By Don Banks
September 23, 2009
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 21
Who said this team can't win on the East Coast? But what's all this about a potential storm brewing between Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner? There were enough footballs to go around last season in Arizona, and things worked out pretty well. Why the angst this time around? Besides, an NFL team by rule can only have one malcontent receiver, and the Cardinals already have Anquan Boldin. You can look it up.
22 Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 14
Uh-oh. Matt Hasselbeck's hurt again. You know what that means. Seattle's season just officially entered limbo. That didn't take long.
23 Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 19
Last season, Tony Sparano was the no-nonsense head coach the Dolphins needed. This season, he's a no-win head coach so far, and nobody needs that.
24 Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 25
JaMarcus Russell may just have the best job security in the NFL right now. Better than Peyton Manning's or Tom Brady's. Entering Oakland's game-winning final drive on Sunday in Kansas City, the Raiders' third-year quarterback had completed all of three passes in the game. And that's just it, he was still in the game. Russell went 4 of 7 for 67 yards on that final touchdown march, finishing 7 of 24 for 109 yards and propelling Oakland into the early lead for the ugliest win of the NFL season.
25 Washington Redskins
Last Week: 26
I've already predicted a streak-busting Lions win this week at home against Washington, so look for the Jim Zorn firing rumors to crank to life Sunday night. You think I'm kidding? I'm not.
26 Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 22
So if John Fox and his Panthers lose Monday night at Dallas to head into their bye at 0-3, could Carolina be contemplating a coaching change next week? Not likely, because Panthers owner Jerry Richardson isn't one to panic or over-react. Although he did kind of fire his two sons recently, so Fox shouldn't feel completely safe.
27 Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 28
I actually moved the 0-2 Chiefs up a notch because their offense is moving the ball and threatening defenses. But for the second fourth quarter in a row, Kansas City failed to make the plays that would have won the game. How long will Todd Haley and Scott Pioli tolerate that trend?
28 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 27
The Jaguars were too old last year, and they look too young this season. Jacksonville has a league-high-tying four rookie starters, and all eight of its draft picks are either on the roster or the practice squad. Trying to win in the NFL with either approach is difficult at best.
29 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 29
OK, here are your standings thus far: The state of Florida is 0-6 in the NFL this season. Missouri is 0-4. And that longtime loser, Ohio, is a rousing 1-3. New York is the leader at 5-1, if you count the Jets, Giants and Bills as actually representing New York, rather than mostly New Jersey.
30 Detroit Lions
Last Week: 30
This is it, Lions fans. The week you've been waiting for since December 2007. A win against Washington could be payback for the Redskins beating the Lions 41-10 in the 1991 NFC title game, the only instance in my lifetime when Detroit actually played with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
31 St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 32
When you're trying to build something for the future like rookie Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, a narrow loss on the road can pass for progress. That's why I jumped the Rams over the Browns this week, because that 9-7 defeat at Washington represented hope. By comparison, things feel hopeless in Cleveland.
32 Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 31
Let me get this straight: Eric Mangini can fine one of his players $1,701 for not paying for his $3 bottle of water at the hotel, because rules are rules. But he can fudge a bit on injury reports when he sees fit, because those rules are made to be broken. Now I'm thinking that $25,000 fine the league hit him with last week was about right.
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