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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

by: AnthonyP On  Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Vikings Brett FavreWeek: | Pre | 1 |

Total Pro Sports – Does anyone remember early 90s WCW when Sting was screaming at the camera and bigging up The Shockmaster? Cue a fiery explosion and a rotund man with a Stormtroopers helmet covered in glitter (I kid you not) falling over a tiny wall and his helmet rolling off in one of the most anti-climactic moments in television. Youtube it, or alternatively just watch the opening weekend of the NFL season.

I love football no matter how it comes, but a lot of teams fell flat on their face in week 1, and even those that won seemed to struggle immensley in easy matchups. Super Bowl contenders like New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and San Diego left it late, whilst preseason sleepers like Cincinnati and Houston didn’t even bother showing up. It was however a good week for false hope and weird plays. The Broncos looked bad but recorded a flukey win, whilst Browns fans (me included, see my entry below) can get carried away with a few first half glimmers. Fake punts, fake field goals, blocked punts, blocked extra points and distinctly unsuccessful Wildcat plays (shocking, turns out a 3 play-per-game gimmick isn’t the future of football NFL Network) made up a colourful if anti-climactic week 1.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downArizona were numerically the biggest fallers but were more the victims of a lot of mediocre teams moving up. Perhaps the Panthers are a surprise slider but that’s what 5 turnovers from your QB will get you.

upGreen Bay and the Jets both fly up 4 spots, but two prominent risers are a new #1 and the Raiders who made waves in their Monday night clash against San Diego.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 1:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 New York Giants 1-0 up2 My preseason concerns with New York surrounded who they were going to throw the ball to, and how they were going to replace Derrick Ward’s 1000 yards. Answers: everyone, and a red hot Ahmad Bradshaw. Forza New York, up they go. Up Next: @Dallas Cowboys
2 Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0 - The Steelers are still a great defense without Troy Polomalu… but they’re no longer legendary. Losing the safety for 3-6 weeks with an MCL sprain is a huge blow, and the way their offensive line blew multiple blocks and struggled to open holes for Willie Parker is also concerning. 363 yards flatters Ben Roethlisberger on a night he under threw countless receivers and lollied up a soft interception. Up Next: @Chicago Bears
3 Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 up1 This was a weird game. Philadelphia’s defense and special teams provided enough points to see off the Panthers on their own volition meaning the Eagles’ offense needn’t have ever stepped on the field, and when Donovan McNabb broke a rib and ruled himself out for between 1-2 contests they probably wished they hadn’t. Up Next: New Orleans
4 New England Patriots 1-0 down3 The New England o-line just about kept Brady upright and New England just about made it past Buffalo. This shouldn’t have been as tight as it was, but outside of a couple end zone lasers Brady rarely troubled the Bills deep and Fred Jackson – no more than a solid backup – gouged a Seymour-less front 7 for 140 total yards. Up Next: @New York Jets
5 Baltimore Ravens 1-0 up2 Despite Kansas City scoring on a crazy once-in-a-season blocked punt, Baltimore kicked it into another gear and pulled away. Now with that being said, this was Kansas City so don’t put too much stock in Joe Flacco’s 300 yard effort and Ray Rice’s peerless ground performance. Afterall, Ray Rice amassed almost all of his offense last year against crappy defenses. Let’s see what he does against a real D. Up Next: @San Diego Chargers
6 Indianapolis Colts 1-0 down1 Losing Anthony Gonzalez for 6 weeks is crippling for the Colts who now hope Austin Collie fills the 8-900 yard void the breakout primed Gonzalez leaves. Unless of course they find a quality receiver who knows the system like no one else in the league and has a magical connection with Peyton Manning (evident by multiple records) on the waiver wire. Hmmm… Up Next: @Miami Dolphins
7 New Orleans Saints 1-0 up3 The Saints are really starting to assert themselves at the top of the NFC. They had their way with Detroit all night despite lacking their most potent run threat Pierre Thomas, but travelling to Philadelphia will provide a much sterner test next week. Up Next: @Philadelphia Eagles
8 Green Bay Packers 1-0 up4 Considering how other Super Bowl contenders made things tough against less than stellar opposition this weekend, a victory over a decent Bears side is nothing to sniff at. The 3-4 looked tight, and Aaron Rodgers showed poise in the clutch despite battling protection issues all night. Up Next: Cincinnati Bengals
9 San Diego Chargers 1-0 down3 The Chargers secondary was almost comical at times; blown coverage, bad coverage, guys not knowing what play they were running. The whole thing was a bit of a mess. Luckily the quarterback charged with punishing them was JaMarcus Russell. That’s like offering Terri Schiavo free tickets to Disneyland. Up Next: Baltimore Ravens
10 Tennessee Titans 0-1 down2 Tennessee’s front 4 played the run well, with Jason Jones looking a disruptive force in the backfield for at least 3 quarters, but when Pittsburgh abandoned the run and took to the air the 4 man rush looked meagre and left the secondary exposed. If they give a more prolific pass offense like Houston that much time, then they’ll struggle to survive. Offensively, 1 reception and 15 carries for your most dynamic/only weapon is unacceptable. Up Next: Houston Texans
11 Chicago Bears 0-1 down2 INT 1 was Nick Collins doing what he does best. INT 2 was a crazy play by the downed lineman. INT 3 was… totally inexcusable. Whilst INT 4 was a product of the Bears trying to force the football in the last 2 minutes. Guess what Bears fans? Jay Cutler is a big time gunslinger who lives by the sword (a huge play to Johnny Knox and a few nice grabs for Devin Hester) but will also die by the sword, namely those INTs. Oh and Brian Urlacher: gone for the season. Tough breaks all round. Up Next: Pittsburgh Steelers
12 New York Jets 1-0 up4 The only reason I ranked this team as low as I did was because the odds of 3 rookie QBs in 2 years reaching double digit wins must be a million to one. Mark Sanchez totalled a composed 272 yards and this defense looked every bit of the shut down unit that it promised to be preseason, despite missing Greg Ellis and Calvin Pace up front. Up Next: New England Patriots
13 Houston Texans 0-1 down2 How do you let a defense missing 2 key starters make your offensive line look like high schoolers and a rookie quarterback throw 30 yards shy of 300? Steve Slaton’s 1 cut style doesn’t have a great history against 3-4 teams, so maybe we’ll put this loss down to a bad day at the office. Up Next: @Tennessee Titans
14 Atlanta Falcons 1-0 - Atlanta cantered past Miami with 19 unanswered points in the first 3 and a half quarters, and would of been thrilled to see an immediate return on their investment as Tony Gonzalez showed why he’s the best tight end in all of football rumbling to 73 yards and a score. Up Next: Carolina Panthers
15 Minnesota Vikings 1-0 up3 Jared Allen and Joe Thomas went to war and the Browns’ left tackle won, sort of summing up Minnesota’s day. When Adrian Peterson couldn’t get things going they looked a little lost and didn’t carve the Browns up like alleged Super Bowl contenders should have. Brett Favre still looks like a QB who has just rocked up to minicamp, case and point being a total miscommunication that saw Favre throw a fade whilst Sidney Rice ran an out in the end zone. Not a huge deal in the end, but it cost them a touchdown and Minnesota better hope they can gel this offense before their season really gets going with a week 4 clash against Green Bay. Up Next: @Detroit Lions
16 Dallas Cowboys 1-0 up3 Tony Romo threw bombs all night as Dallas never really left third gear – or did they never get into it? Considering Byron Leftwich’s mesmerically slow release and that Dallas possess the most dangerous sack artist in the NFL, 0 sacks and 0 INTs is a little worrying. Up Next: New York Giants
17 Washington Redskins 0-1 up3 Considering the opposition and their 2008 capitulation I thought the Washington offensive line performed admirably, and in a total reversal of last season, it was the skills players that failed to make plays. Jason Campbell showed disparate flashes, but he also made poor reads, failed to lead his receivers and had ball security issues. Their defense also flattered to deceive; providing stout resistance on one down, before tackling air and giving up a critical play on the next. There is a nucleus of a good football team in Washington, but I’m starting to lose faith that we’ll ever see it flourish. Up Next: St. Louis Rams
18 Seattle Seahawks 1-0 up3 There’s a sort of ‘hot young sleeper tight end’ bandwagon in the fantasy world; everyone hitched their wagons to Greg Olsen, then it was Dustin Keller for about 20 minutes, and now it’s all aboard the John Carlson express! Next stop: the NFC West division championship. Up Next: @San Francisco 49ers
19 Carolina Panthers 0-1 down4 I mentioned preseason that this team would struggle against the run without Maake Kemoeatu (they surrendered 5 yards a clip on Sunday), and become over reliant on DeAngelo Williams and their stellar offensive line. Well, when that line was pushed to its limits by a great Philadelphia pass rush and DeAngelo Williams could only battle his way to 70 all purpose yards, the responsibility of bailing them out fell to a flustered Jake Delhomme’s. 4 INTS and a fumble later, the Panthers were on the wrong side of a rout. Up Next: @Atlanta Falcons
20 Arizona Cardinals 0-1 down7 Under pressure and with Anquan Boldin hurting and Steve Breaston AWOL, Kurt Warner threw 2 INTs. The Cardinals honestly only had 1 impressive drive and it ended in a Larry Fitz TD. Looks like the Super Bowl loser curse strikes again. Up Next: @Jacksonville Jaguars
21 Miami Dolphins 0-1 down4 I struggled to put my finger on what Miami was all about this preseason, and their clash with the Falcons didn’t help. Are they a dink and dunk offense? A power running game? Is their o-line the foundation for success? Do they lock things down on defense? No, not really… to any of these questions. They just looked mediocre in all aspects so it leaves me thinking, maybe they’re just a bad team. Up Next: Indianapolis Colts
22 Oakland Raiders 0-1 up2 I don’t want to like the Raiders, I really don’t. But against the Chargers Richard Seymour got one sack as an apology for jerking Oakland around last week and then another because… well because he’s Richard Seymour and being a monster is what he do, and they didn’t look that bad. I don’t know how you evaluate JaMarcus Russell, but if you held a competition between all 32 NFL starters and asked them to hit a semi-truck from 30 yards it’d take him 100 more throws than anybody else but when he did, it would blow up like a Steven Seagal movie finale. Does that make sense, and can we get that event in the combine? Up Next: @Kansas City
23 San Francisco 49ers 1-0 - In the new ABC show FlashForward a freak global phenomenon abducts everyone and shows them the future. Can we all pool our brain power and try to recall the exact moment said phenomenon transported us all to a world where Frank Gore was any good. Because how many 30 from 22, 1.3 YPCs does he need to post before we collectively give up on him? Up Next: Seattle Seahawks
24 Cincinnati Bengals 0-1 down2 Last week I commented that Cincinnati were on the precipice of an offensive renaissance and were an underrated defensive unit straddling the divide between the good and the bad in the National Football League. This game descended into a debacle despite certain Bengals showing signs of life (Chad Johnson 5 for 89 and Cedric Benson managing 100 total yards off 25 touches), so I guess the jury as to whether we’re dealing with Bengals or kitty cats is still out. Up Next: @Green Bay
25 Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 - The Jags always seem to be prickly opponents for the Colts, but they couldn’t come up with the big play on a 2-point conversion and a game ending 4th and 7. 21 carries for MJD in a tight game is not enough. Up Next: Arizona Cardinals
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-1 up2 Cut to Earnest Graham on the sidelines: “hey! What happened to the three way time share?!” Cadillac baby! Up Next: @Buffalo Bills
27 Buffalo Bills 0-1 down1 People forget how good Aaron Schobel really is because he spends most of his time in the medical room, but this guy is easily one of the best ends in the AFC. On the other hand, people – namely Trent Edwards – quickly learnt about New England’s pass rush. 4 sacks was only the beginning of a poor night for a bad o-line being put on the rack by one of the league’s more mediocre pass rushes, it sure would suck if they had to face a team like the Titans… oh, wait. Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28 Denver Broncos 1-0 down1 This was an ugly game. Watching Denver/Cincinnati was like being the third wheel on a date between a vapid hot girl and the former high school hunk who was badly mutilated in a horrific offseason car crash. The chiselled jaw line is replaced with the abysmal Kyle Orton, and the only way that this former stud scored was thanks to a one in a million fluke. Josh McDaniels you are sooooo gonna get fired. Up Next: Cleveland Browns
29 Kansas City Chiefs 0-1 - Oh yeah, Brodie Croyle. I remember that guy. Wasn’t he the one with 2 Super Bowl rings and a million back injuries? No that’s Damon Huard. Is he the guy we just paid an absolute fortune for in the offseason? No that’s crappy Matt Cassel. How about the guy who got our offense functioning and made us competitive down the stretch in 2008? You’re thinking of Tyler Thigpen. Brodie Croyle is the quarterback who just threw for a sharp 200 yards against one of the best defenses in the league but will never start again. Up Next: Oakland Raiders
30 Cleveland Browns 0-1 up2 Forget the second half when AP straight up dummied the Browns for 155 yards and 2 scores. The first half told a different story; Peterson was held to 25 yards off 9 carries, as Cleveland demonstrated a far more creative blitzing philosophy than 08 and frequently troubled a usually dependable line for the first 2 quarters. Offensively Jamaal Lewis looked sprite against the best run defense in the league and Brady Quinn was assured with his throws and demonstrated an ability to pick up the blitz and get rid of the football far beyond his years. Yes, they majestically crumpled in the second half and Brady Quinn struggled to throw the ball deep, but Cleveland showed enough to elevate themselves off the bottom of the TPS power rankings. Up Next: @Denver Broncos
31 Detroit Lions 0-1 - In the 2009 draft Detroit decided bolstering their terrible line wasn’t worthwhile and opted for tight end Brandon Pettigrew instead. Brandon Pettigrew: 0 catches for 0 yards. Matthew Stafford: in fear for his life all night. Up Next: Minnesota Vikings
32 St Louis Rams 0-1 down2 James Laurinaitis picked up 15 tackles and was the only bright spot on a bad team that got battered by Seattle. I saw sparks from Cleveland. Detroit has hope in their rookie signal caller. St. Louis have “___”. Can a Rams fan or one of the numerous NFL analysts who tipped the Rams to be the bounce back team of the year fill in the blank for me, I’m struggling here.  Up Next: @Washington Redskins

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 2.




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