By Don Banks
October 07, 2010
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
11 Chicago Bears
Last Week: 7
I was in the press box of Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night, writing my take on Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia, but I could almost hear the pounding that Jay Cutler was taking up the road in New Jersey against the Giants. And I thought Cutler's first quarter at Dallas in Week 2 would be the worst pass rush pressure he would face all season ...
12 Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 10
Carson Palmer is completing just 59.5 percent of his passes, and that just doesn't cut it in today's NFL. Palmer had a 60.9 completion percentage as a first-time starter in 2004, and he had a career-best 67.8 completion rate in 2005, the year Cincinnati went 11-5 and won the AFC North. It's hard to explain those numbers away. There's a growing realization that Palmer has regressed as a passer in recent years.
13 San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 20
I seem to recall I wrote about the improvement that would be obvious in both the AFC West and NFC West this season, and how those weak-sister divisions would be much more competitive with the rest of the league. Yeah, not so much. At least not so far. Seven of the eight teams in the two West divisions are at .500 or worse, with only surprising Kansas City (3-0) bucking the mediocrity. With the Chargers playing at Oakland this week, it just seemed like the time to point that out.
14 Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 14
Where's the Titans team that finished last season on an 8-2 run and served notice that their 0-6 beginning in 2009 was the aberration? You do have to start over every year in the NFL -- wins don't transfer -- but most of the non-playoff teams that ended well last year have shown no sign of carry-over momentum. Cleveland, Carolina, San Francisco and Tennessee all kind of come to mind in that department.
15 New York Giants
Last Week: 22
OK, so the Giants' dominating pass rush is back. New York had 10 sacks against the Bears, and that's a half-season's worth for some teams. But hold on there, you can't get an entirely fair reading of a performance like that when it comes against the shaky Chicago offensive line and a dazed Jay Cutler. If New York reproduces even half of that sack total against Matt Schaub in Houston this week, then we'll get busy thinking up a snazzy new nickname for the Giants' pass rush. But not until then.
16 Washington Redskins
Last Week: 23
The Redskins played lights out in the first quarter at Philadelphia, and that was enough to beat the Eagles last Sunday. But I don't think there are going to be many pretty wins in the mediocre NFC East this year. Washington already owning two division wins is big.
17 Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 15
So now it's back to Kevin Kolb, and while I don't think his tender psyche has been damaged by the Michael Vick starting stint, I also don't think Kolb looks particularly confident or comfortable with the ball in his hands. He's missing that "Eye of the Tiger" thing, so far. Maybe an early-morning run down to the Rocky statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art would help.
18 Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 12
When Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was asked on Tuesday about a report that Chad Pennington would soon replace Chad Henne at starting quarterback in Miami, he responded, "There's no truth to that right now.'' If I'm Henne, the only words I heard were "right now.'' Sparano might as well have put him on notice that he's an interception away from getting yanked.
19 Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 16
The Cowboys might have saved their season by beating Houston on the road in Week 3. Now they've got to keep the momentum going by beating a team that used to be in Houston (the Titans) at home in Dallas this week. That's called the Texas two-step, and if they do it right, the Cowboys will be 2-2 and back in the swing of things.
20 Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 18
Brad Childress and the Vikings do make it interesting, don't they? If you can't get Sidney Rice healthy and back on the field, go get the guy who Rice reminded folks of last year during his breakout season in Minnesota. With Randy Moss now on hand to throw to, there's more pressure than ever on Brett Favre to get the job done and win a Super Bowl ring for this ring-less Vikings franchise. Be careful what you wish for, No. 4. You just might get it, and then there are no excuses.
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