Fan Honors The Vikings 5-0 Start With A Brett Favre Firebird
2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5
Total Pro Sports – After a one week hiatus for the TPS Power Rankings we return and not only do we bring shiny new week 5 rankings, but also a world of change; receivers with new homes, big time injuries, 6 beatdowns, 2 lots of overtime and one of the most uninspiring matchups in the history of the NFL.
I really want to dedicate a little extra time to the atrocities that took place on the 11th of October 2009 at Ralph Wilson Stadium between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. Every now and again two defensive mammoths like Pittsburgh and Baltimore lock horns and cancel each other out in taxing field goal fests, but I struggle to remember a time when a game has finished 6-3 not because of crippling D, but because of total offensive ineptness on either sides of the ball. And the most insane thing is that the team that played worse offense won! The Cleveland Browns are a shambles right now and I don’t think Chansi Stuckey and special team linebackers are going to stop them from drafting #1 overall in 2010′s draft. Taxi for Mangini.
Player of the Week
Miles Austin – If you’re reading this Mr. Austin, well done. You played a fantastic game and your 11 for 250 yards, 2 TD effort is the statistically greatest in franchise history, but I’m not convinced. Miles Austin is a big play guy with a great ability to get deep despite his towering frame, but he doesn’t have the consistency to be Romo’s guy week in week out.
Under the Radar Performance of the Week
Sammy Morris – This is less a week 5 ‘Under the Radar’ candidate, and more a nod towards a player who has carved a niche for picking up the slack when the rest of the New England stable (it is very much a stable these days) has perennially slipped. He had just 13 carries on the year going into Sunday and played just once in the preseason, but he didn’t miss a beat in replacing the sidelined Fred Taylor; 17 for 68 hard fought yards and 39 yards on 2 receptions to boot. Sammy Morris is a needed cog in the wounded Meadowlands machine.
The Biggest Movers and Shakers
I kept the faith as long as possible but there comes a point where I run out of excuses. I mused preseason about a possible 0-5 start and the demoralising effect it could have on the Titans, and I guess we’re about to find out, because it’s a reality. Tennessee sink 8.
The Bengals are playing lights out right now and they have two very winnable games before their bye. With Baltimore throwing away games and Pittsburgh faltering the Bengals actually have a shot at winning the division, and whilst they’re still ranked 3rd among AFC North teams, they do move up 6 places.
Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 5:
|1||5-0||-||Maybe parity is giving the illusion of weakness, but there really aren’t many dominant teams in the NFL right now. So in a world of dissapointment and cataclysmic face plants, the Giants’ humbling of Oakland shouldn’t be sniffed at. Ahmad Bradshaw has looked scintillating all year and he broke out big time with 165 total yards and 2 TDs. Up Next: @New Orleans Saints|
|2||3-1||-||Tampa are getting handled by everyone these days so all eyes was on how healthy Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook looked after injury enforced benchings.. Up Next: BYE|
|3||3-2||-||Cedric Benson and the Cincinnati Bengals just played a masterful game against the Baltimore Ravens… what bizarre alternate reality have I woken up in? Up Next: @Minnesota Vikings|
|4||4-0||1||BYE WEEK. Up Next: New York Giants|
|5||5-0||1||Indianapolis are starting to really pick up a head of steam and look more like the side of mid-2000s that got to 10-0 with minimal effort. They’ve effectively wrapped up the division, with Jacksonville and Houston struggling for form, and Tennessee just plain bad. Rest easy Indy. Up Next: BYE|
|6||3-2||2||Pittsburgh look like the fat kid at camp who’s huffing and puffing trying to keep up with the pack. They’re looking much more liberal on offense (Big Ben was 23 of 30 for 277 yards) but maybe that’s because this defense is a bit of a lame duck right now. Up Next: Cleveland Browns|
|7||2-2||1||BYE WEEK Up Next: Baltimore Ravens|
|8||3-2||1||They might of lost against Miami but with a developing Braylon Edwards in place and looking like the dynamic aerial threat they needed, Jericho Cotchery carving a reputation as one of the better possession receiver in the league and Calvin Pace back in their front 7, expect a second wind as the Jets push for the playoffs. Up Next: Buffalo Bills|
|9||3-2||2||Wes Welker is perhaps the best antidote to pass blocking problems there is (believe me, it’s these problems are looking terminal right now), but left tackle Matt Light made a nasty mess of his left knee and if he misses any game time then Tom Brady’s blindside is going to be the property of right ends up and down the National Football League. Up Next: Tennessee Titans|
|10||2-2||-||BYE WEEK Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers|
|11||3-1||2||The 49ers have been really tough on defense these last few weeks so to put on this sort of show is impressive from a developing Falcons offense. I’ve critiqued them so far for not stepping up in the big games and next week’s clash against the Bears is a good chance to flex their playoff credentials. Up Next: Detroit Lions|
|12||5-0||4||Has the world gone insane? In a recent NFL.com poll the Vikings were voted the best 5-0 team in the NFL. Yeah, they’re 5-0, but 3 of those wins were against the league’s 3 worst teams and the fourth was a last minute hail mary. Realism people. Up Next: Baltimore Ravens|
|13||3-1||2||BYE WEEK Up Next: BYE|
|14||4-1||6||The Bengals are hot right now and it’s off the back of a solid defense a tremendous run game. WHAT?! Cats and dogs, living together. They have two sticky upcoming games against Houston and Chicago, but if they make it to their bye unscathed then they have a legitimate shot at winning the AFC North. Up Next: Houston Texans|
|15||3-2||1||Marion Barber may be playing but similar to 2008 he’s playing hurt and that means an unproductive Cowboy offense. Tashard Choice performed adequatley as Barber struggled to 15 for 53 but his legs went dead on contact numerous times and Dallas can count themselves lucky that Miles Austin bailed them out. Up Next: BYE|
|16||3-2||1||Nobody is trying to claim that Mike Singletary is Tony Dungy 2.0. He’s a man manager and he’s doing a fantastic job in that role in his first real year in charge. But… you have to question his use of time outs. He called a defensive huddle only to see his unit give up a huge TD pass on the next play, and then had to burn a second because Glen Coffee was too busy celebrating to realise his team hadn’t actually scored. Football players don’t just dissapear, and when a winnable challenge was in the offing the lack of timeouts gave Singletary little rebuttle. Up Next: BYE|
|17||2-3||2||The Texans have 11 holes on their team, but only 10 fingers to plug them. They managed to stop being carved up by big run plays, but at the cost of their secondary as Kurt Warner bullied them to the tune of 302 yards. This is an 8-8 season, I can feel it. Up Next: @Cincinnati Bengals|
|18||2-2||1||Arizona have looked like lost puppies the last few weeks so when Houston got their game game faces on and posted a 21 point rebuke the Cardinals showed character not to crumble. Seattle probably can’t stop Warner (who is rehabbing his hip as he plays, and is visibly loosening each week) so Arizona will fancy their chances to build momentum. Up Next: @Seattle Seahawks|
|19||2-3||1||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|
|20||0-5||8||I kept the faith with Tennessee for as long as I could. They’ve showed glimpses of an expansive passing game that wasn’t there last year and Chris Johnson still looks a touchdown threat on every touch, but Jeff Fisher’s stuborness in refusing to scheme his front 7 in a post-Haynesworth is leaving his secondary out to dry. Against Peyton Manning, that’s suicide. Up Next: @New England Patriots|
|21||2-3||1||I called Chad Henne “raw but promising” after his first two performances so it was good to see him really mature into the franchise quarterback role that’s his if he wants it for the next decade. Henne brings a skillset that the Pennington-era Dolphins haven’t had; a big time arm and massive frame that can survive pressure in the pocket. With that cannon in the pocket, Ted Ginn Jr may be about to shine as the home run hitter that Miami thought they drafted. Up Next: BYE|
|22||1-3||1||I liked how spritley Jonathan Stewart looked in this game. Rush yards were scarce for Carolina as Washington shut lanes down quickly, but for a guy who has deallt with a niggling injury all year his 10 for 39, 1 TD effort was an encouraging sign. Up Next: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|23||2-3||-||The Redskins blew a 17-2 lead against the Panthers, and whilst Skins fans will point to a contentious officiating call that saw them turn the ball over on a fumbled punt, the bottom line is that whilst the defense is doing a decent job, it just has no support from a fragile Jason Campbell and half-hearted Clinton Portis. Up Next: Kansas City Chiefs|
|24||5-0||2||The Broncos still have a very tough schedule ahead of them, but their performance against New England made a lot of people (including myself) eat some crow. They’re not playing like they did at times last year, but hey, they’ve got 5 wins. Only 3 less than an apparently better offense managed last season. Up Next: @San Diego Chargers|
|25||2-3||1||Jacksonville got totally blown out in this one thanks to recurring pass protection problems and the unfortunate suspending of their hottest offensive weapon Mike Sims Walker late on gameday for carring contraband onto Jaguar camp. 41 long points later and Jacksonville were sent home licking their wounds. Up Next: St. Louis Rams|
|26||1-4||1||When the Browns can hassle your quarterback then your front 5 really needs to question their own mortality. They just can’t move the ball whilst this offensive line is as porous as it is right now, and because of its incompetance Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards are watching their jobs slip away. Up Next: @New York Jets|
|27||0-5||1||Matt Cassel may have hurled 41 passes but he only connected on a measley 23 of them and got no support from his run game. When Larry Johnson gives you just 37 yards at a YPC of 1.8, how do you only give a multi-dimensional back like Jamaal Charles 2 and 3 carries in consecutive games? Up Next: @Washington Redskins|
|28||1-4||2||Previous to ‘The Win’ Detroit were less Lions, and more kittens tied up in a bag being thrown over a bridge. Whilst they’re still floundering at the bottome of the lake, they made things tough for Pittsburgh but eventually got out muscled by the red hot Ben Roethlisberger. I think Detroit will win another game this year, and I think critically, they also believe they will… but just not next week. No. Green Bay are going to kill them. Up Next: @Green Bay Packers|
|29||1-4||2||If any good is to come out of Darren McFadden’s likely 6 week layoff, it’s that Michael Bush will get his chance to shine. For the last two seasons Bush has secretly been the best offensive weapon in the silver and black, combining punchy interior running and delicate hands out of the backfield. I really hopes he get’s heard above the Oakland malaise, and 12 for 37 and a TD is a nice start. Up Next: Philadelphia Eagles|
|30||0-5||1||You don’t put the ball in the hands of a raw quarterback in his second start 50 times and expect to do well. But you can’t not throw when your defense surrenders 3 TDs in the first half. Now that’s a headache, and rumblings are beginning to surface about whether Raheem Morris is the guy to deal with it. Up Next: Carolina Panthers|
|31||0-5||2||The Rams have all but given up and it’s a shame because Kyle Boller isn’t doing a terrible job and Steven Jackson is staying healthy (call the Vatican). Up Next: @Washington Redskins|
|32||1-4||-||How can you be win so badly that an admirable loss the previous week looks like a more attractive proposition? You can when Derek Anderson completes 2 of 17 passes, your punter is your best player and a gaf on special teams gifts you the win. That’s how. Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers|
Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 6.