|WEEI NFL Power Rankings — Week 9||11.03.09 at 4:15 am ET|
Let the 16-0 talk begin.
The Saints squeezed out their seventh victory of the year and remain at No.1 in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Colts are knocking on the door, waiting patiently for just one mistake from the Saints so that they can take over the top spot. New Orleans and Indy sit comfortably in the top two spots for the fifth week in a row.
Three new teams enter the Terrific 10. The Eagles, Cowboys and Ravens, all coming off big victories, enter elite status, for this week at least. The biggest loser in the rankings was the Cardinals. One week after a huge win on the road against the Giants, the Cardinals lost at home to the Panthers. The defending NFC champs’ inconsistency cost them 12 spots this week and they fall all the way from No. 8 to 20.
1. (Last week, 1) 7-0-0 Coming up with big turnovers late in the game in the red zone is one of the reasons why the Saints continue to be undefeated. Drew Brees and his offense look like a well-oiled machine.
2. (2) 7-0-0 The Colts seem to be able to find a way to win whether it looks good or not. Despite Peyton Manning having zero TD passes against the 49ers, the Colts still managed to win the game. Great teams will struggle at times but always find a way to win.
3. (5) 7-1-0 It hasn’t just been Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson this year. Jared Allen is the front-runner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year and leads the league in sacks with 10.5, while wide receiver Percy Harvin is the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. The Vikings are playing great football on offense, defense and special teams and that is why they continue to roll.
4. (3) 6-1-0 Josh McDaniels said after the game the Broncos will learn from the loss and move forward. It’s not tough to believe him. This game was virtually a must-win for the Ravens, creating a significant challenge for Denver. Let’s see how the Broncos respond Monday night against Pittsburgh.
5. (4) 5-2-0 Will the time off give the Steelers enough time to get healthy on defense? They will need a great pass rush to beat Kyle Orton. Someone needs to step up in place of Aaron Smith.
6. (6) 5-2-0 The next four weeks will tell us what type of team the Patriots really are. The bye week came at a perfect time for the Pats as they needed some time to get healthy. Ty Warren said on the Dale & Holley show yesterday that he is “OK” and it looks like he should be ready to play. That is great news because the Pats don’t have much depth on the defensive line and they will need Warren against the Dolphins.
7. (7) 5-2-0 It’s time for the Bengals to show the world what they are made of. They have Baltimore and Pittsburgh coming up in the next two weeks. It’s great to see a healthy Carson Palmer throw to Chad Ochocinco again.
8. (15) 5-2-0 No Brian Westbrook, no problem for the Eagles. It’s hard to believe this team lost to the Raiders a few weeks ago after this dominating performance against the Giants. DeSean Jackson has turned into an elite playmaker in the NFL. The main question mark for the Eagles is: can they be consistent?
9. (11) 5-2-0 Once again we have another exciting race in the NFC East. The Cowboys offense has been dominating during the current three-game winning streak. Tony Romo is spreading the ball nicely to his talented receivers.
10. (13) 4-3-0 The Ravens entered Sunday’s game needing a win against an undefeated Broncos team and got the job done. Baltimore stepped up on pass defense and became the first team able to stop Kyle Orton.
11. (12) 4-3-0 First time in Matt Ryan’s career he has suffered back-to-back losses. Ryan and the Falcons are close to becoming an elite team. The young QB just needs to eliminate his mistakes in the red zone and the Falcons will be fine.
12. (9) 5-3-0 The Giants are making all kinds of mistakes on both sides of the football and it looks like they still haven’t been able to rebound from their blowout loss to the Saints. The defense of the G-Men doesn’t look like the defense we’ve been accustomed to watching. They’ve allowed 40 or more points twice this season.
13. (18) 3-4-0 Last year, after the Dolphins beat the Patriots with the Wildcat formation, the Pats came back the next game and held the Dolphins to just 66 yards rushing. With Bill Belichick having two weeks to prepare for the Dolphins, Miami will have to find something other than the Wildcat to beat the Patriots. New England will also undoubtedly be ready to stop Ted Ginn Jr. One advantage the Dolphins do have going into their game against New England is that they hold a 3-0 record in the AFC East.
14. (19) 3-4-0 The 49ers have been on the brink of beating two of the top teams in the NFL but have fallen just a bit short both times. San Francisco’s defense did not allow a touchdown pass from the hottest quarterback in the league, and that says a lot.
15. (20) 4-3-0 The Bears finally got a solid performance out of Matt Forte and the result was a blowout win. If the Bears want to be successful they need Forte to gain strong yards on the ground to help balance out the offense. With all that said, you can’t take much from a win over the Browns.
16. (17) 5-3-0 Three straight wins for the Texans has them riding high right now. It will be interesting to see how Matt Schaub responds to the loss of tight end Owen Daniels. A confident Texans team now has the challenge of facing Peyton Manning and the Colts in Indianapolis.
17. (10) 4-3-0 Aaron Rodgers and his offensive line have to figure something out very quickly if the Packers want to have a shot at making the playoffs. It seems like a combination of holding the ball too long and not having enough time in the pocket, but Green Bay can’t afford this many sacks if it wants to be successful. Rodgers has been taken down behind the line of scrimmage 31 times now.
18. (16) 4-3-0 San Diego has yet to prove it can beat a good team this year. It’s tough to have confidence in any Norv Turner-coached team, especially when two of SD’s four wins have come against the Raiders.
19. (14) 4-4-0 When you have 13 more first downs than your opponent and hold them to just 104 total yards, there is only one excuse for losing the game: poor coaching. Rex Ryan deserves all the blame in this loss to the Dolphins.
21. (21) 3-5-0 Buffalo is the most penalized team in the NFL, and the Bills continue to struggle converting on third down. With great offensive weapons such as Lee Evans, Terrell Owens, Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, it is tough to figure out why the Bills have been so bad offensively.
22. (24) 3-4-0 Jake Delhomme didn’t turn the ball over and the result was a Panthers win. Big win for Carolina on the road.
23. (23) 2-5-0 Despite many injuries and another loss, coach Jim Mora Jr. urged his team not to give up. The remaining games on the schedule will show a lot about the character of the players on this team.
24. (22) 3-4-0 Just over 100 yards passing against one of the worst pass defense teams in the league is pathetic. I wasn’t expecting a Brady-esque performance, but at least 200 yards would’ve been respectable.
25. (29) 1-6-0 Vince Young played with confidence on Sunday and completed 15-of-18 passes. The Titans can finish the season strong if they let Young manage games instead of making him do too much. Chris Johnson leads the league in rushing yards and is a great weapon for Young.
26. (25) 2-6-0 Curious to find out when was the last time in professional sports that the coach or manager was more of a distraction to the team than any player on that team. Tom Cable should be watching anger management films instead of game film.
27. (26) 2-5-0 It was refreshing not having to watch another Redskins debacle this week. Too bad the Redskins can’t be on a bye every week.
28. (28) 1-6-0 Matt Cassel still has yet to get on the same page as Dwayne Bowe and the Chiefs offense, which has struggled. Hopefully for Chiefs fans, Cassel and Bowe were able to figure things out during the bye week. Let’s see how the team responds without running back Larry Johnson.
29. (32) 1-6-0 One positive the Rams can take out of this season is that Steven Jackson is having one hell of a year. Congratulations to the Rams for snapping their 17-game losing streak.
30. (27) 1-6-0 The Lions seem lost without Calvin Johnson. When a team can’t move the ball offensively against the Rams, it says a lot about how bad its offense really is.
31. (30) 1-7-0 Five turnovers in their latest loss and just 972 total yards after eight games. Pitiful.
32. (31) 0-7-0 The Bucs are now the only winless team in the NFL and sole owners of the dreaded No. 32 spot.
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