Atlanta Falcons: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#1)

Last week: 3 (+2)

Record: 7-0

I’m moving the Falcons into the #1 spot for the first time all season, but I’m still not sold. 4 of their 7 wins have come by a touchdown or less. They’ve been very reliant on winning the turnover margin, which is inconsistent on a week to week basis. They rank just 19th in yards per play differential and 4th in rate of sustaining drives differential. And they haven’t really played anyone of note, except Denver, and that was not the same Broncos team they are now. The Falcons could easily lose at home to the Cowboys this week.

Studs

QB Matt Ryan: 22 of 29 for 262 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 throw aways, 102.3 adjusted QB rating, pressured on 7 of 34 drop backs (1 sack, 3 scrambles, 1 of 3, 1 throw away)

RB Jacquizz Rodgers: Rushed for 60 yards (53 after contact) on 8 carries, 1 broken tackle, caught 5 passes for 20 yards on 5 attempts

LG Justin Blalock: Did not allow a pressure on 42 pass block snaps, run blocked for 10 yards on 3 attempts

WR Julio Jones: Caught 5 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown on 5 attempts on 36 pass snaps, 15.8 YAC per catch, 1 penalty

ROLB Stephen Nicholas: 5 solo tackles, 2 stops, 1 quarterback hurry on 5 blitzes, 1 penalty, allowed 2 catches for 18 yards and a deflection on 5 attempts

SS William Moore: Allowed 1 catch for 0 yards on 2 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 2 solo tackles, 1 stop, 1 quarterback hit on 5 blitzes

Duds

RB Michael Turner: Rushed for 58 yards (47 after contact) on 24 carries, 2 broken tackles, 1 fumble, caught 1 pass for 6 yards on 2 attempts

RG Peter Konz: Allowed 1 sack and 2 quarterback hurries on 42 pass block snaps, run blocked for 3 yards on 5 attempts

CB Asante Samuel: 4 missed tackles, allowed 3 catches for 45 yards on 6 attempts, 1 pass deflection

DT Jonathan Babineaux: Did not record a pressure on 44 pass rush snaps, 1 solo tackle, 1 assist, 1 stop

DT Peria Jerry: Did not record a pressure on 22 pass rush snaps, no tackles

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Chicago Bears: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#3)

Last week: 1 (-2)

Record: 6-1

I’m moving the Bears out of the #1 spot barely this week because I wasn’t impressed with their near home loss to the Panthers and because the Falcons looked good against the Eagles. However, the Falcons still haven’t really played anyone that’s any good and they almost lost at home to the Raiders. The Bears’ one loss was on Thursday Night and it’s tough to put a lot of stock into a fluky bad performance on short rest. Excluding that loss, Jay Cutler has won 11 straight games.

Studs

QB Jay Cutler: 19 of 28 for 186 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, 4 dropped passes, 102.2 adjusted QB rating, pressured on 13 of 35 drop backs (6 sacks, 1 scramble, 4 of 6)

DT Henry Melton: 1 sack and 4 quarterback hurries on 35 pass rush snaps, 6 solo tackles, 5 stops

DT Nate Collins: 2 quarterback hurries on 19 pass rush snaps, 3 solo tackles, 1 assist, 2 stops

CB Charles Tillman: Allowed 1 catch for 8 yards on 3 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 3 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 stop

Duds

LT J’Marcus Webb: Allowed 1 sack and 5 quarterback hurries on 37 pass block snaps, run blocked for 2 yards on 1 attempt

RT Gabe Carimi: Allowed 1 sack and 4 quarterback hurries on 37 pass block snaps, run blocked for 2 yards on 1 attempt

C Roberto Garza: Allowed 1 sack and 1 quarterback hurry on 37 pass block snaps, 1 penalty, run blocked for 9 yards on 5 attempts

WR Devin Hester: Caught 1 pass for 5 yards on 2 attempts on 31 pass snaps, 0.0 YAC per catch, 1 drop

DT Stephen Paea: 1 quarterback hurry on 23 pass rush snaps, 2 solo tackles, 2 stops, 1 missed tackle

LOLB Nick Roach: 1 solo tackle, allowed 1 catch for 10 yards on 2 attempts

MLB Brian Urlacher: Allowed 2 catches for 69 yards on 3 attempts, 5 solo tackles, 3 stops, 1 batted pass

ROLB Lance Briggs: 5 solo tackles, 2 assists, 2 stops, 2 missed tackles, allowed 4 catches for 43 yards on 5 attempts

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New England Patriots: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#4)

Last week: 4 (+0)

Record: 5-3

The team with the best points differential in the league: The New England Patriots. Look out. They have a very easy schedule the rest of the way, host the Bills and Colts, going to the Jets and the Dolphins, hosing the Texans and the 49ers, going to Jacksonville, and hosting the Dolphins. As bad as they have been at nailing down leads in the 4th quarter (8-9 in their last 17 when leading by 10 or fewer going into the 4th quarter), they also have more double digit leads than anyone in the league heading into the 4th and they’ve never blown one of those. Meanwhile, their record in games where they trail by 10 or fewer going into the 4th is also around .500, meaning they’re about .500 in games that are close heading into the 4th quarter. That sounds about right.

Studs

QB Tom Brady: 23 of 35 for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns, 1 throw aways, 3 drops, 108.3 adjusted QB rating, pressured on 7 of 35 drop backs (3 of 7, 1 throw away)

C Ryan Wendell: Did not allow a pressure on 43 pass block snaps, run blocked for 29 yards on 6 attempts

LG Donald Thomas: Allowed 1 quarterback hurry on 43 pass block snaps, run blocked for -3 yards on 1 attempt

TE Rob Gronkowski: Caught 8 passes for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns on 13 attempts on 24 pass snaps, 1 drop

RB Stevan Ridley: Rushed for 127 yards (60 after contact) and a touchdown on 15 attempts

LOLB Jerod Mayo: Allowed 3 catches for 12 yards on 3 attempts, 6 solo tackles, 4 stops, 1 quarterback hurry on 5 blitzes

CB Alfonzo Dennard: Allowed 1 catch for 16 yards on 3 attempts, 1 interception, 5 solo tackles

RE Chandler Jones: 1 sack, 2 quarterback hits, and 3 quarterback hurries on 30 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, 4 solo tackles, 4 stops

Duds

WR Deion Branch: Did not catch a pass on 1 attempt on 35 pass snaps

DT Vince Wilfork: Did not record a pressure on 20 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, 1 solo tackle, 1 stop

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New York Giants: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#5)

Last week: 5 (+0)

Record: 6-2

The Giants are now 53-19 in the first half of the season under Tom Coughlin, though they are also just 27-37 in the 2nd half of the season. Looking at their schedule, we could see something similar happen. This week, they host the Steelers, then they go to Cincinnati, host the Packers, go to Washington, host the Saints, go to Atlanta, go to Baltimore, and host the Eagles. They have a commanding lead on the NFC East, for now, but it’s not over. The Cowboys have been better than their record suggests and the Eagles are always the opposite of the Giants in the 2nd half of the season.

Studs

LT William Beatty: Did not allow a pressure on 32 pass block snaps, 1 penalty, run blocked for 17 yards on 3 attempts

FS Stevie Brown: Allowed 3 catches for 43 yards on 5 attempts, 2 interceptions, 7 solo tackles, 1 missed tackle

DT Chris Canty: 1 sack and 4 quarterback hits on 32 pass rush snaps, 1 solo tackle, 1 stop

MLB Chase Blackburn: 5 solo tackles, 4 stops, 1 quarterback hit on 5 blitzes, allowed 1 catch for 4 yards on 2 attempts

K Lawrence Tynes: 8 kickoffs, 2 touchbacks, 69.5 yards per kickoff, 20.6 average opponent’s starting position, 5/5 FG (26, 37, 37, 41, 43)

P Steve Weatherford: 6 kickoffs for 287 yards, 2 inside 20, 2 returns for 8 yards, 46.5 net yards per punt

Duds

C David Baas: Allowed 2 quarterback hits and 2 quarterback hurries on 32 pass block snaps, run blocked for 65 yards on 12 attempts

WR Victor Cruz: Caught 2 passes for 23 yards on 8 attempts on 29 pass snaps, 3.0 YAC per catch, 2 drops, 1 interception

SS Antrel Rolle: Allowed 4 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown on 5 attempts, 2 solo tackles

LE Justin Tuck: 2 quarterback hurries on 52 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, no tackles

CB Jayron Hosley: Allowed 3 catches for 50 yards on 4 attempts, 3 penalties, 2 solo tackles, 1 assist

LOLB Michael Boley: 5 solo tackles, 1 assist, 3 stops, 1 missed tackle, allowed 7 catches for 66 yards on 11 attempts

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Denver Broncos: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#6)

Last week: 9 (+3)

Record: 4-3

The Broncos rank 2nd in the league in yards per play differential at 1.4, just .1 behind San Francisco, who has looked untouchable for weeks in that category. No one else is above 0.7. They rank just 9th in rate of sustaining drives differential, thanks to a 3rd down defense that 20th. However, they were much better in this area against the Saints in a complete, shut down victory. New Orleans went just 1 of 12 on 3rd down.

The Broncos rank 6th in the league against both the pass and the run on a per play basis and Peyton Manning is playing like vintage Peyton Manning right now, if not better, as he’s completed 107 of 142 for 1289 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 1 interception in his last 4 games. On the season, he’s completing 68.5% of his passes for an average of 8.2 YPA, 17 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions, all ahead of career averages. And they’re doing this all against the league’s toughest schedule so far, in terms of opponent’s winning percentage. The rest of the way, they have the easiest schedule. It’s weird to think that just 6 quarters, they looked on the verge of 2-4 and done.

Studs

QB Peyton Manning: 22 of 30 for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 hit as thrown, 1 drop, 113.8 adjusted QB rating

RB Willis McGahee: Rushed for 122 yards (61 after contact) and a touchdown on 23 attempts, 3 broken tackles, 1 fumble, caught 2 passes for 33 yards on 2 attempts

LT Ryan Clady: Did not allow a pressure on 33 pass block snaps, 1 penalty, run blocked for 14 yards on 5 attempts

RT Orlando Franklin: Did not allow a pressure on 33 pass block snaps, 1 penalty, run blocked for 37 yards on 6 attempts

RG Chris Kuper: Allowed 1 quarterback hurry on 33 pass block snaps, run blocked for 31 yards on 4 attempts

WR Demaryius Thomas: Caught 7 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown on 9 attempts on 31 pass snaps, 6.0 YAC per catch

ROLB Von Miller: 2 quarterback hits and 4 quarterback hurries on 31 pass rush snaps, 1 solo tackle, 1 assist, 1 stop

LOLB Wesley Woodyard: 8 solo tackles, 4 assist, 6 stops, 1 stop, allowed 3 catches for 13 yards on 6 attempts, 1 interception, 1 sack on 11 blitzes

CB Champ Bailey: Allowed 3 catches for 31 yards on 7 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 6 solo tackles, 1 stop

CB Chris Harris: Allowed 1 catch for 7 yards on 4 attempts, 3 solo tackles, 1 stop, 1 missed tackle

CB Tony Carter: Allowed 3 catches for 29 yards on 6 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 2 solo tackles, 2 stops, 1 missed tackle

K Matt Prater: 6 kickoffs, 6 touch backs, 75.0 yards per kickoff, 20.0 opponent’s average starting distance, 2/2 FG (33, 33)

Duds

RE Elvis Dumervil: 1 quarterback hurry on 41 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, 1 solo tackle

MLB Danny Trevathan: Allowed 4 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown on 6 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 2 solo tackles, 1 missed tackle

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San Francisco 49ers: Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (#7)

Last week: 6 (-1)

Record: 6-2

Alex Smith was 18 of 19 on Monday Night against the Cardinals, one completion shy of setting the all-time record for completion percentage in a single game. He did set the single game for most pass attempts with only 1 incompletion and that incompletion was actually a drop. The knock on him, however, is that he settled for mostly short stuff, completing just 10 passes longer than 3 yards through the air and actually averaging just 4.9 yards per completion through the air, getting a lot of his yardage after the catch against an Arizona defense that couldn’t tackle. He also looked 4 sacks on his 6 pressured snaps, sacks that even he admits he should have thrown away and taken the incompletion. This kind of stuff might fly against Arizona, but I still don’t trust him to lead them deep into the playoffs.

Studs

QB Alex Smith: 18 of 19 for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 drop, 130.9 adjusted QB rating, pressured on 6 of 23 drop backs (4 sacks, 2 of 2)

LT Joe Staley: Did not allow a pressure on 24 pass block snaps, run blocked for 19 yards on 3 attempts

RT Anthony Davis: Did not allow a pressure on 24 pass block snaps, run blocked for 31 yards on 6 attempts

WR Michael Crabtree: Caught 5 passes for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 attempts on 15 pass snaps, 12.4 YAC per catch

CB Tarell Brown: Allowed 2 catches for 22 yards on 10 attempts, 5 pass deflections, 1 solo tackle

CB Chris Culliver: Allowed 3 catches for 21 yards on 9 attempts, 2 pass deflection, 1 interception, 3 solo tackles

MLB Patrick Willis: 5 solo tackles, 1 assist, 4 stops, 1 quarterback hit and 1 quarterback hurry on 10 blitzes, allowed 2 catches for 4 yards on 3 attempts, 1 pass deflection

ROLB Aldon Smith: 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries on 42 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, 4 solo tackles, 5 stops

FS Dashon Goldson: Allowed 4 catches for 28 yards on 6 attempts, 7 solo tackles, 4 stops, 1 missed tackle

P Andy Lee: 5 punts for 244 yards, 2 inside 20, 4 returns for 15 yards, 45.8 net yards per punt

Duds

MLB NaVorro Bowman: 1 missed tackle, 1 stop, 1 sack and 1 quarterback hurry on 10 blitzes, allowed 3 catches for 41 yards on 3 attempts

LE Ray McDonald: 1 quarterback hurry on 46 pass rush snaps, 3 solo tackles, 3 stops

RE Justin Smith: 1 quarterback hit and 1 quarterback hurry on 47 pass rush snaps, no tackles

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