By Don Banks
December 30, 2009
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 22
Has Alex Smith done enough to merit being the No. 1 quarterback next season? Thumbs up from me. Barring the opportunity for an obvious upgrade at the position -- any Michael Vick interest percolating in San Fran? -- I say let Smith grow with young, play-making talents like Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree and see what develops. After Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, J.T. O'Sullivan and Shaun Hill, you could do worse. Come to think of it, the 49ers already have.
22 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 17
I hear owner Wayne Weaver will never let it happen, because his legacy in Jacksonville is too important to him, but of all the relocation possibilities, I think the Los Angeles Jaguars has the best ring to it. I mean, everyone in L.A. already drives one, right?
23 Chicago Bears
Last Week: 25
I haven't seen Jay Cutler have that kind of fun in a while, have you? His play Monday night against the Vikings was the kind of game both he and the Bears envisioned when he hit the Windy City like a rock star last April. But one of those a season won't get it done.
24 Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 27
Mike Holmgren's not really in any big hurry to put his imprint on the Browns organization, and somehow I find that refreshing. He had his first availability with the Cleveland media Monday and didn't even see fit to fly to town, conducting it instead by conference call. And it looks like the Bill Parcells Dolphins football czar model is the one he intends to emulate, given his plans to hire a general manager. Holmgren seems to be a lucky charm for the Browns, who haven't lost since things got really serious with him.
25 Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 23
I always love this week of the NFL season, when some team invariably falls to 5-10 and I get to dismiss them as a dime-store operation. Get it? Five and 10? Maybe I'm not appealing to the desired demographic with that particular line.
26 Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 24
If the Bills players are trying to make a case for keeping Perry Fewell as their full-time head coach next season, I think they better stop. Because it's not doing Fewell's chances any favors at all.
27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 30
The Bucs are starting to really hurt their draft slot with these late-season wins, but I get the feeling Raheem Morris doesn't mind at all. And I wouldn't either if I heard Bill Cowher was contacting Tampa-area real estate agents.
28 Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 27
I know one team that needs another starting quarterback option next season, but won't be in the market for Michael Vick. That would be the Seahawks, at least if Jim Mora remains their head coach, as I believe he will. Mora has been there and done that, and he's not the biggest Vick fan in the world.
29 Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 28
The positives were few and far between for the Chiefs this season, but they did jettison Larry Johnson and give the starting running back job to Jamaal Charles, who looks like a legitimate find. In time, we'll know more about Scott Pioli and Todd Haley's first season in town, and how much of their work this year bears fruit.
30 Washington Redskins
Last Week: 29
Albert Haynesworth may have had some legitimate points to make about the Redskins defensive scheme, but all that really matters is he looks like he's trying to talk his way out of town before he even gets all $41 million he's guaranteed from his monster free-agent contract. And that little character flaw is just one of the reasons why Tennessee refused to break the bank to keep him.
31 Detroit Lions
Last Week: 31
I think we found out Drew Stanton wasn't some diamond in the rough the Lions have been sitting on for three years. His first NFL start Sunday, at San Francisco, was fairly brutal -- four turnovers and 130 yards passing -- and head coach Jim Schwartz yanked him in favor of Daunte Culpepper in the fourth quarter.
32 St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 32
After enduring 24 losses in their past 25 games, the Rams certainly don't want to win now. If they were to beat the 49ers at home in Sunday's season finale, all it'll do is jeopardize their No. 1 overall draft slot and the chance to land Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. And that would be the worst loss of all.
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