Anthony Spencer: 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
LaMarr Woodley: 3 tackles, 2 sacks.
Geno Hayes: 12 tackles, 1 sack.
Kirk Morrison: 10 tackles, 1 sack.
Barrett Ruud: 17 tackles.
Keith Rivers: 13 tackles.
Lance Briggs: 12 tackles.
DeAndre Levy: 12 tackles.
Ray Lewis: 12 tackles.
Antoine Cason: 12 tackles.
Fantasy Scrubs of the Week:
Carson Palmer: 1-of-11, 0 yards. 1 INT.
Matt Leinart: 13-of-31, 96 yards. 2 INTs.
Keith Null: 7-of-17 for 57 yards.
Peyton Manning: 14-of-18, 95 yards. 1 INT.
Eli Manning: 17-of-23, 141 yards. 1 INT.
Joe Flacco: 11-of-19, 102 yards.
Vince Young: 17-of-28, 171 yards. 1 INT.
Donald Brown: 4 carries, -4 yards.
LaDainian Tomlinson: 2 carries, 1 yard.
LeSean McCoy: 1 carry, 4 yards.
Brian Westbrook: 5 carries, 17 yards.
Michael Bush: 10 carries, 18 yards.
Derrick Mason: 1 catch, 23 yards.
Ricky Williams: 12 carries, 31 yards.
Chad Ochocinco: 0 catches.
Dwayne Bowe: 1 catch, 6 yards.
Kenny Britt: 1 catch, 14 yards.
Braylon Edwards: 2 catches, 15 yards.
Ted Ginn Jr.: 3 catches, 20 yards.
Reggie Wayne: 5 catches, 21 yards.
Donnie Avery: 2 catches, 23 yards.
Mike Sims-Walker: 2 catches, 28 yards.
Greg Jennings: 3 catches, 29 yards.
Kevin Walter: 2 catches, 30 yards.
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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Final Regular Season - Top 10
Green Bay Packers (11-5) - Previously: #4 - These are going to be the most bizarre NFL Power Rankings you've ever seen. Some people will send me hate mail. Others will question my sanity. But in my defense, all of the top teams have rested their starters, which means that they will be ice-cold and flat once the playoffs begin.
So, I'm throwing out all of the records. Instead, I'm grading these teams based on how they're playing right now and how well I project them to fare in the postseason.
The Packers are on fire. They've won seven of eight, losing only on the road to Pittsburgh in the final seconds. Three of those seven victories came against playoff teams (Baltimore, Dallas and Arizona), and all three were by double digits.
Dallas Cowboys (11-5) - Previously: #11 - It's amazing what Keith Brooking has done for this team. Not only has he contributed a ton on the field; he has been the veteran leader the Cowboys have lacked during the Tony Romo-Wade Phillips era. With Brooking taking charge, Romo no longer has any pressure on his shoulders. He can just go out there and play football. It's no coincidence that he's having the best December of his career.
San Diego Chargers (13-3) - Previously: #1 - I really hate what the Chargers did. Playing their starters for only two drives on Sunday was a huge mistake. They took their foot off the gas, and after a week off, they'll be primed for an upset in Round 2 of the playoffs.
I can't believe these teams haven't learned anything and just continue to ignore recent history. Last year, the Steelers played their starters the entire Week 17 contest against Cleveland and went on to win the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Colts, Titans and Giants rested their key players for at least half of the final regular-season game and all lost their opening playoff contest.
I think San Diego is the best team in the NFL, but if I were a Chargers fan, I'd be very concerned about a possible letdown two weeks from now.
Indianapolis Colts (14-2) - Previously: #2 - So, 16-0 and 19-0 don't matter, yet getting 100 receptions for both Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne in the snow was a priority?
The Colts will be ice-cold heading into the postseason, and Peyton Manning is 3-8 in the playoffs after resting at the end of the regular season (and two of those wins came against Jake Plummer). It's pretty easy to figure out what's going to happen. January NFL Pick of the Month? Stay tuned.
Minnesota Vikings (12-4) - Previously: #8 - I've received several e-mails from people telling me how dumb I was for picking against the Vikings in a home game when they played the Giants. Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't get the memo that New York wouldn't show up and let Minnesota walk all over them.
The Vikings are 8-0 at home, but that record is B.S. They would have lost to the mediocre 49ers if Brett Favre hadn't hit a miraculous pass to Greg Lewis that, by his own admission, wouldn't work 10-of-10 times. They should have lost to the Ravens, but Steven Hauschka whiffed on an easy kick. Four of their home wins have come against the crappy Bears, the crappy Seahawks, the crappy Lions and the Giants who showed no interest in winning that game.
Minnesota's two quality home wins were against the Packers and Bengals. The Cincinnati victory was great, but I think we're discovering that the Bengals aren't as good as we all thought they were. Meanwhile, Green Bay is a completely different team now. The Packers went on to lose to the Buccaneers a few weeks after that, but they've fixed their offensive line and completely turned things around. They went into Chicago and won, which is something the Vikings couldn't do.
Baltimore Ravens (9-7) - Previously: #10 - Every team the Ravens have lost to this year has nine wins or more, and most of those games were close. Oh, and Baltimore beat the Chargers on the road as well.
This is my playoff sleeper pick. If the Ravens can get by the Patriots - a bit easier now with Wes Welker out - I'm confident that they can beat an ice-cold Colts squad and then give the Chargers a tough challenge in the AFC Championship.
Arizona Cardinals (10-6) - Previously: #7 - Not sure what to make of Arizona's loss to Green Bay. A lot of the starters played - and got hurt - but Kurt Warner was on the bench. The Cardinals got a good look at the Packers, but having an injured Anquan Boldin will definitely hinder their chances.
If we've learned one thing though, it's that you can never count this Arizona team out. If the Cardinals beat the Packers, I think they have a great shot of repeating as NFC champs.
Time for Notes from NFL.com GameCenter - a list of a few stupid comments I read on NFL.com's new crappy GameCenter and my thoughts on them:
1. "ILL TAKE K2 OVER TONY WASHED UP HAS BEENZOLEZ"
Someone alert Chris Berman! He has a new nickname to work with!
2. "atl fans aact like kids when they talk"
Do they aact like kids when they type too, or is that just you?
3. "Miami got picked by his own team"
Who is Miami, and why did he get picked by his own team?
New Orleans Saints (13-3) - Previously: #3 - Of all the teams entering the postseason, no one is playing worse than the Saints. Their last convincing victory came on Nov. 30 against the Patriots. Their last win period was on Dec. 13. Their Superdome mystique is gone; if Tampa Bay can win in there, anyone can. And sitting the starters at Carolina was, as Emmitt would say, "the camel that broke the straw's back."
I picked the Saints to reach the Super Bowl back in my 2009 NFL Season Previews, but I really have my doubts right now.
New England Patriots (10-6) - Previously: #6 - Those against teams playing their starters in Week 17 now have a giant feather in their cap in the wake of Wes Welker's injury. Here are some points I'd counter with:
1. It was the first drive of the game. Even the Colts, who are renown for never playing their starters, go with Peyton Manning for a series or two. If Bill Belichick followed the Grinch Who Stole 19-0's system, Welker still would have suffered that nasty injury.
2. It was a freak injury. Welker wasn't even touched when it happened. This could have occurred in practice or during Brett Favre's 2-hand touch game in that Wrangler's commercial. Welker just made a weird cut and his knee buckled. That could have easily occurred during Tuesday's practice.
3. Had the Patriots rested all of their starters, they would have lost in the first round anyway. Remember, Peyton Manning is 4-0 in the playoffs when putting in a full game during Week 17, and 3-8 when sitting out. The Grinch Who Stole 19-0 might be too busy flying around on his airship and stealing princesses to realize this, but Belichick certainly understands the value of not taking your foot off the gas.
4. The Patriots were going for the No. 3 seed. The difference between going to Indianapolis and San Diego might be negligible, but what if both New England and Cincinnati reached the AFC Championship? Don't you think the Patriots would want to host that game?
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) - Previously: #5 - People outside of Philadelphia don't understand why most Eagles fans can't stand Donovan McNabb. "They're just being stupid Philly fans," they remark.
Though I live in Philadelphia, I'm no Eagles fan - and I still get frustrated with McNabb.
McNabb is a horrible leader no one wants to play for. When the Steelers lose, Ben Roethlisberger blames it all on himself. McNabb, on the other hand, points the finger elsewhere. Here's what he said after the loss to Dallas:
"We really showed our youth today. When you have a lot of youth on your team, you're going to make mistakes like that."
The Eagles are not a young team, so the two Utes McNabb was referring to presumably were DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Guess what McNabb? If you don't have those two Utes, you're not in the playoffs right now. How about you actually become a leader and start shouldering the blame? Who knows, maybe the people in the city will actually start to like and respect you.
2009 NFL Power Rankings: Final Regular Season - Bottom 10
32. St. Louis Rams (1-15) - Previously: #32 - Keith Null sucked as usual against the 49ers on Sunday and was removed from the game in the fourth quarter. Apparently, he suffered some sort of injury and the doctors checked him out. Here's what the doctors may or may not have said:
Doctor 1: "I've never seen a football player this injured! Keith is worse than Steve Young after his 80th concussion."
Doctor 2: "What do you think is wrong with him?"
Doctor 1: "I don't know. He's just so injured."
Doctor 2: "Is that why he sucks so bad?"
Doctor 1: "Duh. No healthy player could possibly play this poorly. Keith must have torn ACLs in both legs, broken ribs and fractured hands all at the same time. That's the only explanation I can come up for his epic crappiness."
Ryan Leaf from Jail Via Satellite: "Keith, punch 'em both in the jaw and then steal their meds for me! You can do it, my protege!"
31. Detroit Lions (2-14) - Previously: #31 - Is anyone else sick of everyone on ESPN saying, "Har har har, the Rams are now on the clock, which means they will be drafting Ndamukong Suh! Har har har!"
Fail. The Rams have to take Jimmy Clausen. If they go brain dead, pass up on a franchise quarterback and pay No. 1 overall money to a defensive tackle, they won't have a winning season in the next five years. Mark that down right now. If I'm right, I'll say "I told you so." And if I'm wrong, I'll delete all e-mails telling me that I suck. Ha!
I'm actually not kidding about this. The Rams will take Clausen, just like the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford last April. The draft community had the same argument with Detroit selecting Aaron Curry and Jason Smith over Stafford a year ago, and Atlanta picking Glenn Dorsey over Matt Ryan two seasons back. But as most of us have discovered, if a team needs a franchise quarterback and one is available, it will take the quarterback. Unfortunately, ESPN NFL Draft analyst/chronic sun bather Todd McShay hasn't learned a damn thing in the last two years.
So, with that all of this in mind...
Har har har, the Lions will be on the clock once the Rams ink Jimmy Clausen, which means they will be drafting Ndamukong Suh! Har har har!
30. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - Previously: #30 - As Jamaal Charles scored his 56-yard touchdown with 6:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, he had 259 rushing yards in the game. I was excited because Charles had a shot at breaking Adrian Peterson's single-game record of 296 yards.
Unfortunately, Todd Haley didn't give Charles a chance, opting to run the ball with Javarris Williams and Mike Cox instead.
At that time, I was confused. "Why did he do this?" I asked myself. Time for oddities!
16:1 - Haley forgot about Charles; he saw a motorcycle rider in the stands and began thinking deeply about Larry Johnson.
8:1 - Haley wanted to save Charles for the team's playoff run; Haley was so befuddled by all the AFC playoff scenarios that he thought his Chiefs still had a chance.
6:1 - Haley was confused because he had never been up by 20 points before in his coaching career. Completely disoriented, he called in random running backs off the bench.
1:250 - Haley is a douche.
29. Seattle Seahawks (5-11) - Previously: #29 - Well, at least they covered the spread.
More Notes from NFL.com GameCenter:
1. "If an nfl player smmokes p o t, he is penalized. The team is not. THINK!"
Perhaps you should take your own advice - THINK!
2. "PATRIOTS SUPERBOWL WINNERS!! THIS SEASON HATERZZ FALLBACK TO YOUR SKULL CRACK"
A typical insult made by a 13-year-old kid from the suburbs.
3. "can anyone help who has downloaded the tinyurl package?? Please!"
How about bigurl package? I guess size matters after all.
28. Washington Redskins (4-12) - Previously: #27 - Am I hearing this right? Daniel Snyder is going to spend a ton of cash on his new head coach? This is great news! Snyder has always been stingy with his money, so maybe now that he's opening up his wallet, the Redskins will actually win a playoff game! It's a great time to be a Skins fan!
27. Buffalo Bills (6-10) - Previously: #26 - If you threw all of your money into the Perry Fewell Oil Company, you're f***ed. Sorry.
An e-mail from Bills fan Mark K.:
To give you a better gauge as to how bad the Bills are here are some non-football analytics:
1 I paid $9.00 for a $30 ticket to see the Patriots. We asked the people why they were so cheap and they answered that the Bills suck. It has been 20 years since I have paid that little for a professional sporting event, and even then it was indoor soccer.
2 There was no hostility left in the fans anymore. I could barley muster the energy to mock the New England fan who brought a box of NFL tissues to the game and had way to much hair gel.
3 The parking lot was not knee deep in broken beer bottles and I did not see any one set fire to the couch they brought to the tail gate party. Every one knows it is easier to set it ablaze than try to get it back in the truck.
They do not deserve to be ranked 23rd in the power rankings, save that for actual football teams.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13) - Previously: #25 - I have nothing illuminating to say about the Buccaneers other than the fact that Josh Freeman once again cost me multiple units. Screw you, Josh. Screw you.
A hilarious report from Rotoworld:
Sources tell Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post that Jack Del Rio is in danger of losing his job in Jacksonville.
Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver is reportedly "is not happy with how (Del Rio) treats people, his work ethic, his involvement in the community and the direction of the franchise." Those are pretty damning words if true.
How does a coach have a poor work ethic? Doesn't a coach have to instill a good work ethic in his players? How do you allow a lazy guy to coach your team? Did Del Rio not show up to some practices an opt to go surfing instead?
If Del Rio isn't fired, the good news is that Tim Tebow might be able to teach his head coach a thing or two about work ethic.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9) - Previously: #22 - I conducted an interview with Jack Del Rio in the wake of those aforementioned rumors. Here it is:
ME: Hey guys, thanks for joining me.
DEL RIO: "No problem, Seth. Glad to be here."
ME: Seth? My name isn't Seth.
DEL RIO: "Oh, sorry Bob."
ME: I'm not Bob either.
DEL RIO: "What interview is this again?"
ME: It's for WalterFootball.com's NFL Power Rankings page...
DEL RIO: "Oh... sorry, I didn't really come prepared."
ME: It's all right, I just wanted to ask you a few questions, if that's all right with you.
DEL RIO: "Ah man. Can't we do this later? I want to play some video games right now."
ME: Video games?
DEL RIO: "Maybe I'll catch some rays outside beforehand and then order a pizza."
ME: You're going to cancel our interview because you want to lay out in the sun, eat pizza and play video games?
DEL RIO: "Yawn... Ah man, I'm actually too tired to do all that. I'm going to take a nap. Catch you later."
ME: I am now shocked that your team seldom shows up and rarely plays hard.
24. Oakland Raiders (5-11) - Previously: #28 - I'm with Tom Cable in thinking that the Raiders would have maintained a winning record if they weren't forced to start JaMarcus Russell for the first half of the year. They're actually not that bad of a team if their quarterback isn't committing five turnovers each game.
By the way, I am not with Cable in thinking that punching hookers is OK. Just saying.
23. New York Giants (8-8) - Previously: #17 - The Giants put forth no effort the past two weeks, so they belong in the Bottom 10. I really can't believe that they mailed in that Vikings game.
So, why didn't they show up? Time for a bonus oddities!
1:7 - The Giants wanted to lose on purpose; a Minnesota win meant that tons of Viking fans would be able to send me hate mail.
EVEN - Brett Favre told the Giants that he was thinking about retiring before their game. New York simply didn't prepare enough because they thought they'd be going up against Tarvaris Jackson.
4:1 - The entire Giants team was five minutes late to a meeting last Monday, so as punishment, Tom Coughlin took away all of their food and water the entire week. The players were simply malnourished and didn't have enough energy.
10:1 - Plaxico Burress escaped from jail and shot everyone in the foot a few hours before kickoff.
2009 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6). Previously: #9
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7). Previously: #12
13. New York Jets (9-7). Previously: #20
14. Carolina Panthers (8-8). Previously: #13
15. Houston Texans (9-7). Previously: #14
16. Tennessee Titans (8-8). Previously: #15
17. Atlanta Falcons (9-7). Previously: #18
18. Miami Dolphins (7-9). Previously: #19
19. Denver Broncos (8-8). Previously: #16
20. San Francisco 49ers (8-8). Previously: #21
21. Chicago Bears (7-9). Previously: #23
22. Cleveland Browns (5-11). Previously: #24
Run Defenses: Yards per carry (YPC) allowed to running backs is the best way to determine a defense's strength against the run, as opposed to rushing yards per game.
Pass Defenses: Yards Per Attempt (YPA) is the best tool to measure a defense's effectiveness versus the pass: