Week 9 NFL Power Rankings plus picks

I am mixing things up this week in the Sports Zone with my picks column. Instead of my traditional picks with comments I am doing a Power Rankings column with picks. If you just want my picks scroll down to the bottom of this page. My criteria for the rankings is simple…. who would win right now on a neutral field. Not who will win in January or who would have won last month, but who will win if the teams played this Sunday. We are halfway through the NFL year with week nine approaching, so I think this is a perfect time to figure who will be contending and who will not be contending this year down the stretch.

Andrew Luck Division

(Teams in play for Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck)

32. Indianapolis Colts

What a decision the Colts may possibly have for themselves this coming April. If they do end up with the first pick in the NFL Draft will they take Andrew Luck? The pros of course are you have your next Quarterback for the next decade once Manning retires and the con is you are not getting your team better to make another run at the Super Bowl with a healthy Peyton Manning. If I am the Colts I think I am taking Luck after weighing the options. Manning is in his mid 30’s now and he has some health issues with his neck. All it takes is one more wrong hit to his neck and his career would end instantly. If the Colts have the first pick they have got to take Andrew Luck.

31. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have been much more competitive than the Colts this year which gives them the nod over Indianapolis. Head Coach Tony Sparano is one more uninspiring performance away from being whacked in Miami, but the team keeps fighting hard for him and that is always a good reflection on you when your team has yet to give up on you. I think they can win this week in Kansas City which would badly hurt themselves for Andrew Luck, so in a situation like the Dolphins are in don’t you fire a coach that the team is playing hard for to deinspire (if that is a word) the players from winning??

30. Denver Broncos

The Broncos will not be getting the top pick, but they will be getting a top five pick again in the draft. Tebow mania may be on life support after the performance he had last week against the Detroit Lions. Especially after an unnamed Lions defender was quoted saying something like, “is this guy serious out there?” People have to accept Tebow for what he is and not for what he is not. Tebow is a guy with a lot of passion and heart for the game. He is a great leader with a great work ethic. He can run and make plays out of nothing. He is not an accurate thrower and has a horrible delivery throwing the ball. Tebow can probably last around as a pretty decent backup for his career, but I don’t think he can be a starting Quarterback in this league and I think the Broncos have figured that out already.

29. Arizona Cardinals

The sleeper pick for Andrew Luck!!!! If they lose this week at home to the Rams they will become serious contenders in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. That is also becoming a huge possibility with reports being John Skelton will be the starting QB this week. After this week they go on the road for three straight games against Philly, Frisco, and St. Louis again before they come home for Dallas and Frisco. They can easily be sitting at 1-12 or 2-11 if they lose this week and at the point they will probably shut Beanie Wells down (Beanie has a knee injury that will stay with him all year, so if they have nothing to play for my guess is they will shut him down.) and give John Skelton some starts down the stretch that features Cleveland at home. at Cincy, and Seattle at home.  If they lose I am saying they finish at 3-13 and I read somewhere that they would hold any tiebreaker for the first pick if they had the same record with Indianapolis or Miami. Of course they will go 4-12 and get the fourth pick in the draft.

Cam Gabbert-Ponder Division

(Rookie Quarterbacks from last year’s draft)

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

I was just thinking the other day that I do not think I have ever met a Jacksonville Jaguar fan. I do not think I have ever seen a person where a Jaguars jersey let alone know a fan. This is probably why they will be the Los Angeles Jaguars within the next five years.

27. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are set for the next decade as long as they build around Cam Newton properly. Right now they are just missing a couple of players on defense from that happening. They are also waiting on the zombies of Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams to wakeup. Once they get the run game going again and start playing defense this team will be very tough to beat.

26. Minnesota Vikings

Charlie Ponder has played surpringsly well in his first two start against the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers. If Ponder can prove to be their guy, with a couple of breaks next year and a good draft the Vikings could be contending for a playoff spot next year. They have a solid core group with A.P., Jared Allen, and Chad Greenway and just need to add a piece here and there and the Vikings will be contending again in the near future.

Teams that were expected to contend with 7 wins before the 49ers ruined their chances division

25. Seattle Seahawks

The first player to agree to a contract with a team when the lockout was lifted back in July was….Tavaris Jackson with Seattle. The first quarterback signed was Tavaris Jackson. Matt Hasselback, for some reason was not good enough for Seattle so they went the Tavaris Jackson route. Sometimes you wonder how people get to make NFL personnel decisions like that when 95 percent of the population would have kept Matt Hasselback.

24. St. Louis Rams

The Rams are much better than their 1-6 record suggest. They had a brutal start to the season and they finally get to play some easier games. They will finish with 5 to 6 wins this year and get another top ten pick in the draft.

Madden Cover Division

(Teams that have been hit with injuries)

23. Cleveland Browns

Peyton Hillis wants to get paid. The only problem is teams are hesitant to give running backs big contracts. (See Chris Johnson) Running Back may be one of the most replaceable player in sports. Unless you are Adrian Peterson, Lesean Mccoy, Matt Forte, or Ray Rice I am not paying you long-term. Hillis is out of luck if he wants a long-term deal in Cleveland. That may actually be a blessing in disguise for Hillis because he can go to a team with a chance to win in the next few years instead of rotting away with the Browns.

22. Washington Redskins

The Redskins three wins this year are against the overrated New York Giants at home, barely getting by a one win Cardinals team at home, and squeaking out a win on the road against the Rams. They are currently starting John Beck, have lost leading reciever Santana Moss to an injury, lost Chris Cooley and Tim Hightower to injuries, and have also lost some key guys on the offensive line to injuries. Bottom line they were a mediocre team who lost a bunch of starters to injuries making them a bad team.

21. Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson has got to be the biggest non-injury fantasy disappointment in history let alone actual team disappointment. This is defiantly a guy playing to not get injured and taking in the money.

Al Davis Division

(In memory of NFL legend Al Davis)

20. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have traded their first round pick for Carson Palmer, third round pick for Terrele Pryor, and fourth round pick for Jason Campbell in next years draft. The Raiders better hope Carson Palmer can bring them to the playoffs with all those draft picks gone.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

How are the Chargers ranked ahead of the Chiefs when the Cheifs just beat them? Because like I said last week the Chargers will now officially request to the NFL offices to never have to play in Kansas CIty on Monday Night Football again after losing two fluke games in a row there on Monday Night. Like I said before I have the Chiefs on upset watch this week against the winless Dolphins.

18. San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers is long overdue to breakout into the Pro Bowl Quarterback that he is. My money is still on the Chargers to win that division and make the playoffs, but they can’t do that until Rivers decides to stop turning the ball over.

New York Division

17. New York Jets

16. New York Giants

These two team are the most overrated teams in the league. The Jets have a mediocre run game with a mediocre quarterback and a mediocre defense. The Giants lost at home to Seattle and was on the verge of losing at home to Miami. Eli Manning is still either very good, or very bad. I just wish he was bad Eli in Arizona instead of being bad Eli for Seattle. Anyways, I do not think either of these teams reach the  playoffs and I would bet big on Philly or Dallas catching th Giants in the East.

Mediocrity Division

15. Tampa Bay buccaneers

Josh Freeman has regressed a bit this season. He threw only 6 picks all of last year, this year he already has ten through seven games. If Freeman returns to 2010 Freeman the Bucs will be in contention through December, but if he continues at this route the Bucs season is doomed.

14. Chicago Bears

Can somebody give Jay Cutler a wide receiver to throw the ball too other than his running back?? Can somebody also block somebody on that offensive line for the guy?? If you watched the Monday Night game against Detroit last month then you saw the greatest performance by a quarterback with no other talent on the field with him. He was like a little kid playing against the big kids on the playground. He would catch the snap and imminently run backwards and just throw it somewhere. It was amazing the Bears only lost by 11 that game.

13. Cincinnati Bengals

I think it is safe to say they will be saying many Dalton to Green Touchdowns for the next ten years.

Sleepers Division

12. Dallas Cowboys

If this team can ever just put it all together for a couple of months they would be a very tough out in January. Tony Romo needs to prove he can win the big game on the national stage, Dez Bryant needs to mature and show up in EVERY game, and the defense needs to actually force a team to punt every once in a while or get a stop to get the offense on the field unlike last week at Philadelphia when they had the ball for something like 40 minutes of possession last week. This team has the potential, but will they ever get to it?

11. Buffalo Bills

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the man here in the Sports Zone. The guy went to high school out here at Highland High School and then went off to get a degree at Harvard before finally latching on with the Bills and just recently signed a long-term deal to be the Bills Quarterback for the next five years. If there was not already another Fitzy out there for me you definitely would have Fitzy status.

10. Houston Texans

The texans have yet to play a full game with both Arian Foster and Andre Johnson on offense, yet they are sitting pretty in the AFC South at 5-3. I hope the Texans can have everything clinched and locked up by week 17 so we can get another start by Matt Leinart.

Alex Smith division

(Teams that have been surprises this year)

9. Detroit Lions

If you picked Calvin Johnson in your fantasy draft your team is probably making the playoffs. I had a chance between Bradford or Stafford as my backup quarterback in my draft and I took Bradford….regretted that move every second since then.

8. San Fransisco 49ers

It pains me to write about how good they have been this year. Instead of talking about it I just named the division after your quarterback…is that good enough???

Dream Team division

7. Philadelphia Eagles

I still think this team will finish with ten wins and make the playoffs and at the very least make the NFC Championship game as long as Vick stays healthy. They had their bumps and I think they have it figured out now and this is a team ready to go on a tear.

Contenders division

6. Atlanta Falcons

They have spent the first half of the season just “getting through” the weeks. That attitude still got them a 4-3 record. Coming off the bye they will find their mojo they had last year and turn it into another double digit wins season.

5. New Orleans Saints

There are two Saints teams….the Saints when they are in the Dome, and the Saints when they are not in the Dome. Unfortunately to get to the Super Bowl they will have to win in the frigid tundra of Green Bay.

4. New England Patriots

It is very possible for the Patriots to never get back to the Super Bowl in the Tom Brady era. The night before Super Bowl 42, Patriots fans were sitting on an undefeated season, and a 4th Super Bowl in six years. The next day as the say the rest is history. Pats get upset, next year Bernard Pollard rams into Brady’s knee knocking him out for the year and they Pats have never been back.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers will win Sunday night at home so the next thing we have to look forward to is the rematch in the AFC Title game. I am getting excited just thinking about these teams playing again with the Super Bowl on the line.

1. Green Bay Packers

In about three weeks the Packers schedule will be analyzed by everyone to figure out if they can go undefeated. With the way A-Rod has been  playing I would not doubt it for a second.


Lock of the week

Seattle Seahawks 13 at Dallas Cowboys 31

Upset Special

San Fran 49ers 20 at Washington Redskins 21

Tampa Bay Bucs 26 at New Orleans Saints 34

New York Jets 30 at Buffalo Bills 23

Atlanta Falcons 27 at Indy Colts 10

Miami Dolphins 16 at Kansas City Chiefs 20

Cincinnati Bengals 14 at Tennessee Titans 17

Denver Broncos 14 at Oakland Raiders 20

Coin Flip

St. Louis Rams 24 at Arizona Cardinals 27

New York Giants 24 at New England Patriots 35

Green Bay Packers 30 at San Diego Chargers 27

Game of the Week

Baltimore Ravens 16 at Pittsburgh Steelers 23

Monday NIght Football

Chicago Bears 20 at Philadelphia Eagles 28

Last week 9-5

Season 31-22


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About jeffreysanders

Jeffrey Sanders writes for the Puma Press at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. He is supported by his family, friends, and his girlfriend. Sports is his life as he is an avid follower of the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL. He hopes to attend the Walter Cronkite school of Journalism in the fall of 2012.

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