Wednesday November 4th, 2009

NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 24
You can't say Julius Peppers didn't earn his $1 million last week. He picked off Kurt Warner and took it to the house, and was a problem for the Cardinals offensive line all game long. Peppers now has six sacks, two forced fumbles and that pick-six in his past four games, and unsurprisingly the Panthers have won three out of four to perhaps save their season after that desultory 0-3 start. Who said $1 million doesn't buy you much any more?
 
22Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 20
In his past two games, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew ran a whopping 33 times for 133 yards (4.0 average) against St. Louis, and just eight times for 177 yards (22.1) against Tennessee. Now I see what they mean when they say sometimes less is more.
 
23Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 21
Terrell Owens promised 10 touchdowns when he got the key to the city from Buffalo's mayor this spring. With just one touchdown receiving and one rushing through eight games, Owens says he's honor-bound to return the key if he doesn't hit double digits, a level he has reached seven of the past nine seasons. Silly, T.O. The truth is, most cities have key-less entry these days.
 
24Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 23
And in the latest installment of "Free Agency: Why the grass isn't always greener in your neighbor's yard,'' we give you Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. T.J. kind of went all T.O. on the sidelines late in the blowout loss at Dallas, and you can just see the frustration building in the big-money receiver as Seattle's season slips away. Meanwhile back in Cincinnati, Houshmandzadeh's former NFL address, the Bengals are 5-2, tied for first place in the AFC North, and thinking playoffs. There hasn't been an ex-Cincy star with worse timing since Takeo Spikes left for Buffalo.
 
25Washington Redskins
Last Week: 25
Good for Mike Holmgren, speaking up on Jim Zorn's behalf and calling out the Redskins for their shoddy treatment of their second-year head coach. I assume we can remove Holmgren from the list of former Super Bowl-winning head coaches who might return to the game to lead Washington next season. I know big money talks, and Holmgren does like to get paid, but why would you want to work for the very guy (Daniel Snyder) who you believe did Zorn so wrong?
 
26Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 26
If Al Davis would pull the plug on his Cable (sorry, couldn't resist), who's the next lucky guy he coaxes into the head coaching chair in Oakland? I don't think it's Art Shell's turn quite yet again. And I'm pretty sure Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden aren't viable options. We laugh, but it's not an easy get. It might be time for Al to try Craigslist.
 
27Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 32
See what happens when you finally give in and start Vince Young? Bingo, bango, bongo, you win and up five notches you climb in the ol' SI.com NFL Power Rankings. But seriously, even if you're just trying to spruce up VY's marketability at this point, look at how much difference just one week can make.
 
28St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 31
The Rams need to work on their Gatorade bath technique, because Steve Spagnuolo barely got wet Sunday in Detroit. But it has been a while since St. Louis was in position to dump anything but a game or seven.
 
29Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 28
Do the Chiefs really have any intention of playing Larry Johnson again? Are they going to let him get those 75 yards and become the franchise's career rushing leader, bypassing the beloved Priest Holmes? Would anyone in K.C. have the stomach for a mid-game ceremony to honor L.J.'s accomplishment? I wouldn't advise it about now at Arrowhead.
 
30Detroit Lions
Last Week: 27
Sorry, but that game-turning fake field goal the Rams scored on Sunday at Ford Field was inexcusable. The Lions looked like the thought of St. Louis's Josh Brown not kicking that 54-yard attempt never remotely occurred to them. Thank goodness for the ineptitude of the Redskins, or these Lions might be making another run at infamy this season.
 
31Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 30
Let's all lower the bar of expectation for rookie quarterback Josh Freeman as his era begins in Tampa Bay. Freeman doesn't have to look as good as Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan looked as rookie starters. He just has to look a tiny bit better than Josh Johnson and Byron Leftwich looked for this year's Bucs.
 
32Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 29
What buffoonery passes as management in Cleveland these days. Say what you will about the Phil Savage-Romeo Crennel era, nobody had to be escorted out of the building on Monday evening of the bye week. George Kokinis, we hardly knew ye.
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