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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

by: AnthonyP On  Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Bengals FansBest keep a low profile if you’re an NFL calibre running back right now, because the season reaper is out and hunting for victims. First to crock himself Sunday was The Burner Turner who torched his way to 111 yards on 9 touches before a right ankle sprain forced him out of Atlanta’s faltering offense in the second quarter. If it’s a high ankle sprain then this is bad news for a Falcons’ offense that can’t get anything done through the air.

If Michael Turner punches holes in defenses then Ronnie Brown carves them, but unfortunately the Dolphin is hardly the specimen of health right now either. The versatile gimmick wand managed just a quarter more than Turner, before departing in the third with a right ankle injury that required crutches and an x-ray. With a short week to prepare before a Thursday night clash with Carolina, it looks unlikely that Brown will take any part in what would have been a very favourable matchup for his beleaguered fantasy owners.

If Turner and Brown are underachieving as runners in 09(Turner’s YPG average is down 16 yards on last year to just 90 per game, whilst Brown erratically swings between 100+ yards one Sunday, and 27 yard dribbles the next) then it’s time to talk about a running back who is overachieving; Cedric Benson now appears banged up with a reoccurring hip strain that Bengals fans pray won’t put an end to the spellbinding performances their talismanic MVP contender has posted throughout 09. Cincinnati seem hopeful Benson will return to them by the middle of the week, but muscular strains tend to linger and can seriously impair the impact of a feature back like Benson; ask Detroit’s Kevin Smith, specifically ask his busted shoulder.

Brian Westbrook’s injury was a little more serious as he was withdrawn by Andy Reid Sunday after his second concussion on the year. After being knocked senseless against Washington 3 weeks ago I doubt BW could write his own name Sunday morning, so a second brutal concussion in as many games for him may well bring an abrupt end to a stuttering year. Does LeBrian McWestbrook 2.0 step up for Philadelphia, or does a free agent Larry Johnson provide a more enticing option as Andy Reid attempts to steady the flagging ship of Philadelphia’s season… oh wait. Looks like the Bengals just caught Big Andy knapping on that deal.

The list goes on, varying from the talented (Carolina’s standout left tackle Jordan Gross saw his season likely end with a broken ankle) to the less so (Julius Jones’ hospitalization for a broken rib and blood filled lung may sound brutal, but when was the last time Julius Jones brutalized an opposition defense?), culminating in a weekend of football that is sure to keep physios nationwide well stocked with well paying ball playing talent.

Player of the Week

Charles Woodson – In a game that featured just 3 points before the fourth quarter it’s no surprise the standout player starred on defense. Charles Woodson eliminated a 40 yard play by Roy Williams with a timely strip in the first, and later shutdown two key fourth quarter Cowboy drives by forcing a second fumble on Tony Romo off a well designed corner blitz and a game tilting diving interception to seal the deal for the PackNation. Oh and I forgot to mention that Woodson primarily lined up opposite Miles Austin and held the new kid on the block to just 4 catches for 20 yards, his lowest total since his breakout week 5 performance.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Brian Orakpo – Transitioning to the NFL is tough, playing defensive end and making that transition even more so. So how impressed are you by Brian Orakpo right now? The guy didn’t play a snap in college without his hand in the dirt, so to come to the NFL and make the transition from end to strongside linebacker as seamless as he has is a thing of beauty. Orakpo is part of a tough stopping unit and now has 7 sacks on the year, including 1.5 against Denver whilst playing a pivotal role in securing a Washington win – something that is few and far between. To give his 7 sacks some context; the total number of sacks in the 3 year careers of 4 of the 5 defensive ends taken in the first round of the 2007 draft (Jarvis Moss, Anthony Spencer, Jamaal Anderson and Adam Carriker) is 10, combined. In half a season Orakpo has 7 more sacks than Vernon Gholston – a player billed to fill a similar role in New York – has period, and 5 more than Chris Long. Orakpo is writing the textbook on transitioning to the NFL for players in the front seven.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downAfter hitting horrible runs of form the Eagles, Giants and Ravens all slip out of the top 10, meanwhile Kansas City fall 3 because… well because they’re abysmal.

upQuarterback changes reap dividends in Tennessee and Tampa as both franchises rise 3 and 4 spots respectively. The Patriots jugganaurt also begins to pick up steam, climbing 4 before a tough game with #2 ranked Indianapolis.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 10:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 Indianapolis Colts 9-0 up

1

Patriots’ fans can point to a horrible – I mean atrocious – pass interference call on Darius Butler that allowed Joseph Addai to walk into the end zone one play later, but the Colts’ are looking unstoppable right now and they don’t play a team of substance until…erm… the post-season. The whiff of perfection is in the air. Up Next: @Baltiomore Ravens
2 New Orleans Saints 9-0 down

1

The Saints lose their #1 slot atop of the TPS Power Rankings because teams are starting to expose their Achilles heel (their soft run stop unit) and specifically the Sedrick Ellis sized void in the middle of their d-line. They’re still head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL… just not the Colts anymore. Up Next: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3 Minnesota Vikings 8-1 up

2

I’m not one to turn down a chance to ‘Me! Me! Me!” a little, but Sidney Rice – a player I seemed totally alone on when mentioning preseason breakout candidates – is secretly the hottest receiver in the NFL right now. Rice managed 201 yards on 7 catches, which – to give it some context – is about as much as Antonio Bryant has on the year. Up Next: Seattle Seahawks
4 New England Patriots 6-3 - This was an instant classic that devolved into an all out slugfest as two of the best quarterbacks attempted to out heave each other, but unfortunately an amazing game has been boiled down to one play, specifically Bill Belichick’s choice to choose a play, a failed fourth down conversion that set up a short field for the best clutch quarterback in the league. Ouch. Up Next: New York Jets
5 Cincinnati Bengals 7-2 up

1

Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City look like 4 easy wins for the Bengals who would be left sitting at 11 wins and more than likely AFC North division champions. I still have an inkling of scepticism that Marvin Lewis won’t make a hash of this and actually manage to guide a deserved Cincinnati into the post-season. Up Next: @Oakland Raiders
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 6-3 down

3

My prophet-esque prediction of a Steelers revival wasn’t plucked from thin air. I had an inkling it would conveniently coincide with the return of Troy Polamalu, so now he has re-aggravated the knee that cost him 4 games at the start of this year I feel obliged to re-evaluate an organisation that has grown dependent on it Hence… I see doom in the fortunes of the Steelers. Up Next: @Kansas City Chiefs
7 Dallas Cowboys 6-3 - This was a real step back for the Cowboys who on paper had all the weapons to put the Packers on the rack, aka any sort of pass rush and deep threat receivers, so Wade Phillips will be seething with rage on a night Philly slipped up and the Giants were sleeping. Up Next: Washington Redskins
8 Baltimore Ravens 5-4 up

1

Baltimore suck. Yeah they won, but this shouldn’t have even been a contest considering the plethora of talent the Ravens possess at running back and the non-existence of talent… well…. anywhere really on the Browns’ side of the ball. Up Next: Indianapolis Colts
9 San Diego Chargers 6-3 up

4

I’m not quite buying this LT of old talk. LaDainian showed some shuffle on Sunday against the 2nd ranked run defense in the league, but he spelled his brilliance with stiff hipped negative gains and an uncharacteristic uncomfortableness when receiving in the flats. Conservatism people. Up Next: @Denver Broncos
10 New York Giants 5-4 - BYE WEEK Up Next: Atlanta Falcons
11 Houston Texans 5-4 - BYE WEEK Up Next: Tennessee Titans
12 Philadelphia Eagles 5-4 down

4

When is enough, enough? When does Andy Reid see his team falter at the goal line for the bazillionth time in the last 3 seasons and say “hey. Diminutive receivers, concussed veterans and sub-190lb scat-backs won’t get me in the end zone. Why don’t I line up in the I-formation?” Or alternatively IR Westbrook and sign Larry J; either will do but the former would be far more entertaining. Up Next: @Chicago Bears
13 Green Bay Packers 5-4 up

1

For what was meant to be a fiery contest between the sack happy ‘Boys and the gun slinging Packers, 3 points was a pretty measly total for three quarters of football. Fortunately the Packers tacked 14 more on whilst Dallas could only manage 7, leaving the final score (funnily enough) 17-7 to the cheese heads. Up Next: San Francisco 49ers
14 Arizona Cardinals 6-3 up

3

We talk about Arizona being a schizophrenic team struggling to find consistency from game to game, but this matchup was ridiculous. First half we saw the bad; an exposed secondary put under pressure by an unbalanced offense lacking a run game. Only for a franchise resurgence in the second, that saw Kurt Warner spray the ball around to everyone (including a finally healthy Anquan Boldin), supported by a Beanie Wells chain-moving run game and a defense that swarmed like a wildfire. Headache inducingly erratic right now. Up Next: @St. Louis Rams
15 Denver Broncos 6-3 down

3

As tempting as it is to just link to the numerous articles that heralded Denver Super Bowl contenders just 3 short weeks ago, I will give them an out by saying that in lieu of an injured Kyle Orton (an injured Kyle Orton is marginally more useless than a healthy Kyle Orton, who in turn is marginally more useless than a breeze block at quarterback), Chris Simms played a catastrophic half of football. Can we all agree that Chris Simms is paradigm shifting-ly bad at football. Up Next: San Diego Chargers
16 Atlanta Falcons 5-4 - Sophomore slump much? Matt Ryan was all over the place on Sunday; erratic on the easy throws, off target in the clutch, and he continued to be a turnover machine, throwing a pair of ugly picks. Up Next: @New York Giants
17 Tennessee Titans 3-6 up

3

41 is an ballooned total that was inflated by a pair of desperation pick-sixes Tennessee scored on towards the backend of the tilt, but it’s another one in the win column for a team rallying behind a running back who projects over the year to finish a hair’s width under 2000 yards. Chris Johnson is insane. Up Next: @Houston Texans
18 Jacksonville Jaguars 5-4 up

5

You know that feeling you get when you realise something you already knew, and yet it makes you feel weak at the knees because you have no idea how said situation came about? If not just read the following sentence: the Jaguars are 5-4. Whoa… Up Next: Buffalo Bills
19 New York Jets 4-5 down

4

Mark Sanchez is a rookie quarterback who looks to have the skills to carve himself a decent career in the NFL, but he’s doing it all backwards right now tossing picks when the Jets need him to game manage and yet showing composure in the clutch. Despite a pair of impressive late game drives, Sanchez couldn’t save the Jets from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for the umpteenth week running. Up Next: @New England Patriots
20 San Francisco 49ers 4-5 up

1

Love to bring you some insightful comment about what went down in the season’s Thursday night premiere, but I was watching paint dry instead. Wow was this game bad. Up Next: @Green Bay Packers
21 Miami Dolphins 4-5 down

2

Miami are relying heavily on their gimmick offense to put points on the board, something which may well have cost them dear now they’re Ronnie Brownless for Thursday night against the Panthers if it wasn’t for the fact that orthodox offenses do a pretty good job of tearing Carolina apart anyway. In fact any offense can destroy Carolina… except Atlanta. Up Next: @Carolina Panthers
22 Carolina Panthers 4-5 - Carolina couldn’t stop the run before injury ended linebacker Thomas Davis’ season last week, and Sunday showed they’re now even worse after Michael Turner scythed them for 111 yards on just 9 carries before Justin Snelling totalled a brisk 61 yard in replacement. I mean come on; Snelling is like 90% the same word as Snail, how can you be so weak up front Carolina?! Up Next: Miami Dolphins
23 Chicago Bears 4-5 down

5

Jay Cutler threw 5 picks but I only fault him for 2 (a Devin Hester slip, a Devin Hester run-into-the-referee, and a last second close-your-eyes-and-pray were at fault for the other 3), but unfortunately my opinion doesn’t win football games; turnovers lose them. Up Next: Philadelphia Eagles
24 Washington Redskins 3-6 up

2

When you watch games on Sunday you look for trends within the game and trends throughout the season, and just think about the cause and effect of the trends you see. So follow my logic on this one: the Redskins couldn’t block me for the first 10 weeks of the season, they lose starting left tackle Chris Samuels, suddenly they hold the league’s hottest sack artist Elvis Dumervil to just a single and Jason Campbell only goes down 3 times en route to a comfortable victory. What?! Does. Not. Compute. Up Next: @Dallas Cowboys
25 Seattle Seahawks 3-6 down

1

A pair of red zone interceptions cost Seattle vital points, but their problems are much more deep rooted, stemming mostly from an offensive line that can’t block or push and a secondary that would struggle to cover Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle. Up Next: @Minnesota Vikings
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-8 up

1

Tampa Bay couldn’t keep their hands on the football and hence the game, as the ball slipped away from Josh Freeman on four occasions and Maurice Stovall on another leaving Raheem Morris reeling as a second win beckoned. Up Next: New Orleans Saints
27 Buffalo Bills 3-6 down

2

The critique of Trent Edwards has always been that he’s a conservative player with a limited ceiling of around 220 tidy yards and a touchdown or two (read: he was never going to win you a football game). Right now, in his form and behind that line, he’d give his tiny right arm for a clean 220. Up Next: @Jacksonville Jaguars
28 St Louis Rams 1-8 up

1

In a true testament to the Rams’ woefulness, they held the prolific Drew Brees to under 250 yards, excluding a single Reggie Bush 55 yard slice allowed no New Orleans’ back over 40 yards and battered the Saints’ soft run defense to the tune of Steven Jackson’s 176 all purpose yards, and yet… they still lost. Up Next: Arizona Cardinals
29 Kansas City Chiefs 2-7 up1 Whoa! A running back! A what?! A running back! In Kansas, Toto?! Yeah! A real life running back! Thank you Wizard!!! Up Next: Pittsburgh Steelers
30 Detroit Lions 1-8 up

1

Matt Stafford still seems limited on his extensions thanks to his ailing knee, whilst Megatron looks a week or two away from returning to the physical beast we know and love, but Detroit showed some fight, and I’m suddenly coming round to the idea that they may actually win another game this year. Believe me; my mind is as blown as yours right now. Up Next: Cleveland Browns
31 Oakland Raiders 2-7 down

3

I considered Michael ‘the AFC’s best kept secret’ Bush’s 110 yard effort for the TPS Under the Radar Performance of the Week, but then I realised it was against the Chiefs, and that despite Oakland being involved in a matchup where the opposition starts with ‘Ch’ and ends in ‘eefs’ the Raiders still lost. How…? Just how… Up Next: @Minnesota Vikings
32 Cleveland Browns 1-8 - Cleveland showed some spirit on defense but their offense doesn’t even exist. Jamaal Lewis on 10 carries outgained Josh Cribbs’ gimmicky 6 carries by just 2 yards, oh and then Cribbs got injured, so now there is zilch run game in Cleveland. Maybe they can pass? To who? Mike Furrey? And with who? Brady ‘40%-completion-on-a-good-day’ Quinn? Up Next: @Detroit Lions

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 11.




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