2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6 | Total Pro Sports
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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

by: AnthonyP On  Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

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Total Pro Sports – When I sat down to write the TPS Power Rankings for week 6 I was looking for ‘the word’. The one word that I could start this whole shebang off with to encapsulate what an epic week of football we’ve just had. Regular adjectives, like your ‘sensationals’ or ‘amazings’ seem overplayed and meaningless, and besides, not all of week 6 was great. Kerry Collins for example played one of the most miserable games of football I’ve ever seen, humiliating himself to the tune of 2 completions for -7 yards, an INT and a fumble. I’m sure Titans’ fans will tell you his pick was the product of the snowy field not giving him the purchase he expected, but from an objective standpoint it’s obvious Collins’ arm has diminished sharply the last couple weeks and under throws are now common place in his game. I’d actually fancy Vince Young to start next week if he hadn’t have come on in the second half and thrown an even more hideous INT.

But anyway, we digress, the word I’m looking for needs to encompass the lows (Collins, the Redskins’ capitulation or the Giants doing their best Detroit impression on defense) but also nod towards the gargantuan statistical performances that players put up this week. There were 8 300 yard passers with Ben Roethlisberger leading the pack with 417 yards (the NFL averaged 4 a week over the first 5 weeks). Drew Brees and Matt Schaub probably felt pretty confident their 4 TD efforts would secure them week 6 accolades until Brady went ballistic and chucked 6. But it wasn’t just the quarterbacks that got in on the act; 26 players either rushed or received for over 100 yards. Barring some ABC-esqe global phenomenon that has given you precognitive reading abilities I wrote the week 6 power rankings. Did I find my word? No. But excuse me if I was too busy engorging myself on the monumental week of football that was week 6 in the NFL to read a thesaurus. In fact, you need to stop reading. Watch the game replays. All of them. Skip your mother’s funeral just to see Mark Sanchez implode. Leave the barking dog in the burning house if it means you can experience Tom Brady murdering the Titans again. Go. Now. Watch!

Player of the Week

Ben Roethlisberger – This was a tough one; 400 yard passers, 6 TD efforts and of course Thomas Jones getting things going for the first time this year with a gruelling 210 yards. But I’m going to give it to Big Ben. Okay his 23/35, 417 yard, 2 TD effort was against the lowly Browns, but Roethlisberger has really stepped his game up in 2009. It’s hard to believe a man with 2 Super Bowl rings before 30 can ‘step his game up’ but his personal role in the Steeler offense was as the facilitator, the general who marched them down the field before Jerome Bettis capped the drive and stole Ben’s glory. But with the decline of the Steelers’ run game in recent seasons, more and more emphasis has been put on Roethlisberger to transition to the game breaker. The go getter. A player who can escalate a game beyond the opposition’s reach in the matter of a quarter. We all know about his powerful frame, all-star arm and his ability to lock his eyes downfield whilst evading pressure, but in what will be a career year for the 5th season starter, we’ve been introduced to a much more ruthless and dangerous proposition under center for the black and gold.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

DeMeco Ryans – Adrian Peterson is almost an underrated commodity these days because 100 yard days have become the norm. They’re not. Adrian Peterson is the exception to the rule, the Freak, and one of the most talented runners of all time. I can eulogise about Chris Johnson in a similar fashion, and the way he ran in the snow (particularly impressive for a guy whose game is built on multiple cuts) was exceptional, but what people aren’t waking up to is how hard Cedric Benson has played in 2009. 3rd in rushing and averaging 4.2 YPC he’s on course for a 1300 yard season, so where does DeMeco Ryans come in? Well Ryans was the defining factor in putting the brakes on Benson’s charge this Sunday, allowing the red hot back just 44 yards on his 16 carries. Houston have been underrated against the run this year because they can be guaranteed to give up 1 or 2 huge plays each week. It pads out the box score, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Sunday however was a different proposition as DeMeco Ryans played with a fire in his stomach as he aggressively attacked his blockers and showed freakish sideline to sideline range that nullified Benson and totalled 12 tackles on the day. Ryans is a special player who has a god given talent for picking his way through traffic, and ending Ced Ben’s hot streak is another feather in the cap of one of the premier middle linebackers in the NFL.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downThe Titans continue to plummit as the schedule excuse wears thin. Down 8 last week, they now slide another 7 and find themselves deservedly milling around the bottom feed of the NFL.

upThe Vikings beat real competition and solidify their place 8 slots higher at 4, whilst the Broncos continue to sail against the wind and climb 9 slots to #15.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 6:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 New Orleans Saints 5-0 up3 You beat the best, you got to be the best. Drew Brees is playing on another planet right now – he vacationed there last year and thought it worth a return visit – and whilst their defense isn’t the shutdown unit that most teams who have dominated football in the modern era boasted, it does its job and gets King Brees on the field. Up Next: @Miami Dolphins
2 Indianapolis Colts 5-0 up3 BYE WEEK Up Next: @St. Louis Rams
3 New York Giants 5-1 down2 I’ve called Eli Manning out this year for playing really streaky football but he rectified this Sunday by just playing consistently bad football. Brandon Jacobs should also take a long look at his recent levels of performance. Jacobs has spent more time on the sideline nursing ‘game injuries’ than playing, is yet to break 100 yards in 2009 and actually saw fewer carries than Ahmad Bradshaw on Sunday (7 vs 10). New York needs you Brandon! Up Next: Arizona Cardinals
4 Minnesota Vikings 6-0 up8 I still think this is a very 1 dimensional offense, despite what ESPN may have you believe, but it just so happens that that dimension has 600+ yards and more TDs than the Cleveland Browns. Brett Favre pulled out his second huge clutch play of the year, but there were still a few errant throws that need to be ironed out if… dare I say it? The Super Bowl is to come to Minnesota. Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers
5 Philadelphia Eagles 3-2 down3 Getting brutalised by the Raiders is never good, but by the end of the game Oakland were dropping deep and overwhelming Donovan McNabb with pure numbers in the secondary. Where was the balance? It had been a pretty quiet week for Brian Westbrook on the injury front and then you give him 6 carries. Eh? Up Next: @Washington Redskins
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 4-2 - Pittsburgh are primed for a resurgance. They outclassed Cleveland in every area and with Rashard Mendenhall’s emergance, Ben Roethlisberger’s maturation and the return of Troy Polamalu the Vikings need to be at the top of their game because Pittsburgh are coming, and they’re looking for blood. Up Next: Minnesota Vikings
7 Baltimore Ravens 3-3 down4 Baltimore put up an admirable fight and will be encouraged by the way Ray Rice is settling into a reliable 3 down back after an inconsistent start as Baltimore’s number 1. More concerning is a formerly Baltimore D that looks hesitant in pursuit, lethargic in coverage and has allowed 21 or more points on 4 of 6 occasions this year. After 3 losses on the bounce, it’s time for a bye week rethink. Up Next: BYE
8 Green Bay Packers 3-2 down1 They shutout the Lions for whatever that’s worth, but it was a Lions’ offense suiting up sans the Stafford-Johnson connection and Green Bay relied on a few key 3rd down stops to bail them out on potential scoring drives after sluggish 2 down work. Up Next: @Cleveland Browns
9 New England Patriots 4-2 - I fancy my chances of handling Tennessee’s horrible pass rush right now, but you have to credit the much maligned New England line for finally giving Tom Brady a chance to drop back, chill out and take his shots. The results were self evident. Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers IN LONDON
10 Atlanta Falcons 4-1 up1 The Atlanta Falcons: kings of the bubble. In the showdown of borderline top 10 NFL talent Atlanta came out on top, outpointing the Bears 21-14 but here’s a weird stat for you. In a game featuring Michael Turner and Matt Forte – two of the hottest breakout stars of 2008 – it was Jay Cutler who came out on top of the rushing battle. He led this game with 30 yards on 3 carries. What the hell has happened to Turner and Forte? And why isn’t Turner and Forte a daytime law sitcom? Up Next: @Dallas Cowboys
11 San Diego Chargers 2-3 down1 I really thought San Diego would be the team to halt Denver’s march, but no such luck as they fell on Monday night to a resounding 34-23 dumping. Philip Rivers has historically ‘found his guy’ so far this season and zeroed in on him for a huge game, but on Monday night I thought the Denver pass rush did just enough to throw him off rhythm, forcing San Diego into a 2 loss cold snap. Up Next: @Kansas City Chiefs
12 New York Jets 3-3 down4 I talked about the over-confident swagger that developed after 4 electric drives to open the game against Tennessee and how the Jets faded badly after those drives, eeked out the win and could do with grounding themselves with their solid conservative gameplan. At what point on the way to the AFC Championship game was Joe Flacco hurling it about like he was Peyton Manning teaching high schoolers? So why is Mark Sanchez making speculative throws that more often than not nestled in the oppositions’ gloves? KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Up Next: @Oakland Raiders
13 Chicago Bears 3-2 - The only scenario more annoying than being a franchise quarterback away from Super Bowl contention is having a franchise quarterback and then seeing the rest of your team regress and falter from their 2008 excellance. I know Brian Urlacher is on IR, but where is Matt Forte? Anyone? Up Next: BYE
14 Cincinnati Bengals 4-1 - The Bengals have a point differential of exactly 0 (New England per say are on +72) so it was inevitable they’d eventually come up short and see their luck run out. Possibly surprisingly (possibly not) it was against the Jekyll and Hyde Texans on Sunday, but as leaders of the AFC North and owners of a 3-0 road record, I don’t have the heart to move them down. Up Next: Chicago Bears
15 Denver Broncos 6-0 up9 Elvis Dumervil is having a career year as his 2 sacks on Monday night took him to 10 in the first 6 contests, projecing out to 26 for the year, which makes him on course to beat Michael Strahan’s league record of 22.5. Last year as a pure outside linebacker in the 4-3 he managed just 5. Talk about system making a man, and talk about system making a defense. Denver are playing really good ball. Up Next: BYE
16 Houston Texans 3-3 up1 I know that teams watch tape of the previous game until their eyes bleed, but can we make sure the Texans aren’t slacking off. This Houston. This is what you need to do each week. Keep your opponent in check, get the ball in your offense’s hands and give Matt Schaub the freedom to open up the arsenal. Now, watch the tape and repeat. Or go and totally forget it ever happened and get trounced by the 49ers like you inevitably will. Oh Houston, why do you tease me so? Up Next: San Francisco 49ers
17 Dallas Cowboys 2-3 down2 BYE WEEK Up Next: Atlanta Falcons
18 San Francisco 49ers 2-2 down2 BYE WEEK Up Next: @Houston Texans
19 Arizona Cardinals 3-2 down1 The NFC West is so weak that one big result like the Cards’ 27-3 tussle with the Seahawks can change its complexion in an afternoon. Offensively Larry Fitzgerald’s 13 catch 100 yard effort will steal the spotlight, but I loved how gritty Arizona’s front 7 played. They got after Matt Hasselbeck with greater rapacity and suffocated Seattle to just 12 total rush yards, in a performance reminiscent of their 08 playoff run. Up Next: @New York Giants
20 Miami Dolphins 0-5 up1 BYE WEEK Up Next: New Orleans Saints
21 Seattle Seahawks 2-4 down2 Seattle have a good team, but they just can’t get any consitency going thanks to a revolving door at the medical room. Matt Hasselbeck’s back is going to bother him for the rest of his career. Fact. Tough. Put up with it. And now they lose Lofa Tatupu for the season, exposing them to a run heavy division. Send your get well soon cards to Seattle Front Office, Qwest Stadium… Up Next: BYE
22 Carolina Panthers 2-3 - Last week I wanted to highlight how spritely Jonathan Stewart looked as he tried to piece back together some semblence of a career from the ashes of injury. This week Tampa also wanted to highlight Jonathan Stewart… and DeAngelo Williams… to the tune of 110 and 152 yards. Hmm… Today I want to highlight how utterley abysmal Tampa’s front 7 is, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours as grocery baggers because football just ain’t their thing. Up Next: Buffalo Bills
23 Buffalo Bills 2-4 up3 Trent Edwards has always had a history of concussions, and his incident Sunday marked the second of his season. Trent Edwards has also had a history of throwing a terrible deep ball and skittish pocket behaviour so maybe it is time for Buffalo to see what Ryan Fitzpatrick has for a game. On second thought, maybe not… Up Next: @Carolina Panthers
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 3-3 up1 Team 3 Name Jam might of huffed and puffed as they ‘vanquished’ the worst team in the NFL, but they gave Maurice Jones-Drew a little room with the passing game (Mike Sims-Walker consumed 9 for 132) and 33 carries and they won. So why has MJD only been fed the ball 21, 13, 23, 6 and 12 times in the last 6 contests. Oh because you like to lose? That makes sense. Up Next: BYE
25 Kansas City Chiefs 1-5 up2 Kansas escaped Washington with a win thanks to the Redskins’ ineptness, but I still saw major flaws across this football team. Matt Cassel both doesn’t have the time to look comfortable in the pocket, and when he does he doesn’t (that makes sense, trust me) whilst the ‘front 7′ couldn’t even stop Clinton Portis who is the epitomy of a guy mailing it in right now. Up Next: San Diego Chargers
26 Washington Redskins 2-4 down3 Jim Zorn won’t be calling the offensive plays for the rest of the year, which I guess contradicts everything the Redskins preached about giving Jason Campbell consitency in the pre-season, but why is no one questioning the fact that Albert Haynesworth seem to be consuming $100 million of oxygen on the sideline every other play, and not $100 million worth of QB ass like he should be. Okay… that sounded more wrong than it should of. Up Next: Philadelphia Eagles
27 Tennessee Titans 0-6 down7 Tom Brady’s TD total for 1 quarter was higher than Kerry Collins’ passer rating. Snow. Backup QBs. 59-0. Get the picture? The big problem is that their offense isn’t very versatile (see Johnson, Chris) and their backup QB sucks, meaning there really isn’t much they can do other than sit on their hands and wait for their top 10 draft pick in 2010. Up Next: BYE
28 Oakland Raiders 2-4 up1 If there was a day to play the Eagles it was last Sunday, but you have to give the Raiders credit; they ground one out as Justin ‘career backup’ Fargas posted a serviceable 23 for 87 yard effort, and JaMarcus Russell completed 17 passes. To put that in context; 12 was his season high before today. Progress? Errr… no. Up Next: @Green Bay Packers
29 Detroit Lions 1-5 down1 I’m giving the Lions a pass for this one. Let the record books read 26-0 and *. The * denoting the lack of Stafford and CJ, even if in reality this killed Detroit’s quasi-momentum after enjoying a 1-1 “hot streak”. Up Next: BYE
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-6 - It took a last minute 1 yard TD run to beat them, but in reality it was the other 46 runs, 262 yards and 2 TDs that really destroyed Tampa on Sunday. Talk is that Josh Johnson will get one last game in London, because post-bye this is Josh Freeman’s team to navigate. Up Next: New England Patriots IN LONDON
31 Cleveland Browns 1-5 up1 There’s only so many times you can lament bad teams like Cleveland for pitiful pass rushes, poor quarterback play and countless dropped passes, so I want to start focusing on what these terrible teams can do to rectify this in the offseason. Cleveland would be well served to cut ties with Mangini who has already lost the lockeroom, but with that unlikely (almost as unlikely as Shaun Rogers hanging around for 2010) Mangini is going to go after ‘his guy’ and if that isn’t Chad Pennington (wildcard, I know) then expect the top quarterback prospect (Oklahoma’s immaculate Sam Bradford or Notre Dame’s man of the moment  Jimmy Clausen) to be suiting up in Brown for 2010. Up Next: Green Bay Packers
32 St Louis Rams 0-6 down1 The Rams are in a similar boat when it comes to the 2010 offseason. They had too much money tied up in Marc Bulger to court Mark Sanchez too voraciously, but you can expect the skirt to be fully hitched for whoever emerges as the top prospect between Clausen and Bradford, as Steve Spagnulo also looks to get ‘his guy’. Up Next: Indianapolis Colts

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 7.