Week 5 2010 Power Rankings

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 04, 2010



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts dude that abides
 
Well, this is awkward.
 
Usually we enjoy anointing deserving new teams as No. 1 ... but not when they reach that point by default. Four weeks into the season, and no one has had a truly great performance at the quarter pole.
 
And so, at No. 1, is the only team that has shown that it can get things done on both sides of the ball – that's right, Fireman Ed, it's the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!
 
The rest of the teams near the top of the rankings either have no offense (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans) or no defense (Green Bay, New England, Atlanta, Indy, Houston).
 
San Diego has actually been the most dominant team in the league, at least  statistically: No. 1 in total offense, No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in Passing Yards Per Attempt, No. 1 in Defensive Passer Rating, and No. 1 in Passer Rating Differential, while outgaining opponents by a whopping 2.5 yards per play.
 
But the Chargers sit at 2-2. 
 
Kansas City is still perfect at 3-0, but two of their wins were fluky and it's just too early to take them without several grains of salt.
 
So that leaves the Jets, who have strung together three signature wins in a row and are setting the bar for turnover margin. Through the first 13 games of 2009, the struggling Jets were -4 in turnovers. In the nine games since then, including playoffs, the Jets have turned the ball over only three times while taking away 19 – a remarkable +16 run. It's one of the main reasons they've morphed into the NFL elite (they're +8 here through the first four weeks of 2010).
 
Oh, and for fans of interconference rivalry, it's worth noting that the AFC still dominates, as it has for years. Seven of our top eight currently reside in the AFC, while four of the bottom five are from the NFC. The AFC is 11-6 vs. the NFC so far this year.
 
1. N.Y. JETS (3-1)
Last week:
38-14 win at Buffalo
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Of all the second-year QBs in football history, the only one to throw 100+ passes in his team's first four games and no interceptions? Yep, Mark Sanchez. (Thanks to the pro-football-reference.com search engine).
 
2. PITTSBURGH (3-1)
Last week:
17-14 loss vs. Baltimore
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Steelers allow 12.5 PPG through four; in their two Super Bowl seasons of 2005 and 2008 they allowed 14.8 and 14.5, respectively.
 
3. GREEN BAY (3-1)
Last week:
28-26 win vs. Detroit
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Remember when Aaron Rodgers was running for his life early last season behind the Green Bay line? He's been hit only 10 times this year, second-least in the league, and sacked five times (6th least).
 
4. BALTIMORE (3-1)
Last week:
17-14 win at Pittsburgh
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: If you're a fantasy player, it's time to buy low on Baltimore. After facing four tough defenses in the first month, their next four are against Denver (20th in scoring defense), New England (25th), Buffalo (32nd) and Miami (23rd), with three of those games at home.
 
5. NEW ENGLAND (3-1)
Last week:
41-14 win at Miami
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The defense and special teams have scored five times in four games; the Patriots totaled just four scores on defense and special teams in 2008 and 2009 combined. They averaged 6.75 non-offensive scores per season in their four Super Bowl years of the 2000s.
 
6. KANSAS CITY (3-0)
Last week:
bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Chiefs spent their bye week looking incredulously at the NFL standings.
 
7. SAN DIEGO (2-2)
Last week:
41-10 win vs. Arizona
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Antonio Gates is one of only 10 players in the last 50 years who has started the season with 20+ catches, 350+ yards and 6+ touchdowns. He's the only tight end among this rare group. It's a testament to how good he is that no one has particularly noticed his accomplishment.  
 
8. INDIANAPOLIS (2-2)
Last week:
31-28 loss at Jacksonville
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Not counting the two mail-in games at the end of last season, Peyton Manning has 38 touchdown passes and 4,802 yards passing over his last 16 games.
 
9. NEW ORLEANS (3-1)
Last week:
16-14 win vs. Carolina
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints scored 26+ points in 15 of their 19 games last year; they've yet to do it once in 2010.
 
10. ATLANTA (3-1)
Last week:
16-14 win vs. San Francisco
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Falcons are pushing New Orleans atop the NFC South, but they're not doing it with the vertical passing game; Atlanta boasts only two passes of 25+ yards, fewest in the league.
 
11. CHICAGO (3-1)
Last week:
17-3 loss at N.Y. Giants
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Jay Cutler woke up Monday morning and was sacked on his way to the bathroom by his housekeeper.
 
12. HOUSTON  (3-1)
Last week:
31-24 win at Oakland
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Texans defense allows 408 YPG and has forced only four turnovers. That production is not going to get it done.
 
13. PHILADELPHIA (2-2)
Last week
: 17-12 loss vs. Washington
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Philly's secondary is doing its part with a 63.85 Defensive Passer Rating, second best in the NFL.
 
14. TENNESSEE (2-2)
Last week:
26-20 loss vs. Denver
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Titans manage to be both sure-handed and careless with the ball. They're tied for the league worst with seven lost fumbles, but are also second best with just two receiver drops. They also lead the NFL in "Most Refs Given The Bird By Assistant Coaches" (1).
 
15. N.Y. GIANTS (2-2)
Last week:
17-3 win vs. Chicago
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: After Week 4's tour de force against the Bears, the Giants are on pace to force 36 turnovers and pick up 64 sacks – a far cry from their 2009 totals of 24 turnovers and 32 sacks.
 
16. DALLAS (1-2)
Last week:
Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: How long is four years in the NFL? The last time the Cowboys and Titans met, a 45-14 Dallas win, Drew Bledsoe hooked up with Terry Glenn for two scores, Terrell Owens caught five passes, and Julius Jones rushed for 122 yards.
 
17. MINNESOTA (1-2)
Last week:
Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Adrian Peterson has ripped off 477 yards from scrimmage in his first three games, the most in any three-game span for him since November 2007, his rookie season.
 
18. CINCINNATI (2-2)
Last week:
23-20 loss at Cleveland
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bengals are the living embodiment of mediocrity -- .500 record, 79 points for, 78 points against.
 
19. MIAMI (2-2)
Last week:
41-14 loss vs. New England
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Monday night's loss to New England was the worst experience for Dolphins since 2007, when 26 of the swimming variety died on an England beach in what one scientist likened to "mass suicide." Yum, Dolphin.
 
20. DENVER (2-2)
Last week:
26-20 win at Tennessee
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The years of any dude off the street coming in and rushing for 1,000 yards are over in Denver. They are dead last in rush yards on first down (113) and yards per carry (2.2).
 
21. WASHINGTON (2-2)
Last week:
17-12 win at Philadelphia
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The return game gives the Redskins a big edge – they average 6.3 more yards per punt return than the opposition and 7.2 more yards per kick return.
 
22. TAMPA BAY (2-1)
Last week:
Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Perhaps it's worth noting that the last three times the Bucs lost 10+ games in a season (as they did in 2009), they bounced back to make the playoffs the next year (1996-97, 2004-05, 2006-07).
 
23. ST. LOUIS (2-2)
Last week:
20-3 win vs. Seattle
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: CB Bradley Fletcher, the Rams' third-round pick from 2009, is making a big impact. He's tied for the league lead with eight passes defensed and has two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
 
24. JACKSONVILLE (2-2)
Last week:
31-28 win vs. Indianapolis
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jags have nearly perfected the bend-then-break defense – 17 opponent visits to the red zone have ended with 15 touchdowns and only two field goals.
 
25. CLEVELAND (1-3)
Last week:
23-20 win vs. Cincinnati
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Is there any question that the Browns would win the NFC West?
 
26. SEATTLE (2-2)
Last week:
20-3 loss at St. Louis
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Seattle's win-loss-win-loss start is nothing new; they've only had two "winning streaks" since the start of 2008, both two games long.
 
27. OAKLAND (1-3)
Last week:
31-24 loss vs. Houston
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Oakland's offense is finally doing its part: 19.0 PPG and 5.0 yards per play here in 2010, up from 12.3 PPG and 4.5 YPP in 2009. But the defense is 29th in scoring and allows 5.31 yards per rush, worst in the NFL
 
28. ARIZONA (2-2)
Last week:
41-10 loss at San Diego
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: As bad as Arizona is, a playoff spot isn't unlikely. They've already played three games on the road, and will host five of their last seven games.
 
29. DETROIT (0-4)
Last week:
28-26 loss at Green Bay
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The dreadful run-pass "balance" continues to put massive strain on the system – 67.9 percent pass, 32.1 percent run, the most lopsided in the league.
 
30. SAN FRANCISCO (0-4)
Last week:
16-14 loss vs. Atlanta
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Nate Clements leads the "Dumbest Veterans Index" through four weeks – is there any particular reason a 10-year pro doesn't know to go to the ground after a game-sealing interception?
 
31. CAROLINA (0-4) 
Last week:
16-14 loss at New Orleans
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Lost in the Panthers' terrible start is the improved play of their defense. Carolina allows 4.8 yards per play, seventh best in the league.
 
32. BUFFALO (0-4)
Last week:
38-14 loss vs. N.Y. Jets
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: At least there's little debate about No. 32. Buffalo can't play offense, can't play defense, and proves that solid special teams don't add up to much.

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