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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.   Read the rest of this entry »

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 11.01.10 at 8:20 pm ET
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A new team reigns supreme in this week’s edition of the NFL Power Rankings. Riding a five-game winning streak and holding sole possession of the best record in football, Tom Brady and the Patriots climb to No. 1 in the rankings.

The AFC still dominates at the top of the rankings. The Steelers, Ravens, Colts and Jets round out the Fantastic Five.

After another bizarre week in the NFL in which we saw the Jets held scoreless at home, Donovan McNabb benched in favor of Rex Grossman to run the two-minute drill and Brett Favre taken off the field in a cart, nothing seems more peculiar than the news of Randy Moss being waived by the Vikings. Following the Vikings’ loss and the sense that head coach Brad Childress has lost all respect in his team’s locker room, Minnesota plunges to No. 19.

Two other notable teams that started the season ranked high are currently in the bottom of the barrel, with the Dallas Cowboys (No. 30) and the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24) scraping new lows.

1. (Last week, 3) 6-1 The news for the Patriots got even better this week with reports emerging that Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins will return to the team on Tuesday. The Patriots are looking more and more like the team we saw dominate the past decade. They’re an extremely disciplined team that doesn’t commit many penalties and rarely turns the ball over. They rank at the top of the league in both of those categories. Bill Belichick‘s young defense seems to be improving and gaining confidence each week. Jerod Mayo leads the league with 86 tackles.

2. (1) 5-2 Overall, a loss to the defending champs on the road isn’t too much to worry about for Steelers fans. Ben Roethlisberger and the offense still don’t look 100 percent comfortable. They probably need a few more games to get on the same page. In the loss to the Saints, New Orleans was able to get pressure and confuse “Big Ben” all game.

3. (4) 5-2 The Ravens benefit from the bye week in more ways than one. Not only did Joe Flacco and company enjoy some needed rest but they also moved into first place in the AFC North after the Steelers fell to the Saints.

4. (5) 5-2 Peyton Manning continues to impress. No. 18 has shown time and time again that he can get the job done no matter what personnel makes up his receiving corps. On defense, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are nightmares for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks.

5. (2) 5-2 The Jets should have some serious concerns about their offense. Coming off an extra week of preparation, the Jets offense was horrendous. Since starting his first five games with zero interceptions, Mark Sanchez has thrown four interceptions in his last two games. At the same time, Sanchez got no help from his receivers, who dropped nine passes.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 10.26.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Week 7 is in the books and the top five teams remain intact in the latest edition of’s NFL Power Rankings. The Steelers, Jets, Patriots, Ravens and Colts sit comfortably in spots 1-5, respectively. It is obvious through seven weeks of football that the AFC rules in the NFL. Seven out of the top 10 ranked teams represent the AFC. Jumping in this week are the Titans (No. 7) and the Dolphins (No. 9). Those teams replace the Saints and Eagles, who both suffered big losses on Sunday.

The Saints go marching out of the top 10 and drop all the way to No. 11 after being embarrassed at home by the meager Browns. The defending champs suffered their third loss of the season. During their championship run last season, they lost three times all year.

The Bears also plunge this week to No. 17. The same problems haunt the Bears each week and it seems they can’t improve on the offensive line and passing game.

At the bottom of the barrel, the Bills remain at No. 32 and are the only winless team in the NFL.  There is, at least, some novelty to their basement perch, as the Bills have a new neighbor, with the 49ers falling to No. 31.

1. (Last week, 1) 5-1 Even though the Steelers probably should have lost Sunday against the Dolphins, it’s tough not to put them at the top. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to improve as the season progresses and the Steelers D is one of the best in the league. One thing to watch for is the loss of defensive end Aaron Smith, who is a major contributor to Pittsburgh’s elite defense.

2. (2) 5-1 After a week off, the Jets along with a presumably healthy Darrelle Revis will put their five-game winning streak on the line against the Packers at home.

3. (3) 5-1 This team has been criticized for its poor play on the road and in the second half in the past. On Sunday, however, the Patriots stepped up their game and managed to win on the road. After struggling mightily on offense in the first half, Tom Brady led a 76-yard touchdown drive to open the third quarter that took over eight minutes off the clock. Bill Belichick’s young defense is making noteworthy progress and has become fun to watch.

4. (4) 5-2 Baltimore’s pass defense has looked very suspect over the last two weeks. When your team allows the Buffalo Bills offense to gain 374 yards in the air, something has to be fixed. The Ravens have a bye this week and then will try and get back on track.

5. (5) 4-2 Peyton Manning is facing one of the biggest tests in his career. Can No. 18 continue to win games with his receiving core in shambles or will injuries finally put a stop to the Colts’ long run of success?

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7 10.19.10 at 12:02 pm ET
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The Pittsburgh Steelers claim the throne in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Led by Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers finally can improve their pass game and complement a defense that is allowing just 12 points per game. Moving on up into the top five are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After a thrilling overtime win at home against the Ravens, the Patriots proved they can win against the NFL’s best.

Making a big leap to No. 7 are the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a looming quarterback controversy, the Eagles showed how dynamic their offense can be with either Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick behind center.

Falling out of the top 10 are the Green Bay Packers (No. 11) and Chicago Bears (No. 13). Injuries are piling up over at Lambeau Field and the Bears’ offensive line struggles continue to be a major problem.

Week 7 will feature some exciting NFC matchups that promise to cause some major ripple effects in the rankings. The Vikings are at Green Bay and the Giants are at Dallas.

1. (Last week, 3) 4-1 The Steelers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL right now. Ben Roethlisberger showed some rust in his return but also made some outstanding throws. Now, Pittsburgh has a passing offense to go along with their great run game and defense.

2. (2) 5-1 The Jets will go into their bye week after rattling off a very impressive five-game winning streak. Cornerback Darrelle Revis obviously isn’t healthy and could benefit greatly from the time off. One of the main keys to New York’s success through six games has been the play of a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson. The 31-year-old running back leads a Jets running attack that ranks second in the NFL.

3. (6) 4-1 The Patriots defense was very impressive down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime. New England’s D was able to stop the Ravens on their final five drives. Bill Belichick said it was the best game his outside linebackers have played all year. Their win over the Ravens should definitely be a confidence booster going forward.

4. (1) 4-2 The Ravens just finished a tough stretch of games where they played New York, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New England, all on the road. Now the Ravens can enjoy some games at home and should be able to bounce back from their loss to the Patriots. After the game, Ray Lewis was already looking forward to the next game when they take on the Bills at home saying, “It’s going to be rough on Buffalo.”

5. (5) 4-2 Plagued with injuries, it seems the Colts can overcome anything as long as they have No. 18 under center. Peyton Manning has been playing outstanding as usual. Indy is also able to rush the passer and is able to force mistakes with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the ends.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 6 10.12.10 at 12:29 pm ET
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The 1972 Dolphins can rest easy. Parity rules in the NFL and for the first time since 1970, there are no 4-0 teams. However, there are some teams that are finally starting to pull away and look like the league’s best. For the second straight week, the Baltimore Ravens are No. 1, the New York Jets are No. 2, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are No. 3 in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings. The Ravens have three big road wins, two against divisional opponents, and they look like the most complete team in the NFL. The Jets are enjoying a 3-0 record in the AFC East and are playing well in all three phases of the game.

After a long run, the Saints fall out of the top five to No. 7. Drew Brees has thrown five interceptions already and is certainly feeling the effects of a weak running game. The Giants squeeze into the top ten at No. 9 after back-to-back wins and a defensive line that has looked dynamic.

The Cowboys drop all the way to No. 20 after another mistake-ridden game. Wade Phillips and Dallas’ coaching staff have done a horrendous job to this point. Dallas has yet to win at home in 2010. Another underachieving team is the Cincinnati Bengals. After an amazing 2009 season, the Bengals have been awful this season and are going into Week 6 having suffered back-to-back losses to the Browns and Bucs.

The Panthers and the Bills remain winless and in the cellar.

1. (Last week, 1) 4-1 The dual rushing attack of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, complemented by a relentless defense, has the Ravens atop the NFL as the best team in the league.

2. (2) 4-1 Through five weeks, this Jets team looks as good as advertised. The Jets have posted a takeaway-giveaway differential of 11; that leads the league. This team has turned the ball over just once this season. Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown zero interceptions. Last year, he had 20.

3. (3) 3-1 The Steelers will be licking their chops Sunday when a rookie quarterback will lead a struggling offense into Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the league and with Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers are in great position to do some damage as the season progresses.

4. (5) 4-1 The first-place Atlanta Falcons have put together a nice winning streak after losing in Week 1 to the Steelers. One of the keys to Atlanta’s success has been scoring points off their takeaways. The team’s rushing attack, led by Michael Turner, is second only to the New York Jets.

5. (8) 3-2 The Colts proved they can win without Peyton Manning having a Peyton Manning-like game. Against the Chiefs, it was Indy’s defense that stepped up in the red zone. The Colts also allowed just a field goal following a Manning interception that put Kansas City in great field position.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 5 10.05.10 at 3:30 pm ET
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A quarter of the NFL season is already in the books, and the Ravens are the latest team to reign supreme in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings.

Arguments can be made for almost every 3-1 team in the top five to be in the No. 1 spot. The No. 2 J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets have looked like one of the NFL’s elite teams after opening the season with a tough loss at home against the Ravens. The Steelers, who fall two spots and sit at No. 3, will enjoy the return of Ben Roethlisberger behind center. The Saints and Falcons round out the “fabulous five” after both teams grinded out wins late in the fourth quarter.

Week 5 could be titled “The return of the suspended.” Roethlisberger isn’t the only big name returning to a contending team. Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing returns to the No. 7 Texans and the Jets offense will add another weapon with receiver Santonio Holmes, as he will make his debut in green.

Finally, just one undefeated team remains in the NFL, but there are four winless teams. The 49ers, Lions, Panthers and Bills are all searching for their first win. You can find those teams at the bottom of the barrel.

1. (Last week, 9) 3-1 Joe Flacco showed true poise down the stretch in Pittsburgh and led his team to a comeback victory. The Ravens defense is playing very well, as usual, and this Ray Lewisled club has beaten two of the best teams in the league on the road in the Steelers and Jets.

2. (6) 3-1 It’s nice to be a Jets fan right now. Mark Sanchez is proving he can be a solid quarterback, LaDainian Tomlinson showed he has a lot left in the tank and, oh, yeah, Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace and Santonio Holmes will be returning soon. Rex Ryan‘s crew is 3-0 in the division and heading into Week 5 with loads of confidence.

3. (1) 3-1 Pittsburgh is in a great position to make a big push to take the AFC. After four weeks without their Pro Bowl quarterback, the Steelers were a hair away from finishing the first quarter of the season undefeated. Now, Roethlisberger returns to an offense that ranks 30th in the league in passing.

4. (3) 3-1 The defending champs make big plays in critical moments, and that’s why they were able to pull out another close win. The tackle for a 4-yard loss on DeAngelo Williams followed by a sack of Jimmy Clausen putting Carolina out of field goal range is a perfect example of what championship-caliber teams do when the game is on the line. The injury bug has bitten the Saints this season, but once players like Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Roman Harper get healthy, I fully expect them to be defending their title come January.

5. (4) 3-1 The play of week came from Falcons wide receiver Roddy White when he made the Troy Brown-like strip of Nate Clements. Atlanta’s defense is putting good pressure on the quarterback and is forcing interceptions. The Falcons D leads the league with eight picks. If they can improve their play on special teams, the “Dirty Birds” can be a legitimate threat to the Saints for the NFC South title.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 09.28.10 at 8:40 am ET
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After many shocks and surprises across the league through three weeks, the “Steel Curtain” rises up and has asserted supremacy over the rest of the NFL in this week’s edition of the NFL Power Rankings. Behind Charlie Batch, the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers are ranked No. 1 as they have one more game to play until Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns. The Steelers have a huge test coming up against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at home.

Peyton Manning and the Colts are breathing down the Steelers neck at No. 2 after their second straight dominating win. Falling to No. 3 are Drew Brees and the defending champs. The Saints are out of the top spot for the first time this season after kicker Garret Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal to win the game in overtime.

Rounding out the top five are the Green Bay Packers who fall from the No. 2 spot. Despite the loss to the Bears on Monday night, the Packers remain two spots ahead. Green Bay still had a good chance to take down “Da Bears” on the road despite turnovers and penalties. Additionally, the Bears close-call win over the Lions in Week 1 and the inconsistent play of Jay Cutler still makes them a suspect team. The boys from the “Windy City” climb to No.7.

The winless Browns and Bills remain in the basement going into Week 4.

Surely there will be many brash and passionate opinions this week as some 3-0 teams aren’t even in the “Fine 15,” and some teams who have won head to head matchups aren’t ahead of the teams they’ve beat. Leave your comments below.

1. (4) 3-0-0 The Steelers have the opportunity to be 4-0 before Roethlisberger returns from a four-game suspension. With a defense that is allowing just 11 points a game, Pittsburgh is looking more and more like the team to beat in the AFC.

2. (3) 2-1-0 Peyton Manning can make any receiver effective. Without Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez, Manning found backups Austin Collie and Blair White all over the field. Can anyone argue, barring an injury to Manning, that this team won’t win at least 12 games this year?

3. (Last week, 1) 2-1-0 The Saints need to improve their rush defense dramatically (they currently rank 30th). The way to beat the defending champs is to pound the ball on the ground and keep Drew Brees and the offense off the field. That’s what the Falcons did on Sunday and it turned out badly for New Orleans.

4. (11) 2-1-0 The Falcons showed that they are one of the top tier teams in the league after knocking off the defending champs in New Orleans. Atlanta’s only loss came in overtime against a great Steelers team. If Atlanta’s rushing attack can remain effective, the Falcons can do some damage in the NFC.

5. (2) 2-1-0 Eighteen penalties in one game is very alarming for a team many think is one of the best in the NFC. The Packers beat themselves Monday night and can’t afford to play like the way they did again if they want to contend for a Super Bowl. The good thing Green Bay can take away from the loss was the play of Aaron Rodgers — an unbelievable and gutty performance from a quarterback that has made his way into the conversation of best QB in the league.

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