By Don Banks
October 21, 2009
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 22
The Jaguars are better than most people thought, and in this season's AFC, they could hang in the wild card hunt for a long time. But ultimately Jacksonville's porous defense will offset the positives to be found on the offense.
22 Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 23
At least the Panthers have remembered who they are and have begun to run the ball with authority once again. I'm not convinced that approach can win you a Super Bowl without a better passing game, but it'll probably keep Carolina's season from slipping into disaster territory.
23 Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 20
It's not fair what has happened to Seattle for a second consecutive year, but the truth is, nobody really cares when injuries determine the fate of a team's season. The clubs that get wiped out and lose because of it are just seen as losers. Period. There's no asterisk applied to your record to denote a plague of injuries. Sorry, Seahawks. But that's reality.
24 Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 31
Boy, it doesn't take much to move way up in the bottom tier of our NFL power rankings this year. The Bills gave up 318 yards rushing to the Jets, but they won in overtime, and that's good enough to springboard seven notches from 31st to 24th. Maybe I should have dropped the Jets a corresponding seven notches.
25 Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 32
OK, maybe the Raiders fueled themselves last Sunday against the Eagles on the disparaging comments made about them by the Giants the previous week. But how long can that gimmick style of motivation keep working? Eventually you have to get yourself ready without any help. Let's see which Raiders team shows up at home this week against the reeling Jets.
26 Washington Redskins
Last Week: 24
You didn't think it could get worse in Washington, but just hang on. Having the newly arrived Sherman Lewis calling plays for players he barely knows, with a neutered Jim Zorn acting as a middle man between Lewis and quarterback Jason Campbell, has the potential to be Hindenburg-esque. In a football sense.
27 Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 28
At this point in his life, Ryan Succop must have heard every possible joke about his interesting last name. But if the rookie keeps winning games for the Chiefs with his accurate right foot, he won't even have to think about trying to blatantly curry favor with Kansas City head coach Todd Haley. It'll be the other way around.
28 Detroit Lions
Last Week: 26
I don't know if anyone told rookie Lions head coach Jim Schwartz there would be days like last Sunday in Green Bay, but they should have. No points. No players. No chance.
29 Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 27
As if the Browns aren't already poised to assume the fetal position, they lost their leading tackler and one of their few defensive playmakers this week when linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was placed on IR with a shoulder injury.
30 St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 30
The Rams can forget about getting that elusive first win this week at home against Indianapolis. But next week's trip to Detroit holds real promise. The Lions know plenty about making a run at 0-16, and there may just be enough anti-Detroit karma left over in Ford Field to push St. Louis over the top.
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 29
If I'm Raheem Morris, I let my players have fun in London. See the sights. Take in a show. Ride the tube. It might help foster a bit of us-against-the-world (or at least European continent) togetherness for the winless Bucs. And you know you're not going to run into Bill Belichick and his all-business Patriots at any of the tourist traps. So the lines will be shorter.
32 Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 25
This is it. Rock bottom. There's nowhere to go but up for the humiliated Titans. And I can tell you this: The sight of a light=hearted Jeff Fisher wearing a Colts jersey two days after his team got its butt handed to it 59-0 in New England went over like a fart in church in Tennessee.
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