|WEEI NFL Power Rankings – Week 4||09.29.09 at 7:27 am ET|
Entering Week 4, the Giants remain the kings of WEEI’s Power Rankings. The Giants steamrolled Tampa Bay and did not allow a single point.
The Baltimore Ravens jump ahead one spot and sit at No. 2 as Ray Lewis and the Ravens improved to 3-0 this season. The Colts, Saints and Jets fill out the top 5 as they all turned in impressive wins.
The biggest jump in the rankings probably comes as no surprise. The Cincinnatti Bengals rose up to No. 10 as they made Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers “Kiss the Baby.” The 1-2 Steelers still remain in the top 10 at No. 9.
Tom Brady and the Patriots hurdled four spots and sit at No. 6 after defeating the Atlanta Falcons without many key players, including Jerod Mayo, Wes Welker and Vince Wilfork.
Expect a lot of movement after next week’s games as there are many key matchups to watch. The Jets head to New Orleans, the Ravens play the Patriots, the Vikings take on the Packers, and the Falcons play the 49ers.
1. (Last week, 1) The one thing lacking from the Giants until Week 3 was their run game. That run game arrived and made a statement at Tampa Bay as Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs totaled 226 yards. As always the Giants D played great. They pitched a shutout and remain the top team in the NFL.
2. (3) Joe Flacco is maturing into a pretty solid quarterback. Flacco turned in another great game on Sunday with 342 passing yards and a touchdown. The Ravens defense continues to force turnovers. We’ll learn a lot about this team when they travel to New England on Sunday.
3. (5) The Colts have proven a lot over the past two weeks. They’ve played in two primetime games on the road and have come out victorious in both. Not to mention they went from Miami to Arizona and prepared on a short week. Peyton Manning and the Colts are a tough team to beat.
4. (6) The 3-0 Saints show no signs of slowing down. On Sunday the Saints did two things that showed they were for real. No. 1, they established a run game. No. 2, the Saints D proved it isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. Terrell Owens wasn’t able to record one reception. Looking forward to seeing what the Saints are made of over the next two weeks. The 3-0 Saints will face both teams from the “City that Never Sleeps” at home over the next two weeks.
5. (9) The Jets stepped up in the fourth quarter and that is a sign of a good football team. The first-place team in the AFC East forced an interception and did not allow a point in the final 15 minutes. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez continued to roll and put his team in a position to win.
6. (10) The Patriots came out with an excellent game plan to beat a very solid team. However, there are many concerns around this football team. Injuries are one problem (Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Laurence Maroney, Randy Moss and Wes Welker). The next major problem is the red-zone offense. The Patriots have scored one touchdown in their last eight tries in the red zone. One stat that has been overlooked following the win against the Falcons is the fact the Patriots only committed two penalties for a total of 10 yards after being penalized 11 times for 89 yards against the Jets. The Patriots will continue to get better as the season rolls on.
7. (7) After Brett Favre pulled off yet another miracle comeback, it’s tough not to like this Vikings team. Unbelievable pass by Favre and an even better catch by Greg Lewis. The Vikings beat a good 49ers team and proved they don’t need Adrian Peterson to rush for over 100 yards every time to win a game.
8. (8) The Chargers are running into similar red zone problems as the Patriots. Phillip Rivers has turned into one of the best quarterbacks in the league and will fix those offensive struggles in the red zone.
9. (2) The defending champs are struggling a bit at 1-2. They had plenty of chances to put the Bengals away but couldn’t get the job done. Kicker Jeff Reed missed another field goal this week and this could be turning into a major problem. The Steelers are too talented of a team to continue to make the mistakes they have over the past couple weeks. Big test for them Sunday against San Diego.
10. (22) I was pretty lonely on the Bengals bandwagon a couple weeks ago. Now, after Week 3, the Bengals chant of, “Who dey, who dey? Who dey think gonna beat them Bengals?” can be heard for miles. Although I believe overall the Steelers are a better team, the Bengals have made two huge statements over the past two weeks by beating Green Bay at Lambeau and now the defending Super Bowl champs. By far, the NFL’s best story this season after three weeks.
11. (11) Two straight weeks of solid football for Jay Cutler and the Bears. Many have forgotten about the QB’s miserable performance against the Packers in Week 1. Cutler showed what he can do on the road on the final drive of the game as the Bears came back and took the lead.
12. (4) The Falcons were just outcoached and outplayed against New England on Sunday. They weren’t able to establish a run game, their defensive line was pushed around, and Matt Ryan was only able to get Tony Gonzalez the ball once. The Falcons will look to rebound next week at San Francisco. Their offense is filled with too many playmakers to suffer another week like they did in New England.
13. (15) Aaron Rodgers was able to make a lot of big plays against St. Louis as he found his receivers for some huge gains. The Packers’ true ability and strength continues to be a mystery throughout this early season. They won a sloppy game against Chicago in Week 1 but lost to the Bengals at home in Week 2. The win against the Rams didn’t really show us anything. I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat next week when the Packers and Brett Favre’s Vikings go at it.
14. (16) The loss of Frank Gore will hurt the 49ers and will force quarterback Shaun Hill to throw the ball more. From what we’ve seen of the young QB so far he is ready for the challenge. He’s thrown just one interception all year. The 49ers suffered a heartbreaking loss to Minnesota and this team’s talent and character will be tested following that loss and without their star halfback.
15. (14) The Eagles are 2-1 heading into a much-needed bye week. They will rest up, get healthy and be a tough team to beat when McNabb and Westbrook are back.
16. (13) Tony Romo did not turn the ball over on Monday night and the Cowboys running game rose to the occasion with the absence of Marion Barber. Dallas still needs to improve on defense.
17. (23) The Broncos’ record does not reflect the type of team they really are. They have been blessed with a pretty easy schedule to start the season. It doesn’t get much worse than the Browns and Raiders. What’s next for the Broncos, you ask? Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, Ravens, Steelers. I’d be surprised if the Broncos came away with one win.
18. (12) Being held scoreless into the fourth quarter with an interception and a sack on two drives down the stretch makes it tough to win a game. Plus Kerry Collins didn’t receive much help from his receivers — there were a lot of dropped balls. The Titans have run into some pretty solid teams and must be looking forward to the Jaguars this Sunday.
19. (17) The Cardinals’ defense had no answers for Peyton Manning and the Colts offense. Plus the Cards turned the ball over twice when they were driving in Indianapolis territory. The Cardinals have been under-performing and disappointing so far this season.
20. (20) Jim Mora Jr. made it quite clear after the loss to Chicago on Sunday that the Seahawks will be looking for a kicker to replace Olindo Mare. If Mare didn’t miss two key field goals they could be a lot higher in the rankings.
21. (18) Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Just counting down the days until Terrell Owens goes ballistic. Trent Edwards needs to find a way to get T.O. and Lee Evans the ball.
22. (27) The Jaguars need more than just Maurice Jones-Drew to be successful in this league.
23. (21) The Texans defense that many said would be highly improved this year ranks at 29th in total defense and 28th in points allowed in the NFL.
24. (19) Unfortunately for Chad Pennington, he suffered another major injury on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. Chad Henne is no Matt Cassell. I don’t have much confidence in Henne, especially against teams like the Patriots and the Jets. The Dolphins season is “done like dinner” and they’ve only played three games.
25. (24) The Panthers continue to run into the same problems. Jake Delhomme threw an interception to Terrence Newman, who ran the ball into the end zone to seal the game for the Cowboys. Although the pick probably wasn’t Delhomme’s fault this time, the Panthers always seem to find a way to turn the ball over in the fourth quarter.
26. (30) The Lions jump higher once again after finally getting “King Kong off our back,” in the words of Lions owner William Clay Ford.
27. (25) The Redskins can’t seem to match results with the talent they have on their team. It doesn’t get much worse than a loss to a team that hasn’t won a game since December 2007 following a near loss against the worst team in the NFL, the Rams. Time to hit the panic button.
28. (26) You’ve got to feel bad for a guy like Richard Seymour who goes from playing with Tom Brady to JaMarcus Russell. When Russell figures out he’s not supposed to throw the ball to the other team maybe the Raiders will be able to pull off a W.
29. (28) The Bucs allow an average of over 30 points a game. Maybe if they had the offense of the Saints, Falcons or Patriots they would be able to win a game.
30. (31) The Chiefs were 0-11 on third down and committed 10 penalties in their loss to the Eagles. Scott Pioli has his work cut out for him.
31. (29) Things can’t get much worse for Eric Mangini and the Browns. The Browns have the worst offense in the NFL but that’s not even the worst part. When the players file a grievance against their own coach, a team has hit rock bottom.
32. (32) The Rams rank 28th in total offense and 26th in total defense. Marc Bulger suffered a bruised rotator cuff. How bad can it get for St. Louis?
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