RankingsOctober 31, 2009

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2009 NFL Barometer: Week 8

By R.J. White

Minnesota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers

And then there were three. Minnesota’s loss to defending champion Pittsburgh has left just three undefeated teams in the ranks of football, with all three unsurprisingly heading our Barometer for Week 8. Don’t work Viking fans — the Purple People Beaters didn’t fall far, as they are now the only one-loss team in the league.

A dominant victory across the pond moved the Pats up, but I think we’re all eager to see how they perform against a legitimate NFL team and not the Buccaneers and Titans. Miami travels to New England in Week 9, but with the Patriots coming off a bye week, it’s safe to say the deck is stacked in their favor. The big battle comes on November 15th, when the Pats travel to Indianapolis to take on the now-undefeated Colts. Game of the Year?

Two embarrassing losses by the 49ers and the Bears have precipitated a free-fall in the Barometer, as both teams are now comfortably in the bottom half of our rankings. The 49ers actually made a game of it in the second half, but I think we all agree that when Alex Smith is to be your savior, you’re in trouble. Maybe we’re just anticipating an Indy beat-down of San Fran this week and have jumped the gun on next week’s Niners ranking.

When you get to that area of the Barometer (17-20), you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from the moldy, expired, headed-for-the-trash-can portion of the league. We’ve seen parity in our league for so long, it’s almost comical to note the differences between the top eight and bottom eight teams in the league, a cross-section that makes up exactly half of the NFL. And I’m nothing if not comical …

RankChangeTEAMAvg RankD
1upIndianapolis Colts (6-0)1.33121
Last week: Win 42-6 at STL. Next up are the Niners, but the Colts may be eyeballing a Week 10 matchup with the Pats.
2upNew Orleans Saints (6-0)1.67212
Last week: Win 46-34 at MIA. The Saints had no business winning that game, but they did — the mark of a great team.
3upDenver Broncos (6-0)3.00333
Last week: Bye. Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels better than Jay Cutler and Mike Shanahan? Say it ain’t so.
4upMinnesota Vikings (6-1)4.33544
Last week: Loss 17-27 at PIT. You may not know this, but Brett Favre use to play for Green Bay, this week’s opponent.
5upNew England Patriots (5-2)4.67455
Last week: Win 35-7 UK TB. The Pats get a week off just as the offense was showing life, albeit against offensive teams.
6upPittsburgh Steelers (5-2)6.00666
Last week: Win 27-17 vs. MIN. Big win for the defending champs, who needed to keep pace with the Bengals.
7upNew York Giants (5-2)8.671079
Last week: Loss 17-24 vs. ARI. A trip to Philly is at hand, and the Giants are reeling. It’s a crucial game in this three-team race.
8upCincinnati Bengals (5-2)9.001188
Last week: Win 45-10 vs. CHI. Wow, they ‘85 Bears-ed the ‘09 Bears. If the Benson wheels stay on, this team is legit.
9upArizona Cardinals (4-2)10.009147
Last week: Win 24-17 at NYG. The SB Loser curse is in the process of being shaken off. Huge win in New York.
10upGreen Bay Packers (4-2)10.3371311
Last week: Win 31-3 at CLE. New left tackle T.J. Lang and new OLB Clay Matthews are saving the season for the Pack.
11upPhiladelphia Eagles (4-2)10.6781014
Last week: Win 27-17 at WAS. Is it unreasonable to think the fate of this Eagles team rests with a man named Shady?
12upDallas Cowboys (4-2)11.33121210
Last week: Win 37-21 vs. ATL. Tony Romo is back, and all he needed was a guy named Austin in the passing game.
13upAtlanta Falcons (4-2)11.3313912
Last week: Loss 21-37 at DAL. The Falcons get the next shot at the New Orleans powerhouse, and I think they fail.
14upBaltimore Ravens (3-3)13.00151113
Last week: Bye. Once thought Super Bowl contenders, the Ravens now sit at .500 and now get the undefeated Broncos.
15upNew York Jets (4-3)15.67161615
Last week: Win 38-0 at OAK. “Hot Dog” Sanchez won’t have it this easy most weeks, and I’m not convinced this is a playoff team.
16upHouston Texans (4-3)15.67141716
Last week: Win 24-21 vs. SF. For the most part, this actually looks like a playoff team. Doing a great job drafting.
17upSan Diego Chargers (3-3)17.00191517
Last week: Win 37-7 at KC. Even against a bad team, this was still an impressive win for the up-and-down Bolts.
18upJacksonville Jaguars (3-3)18.67182018
Last week: Bye. Breakout fantasy player of the season? I say Mike Sims-Walker, a legitimate WR1 at this point.
19upSan Francisco 49ers (3-3)19.33201820
Last week: Loss 21-24 at HOU. Only a game back in the division, the Niners have turned to Alex Smith, former No. 1 pick.
20upMiami Dolphins (2-4)19.67172121
Last week: Loss 34-46 vs. NO. Even with just two wins, this team seems so much better than this ranking, right?
21upChicago Bears (3-3)20.33231919
Last week: Loss 10-45 at CIN. Embarrassing. Unbelievable. I think it’s time for a coaching change in Chicago. They need a shakeup.
22upSeattle Seahawks (2-4)22.00222222
Last week: Bye. With Lofa Tatupu out for the season, I think Seattle fans can give up on a second-half surge.
23upBuffalo Bills (3-4)22.33212323
Last week: Win 20-9 at CAR. Scrappy? Consecutive wins with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Really?
24upCarolina Panthers (2-4)24.00242424
Last week: Loss 9-20 vs. BUF. Why haven’t the Panthers been grooming a young QB to eventually take over?
25upWashington Redskins (2-5)25.67262526
Last week: Loss 17-27 vs. PHI. No truth to the rumors that Dan Snyder has promised the 2010 gig to Phil Jackson.
26upDetroit Lions (1-5)26.67272627
Last week: Bye. The Lions will take any week where they don’t suffer a loss as improvement. Two in a row with the Rams next?
27upKansas City Chiefs (1-6)26.67282725
Last week: Loss 7-37 vs. SD. Seriously, what was Larry Johnson thinking? How did any of that seem like a good idea?
28upOakland Raiders (2-5)27.33252928
Last week: Loss 0-38 vs. OAK. JaMarcus doesn’t feel like he’s the problem. Then again, which quarterback ever does?
29upTennessee Titans (0-6)29.00302829
Last week: Bye. It’s time for Vinsanity, Round Two, the Sequel, Tokyo Drift, Unleashed. I’m buying a ticket.
30upCleveland Browns (1-6)30.00293031
Last week: Loss 3-31 vs. GB. You know what this team needs? Rebranding. Do we seriously need to keep the Brown legacy going?
31upTampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)31.00313230
Last week: Loss 7-35 UK NE. Why make the Bucs give up a home game? They’re perfectly fine losing games in their backyard.
32upSt. Louis Rams (0-7)31.67323132
Last week: Loss 6-42 vs. IND. Remember how many Rams fans there were 10 years ago? Where are they now? I feel this should be a show.



DZ = daullaz
DN = Dan Lambskin
UH = utility-hook

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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