By Don Banks
September 15, 2010
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
11 New York Giants
Last Week: 13
I was very impressed with the Perry Fewell defensive game plan that bottled up that two-headed Carolina running attack, the same one that gouged New York for 247 yards rushing last December. But the Giants don't have to worry about stopping the run so much this week at Indy. They'll live or die with the quality of their pass defense against Peyton Manning and Co.
12 Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 18
Field goals attempts at Heinz Field are some kind of fun. That stadium really is the Bermuda Triangle for NFL kickers. Did you see that 40-yard miss late in regulation by the Steelers' Jeff Reed? The ball went so far right I thought it was going to run for office in the Tea Party.
13 Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 15
There will be no 0-6 start in Tennessee this season, and I probably should have the Titans higher than this after their 25-point demolition of Oakland. But let's see what that Tennessee defense can do this week at home against the Steelers.
14 Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 9
There's nothing to panic about in Atlanta, but I do wonder if the Falcons offense has enough weapons to truly play with the big boys this year. I like head coach Mike Smith, but that clip of him pulling a hamstring while running down the sideline to call a timeout is pretty funny.
15 Washington Redskins
Last Week: 21
Great stuff by the Redskins defense and new coordinator Jim Haslett on Sunday night against Dallas. Haslett is still one of the best in the game at keeping an offense off balance. And I loved those George Allen-era yellow/gold pants the 'Skins were wearing. Gotta keep those. I kept looking for Myron Pottios, Chris Hanburger and Pat Fischer on the Redskins defense.
16 Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 17
Thanks to Steve Breaston's hustle and heads-up play, the Cardinals were winners at St. Louis. It wasn't all that long ago that Arizona used to be the team that found a way to lose games like that, not win them. I'm thinking of a particular Cardinals meltdown at home against Chicago on Monday night in 2006 -- "The Bears are who we thought they were!''
17 Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 25
A big jump this week for the Seahawks, who shocked us more than any other team in Week 1. Pete Carroll's shtick might have a somewhat limited shelf life in the NFL, but it's working so far. Matt Hasselbeck's game against San Francisco looked like it was vintage 2005.
18 Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 19
That's about what I expected out of the Dolphins in Buffalo -- squeaking out a low-scoring win and doing little to impress us in the process. Now I want to see if Miami's defense can do as good a job against Adrian Peterson as it did against Bills rookie running back C.J. Spiller.
19 Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 14
This being Philadelphia, the best conspiracy theory I heard regarding the Eagles' suddenly muddled quarterback situation is that Andy Reid went with Kevin Kolb only to set up Michael Vick for a starring role in relief at some point. Then when Vick sparkled -- as he did in the loss to Green Bay -- Reid could easily elevate him as the real replacement for the departed Donovan McNabb. Right.
20 Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 11
I'm way down on the Bengals, as you can clearly see from their presence at No. 20. But I saw a team that was routed in the first half at New England, and now Cincy faces a must-win at home against Baltimore on Sunday. I keep telling Bengals fans, a first-place schedule can change everything. And not for the better.
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