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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

11.09.10 at 6:02 am ET
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A new team enters a familiar position in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Like many teams ranked No. 1 this year, the Patriots reign on top was short-lived. This week, the Baltimore Ravens edge the Pittsburgh Steelers and hold the title “Best team in football” for the second time this season.

The conclusion of Week 9 brings new life to the NFC. The G-Men climb their way into the top five and sit at No. 4. The Falcons (No. 6), Packers (No. 7), and Eagles (No. 9) all leap up after impressive wins.

The bottom-feeders remain the same. The Cardinals (No. 28), Broncos ( No.29), Cowboys (No. 30), Panthers (No. 31), and Bills (No. 32) all retain their spots from the previous week.

1. (3) 6-2 The Ravens defense played tough, physical football Sunday. They were able to get pressure on Chad Henne and forced three interceptions. On offense, Baltimore benefitted from giving Ray Rice more touches. Rice had 22 carries but also caught seven passes out of the backfield.

2. (2) 6-2 The Steelers defense does it every time. They make big plays in key moments of the game. On Monday night, they stepped up again and ended a late Bengals surge. The “Steel Curtain” also can boast about their 21 takeaways this season.

3. (5) 6-2 The Jets improved to 6-2 but Rex Ryan must be worried about his offense. The receiving core continues to drop balls and the offensive unit as a whole is consistently turning the ball over and committing penalties.

4. (6) 6-2 The Giants have a balanced offensive attack and one of the best defensive lines in football. Their offensive unit turned in another solid performance Sunday in Seattle with 197 yards on the ground and 290 yards through the air.

5. (Last week, 1) 6-2 The Patriots offense is still adjusting to life without Randy Moss. Tom Brady and his offensive unit have struggled over the past few weeks, especially Wes Welker. Over the past three weeks Welker hasn’t had more than four catches. Defensively, the Pats have struggled tremendously against the run. They will have a chance to redeem themselves against one of the best running backs in the league, Rashard Mendenhall, Sunday night against the Steelers.  

6. (7) 6-2 Aside from the Patriots, one could make an argument that the Falcons are the best home team in football. Matt Ryan doesn’t lose in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons are proving they are a Super Bowl contender each week. Atlanta’s D stepped up in the closing minutes to make a game saving goal line stop and solidify first-place in the NFC South. Football fans can look forward to Thursday night in which the Ravens will travel to Atlanta for what should be a great game.

7. (9) 6-3 In two games, the Packers defense have allowed seven points. This defensive unit has played great lately. Second-year linebacker Clay Matthews has turned into one of the most feared defensive players in the game. He already has 10.5 sacks through eight games.

8. (8) 6-3 The Saints head into their bye week amid a nice two-game winning streak. All reports indicate Reggie Bush will be returning to the Saints backfield when they play next against the Seattle Seahawks. Bush’s return will be welcomed with open arms as New Orleans’ offense has suffered with the lack of a run game.

9. (13) 5-3 The Eagles offense is loaded with speed and playmakers. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson are a nightmare for opposing defenses. Vick continued his trend of making smart decisions with the football and has yet to throw an interception this year.

10. (4) 5-3 Injuries finally caught up to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Peyton Manning desperately could use a more productive run game. As beat up as they are, the Colts remained tied for first place in the AFC South.

11. (11) 5-3 The Titans offense will have to get better with the addition of Randy Moss. How can it not? Opposing defenses will have to decide whether to double-team Moss or cram the box and try to stop the dynamic Chris Johnson.

12. (20) 5-4 The success of the “Silver and Black” has been one of the exciting stories this year in the NFL. Darren McFadden has been one of the best running backs in the league. The Raiders do need to be concerned about how often they are committing penalties. They’ve been penalized ten or more times in seven of their nine games this year.

13. (14) 4-5 Don’t sleep on the Chargers, they’re known for slow starts and great finishes. The AFC West is certainly in reach for Philip Rivers and Co.

14. (12) 5-3 The pass offense and the amount of committed penalties have to be areas of concern for the first-place Chiefs. Dwyane Bowe has made some key drops this season; the latest came in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. Kansas City was also penalized 12 times.

15. (10) 4-4 As many expected, the Dolphins undefeated streak on the road came to an end on Sunday. The Fins win-loss record much reflects what type of team they are, average. They can beat bad teams, but lose to the good teams.

16. (16) 5-3 One of the worst 5-3 teams in football. Jay Cutler was lucky he was facing the worst team in football this past Sunday. On defense, the Bears are very shaky as well. Look for Chicago to drop in the standings in the weeks to come.

17. (17) 4-4 Donovan McNabb had an extra week to think about being benched for the final drive of his team’s loss to the Lions. Next, he’ll face his former team on Monday Night Football in a key divisional matchup that will certainly have playoff implications.

18. (19) 3-5 How many lives does Brad Childress and the Vikings have? On the brink of suffering a loss that would more than likely have serious ramifications, the Vikings rallied from a 14-point deficit and managed to win in overtime. This could be the exact type of win the doctor ordered. The victory could really help build some momentum for the Vikings going forward.

19. (25) 3-5 The Browns coaching staff has done a superb job over the last few weeks game-planning for the New Orleans Saints and then the New England Patriots. The Browns made both teams look confused offensively; a pretty impressive accomplishment given that those teams have two of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.  Cleveland has outscored its opponent 64-31 in the team’s past two games.

20. (15) 4-3 The Texans defense looks like a team eating soup with a fork when they defend against the pass. They’ve been horrendous all year. It won’t get easier for them either. The Titans, Eagles, and Broncos all have great passing offenses and will have the pleasure of facing the Texans this year.

21. (18) 5-3 The Bucs’ have gained some respect in their divisional defeat to the Falcons. Overall, the consensus among the league is that they are too young to be a playoff contender in the NFL. However, they have sure showed signs that they are headed in the right direction. They were one-yard away from beating an extremely good football on the road. Eventually the mistakes will be fixed and Tampa will be a serious threat in the NFL.

22. (21) 4-4 The Jaguars will be coming off their bye week this Sunday looking to build on their win against Dallas. David Garrard will be fresh off a great performance against the Cowboys and should be looking forward to facing the Texans pass defense.

23. (22) 4-4 Who would have thought that the Rams would be in first place half way through the NFL season? St. Louis will benefit from the bye and an extra week to prepare for the 49ers.

24. (24) 2-6 The Bengals offensive line can’t protect Carson Palmer. The veteran QB is constantly pressured in the pocket and he continued to make some poor decisions with the football on Monday night. One positive the Bengals can take from the loss is the play of Terrell Owens. T.O. has had a career revival in Cincinnati. Owens finished with ten catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

25. (23) 4-4 It doesn’t get much worse than a 41-7 shellacking in front of your home crowd. The Seahawks offense couldn’t get anything going against the Giants. Seattle desperately needs to heal from their injuries and will be much better off when Matt Hasselbeck, Russell Okung, and Michael Robinson return.

26. (27) 2-6 Which Smith will it be, Troy or Alex? Head coach Mike Singletary has an interesting decision to make at the quarterback position. My vote would be for Troy. It’s time for the 49ers to explore other options at that position and Troy Smith showed great leadership and poise filling in. The 49ers have nothing to lose with a 2-6 record. Roll the dice Mike Singletary.

27. (26) 2-6 Bad teams find ways to lose games. The Lions surrendered a late 10-point lead in a game they could’ve and should’ve won. The decision to pass on third down with back-up quarterback Drew Stanton in the final minutes of the fourth quarter is extremely questionable given the Jets had no time outs remaining. Then, Julian Peterson committed a foolish late-hit penalty that put the Jets in field goal range.

28. (28) 3-5 The Cardinals are a poor team offensively and defensively. On offense, they struggle throwing and running the ball. Defensively, they allowed the Vikings to rack up over 500 yards of offense in their overtime loss Sunday.

29. (29) 2-6 The Broncos will come off their bye week looking to snap a four-game losing streak. They have a lot to improve on during the second half of the season. They are currently allowing an average of 27-points-per-game and have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league.

30. (30) 1-7 Many across the NFL say that firing a head coach mid-season is the wrong decision to make. However, in this given situation, it was totally necessary. It was obvious the Cowboys players had given up hope under ex-head coach Wade Phillips and a change had to be made. Dallas was playing with no energy, maybe Jason Garrett can get something going in Arlington.

31. (31) 1-7 With Wade Phillips gone, John Fox moves to the top of the list of next head coach on the chopping block. The last place Panthers aren’t even competing.

32. (32) 0-8 Bad things happen in threes. The Bills last three losses have all been by 3-points. Buffalo has been on the brink of snapping their losing streak the past three weeks but haven’t been able to make that game ending play.

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