NFL Power(less) Poll
Written by Curt Popejoy on 10/15/2009
To go along with my Top 10 teams in the NFL at this point in the season, I thought it was only fair to speak a little on the bottom 10 as well. That middle 12 well I ignore you, because for the most part that group is one big jumbled mess, but mostly because talking about the best(and in this case the worst) is way more interesting. Once really fascinating part of this list is, there is really no set pattern or one key you can point to and say this is why these teams are so bad. But 5 weeks into the season and a combined 7-38 is tough to argue.
My list will go in reverse order, meaning No. 1 is the best of the worst, and No. 10 the worst of the worst. We all good with that? Good, let's move on.
1. Detroit Lions - The reason I think the Lions are the best of this group is because they have been playing much better football than their record indicates. Just this past week, with their starting franchise QB hurt, and their franchise WR knocked out as well, they went toe to toe with the defending Super Bowl Champions. It may not show up in the stats this year, but this team is on the rise. If they can improve their oline, and get a disruptive force on defense, perhaps along the line, they will be very competitive.
2. Tennessee Titans - I am only putting them here because it was basically this same team that won 12 games last year. Their defense has just been burtalized by injuries, and Kerry Collins is really starting to show his age. Losing Albert Haynesworth has proven to be a much bigger loss than anticipated as well, especially when you compound it with the problems in the secondary. Oh, and someone tell Chris Johnson that teams have book on him now, so all this dancing and giving up ground is going to put him out of work if he's not careful.
3. Carolina Panthers - This is another team with more talent than their record shows. Their first 3 weeks of the season were brutal with Philly at home, and then road games with Atlanta and Dallas. The key for this team has to be getting that two headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart going on the ground, if they want to turn their season around. Not to mention the fact that Julius Peppers has shown up on milk cartons all over the greater Charlotte area. This team cannot lean on Jake Delhomme at this point, so the running game and defense must step up but they have the talent to do it.
4. Washington Redskins - This team may have the best record of the group, but they probably play the ugliest football. With players like Clinton Portis,Santana Moss and Chris Cooley on offense they should be able to move the ball. But their offense is just hard to watch. A lot of it's the oline, which is dreadful, but the biggest part is Jason Campbell. The Redskins tried to deal for a new quarterback in the offseason but had no luck. So they are going with Campbell for one more year, and it's not going well. I'm sure whoever replaces Zorn this year(when he's fired in a few weeks) will bring in a new QB. On defense they are better but it's another case of poor coaching. The talent is there, but they aren't put in positions to succeed.
5. Buffalo Bills - I think the Bills should be better but Buffalo is a team that is firmly being let down by their starting quarterback, Trent Edwards. Last year, he teased the Bills into thinking he'd grown into a top starting QB, but so far this season, he's taken huge strides in the opposite direction. Their offensive line has been pretty beat up, and so part of the blame falls on them, but the fact is, he has a ton of weapons in the passing game, and he's completing fewer than 60% of his passes which is the Mendoza line for quarterbacks. I don't believe that Gibran Hamdan or Ryan Fitzpatrick are better options, but the Bills have put all their eggs in Edwards basket so he needs to deliver.
And this is where things turned ugly...
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This is a team that on defense is built backwards. Their back 4 is solid. Talib and Barber are nice corners, and Piscitelli and Allen are a good pair of safetys. But it goes all downhill from there. The linebackers are undersized and get pushed around way too easy, and the line is a mishmash of castoffs(Jimmy Wilkerson), draft busts(Ryan Sims and Gaines Adams), and old timers(Chris Hovan). No matter what the offense does, and it isn't a lot, they won't be able to outscore teams with this defense. 7 injuries on the offensive side hasn't helped, but you have to wonder at what point do the Bucs coaches throw Josh Freeman in there and just see what happens?
7. Cleveland Browns - I forced myself to watch the Cleveland/Buffalo game because I knew I was going to write this article. You'd think after Buffalo lost to the Browns, I'd have the Browns better right? Wrong. This team is putrid. Starting QB Derek Anderson was 2/17 passing. No, that isn't a typo. 2/17. This is the franchise that just traded it's best receiver for a bag of balls. When the return of 30 year old Jamal Lewis is the highlight of your year, you are in trouble. The offense has been held under 7 points 3 of 5 games this year, and their defense has failed to hold a team under 23 until last weekend. This is a team that needs to be blown to pieces and started over. They've made horrible moves in the draft in recent years, bad coaching moves, and have just driven this franchise into the ground.
8. Oakland Raiders - If Oakland hadn't beaten Kansas City earlier in the year, they'd be my worst team by a longshot. I will say this, if Jamarcus Russell isn't the worst starting quarterback in the league, then he's certainly top 3. I've never seen a player so inept at making the most basic of football plays. This is a team in a position similar to Buffalo in that their Quarterback is just crippling their chances to win. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush can run the football, and the offensive line does an ok job blocking. On defense, they are probably better than their numbers indicate but at some point, playing defense all the time, because your quarterback can't sustain a drive wears on a unit.
9. Kansas City Chiefs - A week ago, they'd have been ahead of the Rams, but after standing toe to toe with the Cowboys even in a loss, I have to tip my hat to them. That game tying drive at end of regulation was the best drive I've seen out of the Chiefs all year. I won't labor the point on them, because I've broken this broken team down in detail before. There is simply not enough NFL starting caliber talent to win. Next year they need to upgrade at least a half dozen spots if they want to start winning. You can't win with backups and other team's castoffs.
10. St. Louis Rams - Wow, I have gotten to watch the Rams play the past 2 weeks, and I am shocked at the level of play this team is putting out there. And to boot they have what is probably one of the 6 or 8 best running backs in the game on their roster in Steven Jackson. It's sad for him, that he runs so hard for nothing. This team is going nowhere fast. They've got so many squandered draft picks on this team, it's understandable why they are so bad. The team has no identity, no direction, and by the look of last week, no drive at all. They are just full of give up. Of all the winless teams if I had to pick one right now to go 0-16, I'm picking St. Louis.
Last Edited: 10/15/2009