Week 2 2009 Power Rankings

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 16, 2009



By Kerry J. Byrne 
Cold, Hard Football Facts power pitcher
 
There are so many movers and shakers in our Power Rankings since our preview edition that we lost 10 pounds just watching them work up a sweat.
 
The defending champs stay in the No. 1 spot, while Philly jumps up from No. 3 to No. 2 with their dominating win over the Panthers. Teams like the Cowboys and Vikings, meanwhile, make big moves into the Top 10 after impressive Week 1 victories. Even the Raiders climbed a few spots: sure, they lost, but they played fairly well against what most people envision to be a powerful San Diego team.
 
1. PITTSBURGH (1-0). Last week: 13-10 win vs. Tennessee (OT). Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger picked up in 2009 where they left off in Super Bowl XLIII with amazing statistical symmetry. SB MVP Santonio Holmes caught 9 passes for 131 yards and a TD in both games; while Big Ben completed 5 of 7 passes to lead last-second game-winning scores in both. Next up: at Chicago.
 
2. PHILADELPHIA (1-0). Last week: 38-10 win at Carolina. The Eagles cruised despite chaos at QB thanks to a defense that forced seven turnovers (5 INT, 2 fumbles). The Michael Vick Era under center may begin sooner than we expected, after Kevin Kolb showed the firepower of a leaky water pistol (7 of 11, 23 yards) in place of the injured Donovan McNabb. Vick is eligible to play in Week 3, Jeff Garcia was signed as insurance, and McNabb might be able to play soon anyway. Next up: vs. New Orleans.
 
3. BALTIMORE (1-0). Last week: 38-24 win vs. Kansas City. Joe Flacco quickly squashed any rumors of a sophomore slump with career highs in attempts (43), yards (307) and TDs (3). In response, CHFF officially dubs Flacco the NFL's Darwinius masillae. He is Baltimore's long-sought missing link. Next up: at San Diego.
 
4. N.Y. GIANTS (1-0). Last Week: 23-17 win vs. Washington. The Redskins are officially New York's bitch. The Giants had lost three straight divisional games before toughing out a win over the 'Skins – it's their third straight over Washington, limiting the team to an average of 10.3 PPG in those contests. Next up: at Dallas.
 
5. NEW ENGLAND (1-0). Last week: 25-24 win vs. Buffalo. It took a near miracle (two TDs and a special-teams turnover in the final two minutes), but the Patriots muscled through a 2001-style win over the Bills. The Patriots became the first team in AFC East history to beat the same opponent 12 straight times. Next up: at N.Y. Jets.
 
6. SAN DIEGO (1-0). Last week: 24-20 win at Oakland. The Chargers lost most of the statistical battles (317 yards to 366 yards; 28:23 TOP to 31:37) but won the war thanks to a last-minute 89-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard Darren Sproles burst for a TD. Sproles produced 243 total yards (23 rushing; 43 receiving, 180 returns); LT just 56. Next up: vs. Baltimore in an AFC beauty.
 
7. INDIANAPOLIS (1-0). Last week: 14-12 win vs. Jacksonville. Peyton Manning tosses 300-yard games with all the ease of a CHFF reader pounding GIQs of Colt 45. He completed 28 of 38 for a cool 301 and 1 score, while the defense limited the Jags air attack to 114 net yards and then forced them into an easy four-and-out on their final drive to end any hopes of a comeback. Next up: at Miami Monday night.
 
8. N.Y. JETS (1-0). Last week: 24-7 win at Houston. Few fans are more excited after Week 1 than Jets fans. The J-Men ran well (167 yards), Mark Sanchez passed remarkably well for a rookie debut (18 of 31, 272 yards, 1 TD) and the new-look defense swarmed all over the Texans. But it pays to remember that the Texans are also the only franchise in the NFL that's never had a winning season. Next up: vs. New England.      

9. DALLAS (1-0). Last week: 34-21 win at Tampa. Tony Romo (16 of 27, 353 yards) averaged a Lamonica-esque 22.1 yards per completion and a spectacular 13.1 yards per attempt against the woeful Bucs so-called "defense." Romo surpassed Peyton Manning in the process for the second-best career passer rating in NFL history (95.7). Next up: vs. N.Y. Giants.
 
10. MINNESOTA (1-0). Last week: 34-20 at Cleveland. Vikings fans are a little too thrilled by a win over one of the worst teams in football. But we're all thrilled watching the great Adrian Peterson, who literally bitch-slapped Cleveland defenders on Sunday. Through his first 30 NFL games, AP has rushed 626 times for 3,281 yards (5.24 YPA). Jim Brown, through his first 30 NFL games, rushed 613 times for 3,206 yards (5.23 YPA). Next week: at Detroit and another blow-out win. 
 
11. TENNESSEE (0-1). Last week: 13-10 loss at Pittsburgh (OT). The Titans are still good, just not ready for primetime. After a league-best 13-3 campaign in 2008, they are 0-2 in their last two games vs. AFC North powers Baltimore and Pittsburgh, losing both 13-10. Rob Bironas is 2 for 5 on FGs in those two games, including the first two-miss effort (one was blocked) of his career in the 2009 opener. Next up: vs. Houston.
 
12. GREEN BAY (1-0). Last week: 21-14 win vs. Chicago. The Packers did little right other than accepting Jay Cutler's four-pick gift – until the game was on the line. Aaron Rodgers threw a gorgeous rainbow to a streaking Greg Jennings that resulted in a 50-yard game-winning score with 71 seconds to play. Next up: vs. Cincinnati.
 
13. ATLANTA (1-0). Last week: 19-7 win vs. Miami. Matt Ryan's Falcons are 4-1 vs. the AFC, including wins over a pair of 2008 division champs (Chargers, 'Fins). Next up: vs. Carolina.
 
14. NEW ORLEANS (1-0). Last week: 45-27 win vs. Detroit. Drew Brees shredded the worst pass defense in NFL history for six TDs. Some people say beating up Detroit's pass defense (record worst 110.8 Defensive Passer Rating last year; 137.0 so far this year) is like taking candy from a baby. But these people never tried to take candy from us when we were babies. Next up: at Philly.
 
15. SAN FRANCISCO (1-0). Last week: 20-16 win at Arizona. Hope is starting to shine in San Fran like a shiny vein of alluvial deposit along Sutter's Mill, after the 49ers handed the Cardinals their first division loss in eight games (dating back to 2007). CHFF favorite Shaun Hill is 8-3 as an NFL starter. Next up: vs. Seattle.  
 
16. SEATTLE (1-0). Last week: 28-0 win vs. St. Louis. We anticipate a return to the mid-decade glory days in Seattle this year and we got glimpses of that for at least one week, with an outstanding day passing the ball by Matt Hasselbeck (279 yards, 3 TD) and a solid effort on the ground led by Julius Jones (117 yards, 6.2 YPA, 1 TD). But call us when the Seahawks play an NFL team ... or at least somebody as good as USC. Next up: at San Francisco.
 
17. CHICAGO (0-1). Last week: 21-14 loss at Green Bay. Bears fans got a crushing lesson in the stifling inefficiency, reported only here at CHFF, that Jay Cutler brings to the table. The Bears produced 352 yards – easily outgaining Green Bay's 226 yards – but turned all that offense into just 15 points thanks to Cutler's career-worst 4 picks. Next up: vs. Pittsburgh.
 
18. ARIZONA (0-1). Last week: 20-16 loss vs. San Francisco. We dubbed Kurt Warner a stat monster/gunslinger hybrid this year and right now he's showing a bit too much of the gunslinger side: his bad pass against Pittsburgh that was returned the length of the field for a TD in Super Bowl XLIII cost him his second SB ring; his two long-ball picks in the first half of Week 1 helped produce an early deficit against the 49ers that the Cards could not overcome. Next up: at Jacksonville.
 
19. WASHINGTON (0-1). Last week: 23-17 loss at N.Y. Giants. Remember when we told you it was a mistake this off-season for Redskins management to make so few efforts to improve the offense? Well, the Giants outpaced the Redskins in every major offensive indicator in Week 1, including total yards (351-272), first downs (18-15), average per play (5.8-5.4) and average per pass (8.3-6.4). A mistake on offense, meanwhile, led to the day's most critical play: Osi Umenyiora's spectacular strip of Jason Campbell and 37-yard return for a TD. Next up: vs. St. Louis.
 
20. BUFFALO (0-1). Last week: 25-24 loss at New England. A promising effort against Buffalo's tormentors (12 straight losses to the Patriots) ended in a series of lost opportunities, defensive breakdsowns, critical mistakes and Bills fans wilding through the streets, ransacking the home of Week 1 goat Leodis McKelvin. Other than that, it was a great Week 1. Terrell Owens caught just 2 passes for 46 yards in his Buffalo debut. Next up: vs. Tampa Bay.
 
21. DENVER (1-0). Last week: 12-7 win at Cincinnati. All Kyle Orton does is win football games. His numbers are pathetic and defy every maxim of the Cold, Hard Football Facts keys to victory. Yet there he is, after Sunday's miraculous win, 22-12 as an NFL starter despite a pathetic 5.9 YPA career average and a nearly 1-to-1 TD to INT ratio in his career (31-27). Next up: vs. Cleveland.
 
22. CAROLINA (0-1). Last week: 38-10 loss vs. Philly. Note to John Fox: Jakes Delhomme sucks. Take the ball out of his hands. He's committed 11 turnovers in his last two games, leading to two blowout defeats by a combined 71-23 score. All of this negativity from a team that was 12-4 last year and that boasted the best ground attack in team history entering the 2008 playoffs. Next up: at Atlanta.
    
23. MIAMI (0-1). Last week: 19-7 loss at Atlanta. The Dolphins, despite the 11-5 record last year, are simply not good enough to win games when they suffer four turnovers, including a rare three lost fumbles (two by TE Anthony Fasano). Next up: vs. Indy (Monday night).
 
24. OAKLAND (0-1). Last week: 24-20 loss vs. San Diego. Bad teams find ways to lose – the Bills and Raiders gave us a double-dose of examples on Monday night. But we move up the Raiders several spots since last week because at least they put up a fight against a good team. Next up: at Kansas City, in a true battle of who wants it less.
 
25. JACKSONVILLE (0-1). Last week: 14-12 loss at Indy. Jack Del Rio's middle name is officially "tick, tick, tick, tick." The promise of 2007, crushed in a poor offensive performance in 2008, showed no sign of returning in a Week 1 loss (228 total yards) to AFC South master Indy. Sooner or later, the Jags must find a way to beat the Colts ... we don't hop on any Jax bandwagons until that happens. Next up: vs. Arizona. 
 
26. TAMPA BAY (0-1). Last week: 34-21 loss vs. Dallas. The Bucs were 9-3 through 12 games last year, fielded one of the league's toughest defenses and looked ready to cause damage in the NFC playoff race. They're 0-5 since then, and have surrendered an average of 31.4 PPG. And in other news, Monte Kiffin's defense on Rocky Top has given up just 22 points through UT's first two games. Next up: at Buffalo.
 
27. HOUSTON (0-1). Last week: 24-7 loss vs. N.Y. Jets. Matt Schaub followed-up a very promising 2008 season with his worst statistical performance in two years (55.9 passer rating) against the speedy Jets D. Next up: at Tennessee.
 
28. KANSAS CITY (0-1). Last week: 38-24 loss at Baltimore. The Chiefs fought toe-to-toe on the road against the AFC powerhouse for 57 minutes, before giving up two late touchdowns. Brodie Croyle played very well against the team that fielded the league's best pass defense in 2008: 16 of 24, 177 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 116.1 passer rating. But it went for naught: he's now 0-9 as an NFL starter. Next up: vs. Oakland.
 
29. CLEVELAND (0-1). Last week: 34-20 loss to Minnesota. Jim Brown isn't walking through the door of Browns Stadium, Cleveland fans ... unless maybe he's wearing No. 28 and a Vikings uniform. The Cleveland offense, pathetic last year, struggled here under Brady Quinn. The Browns converted just 3 of 13 third and fourth downs, while the passing attack averaged a measly 4.5 yards per attempt using our adjusted formula (which includes sacks). Next up: at Denver.
 
30. CINCINNATI (0-1). Last week: 12-7 loss to Denver. The Bungles found a new and creative way to suffer a humiliating defeat, surrendering a tipped-pass 87-yard touchdown reception by a white guy no less. The Bengals were dead last in the NFL in scoring in 2008 (12.8 PPG). It took them more than 59 minutes to finally score against a Denver D that was 30t in scoring last year (28.0 PPG). Next up: at Green Bay.
 
31. ST. LOUIS (0-1). Last week: 28-0 loss at Seattle. The Rams have torn through three coaches in three seasons, with a 5-27 record to show for it. The Steve Spanguolo Era began in glorious fashion, with the team's first shutout loss since 2006. Next up: at Washington.
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32. DETROIT (0-16). Last week: 45-27 loss at New Orleans. Here's our promise to you: if the Lions post a Defensive Passer Rating better than 100, we'll quit beer, Buffalo wings and nudies bars for two whole days. Next up: vs. Minnesota.
 

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