Power Rankings Week 10: All hail the Packers

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 16, 2011



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Power Ranker


Ah, another drama-free week of power ranking. The Packers are still No. 1, a marvel to behold. The Colts are still No. 32, and also a marvel to behold.

Last year at this point, eventual Super Bowl finalists Green Bay (No. 4 in the rankings) and Pittsburgh (No. 10) were still trying to put it together, and the Jets were actually No. 1.

It’s worth noting that four of the bottom six teams from this point last year have made massive turnarounds since (Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Buffalo), so there’s hope for Cleveland, Seattle, Washington and St. Louis … well, theoretically, at least.

On to the rankings!

1. GREEN BAY (9-0)

Last week: 45-7 win vs. Minnesota
Next three weeks: vs TB, at DET, at NYG
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Aaron Rodgers’ last 16 home games: 15 wins with an average of 32.9 points scored, 46 total touchdowns (rushing and passing) and 10 interceptions.

2. SAN FRANCISCO (8-1)

Last week: 27-20 win vs. Giants
Next three weeks: vs. AZ, at BAL, vs. STL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: They’ve had four head coaches and a rotating cast of characters in San Francisco since 2005, but one thing has remained constant: run defense. The 49ers haven’t allowed more than 4.0 yards a carry since 2004, and even were at 4.03 YPC against in that horrible 2-14 season. They are giving up 3.43 yards a crack in 2011.

3. PITTSBURGH (7-3)

Last week: 24-17 win at Cincinnati
Next three weeks: bye, at KC, vs. CIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: On third downs, Ben Roethlisberger has passed 97 times and turned 52 of them into first downs – a 53.6 percent conversion rate that’s best in the league. Clutch. Yet he’s only completing 46.3 percent of his passes in the fourth quarter of close games, better only than Curtis Painter among NFL regulars. Not as clutch.

4. NEW ORLEANS (7-3)

Last week: 26-23 win at Atlanta
Next three weeks: bye, vs. NYG, vs. DET
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints’ receivers average 158.5 yards after the catch per game, which is more than Jacksonville’s pass-catchers manage in total (139.9).

5. HOUSTON (7-3)

Last week: 37-9 win at Tampa Bay
Next three weeks: bye, at JAX, vs. ATL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The loss of Matt Schaub is a killer, but at least Matt Leinart will be coming into a Texans offense with the third-fewest number of pass dropbacks per game (30.8). And the Texans are also No. 1 on our Quality Stats Power Rankings which reward all-around excellence.

6. BALTIMORE (6-3)

Last week: 22-17 loss at Seattle
Next three weeks: vs. CIN, vs. SF, at CLE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Baltimore’s offense doesn’t figure to going haywire next three weeks against teams ranked fourth, ninth and seventh in yards per play allowed.  

7. NEW ENGLAND (6-3)

Last week: 37-16 win at New York Jets
Next three weeks: vs. KC, at PHI, vs. NE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: After getting gashed for 400+ yards in each of the first four games, New England has allowed 359.6 yards a game in the last five – ahead of their 2010 average of 366.5. In one of the statistical anomalies of all time, the 14-2 Patriots of a year ago were actually outgained on the season (5,864-5,820).

8. CHICAGO (6-3)

Last week: 37-13 win vs. Detroit
Next three weeks: vs. SD, at OAK, vs. KC
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Matt Forte is on pace for 2,325 yards from scrimmage, which would be the seventh-best total of all time.

9. DALLAS (5-4)

Last week: 44-7 win vs. Buffalo
Next three weeks: at WAS, vs MIA, at ARI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Can the Cowboys take care of business the next three weeks against teams with a combined 8-19 record? If they can do it, they’ll have their first five-game winning streak since their great 13-3 team did it (twice) in 2007.

10. CINCINNATI (6-3)

Last week: 24-17 loss vs. Pittsburgh
Next three weeks: at BAL, vs. CLE, at PIT
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bengals have allowed 24 points or fewer in 13 consecutive games.

11. NEW YORK GIANTS (6-3)

Last week: 27-20 loss vs. San Francisco
Next three weeks: vs. PHI, at NO, vs. GB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Eli Manning has always had his running game to depend on, but not this year: 3.26 yards a carry and 89.2 yards a game compared to 4.58 and 137.5 a year ago.

12. DETROIT (6-3)

Last week: 37-13 loss at Chicago
Next three weeks: vs. CAR, vs. GB, at NO
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Lions turned the ball over more last week (six times) than they had in their first eight games combined (five).

13. NEW YORK JETS (5-4)

Last week: 37-16 loss vs. New England
Next three weeks: at DEN, vs. BUF, at WAS
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: In their four losses, the Jets allowed 34, 34, 30 and 37 points. Under Rex Ryan, they’ve allowed 30+ points nine times including playoffs and lost all nine games. Also not helping? They don’t have a single run longer than 25 yards all season.

14. ATLANTA (5-4)

Last week: 26-23 loss vs. New Orleans
Next three weeks: vs. TEN, vs. MIN, at HOU
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Returner Eric Weems was a big threat last year, averaging 27.5 per kick return and 12.8 per punt return, but he’s down to 22.6 and 9.5 this year. In addition, rookie punter Matt Bosher is the only guy in the league averaging less than 40 yards an attempt (39.3).

15. OAKLAND (5-4)

Last week: 24-17 win at San Diego
Next three weeks: at MIN, vs. CHI, at MIA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Raiders aren’t missing Nnamdi Asomugha much – they’re No. 8 in Defensive Passer Rating this year without him (78.18), way up from No. 24 last year (90.54). What exactly was this shutdown corner shutting down?

16. BUFFALO (5-4)

Last week: 44-7 loss at Dallas
Next three weeks: at MIA, at NYJ, vs. TEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Fred Jackson’s “worst” offensive output in a game this year was 98 yards from scrimmage in a road game against a tough Cincinnati D.

17. TENNESSEE (5-4)

Last week: 30-3 win at Carolina
Next three weeks: at ATL, vs. TB, at BUF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Titans have 14 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns … and they’ve allowed 14 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.

18. PHILADELPHIA (3-6)

Last week: 21-17 loss vs. Arizona
Next three weeks: at NYG, vs. NE, at SEA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Eagles aren’t getting it done in the standings, but they’re getting it done in the trenches (No. 5 Offensive Hogs, No. 12 Defensive Hogs) despite six games against Quality Opponents.

19. SAN DIEGO (4-5)

Last week: 24-17 loss vs. Oakland
Next three weeks: at CHI, vs. DEN, at JAX
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Just so we’re sure we’ve got this straight, the Chargers ran the ball 15 times against Oakland last week. Against a Raiders team that had allowed 299 rushing yards the week before. Against a Raiders team that was allowing 5.2 yards a carry. With a quarterback on the worst streak of his life. At home. Needing a win to stay atop the division. Yep. That really happened.

20. DENVER (4-5)

Last week: 17-10 win at Kansas City
Next three weeks: vs. NYJ, at SD, at MIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  The Tebow Factor is helping to make the right side of Denver’s line look awfully good. According to NFL.com’s offensive line stats, the Broncos have the fewest negative runs right of any team (four), while ripping off 20 runs of 10+ yards (third-most).

21. JACKSONVILLE (3-6)

Last week: 17-3 win at Indianapolis
Next three weeks: at CLE, vs. HOU, vs. SD
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: If Peyton Manning is the not-on-the-field MVP because of how poor the Colts have been without him, David Garrard should come in second. The Jaguars averaged 22.1 PPG with him last year, 12.8 without him this year.

22. MINNESOTA (2-7)

Last week: 45-7 loss at Green Bay
Next three weeks: vs. OAK, at ATL, vs. DEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Vikings have only eight pass plays of 25+ yards this year, second-fewest behind Jacksonville.

23. ARIZONA (3-6)

Last week: 21-17 win at Philadelphia
Next three weeks: at SF, at STL, vs. DAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Cardinals kicker Jay Feely’s real first name is Thomas. So there ya go.

24. CAROLINA (2-7)

Last week: 30-3 loss vs. Tennessee
Next three weeks: at DET, at IND, at TB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Few teams are as bad vs. the pass (95.2 rating) and run (4.7 YPC against) as the Panthers. Good thing they average 6.2 yards a play on offense, up from a pathetic 4.3 YPP in 2010.

25. TAMPA BAY (4-5)

Last week: 37-9 loss vs. Houston
Next three weeks: at GB, at TEN, vs. CAR
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: ­The Bucs are No. 30 in our Quality Stats Power Rankings, pretty poor for a team that has managed to win four games in a tough division. Could be because they’re one of two teams in the league without a 100-yard game from a wide receiver (Cleveland is the other).

26. KANSAS CITY (4-5)

Last week: 17-10 loss vs. Denver
Next three weeks: at NE, vs. PIT, at CHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Chiefs played a league-low three games against Quality Opponents last year, and have played a league-low three games against Quality Opponents thus far this year. But it’s catching up to them starting now; their next six games are against the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets, Packers and Raiders – winning teams all.Welcome to the lineup, Tyler Palko!

27. MIAMI (2-7)

Last week: 20-9 win vs. Washington
Next three weeks: vs. BUF, at DAL, vs. OAK
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Has any big-time receiver ever gotten into the end zone less than Brandon Marshall? He’s got 139 catches and 1,756 yards in Miami … with five touchdowns. That’s 351.2 yards per score, folks.

28. SEATTLE (3-6)

Last week: 22-17 win vs. Baltimore
Next three weeks: at STL, vs. CLE, vs. PHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  The Seahawks have won 16 games since the start of the 2009 season – 13 of them at home. They’re 3-19 on the road in that span.

29. WASHINGTON (3-6)

Last week: 20-9 loss at Miami
Next three weeks: vs. DAL, at SEA, vs. NYJ
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Redskins are on one heck of a run; they’ve been outgained (and outscored) five weeks in a row and lost the turnover battle 14-7. Oh, and they’ve rushed for a total of 273 yards, about what Mike Shanahan’s old Denver team has averaged the last two weeks (271.5). Usually we’d put in a line about them saving a lot of money on their car insurance, but they didn’t even manage that.

30. ST. LOUIS (2-7)

Last week: 13-12 win at Cleveland
Next three weeks: vs. SEA, vs. ATL, at SF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Sam Bradford’s body of work thus far: an 8-15 record, a passer rating of 75.3 and 23 touchdowns (passing and rushing) in 23 games.

31. CLEVELAND (3-6)

Last week: 13-12 loss vs. St. Louis
Next three weeks: vs. JAX, at CIN, vs. BAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  The Browns haven’t scored a touchdown at home since getting one in garbage time back on Oct. 2. That’s six calendar weeks ago, folks. Throw the Dawg Pound a bone!

32. INDIANAPOLIS (0-10)

Last week: 17-3 loss vs. Jacksonville
Next three weeks: bye, vs. CAR, at NE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Bill Polian actually said last week that he thought Jim Caldwell was doing a better coaching job this year than he did in the Super Bowl season of 2009. If true, then Peyton Manning deserved Coach of the Year as well as the MVP that year.
 

Read more: NFL, Week 11
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