WEEK FIVE POWER RANKINGS – GIANTS BACK ON TOP

WEEK FIVE POWER RANKINGS – GIANTS BACK ON TOP

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 09/30/2008 - 12:17
1. New York Giants (3-0): Last year's No. 1 is now this year's No. 1 after NFC East foes Dallas and Philadelphia both lost while they enjoyed an off week in preparation for what should be an easy win at home vs. Seahawks. Last week: 4. 2. Tennessee Titans (4-0): Best start in 48-year franchise history thanks to opportunistic group that scored 21 points off 4 turnovers. Expect a physical slugfest when they visit the Ravens this week. Last week: 3. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1): Offense is struggling with multiple injuries at RB, and QB Ben Roethlisberger is hardly playing like a $100 million man, but defense has been stout enough to pick up the slack. Tough trip to Jacksonville up next. Last week: 5. 4. Buffalo Bills (4-0): Unimpressive win over Rams still clinched best start in 16 years for team with improving defense and balanced offense that doesn't make many mistakes and never beats itself. Last week: 7. 5. Dallas Cowboys (3-1): Abandoned run game in upset loss at home to surprising NFC East rival Redskins but should get back on track this week with bumbling Bengals coming to town – as long as T.O. shuts his pie hole and plays ball. Last week: 1. 6. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-1): QB Brian Griese has thrown 6 interceptions in last two games, but they've won both with a strong run game and a stingy defense that has picked off 5 passes in last two weeks. Last week: 16. 7. Washington Redskins (3-1): Young QB Jason Campbell has made huge strides, and Jim Zorn's offense hasn't turned the ball over all season. Killer stretch has them at Philadelphia this week after big win in Big D. Last week: 18. 8. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2): They're just not the same team without RB Brian Westbrook who could return after missing Bears game. Tough, early schedule (Steelers, Cowboys, Bears) has them hosting Redskins this week. Last week: 2. 9. Carolina Panthers (3-1): Well-balanced offense should continue to get better with WR Steve Smith back in the mix and teaming with Muhsin Muhammad (8 catches, 147 yards), but they can't look past Chiefs to Week Six NFC South showdown with Bucs. Last week: 14. 10. Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Talented defense should keep them in almost every game, but offense will struggle if rookie QB Joe Flacco doesn't get a lot of help while he gets on the job training. Played Steelers tough in OT loss Monday night. Last week: 9. 11. Chicago Bears (2-2): If they don't have a letdown after huge home win vs. Eagles, and if defense plays up to expectations, they should come back 4-2 after road games at Detroit and Atlanta. Last week: 17 12. San Diego Chargers (2-2): Slowly getting back on track, especially running game, although they were in danger of losing to the Raiders until 25-point fourth quarter. They need a healthy LaDainian Tomlinson (106 yards last week) to be a playoff team. Last week: 10. 13. Indianapolis Colts (1-2): Off week should help prepare them for visit to Houston, where offense has an excellent opportunity to get well in must-win game. Loss could leave them 3 ½ games behind Titans in AFC South. Last week: 12. 14. Denver Broncos (3-1): Pathetic defense – only the Rams are worse -- was finally too much for explosive offense that uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times. Run defense shredded by Larry Johnson for 198 yards. Last week: 8. 15. New England Patriots (2-1): Off week should help them prepare for this week's cross-country trip to visit 49ers. They still have an excellent front four on defense and exceptional wide receivers. Last week: 15. 16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2): Struggled to nip Texans at home in OT as final-play FG by Josh Scobee was the difference for second straight week. RB's Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew remain inconsistent. Last week: 11. 17. New York Jets (2-2): It appears the “gamble” on Brett Favre just might pay off, but they still have a lot of weaknesses, most notably the lack of a running game. They have an off week to work on it. Last week: 24. 18. New Orleans Saints (2-2): QB Drew Brees is having an MVP-type season, but RB Reggie Bush might be the most overrated player in the NFL, and the defense still needs to get a lot better if they are to contend. Last week: 20. 19. Minnesota Vikings (1-3): They may have been overrated, but a rugged early schedule (Packers, Colts, Panthers, Titans) hasn't helped. Monday Night clash in The Big Easy should at least help offense get going. Last week: 13. 20. Green Bay Packers (2-2): They say QB Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) will be back this week, and he needs to stay healthy with rookies Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm as the backups, but Rodgers is no Favre when it comes to durability. Last week: 6. 21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2): Nice pass defense. QB Kurt Warner is a point machine for both teams, throwing for 472 yards last week but committing 6 turnovers. WR Anquan Boldin's status uncertain after vicious hit. Last week: 19. 22. Seattle Seahawks (1-2): Off week should help decimated WR corps get healthier but trip to the Meadowlands this week to face the Giants won't make anyone feel better. Last week: 23. 23. Atlanta Falcons (2-2): The roller-coaster ride won't get any smoother with rookie QB Matt Ryan learning on the fly, but he should make the growing pains worthwhile down the road. Last week: 22. 24. Miami Dolphins (1-2): They had a week off to savor blowout victory over Patriots and precision performance by QB Chad Pennington and to prepare for this week's visit from the Chargers. Last week: 26. 25. San Francisco 49ers (2-2): Victories over Seahawks and Lions nothing to brag about, and QB J.T. O'Sullivan came back to earth last week in loss to Saints. Last week: 21. 26. Houston Texans (0-3): After 3 straight games on the road, including OT loss to Jags, they finally get back to Hurricane Ike-damaged Reliant Stadium for 4 straight at home. Bad news? They have to play the Colts. Last week: 27. 27. Oakland Raiders (1-3): Despite all the weirdness, most of it the result of eccentric owner Al Davis, they're better than their record, and they led the Chargers 15-0 last week before fourth-quarter cave-in. Last week: 25. 28. Cleveland Browns (1-3): They couldn't possibly be any worse with Brady Quinn at QB could they? They might have an expensive lemon in starting QB Derek Anderson. Last week: 29. 29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3): If nothing else, LJ proved that he can still run the ball, especially against a porous defense like the Broncos. Last week: 31. 30. Detroit Lions (0-3): Getting rid of incompetent Matt Millen can only help, but it's a long way back to respectability. Bears hope to provide the latest road block this week. Last week: 30. 31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-4): There's nowhere to go but up after last week's cure for insomnia (20-12 loss to Browns). Expected return of injured QB Carson Palmer (elbow) could get them back to respectability. Last week: 28. 32. St. Louis Rams (0-4): Fired head coach Scott Linehan is the lucky one – he gets to leave. Good luck to Jim Haslett who should at least be able to parlay RB Steven Jackson's talents into a win or two. Last week: 32.
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