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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

by: AnthonyP On  Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Jaguars Titans FootballHowever tempting it was to copy and paste the word Favre for the next 50 words I – brace yourself mainstream press – thought that other things went on between the end of week 7 and now, the bombshell aftermath of week 8. Okay, bombshell aftermath is a little strong but there are some teams who are probably rocking Hiroshima-esque headaches right now, front and center being the New York Giants who lost their third game on the bounce. Ship all banged up!

Tennessee probably have an almighty headache right about now, but theirs is circumstance of a hangover. The cause of the hangover? The almighty party that probably went down after their first win of the year on Sunday against a pretty lame Jaguars outfit. Vince Young’s Nashville abode regularly held ‘thank you’ soirees during the successful part of his first tenure signal calling for the Titans, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gives the Titans a cause for celebration a few more times between now and the end of the year. You get the sense that despite his personal/emotional issues – issues that would be irresponsible to speculate about (hint hint internet) – he’s a well liked leader and someone capable of salvaging something out of a season that has turned out well below what even the harshest preseason critics could have predicted. (But… I will say that right here on TPS a certain someone said that the Titans had a good chance of opening up the year a demoralising 0-6. I’m just saying. Send your adulation to Max Barry on that one).

Player of the Week

Chris Johnson – I considered the likes of Osi Umenyiora and Daniel Manning who both terrorised opposition offenses this weekend, but you know what those guys have in common? Losers. Osi WAS losing whilst Manning was whooping up ON losers, and if there is one thing the TPS Performance of the Week doesn’t have time for it’s losers. We like winners, and one guy who tasted that for the first time this weekend was the most electrifying man in televised sports; C to the J. Carving Jacksonville up for 228 yards at 9.5 yards a clip and 2 TDs, Johnson hauled not just this offense but the whole of Tennessee with him as he cracked off TD runs of 52 and later 89 yards, enough to give the Titans their first win of the season.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Owen Daniels – This is less about his performance on Sunday, because frankly he didn’t have a performance on Sunday, and that’s the point. Daniels was withdrawn early with what was post-humorously (post-humorous for his season at least, Owen Daniels is still alive after all. Probably needs clarification) decreed as a torn ACL, a season ending injury. So how does he earn the ‘Under the Radar Performance of the Week’? Well, it’s more about me pouring one out for our fallen TE comrades, encompassing the loss of Chris Cooley last week. Pro Bowl balloting opened this past week and I actually gave a pre-injury Daniels my vote on the AFC side of the ball; wasted vote I guess, but Daniels has more TDs than Andre Johnson, more yards than Larry Fitzgerald, some of the softest hands at the position and balling vision paralleled by few in the National Football League. An integral part of Houston’s offense? Undoubtedly.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

down3 defeats on the bounce sees the Giants slide just that, 3 slots down to 7. Keeping them company, the Bills also slide 3 as the magnanimous Ryan Fitzpatrick era continues to bumble.

upIn the war of the 12, 13, 14, and15th ranked nebulus, it’s Dallas and Houston’s turn to rise replacing Atlanta, San Diego and New York on the bubble of greatness.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 8:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 New Orleans Saints 7-0 - This victory – albeit not mathematically – seals the NFC South for the boys from Louisiana, but it was in less than convincing fashion. They might be a little bruised from two tough outings against the Falcons and Dolphins, but they’ve come out unscathed and remain perfection in the NFL. Up Next: Carolina Panthers
2 Indianapolis Colts 7-0 - Peyton Manning had an off day. When Derek Anderson has an off day he makes 2 completions and throws 3 picks, so remember that an off day consisting of 31 completions and 347 yards is all relevant. Nevertheless, Manning’s ‘struggles’ allowed San Francisco to make Indy sweat a lot more than they should have. Up Next: Houston Texans
3 Pittsburgh Steelers 5-2 BYE WEEK Up Next: @Denver Broncos
4 Philadelphia Eagles 5-2 up

1

People seem to forget about the Eagles when they talk about the top end of the National Football League, but what they’ve done in these opening 8 weeks has been nothing short of heroic. Remember that this was a team that played with a backup QB for 2 games and still amassed more passing yards in said games than Derek Anderson has all season, has been sans a 100% Brian Westbrook all year and has lost both their starting and replacement middle linebackers to season ending injuries. They now sit atop of the NFC East. Respect Philadelphia. Up Next: Dallas Cowboys
5 Minnesota Vikings 7-1 up

1

I don’t want to talk about the obvious Minnesota/Green Bay touch point that we’ve all heard about a million times this week, but instead I wanted to say this; can you be more embarrassed as a defensive back than by what happened during Percy Harvin’s 51 yard strike? 3 Packers’ DBs leapt into each other, effectively wiping themselves out of the play. Oh and Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre. Kill me. Up Next: BYE
6 Baltimore Ravens 4-3 up

1

I’ve talked a few times about how Baltimore’s front 7 has seemed a split second too slow, a step behind play and prone to concentration lapses in the secondary all year, but they really stepped up  against a no longer undefeated Denver. Baltimore are a more potent than last year on offense, so if they can put to bed these soft 20+ point defensive issues then maybe they can right the ship in an AFC North war they’re currently losing. Up Next: @Cincinnati Bengals
7 New York Giants 5-3 down

3

I really felt the loss to Arizona would spark something in the Giants to rescue a misfiring offense and uncharacteristically lame pass D from the midseason doldrums they’ve found themselves in, but after a pair of costly picks and another bout of critical big play defensive lapses, New York find themselves on the wrong end of the scorecard for the third week running. Up Next: San Diego Chargers
8 New England Patriots 5-2 up

1

BYE WEEK Up Next: Miami Dolphins
9 Cincinnati Bengals 5-2 up

1

BYE WEEK Up Next: Baltimore Ravens
10 Green Bay Packers 4-3 down

2

The Packers’ line is killing Aaron Rodgers right now. The defense is so-so, but posted behind a line ranking 31st in sacks allowed, a rookie tackle and averaging 5.7 hits to the cranium per game, it’s very hard for Green Bay to get anything going on offense. Up Next: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11 Denver Broncos 6-1 - Reality check. It has been a sweet run and they’ve out performed everyone’s preseason expectations, but Kyle Orton lacks a big time arm and when asked to chase a game he came up short; quite literally on most throws, as well as metaphorically on key 3rd down situations. Up Next: Pittsburgh Steelers
12 Houston Texans 5-3 up

3

How do you lose a league-wide top 3 tight end from your offense, bench your erratic fumble prone starting back, throw two picks and be down 10-6 all before the half, and yet still win? Hmm… maybe because Houston are actually a really good team that people inaccurately hate on and are about to see waltz their way to 10 wins. MARK MY WORDS!!! Up Next: @Indianapolis Colts
13 Dallas Cowboys 5-2 up

4

The Cowboys are playing some good football right now, but they’re hampered by being boys amongst men in a division boasting two of the best teams in football. As the winter months roll in can Dallas keep it up, or will their true star studded surrender monkey colours shine through. Up Next: @Philadelphia Eagles
14 New York Jets 4-4 down

2

Offense? Check. Defense? Check. Special teams… ah. The Jets dominated this game through the air (Keller and Edwards both reached 70 yards, Mark Sanchez was an economical 20/35, 236 yards and 2 TDs), bullied a usually stout Miami run stop unit (Thomas Jones went over 100 yards, continuing his sparkling twilight years form) and held strong on defense. So where did it go wrong? A Shonn Greene fumble, and a pair of Ted Ginn returns. Totally unsatisfying for a fan of deserved victories. Up Next: BYE
15 San Diego Chargers 4-3 down

2

San Diego are like the turtles of the National Football League; their tough exterior and explosive weapons (see as I masterfully oscillate between metaphor and reality) hides a soft underbelly that lacks depth at key positions. This was the Vincent Jackson show, but that could be true of most San Diego games this year. Up Next: @New York Giants
16 Atlanta Falcons 4-3 down

2

On paper the Falcons made a decent fist of this, but in reality it was a very sloppy outing for Matt Ryan and co with multiple near interceptions, red zone snafus and costly picks that were ultimately too much to overcome on a night that the Saints were there for the beating. Also if you want the definition of a takeaway, check out Brent Grimes’ interception. Out. Of. This. World. Up Next: Washington Redskins
17 Chicago Bears 4-3 up

1

What happened to Matt Forte? This guy was the perfect blend of bruising and blister in his rookie year, offering soft hands in the passing game that made even Kyle Orton look like a capable starter. He has no chemistry at all with Jay Cutler right now, and he looks very ineffectual albeit behind a mediocre line. Just for statistical reference: through week 8 of the NFL last season, Forte had 6 TDs and 738 total yards. As of Sunday, he has just 585 yards and just 3 TDs in 2009. Up Next: Arizona Cardinals
18 Arizona Cardinals 4-3 down

2

Every year Kurt Warner allows himself one game to totally implode in spectacular fashion, and then everyone points at his tiny hands and says, “there. I told you so”. Last year against the Jets the Cardinals got mauled after 3 INTs and 4 fumbles, and in 2009 it was the Panthers’ turn to capitalise as Kurt Warner’s 5 picks and 1 fumble gifted Carolina’s red hot running back troupe the time needed to grind out a victory. Up Next: @Chicago Bears
19 Miami Dolphins 3-4 - Miami were bailed out by Ted Ginn’s back to back 100 and 101 yard returns to the house, because they honestly did very little in the rest of this contest. The irony to this performance is that 3 years on from being drafted 9th almost solely based on his returns ability, it takes losing his job to the now IR-ed Patrick Cobbs to kick start his special team potency. Patrick Willis, Leon Hall, Darrelle Revis and LaMarr Woodley; all drafted after him. I’m just saying. Up Next: @New England Patriots
20 San Francisco 49ers 3-4 - The Alex Smith 2.0 era got off to a promising start against a tight pass defense – worth pointing out that his interception was a ‘receiver’ INT when Michael Crabtree palmed the ball into the air for a waiting Bob Sanders. Smith put decent zip on the ball and impressively picked up the Colts’ pass blitz speared by the red hot Dwight Freeney. He laboured on 3rd downs, but baby steps. Up Next: Tenessee Titans
21 Seattle Seahawks 2-5 - What is a Marcus Trufant? Seriously. I saw plays where he wasn’t even looking at the receiver opposite him. So he was looking at the quarterback under center right? NO!? He used to be one of the tightest clamp corners in the league, and now he’s getting called for pass interference 3 times and being absolutely dummied by Miles Austin. Seattle need a long term option at QB, a new running back, a Walter Jones replacement, depth behind Sean Locklear, new safeties, an attitude adjustment for TJ Houshmandzadeh, a dominant defensive end/tackle and corners. Up Next: Detroit Lions
22 Carolina Panthers 3-4 up

3

Coming into this game Arizona ranked first against the run. They’re now ranked 9th. I don’t think there is a better testament to the carnage the Williams/Stewart two man wrecking crew is causing right now. Up Next: @New Orleans Saints
23 Tennessee Titans 1-6 up

4

I’ve eulogised about Chris Johnson above, and rightly so – the guy won this football game by himself – but give credit to Vince Young. Ok he wasn’t statistically gaudy but he made some very adroit plays on third down and after a mixed bag during his first era at Tennessee’s helm, his athletic ability still puts linebackers on their heels, and critically, out of CJ’s grill. Up Next: @San Francisco 49ers
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 3-4 down

1

Follow me on the maths here: hand off to MJD, 80 yard score. Hand off to MJD, 79 yard score. Hmm… Do you A) give your greatest offensive weapons and one of the best backs in the NFL more carries, or do you B) give him a total of 9 touches and call it a day. What?! 8 carries?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! Jacksonville seriously doesn’t want to win sometimes. Up Next: Kansas City Chiefs
25 Buffalo Bills 3-5 down

3

The Bills know all about having pass protection issues, but they’re less familiar with the art of causing them. Well, they did a great job in said art against Houston early, flustering Matt Schaub into a pair of well earned interceptions, but then Aaron Schobel remembered that he’s Aaron Schobel. So when he isn’t secretly being the best defensive end in the AFC, he’s sitting on the sidelines injured. Satisfied with a tremendous first half Schobel retired to the medical room, taking with him any hope Buffalo had of a victory on Sunday. Up Next: BYE
26 Washington Redskins 2-5 down

2

BYE WEEK Up Next: @Atlanta Falcons
27 Kansas City Chiefs 1-6 down

1

BYE WEEK Up Next: @Jacksonville Jaguars
28 Oakland Raiders 2-6 up

1

JaMarcus Russell can’t get it done, so looking ahead to 2010 you’d think quarterback – in a draft with an abundance of talent at the position – would be the sensible course of option. Well, 1) Al Davis is dumb and paid Russell too much to dump him this early, and 2) Al Davis is dumb and will see Taylor Mays’ 40 time as too delectable to resist. Up Next: BYE
29 St Louis Rams 1-7 up

3

Ha! A streak of 17 consecutive losses is ended when the Rams visit the only other team that could achieve such a lofty and ambitious goal, the Lions. Weird, irony filled crapfest would be my description of this matchup. Up Next: BYE
30 Detroit Lions 1-6 down

2

See if you can find Matt Stafford’s interception online. For those who haven’t seen it, the ball was tipped into the endzone where Rams’ safety James Butler made a very astute grab. Unfortunately what was less astute was when he ran out of the endzone, turned around, ran back into his own endzone in an attempt to make the highlight reel 101 yard pick-six, only to be tackled and a safety be awarded. Dumbest 2-point concession I’ve ever seen. Up Next: @Seattle Seahawks
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-7 - BYE WEEK Up Next: Green Bay Packers
32 Cleveland Browns 1-7 down

1

I’m sort of undecided about how I felt watching the Browns on Sunday. Cleveland’s pass rush is bad, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t as terrible as people like to make out, and I actually commend Rob Ryan for his creative use of safety Abram Elam, Kamerion Wimbley and of course Shaun Rogers; 3 dynamic pass rushing threats. But at the same time, every other part of this organisation stinks. Ok hang on, I’ve made up my mind. I think the Browns are a horrible team. That wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. Up Next: BYE

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 9

How do you lose a league-wide top 3 tight end from your offense, bench your erratic fumble prone starting back, throw two picks and be down 10-6 all before the half, and yet still win? Hmm… maybe because Houston are actually a really good team that people inaccurately hate on and are about to see waltz their way to 10 wins. MARK MY WORDS!!!





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