By Don Banks
October 07, 2010
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 21
The Bucs are at the Bengals this week, and maybe the Tampa Bay team doctors and the Cincinnati team doctors should huddle and compare their notes on receiver Antonio Bryant's knee. Alas, I suppose it's way too late for that.
22 Denver Broncos
Last Week: 24
Oh, the irony. Not only is Kyle Orton playing even better than Jay Cutler -- the guy he was traded for last year when that blockbuster Chicago-Denver deal went down -- but now they've got even more in common. Their offensive lines are trying to get them both killed. Orton took six sacks at Tennessee last week, just hours before Cutler was dropped nine times in the first half by the Giants.
23 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 27
What a great moment for the Jaguars and their fans, when kicker Josh Scobee's 59-yard final-play field goal eked over the cross bar and sealed Jacksonville's 31-28 upset of the Colts. Peyton Manning was probably calling Scobee an "idiot kicker'' under his breath, but I loved Scobee's helmetless mad dash around the field in celebration.
24 St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 26
They're 24th, and the Rams are still the highest-ranked NFC West team, which tells you plenty about the division. Who would have thought St. Louis would be the most stable club in the West throughout the first month of the season? The Cardinals are on their third starting quarterback, the Seahawks are still trying to find a No. 1 running back, and the 49ers have already fired their offensive coordinator. The Rams have been positively status quo by those standards.
25 Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 17
Pete Carroll's not afraid to make a move and shake things up if he doesn't like what he's seeing. Especially when he realizes he's in a division that is completely up for grabs as Week 5 arrives. The Marshawn Lynch deal should give Seattle at least the semblance of a running game.
26 Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 19
I'm making a promise to myself to not bury anyone in the NFC West race at any point this season, maybe even after they've been mathematically eliminated. But if I were to get an itchy trigger finger on that front, it's the Cardinals I'd be looking at. Only three teams have scored 40 or more points in a game this season, and two of them have done it against Arizona (Atlanta and San Diego).
27 Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 25
I picked the Raiders to make the AFC playoffs as a wild card, and that's not looking too shrewd at this point. Maybe any team that continues to train in the heart of Napa Valley wine country just can't be trusted to stay on the straight and narrow.
28 Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 31
The Browns of early this season really are far more competitive than the overmatched club that started 1-11 in 2009. But they need so many things to go right for them to win, and with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England and the Jets dead ahead, that's not going to happen again for quite a while.
29 Detroit Lions
Last Week: 29
This is the week the Lions break through and get a victory after coming so close against the Bears, Eagles, Vikings and Packers. St. Louis visits Detroit, and the Lions have some payback on their minds. The Rams got their only win of 2009 in Detroit, 17-10, running a fake field goal that produced a key 36-yard touchdown pass from kicker Josh Brown to tight end Daniel Fells. For the Lions, that one left a mark.
30 San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 28
The 49ers played by far their best game of the season when they were home under the lights against the Saints in Week 2. Maybe being back home under the lights against the Eagles on Sunday night will finally help winless San Francisco erase the goose egg.
31 Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 32
Note to John Fox and the Panthers: Assign several blockers to Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, who has had the reputation of not always playing with the same level of motivation each week. I promise you, he's motivated for this week's trip back to Charlotte.
32 Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 30
The Bills have the Jaguars at home this week, and it may be their best shot to win between now and mid-November. I wish I didn't mean that, Buffalo fans. But I do. And you probably know why.
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