By Don Banks
October 07, 2009
NFL Power Rankings
11 Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 9
What's the over-under on how long it takes for Eagles fans to start calling for Kevin Kolb at quarterback now that Donovan McNabb is healthy enough to return to the lineup? What? It's already happened? Never mind.
12 Chicago Bears
Last Week: 16
Talk about your win-win trades. The Broncos are 4-0 with the efficient Kyle Orton at quarterback, and the Bears are 3-1 with a three-game winning streak from the newly disciplined and patient Jay Cutler. Can't say we saw either one of those particular scenarios playing out in the season's first month.
13 Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 17
Anybody who says NFL coaches can't find ways to motivate players given the big money that the pros make should pop in that tape of Rashard Mendenhall running against the Chargers on Sunday night. The Steelers 2008 first-round pick ran like he had a score to settle with Mike Tomlin, and nothing else mattered. Which was exactly what Tomlin was hoping for.
14 Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 15
I have enjoyed watching Carson Palmer's return to relevance. It's just a better league with No. 9 back there making things happen again for the Bengals. He was right to lobby Marvin Lewis to go on fourth down in overtime against Cleveland on Sunday, and nothing announced Palmer is back better than his 15-yard scramble to set up Cincy's game-winning field goal.
15 San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 10
If only the Chargers could play all the time like they did the other night in the fourth quarter at Pittsburgh, when they were about to be humiliated and run out of the building by the Steelers. To quote Randy Moss, it would seem the Chargers play when they want to play. This much we know: They won't play at all this week. They're on their bye.
16 Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 14
Beating the bad teams (Tampa Bay and Carolina) and losing to the good ones (the Giants and Denver) is a recipe for getting to .500 or maybe a little bit better in this league. But that's where Dallas has been for a while now, which is why it's also a recipe for getting Wade Phillips fired after this season.
17 Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 15
It's a well-timed bye for the Packers after that Brett Favre-administered flogging Monday night at the Metrodome. How come everyone on Green Bay's defense looked old and a step slow, but the almost-40 Favre didn't? On that one pass play in the third quarter, I swear I could hear No. 4 standing in the pocket counting off seven Mississippis before he found his backup tight end over the middle for 25 yards.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 22
It would appear Jack Del Rio's guys have a bit more going for themselves this season than most of us presumed. The Jags posting back-to-back wins in the AFC South may not have the first-place Colts worried, but it's more than the Texans and Titans have managed. David Garrard seems to be one of those quarterbacks who shrinks when he's praised too much, and answers the bell once he's forgotten.
19 Houston Texans
Last Week: 23
Sorry, but a win against the Raiders earns you no slack in this league. The Texans have to climb off the win-one, lose-one rollercoaster at some point, and these next two games -- at Arizona, at Cincinnati -- should be measuring sticks for Gary Kubiak's club. The best news coming out of the Oakland game was that Steve Slaton's playmaking skills resurfaced.
20 Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 20
If ever there's a week where Kurt Warner and the Cardinals high-octane passing game needs to be heard from, it's this week at home against a Houston defense that ranks 25th overall. The Cardinals already own one win against the AFC South (at Jacksonville), but their defense needs to shake off that humbling at home by Indianapolis two weeks ago.
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