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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

by: AnthonyP On  Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Vikings Steelers FootballWeek: | Pre | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Total Pro Sports – Hardly an iconic week of NFL action, just a lot of really good teams beating up on the bad, but mingled in with best and the worst were a few interesting developments. Kansas City bench Larry Johnson for calling a Twit-pic “f*g”, Josh Freeman will start in Tampa, whilst Alex Smith will start in San Francisco because Shaun Hill… erm… yeah I’m not sure why you’d bench Hill when his only role was to hand off the ball to Frank Gore and bring consitency to a limited 49ers offense. But anyway, Smith actually looked pretty good in the second half against Houston and at least Mike Singletary is being definitive in his quarterback contests. Eric Mangini and Jeff Fisher on the other hand, less so. Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson. Kerry Collins, Vince Young. It’s a coin toss really. None of the four have looked particcularly impressed in their outings so far, but critically I think that if any of them are to turn around the fortunes of their beleagured franchises (at least in 2009) it’ll be the incumbent starters.

Player of the Week

Calvin Pace – Pace was an absolute monster on his second game since returning from a suspension that kept him out of contention for the opening 4 contests. A constant threat in the back field, he set the edge well against the run and displayed spectacular pass rush moves en route to 7 tackles, 3 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. If a wasp and a rhino had sex, Pace is their offspring.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Alex Smith – He only got a half of football, but it looks like it was enough to earn him a more permanent front and centre role in this 49ers offense. Smith busted because his college game was based on athleticism and a specific system making him look very good. Collegiate athleticism is eradicated when you make the step up (ask Reggie Bush) and prolific shotgun spread offenses are irrelevant in the world of 5 step drops and ball hawk safeties. But… Smith looked much calmer and prepared to take what the defense gave him instead of forcing ball on Sunday and I’m really interested to see if time away from the spotlight has retuned his shaky mechanics.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downThe Bears got absolutley crushed and drop 5 slots. Devin Hester has developed well, but he’s still not the dominant number 1 safety blanket that Brandon Marshall provided Cutler in Denver and the run game is at a stand still right now as Matt Forte suffers a nightmare sophmore campaign.

upThe Bengals crack the top 10 after demolishing the Bears, whilst Pittsburgh surge 3 spots after ending the undefeated run of Northern contemporaries Minnesota.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 7:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 New Orleans Saints 6-0 - This was a spectacular game. Critics might point out how New Orleans’ were porous when facing the wildcat, or how when faced by pressure (5 sacks) Drew Brees coughed up 3 picks and struggled early to connect deep, but I think this is the sort of victory that could really galvanise the Saints’ squad. Showing the mental toughness to comeback from 24-3 down is the mark of a champion; Peyton’s done similar many a time, Tom Brady’s has only been defeated in overtime once and Ben Roethlisberger will point to his last minute game winning drive in the Super Bowl. What do all those teams have? Super Bowl rings. I’m just saying. Up Next: Atlanta Falcons
2 Indianapolis Colts 6-0 - The Colts could do whatever they wanted en route to a 42-6 thumping of the lowly Rams. Indy aren’t running the ball well – Joseph Addai looked particularly sluggish in his cuts as he amassed a sloppy 20 for 64 in a game he really should have dominated – and they weren’t helped by the fact that their most dynamic threat out of the backfield Donald Brown was withdrawn early thanks to a busted shoulder that may see him miss multiple weeks. Up Next: San Francisco 49ers
3 Pittsburgh Steelers 5-2 up3 Me, me, me. I mentioned last week that the Steelers have the goods to put the Favre show to bed and 27 points later the Minnesotan dream is dead. The Steelers rolled back the years and harried Favre all day through creative blitz packages and all round talent. Yes the Steelers have been off the boil the last few weeks (arguably all season) but there undergoing a bit of a renaissance now, and considering 2009 has already taught them they can play offense, the rest of the NFL should be put on notice. Up Next: BYE
4 New York Giants 5-2 down1 After riding high for the first 5 weeks of the season, the defeat to New Orleans has knocked New York off their game. The normally dependable Giants’ line couldn’t handle a ravenous Cardinal defense, and this offense has been weirdly off key for the last few matchups. Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers
5 Philadelphia Eagles 4-2 - Philadelphia looked pretty sloppy beating the Redskins 27-17, relying on a pair of huge DeSean Jackson plays (including a crazy end-around handoff) and Jason Campbell’s ineptness to overcome a side in freefall. Injuries dominated the landscape of this game; Brian Westbrook took a knee to the head and is being treated for a suspected concussion. A nasty injury he won’t be rushed back from. Up Next: New York Giants
6 Minnesota Vikings 6-1 down2 I can point out that 2 of their 6 victories came from last minute Hail Marys, or that 3 came against teams classified as ‘diminished in stature’ (read: abysmal), but Minnesota really announced themselves as a legitimate playoff contender during their run. This is still a badly run organisation, but there is enough on field talent to likely push the Vikings to the NFC North title. Up Next: @Green Bay Packers
7 Baltimore Ravens 3-3 - BYE WEEK Up Next: Denver Broncos
8 Green Bay Packers 4-2 - Yeah… the Browns are really, really bad, and Aaron Rodgers is maturing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league when given the time. Unfortunately this was perhaps the first time all season Rodgers wasn’t harangued by defensive lineman for 60 minutes all year. Are the Browns so bad they can’t even trouble Green Bay’s porous line, or have the Packers turned a corner in their protection woes? Up Next: Minnesota Vikings
9 New England Patriots 5-2 - Wes Welker has refocused this offense and worked wonders for Tom Brady’s mental/physical rehabilitation. I accept that the Tampa Bay pass rush is far from a challenge, but I thought the Patriots line looked solid in pass protection. They still struggle to open running lanes, but I’m wavering in my criticism of that aspect of their game because Laurence Maroney has become one of the most erratic players in recent memory and would make any line look lackadaisical at times. Up Next: BYE
10 Cincinnati Bengals 5-2 up4 Cincinnati are handling serious opposition with relative ease right now, and will take a well earned week’s rest to regroup and refocus their efforts to wrestle AFC North glory from the clutches of a resurgent Pittsburgh. Up Next: BYE
11 Denver Broncos 6-0 up4 BYE WEEK Up Next: @Baltimore Ravens
12 New York Jets 4-3 - After a rollercoaster opening 7 weeks, the Jets are starting to settle into what they (should) do best; stout defense supporting a conservative run heavy offense. Nothing too fancy (Mark Sanchez attempted just 15 passes), just hardnosed football (Thomas Jones 26 for 121, Shonn Greene 19 for 144 and 2 TDs). On the injury front, the loss of Kris Jenkins has had a profound effect on the Jets’ front 7, whilst the loss of Leon Washington until playoff time (should they make it there) is untimely, hopefully it eradicates Rex Ryan’s use of New York’s frustrating and ineffectual wildcat offense. Grrrr! Gets my goat… or my wildcat even. Up Next: Miami Dolphins
13 San Diego Chargers 3-3 down2 San Diego have this weird knack of forgetting how to play red zone football every couple of games and this habit reared its ugly head again on Sunday. LT got stuffed numerous times at the goal-line and if it weren’t for Philip Rivers’ penchant for the big play (24 20+ yard plays, good for 5th in the NFL), this game may have been a little tighter. What am I saying, it’s the Chiefs. I could out-point them right now. Up Next: Oakland Raiders
14 Atlanta Falcons 4-2 down4 The Saints look a shoe in for 13 wins right now and unfortunately the Falcons know it. With Philadelphia likely to grab one NFC wildcard slot and the Packers chasing hard for the other, Atlanta looked a little lost on Sunday as their usually acerbic offense only showed up for 1 drive before mailing in a lacklustre performance. I’ve talked about Atlanta struggling when asked to make a step up in opposition; Dallas aren’t a step up. They’re just a team that Atlanta really should of beat. Up Next: @New Orleans Saints
15 Houston Texans 4-3 up1 I’ve said it all year: Houston doesn’t play the run that badly, they just give up costly big plays. Now I’ll admit that Frank Gore is the only entity more inconsistent and Jekyll and Hyde than the Texans themselves, but Houston were like a swarm at the point of contact and held the brute to 13 for 32 on way to a 24-21 victory that was more comfortable than the 3 point margin would indicate. Up Next: @Buffalo Bills
16 Arizona Cardinals 4-2 up3 The Cardinals’ D is starting to get cooking and put on another fantastic display against a mecurial Ginats’ offense. Anquan Boldin’s current high ankle injury woes have limited him to a possession guy at best, but fortunately Beanie Wells is getting acclimated to the NFL at just the right time, compiling a convincing 14 for 67 and 1 TD. Up Next: Carolina Panthers
17 Dallas Cowboys 4-2 - Dallas are a little bit like a leaky ship right now. Terrence Newman is mentally taking plays off, whilst their offense is bewilderingly generating yards thanks to a banged up running back corps and a group of receivers led not by a former first rounder who cost them multiple day 1 draft picks to acquire, but by an undrafted free agent who is a little bit tall, a little bit quick and a whole lot of awkward. I guess it works… right? Up Next: Seattle Seahawks
18 Chicago Bears 3-3 down5 Yes the Bengals are red hot right now and playing some of the best football in the league, but Chicago have to be disappointed with how this game turned out. Unable to stop the run or pass the Bears slipped 21 points behind by halfway through the second quarter, so now chasing the game they started to force the issue. Normally playing from behind is the gun slinging Jay Cutler’s chance to shine, note the normally because when he doesn’t thrive it gets extremely ugly. The more they forced the issue, the further they slipped behind, the further they fell behind, the more reckless their offense got, spiralling downwards until a garbage time touchdown put minimal gloss on a 45-10 drubbing. Up Next: Cleveland Browns
19 Miami Dolphins 2-4 up1 I mentioned that this comeback victory would be a galvanising moment for the Saints, but on the other side of the ball, blowing a 21 point lead has to be a crushing and demoralising sensation. They played good football until they asked their 4 game starter Chad Henne to throw, at which point he promptly found the waiting hands of Saints’ defensive backs who took two interceptions to the house. Miami will feel little consolation in being involved in the instant classic that this matchup was. Up Next: @New York Jets
20 San Francisco 49ers 3-3 down2 San Francisco started incredibly well, built off a defensive unit that led the league in many departments. Their defensive play has slipped and their pass rush is regressing to its sluggish 08 form, so instead of injecting life that side of the ball Mike Singletary is to give Alex Smith the reins at quarterback. With Crabtree returning and Josh Morgan starting to vindicate his inordinate preseason hype, you might see Singletary open up the playbook like he did in the second half, where – shocker – Smith didn’t look to bad; putting together a tight and efficient 15/22 for 206 yards and 3 scores. Watching him was like being stuck in some sort of weird twilight zone. Up Next: @Indianapolis Colts
21 Seattle Seahawks 2-4 - BYE WEEK Up Next: @Dallas Cowboys
22 Buffalo Bills 3-4 up1 The Bills still have woeful pass protection issues but with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm they’re somehow managing to get the ball to their receivers. Well… to a receiver. Namely Lee Evans who now has 2 TDs in as many games and is looking much more like the feast and famine guy that Bills fans adored and fantasy owners bemoaned. Up Next: Houston Texans
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 3-3 up1 BYE WEEK Up Next: @Tennessee Titans
24 Washington Redskins 2-5 up2 It’s weird that Albert Haynesworth should choose to publicly criticise his teammates; the man spends most of his time sucking down oxygen on the sidelines these days instead of playing his integral role in what is actually a pretty tough defense. Offensively however… the Redskins stink. It doesn’t matter who calls the plays because I doubt there are any plays in existence that will make this unit look good. Oh and they just lost Chris Cooley for the year to a broken leg; maybe the only offensive cog having a decent year. Up Next: BYE
25 Carolina Panthers 2-4 down3 Do you remember 2 years ago when Carolina were everyone’s preseason pick for the Super Bowl? Remember when Kris Jenkins clogged the inside and stopped the run like no one else in the league? Remember when Jake Delhomme didn’t consider 2 interceptions as a par day, or when Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t burning them deep for 50 yard scores? Hmm… better times. Up Next: @Arizona Cardinals
26 Kansas City Chiefs 1-6 down1 Larry Johnson had checked out long ago production wise, but it looks like the Chiefs will be utilising Jamaal Charles front and center after issuing an indefinite suspension on Johnson’s existence after he referred to a Twitter profile picture as “f*g”. If you’re struggling with that censorship think gay slur, if you’re struggling to see why any of this matters to an all round dismal Chiefs side; I agree. Up Next: BYE
27 Tennessee Titans 0-6 - BYE WEEK Up Next: Jacksonville Jaguars
28 Detroit Lions 2-4 up1 BYE WEEK Up Next: St. Louis Rams
29 Oakland Raiders 2-5 down1 After a TD costly fumble and a lollied pick on the ensuing drive, JaMarcus Russell was benched in favour of Bruce Gradkowski. Is this a permanent move? Unlikely considering the money Oakland have tied up in big and beefy’s contract, but I think it’s a sign that patience is wearing thin with Russell, who struggled multiple times to even get the snap off, and a 2010 draft class stacked with quarterback talent looks like a more and more appealing prospect each week. Up Next: @San Diego Chargers
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-7 - In honour of their trip to London allow me to say that Tampa Bay are a load of Tom Tit. (Scramble for you cockney rhyming slang dictionaries for that one kiddos). Up Next: BYE
31 Cleveland Browns 1-6 - The talk this week has been of re-benching of the Browns starting quarterback, with Brady Quinn’s return apparently imminent. Do you remember at the end of The Price Is Right when they played that “ba-duh! Ba-duh! Buuuuuur” sound if you lost? That’s the exact sound that will be heard in the Browns’ locker room if Eric Mangini strolls in and heralds Quinn as the future of Cleveland football. Up Next: @Chicago Bears
32 St Louis Rams 0-7 - Steven Jackson is staying healthy; that’s good I guess. They just traded a solid linebacker in Will Weatherspoon to the Eagles for nothing in return; that’s bad I guess. If the Rams can’t beat the Lions (who are fresh off a bye) next week, they may not win at all this year. It’s that bad right now in St. Louis. Up Next: @Detroit Lions

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 8.




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