NFL Insider: Rankings Tuesday
Since Monday’s Seven Points column is slightly long-winded and requires a few extra minutes of your NFL reading time, we try to balance things out with an easy-reading Tuesday rankings story.
I’ve Got The Power!
These teams channel the legendary band “Snap”, as they are the top teams in football this week.
1. Green Bay Packers- Who else could you possibly put here? They’re so good that you expect them to score a touchdown on every possession. Aaron Rodgers is better at his job than anyone else is at theirs.
2. New York Giants- No Hakeem Nicks, no Ahmad Bradshaw, traveling to New England– No problem! The Giants can beat anyone anywhere and Eli Manning might be the best quarterback in the game without the last name of Rodgers.
3. Baltimore Ravens- If you can sweep the Steelers, you can make the Top 5. This is the Ravens best chance to reach the Super Bowl since 2000.
4. Houston Texans- Houston has the most balanced offense in the football and the top-ranked defense in the NFL. If they can avoid Baltimore in the playoffs, they will play in the Super Bowl.
5. San Francisco 49ers- Solid team with a great defense. They could be a Super Bowl contender 10 years ago, but in today’s NFL Alex Smith isn’t good enough.
Whose Seat Is Hottest?
We are halfway through the season and it’s possible that we won’t have any coaching changes until January. Still we are going to rank the coaches who are feeling the most stress.
1. Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis- Caldwell took over a Colts team that was on cruise control with Peyton Manning at the helm. Caldwell rode Manning to the Super Bowl and lost to an inferior Saints team. Last year Caldwell won four fewer games in the regular season en route to a first-round playoff exit. This year the team is 0-9. Do you notice a trend?
2. Tony Sparano, Miami- Sparano has no chance of being retained following the season but his Dolphins have been competitive, possibly in spite of him. Sparano can navigate this team into a one-way trip to Andrew Luck-ville.
3. Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville- With none of Del Rio’s staff having a contract past this season, the odds of Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver giving the entire staff an extension after a 2-6 start are very slim. In eight years Del Rio has produced no division titles and one fluky playoff win.
4. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis- The Rams players seem to like Spags, but the performance on game day simply hasn’t been good enough. Spagnuolo is 9-31 since taking over the job and quarterback Sam Bradford has regressed in his second season. It’s a bottom-line business.
5. Andy Reid, Philadelphia- Reid’s Eagles have bounced back from a rough start, but they’re still underachieving greatly. Reid is the longest-tenured coach in pro sports and sometimes the message gets lost after a decade.
Feeling Luck-y Punk?
We are going to rank the worst five teams in football.
32. Indianapolis Colts- It’s tough to argue with 0-9. Tougher considering they haven’t been competitive in a month.
31. St. Louis Rams- The Rams can’t beat anyone right now not named the New Orleans Saints. Possibly the biggest underachievers in football this season.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars- Unless the defense can hold the opponent to single-digits, the Jaguars can’t win. Worst set of wide receivers in the NFL in possibly a decade.
29. Miami Dolphins- Fairly talented team which is being coached poorly and quarterbacked worse.
28. Arizona Cardinals- They’re so bad they should’ve lost to the Rams. Larry Fitzgerald was paid a lot to stay, but he must be regretting it on some level.
Quarterback Powerless Rankings
This is a great time for quarterback play as we get to see potential future Hall of Famers Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger week to week. With Rodgers “ying”, we also have the “yang” of a few select signal callers from the opposite end of the spectrum. We will now rank this week’s worst quarterback performances.
1. Curtis Painter- For the second consecutive week, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback makes our list. Painter completed less than half of his throws (13 for 27) for just 98 yards with an interception before being replaced by Dan Orlovsky.
2. Tavaris Jackson- Seattle Seahawks fans are wondering if anyone in the Emerald City can play quarterback- even just a little bit. Tavaris completed 17 of 30 passes for 231 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 40.4.
3. Carson Palmer- Carson Palmer has played in just two games since last December. It’s obvious that he’s going to have some rust. You can’t throw three interceptions against the Denver Broncos and lose to Tim Tebow. Good teams and good quarterbacks don’t do that.
4. Philip Rivers- How do you go from MVP candidate a season ago to consecutive weeks being on the quarterback powerless rankings? Rivers has thrown off his back foot all season long and seems to lack the velocity required to make throws outside the numbers. Rivers threw three interceptions for the first time in his career on Sunday and two of the three were returned for touchdowns.
5. Colt McCoy- Colt McCoy is just good enough to keep you believing in him while he takes the Browns nowhere. McCoy is a heady player who simply doesn’t have a good enough arm to make the throws required to beat a good defense. McCoy completed 14 of 22 throws for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but he never really threatened the Texans defense.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlieNFL Insider: Rankings Tuesday by Sports Talk Florida