NFL Power Rankings: Detroit Lions are Playoff Bound

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Calvin Johnson Might be the Best Player Not Named Aaron Rodges in the N.F.L. Right now. How High do the Lions measure in the power rankings?

 

On Monday night the Detroit Lions beat the Chicago Bears 24-13 behind Johnson’s 5 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. He was “bested” (see what I did there?) by Jahvid best who had his best game of his career a 12 carry 163 yard and a touchdown performance.  Will that launch the Lions into the top five of my power rankings. What about the Bears who now have a losing record at 2-3.

32.  The Miami Dolphins (Previously Dolphins)

The first week all year they didn’t lose a game, unfortunately that’s only because they didn’t play. And the countdown to Tony Sparano being fired is on. They stink.

 

31.  Indianapolis Colts ( Previously Minnesota)

What was that? After two inspired defensive performances the Colts came out and stunk up the joint at home vs the Chiefs. They gave up a lead to the Chiefs. The Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs. Terrible game by the Colts. If the defense plays that bad they have no chance at winning more than 3 games this year. Before the season started I questioned whether or not Bill Polian was an over-rated general manager and was just lucky to be blessed with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks…early this year it looks I might actually have been onto something.

30.  St. Louis Rams (Previously the Indianapolis Colts)

They fall in the power rankings despite not playing because of how poor the Giants and Eagles have looked. I was giving the Rams credit for having played a difficult schedule early, but no other teams in the league seem to be having much trouble facing the Giants and Eagles, but the Rams got beat pretty bad by both teams. Maybe they are really that bad. They lack the depth to overcome all of the injuries they suffered in preseason and early in the regular season. Hopefully the bye week re-energizes them and they play well moving forward.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Previously the Kansas City Chiefs)

The Jaguars look worse and worse every week. Blaine Gabbert might eventually be a good starting quarterback in this league, but he’s far from polished right now. The Jaguars are the anti-Eagles. They have tried to build up their roster from the inside out, but that doesn’t seem to be effective in itself, just like building a roster from outside in (like the Eagles have). It’s going to be a long season in Jacksonville.

28. Denver Broncos (Previously Denver Broncos)

The Broncos finally put up some points, once Tim Tebow entered the game. This team has a lot of work to do, but at least the fans have hope now. I wrote the other day about whether or not it was time to start Tim Tebow and that premonition has come true (nothing to pat myself on the back for though, who didn’t see that coming from a mile away) IThe Broncos are a young team, and in many respects are talented, but they still need a lot of players on offense and defense.

27.  Arizona Cardinals (previously Seattle Seahawks )

Wow. The worst performance of the season. The Chiefs put up two stinkers to being the season, but that game was especially brutal. The Vikings were 0-4 and looking terrible. The Cardinals let Adrian Peterson roam free and really failed to bring any intensity into that game. Poor performance.

26.  Kansas City Chiefs  (Previously St. Louis Rams)

The Chiefs don’t know what “suck for luck” is apparently as they have decided that they should win some football games before the season ends. The problem is if they keep winning games they can’t pick first. Silly Chiefs, even when they win they aren’t doing things right! Matt Cassel will never take them to the promise land

25.  Minnesota Vikings  (previously Jacksonville Jaguars)

They finally put together a copmlete game and looked what happened: they ran the Cardinals out of their building. Now it’ll be interesting to see how they respond when Adrian Peterson doesn’t score three rushing touchdowns in the first half and they actually have to play an entire game. In any case, Donovan Mcnabb doesn’t deserve all of the blame.

 

 

24.  Carolina Panthers (previously the Panthers)

The Panthers have found their franchise quarterback. He had another three touchdowns this week. The Panthers defensive line is pretty bad though. They have some young talent there, but they could really use a dominant force (a Julius Peppers) along the defensive line and some more help in the secondary.This team is gelling, they have a lot of their young players locked up to long term deals.

I wrote this last week, but I’ll right it here again. The 2011 Carolina Panthers are the 2010 Detroit Lions. They are not good enough to win a lot of games, but they are good enough to scare a lot of teams. Next year the Panthers will be trouble for their N.F.C. South rivals and the rest of the league to boot.

23.  Philadelphia Eagles (Previously Cleveland Browns)

You know what the sad part about the Eagles game on Sunday is? The Buffalo Bills have a sub-par pass rush but they spent most of their day in the Eagles backfield. The Bills also are an average run defense and the Eagles weren’t able to run consistently and effectively. It was really a bad game for the Eagles who had way too many turnovers and couldn’t stop the dangerous Bills offense

22. Seattle Seahawks (previously Cincinnati Bengals)

The Seattle Seahawks have really shown a lot of passion and heart with their play this year. They have been in pretty much every game. The Seahawks battled vs the Falcons the week before, and then on Sunday they traveled to New York with a 1 o’clock Eastern Standard start time and embarrassed the Giants off the field. They even lost their starting quarterback halfway through the third quarter and their lead at some point during the fourth quarter and still pulled out the victory. Great effort by the Seahawks. I thought they would finish second in the division before the season started and really backed off that after some bad performances, but now I’m back on board. They have good offensive weapons (outside of the quarterback position) and a defense that plays hard and physical. They’ll win three more games, I think.

21.  Cleveland Browns (Previously Philadelphia Eagles)

Gained some ground by being idle because of the disappointing loss by the Eagles. I don’t think the Browns are any good this year, but I think they are heading in the right direction. Colt McCoy looks like he can be a pretty good player in this league and they have some decent surrounding pieces. They need a lot a more talent at the linebacker spot and at the skilled position players on offense, but they should be a team to reckon with by 2013.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (Previously Dallas Cowboys)

The leagues most underrated defense. This team should worry the Steelers and Ravens. They have clearly, the most talented young nucleus in the division. The Steelers are playing very inconsistent football this year and look really old at times. The Ravens are pretty solid, but lack offensive consistency. The Bengals have a franchise WR in A.J. Green. A very good TE in Jermaine Greshman. Good depth at WR and an above average defensive front seven. They might be in the market for a good running back in the draft, more help in the interior of their offensive line, and in the secondary, but this team is very promising. The biggest question they need to find out the answer for: is Andy Dalton the answer at QB?

19. Dallas Cowboys (Previously Arizona Cardinals)

The whole N.F.C. East is garbage. The Cowboys can’t get out of their own way. They are their own worst enemy much of the time. Miles Austin’s return should improve their offense, but until I see them play consistently smart football, I’ll continue to write them off.

18. Chicago Bears (Previously Chicago Bears)

I have about one more week of leaving the Bears around 18 before I bump them down. For a team that makes so many moves on their offensive line you think they’d eventually figure it out, but nope. The Bears offensive line continues to be their Achilles heel. Jay Cutler spends the whole game running for his life, it’s amazing he even completes any passes. Jay Cutler is a tough quarterback. All night long he stayed in the pocket taking shot after shot, getting back up and making plays. They lost, but it wasn’t Cutler’s fault 9 knock downs and 3 sacks in his first 33 drop backs.

17. New York Jets (Previously Oakland Raiders)

Rex Ryan is getting more boring every week. At least he knows he can’t be a braggart when the team plays so poorly. There are a lot of under-publicized problems with the Jets. Their offensive line is not what it was two years ago and they have lost their “ground and pound” mentality. It might be difficult to get back. The WR are all complaining about the offense. Mark Sanchez has looked bad far too often this year and the defense can be run right at, even by the Patriots. The Jets better pick it up or they are going to be watching the Bills in the playoffs while they sit at home wondering where everything went wrong.

16.  New York Giants (Previously New York Jets)

Two things you can be sure of: the Giants are not playoff bound this year if they can’t even control the Seahawks pathetic offense. Everybody who questioned the Jason Pierre Paul pick (myself included) are dead wrong! That guy is a monster. He has 7 sacks this season and 28 tackles as well as 3 passes defensed and numerous pressures. He’s long, fast, strong, and has a good motor.

They also seem to have found their #2 WR moving forward as Victor Cruz has shown a knack for being a “gamer’, and he continues to make big plays week in and week out.

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