Week 10 2008 Power Rankings
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 04, 2008
By Jeremy Gottlieb
Cold, Hard Football Facts agent of same
Who needs change?
It's been quite the buzzword over the past several months. But here at the Cold, Hard Football Facts cardboard-box world headquarters, we reject change ... unless it's the kind that's tossed into our dented tin cup as we camp out on our favorite subway vent.
The Giants made their strongest case to unseat Tennessee at the top of the rankings this week by torching the Cowboys. On offense, Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers, while three running backs combined for exactly two bills on the ground (Brandon Jacobs, 117; Derrick Ward, 63; Ahmad Bradshaw, 20). Defensively, the Giants were simply dominant, sacking the quarterback tandem of Johnson and Bollinger four times, registering three interceptions, forcing a fumble and holding the Cowboys to just 183 total yards and 11 first downs. The Giants now rank fifth in total offense (371.4 YPG) and third in total defense (260.4 YPG), and by topping Dallas, they added another Quality Win to their ledger.
Meanwhile, the Titans needed overtime to beat Green Bay at home. They allowed 390 total yards – the most they've given up all year – and had trouble moving the ball in the second half. Even their clutch kicker, Rob Bironas, missed a 47-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation. But after winning the coin toss to begin the extra period, Tennessee never relinquished the ball, driving 55 yards in nine plays to set up Bironas for the 41-yard game-winner.
And that's all there is to it. The Titans remain undefeated. The Giants, as well as they are playing, lost a game earlier this season to Cleveland. Thus, Tennessee is still No.1.
You can keep the change.
THE DOMINANT DOZEN
1. TENNESSEE (8-0, previous rank: same)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 1-0 (+3.0 PPG)
Last week: The Titans avoided a letdown after their big Monday night win over the Colts, surviving a close call against the visiting Packers with a 19-16 win in OT.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Since the start of the 2007 season, kicker Rob Bironas has missed just six field goal attempts. He missed that same number in each of the previous two seasons.
Week 10 matchup: at Chicago. Running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White, who have combined for 1,119 yards and 15 TDs, face a Bears defense that ranks fifth against the run (81.8 YPG).
2. N.Y. GIANTS (7-1, previous rank: same)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 3-0 (+12.3 PPG)
Last week: The Giants made life even more miserable for the rudderless Cowboys, sailing to a 35-14 victory at the Meadowlands.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: The New York running game was so dominant (and the Dallas defense so porous) that Eli Manning attempted just five passes in the second half.
Week 10 matchup: at Philadelphia. The Giants have swept the regular season series from the Eagles in two of the last three years. In four career games at Philly, Manning sports a completion percentage of 62.2 percent and a passer rating of 85.7.
3. PITTSBURGH (6-2, previous rank: 6)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 2-2 (+1.0 PPG)
Last week: Despite surrendering two field goals in the first four minutes and losing QB Ben Roethlisberger to a right shoulder injury just before halftime, the Steelers rolled up 23 unanswered points in Washington, leaving our nation's capital with a 23-6 victory and their first win against an NFC East opponent in three tries.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Steelers defense held onto its No. 1 ranking (234.1 YPG) by forcing Jason Campbell's first and second interceptions of the season, sacking him seven times and limiting league rushing leader Clinton Portis to 51 yards.
Week 10 matchup: vs. Indianapolis. The last time these teams met, the wild-card Steelers shocked the 14-2 Colts at home in the 2005 divisional playoffs, helping to pave the way to a championship in Super Bowl XL.
4. CAROLINA (6-2, previous rank: same)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 3-1 (-0.5 PPG)
Last week: Bye. The Panthers danced and sang as one in honor of quarterback Jake Delhomme's surgically repaired elbow, which has allowed him to complete 140 of 231 passes (60.6 percent) for 1,781 yards, 7.7 YPA, 9 TDs, 5 INTs and an 88.7 passer rating.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: As solid as Delhomme has been, the Carolina defense has been ever better, allowing just 294.4 YPG (8th) and 15.9 PPG (3rd).
Week 10 matchup: at Oakland. Did we mention that the Panthers defense is pretty good? Well, they're playing the Pop Warner Raiders this week, who have a very real shot of being shutout for the second straight week.
5. TAMPA BAY (6-3, previous rank: same)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 3-1 (+9.5 PPG)
Last week: The favored Buccaneers invaded Arrowhead Stadium, fell behind 24-3 in the first half and then needed the biggest comeback in franchise history to beat the lowly Chiefs, 30-27, in overtime.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jeff Garcia completed 31 of 43 passes for 339 yards (72.1 percent), posting a completion percentage of more than 70 for the fourth time in his last five games.
Week 10 matchup: Bye. The defense rests after allowing more points (27) than it had in its previous three games combined (26).
6. WASHINGTON (6-3, previous rank: 5)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 3-2 (-2.2 PPG)
Last week: The Redskins ran smack into the Steelers defense and managed only 221 total yards, their lowest total since Week 1 (209), in a 23-6 home loss.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jason Campbell posted his worst numbers of the season, completing 23 of 43 passes (55.8 percent) for 206 yards, 4.8 YPA, 2 INTs and a 49.6 passer rating. Still, he threw 250 passes this year before his first interception.
Week 10 matchup: Bye. Including their five preseason games, the Redskins have played for 14 consecutive weeks, so they will undoubtedly welcome the rest.
7. PHILADELPHIA (5-3, previous rank: 9)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 2-3 (+1.6 PPG)
Last week: After falling behind early, the Eagles rode Donovan McNabb's first 300-yard passing day since Week 1 (28 of 43 for 349 yards and 2 TDs) in a 26-7 rout of the host Seahawks.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Filling in for the injured L.J. Smith, second-year tight end Brent Celek caught six passes for 131 yards (21.8 YPA), the highest single-game yardage total for a Philly tight end in team history.
Week 10 matchup: vs. N.Y. Giants. McNabb hasn't quarterbacked the Eagles to a win over the G-Men since 2004, when Philly swept the season series with Terrell Owens as the leading receiver.
8. CHICAGO (5-3, previous rank: 9)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 1-3 (-1.0 PPG)
Last week: The Bears lost quarterback Kyle Orton but still managed to come from behind to beat visiting Detroit, 27-23, thanks to one Rex Grossman, who passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the second half.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Grossman also threw an interception against the Lions, giving him eight in his last eight games.
Week 10 matchup: vs. Tennessee. The Bears quietly stand fourth in scoring offense (27.9 PPG), but that was mostly with Orton playing. How will they fare against a Titans defense that is first overall (12.9 PPG)?
9. NEW ENGLAND (5-3, previous rank: 8)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 1-0 (+9.0 PPG)
Last week: The Patriots were done in by a dropped touchdown pass from Jabar Gaffney, a senseless penalty on backup tight end David Thomas and (gulp) some questionable decision making by Bill Belichick in an 18-15 loss to the host Colts.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Through eight games, the New England defense has intercepted eight passes, two of which were last-second, desperation throws. Through eight games last year, the defense had intercepted 11 passes, and cornerback Asante Samuel, now with the Eagles, had four of them.
Week 10 matchup: vs. Buffalo. Last season, the Patriots beat the Bills by a combined score of 94-17 in their two meetings.
10. ARIZONA (5-3, previous rank: 11)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 2-3 (-0.4 PPG)
Last week: The Cardinals continued to roll, scoring 24 points in the second quarter and getting another 300-yard passing day from the resurgent Kurt Warner in a 34-13 win at St. Louis.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Coming into the St. Louis game, Arizona ranked 29th in rushing with Edgerrin James as the starter. Coach Ken Whisenhunt went with rookie Tim Hightower against the Rams and Hightower rushed for 109 yards (4.95 YPA) and a TD, part of the team's 177 total yards on the ground.
Week 10 matchup: vs. San Francisco. The Cardinals are already 2-0 in division play and could grab a four-game lead in the AFC West with their second win of the year over the 49ers.
11. ATLANTA (5-3, previous rank: 13)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 1-3 (-10.3 PPG)
Last week: Matt Ryan posted a passer rating of more than 100 for the fourth time this season, while the defense held the Raiders to 10 yards in the passing game, in a 24-0 Atlanta victory.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: After gaining 139 yards on 31 carries against Oakland, Michael Turner is on pace to rush for 1,588 yards and 12 TDs in his first year as a starter.
Week 10 matchup: vs. New Orleans. Atlanta held the Raiders to 77 total yards and three first downs. Look for the Falcons to have a slightly tougher time this week against the top-ranked Saints offense (403.1 YPG).
12. BUFFALO (5-3, previous rank: 10)
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 0-2 (-16.5 PPG)
Last week: The Bills suffered their second straight division defeat, committing three turnovers and losing at home to the Jets, 26-17.
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Trend Edwards left Buffalo's Week 5 loss to the Cardinals with a concussion. Since then, he's tossed three interceptions, lost two fumbles and been sacked seven times.
Week 10 matchup: at New England. The Bills are just 1-14 vs. the Patriots in the last 15 games between these AFC East "rivals."
THE TEPID TWENTY
13. BALTIMORE (5-3, previous rank: 16) — Do the Ravens finally have a quarterback to go with that defense? Rookie Joe Flacco tossed a pair of TD passes and posted a 109.6 passer rating in a 37-27 win over Cleveland, and he didn't throw an interception for the third straight game.
14. GREEN BAY (4-4, previous rank: same) — In taking the undefeated Titans to overtime on the road, the Packers got Donald Driver's best game (7 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD) since last Thanksgiving, when he caught 10 passes for 147 yards against Detroit.
15. INDIANAPOLIS (4-4, previous rank: 17) — Master pass rusher Dwight Freeney has just three sacks this year, last recording one against Houston in Week 5. Since the start of the 2006 season, Freeney has a total of 12 sacks – or one more than he had in all of 2005.
16. NEW ORLEANS (4-4, previous rank: 15) — The Saints go marching into Atlanta, trying to become the first team to win on the road in an NFC South division game.
17. DALLAS (5-4, previous rank: 12) — Cowboys defensive lineman Greg Ellis, in his 11th year with the team, has never experienced a playoff win – and there are currently no signs of an end to that drought.
18. MIAMI (4-4, previous rank: 20) — In reaching .500 at midseason, much attention has been paid to the Dolphins offense and the Wildcat formation. Defensively, Miami isn't too shabby either, having held the Broncos to 14 yards rushing on the road last week and standing ninth in run defense (89.6 YPG).
19. N.Y. JETS (5-3, previous rank: 24) — Despite Brett Favre's 300th career interception (which wasn't his fault, by the way; it was the play call), the Jets improved their record against Quality Opponents to 2-1 (+7.0 PPG) with a road win over Buffalo.
20. SAN DIEGO (3-5, previous rank: 19) — If a defense that relies on pressuring the quarterback loses its best pass rusher for the season with a knee injury, and then his replacement is sidelined for multiple weeks with a hamstring pull, what should it do? Why, fire the defensive coordinator, of course!
21. MINNESOTA (4-4, previous rank: 26) — Gus Frerotte's three touchdown passes to three different receivers against Houston last week were the most aerial scores the Vikings have posted in a game all year.
22. HOUSTON (3-5, previous rank: 21) — Sage Rosenfels is a capable quarterback for Houston, but Matt Schaub had posted a 71.3 completion percentage and a 109.1 passer rating in his last 4+ games prior to tearing his MCL last week at Minnesota.
23. DENVER (4-4, previous rank: 22) — Remember when the Broncos were 3-0 and Super Bowl-bound? Since then, they have allowed Kansas City's only win and lost twice at home – to Jacksonville and Miami.
24. JACKSONVILLE (3-5, previous rank: 18) — This is a steep drop, to be sure. But when you lose to Cleveland and Cincinnati in back-to-back weeks and manage a total of 68 yards rushing against the bottom-dwelling Bengals, you're fading fast.
25. CLEVELAND (3-4, previous rank: 23) — A game-sealing interception return for a touchown by Baltimore's Terrell Suggs was evidently the last straw for quarterback Derek Anderson, who will be replaced by Brady Quinn this week against Denver.
26. ST. LOUIS (2-6, previous rank: 25) — The Rams were outgained 229-18 and outscored 24-0 by Arizona in the second quarter last week, prompting St. Louis fans to boo the team off the field at halftime.
27. KANSAS CITY (1-7, previous rank: 27) — How does a one-win team jump two spots in the rankings following its fourth straight defeat? By taking two Quality Opponents, the Jets and the Bucs, right down to the gun in its last two games before falling just short.
28. SEATTLE (2-6, previous rank: 27) — Following Seneca Wallace's 90-yard touchdown pass to Koren Robinson on their first offensive play, the Seahawks punted on 11 consecutive possessions.
29. CINCINNATI (1-7, previous rank: 32) — By gaining 104 yards on 24 carries against Jacksonville, Cedric Benson notched the first 100-yard rushing day for the Bengals since Kenny Watson picked up 130 yards on 30 carries against Cleveland in Week 16 last season.
30. SAN FRANCISCO (2-6, previous rank: same) — During bye-week practice, new 49ers coach Mike Singletary demonstrated proper pass-rushing technique by taking off his pants.
31. DETROIT (0-8, previous rank: same) — After passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns in a near upset of the division-leading Bears, QB Dan Orlovsky gets the confidence boost of hearing that Daunte Culpepper has been signed off the scrap heap.
32. OAKLAND (2-6, previous rank: 28) — Here are last week's numbers: 77 total yards, 3 first downs, -2 yards in the first half. Really, is there any place for the Pop Warner Raiders other than right here at the bottom?
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