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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

by: AnthonyP On  Thursday, January 7, 2010
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JetsFor all but 12 franchises the book is closed on the 2009 NFL regular season, but there’s still time for a set of week 17 Power Rankings, a look at the playoff prospects of the magic 12, Player and Under the Radar Player of the season and a chance to pick through the murky offseasons that the remaining 20 have laid out in front of them.

Division Victors:

AFC NORTH: Cincinnati Bengals

AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis Colts

AFC WEST: San Diego Chargers

AFC EAST: New England Patriots

NFC NORTH: Minnesota Vikings

NFC SOUTH: New Orleans Saints

NFC WEST: Arizona Falcons

NFC EAST: Dallas Cowboys

AFC Wildcard: Baltimore Ravens & New York Jets

NFC Wildcard: Green Bay Packers & Philadelphia Eagles

TOP 10 PICKS IN THE 2010 NFL DRAFT:

1. St. Louis Rams

2. Detroit Lions

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. Washington Redskins

5. Kansas City Chiefs

6. Seattle Seahawks

7. Cleveland Browns

8. Oakland Raiders

9. Buffalo Bills

10. Jacksonville Jaguars/Denver Broncos (Denver acquired pick from Chicago via trade) – Ownership of the 10th pick is dependent on a coin toss at a later date.

Player of the Season

Chris Johnson -New Orleans wouldn’t be in the playoffs without Drew Brees, neither would the Colts sans Manning, but this isn’t a most valuable player award. My player of the season is the guy who, regardless of the fortunes of his team, played like a God. Damn. MAN! Whilst seccond year backs like Steve Slaton and Matt Forte fell into the shuffle, Chris Johnson was a weak officiating decision (which called back a long TD scarper) away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Oh well, 2000 yards isn’t a bad consolation. Amazing.

Under the Radar Player of the Season

Jonathan Stewart – Honorable mentions go to Sedrick Ellis, who we discovered was the linchpin in New Orleans’ whole run stop unit, and Lousaka Polite, who lead blocked the Wildcat into effectiveness, made pivotal plays in the passing game, consitently converted important short yardage situations and generally went about being a man when no one was looking, but the winner is South Carolina’s JStew. Simply for performing after many damned his season before it even started after nasty achilles and back injuries he deserves his recognition, but consider this; when DeAngelo Williams wasn’t able to go and Stewart was handed the full compliment of 15+carries (6 times in 2009), on all but 1 occasion Stewart repayed the faith with 100 yards – the lone contest he didn’t, he gave Carolina a pair of touchdowns instead. 1100 yards and 10 TDs from an injury ravaged backup; hats off.

Here’s how the NFL looks at the end of 17 weeks:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 Indianapolis Colts 14-2 - On their day Indy are the best team in the NFL, period. Super Bowl, right? 2 consecutive defeats, no meaningful snaps, bitter dissapointment and heavy criticism over missing on an unbeaten season and a bye week to mull it all, make this an uphill challenge for Jim Caldwell’s Colts. Playoff Potential: Bye Week Busts
2 San Diego Chargers 13-3 - San Diego are hot. They pushed until all but the final half of their final game and momentum is on their side. There are more skilled defenses out their, but I don’t see many more explosive offenses. Playoff Potential: Super Bowl Contenders
3 Minnesota Vikings 12-4 up2 Minnesota are dead lucky a New Orleans capitulation seured them home field advantage, because they sure as hell can’t win on the road. Playoff Potential: Championship Road-game Rejection
4 Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 - The Bengals just have a knack for winning, but their shaky offense might get exposed when asked to bang with the likes of Rivers and Manning. Playoff Potential: Divisional Losers
5 New Orleans Saints 13-3 down2 What’s worse than not playing and losing (see: Colts, Indianapolis)? Playing a little badly… then being benched and still losing. New Orleans are flat and would probablu sacrifice their early season muster for a competitive game this weekend. Playoff Potential: First Round Exit
6 Green Bay Packers 11-5 up3 Green Bay, like San Diego, have momentum on their side. Oh and really, really good football team to boot. Playoff Potential: Super Bowl Bound
7 Dallas Cowboys 11-5 up1 Tony Romo is playing the ball of his life, but it’s the Cowboys… in the playoffs. Uh oh… Playoff Potential: One and Done or Super Bowl Material? Not even god knows.
8 Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 down1 Philadelphia capitulated against Dallas who have the mental edge of home field advantage and a pair of regular season victories. This is a huge ask for Philly. Playoff Potential: Victim of a Dallas Triple Crown
9 Arizona Cardinals 10-6 up1 There’s a good team waiting to burst out – ala 2008 – but with Green Bay in front of them, they might not get the chance to. Playoff Potential: Lights Out
10 New England Patriots 10-6 down4 No Welker = Disfunctional offense supporsted by mediocre defense. Playoff Potential: Trouble abound
11 Baltimore Ravens 9-7 - Only the Jets boast a quality run defense on the AFC side of the playoffs, so if Baltimore stick to the gameplan (Ray Rice), they may see success. Playoff Potential: Dark Horses
12 New York Jets 9-7 up8 Backdoor enterance spells trouble, but, like Baltimore, the lak of quality run stoppers is a good omen for their rush heavy offense. Playoff Potential: Extremely (stress the extremely) Dark Horses

13 Denver Broncos 8-8 down1 Their season opened with personnel mishandles by Josh McDaniels, and by benching 3 starters, their year has ended the same way: dismally.
14 Houston Texans 9-7 up1 Houston have fantastic talent, but not the guts to convert it. Maybe a fresh head coach would allow them to capitalize and enter the playoffs where they belong in 2010.
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 down1 Pitt missed Troy Polomalu badly. Serious upgrades at corner are needed, and a youthful upgrade to James Harrison wouldn’t go amiss.
16 Tennessee Titans 8-8 down1 Tennessee’s pass rush is old and, frankly, not that good. A dynamic pass rush threat like Derrick Morgan would fit the mould.
17 Carolina Panthers 8-8 - Carolina will see three key starters (Jordan Gross, Maake Kemoeatu, and Antony Davis) return in 2010, and they return to a decent side in need of depth up front.
18 Miami Dolphins 7-9 - Chad Henne is a franchise quarterback, but Ronnie Brown still looks frail. A change of pace back to replace the ageing Ricky Williams (Jerious Norwood), and a dominant nose tackle are needed.
19 Atlanta Falcons 9-7 - Ras-I Dowling owns a bitching name and may go some way to solving Atlanta’s woes at corner.
20 New York Giants 8-8 down5 This team isn’t this bad, but lost discipline badly during the final run in. Ahmad Bradshaw needs to be installed as the starter and a defensive tackle upgrade like Domato Peko would be a serious coup.
21 Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9 - Jacksonville need a new coach in place, and even if I doubt his NFL readyness, the business cash in of having Floridian idol Tim Tebow at the reigns might be too alluring for the ailing Jaguar money men.
22 Washington Redskins 4-12 - Zorn out. Shanahan in. So does he trade Portis ala Denver and build a run heavy unit around a new QB (Campbell is a free agent and Sam Bradford should be on the board)?
23 San Francisco 49ers 8-8 - Alex Smith has somehow turned his career around and is a funnctional signal caller, whilst Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree will mature no end in 2010. Frank Gore even looks decent on occasion, so Mike Singletary’s focus has to be the defenseive and offensive lines.
24 Chicago Bears 7-9 - Jay Cutler hasn’t looked half bad in recent weeks and a new safety, corner, defensive end, depth at linebacker and youth at the tackle positions would right the Chicago ship. Not too much to ask really!
25 Buffalo Bills 6-10 - This is where things get sticky: Buffalo will have a new coach in place which means a new quarterback. With Locker in school and Clausen off the board, the Bills, Browns, Redskins, Seahawks and Raiders are all squabling over the same position.
26 Cleveland Browns 5-11 up1 Jake Locker returning to school and a late season resurgance really screwed Cleveland who might turn to a veteran like Jason Campbell once a new head coach is inevitably installed.
27 Oakland Raiders 5-11 up1 Russell is done. Bring on Ryan Mallet. A canon armed unpolished prospect… what could possibly go wrong?!
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13 down2 Tampa suck up front, and there happen to be a lot of quality free agents and 2 standout rookie defensive tackles in Suh and McCoy available this offseason. Lucky much?
29 Seattle Seahawks 5-11 - Walter Jones is a hall of famer, but Seattle have to draft left tackle now, and pray that Matt Hasselbeck can hold it together at least 1 more year. Up Next: Tennessee Titans
30 Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 - Kansas City are in prime position to trade, with Denver, Buffalo, Cleveland, Washington, Seattle and Oakland all looking to vault one another to secure a quarterback. That said, adding Eric Berry would solidify this secondary as the best young group in the league.
31 Detroit Lions 2-14 - Stafford and CJ need to continue fostering a bond, and with the second selection they’re in the perfect position to put their run stopping issues to bed once and for all with the monstrous Ndamukong Suh.
32 St Louis Rams 1-15 - Jimmy Clausen. There is your pick. Take him. Don’t waiver. Get negotiating NOW St. Louis.



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