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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

by: AnthonyP On  Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Chicago Bears2009 continues to be the season of year of mediocrity, so thank God it’s over! Happy new years people, and what a sombre note to end the year on. Yes the final game of 2009 was a spetacular gunsling-fest starring the Brett Favre of old (AKA Brett Favre!) and the possibly, dare I say it, the Brett Favre of new in Jay Cutler? I’m not saying Cutler is going to be breaking records and hips till he’s north of 40, but we all recognise the similarities in skill sets, and it turned out on Monday that Cutler and his four touchdowns had the upper hand.

You can expect Cincinnati to rest starters in their final game (which would give the Jets very much a back door into the playoffs), but Dallas/Philadelphia and Green Bay/Arizona are a pair of ontests between top 10 ranked teams that should kick the new year off with a bang. Elsewhere Indy will have the tough trade off between recouperation and momentum; if I was Jim Caldwell I think you field starters for a half minimum, 3 quarters maximum. If Atlanta can put a licking on Buffalo, I wouldn’t be surprised if Manning and co. create some needed carnage that lets them hit the ground running.

Player of the Week

Jonathan Stewart – 28 for 206 yards is an impressive stat line – maybe more impressive is the fact that Stewart effectively ran the length of the field twice and only got in the endzone once – but the performance of JStew (it’ll catch on, trust me) on Sunday, and in the last few weeks in lieu of an injured DeAngelo Williams, have been specctacular. Piling on the pain against former formidable run stop units in the Vikings and Giants, Stewart looked like he picked up an extra 3 yards on every play simply by finishing hard. He also showed a nice second gear to break off a 52 yard game sealing canter and an early 29 yard TD run. What makes his recent form all the more impressive, was the fact that in Carolina’s early contests he suffered with back issues that many thought were would niggle all season, possibly longer. Where the haters at now?

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Hunter Hillenmeyer – Hillenmeyer is quietly having a decent season amidst a torrid Chicago defense in place of the IRed Brian Urlacher (84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and an INT), but it was his heads up play to make a deliberate attempt to strip the fumble prone Adrian Peterson in overtime that earns him the Under the Radar Performance of the Week. That fumble denied Minnesota a makeable field goal, and one play later Devin AhShowUsWhatYouDo caught a beautifully flighted bomb to, hopefully, put to bed a dismal season on a high note for Chicago.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downMany, including myself, theorised that the emotional investment of their Indy defeat would see the Jags give up. Well, they have. Down 4.

upSan Diego are in a rich vein of form, New Orleans are not. For the first time in weeks there’s a change in the top 3 as the Chargers and Saints do the flip flop.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 16:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 Indianapolis Colts 14-1 - Was Jim Caldwell right to rest his starters? Eh… there is no definite answer, but put it this way; if one of Manning, Wayne or Clark tore apart their ACL in this contest, then the media outcry would be totally reversed and expanded by orders of magnitude. Resting is the ‘less lose’ scenario of Jim Caldwell’s dilemma. Up Next: @Buffalo Bills
2 San Diego Chargers 12-3 up1 San Diego are putting it all together at the right time, and whilst the Colts and Saints have spun their wheels the last 5 weeks (almost as if they felt bad and wanted the rest of the league to catch up), San Diego are red hot and enter the postseason with barrels of momentum. Up Next: Washington Redskins
3 New Orleans Saints 13-2 down1 The Saints did everything but execute. Whether is be key third down sacks, stuffed short yard runs or fumbles something prevented New Orleans’ from getting the points they deserved. Up Next: @Carolina Panthers
4 Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 - The Bengals don’t win with a lot of style, but they love a big finish, and Carson Palmer’s 99 yard game winning drive was one of their best all year. Up Next: @New York Jets
5 Minnesota Vikings 11-4 - In recent years I’ve become more and more concious of the power of momentum in postseason sports; I.E. it’s really freakin important! But don’t tell Minnesota. Up Next: New York Giants
6 New England Patriots 10-5 - This was one of those contests where New England said “hey; we may not be on top of our game right now, but know that we’ve got a weapon in our franchise that can beat anyone you put in front of us”. His name’s Tom Brady and he’s looking scarily close to full fitness, right in time for a covert playoff run. Up Next: @Houston Texans
7 Philadelphia Eagles 11-4 - Philly are electric right now and look like a diet sized version of San Diego. What odds can I get on a Philly/Charger Super Bowl I wonder… Up Next: @Dallas Cowboys
8 Dallas Cowboys 10-5 - 2 wins in December, so the curse is lifted? Yeah, maybe. Or alternatively Dallas just suck in the clutch and will bomb in the playoffs becuase of that. What? Too pessimistic? Up Next: Philadelphia Eagles
9 Green Bay Packers 10-5 - Just like Arizona, there’s no bonus points for beating up nobodies. Both teams need to prove they have what it takes against the big boys of the NFL. Up Next: @Arizona Cardinals
10 Arizona Cardinals 10-5 - Nobody thinks you’re big or clever for beating up the retarded kid. Up Next: Green Bay Packers
11 Baltimore Ravens 8-7 - Baltimore were a Derrick Mason drop from securing their postseason and were also heavily penalized on some contentious officiating decisions. Baltimore, on their day, can hang with the best of them, but unfortunately that Ravens side haven’t showed up with any sort on consistency all year. Up Next: @Oakland Raiders
12 Denver Broncos 8-7 - Kyle Orton just doesn’t have the arm to win his team a shootout. All 11 teams ranked above Denver have playmaking signal callers, and that’s the distinction between contention and a first round exit for an overachieving (if stout) Denver outfit. Up Next: Kansas City Chiefs
13 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7 up1 Pittsburgh hang on by their fingertips, but in a bizarre reversal of previous seasons, their offense is playoff calibre whilst their defense would underachieve in the UFL. Up Next: @Miami Panthers
14 New York Giants 8-7 down1 What a sorry fall from grace for this perennial Super Bowl contender; gone is their defense, Brandon Jacobs looks dead and Tom Coughlin has totally lost control of this lockeroom. Up Next: @Minnesota Vikings
15 Houston Texans 8-7 up3 Matt Schaub has shown a worrying penchant for hot starts, and late game lazyness. The weird half time rapid cooldown that he’s undergone in multiple matchups this year almost let Miami back in the game. Up Next: New England Patriots
16 Tennessee Titans 7-8 down1 All eyes are now on CJ as Tennessee’s season is over. Up Next: @Seattle Seahawks
17 Carolina Panthers 7-8 up4 With Matt Moore (who should start in 2010) at the helm, Carolina are a competant football team. Add in what they’ve lost to injury on defense and Pro Bowl calibre Jordan Gross at left tackle and Carolina might surprise in 2010. Up Next: Carolina Panthers
18 Miami Dolphins 7-8 down2 Chad Henne is a quality quarterback. This tight team is an offensive playmaker from the playoffs in 2010. Up Next: Pittsburgh Steelers
19 Atlanta Falcons 8-7 - Fear the wrath of the Atlanta Falcons! Destroyer of Bills! Slayer of terrible offensive lines and paper thin secondaries! Up Next: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20 New York Jets 8-7 - ‘Jets End Indy’s Race for Perfection’ is a nice headline, but this is a team one week removed from imploding against the Falcons and are hanging their hat on beating up a bunch of Indianapolis offcuts. Up Next: Cincinnati Bengals
21 Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8 down4 I don’t understand why Jacksonville refuse to give MJD the ball. David Garrard is a tight quarterback, but in the last few games he’s been blighted by terrible overthrows on critical downs. Up Next: @Cleveland Browns
22 Washington Redskins 4-11 - Washington clawed their way back onto the map of relevance… the last two games have seen them plummit off it again. Good job, no job Jim Zorn. Up Next: @San Diego Chargers
23 San Francisco 49ers 7-8 - Am I the only one still bemused by Frank Gore’s ability to run between the tackles? 28 for 71 is not a successful outing against Detroit, and blip performances like this appear more often than not for the thankfully versatile (he caught 4 for 81) Gore. Up Next: @St. Louis Rams
24 Chicago Bears 6-9 up1 I hope an exciting, Monday night shootout doesn’t put any gloss on a dead donkey year for Chicago. Up Next: @Detroit Lions
25 Buffalo Bills 5-10 down1 I don’t want to critique Buffalo too harshly because the history of 1 week prepped practice squad quarterbacks is hardly storied. Up Next: Indianapolis Colts
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-12 up1 Raheem Morris will likely lose his job, but he’s made some astute decisions  that many of his bottom ranked brethren would undoubtedly have failed to spot (his timing of Josh Freeman’s introduction was solid). Running hard on a soft Saints underbelly is simplistic genius that so many fail to grasp. Up Next: Atlanta Falcons
27 Cleveland Browns 4-11 up2 Cleveland, to their credit, have turned it around in recent weeks. Still… FIRE ALL THE COACHES WHO HAVE MANAGED THIS ABOMINATION! Up Next: Jacksonville Jaguars
28 Oakland Raiders 5-10 down2 It’s currently neck and neck in the race for the “why do you make me believe, only to kick me in the teeth the following week” year end award. The Packers are solid contenders, but the Raiders are making a late season surge after posting an apathetic loss, a week after an impressive victory against Denver. Up Next: Baltimore Ravens
29 Seattle Seahawks 5-10 down1 I have a dream where Cleveland’s entire offense isn’t based on kick returns and playing the Chiefs each week. What?! A man can dream. Up Next: Tennessee Titans
30 Kansas City Chiefs 3-12 - Kansas are… really hard to put your thumb on. They can run the ball better than most, have ballers at wideout and on defense, but a fundamental lack of pressure or protection is leaving them rotting on 3 wins. Up Next: @Denver Broncos
31 Detroit Lions 2-13 - Matthew Stafford is now on IR and I almost feel it’s redundant to write anything about a franchise led by Drew Stanton. Oh god… Drew Stanton. *puke* Up Next: Chicago Bears
32 St Louis Rams 1-14 - Last week I called Steven Jackson the lone brightspot in the whole of St. Louis. He didn’t play on Sunday; yep, the Rams have nothing. NOTH-ING. Up Next: San Francisco 49ers

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 17.




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