Power Rankings: When Super teams stay Super

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 02, 2011



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Power Ranker


Here we go again.

In the fairly brief history of our Power Rankings, this has never even come close to happening: the Super Bowl teams are 1-2 in the next year’s midseason rankings – and in that order no less.

Let’s look where the Super Bowl teams were in the rankings the year after through Week 8 the past five years:
  • 2010: New Orleans No. 12, Indianapolis No. 2
  • 2009: Pittsburgh No. 6, Arizona No. 19
  • 2008: Giants No. 2, New England No. 8
  • 2007: Pittsburgh No. 5, Seattle No. 14
  • 2006: Indianapolis No. 2, Chicago No. 25

As it stands now, the Steelers and Packers would earn No. 1 seeds in the conference – which has only happened twice in the post-merger NFL: the Steelers and Vikings did it in 1975, and the Cowboys and Bills did in 1993.

Parity? We don't need no stinkin' parity! On to the rankings!

1. GREEN BAY (7-0)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at SD, vs. MIN, vs TB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Packers haven’t had to play on the West Coast since October of 2008, a 27-17 win at Seattle, and haven’t played San Diego since September of 2007.

2. PITTSBURGH (6-2)

Last week: 25-17 win vs. New England
Next three weeks: vs. BAL, at CIN, bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Mike Wallace is on pace for 86 catches, 1,600 yards and 10 TDs; only seven players have reached those three levels in a season ever (Marvin Harrison twice).

3. SAN FRANCISCO (6-1)

Last week: 20-10 win vs. Cleveland
Next three weeks: at WAS, vs. NYG, vs. AZ
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Not only have the 49ers not allowed a rushing touchdown, they’ve only yielded a single run of 20 yards or more all year. Read about this and other fun facts in Mike Singletary’s new book “What The F---, You Guys Couldn’t Play Like This For My Hall Of Fame Ass?”

4. BUFFALO (5-2)

Last week: 23-0 win vs. Washington
Next three weeks: vs. NYJ, at DAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: While San Francisco is the most efficient team we’ve seen since we started tracking Bendability and Scoreability, Buffalo isn’t far behind (4th in Bendability, 4th in Scoreability).

5. BALTIMORE (5-2)

Last week: 30-27 win vs. Arizona
Next three weeks: at PIT, at SEA, vs. CIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Baltimore’s most glaring weakness? Receiving depth. The Ravens have only completed 19 passes in seven games to any wideout not named Anquan Boldin.

6. NEW ENGLAND (5-2)

Last week: 25-17 loss at Pittsburgh
Next three weeks: vs. NYG, at NYJ, vs. KC
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Patriots’ defense is allowing real yards (424.1 a game, worst in the league), and penalty yards to boot (68.9 per game, tied for third worst). They’re on pace to allow an NFL-record 267 first downs through the air – that’s 41 than they gave up in 2010 when they allowed the most in the league (226).

7. DETROIT (6-2)

Last week: 45-10 win at Denver
Next three weeks: bye, at CHI, vs. CAR
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Lions are 5-for-7 on fourth downs, third-best in the league, and have stopped opponents on 8 of 10 fourth-down attempts. But the lovable Lions are a fairly shocking 31st in third down conversions (28 percent, right between Miami and St. Louis at the bottom of the column).

8. NEW ORLEANS (5-3)

Last week: 31-21 loss at St. Louis
Next three weeks: vs. TB, at ATL, bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints have had some pretty bad run defenses over the years, but allowing 5.5 yards a carry goes above and beyond the call of awful.

9. HOUSTON (5-3)

Last week: 24-14 win vs. Jacksonville
Next three weeks: vs. CLE, at TB, bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Texans are 3-0 with a +71 point differential against the AFC South, 2-3 with a -10 point differential against the rest of the league.

10. CINCINNATI (5-2)

Last week: 34-12 win at Seattle
Next three weeks: at TEN, vs. PIT, at BAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Trying to remember the last time the Bengals won on the road by 20 in the first half of the NFL calendar? It was in 2002, vs. the expansion Texans (38-3 win). It was right on the tip of your tongue, we know.

11. NEW YORK GIANTS (5-2)

Last week: 20-17 win vs. Miami
Next three weeks: at NE, vs. SF, vs. PHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The G-Men are quietly leading the league in sacks with 3.7 per game and are on pace for 59 on the year – that would be the most since Dallas had 59 in 2008.
 

12. PHILADELPHIA (3-4)

Last week: 34-7 win vs. Dallas
Next three weeks: vs. CHI, vs. ARI, at NYG
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The well-publicized fact that Andy Reid is 13-0 after the bye stat is one of the most incredible in football, and worth repeating here even though "Reid 13-0 after the bye" returns 1,780,000 results on Google. Sorry, sometimes you have to follow the herd.

13. ATLANTA (4-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at IND, vs. NO, vs. TEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:No offense to players of the past, but a team in its 46th season should have better all-time yardage leaders than Gerald Riggs (6,631 rushing yards), Terance Mathis (7,349 receiving yards) and Steve Bartkowski (23,470 passing yards).

14. CHICAGO (4-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at PHI, vs. DET, vs. SD
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:Teams aren’t running the ball against the Bears (20.9 attempts/game, fewest in the NFL), despite the Bears allowing 5.2 yards a crack (second worst in the NFL). Is Mike Martz calling the other teams’ plays as well?

15. NEW YORK JETS (4-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: bye, at BUF, vs. NE, at DEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Say what you will about Rex Ryan, but if he gets the Jets to the postseason in his third year, it’ll be the first back-to-back-to-back playoff run in franchise history.

16. DALLAS (3-4)

Last week: 34-7 loss at Philadelphia
Next three weeks:vs. SEA, vs. BUF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jerry Jones is pissed.

17. OAKLAND (4-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: vs. DEN, at SD, at MIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: A win this week and losses for the Chiefs and Chargers would give the Raiders sole possession of the AFC West lead for the first time this late in the season since 2002.

18. SAN DIEGO (4-3)

Last week: 23-20 loss at Kansas City
Next three weeks: vs. GB, vs. OAK, at CHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Chargers’ issues with efficiency this year and last are new under Norv Turner. In 2007, Turner’s first year, they were the most efficient team in the league on our Bendability/Scoreability charts, and they were second behind Tennessee in 2007.

19. TAMPA BAY (4-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at NO, vs. HOU, at GB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:The Bucs’ defense is giving up 6.2 yards a play, the second worst figure in the league behind New England.
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20. KANSAS CITY (4-3)

Last week: 23-20 win vs. San Diego
Next three weeks: vs. MIA, vs. DEN, at NE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Even with the four straight wins, the Chiefs still rank 27th on our Relativity Index that relates performance to the difficulty of the opposition.

21. TENNESSEE (4-3)

Last week: 27-10 win vs. Indianapolis
Next three weeks: vs. CIN, at CAR
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Titans are best at avoiding Negative Pass Plays (6.25 percent), but they’re last in yards per carry (3.05 YPC).  

22. CAROLINA (2-6)

Last week: 24-21 loss vs. Minnesota
Next three weeks: bye, vs. TEN, at DET
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Factoring in sacks, Cam Newton has produced more yards per game (325.4) than 14 NFL teams. The most amazing first act since Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees back in ’67.  

23. MINNESOTA (2-6)

Last week: 24-21 win at Carolina
Next three weeks: bye, at GB, vs. OAK
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jared Allen’s last 16 games have been pretty remarkable: 20 sacks, 52 tackles, six turnovers and only one sackless game.

24. WASHINGTON (3-4)

Last week: 23-0 loss at Buffalo
Next three weeks: vs. SF, at MIA, vs. DAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Redskins haven’t had a team finish higher than eighth league-wide in point differential since … yep, 1991. That’s 20 years without fielding a single elite team, folks.

25. CLEVELAND (3-4)

Last week: 20-10 loss at San Francisco
Next three weeks: at HOU, vs. STL, vs. JAX
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Has a team ever played more like its logo?

26. DENVER (2-5)

Last week: 45-10 loss vs. Detroit
Next three weeks: at OAK, at KC, vs. NYJ
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Tee-bow? Tee-bow? Tee-bow? Just to play devil’s advocate, it’s worth noting that Steve Young went 3-16 with similarly terrible numbers in his first two seasons as an NFL starter.

27. JACKSONVILLE (2-6)

Last week: 24-14 loss at Houston
Next three weeks: bye, at IND, at CLE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Marcedes Lewis had 10 touchdown catches last year; including this year’s zero in eight games, he has a total of seven TDs in his other 4.5 seasons. OK, we'll admit, that's not very interesting, but neither are the Jaggies.

28. ARIZONA (1-6)

Last week: 30-27 loss at Baltimore
Next three weeks: vs. STL, at PHI, at SF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Kevin Kolb as an NFL starter is 4-10 with 18 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.

29. SEATTLE (2-5)

Last week: 34-12 loss vs. Cincinnati
Next three weeks: at DAL, vs. BAL, at STL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Chris Clemons (five) is the only Seahawk with more than one sack.

30. MIAMI (0-7)

Last week: 20-17 loss at New York Giants
Next three weeks:at KC, vs. WAS, vs. BUF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Tony Sparano’s first Dolphin team led the league in turnover differential. Since, they’ve ranked 26th and 30th, and they’re 30th so far this year (-8).

31. ST. LOUIS (1-6)

Last week: 31-21 win vs. New Orleans
Next three weeks: at ARI, at CLE, vs. SEA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints had been averaging an amazing 26.1 offensive first downs per game before St. Louis inexplicably held them to eight in last week’s win. And yet, the Rams were so bad in their first six games that we still had to keep them behind winless Miami.

32. INDIANAPOLIS (0-8)

Last week: 27-10 loss at Tennessee
Next three weeks: vs. ATL, vs. JAX, bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Peyton Manning-less Colts have faced a league-high seven Quality Opponents thus far, which hardly seems fair. Meanwhile, lil’ bro Eli Manning and the Giants have only faced one Quality Opponent.
 

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