By Don Banks
November 03, 2010
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21 Chicago <a href=Bears" title="Chicago Bears">
Last Week: 17
The Bears are our lowest-ranked winning team, and they're even beneath .500-club members like Oakland, St. Louis and Washington, as well as the losing Chargers. It's the two home losses to Seattle and Washington, and the fortunate season-opening win at home against the Calvin Johnson-led Lions that I can't ignore. But a win this week against Buffalo, in Toronto -- still can't get used to that one -- and Chicago will force us to reconsider its standing. Not a ton, mind you. But some upward adjustment will be made. Promise, Bears fans.
22 Jacksonville <a href=Jaguars" title="Jacksonville Jaguars">
Last Week: 24
Just when you think you know all you need to know about David Garrard and where the future of the Jaguars' quarterback position is headed, he plays like he played at Dallas, with four touchdown passes and one touchdown run. It makes you begin to understand anew why Jacksonville hastily awarded him that huge contract extension in 2008.
23 Minnesota <a href=Vikings" title="Minnesota Vikings">
Last Week: 22
The Vikings are a mess, but it's not like you couldn't see this kind of chaos coming when they sacrificed any semblance of a team-first mentality to entice the great and powerful Favre back to town. The Randy Moss debacle was just the natural progression of things once it was decided that going all-in on the 2010 season means you can rewrite the rules as you go along.
24 Detroit <a href=Lions" title="Detroit Lions">
Last Week: 28
Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez meet for the first time since they went first and fifth overall in the 2009 draft, and this is also the first time I've realized the Lions and Jets quarterbacks have the same initials, if not carbon copy experiences in the opening 1.5 seasons of their NFL careers. Sanchez has been streaky so far, and Stafford has been mostly injured. But let's see what the snapshot comparison shows after they go head to head at Ford Field.
25 Cleveland <a href=Browns" title="Cleveland Browns">
Last Week: 26
Did Browns president Mike Holmgren really feel the need to point out that head coach Eric Mangini has final say over who starts at quarterback for the rest of the year: rookie Colt McCoy or veterans Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace? Isn't that the way it's always supposed to work? Otherwise you have a head coach who doubles as a hand puppet.
26 Arizona <a href=Cardinals" title="Arizona Cardinals">
Last Week: 19
I said it then and I'll repeat it now: You cut Matt Leinart a little too soon, Ken Whisenhunt. After the organization invested four-plus years in him, what exactly would have been the harm of letting Leinart either prove or disprove he could handle the starting quarterback job in the first six weeks of the regular season? Has the Derek Anderson-Max Hall tango really furthered anything regarding the future of the game's most pivotal position in Arizona? Oh, and when are we going to get our first look at rookie John Skelton? That's it. I'm outta questions.
27 Cincinnati <a href=Bengals" title="Cincinnati Bengals">
Last Week: 23
The Bengals have what amounts to a last chance to salvage their season and a little respect by beating Pittsburgh at home Monday night. But you get the feeling that Marvin Lewis has very little notion of how to motivate his talented but underachieving team at this point.
28 49ers">49ers/">49ers_50.png" alt="San Francisco 49ers" title="San Francisco 49ers">
Last Week: 32
49ers/">San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
I'm giving the 49ers a decent little bump after they hit rock bottom at No. 32 in last week's rankings. But Mike Singletary predicting his team's "finest hour" while in London was weak, and anything but Churchillian.
29 Denver <a href=Broncos" title="Denver Broncos">
Last Week: 27
The Broncos are in disarray after losing to the 49ers, and they still have to play five of their six division games in the second half of the season. Josh McDaniels' job might be safe for now, but it's certainly not enjoyable.
30 Carolina <a href=Panthers" title="Carolina Panthers">
Last Week: 30
Watching the Panthers lose to the Rams in the Edwards Jones Dome last Sunday, I couldn't help but think of maybe Carolina's most memorable win ever, that 29-23 double overtime classic in the NFC playoffs in January 2004. I covered that game, which doubled as Steve Smith's personal showcase, and it probably seems a million years ago for both Smith and Panthers fans.
31 Buffalo <a href=Bills" title="Buffalo Bills">
Last Week: 31
I'm getting the Bills out of our bottom spot because they have battled their butts off in taking both the Ravens and Chiefs into overtime on the road the past two weeks. Ultimately losing teams find a way to lose games they could or should win, but you can't watch Buffalo play and question the effort it gives.
32 Dallas <a href=Cowboys" title="Dallas Cowboys">
Last Week: 29
On the flip side, you can question everything about the 2010 Cowboys. Their effort. Their mental toughness. Their willingness to do more than just pick up a paycheck and fill out a uniform. If Dallas does nothing but goes through the motions for the rest of the season, like it did last week at home against Jacksonville, this will be far more galling to owner Jerry Jones than his hopeless 1-15 debut season of 1989.
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