Power Rankings Week 9: No QB? Welcome to the cellar

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 09, 2011



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Power Ranker


There’s plenty of depth in this year’s NFL … to a point.

After Green Bay at No. 1, you have a pack of teams all the way down to San Diego at No. 17 that qualify as strong on any given Sunday. Then you’ve got a handful of so-so but interesting, Tennessee, Minnesota, Oakland, Carolina, etc.

And then the bottom drops out.

Denver leads off our bottom 10, and the Broncos are no ones definition of a good team. Then it’s Kansas City and Jacksonville, and you say, “There are seven teams worse than the Jaguars?” And it keeps sliding, down, down, all the way to the Colts – who might be the worst team we’ve seen on both sides of the ball in a long, long time. All of those 10 teams have the same common thread: bad quarterbacks. Matt Cassel and his 77.8 rating is the best of that bunch, and that’s not saying much.

So yeah, there’s some parity in the league … among teams that can throw, and among teams that can’t.

On to the rankings!

1. GREEN BAY (8-0)

Last week: 45-38 win at San Diego
Next three weeks: vs. MIN, vs TB, at DET
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Packers’ five road wins haven’t come cheap; none of them were against teams in our CHFF power rankings bottom 10. Dating back to last year, including playoffs, the Packers have only lost the in-game turnover battle once during their 14-game win streak.  

2. BALTIMORE (6-2)

Last week: 23-20 win at Pittsburgh
Next three weeks: at SEA, vs. CIN, vs. SF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Ravens are the only team in the league with three double-digit wins over Quality Opponents (Ravens, Texans, Jets).

3. SAN FRANCISCO (7-1)

Last week: 19-11 win at Washington
Next three weeks: vs. NYG, vs. AZ, at BAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: There’s probably not going to be a lot of running going on in the Thanksgiving Harbaugh Bowl; the Niners and Ravens are both in the top three in YPC allowed, rushing first downs allowed, yards allowed, touchdowns allowed, fumbles forced and 20+ yard runs allowed.

4. PITTSBURGH (6-3)

Last week: 23-20 loss vs. Baltimore
Next three weeks: at CIN, bye, at KC
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Ben Roethlisberger has outpassed his opposing QB (yardage-wise) in eight of the nine Steeler games this year and in 15 of his last 17 regular-season games overall.  

5. CINCINNATI (6-2)

Last week: 24-17 win at Tennessee
Next three weeks: vs. PIT, at BAL, vs. CLE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bengals still have five home games left; they went 6-2 at home in their playoff season of 2009. In other news, the Bengals are fifth in the power rankings?

6. DETROIT (6-2)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at CHI, vs. CAR, vs. GB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Lions are averaging 46.5 PPG vs. the AFC West, 22.5 PPG vs. the rest of the league.

7. NEW ORLEANS (6-3)

Last week: 27-16 win vs. Tampa Bay
Next three weeks: at ATL, bye, vs. NYG
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints topped 450 yards of offense last week for the fifth time in nine games; in their great Super Bowl season of 2009, they only did it four times in 19 games.

8. HOUSTON (6-3)

Last week: 30-12 win vs. Cleveland
Next three weeks: at TB, bye, at JAX
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: How important would home-field advantage in the postseason be to Houston? In their two road games vs. Quality Opponents (Baltimore and New Orleans), they’ve allowed 34.5 points and 428 yards a game.

9. NEW YORK GIANTS (6-2)

Last week: 24-20 win at New England
Next three weeks: vs. SF, vs. PHI, at NO
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Giants have allowed 23 touchdowns and only seven field goals, a 3.3-to-1 ratio that’s easily worst in the league (next worst: Arizona, 2.3-to-1). But Eli Manning’s 121.7 fourth-quarter passer rating goes a long way toward making that right.

10. NEW ENGLAND (5-3)

Last week: 24-20 loss vs. Giants
Next three weeks: at NYJ, vs. KC, at PHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Although he’s on pace for a career-worst 20 interceptions, Tom Brady still has a passer rating of 100.0 (actually 99.99, which is even weirder considering the complexity of the formula). The only QB to throw 20+ picks with a rating over 100 was Kurt Warner … in the season he and the Rams lost to Brady and the Rams in the Super Bowl.
 

11. NEW YORK JETS (5-3)

Last week: 27-11 win at Buffalo
Next three weeks: vs. NE, at DEN, vs. BUF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Mark Sanchez is on pace for 26 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 3,550 yards and an 84.0 rating. In Tom Brady’s third year (he spent his first on the bench), he threw 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 3,764 yards and had an 85.7 rating.

12. CHICAGO (5-3)

Last week: 30-24 win at Philadelphia
Next three weeks: vs. DET, vs. SD, at OAK
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:The Bears are the only team to have touchdowns on an interception return, punt return, fumble return and kickoff return plus a safety.

13. BUFFALO (5-3)

Last week: 27-11 loss vs. Jets
Next three weeks: at DAL, at MIA, at NYJ
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bills still have to play five road games, but six of their last eight are against teams currently behind them in the power rankings, and none are against teams currently ranked higher than 10th overall (New England)

14. ATLANTA (5-3)

Last week: 31-7 win at Indianapolis
Next three weeks: vs. NO, vs. TEN, vs. MIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:When do stats lie? On Sunday, against the worst pass defense in the league, Matt Ryan threw a terrible pick-six from his own end zone and padded his numbers with two long pass plays to Julio Jones that came off a three-yard slant and poorly thrown deep ball. His rating was 120.7, his best since Week 2 of 2009. The Falcons' petition to play the Colts every week is being considered in the league offices.

15. DALLAS (4-4)

Last week: 23-13 win vs. Seattle
Next three weeks:vs. BUF, at WAS, vs MIA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jason Witten is on pace for 1,096 yards; if he tops 1,000 this year it’ll be the fourth time in five seasons – pretty impressive, considering that there are only 28 all-time 1,000-yard seasons for tight ends in history.

16. PHILADELPHIA (3-5)

Last week: 30-24 loss vs. Chicago
Next three weeks: vs. ARI, at NYG, vs. NE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Eagles’ shady start is obscuring an all-time great first half by LeSean McCoy. He’s on pace for 1,650 rushing yards, 20 total touchdowns and a 5.5 YPC average, with no fumbles. Unfortunately, Philly has lost all five of its games vs. Quality Opponents.

17. SAN DIEGO (4-4)

Last week: 45-38 loss vs. Green Bay
Next three weeks: vs. OAK, at CHI, vs. DEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Incredible stat of the week: Of the 53 completed passes to starting wideouts Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, 51 have gone for first downs. Someone get Philip Rivers a checkdown option!

18. OAKLAND (4-4)

Last week: 38-24 vs. Denver
Next three weeks: at SD, at MIN, vs. CHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Carson Palmer has thrown 18 interceptions in his last 10 games.

19. TAMPA BAY (4-4)

Last week: 27-16 loss at New Orleans
Next three weeks: vs. HOU, at GB, at TEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:Josh Freeman has taken a league low 29 combined sacks and hits (3.6 per game); last year they were 11th at 6.4 per game. But Josh Freeman has already thrown four more INTs (10) than he did all last year (6).
­

20. TENNESSEE (4-4)

Last week: 24-17 loss vs. Cincinnati
Next three weeks: at CAR, at ATL, vs. TB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Through four weeks, Tennessee was No. 1 in our Quality Stat Power Rankings and No. 7 in the Relativity Index that measures performance vs. the schedule. They’re down to 16th now, and 20th on the Relativity Index. But at least Chris Johnson is rich.

21. CAROLINA (2-6)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: vs. TEN, at DET, at IND
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Panthers were mocked a bit for spending big bucks on incumbent defensive end Charles Johnson, but he’s got seven sacks in eight games.

22. MINNESOTA (2-6)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at GB, vs. OAK, at ATL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: If it’s third and short, you might want to put a few guys on No. 28. Adrian Peterson is a perfect 8-for-8 picking up the first down in those situations.

23. DENVER (3-5)

Last week: 38-24 win at Oakland
Next three weeks: at KC, vs. NYJ, at SD
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Broncos could become the first team since the 1922 Oorang Indians to average more per run (5.22) than per pass (5.02 including sacks). Seriously, we don’t know how long it’s been, but it’s been awhile, and it’s always fun to cite the ol' Oorang crew.

24. KANSAS CITY (4-4)

Last week: 31-3 loss vs. Miami
Next three weeks: vs. DEN, at NE, vs. PIT
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: How bad was last week’s loss to Miami? The Chiefs fell 10 full spots in our Quality Stats Power Rankings (insider only), pretty tough to do this deep into a season.

25. JACKSONVILLE (2-6)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at IND, at CLE, vs. HOU
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jaguars spent their bye week figuring out ways to bring more media attention to the wacky antics of longtime mascot Sir Purr. What? An oversized stuffed cat with cool shades that reacts with horror to missed field goals? Stop the presses!

26. WASHINGTON (3-5)

Last week: 19-11 loss vs. San Francisco
Next three weeks: at MIA, vs. DAL, at SEA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The only real bright spot on this team is tight end Fred Davis, who’s on pace for 80 catches and 1,118 yards. If your fantasy magazine was pushing Davis back in August, resubscribe.

27. CLEVELAND (3-5)

Last week: 30-12 loss at Houston
Next three weeks: vs. STL, vs. JAX, at CIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Browns only have eight runs of 10+ yards this year; Tim Tebow has 12 in less than half a season.

28. ARIZONA (2-6)

Last week: 19-13 win vs. St. Louis
Next three weeks: at PHI, at SF, at STL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Cardinals had a league-high 11 return scores last year, but no punt-return touchdowns. This year, they have three punt return touchdowns, but no other return scores. Read about this and other notable facts in the new bestseller “We Have To Find Something To Write About the Cardinals Every Week.”

29. MIAMI (1-7)

Last week: 31-3 win at Kansas City
Next three weeks:vs. WAS, vs. BUF, at DAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Dolphins got a win, but they’re last in the league in interceptions (2) and passes defensed (24).

30. SEATTLE (2-6)

Last week: 23-13 loss at Dallas
Next three weeks: vs. BAL, at STL, vs. CLE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: In their last 30 games, the Seahawks have somehow managed to amass 17 losses by double-digits … and one playoff win.  

31. ST. LOUIS (1-7)

Last week: 19-13 loss at Arizona
Next three weeks: at CLE, vs. SEA, vs. ATL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Rams are failing spectacularly in the red zone, where they’ve only completed 27.6 percent of their passes – way behind the surprising No. 31 team, Baltimore (36.4).

32. INDIANAPOLIS (0-9)

Last week: 31-7 loss vs. Atlanta
Next three weeks: vs. JAX, bye, vs. CAR
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Colts’ rush defenses behind Peyton Manning were always among the worst in the league; this year opponents are 11th in yards per carry at 4.1. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’ve been run on 35.3 times a game thanks to the garbage time, and have allowed 146.1 YPG (31st) and a league-worst 80 first downs.
 

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