizona's five turnovers, because they did actually have a little bit of trouble scoring against the recently stout-ish Cards' D.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3): The Black and Yellow had a bye this week, so there was not a whole lot to detract from their status. However, Big Ben Roethlisberger fractured his right thumb against Cincinnati; it apparently won't limit his playing time, but it might limit his effectiveness going forward.
4. New Orleans Saints (7-3): Drew Brees is leading the NFL in passing yards, despite being in the midst of a potential contract dispute with the Saints. His team has some decent wins and has a fairly easy schedule remaining. The NFC South should be theirs for the gentle prying.
5. Baltimore Ravens (7-3): It's tough to buy into the Ravens completely, since Joe Flacco still can't seem to string together a couple of above average games. However, the team is getting wins and I guess that's all that matters.
6. Chicago Bears (7-3): As mentioned above, the team is on a five-game winning streak, and has won fairly convincingly throughout it. But with Cutler likely out for the season, things are going to get a lot tougher with Caleb Hanie driving the jalopy.
8. Houston Texans (7-3): The Matt Leinart era begins! ... after the Texans' bye week. Cardinals fans will soon know if Matty Matt was really a bust or if Coach Ken Whisenhunt just sucks with quarterbacks.
9. New England Patriots (7-3): With a nice Monday Night Football thumbing of the Tyler Palko-led Kansas CIty Chiefs, the Pats join the cluster eff of teams with a 7-3 record. But they're just not doing things with enough gusto to make it much higher in these rankings.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-4): Hey, it's the Cowboys! After playing some of their most embarrassing football in a while, the Cowboys have now won three in a row behind a trio of clean games from Tony Romo. When ex-Mr. Jessica Simpson avoids interceptions and fumbles, he can win games.
We won't bother with the teams outside the Top Ten, because well ... they're not that good. In local news, the Arizona Cardinals (and John Skelton) promptly squashed any potential QB controversy. Skelton grabbed himself a lean 10.5 QB rating against the Niners. While Whisenhunt said Skelton will play if Kolb can't, the local fans are feeling "diamond-in-the-rough-oh-wait-no-just-a-dirt-clod" deja vu from last year's Max Hall debacle.
Week 11 of the NFL Power Rankings brings an interesting bit of shakeup to the Top Ten, particularly in the NFC North. The Chicago Bears have made quite the surge as of late, beating their conference rival Detroit Lions handily on Sunday. The 37-13 beatdown pissed off the Lions so badly that QB Matthew Stafford found himself in the middle of a skirmish before the game was done. Oh, and the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers continued to win.
1. Green Bay Packers (9-0): Aaron Rodgers continued his brilliant season with a fantastic crushing of the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. The Packers this season are looking a lot like the New England Patriots circa 2007. Hopefully theirs will end differently, though.
2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1): Jim Harbaugh's Bay Area Brawlers continue to win unprettily, but effectively. Alex Smith didn't have a great game and 2011 super stud Frank Gore had only six carries for zero yards before leaving the game with a knee injury. But the Niners stopped a late Giants rally and secured their seventh straight win.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3): The Steelers won the way the Steelers are rumored to win: with hard running and hard defending. Rashard Mendenhall helped down the Cincinnati Bengals with two touchdown runs and the defense twice picked off rookie phenom Andy Dalton late in the game to create some divisional separation.
4. New Orleans Saints (7-3): Thanks to a baffling overtime desperation "go for it on fourth" play call from Atlanta head coach Mike Smith, the Saints escaped with a victory over the thoroughly disappointing Falcons. This season, the Saints are having perhaps the quietest success ever.
5. Houston Texans (7-3): The good news for the Texans: they're on a nice little four-game roll, even without star receiver Andre Johnson, thanks to the two-headed running beast that is Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Now the bad news: QB Matt Schaub is out for the season with a foot injury. Cue Checkdown Chief Matt Leinart to get the Texans to their first playoff berth. Yes, that will happen.
6. Chicago Bears (6-3): The Bears' drubbing of the Lions was impressive, and Jay Cutler continues to keep the killer turnovers to a minimum. He did not play well on Sunday, however. But thanks to two pick-sixes from Stafford, Chicago's D made up for the offensive woes.
7. New England Patriots (6-3): Though Tom Brady and company still don't look like the Super Bowl-caliber team they normally are, they pulled out a win against their arch enemies, the New York Jets. Brady looked fairly unstoppable, while the Jets seemed unable to sustain much of anything.
8. Detroit Lions (6-3): Stafford had perhaps the worst game of his career, throwing four interceptions to only one TD, while completing just slightly more than 50% of his passes. And while Detroit's passing game was treading water, their rushing game was non-existent. Not a good recipe for Ws, my friends.
9. New York Giants (6-3): The Giants admirably lost to a tough San Fran team that seems just about unbeatable this season. Eli Manning's penchant for turnovers didn't help matters much, but he had his team in position for a comeback win, in the red zone with under two minutes left. Alas, the magic was spent by that point.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3): Andy Dalton didn't lead his team to a commanding win against their toughest in-division competition, and he threw two interceptions in a critical fourth quarter. But, despite all that, his play has been encouraging, and that has to be welcome for a Bengals fan base that hasn't had much to cheer about for a while.
In local news, the Arizona Cardinals ended their 11-game road losing streak with an impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles, who are in a chaotic tailspin. Backup QB John Skelton is making a bid for a quarterback controversy, leading a couple of ballsy fourth quarter touchdown drives to secure the win. However, he'll likely be relegated to bench duty again once Kevin Kolb conquers his turf toe.
Week 10 of the NFL Power Rankings is upon us and it's more of the same, really. The only real surprise is Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals, but their presence among the elite is dubious, at best. It is a little bit shocking that the San Francisco 49ers are playing like the second-best team in the NFL, though. But again, dubious. Anyway, on to the Top Ten:
1. Green Bay Packers (8-0): Though Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers are struggling mightily as of late, their chances of handing the Packers their first loss were already slim. Aaron Rodgers has revealed himself to be the best quarterback in the league, and sour Norv Turner wasn't going to have much to say about that on Sunday afternoon.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-1): Though their competition has not been super impressive, the Niners are still taking care of business and have probably already secured a division crown, only halfway through the season. Frank Gore has basically run this team right into a playoff berth.
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-2): One of these days, Flacco's mediocrity will be held against this team. But just when it looks like that's going to happen, he leads his team on a game-winning drive against one of the top defenses in the league. You're such a tease, Joe Flacco.
4. New York Giants (6-2): Until this past weekend's come-from-behind win over the New England Patriots, the Giants' success seemed untenable. It still seems that way, actually -- especially considering that Tom Coughlin's G-men aren't known lately for their second-half-of-the-season heroics. But their win was impressive anyway.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3): They have now been swept by the rival Ravens, but things aren't looking too grim for the Steelers. They have a chance to make up some divisional ground against the Cincinnati Bengals, a team seemingly playing above their heads.
6. New Orleans Saints (6-3): Drew Brees decided he'd had enough of being crappy, so he handed in a winning performance to get the Saints past the underperforming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NOLA's going to have to get their run game going a bit more if they're going to stay in the race, though.
7. Detroit Lions (6-2): Stafford and Co had themselves a bye this week, but they snapped their two-game skid in impressive fashion and they continue to look like a team on the verge of putting together an awesome performance that is the culmination of all their young talent.
8. New York Jets (5-3): The Jets are on a three-game winning streak and just put together perhaps their best defensive effort in the Rex Ryan era with a decisive win over the Buffalo Bills. As a result, there's now a little bit of a cluster eff atop the AFC East.
9. New England Patriots (5-3): The Pats have lost two in a row -- their last in a fashion eerily reminiscent of their loss in the Super Bowl -- so doomsday and all that. But it's hard to ever sleep on a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady and coached by a mean troll man in a hideous short-sleeved hoodie.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2): Still not buying this team, but Andy Dalton and his Bengals can't be denied after winning five in a row. They're still going to have to prove it against an elite team. Their upcoming game against the Steelers ought to do the trick.
Outside of the elite, the Miami Dolphins broke out of the winless club, while the Indianapolis Colts remained firmly in the lead for Andrew Luck's services. That's going to be an awesome dilemma. In local news, the Arizona Cardinals got themselves an interesting win against another terrible NFC West team. Both Cards victories can be directly tied to the formable punt returning of one Patrick Peterson.
Don't look now, but the Arizona Cardinals are not a good football team. As teams continue to position themselves for the second half of the season, the Cardinals have firmly secured a place near the bottom, wallowing in the despair of a season full of missed opportunities and not reaching expectations, including surrendering a big lead in their recent loss to the Ravens.
Oh, and the Power Rankings across the country aren't being kind to them either.
ESPN and CBS Sportsline both dropped the Cardinals to no. 30 after they were no. 29 in both rankings last week. ESPN resorted to making a local TV blackout quip while Sportsline went to the old faithful of Kevin Kolb and whether a change is in store at quarterback next season. Ouch.
SBNation has been a bit more kind in its ranking of the Cardinals mainly due to the high expectations for the team heading into the season. The Cardinals dropped from no. 27 to no. 28 but not without SBNation pointing out their offensive and defensive league ranks, their six game losing streak and a shout out to their campaign for worst team in the league.
Other than that, everything is going great in the desert.
Week 9 of the NFL Power Rankings brings a little bit of a shakeup, but not a whole lot. Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh Steelers make a nice jump with a home win over the New England Patriots, while the New Orleans Saints blow a lot of their Week 8 goodwill with a loss to the lowly St. Louis Rams.
1. Green Bay Packers (7-0): The Pack were on a bye, but that's okay. There doesn't look like there's much that will stop the Cheesehead Juggernauts from a repeat visit to the Super Bowl. There should be many more stupid Aaron Rodgers-with-a-pro-wrestling-belt posings to go around.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): The Terrible Towel waves on, unrelenting, even in the face of the elite New England Patriots. Big Ben started out slowly, but he eventually finished with 365 passing yards and two touchdowns on 50 passing attempts. He didn't exactly outduel Brady (who also had two TDs, but without the interception), but his team snagged a convincing home win against a tough opponent.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-1): With everyone in the NFC West but the bottom-feeding Rams losing this week, and the Niners easily beating the Cleveland Browns, it's hard to see the division slipping from their grasp. Frank Gore's been very helpful, but much-maligned QB Alex Smith is having himself a fine season under new coach Jim Harbaugh.
4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2): Though it took a historic comeback for the Ravens, they showed some guts coming back from 21 down for the win. Again, though, it was in spite of Joe Flacco, who's season is just a giant slab of crap so far. But if he continues passing to Anquan Boldin (seven catches for 145 yards), that might help.
5. Buffalo Bills (5-2): Fresh from nabbing himself a fat contract extension, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led his team to a 23-0 drubbing of the Washington Redskins. The win puts them in (technically) sole possession of first place in the AFC East, after the Pats fell to the Steelers.
6. New England Patriots (5-2): Yeah, they lost to the Steelers and that hurts their current standings in their division. However, it would be very surprising if the Bills managed to permanently overtake Tom Brady and the pesky Pats.
7. Detroit Lions (6-2): The Lions made short work of The Savior, Tim Tebow, and his Denver Geldings. Matt Stafford assured a walloping with his three TD passes and 267 airborne yards. Tebow was almost as good as Stafford, except exactly the opposite.
8. New York Giants (5-2): They almost lost to the woeful Miami Dolphins, but then they didn't. Eli Manning actually had himself a decent game with no turnovers and it paid off. Secretly, though, Dolphins fans are thanking Eli for not completely sucking. Andrew Luck!!!
9. New Orleans Saints (5-3): A week after Brees had himself an awe-inspiring performance against the Colts, he basically pooped the bed against the then-winless Rams, with a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. The Rams get to join the teams with at least one win and the Saints get to sulk in their ineptitude.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2): Everyone's hesitant to give this team much credit, but their record's beginning to speak for itself. Newbie Andy Dalton has been mostly just okay; the Bengal's success has been mostly due to their outstanding defense (that, and the mostly terrible competition they've faced).
We're not going to bother with Power Rankings for the rest of the NFL. If your team isn't in the top ten, do you really care if they are 13th or 16th? But in local news, the Arizona Cardinals managed to continue to astound with their mediocrity when they blew a 21-point lead to lose their sixth straight. And Kevin Kolb got himself a bit of the turf toe. There's gotta be a few fans out there, though, that want to see what John Skelton can do.
Just a long line of disappointment in the Arizona Cardinals. The flaws that were supposed to be the only roadblocks to them getting back into the playoff hunt by competing for the NFC West crown are still hindering the team's success, especially at quarterback. Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the answer but as of now, he remains the biggest question.
And all the major sites agree.
CBS Sportsline put the Cardinals at no. 29, same spot as last week. They were the only ones to point out Kolb while still recognizing that he isn't the only issue with the team. The Cardinals being this low in the rankings is a surprise to them due to the expecatations coming into the season.
ESPN noted just how specific coach Ken Whisenhunt has become in trying to figure out what is wrong with Kolb. ESPN found enough wrong to drop the Cardinals from no. 26 to no. 29 in their rankings.
SBNation's disappointment is known. The Cardinals were a team thought to be in the thick of things once Kolb arrived. Now, it's nothing but frowns as they continue to tumble down the rankings no. 25 to no. 27.
The Cardinals are no longer benefitting from the benefit of the doubt.
We're in Week 8 of the NFL season and it's obvious that Aaron Rodgers has no interest in letting his Green Bay Packers fall by the wayside in the SB Nation Arizona Power Rankings. Insiders say that's Rodgers' sole motivation in pushing the team to a 7-0 record. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are quietly having a good year and the preseason darlings, the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, are stumbling just a little.
1. Green Bay Packers (7-0): Minnesota Vikings rookie Christian Ponder almost looked like he would upset the Pack, with Minny up 17-13 at halftime. But Rodgers kicked things into high gear, throwing a couple touchdown passes in the second half and Ponder eventually looked rookiesque by throwing a couple of interceptions.
2. New England Patriots (5-1): Tom Brady and Co. are on a bye this week, so they won't get punished for that. Though their defense is among the worst in the NFL, their offense is not, and it's getting the job done so far. One of the Pats' biggest surprises has been their effective running game behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
3. San Francisco 49ers (5-1): The Niners have been the biggest (positive) surprise this season. Their winning ways should continue when they return from the bye to face a mediocre Cleveland Browns team at Candlestick. After that, they'll likely have the NFC West under lockdown.
4. New Orleans Saints (5-2): Drew Brees just spat out a masterful performance against the woeful Indianapolis Colts, throwing more touchdowns (5) than incomplete passes (he was 31-for-35), with no turnovers. Biggest worry: their schedule so far has been soft. Biggest relief: outside of November, it stays pretty soft.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2): With their dispatching of the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers have now won three in a row, despite their widespread mosaic of injuries. If they can keep it up, Pittsburgh may be in prime position to take the division from the Ravens.
6. Detroit Lions (5-2): Detroit's Cinderellas have lost a couple games in a row, but the competition has been solid. Matthew Stafford's having himself a pretty swell (and healthy) year so far, though his streak of games with at least two touchdown passes just ended against Atlanta, and he just suffered a leg injury.
7. Baltimore Ravens (4-2): Though the Ravens have a decent record, and they've been getting some love as a chic pick, it's the same old story so far: awesome defense, terrible offense. They've been winning mostly in spite of Joe Flacco, who needs to finally step up. But he fell flat on his face on Monday Night Football.
8. New York Giants (4-2): The Giants have the dubious distinction of being the least convincing division leader. Both the Cowboys and Eagles are underperforming and, for the most part, New York has taken advantage of an easy schedule. That loss to the Seahawks is going to bite them hard when things get tougher in November and December.
9. New York Jets (4-3): After a rough start, the Jets have put together a couple of impressive wins, particularly their come-from-behind victory over the Chargers in Week 7. One troubling statistic, though: all of their wins have been at home, and all of their losses on the road. However, their remaining road games are mostly winnable.
10. Atlanta Falcons (4-3): Atlanta hasn't been very impressive early in the season. Wunderkind Matt Ryan has been solidly mediocre, with a 9:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a QB rating of 79.5. His 61 percent completion rate is decent, but it's been all short yardage passes. Michael Turner's been carrying the team with a 4.5-yard-per-carry average and six touchdowns. They remain far from Super Bowl contention.
We're not going to bother with Power Rankings for the rest of the NFL. If your team isn't in the top ten, do you really care if they are 13th or 16th? For the local fans, it's probably best not to be reminded of how poorly the Arizona Cardinals have played.
The Arizona Cardinals continue to flounder in mediocrity as the season progresses without them. Coming off a bye week gave the Cardinals time to mull over their deficiencies but what awaits them is a Steelers team that is playing angry.
So much for a return present.
ESPN ranked the 1-4 Cardinals at no. 28 last week but moved them up to no. 26, referencing the Cardinals return home after the bye but the tough game awaiting them against the Steelers.
Sportsline almost went as far to say the season is over in Arizona and it’s Kevin Kolb’s fault. Yikes. The Cards still sit at no. 28 in their rankings.
And SBNation conceded that having the Cards as a preseason favorite in the NFC West has proven to be an incorrect prediction, even this early in the season, as the Cards sit at no. 25 in their rankings.
The Green Bay Packers might as well just go ahead and name the Super Bowl trophy after one of their famous coaches. By the looks of things, they are running away from the field. We wrote that exact thing last week and nothing has changed this week.
1. Green Bay Packers (6-0): We expected some kind of let down against the lowly Rams that at least kept the game close. Didn't happen and the Pack rolled. Next up is a bigger test for Green Bay with the...oh...well...it's Minnesota. We are considering naming the top spot after Aaron Rodgers.
2. New England Patriots (5-1): The Patriots were about to drop a home game to the Cowboys but Tom Brady proved once again how important it is to have Tom Brady on your team. It's really not clear why the rest of the teams don't go out and get a Tom Brady to lead them to more wins.
3. Baltimore Ravens (4-1): The Texans were a good test for Baltimore and they passed and this time we mean they actually passed. Flacco went 20-33 for 305 yards. The Ravens putting up 29 points on Houston is impressive.
4. Detroit Lions (5-1): Postgame coaching shenanigans aside, the Lions had that game won. We are willing to give them a mulligan and see how they do next week against Atlanta.
5. San Diego Chargers (4-1): The Chargers had a bye this week and per our policy, we don't penalize teams for not playing.
6. New Orleans Saints (4-2): The Saints lost their coach to a knee injury and couldn't recover against an angry Tampa Bay team. They are still good and should be in the mix all season long.
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-1): You have to give the 49ers credit for pulling out a road win in Detroit. Just don't shake their hands when you do it. They host the Browns and then travel to Washington in the next few weeks.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2): The Steelers held the Jaguars to 13 points which is an impressive number until you consider that it was against the Jaguars. Next week they travel to Arizona for what will be a knock down, drag out, old fashion, ass whooping.
We're not going to bother with power rankings for the rest of the NFL. If your team isn't in the top
ten nine, do you really care if they are 13th or 16th?
As Adrian Peterson rumbled for his coming out performance of the season, it prompted the world of Power Rankings to continue to demote the Arizona Cardinals, further solidifying their place at the bottom of the rankings.
New starting quarterback Kevin Kolb hasn't proven to be the answer at quarterback yet as he threw for only 232 yards and two interceptions in the loss.
CBS Sportsline dropped the Cardinals from no. 26 to no. 28 as it didn't have as much room to go as ESPN did. But both sites mentioned Kolb as a primary concern for the team moving forward.
SBNation was a little less harsh with a drop from no. 24 to no. 25, but they too expressed concern over Kolb.
So what have we learned? Seems like a consensus that the Cardinals are headed in the wrong direction.
The Green Bay Packers might as well just go ahead and name the Super Bowl trophy after one of their famous coaches. By the looks of things, they are running away from the field and that's reflected in our NFL Week 6 power rankings.
1. Green Bay Packers (5-0): If you were looking for a team to slow down the Cheese Head Army, the Atlanta Falcons were not it. Going out on a limb here, but we highly doubt the winless St. Louis Rams will provide much of test next week either. Maybe the Chargers or Lions in November? Maybe.
2. New England Patriots (4-1): The Patriots jumped ahead a few spots because they beat the New York Jets and we will always reward teams who beat Rex Ryan. Next up, Dallas. Is the world ready for Tony Romo vs. Tom Brady?
3. New Orleans Saints (4-1): The stole one from Cam Newton and the pesky Carolina Panthers. Normally, we would penalize the Saints for this but we've been impressed with the Panthers for awhile so here they sit.
6. San Diego Chargers (4-1): The Chargers aren't looking pretty but they keep coming away with wins which is more than we can say for a lot of teams. On the plus side, they helped Tim Tebow get off to a good start which should be worth some laughs down the road.
7. Buffalo Bills (4-1): So Buffalo, time to test your mettle in New York. Oh, that's right the G-Men got punked at home by Seattle. Have fun, Bills fans!
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2): The Steelers are back, baby! Woohooo! We beat Matt Haseelbeck!!! Yippie!!! And go ahead and pencil wins against Jacksonville and Arizona before it gets serious with a big revenge game against the Ravens on November 6. #Drama
9. San Francisco 49ers (4-1): Are the 49ers for real? Real enough...for now.
10. Washington Redskins (3-1): Another bye week team who benefited from not having the opportunity to lose. In other words, the Skins are the best of many bad options for the tenth spot.
We're not going to bother with power rankings for the rest of the NFL. If your team isn't in the top ten, do you really care if they are 13th or 16th? For those hometown fans that want to know, we'll put the Cardinals at 27th (or 28th...or 26th). There's a lot of poop out there in the NFL. We're hoping at some point teams will start to improve but so far, few have.
One would have hoped that another week of NFL action would have clarified things a bit. Unfortunately, we are still in lockout hangover and teams continue to be really bad unless they are called the Green Bay Packers. And the Green Bay Packers still rank 32nd in passing yards allowed (and 2nd in rushing yards allowed). That makes our NFL Week 5 power rankings really easy start. From there we quickly get buried in a sea of mediocrity.
Here's our 2011 NFL Week 5 Power Rankings. If you don't like them, feel free to start your own power ranking blog and we promise link to it*.
1. Green Bay Packers (4-0): So, it turns out the Green Bay Packers are really, really, (really), very good at football. Unfortunately for them, no one else in the NFL is even in their league. Looking at the schedule (nah, we're not going to actually both to look) they very well could go undefeated this season. #JinxAlert
2. New Orleans Saints (3-1): The Saints only loss came against the BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL EVER! They are pretty good too. Would they beat the Patriots in a game? Too bad we can't flex the schedule and find out. Who dat, Hoodie!
3. New England Patriots (3-1): The Pats still lost to the Bills who lost to the Bengals which means they are better than the Ravens who beat the Steelers (who lost to the Texans), but lost to the Titans who beat the...well no one except the Ravens. Power ranking logic FTW.
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): We said last week we expected the Ravens to climb in our power rankings. They climbed in our power rankings. See how smart we are?
5. Detroit Lions (4-0): Boy the Lions were impressive coming back and beating the Cowboys. The entire non-American football fans thank you. (Get it? America's team. All America roots for Dallas, ergo only non-Americans don't root for Dallas...(if you have to explain the joke...)) And what's up with falling behind early anyway?
7. Buffalo Bills (3-1): Well, the party had to end at some point, why not in Cincinnati. Everyone knows the Bengals have the party market cornered in the Queen City. (Did you know how many cities are named the Queen City? 26, including...wait for it...Buffalo, NY!)
8. Houston Texans (3-1): I've heard the Texans are for real now because they beat the Steelers. Or maybe the Steelers just aren't for real. How do you feel, are they for real?
Instead of grouping our rankings into arbitrary, neat numbers like the Top 10, we are setting the line between the top teams and the mediocre teams right here at the Top 8.
9. New York Giants (3-1): The Giants were a blown calls away from getting beat by the Cardinals and yet here they are above the Steelers and Redskins who also were lucky to beat the Cardinals and beat the Giants but lost to the Cowboys who lost to the Bills so...oh, whatever.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2): Are the Steelers really a .500 football team? Obviously, we don't think they are. I mean they are because they are 2-2, but we think they won't be. We'll see what they do next week against Tennessee (who beat the Ravens, who beat the Steelers).
11. Washington Redskins (3-1): An escape with your life, one-point win over Arizona and an unimpressive 17-10 win over the Rams. Show me something, Skins.
13. New York Jets (2-2): The Jets get a lot of credit for their history and for playing in New York. We don't know why it happens but it does. That's our excuse for putting them above a couple of teams that are probably better. Plus, feet!
14. San Francisco 49ers (3-1): It is pretty hard to believe the 49ers are a 3-1 team. It just goes to show you how fickle (and bad) the NFL season is this year.
15. Atlanta Falcons (2-2): Last week we said we expected the Ravens to move up, and they did. Same applies to the Falcons. Then again, they did almost get beat by Tavaris Jackson. Who knows.
18. Chicago Bears (2-2): Da Bears. It sucks to say, but they are just another team in a sea of teams. The world is a better place when they are special.
19. Oakland Raiders (2-2): The Raiders are special but not in anything good or worth mentioning.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3): Turns out, you can't just go out and put all the best players on your team and expect to win your conference and make it to the championship game. Right, Miami Heat?
21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2): These guys might actually not suck.
And here's the dividing line between mediocrity and suckage.
22. Cleveland Browns (2-2): These guys might actually suck.
23. Arizona Cardinals (1-3): We refuse to believe the Cardinals are really this bad. Then again, we're delusional...still. (Three losses by a total of eight points.)
24. Carolina Panthers (1-3): Cam Newton, baby! Should be interesting to see what he can do next week against the Saints.
25. Seattle Seahawks (1-3): Would you believe that Tavaris Jackson almost beat the Falcons? True enough story to put them this high in the rankings.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3): Can't they just move to LA already?
28. Miami Dolphins (0-4): Such tough times for such a proud organization. Dan Marino is rolling over in his grave.
29. Indianapolis Colts (0-4): Peyton, o Petyon, where forth art thou o Peyton.
30. St. Louis Rams (0-4): What happened to this team?
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3): The same thing that happened to this team.
32. Minnesota Vikings (0-4): The answer for this team is clear, McNabb needs to retire and hand the ball to the rookie. Ponder that.
P.S. If you don't like these power rankings, check back next week for new ones. And try not to take it too seriously, they are just power rankings after all, not actual standings.
There's only one thing the entire NFL power ranking world can agree on for Week 4, the Green Bay Packers are the best team in football. From there, it's a mess and understandably so. The New England Patriots dropped a game to the Buffalo Bills which caused some (us and CBS) while others had them as low as seventh. SB Nation.com has the Ravens second (huh?) while ESPN is on the Saints bandwagon.
As we see it, three weeks into the NFL season there's a lot more questions than answers. Teams are working to plug holes while opponents now have enough film to find and expose even more. It's a never ending finger in the dike kind of cycle and the water is winning.
The good news is that two out of three power rankings agree that the Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in the National Football League and the one that doesn't is written by a guy from Kansas City (we forgive him).
The Cardinals power ranking comment of the week goes to SB Nation's Joel Thorman who said:
You can't lose to the Seahawks. You just can't.
We couldn't agree more.
The NFL comes out of Week 3 looking an awful lot like a league with no really good teams. The Green Bay Packers pull away at the top and then there are a couple of decent but flawed teams like the Saints and Patriots. Then it falls off dramatically. Hopefully, the lockout hangover will be over in a couple of weeks and one or nine teams will start to get their act together and play good football.
Until that happens, we would rank this season to date as a three on a scale of three to six. Here's how we are ranking the individual components of the suck in our Week 4 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Green Bay Packers: The Pack regained their spot on top of the pack with a convincing road win over 'da Bears. It is just the Bears, but it's nice to see the Green Bay defense join the 2011-12 NFL season.
3. Buffalo Bills: You might thinking that a third spot is too high for the Bills and you might be right. We don't care what you think so here they are, 3-0 and enjoying the limelight as long as they can get it.
4. New England Patriots: The Pats always lose a few games they shouldn't but we picked this one on the backs of the porous Patriot defense. The Tea Party can not be happy with this kind of permissiveness from the founding football fathers.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: We would like to drop the Steelers further for struggling to put away the Colts but it's not like any of the teams lower down have been all that much more impressive. Call this a back door top five ranking...or don't.
6. San Diego Chargers: Like Pittsburgh before them, the Chargers had a hard time putting away a bad team. We'll give them a few more weeks and see how they bounce back from that poor win.
7. Detroit Lions: You might ask why this undefeated team is below several teams with a loss. The answer is they gave up 21 points to the Vikings and needed overtime to beat a really bad Minnesota team. Fair? Probably not.
8. Baltimore Ravens: Props to the Ravens for beating the crap out of the Rams but we will not so easily forget your Week 2 embarrassment in Tennessee. At some point we expect Baltimore to move up a few spots but they are going to have to earn it.
9. Houston Texans: They beat two bad teams and lost to a good team and yet they are in the top ten. That says more about how mediocre the NFL is so far than anything else.
This next group of teams is really pretty average. At some point, a few of these teams are going to have to start looking playoff worthy otherwise this is going to be a pretty sucky season.
11. New York Giants: Where there's a Manning, there's a way.
12. Dallas Cowboys: Punctured lung? That's no excuse!!! Actually, it is but oh well.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Another disappointing team with two so-so wins.
16. Chicago Bears: We really have no idea what the Bears do well other than give up sacks. Hurrah for mediocrity!
17. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have lost to the Bears and Bucs and without question are one of the more disappointing early season teams. Wake up, Dirty Bird!
18. Oakland Raiders: Black hole is right.
19. San Francisco 49ers: The default leaders of the NFC West. Congratulations on beating the Seahawks and Bengals.
20. Tennessee Titans: How does a two-win team fall this low in our rankings you might ask. Because Chris Johnson has too much cash in his pockets to run effectively. Send your complaints to email@example.com.
From this point on it gets really, really ugly. We forgive you if you've already stopped reading...that's what we would do by now.
21. Arizona Cardinals: We refuse to believe the Cardinals are really this bad. Then again, we're delusional.
22. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton got his first NFL win. It won't be his last. (You get exactly as much analysis as you pay for.)
23. Cincinnati Bengals: It sure would have helped the NFC West look even worse if they could have beaten the 49ers. Thanks for nothing.
24. Seattle Seahawks: Don't let one crappy win over Arizona fool you, this team is still bad.
25. Denver Broncos: Tebow! Tebow!!...whatever
26. St. Louis Rams: Oh how the presumed mighty have fallen from the bottom to the bottom.
If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Paging David Garrard, you are missed.
28. Cleveland Browns: Ruff, ruff
29. Miami Dolphins: Paging Don Shula, you are old.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Did anyone think Donovan McNabb was this bad? Yes, Mike Shanahan did.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Get well soon, Peyton. In the mean time we'll be tanking for your replacement.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ugh.
P.S. If you don't like these power rankings, check back next week for new ones. And try not to take it too seriously, they are just power rankings after all, not actual standings.
Read more: NFL Power Rankings at SB Nation, where the Cardinals drop
We shared our NFL Week 3 power rankings and now it's time to look what the other experts from around the country have to say. We will look at the SB Nation, ESPN and CBS power rankings after two weeks of NFL action in the 2011-12 season.
Two games isn't a ton of evidence to build from but we do start to see a clear picture emerge at the very top and very bottom of the rankings. All three of the national power rankings we looked at agree that the top three NFL teams going into Week 3 are the Green Bay Packers (1), New England Patriots (2) and New York Jets (3). We don't agree.
We put the Patriots over the Packers based on strength of schedule. The Pats dismantled a good Chargers team while the Packers had a bit more trouble with the Saints. Both teams beat their lesser opponents so far but both also gave up big yards proving that defense is indeed behind offense early in this season.
We put the Jets beneath the Saints and Eagles because they are the Jets. They are only 2-0 because of a bunch of fluke plays and mistakes by the Cowboys and their other win came against a very bad Jacksonville team. We just don't see them as any better than last year's Jets and they could be worse.
The national power rankings all gave the Arizona Cardinals a hit for losing to the Redskins but there's not a huge drop. They seem to all respect the quality of the Redskins team and how close the game was. SB Nation puts the Cardinals at 21 (LW, 17) while ESPN has them at 19 (LW, 16) and CBS at 17 (LW, 16).
ESPN's comment about the Cardinals is typical:
The Cardinals have allowed 932 yards in two games, the most since at least 1940. (Sando)
It's worth noting that the Cardinals defense has allowed fewer yards than the top ranked Patriots and Packers and fewer points as well. In face, the Arizona defense ranks 13th in points allowed and, coincidentally, 13th in points scored.
The Cardinals are the highest ranked team in the NFC West division, a couple places ahead of the 1-1 San Francisco 49ers and well ahead of the 0-2 St. Louis Rams everyone picked to win the division. The Seattle Seahawks are at or near the bottom of this week's power rankings. They are also the Cardinals next opponent.
The second week of NFL action is in the books and we bring you our power rankings for Week 3. This week we saw the Baltimore Ravens flew too close to the sun and got burned. The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton might just be legit but not legit enough to beat the Green Bay Packers. And in New England we were reminded of the Patriot power of the hoodie. Fear the hoodie.
So here we go, SB Nation Arizona's Week 3 NFL power rankings:
1. New England Patriots: When you drop 35 points on one of the better teams in the league, we don't care if you are at home, you earned a top spot. Enjoy and act like you've been here before.
2. Green Bay Packers: The Packers got down early to the Panthers but they pulled out their Super Bowl rings and showed a young and developing team how to get it done. But at least Cam Newton and friends made it close (and covered the spread).
7. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens went from annihilating their hated rivals to getting punked by Tennessee. They're still good but not top five good.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lost to the Ravens. Destroyed the Seahawks. We won't be able to get our hands around this avian erratic team until we see them next week against....wait, the Colts? Nope, that's not going to tell us anything either. We'll rank them high on history for now until we see more evidence one way or another.
10. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons lost to the Bears but beat the Eagles. We think they will be a playoff team, don't you?
11. Detroit Lions: Yes folks, the Lions might be for real this time.
12. Washington Redskins: The Redskins might not be for real, but they much more real than they were last year.
13. Houston Texans: Wins over the Colts and Dolphins won't earn you much love but 2-0 is still undefeated.
14. Buffalo Bills: Are you starting to believe? We are.
15. Dallas Cowboys: Bonus points for playing with broken ribs and a punctured lung. That's worth at least two extra spots on the power rankings. Enjoy it!
16. New York Giants: Beat the Rams on Monday Night Football and showing some spunk. Good on you.
18. Tennessee Titans: We don't really think the Titans are this good but they did beat the Ravens and no other team can say that (yet).
19. Arizona Cardinals: The Cards could have been about five spots higher had they been able to generate (or prevent) two more points.
20. San Francisco 49ers: We are now at the point where we go from mediocre teams to bad teams. The 49ers are on that cusp.
21. St. Louis Rams: You were supposed to win the NFC West. Instead you are 0-2. Sorry, try again next
22. Carolina Panthers: This team is going places, they just haven't figured out how to get there yet. Expect to see them climb as the season moves on.
The rest of these teams are technically still in the NFL so technically we have to rank them. We don't, however, have to say anything about them, so we won't. If you are fan of one of these teams you have our sympathies.
24. Miami Dolphins
25. Oakland Raiders
27. Seattle Seahawks
28. Cleveland Browns
30. Denver Broncos
NFL power rankings were released by other mainstream online media outlets other than SB Nation, and the themes were all the same. Cardinals must improve their defense. Cam Newton is amazing. Rinse, repeat.
ESPN: Cardinals move from 21st to 16th, although the main comment they make concerns Cam Newton, so it's pretty much like the Cardinals don't exist and it's all Cam all the time!
CBS Sports: Pete Prisco moves the Cardinals up to 16th from 19th, with plenty of laurels for Kevin Kolb. However, concerns still linger for the team's pass defense, which was severely circumspect in trying to check Newton.
FOX Sports: Brian Billick puts Arizona at 17th (up two spots). Again, the Cardinals defense is the serious concern here. No matter how good a pro Cam Newton might turn out to be, there's just no way the Arizona pass defense can get scorched by that in his rookie debut. A lot of improvements must be made.
Must be perturbing for Cardinals fans to see their team ranked so low at 1-0. But that's the price teams play for getting stuck in the NFC West.
For more on the Cardinals, go to Revenge of the Birds.
The first full week of the 2011 NFL season is in the books. There were some surprising results (what the heck happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers!) and some expected winners. It's far too early to get a real good sense of what teams are actually going to do this season but we have a lot more information than we did one week ago. We certainly have enough for Week 2 NFL Power Rankings.
The theme from Week 1 games was poor defense and questionable special teams play. That's probably a result of the shortened offseason and will likely (hopefully) improve with time. Here's how SB Nation's NFL expert Joel Thorman sees things across the league.
1. Green Bay Packers: At the top of the heap, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers took care of business in the first game of the season. Aaron Rodgers put up a ton of yards and points but the New Orleans Saints weren't exactly stuck in the mud either.
2. Baltimore Ravens: I guess when you totally dismantle your rival and one of the league's (allegedly) best defenses you earn some respect. We'll see if these birds don't come back to earth. I think they will.
3. New England Patriots: There was no way Tom Brady was going to put up with Cam Newton having more passing yards in a single game. He dropped 517 of them on the Miami Dolphins, another defense that was supposed to be good this year. Sense a theme?
(Go to Joel's rankings to see the rest. We're not ranking then entire league here.)
17. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals jumped up from the 21st spot with their win and undefeated record. There was plenty of reason to be hopeful coming out of Sunday's win but there's also plenty of concern. The defense got torched by a rookie QB in his first start, but then again defense around the league was iffy. A theme, if you will.
Elsewhere in the NFL West, the St. Louis Rams hung on to the 15th spot despite losing to the Eagles (4) and taking several big injury hits. The San Francisco 49ers are 19th with their crazy win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Water Chickens take up the rear in the division with a 23 rankings.
Cardinals Week 2 opponent, the Washington Redskins are ranked 22 and are coming off their win over the New York Giants (18). It's likely going to take at least a 4-1 record for the Cardinals to break into the top 15. But that's OK, flying under the radar has worked well for the baseball team in Arizona.
What do you think?
With the regular season set to begin this week for the NFL, weekly power rankings must also begin. Obviously it will be hard to really get a picture of how team stack up against one another when no meaningful games have been played. However, based on personnel moves and the performances in the preseason we can at least get an idea. ESPN released their latest power rankings and the Arizona Cardinals are not in the top 20, but are close.
Arizona is ranked 21st overall and second in the NFC West. The St. Louis Rams are the division team ahead of them at number 17. If you think of it, it is a little sad to realize that the entire division is considered to be in the bottom half if the entire league.
It isn't as though the teams deserve to be that low, though.
The rankings included a small blurb describing why they are ranked where they are. For the Cardinals, it simply says, "Kevin Kolb's arrival gives the Cardinals renewed hope following a 5-11 season." That basically sums it up.
The best and funniest line is regarding the Seattle Seahawks:
Decision to go with QB Tarvaris Jackson as starter has confounded NFL.
Luckily for the Cardinals they have the opportunity to show they are better than the worst teams. Their Week 1 opponent, the Carolina Panthers, are ranked 31st out of 32 teams.
The down side is that, even with a victory, due to the fact that it would be a victory over the Panthers, Arizona is unlikely to move up much in a week.
In a week, we will get to see if there is any real movement at all.
The first preseason power rankings are out and the NFC West is once against the laughing stock of the league and understandably so.