By Don Banks
October 20, 2010
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 22
What an embarrassment of riches the Vikings have on offense, and yet they're sub-.500. Brett Favre, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, and Steve Hutchinson could all end up in Canton, and Percy Harvin is one of the game's brightest young play-makers. Why such a struggle to score points in Minnesota this season? The Vikings have 87 points in five games, not even 18 per.
22 Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 21
Big week for Carson Palmer, after his meltdown at Tampa Bay. The Bengals play at Atlanta, which just saw its secondary shredded by Kevin Kolb and the Eagles. If Cincy can't get something going in the passing game against the Falcons, it's not going to be a pretty reception Palmer gets next week at home against Miami.
23 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 17
How did the Jaguars team that got dismantled by Tennessee at home on Monday night manage to beat the Colts on that same field just two weeks earlier? For once, Jacksonville fans were probably wishing the Titans game hadn't sold out.
24 San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 19
The Patriots are the team the Chargers have been chasing in the AFC elite class since about 2004 or so, and now San Diego and New England meet again this week looking like clubs headed in opposite directions. It would be just like the unpredictable Norv-men to surprise us and whup up on the Patriots, but I don't see it happening.
25 Denver Broncos
Last Week: 22
The game against the Jets came down to one fourth-down play, and the Broncos made the key mistake instead of the key stop. And on such a thin reed, an entire season can turn. At 3-3, Denver would have been alive and a half-game out of first place in the AFC West. At 2-4, it's a desperate team this week at home against Oakland.
26 Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 23
I did call the Cowboys' season "an unmitigated disaster" the other day, but of course in this year's NFC, it's impossible to play your way out of playoff contention. Still, chew on this nugget that I dug up: In the first 50 seasons of their existence (1960-2009), the Cowboys have never made the playoffs after being three games under .500 at any point in a season. And just in case someone wants to quibble about 1965, the 2-5 Cowboys made the NFL's now-defunct Playoff Bowl that year, but that was a meaningless third-place game where the winner didn't advance and thus wasn't really a playoff game at all.
27 Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 27
One more ugly loss and I'll give up and admit I was utterly wrong to pick the Raiders to make the AFC playoffs as a wild card this season. I'm already leaning pretty heavily in that direction. As a starting quarterback, Jason Campbell apparently makes a fine backup. Kyle Boller in the Raiders lineup? Sure, why not? Call it the Kyle Bowl this week at Denver: Boller vs. Orton.
28 Detroit Lions
Last Week: 28
Do you know how hard it is to go 1-5 and yet out-score your opponents 146-140, like the Lions have? It means you've lost a lot of close games (check), and then blown someone out in your lone victory (check). Jim Schwartz has his team pretty close to turning things around, but it hasn't learned how to finish.
29 San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 30
A couple weeks ago, the Eagles beat the 49ers at Candlestick, but there's a little civic payback going on in the NLCS. The underdog Giants are up 2-1 against the Phillies, and they look capable of going to the Series to me. Mike Singletary is probably just happy for anything that diverts attention from his 1-5 underachievers.
30 Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 29
I should have sent a few kudos Colt McCoy's way in my Week 6 Snap Judgments last Sunday, because it was an impressive starting debut in Pittsburgh for the ex-Longhorn quarterback. How many weeks ago was it that rumors had the Browns cutting McCoy? Another quality piece of circa 2010 journalism there. Now the kid looks like he's the foreseeable future in Cleveland.
31 Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 31
Matt Moore, you're back up. Jimmy Clausen, go stand over there and pay attention. And no, you can't go to the locker room and watch the game from there. This isn't Philadelphia. And besides, if the Panthers fans can take it, you can take it.
32 Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 32
I'm just wondering if Bills general manager Buddy Nix is still convinced Buffalo's heading coaching gig is a great job? I'm pretty sure even Chan Gailey disagrees by now.
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