View Full Version : Cuda's Power Rankings, Week #9

11-04-2003, 04:17 PM
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Chemistry. How many teams have it going for them, and how many teams have it working against them. A team’s success or failure can be predicated on attitude, which relays into performance on the field. Is a team distracted by off field problems, or media stories about internal situations that make the ever competitive NFL that much more difficult to win in.

Washington is a proverbial hotbed for media activity year in and year out ever since Daniel Snyder bought the franchise. Rumors keep surfacing about players being cut behind the coaches back. Former players, twice cut, refuse to return to this tumultuous hell hole of an NFL organization. Steve Spurrier, who was a NCAA coaching legend has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the antics and meddling ways of Owner, Daniel Snyder. Spurrier is constantly watching his back, looking over his shoulder to make sure that what he says is the truth. Because even he isn’t sure what’s going on in the front offices it seems. Therefore, Redskins fans, is it any surprise to you that this team is 3-5 and in total dissaray?

Dallas is another example of a team, whose owner is better served watching the game at home on TV. Why is it that Jerry Jones feels that his presence on the sidelines during a critical juncture in the game on Sunday, to coax an obviously ailing Larry Allen back into the game, is helping his team win games? What really surprises me about that situation is that Bill Parcells didn’t step in and tell the owner where he can go. I give that relationship maybe a season more before Parcells has enough of Jones’ antics and meddling ways.

Oakland. I can’t honestly say that I am heartbroken that this franchise has fallen on hard times. And fallen hard. The constant frivolous lawsuits by Al Davis, and the mentality of a 3rd grader that run this franchise have seemed to come back and bite Davis in the butt on this one. Losing to a less then great Detroit franchise that has it’s own management problems of a different sort. Rumor has it that Coach Bill Callahan has lost the players respect, and their attention. But considering that half of the Raiders roster are old enough to be head coaches in the NFL is it any wonder that no one is listening? Their lack of enthusiasm and emotion shows up on the field week in and week out. It amazes me that Raiders management has been as successful over the years as it has been. Who honestly wants to play for an owner that can’t keep his mouth shut, or give his lawyers a day off? And top all of this with a steroids investigation. Gee, maybe that’s it. Now that somebody is talking about all the steroids these players take has made them get off of the juice for a couple of weeks, which might be costing them their illegal edge in the games they play. Hmmmmm….

Anyway – onward with the rankings…

1. Indianapolis Colts (7-1) – No, this is not a fluke. They soundly beat a decent Miami franchise with a heavy dose of great coaching, defensive schemes and offensive play calling that made Miami look very average. Peyton Manning is having his best year as a pro (102.2 rating), and the defense that was so bad in previous years, is now ranked 11th in the league. When you combine a really good defense with a really great offense (ranked #5), are there any questions about how far this team will go? Easily playing the best ball of any team in the league right now.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) – How can I rank the only remaining undefeated team less then first? It’s simple – stats don’t lie. KC’s defense is an abysmal 27th overall in yards allowed. They’ve also won a couple of their games on punt returns by Dante Hall, one of which should have obviously been called back against Denver for several holding and block in the back non-calls. Still, their margin of victory is the best out of any team, as they are winning by an average of 14.5 points a game. When you are scoring the most points (30.8) and allowing a very respectable 16.3 points a game, then you will win your fair share of games. Still, they will no doubt stumble somewhere down the line, probably at home against a team you least expect them to lose too. Like Cleveland this week.
3. Tennessee Titans (6-2) – The league’s 8th ranked offense had the week off to prepare for Miami, in what figures to be a big game at home for the Titans, who have never beaten the Dolphins since moving from Houston. Actually, I think the last time this franchise beat Miami was when Earl Campbell was running over defenses and Bum Phillips was the coach. I could be mistaken though. Anyone else remember Dan Pastorini at QB?
4. New England Patriots (7-2) – When a team is this consistently on the good side of luck you really just have to throw out the trends, stats, and just about every other logical thing that tells you how to pick this team’s next game, or figure out how they beat whom they just beat. And normally a team with 14 penalties in a game doesn’t end up winning. I have to admit that Tom Brady threw some serious darts last night, in beating one of the leagues best defenses. Now they come to their bye week and pause and thank their lucky stars, Jesus, or whatever other spiritual source they use to squeak out these nerve wracking victories.
5. Seattle Seahawks (6-2) – Things are looking pretty good in the land of Bill Gates and funny named $4 a cup coffee. They keep finding ways to win games, even when the stats show that they just played down to the level of their competition. Interesting factoid that may only interest me; 9 different defensive players on this team have at least one sack. And in what was once a glaring weakness, suddenly the Seattle secondary is coming up big to keep the Seahawks in games and keep their opponents out of the end zone. In the mystery game of the week they travel east to the home of “Dubya”. OK, who are we fooling here – they are playing in Maryland – but who’s actually paying attention here. Still, this is one of those trap games for a contender. They should beat the Redskins handily, but can easily lose if they don’t bring their “A” game.
6. Dallas Cowboys (6-2) – Here by default. Who else are you going to put here? Everyone else in the two loss category lost this week. They got beat handily by the one team that is for real on their schedule, and they’ve gotten by everyone else. They all but handed the game to the Redskins. But thank your Texas stars for all that is wrong in Redskins land. Somehow I think half the starters could be out for the Redskins game, they could turn the ball over 15 times, and still find a way to beat Washington. They also have the leagues #1 defense, and are still hanging around in the top 10 in total offense. They also now have more wins then they had the past three seasons, and look to take it to the next level this week as they host Buffalo. And with the way Buffalo is playing, it won’t surprise me if they win again this week against a parity riddled NFL.
7. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) – Don’t look now Vikings fans, but you now have a losing streak. Why doesn’t it not surprise me that you let Brett Favre waltz all over you? Simple, you are tied with them for the leagues 3rd best offense, and your defense is now ranked 29th, one notch above the cheese heads. Your next game’s location is yet to be determined, because we don’t know if they will be playing at home in San Diego anytime soon. So, keep that plane loaded with fuel and ready to head to any one of 4 western destinations. You should feel good in knowing that all of the distractions surrounding the lightning bolts will only come to your rescue in regards to stopping the bleeding.
8. St. Louis Rams (5-3) – Oh stat boy, what do you have for me here? League’s #1 offense, combined with the #10 defense travels to San Francisco where they took the week off. This team mystifies me. They looked so good going into this game, and seemed to have it in cruise control. Yep, that’s got to be it. You play a game against a team that one week beats Tampa, and the next week loses to the Cardinals and there you have it. Sure, you should expect to get beat by the West Coast Giants, aka the Niners. Fear not, because you host the Ravens this Sunday night in what should be a rebound game for you.
9. Carolina Panthers (6-2) – Are starting our slide into the abyss? 21 first downs to Houston’s 12. 367 total yards to Houston’s 267? You even had less penalties then the Texans, but still you lose? I don’t get it. Still, most teams averaging less than 19 points a game on offense don’t have as many wins as you. And maybe lady luck has gone on vacation here. And things don’t get any easier this week as Tampa comes calling, definitely looking for some payback. And they lost last week too, so based on that trend you are staring defeat straight in the eye. And somehow I think Gruden will have his special teams units more then ready this week. The really good teams win those games that are pretty obvious W’s. Guess this club isn’t quite there yet.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-3) – They could easily go 4-4 the rest of the way and cruise to their division title. Here’s the most interesting stat of the week that may only interest me. Baltimore is the only team in the NFL that averages more yards rushing per game (170.3) then it does passing (131.1). The defense will continue to keep them in games while Kyle Boller gets indoctrinated into life as an NFL QB. Still, even winning their division they probably won’t go too far in the post season with very little offense.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) – In a game that just shouted “Kill the Falcons” they basically played good enough to scratch out a W. A year ago McNabb puts these guys away by 4 touchdowns and reads a newspaper in the 2nd half. Not this year. His QB rating (61.5) is still one of the worst of any full time starter. And considering he’s playing at the level of a Kordell Stewart and a Joey Harrington, the folks in Cheesesteak heaven should thank their lucky stars that this team has 5 wins at this point in the year. McNabb will get a chance to redeem himself on Monday Night Football against a rejuvenated Brett Favre. It’s definitely a winnable game. Heck, if McNabb would ever play like he did in previous years they’d win most of them. But then again, what would the Iggles fans have to talk about if McNabb was winning every game.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) – I hesitate to rank them this high. One week they look like the Super Bowl Champs. The next week they look like the team they used to be that holds the NFL record for 26 straight losses. What’s it going to be Gruden? Amazingly, their offense is ranked 6th in total yards, and their defense is ranked 5th. That just shows you how important turnovers are. Because when you spot the Saints 6 free balls then I challenge you to find me any team in the league that can overcome that deficit. Well, the good news is that it’s your week to win again, and prove again to everyone that you are the Super Bowl champs and that you will not go away quietly.
13. Green Bay Packers (4-4) – Revenge is a nice word right now in Packerland. Every once in awhile Brett Favre just makes you smile and ask yourself how he does what he does. Broken digit, on the throwing hand no less, and he still rips the Vikings apart for the W. Still, all that offense won’t do much if the defense can’t improve. You beat the Vikings in a must win game, but giving up over 24 points a game is going to make life interesting every week for folks in the land of cheese.
14. Miami Dolphins (5-3) – Totally exposed by Tony Dungy as the fraud that they are. They got steamrolled by the Peyton Manning express (or is that the Dwight Freeney express?). Get this stat – Ricky Williams had 13 carries for 36 yards. Miami had the ball for less than 22 minutes. Can’t blame this loss on your QB – Griese has a 102+ rating after two games. You also can’t blame Ricky Williams if no one is going to open a hole for him. We can start by telling Wade Smith that this is the NFL and you need to stop the guy you are supposed to block from having a free pass to the QB every play. This team will lose 6 of their last 8 games and Dave Wannstedt will be history by the end of this year. Here’s another stat that may only interest me. The Dolphins have their worst home record since 1968, when they were something like 3-11 for the season. And the news only gets worse as they travel to Nashville to face a rested and ready Steve McNair. It’s going to get real ugly in Miami this year. Mark my words.
15. Denver Broncos (5-4) – Visions of the tin man in the Wizard of Oz come to mind here, and I think I hear Mike Shanahan thinking, “If I only had a QB”. Well, the good news is that they get their BYE week to give Jake Plummer some more time to heal and come back and resurrect what has now turned into some serious bleeding by the Broncos. Isn’t this one of those teams that used to never lose their home games, no matter what the year or record?
16. New Orleans Saints (4-5) – Jim Haslett must be asking the NFL if they can play Tampa every week. They’ve got to be the only team in the league that looks forward to seeing Warren Sapp on the other side of the ball. I really have to chalk this one up to a choke job on Tampa’s behalf. Cause when Christmas comes nearly two months early in the form of 6 turnovers then who are you to look a gift horse in the mouth. And on top of that you get a week off to savor what will probably be the highlight of your season.
17. San Francisco 49ers (4-5) – Talk about a schizophrenic ball club here. First you beat Tampa, then you choke at the Cardinals and give them hope. Now you turn around and spank the Rams, whom you haven’t beaten in forever, with a backup QB no less. You gonna clue me in as to which team it really is? Your stats make you look good, as your offense (#9) and defense (#8) are both in the top 10. Well, take the week off to get TO some counseling. This team really makes no sense to me at all.
18. New York Giants (4-4) – Squeeked out a W in the waning seconds of OT on the “road”. This team is so underachieving right now that it’s unbelievable. Still, their offense is ranked 2nd in the league and they actually have a 2 game winning streak going. If I were betting, I wouldn’t touch their next game, as they host Atlanta. No doubt they’ll be favored big. But if I recall, last year they hosted Atlanta without Michael Vick and still found a way to lose that one. The Niners and the Giants are definitely two of the most underachieving teams in the league.
19. Buffalo Bills (4-4) – They had the week off to figure out how to get Drew Bledsoe back to where he was in the first two weeks of the season. Offense is hanging around the cellar while their defense (#4) continues to keep them in games. Going down to Big D this week in what is sure to be a low scoring affair. If Bledsoe can ever get his rhythm back things will be looking pretty good in Buffalo. But the way the Dallas defense has played he’ll have a hard time doing that.
20. Houston Texans (3-5) – Got outplayed statistically by the Panthers, but still won. Your defense is definitely bringing up the rear (#31). Tony Banks must be playing in someone else’s body temporarily. You also seemed to have found a running back in Domanick Davis. You also get to travel to Cincinnati to play a very beatable Bengals team. And what’s with the red unis? I thought only teams that actually had a history could switch it up like that. But hey, if it works, stick with it!
21. Arizona Cardinals (3-5) – Hey – a winning streak in the desert? Do they really understand what they are doing? And look – you actually travel to face a Pittsburgh team that looks worse then you do now! Can you make it three in a row?
22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) – Look here, Marvin Lewis has the same record as his former coach, Steve Spurrier. And you host the Texans this week in what is sure to be a close game. Then again, what game isn’t close in Cincinnati? Playing competitive ball in Cincy now. What is this world coming to?
23. Cleveland Browns (3-5) – You didn’t lose this week, that’s the good news. You also didn’t win either. And now you get to go to Kansas City and face the undefeated Chiefs. And you know what – I’m just crazy enough to think that you are the team to knock them off. If you bring your “A” game you can do it. If whatever QB you throw out there has a great day you’ll beat the Chefs. Come on Butch – make a believer out of me!
24. Chicago Bears (3-5) – What’s this – a winning streak in Chicago? Gasp! And look here – the schedule says you get to play Detroit for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. What is this world coming to? You could have 4 wins by this time next week. Impossible? No. Improbable? Nah. Maybe? Maybe. Then again, you were playing a homeless club who has more important things to think about right now then football.
25. Washington Redskins (3-5) – Gonna put all the blame on one Daniel Snyder. In the midst of his uncompromising impatience he’s done everything he can to throw a monkey wrench into any semblance of team cohesiveness that was there. Spurrier is totally without control of anything. The players obviously don’t give a crap, and are playing for a paycheck. What everyone was saying were great moves at the beginning of the season has now turned into doubts about every facet of this franchise. This team will suck as long as Snyder owns the club. Nothing like giving a spoiled child a toy and allowing him to abuse it indefinitely. And I am betting that Spurrier won’t be around after December, which will allow me to collect on my bet with Snyder that said that Spurrier would be gone within three years. Gee, I’m only a year ahead of schedule. And any fan stupid enough to pay this man money to see this joke of a team needs to have their head examined.
26. New York Jets (2-6) – They almost willed themselves to a “home” win over the Giants. And the Giants were almost generous enough to give it to them. I think the biggest mistake here was benching Testeverde just because Pennington was ready to play. Pennington hasn’t won since returning, and the team was winning with Vinny back there at QB. Both the offense and defense are ranked at #19. But I think it’s safe to put the nail in the coffin here. The only hope is to win out now, which will have to start by beating Oakland on the road. And the way Oakland is playing right now that’s not a bad bet to make.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) – My how the mighty have fallen. The leagues 3rd ranked defense just doesn’t seem to have enough gas to prevent the inevitable. And now you’re looking up at just about everyone in the league. You get to host Arizona this week. And in the past that would have been cause for celebration. Not anymore.
28. Detroit Lions (2-6) – Hey – it’s a win. Oh yeah, it’s the Raiders, who are making everyone’s Christmas wish list. The offense here is dead last in the league, and the defense is #24. Still, you get the W over what is quite possibly one of the worst teams in the league right now. Glad tidings may reappear this week as the Bears come to town. And since you are at home I’ll pick you!
29. Oakland Raiders (2-6) – It’s brutally ugly in Oakland I’m happy to say. But it serves you right for wearing those scary skulls and crossbones to every game. Didn’t any of you goons in RaiderNation read the good book? Satan loses in the end!!!! And it looks like he’s showing up early to show you the door. I’m thinking that lots of changes are coming up in the offseason for this franchise. Look at the bright side – you’ll actually get a high draft pick to replace one of your 40 year old veterans.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) – Anyone have any idea what Mark Brunell is thinking about now? Just curious. Because he can’t be too pleased to be sitting and watching his team lose like this. Then again, he’s probably already looking ahead to a new team next year with a new opportunity to prove that he’s not done. A curiously bad record for a team with the 9th best defense in the league. Still giving up 26 a game, so those stats are really meaningless. And now you get to face the Peyton Manning Express as they come to town. Can anyone say blowout?
31. Atlanta Falcons (1-7) – Philly is bad enough now that they gave you guys hope. The Giants are the constant of unpredictability – always making their opponents feel good about themselves. And like last year, when your scrubs scratched out a win at the Meadowlands, you get the opportunity to repeat that feat. Don’t look now, but I think Dan Reeves is putting out a want ad for players who actually want to earn their paychecks. Being that Atlanta is this bad without Vick only makes me wonder, is Michael Vick really that good that he can make this franchise a playoff contender – by himself? I’d definitely say it’s time for a facelift Mr. Blank. The coach goes first.
32. San Diego Chargers (1-7) – I almost feel sorry for these guys. They haven’t had a home game in six weeks, and I think they are still debating this weeks “home” game against the Vikings. It’s so obvious that your focus is on your families (and rightfully so), and that you could care less about the results on the field. Somehow I think your fans will understand, as will management. Still, we have to look at the product on the field. The good news is that Ryan Leaf is not on the draft board for next year, and your possibility of picking up a great #1 pick are better then average.