Detroit Lions: 2013 Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#11)

Last week: 10 (-1)

Record: 5-3

Last year, the two problems for the Lions were turnovers and close losses and it looked like the Lions were re-living last year this week against the Cowboys before that amazing game winning drive. They won the game despite losing the turnover battle by 4, something that had only happened 19 times prior since 1989, as opposed to 393 losses. They did this by accumulating 623 yards of offense, as opposed to 268 for the Cowboys, only the 24th time since 1989 that a team won the yardage battle by that much (22-2 straight up). They are moving the chains at an explosive 78% rate, as opposed to 74% for their opponents and rank 10th in differential. They have a lot of promise going forward, especially if Matt Stafford continues playing at a borderline-MVP level (he’s ProFootballFocus’ 3rd ranked passing quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers).

Week 8 Studs

QB Matt Stafford

WR Calvin Johnson

RT LaAdrian Waddle

LG Rob Sims

C Dominic Raiola

MLB Stephen Tulloch

CB Chris Houston

Week 8 Duds

TE Joseph Fauria

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Dallas Cowboys: 2013 Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#12)

Last week: 11 (-1)

Record: 4-4

You can call it a crushing loss for the Cowboys, but they did not deserve to win that game. They were outgained by 355 yards, only the 24th time that had happened to a team since 1989 and lost despite winning the turnover battle by 4, only the 20th time that had happened to a team since 1989. They won’t always be able to force turnovers and they have a +9 turnover margin on the season and they’ve only forced 35 punts in 8 games. Their defense is horrible and their offense might not be good enough to keep up. They are clearly the best team in the NFC East, but they might not even make the playoffs in any other division in football.

Week 8 Studs

None

Week 8 Duds

LG Robert Leary

LE George Selvie

DT Nick Hayden

CB Brandon Carr

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Pittsburgh Steelers: 2013 Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#18)

Last week: 21 (+3)

Record: 2-5

The Steelers once again came up flat as non-divisional road favorites this week, a situation they are now 6-18 ATS since Mike Tomlin took over in 2007. However, I was actually impressed with them. Another loss on their record doesn’t help their playoff chances, but, result aside, they were easily the better team in that matchup. If it wasn’t for a breakdown on a fluke touchdown run by Terrelle Pryor (the longest in NFL history) and two missed field goals that easily could have been made, they might have won that game by 7-10 points. They had more first downs (20 to 13), fewer punts (8 to 7), and fewer turnovers (3 to 2). They’re moving the chains at a 73% rate, as opposed to 72% for their opponents and they’ve been even better since the bye. Over the past three weeks they have 53 first downs to 14 punts and 3 turnovers (a 76% rate), as opposed to 50 first downs, 18 punts, and 5 turnovers for their opponents (a 68% rate). They’ll be underrated going forward.

Week 8 Studs

RT Marcus Gilbert

RG David DeCastro

RE Brett Keisel

Week 8 Duds

LT Kelvin Beachum

LG Guy Whimper

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New York Jets: 2013 Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#19)

Last week: 18 (-1)

Record: 4-4

I am somehow predicting games against the spread at a 66% this season, including 10-3 this week, but I’ll admit it was really ill advised picking the Jets to cover the 6.5 points in Cincinnati this week. I had reasons for doing so, but I should have shown how flat the Jets would be after beating New England, especially in the fashion they did. The Jets have been alternating wins and losses this season and could represent a trap game this week for the New Orleans Saints.

Week 8 Studs

RT Austin Howard

LE Muhammad Wilkerson

DT Damon Harrison

Week 8 Duds

QB Geno Smith

LG Brian Winters

CB Dee Milliner

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Arizona Cardinals: 2013 Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#20)

Last week: 23 (+3)

Record: 4-4

Bruce Arians may have won Coach of the Year in Indianapolis last year, but the Colts have been much better without him this season (they’re actually beating good teams and winning by large margins, something they rarely did last season) and he has made some questionable decisions with the Cardinals in his first year there. Perhaps none is more questionable than his infatuation with Rashard Mendenhall. I can understand not wanting to give Andre Ellington a larger role earlier in the season because he hadn’t proven himself yet, but giving the plodding Mendenhall and his 3.1 YPC his starting job back after the bye, after Ellington rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in place of an injured Mendenhall this week, is inexcusable. It sounds like that is what’s going to happen in a move that rivals Todd Haley keeping Thomas Jones as the starter over Jamaal Charles when Charles was averaging over 2.5 yards per carry more than Jones.

Week 8 Studs

RE Calais Campbell

MLB Daryl Washington

FS Rashad Johnson

Week 8 Duds

RG Paul Fanaika

C Lyle Sendlein

CB Jerraud Powers

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