Wednesday, December 16, 2009 NFL Power Rankings Week 15

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Not wanting to overreact, when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost straight-up to Cleveland last Thursday our power ranking minds immediately started pondering how much weight the upset should have on overall ratings. The Steelers were No. 9 on last week’s chart but that loss was not the kind of football we’ve come to expect over the past few years from this team.

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It must be a similar situation for an online sportsbook when writing a line after such a surprising lack of effort from an inherently good team. Do you make them a big dog the next week or bank on public support for the team that was upset to dust off and come back strong?

If the rankings were based on the past month Big Ben would probably be positioned somewhere down near the Ryan Fitzpatrick’s and Josh Freeman’s of the league. But the ratings our based on full season performance so the damage isn’t quite that severe yet but still, Mike Tomlin’s squad needed to be penalized.

Pittsburgh fan - if it’s any consolation, Denver and Dallas have joined Pittsburgh in the group of let-downs but that probably doesn’t help much, does it? No, we didn’t think so. Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints – Win establishes new franchise record for victories in a season (13) but Saints are becoming bad-beat specialists for Over/Under bettors. Fake field goal on 4th-and-7 from the 15?

2. Indianapolis Colts – Colts defense is quietly becoming difference that could keep this team perfect regardless of who is calling signals under center in fourth quarter.

3. Minnesota Vikings – Jasper Brinkley is linebacker who took place of EJ Henderson as Vikes extend streak of not allowing 100-plus rushers to 35 games.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – This is really shaping up like a Week 17 replay of last season when Eagles crushed Cowboys 44-6. Philly gets back-to-back home chances to make Dallas outcome moot.

5. New England Patriots – Notice how drama in Foxboro is starting to get more attention than the actual football.

6. San Diego Chargers – It was nice of Norv to let anyone in Denver think they ever had a chance of winning this division.

7. Cincinnati Bengals – Run game is there and Chris Henry is gone but Cinci needs to get its deep passing game working or it’s going to be a one-and-done.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Notice how the top eight teams are all made up of division leaders? Arizona still saving its best games for last few weeks.

9. Green Bay Packers – This is youngest overall team in the NFL for third time in last four years. It’s been a contributing factor towards high number of penalties but at this point in the season it is becoming inexcusable.

10. Baltimore Ravens – It may have only been the Lions but there is no questioning what butters the bread for that Ravens offense. Run-game has crept to eighth-best in the league.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers – Early lines indicate that bookmakers still have faith. Maybe the extra days of prep are what Steelers need; after all, their last win was at Denver following bye week.

12. Denver Broncos – Handicapping Broncos is fairly simple: They lose to every team with a shot at making the playoffs and beat up on the bad teams. Hello Oakland!

13. Dallas Cowboys – Romo and Phillips both look ready to move on but you’ve got to love that big screen TV!

14. Miami Dolphins – First thing you need to know: Fish are 14th against the run giving up 106 yards per game. Second thing: Titan run-game has not been stopped at home since Week 5.

15. Houston Texans – QB Schaub throws for 365 yards doing just enough to keep Texans on pace for shot at .500. Maybe the next step is to not include Gary Kubiak in gameplan.

16. New York Giants – Quite a finale for Eagles’ last ever visit. Hope last one out turned off the lights.

17. Tennessee Titans – Vince Young’s hamstring didn’t look good so Titans already thin playoff hopes may now be clinging to the arm of Kerry Collins.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars – Loss to Miami wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates. Jags are the imposter of the AFC playoff picture and won’t be there for long.

19. Atlanta Falcons – Given the injuries Atlanta’s 6-7 record is pretty respectable. Team is 8-5 ATS, too, and could be a good cover team each of next three weeks.

20. Washington Redskins – We don’t want to be an “I told you so,” but did you see our Fantasy Football tip of the week run in Oakland? RB Quinton Ganther is the new Clinton Portis.

21. New York Jets – Rex Ryan defensive system really starting to kick in. Now if the Jets could just face the Bills and Bucs the rest of the way they’d be playoff bound in no time.

22. San Francisco 49ers – One thing about playing for Mike Singletary, you won’t find any quitters on this team.

23. Carolina Panthers – Things are starting to fall into place for Carolina and they should serve as a good warm-up team for the playoffs for their next two or three opponents; possibly even a good dog play.

24. Seattle Seahawks – If there’s any team in need of retooling this off-season, Seattle could be it. And this job will not be for the faint of heart.

25. Chicago Bears – This team is lacking urgency and focus; if players can’t realize they still need to play hard for shot at playoffs they should at least realize their jobs are on the line.

26. Oakland Raiders – Did QB Gradkowski play well enough before season-ending injury to unseat Russell from No. 1 spot for next year? Ball is in your court now JaMarcus.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Starting with the Bucs, see if you can name the three teams that fired their offensive coordinators just before the season began.

28. Buffalo Bills – That’s two! (And you’re getting warmer)

29. Kansas City Chiefs – For final game of three-week home stand the Chiefs get the Browns
(2-11). KC lost by 29 to Denver (8-5) and just six points to Bills (5-8). Early money says home side wins and by the way, the Chiefs are the third.

30. Cleveland Browns – Beating Steelers gets Mang-idiot a two-spot bounce. Browns are at KC in Week 15, eying out that 29 spot.

31. St. Louis Rams – Rams beat Lions in Week 8 to show they were not the worst and now it looks as if they will burn Detroit again by finishing below them in the standings. Brilliant!

32. Detroit Lions – Enjoyed brief stint out of cellar after beating Cleveland but that loss to Baltimore has likely poured concrete over tomb of another lost season.

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