2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 | Total Pro Sports
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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

by: AnthonyP On  Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

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Total Pro Sports – After 3 weeks of NFL action fans of the weaker teams are baying for blood, whilst fans of teams near the top of the TPS Power Rankings are peering over their shoulders as young upstarts like the Saints and Bengals claw their way towards to top of the NFL.

Expect front offices to be fast and loose with the pink slips in the coming weeks, and action has been swift in Tampa where Byron Leftwich has been benched for the athletic Josh Johnson after a total capitulation against the Giants in week 3. Early reports indicate that Chad Pennington is done for the year, and more than likely done as a starting quarterback in the NFL, so Chad Henne will begin his reign as Miami’s franchise signal caller a year ahead of schedule. However he performs he can’t mess it up more than Brady Quinn has in Cleveland; Quinn was benched on Sunday and will likely be holding the clipboard for Sam Bradford in 2010. Marc Bulger was benched for injury reasons on Sunday, but Kyle Boller could be a permanent replacement from here on for ‘Marc-Bulger-has-sucked-for-3-years’ reasons. JaMarcus Russell could also lose his job, whilst Jim Zorn – who ironically tried so hard to get rid of his quarterback in the offseason – may lose his head coaching gig in  Washington, with Mike Shanahan waiting in the wings salivating at the thought of getting his hands on Clinton Portis again.

Player of the Week

Dwight Freeney – He didn’t even last the whole game, but he rose hell in the Cardinal backfield for 3 quarters and opened holes for others to do similar. 2 sacks and a forced fumble only tell half the story in a game Freeney’s pressure turned the tide in favour of Indy and shut down a usually prolific passing offense. Honorable mention to Curtis Lofton who even in defeat was a magnet to the ball for Atlanta, racking up 19 tackles on the day.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Cedric Benson – Cedric Benson just ran for 78 yards at 4.8 YPC against the Steelers. Why isn’t the world going bananas over this!? Yes the Steelers are a diminished force without Polamalu, but Cedric Benson has quietly moved to 3rd in the NFL rushing ranks and has the Browns in week 4. Call that another 150 yards then?

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downTampa drop 4 slots to 31 after putting on the most abject offensive display in recent NFL history: Byron Leftwich 7/16 for 22 yards, Derrick Ward 5 for 2 yards, Caddilac Williams 2 for 8. The Bucs managed just 86 total yards (14 in the first 2 quarters) and only 5 first downs all day. Mesmerically abysmal.

upBeneficiaries of Tampa’s plummet were the Jacksonville Jaguars who rose 4 positions after pulling off the upset over my preseason lovechildren the Houston Texans. Houston have nestled themselves in the Arizona niche where every year they promise to deliver, but then go and blow it against NFL bottom feed like the Jags.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 3:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 New York Giants 3-0 - New York showed up, Tampa didn’t. Simple as. With the Chiefs and the Raiders in the next 2 weeks, expect the Giants to take a stranglehold on the NFC East and a D’Arce choke on the TPS Power Rankings #1 slot. Up Next: @Kansas City Chiefs
2 Philadelphia Eagles 2-1 up1 Without Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook this was a potential banana skin matchup against a transitioning – albeit poor – Chiefs side. LeScore McCoy (20 for 84 and a TD) and Kevin Kolb (327 yards and 2 scores) performed admirably however, and proved that when McNabb likely moves on in 2011 and Westbrook’s body finally gives up this offense will be in good hands. Not, for the record, Mike Vick’s hands. Up Next: BYE
3 Baltimore Ravens 3-0 up1 Baltimore could do whatever they wanted against the worst team in the NFL and their defense was never stretched. I know a lot of people are high on the Ravens, and I think their good… but they were gifted a win in San Diego and I barely think Cleveland and Kansas qualify as NFL calibre. A trip to the Meadowlands will really put them to the test. Up Next: @New England Patriots
4 Pittsburgh Steelers 1-2 down2 The state of Pittsburgh used up all its resistance on whiney G20 protesters this week, so when a resurgant Cedric Benson came to town they had little to offer. The run game finally reared it’s head as Willie Parker stumbled to 93 yards, but sans Troy Polamalu the Steelers are hurting. Up Next: San Diego Chargers
5 New Orleans Saints 3-0 - The recipe for success is one part luck and New Orleans got theirs when Pierre Thomas returned from a sprained MCL with a bang (averaging 9 yards a carry including a pair of breakaway TDs) just as Mike Bell sprained his MCL. A strong run game is a needed dimension for the Saints offense, that proved against the Bills it can handle the odd occasions when Drew Brees doesn’t go ballistic on secondaries. Up Next: New York Jets
6 Indianapolis Colts 3-0 - Business as usual for the Colts offense, but most encouraging for Jim Caldwell was the way his defense played despite missing its two best players in Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden. In a year of contenders dissapointing, the Colts looked solid moving onto 3 and 0. Up Next: Seattle Seahawks
7 New England Patriots 2-1 - Don’t count them out quite yet. Wes Welker’s patchy health situation has had a considerable effect on this offense and I’m not buying this “New England can run! Look! Fred Taylor done good” talk, but despite taking their time to get going the Patriots at 100% health should make the playoffs at a canter. Up Next: Baltimore Ravens
8 Green Bay Packers 2-1 up2 Green Bay are afflicted with a terrible offensive line that can’t pass block for money. If they can’t block Chris Long and Leonard Little, what’s going to happen when Jared Allen and the Williams visit next week? If they don’t get their act together they can at least take solace in the fact that other than Minnesota and Dallas, they won’t face a proper pass rush until week 13. Up Next: @Minnesota Vikings
9 New York Jets 3-0 - After an electrifying opening drive that saw Mark Sanchez go 5/6 for 50 yards capped off with a 15 yard TD scramble, the Jets got a little cocky and made hard work of the 2nd and 3rd quarters totalling just 39 yards of offense with 2 turnovers. More worryingly there is no run game to speak of in New York. Jones and Washington managed 155 yards in the second half against Houston, but other than those 2 quarters they’ve done nothing (Jones was 14 for 20 yards on Sunday). Up Next: @New Orleans Saints
10 San Diego Chargers 2-1 down2 San Diego are riddled with problems: they can’t run the ball without LT, they can’t pass block, they put barely any pressure on the opposition quarterback, they’re faltered in the redzone and mediocre quarterbacks are picking apart their secondary. The only reason they’re winning is because Philip Rivers is making big time plays (330 yards/game and 14 20+ yard plays) and dragging the rest of this franchise with him. Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers
11 Chicago Bears 2-1 up2 The Hester-Cuter connection is starting to gel improving which is fortunate because Matt Forte just isn’t getting it done right now, but without Brian Urlacher the Bears have given up 70 yards and 2 TDs to Willis McGahee and an inexcusable 98 yards to Julius Jones. Up Next: Detroit Lions
12 Tennessee Titans 0-3 down1 I hate to be repetitive but Tennessee are missing Haynesworth badly and yet they persist in pressuring with just 4 men. This is insane; it isn’t working and their secondary is being picked apart because of it. Kerry Collins’ arm is degrading badly and they just don’t have the firepower to overcome the defecit they faced in this game. Up Next: @Jacksonville Jaguars
13 Atlanta Falcons 2-1 up2 I previously talked about how the Falcons are a solid side but don’t have the talent on defense to hang with the big boys. Well, after New England handled them easily it looks like #13 will be Atlanta’s ceiling in 2009. Up Next: BYE
14 Dallas Cowboys 2-1 - Dallas led the league in sacks last year and possess the definition of the sack artist in DeMarcus Ware (20 sacks in 2008), so they would of taken some solace from managing their first 3 of the year against one of the best o-lines in the league. I still get the feeling this division is going to run away from them post-Thanksgiving. Up Next: @Denver Broncos
15 Houston Texans 1-2 down3 Everyone is piling on the Texans for their weakness against the run but it’s more a propensity to give up the big play. Without his 61 yarder, MJD posted figures of just 58 from 22 which indicate the Texans aren’t actually THAT bad. With that being said, you can’t excuse or erase the 4 huge plays that have crippled them in the last 2 games. Up Next: Carolina Panthers
16 Minnesota Vikings 3-0 down1 I don’t like Brett Favre, I don’t rate the current iteration of Brett Favre and I hate Minnesota’s philosophy and management (see their total abandoment of the run, and hence the biggest home run threat in the league, for evidence of why Brad Childress needs ousting), but THAT was a big time throw. San Francisco are decent, but Minnesota’s first real test of the season occurs next week. Up Next: Green Bay Packers
17 San Francisco 49ers 2-1 up1 The run came to an end in every sense of the phrase as 2-0 becomes 2-1, and Frank Gore reverted to broken and ineffective. Glen Coffee is inexperienced but his preseason form indicates he should suffice for the 2 games that Frank Gore will likely miss. Up Next: @St. Louis Rams
18 Seattle Seahawks 1-2 down1 Those throwback uniforms were pretty guarish but forget the good old days of the AFL, Seattle are having a throwback to 2008 with their current injury situation. If Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and their o-line can’t stay healthy, then Seattle looks like a distinctly average 7-9 team. Come to think of it, 7-9 might well win this division it’s that bad. Up Next: @Indianapolis Colts
19 Arizona Cardinals 1-2 up1 When your top corner has a rough night against Peyton Manning you should expect a hiding. It was a closer game than the 31-10 score indicates, but a blown defensive pass interference call in the redzone and a costly Tim Hightower fumble (the 3rd fumble from an Arizona back in the last 2 games) are mere excuses on a night the weak Cardinal line was exposed by Indianapolis’ pass rush and Kurt Warner was hassled all game. They’re also very one dimensional and lack any sort of interior run game. Up Next: BYE
20 Cincinnati Bengals 2-1 up3 This team would be 3-0 if not for that flukey Brandon Stokley play in the opener and they just about deserve their impressive record and burgeoning reputation. Cedric Benson has found a new lease of life and Carson Palmer is slowly shaking off the injury enforced rust that has plagued him the last two years. Not to mention a defense that leads the league in sacks and ranks 11th against the run. Up Next: @Cleveland Browns
21 Carolina Panthers 0-3 down2 Jake Delhomme may make some peachy throws every 8 attempts, but unfortunatley he’s a turnover machine at the moment. 2 interceptions against the Cowboys on Monday night – a badly underthrown deep ball and a miscommunication with Steve Smith – means that Carolina are already out of contentiaon for the NFC South. Up Next: BYE
22 Miami Dolphins 0-3 - It looks like Chad Pennington has aggravated the same shoulder that has undergon 2 surgeries in recent years and is done for the year, and possibly Sunday was the last time will see him as a starter in the NFL. The good news for Miami is that Chad Henne (their projected 2010 starter anyway) looked promising, if a little raw, whilst he was at the helm Sunday. Miami have created 1 turnover on the year and lack playmakers on either side of the ball. All that equates to constant capitulation in the redzone and a defense that has conceded 5 40+ yard plays, more than any other franchise in 2009. Up Next: Buffalo Bills
23 Washington Redskins 1-2 down2 Washington’s defeat was a self fulfilling prophecy. They suck, so people predicted they’ll succumb to the mighty Lions, they begin to think negatively and so they suck more, they suck more so are more likely to lose etc etc. Oh Washington. You’re in for a long few years because this franchise needs a major overhaul starting with head coach Jim Zorn (who refused to utilise his greatest asset Clinton Portis against one of the worst run defenses in the league), who may be relieved sometime this week. Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 1-2 up4 Jacksonville are performing above expectations, that is to say they’re playing football classed as mediocre as supposed to the garbage we expected of them, but they have to take advantage of a wounded Tennessee and the soft run of fixtures they have before a trip to the Jets in week 10 if they want to break even on the year. Up Next: Tennessee Titans
25 Buffalo Bills 1-2 - This line is pants and until they get their act together (should be possible sometime before 2014) Trent Edwards has no chance to open up a vertical offense that relies on 2 big play receivers in Lee Evans and TO. Their passing attack is paralysed so they’ll have to try and rely on the two headed monster of Lynch and Jackson they’ll deploy next week. Up Next: @Miami Dolphins
26 Denver Broncos 3-0 - It’s a sad endictment on the NFL when a team as bad as the Broncos are allowed to be 3-0, but with feast must come famine; Dallas, New England, San Diego, bye, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are their next 5 opponents before a softer game @Washington in week 10. Enjoy your week in the sun Denver, winter is setting in.  Up Next: Dallas Cowboys
27 Oakland Raiders 1-2 down3 JaMarcus Russell is redefining the word horrible week after week. When you watch an inept offense fail to move the ball on Denver, you really have to question what Pro Bowl calibre talent like Asomugha or Seymour were thinking when they inked their deals. Up Next: @Houston Texans
28 Kansas City Chiefs 0-3 up1 Dwayne Bowe’s unexpected no show hurt this team, but Larry Johnson is killing them. Here’s a few selected stats from the criplled Johnson: he averages 2.5 YPC, he has less yards than LeSean McCoy and Ricky Williams and he has just 6 100 yard games since his career year in 2006. Up Next: @Houston Texans
29 St Louis Rams 0-3 up1 3 of the bottom 4 teams made QB changes this week, but because of an engorged 6 year contract that the Rams ludicrously handed Marc Bulger it’s the least likely QB change to be permanent. There are a lot off good quarterbacks in the 2010 draft so Rams fans best get used to chanting “go Bradford go” or “Clausen, Clausen he’s out man”. Up Next: @Philadelphia Eagles
30 Detroit Lions 1-2 up1 It wasn’t glorious, but Matt Stafford kept his turnover problems in check, Washington refused to run Clinton Portis all day, Kevin Smith bludgeoned his way to a magnificant 101 yards and Detroit got their first win since November 2007. Up Next: Green Bay Packers
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-3 down4 Could they beat the Rams or Lions? Probably, but they way they didn’t even bother showing up (Ward had a YPC of .4 against his old side, whilst Tampa totalled a pitiful 86 yards all day. 36 of which was garbage time for Johnson) was a disgrace and warrents their relegation to #31. The hyper athletic Josh Johnson was the forgotten man in the offseason quarterback shuffle, but he was named the starter on Monday so expect a lot of shotgun snaps and erratic throws from the second year starter. The interesting decision was to go with Johnson and not Freeman; Freeman has all the physical tools to be a starting QB so I guess this is an indication that he’s still fumbling about with the offensive scheme and Tampa’s resistance to throwing fresh meat to the wolves. Up Next: @Washington Redskins
32 Cleveland Browns 0-3 - Cleveland look bad. 0-16 sort of bad. And not 1-19 ‘good’ like the Lions, 19 straight losses should be a doddle for a team without a healthy tail back, a Red Sea like aversion to opposition running backs and no starting quarterback. Up Next: More Pain

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 4.