NFL Power Rankings for Week 9 (Oct. 31st, 2013)

matt-staffordNo game last week was more exciting than the 1-point thriller between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. With just 42 seconds left, Matt Stafford led an 80-yard, game-winning drive that was capped off by his 1-yard QB sneak. Stafford used some trickery to pull off this sneak since he yelled that he was going to stop the clock, then called hike and put the ball over his lineman’s head for the go-ahead score. Oh yea, and did we mention that Calvin Johnson also tallied the second-most receiving yards ever with 329 in this game?

Unfortunately, none of the other games from Week 8 were this dramatic, but several contests had a large impact on our power rankings. That said, here are the rankings for Week 9.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-0); beat Cleveland 23-17, retains same ranking – This was far from Kansas City’s best performance of the year. After all, they let journeyman quarterback Jason Campbell pass for 293 yards and two touchdowns on them. But on the bright side, Alex Smith had a pretty good game against a tough Browns D as he threw for 225 yards and two scores of his own. Plus, the most important thing is that KC won yet again.

2. Denver Broncos (7-1); beat Washington Redskins 45-21, retains same ranking – The final score of this game certainly doesn’t tell it all. The red-hot Redskins were actually winning by a score of 21-7 in the middle of the third quarter. However, the Broncos came stomping back by scoring the final 38 points of the game. Denver overcame three interceptions by Peyton Manning to turn this contest into a route.

3. Seattle Seahawks (7-1); beat St. Louis 14-9, retains same ranking – Seattle’s game against the Rams was a little close for comfort. They made a goal-line stand after stuffing Daryl Richardson on 3-and-1 and forcing Kellen Clemens to throw an incompletion on 4-and-1. There were some concerns on offense for the Seahawks too since they only gained 135 yards of total offense. But they still got the important road win.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-1); beat Buffalo 35-17, retains same ranking – Not surprisingly, Drew Brees was able to pick apart the Buffalo defense as he finished with 332 yards and five touchdowns. Plus the defense played its role by sacking Thad Lewis four times, intercepting him once and forcing the beleaguered QB into two fumbles.

5. Indianapolis Colts (5-2); bye week, retains same ranking – The Colts got a week to rest after an incredible first half of the season, where they beat Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. Based on their resume, we can’t see moving them down during a bye week.

6. San Francisco (6-2); beat Jacksonville 42-10, retains same ranking – It may be the middle of the regular seasoncolin-kaepernick, but this game had the feel of a preseason blowout. Most of the starters were resting in the fourth quarter, and Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore both split four touchdown runs.

7. Green Bay Packers (5-2); beat Minnesota 44-31, retains same ranking – The Packers ran a rare run-heavy attack against the Vikings and it worked to perfection. Eddie Lacy saw the bulk of these carries after rushing for 94 yards and a TD on 29 attempts. One interesting side note here is that Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson tied an NFL record with a 109-yard kickoff return.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2); beat New York Jets 49-9, moves up one spot – Cincinnati’s defensive line harassed rookie QB Geno Smith all day, before he was finally benched in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand. Marvin Jones turned in his second stellar performance in a row after catching eight passes for 122 yards and four touchdowns. Thanks to Jones, Andy Dalton threw for a career-high five TD passes.

9. New England Patriots (6-2); beat Miami 27-17, drops one spot – The Patriots had an anemic first half that saw them down 17-3 to the Dolphins at home. However, they got the running game working in the second half and halted Miami from doing anything else on offense. The only reason they move down is because Cincinnati blew out the team that the Patriots lost to last week.

10. Detroit Lions (5-3); beat Dallas 31-30, moves up two spots – Maybe it’s just euphoria following that incredible comeback, but it feels like the Lions should move up a couple of spots. With weapons like Reggie Bush and Johnson, they have the ability to score on any possession.

11. San Diego Chargers (4-3); bye week, retains same ranking – Few people expected San Diego to have a winning record after last season’s disaster. Now they travel to Washington in what’s a very important game for their Wild Card playoff hopes.

12. Dallas Cowboys (4-4); lost to Detroit 31-30, drops two spots – It’s amazing how dez-bryantclose the Cowboys were to being 5-3 and holding a commanding two-game lead over the NFC East. They’re still in control of the East, but it can’t feel good after how they lost. Plus Dez Bryant’s sideline outbursts aren’t helping matters either.

13. Chicago Bears (4-3); bye week, retains same ranking – Chicago comes out of the bye week and into a tough matchup with Green Bay. And next week, they face off against Detroit in another critical division game. Things don’t look good with Jay Cutler out for a while!

14. Arizona Cardinals (4-4); beat Atlanta 27-13, moves up three spots – Teams definitely have to take the Cardinals seriously – especially the defense. They shut down a Falcons team that figured to get a huge boost with Steven Jackson back in the lineup, and intercepted Matt Ryan four times.

15. Baltimore Ravens (3-4); bye week, moves up one spot – Will the defending champs fight back or are they down for the count? These next two weeks will tell a lot as Baltimore travels to Cleveland, then plays Cincy at home.

16. Carolina Panthers (4-4); beat Tampa Bay 31-13, moves up three spots – Carolina took care of business during a three-game stretch that included Minnesota, Saint Louis and Tampa Bay. They might be able to notch yet a fourth win in a row if they can beat Atlanta at home this week.

17. Miami Dolphins (3-4); lost to New England 27-17, drops three spots – It’s sad to see such a promising start go down the drain. The Dolphins just couldn’t put together two good halves and pull off the upset. Miami has now lost four straight games, and the bleeding might not stop since they face a super-tough matchup in Cincinnati this week.

18. New York Jets (4-4); lost to Cincinnati 49-9, drops three spots – New York follows geno-smith-jetsup a big overtime win over New England with a demoralizing loss to the Bengals. Geno Smith has truly been Jekyll and Hyde from one game to the next. He’ll try to be the former as New York hosts an even tougher New Orleans team this week.

19. Tennessee Titans (3-4); bye week, moves up one spot – The Titans have three things working in their favor coming out of the bye week. They’ve got a healthy Jake Locker (1), and both the Saint Louis Rams (2) and Jacksonville Jaguars (3) are coming up on their schedule.

20. Oakland Raiders (3-4); beat Pittsburgh 21-18, moves up six spots – Oakland dominated the ground and jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead, with some help from a record-setting run by Terrelle Pryor. He bolted 93 yards for a touchdown, which set a record as the longest quarterback TD run in NFL history.

21. Atlanta Falcons (2-5); lost to Arizona 27-13, drops three spots – Just when the Falcons seemed like they were turning the corner and moving forward, they hit a big stumbling block at Arizona. Andre Ellington lit them up for 154 yards on 15 carries while Matt Ryan threw four picks.

22. Cleveland Browns (3-5); lost to Kansas City 23-17, drops one spot – Cleveland actually isn’t a bad team when they don’t have Brandon Weeden under center. They gave a valiant effort on the road against the league’s only unbeaten team.

23. New York Giants (2-6); beat Philadelphia 15-7, moves up five spots – This game was a bore to watch, and New York kept faltering in the red zone. However, they did enough to pick up their second win in a row.

24. Washington Redskins (2-5); lost to Denver 45-21, drops one spot – Anybody who was watching this one saw a pretty competitive contest that only got away from the Redskins in the last 10 minutes or so. The defense turned in a solid effort by intercepting Peyton Manning three times.

25. Houston Texans (2-5); bye week, retains same ranking – If the Texans are hoping to stop their three-game losing streak, it’ll definitely be a tall order. They face Indianapolis at home this week and Arizona on the road in Week 10.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-5); lost to New Orleans 35-17, drops one spot – Buffalo’s season is turning sour due to some key injuries. They certainly aren’t the same team without a healthy EJ Manuel and CJ Spiller.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5); lost to New York Giants 15-7, drops five spots – Michael Vick could only go four series before having to sit down and rest his ailing hamstring. Neither Matt Barkley nor Nick Foles look capable of running Chip Kelly’s read option.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5); lost to Oakland 21-18, drops one spot – The Steelers actually had a chance to put themselves in the AFC North race. However, this loss to Oakland may have put the nail in he coffin on their hopes of a division title or playoff bid.

29. Saint Louis Rams (3-5); lost to Seattle 14-9, retains same ranking – If not for Kellen Clemens’ two first-half interceptions, the Rams might have pulled out a huge win. Even with Clemens’ INT’s, St. Louis was just a yard away from a season-defining victory. Zac Stacy (134 YDS last game) actually gives this team something to look forward to.

30. Minnesota Vikings; lost to Green Bay 44-31, retains same ranking – Christian Ponder didn’t do much to dissuade the Vikings from starting Josh Freeman when he comes back from a concussion.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; lost to Carolina 31-13, retains same ranking – It seems like Tampa Bay could win a game at some point this season. But when?

32. Jacksonville Jaguars; lost to San Francisco 42-10, retains same ranking – Maybe playing the Broncos tough a few weeks ago was just a fluke.

Terrelle Pryor: All Hype or for Real?

terrelle-pryor-raidersGoing into the 2013 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders were once again expected to be one of the league’s worst teams. Their previous tack record certainly didn’t project success onto this season, considering that they haven’t had a winning record since 2002. And with a roster full of holdovers from last year’s 4-12 squad, there was little enthusiasm entering 2013.

But here we are two games into the regular season, and there’s plenty of excitement surrounding the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The reason why is third-year QB Terrelle Pryor, who, before the preseason, was merely projected to be Matt Flynn’s backup. However, the 24-year-old distinguished himself by showing flashes of brilliance and, combined with Flynn’s poor play/injuries, grabbed the starting job.

Since taking over the starting reigns, Pryor has led Oakland to a 1-1 record, which may not immediately look impressive – especially when their lone win comes from the atrocious Jacksonville Jaguars. However, a narrow 21-17 loss at Indianapolis says more about this team than anything. After all, Indy made the playoffs last season and should battle for a postseason berth this year too.

As for his stats, Pryor has compiled 343 passing yards, 162 rushing yards, a touchdown pass and two interceptions. Obviously the passing stats leave something to be desired, however, the 81 rushing YPG stat is what has everybody’s attention. But is a quarterback with great legs and a developing throwing ability enough to help the Raiders compete with the league’s elite teams? Looking at the immediate future, do they have any chance to beat Denver on Monday night?

terrelle-pryor-raiders-1Well if you’re looking at the sportsbooks, the odds aren’t good. We at GTBets.eu have Denver as a -15 favorite, which is the widest spread in the league this week. And it’s hard to bet against Peyton Manning and Co. when you consider what they did to the Ravens and Giants. Few people would even put Oakland in the same class as these teams yet.

However, Pryor seems to have his head on straight going into this matchup and seems pretty focused. “Peyton’s great and I can’t let that get into mind,” he stated. “I have to play my game and focus on my team. He’s going to make big plays and I can’t go in there and say, ‘I’m going to fire back too, because he is.’ I need to go down for down, one play at a time, and take my time. That will be a lot better than going in and trying to match back to back and force some things.

“I don’t want to get too excited about a stage or anything like that. At the end of the day, I still have to drop back and play quarterback and help this team win. I don’t want to get too excited. I know there’s a big task ahead against one of the greatest quarterbacks ever; Peyton’s a Hall of Famer. I just have to go handle my business as 1/11th of the offense and get us in good position to score.”

Pryor makes a good point about only being part of the offense. After all, he does have a rejuvenated Darren McFadden helping him out in the backfield. Through the first two games, McFadden has 177 yards and a TD on 36 carries, along with 7 receptions for 46 yards.

Of course, most eyes will be on Pryor rather than McFadden this Monday. And while nobody’s really picking the Raiders to win, they’ll be expecting another entertaining performance by the Raiders new QB. Now the only question is if Pryor can live up to the hype that’s been set ahead of him.

Did the Oakland Raiders make another Terrible Mistake with Matt Flynn?

matt-flynn-oaklandThe Oakland Raiders’ recent history is littered with failed draft picks and overpriced free agent signings. From draft busts like JaMarcus Russell and Robert Gallery to disappointing pickups like Javon Walker and Kevin Boss, it’s easy to see why the Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002.

This offseason, Oakland hoped to put one of the cornerstones in place for a franchise turnaround by signing Matt Flynn. The sixth-year man out of LSU has been highly touted ever since he torched the Detroit Lions for 480 passing yards and six touchdowns back in 2011.

So this offseason, the Raiders inked a two-year, $11.5 million contract with Flynn – $6.5 million of which is guaranteed along with a $3.25 million signing bonus. Now Raider Nation is already beginning to question the deal after Flynn’s atrocious play last Friday.

matt-flynn-oakland-1The former backup to Aaron Rodgers completed 3-of-6 passes for 19 yards and two interceptions. The performance was so bad that the O.co Coliseum faithful booed their star free agent signing off the field. It didn’t help matters that the Chicago Bears were winning 27-0 at this point. But the reality is that, after just three preseason games, fans are already calling for backup Terrelle Pryor to take the starting role.

Of course all of the blame can’t be put squarely on Flynn’s shoulders. After all, Oakland’s line is once again terrible and few pocket passers could put up solid numbers with this unit blocking for them. But the unfortunate truth is that the once-promising Flynn might find himself in a losing situation for the second year in a row.

Last season he signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, and everybody fully expected him to start. His competition was the mediocre Tavaris Jackson and third round pick Russell Wilson – both players who weren’t considered serious threats. However, Wilson would outplay Flynn in the preseason, take over the starting role, and emerge as the Rookie of the Year.

terrelle-pryor-raidersThis essentially meant that Seattle paid $10 million in guaranteed money to a backup, so they traded Flynn away before having to honor the entire $19.5 million deal. Considering what Seattle paid, the Raiders didn’t give a ton for the backup. But Oakland did make a significant enough of an investment that they were expecting him to start.

Interestingly enough, it’s beginning to look like Seattle all over again for Flynn. The ultra-athletic Pryor has been announced as the starter for the final preseason game, with Flynn sitting out due to “arm soreness.” The Ohio State product played very well last Friday after completing 7-of-9 passes for 93 yards, adding 37 yards on the ground, and combining for two total TD’s.

If Pryor seizes the opportunity this coming weekend, it’s likely that Flynn will spend his sixth year in a row holding the clipboard. What’s more is that he’ll be pigeonholed as a career backup after blowing yet another opportunity to start.