2009 NFL Divisional Beatpaths Power Rankings

Holy smokes, I forgot to put an intro to this thing! Well, this is Kenneth, and here’s what I have to say about the rankings. Not too much movement this week…and what movement there is might seem counter-intuitive to you. But enough preview–on to the rankings!

You can see the graph here.

Rank Team Notes Last Week EdgePower

1

(Lost to NYJ) Oofah. Well, let’s get this out of the way–the loss to the Jets is looped away by a win over the Dolphins in a 3 team beatloop. I think the worst part of this loss is how ineffectual Tomlinson looked; it’s sad to see a great runner on the downside of his career.

1

83.47

(83 – 0) / 124

#1 – #8

2

(Beat ARI) Opposite of oofah! Saints walloped the Cardinals, figuratively and a little literally, too. They already had a beatpath to Arizona, though, so not much change. You know what I liked? How a run that is still 90% finesses causes commentators to gush over how hard Reggie Bush is running. Oh, and the continued rise of the flea flicker; anything that makes the NFL more like Tecmo Super Bowl is a-okay in my book.

2

83.06

(82 – 0) / 124

#1 – #9

3

(Beat BAL) Same as it ever was. Did anyone really think they were going to be hurt by laying off before hand? I mean, I guess I did…but I’m not going to admit that now. OOOOOPPPSS!!!

3

81.45

(78 – 0) / 124

#1 – #8

4

(Bye) Smilin’ Josh McDaniels (I’m making that his new official nickname) rises up another spot, due to its previous tenant losing this past weekend (FORESHADOWING and/or REFERENCE TO LAST WEEK). The Nolan resignation/firing seems weird. I get that the defense didn’t end up the way it started. But then, did they think what happened in the first half was a fluke, and Nolan couldn’t put it together? That seems odd…but I’ve made that accusation about this regime before.

5

76.21

(66 – 1) / 124

#2 – #10

5

(Bye) I’m also curious about the change in DC here, too. It’s certainly true that the Patriots D did not do well this season and needs improvement. But how much of that is problems with the personnel? I admit that I don’t know the team as well as I used to, but it seems like they’ve lost a lot of people from the defenses that used to impose their will on people.

6

74.60

(64 – 3) / 124

#4 – #11

6

(Lost to MIN) Dallas loops away the loss to Minnesota through a 3 team beatloop with Carolina (hey! Did you remember that Carolina beat the Vikings?). The worst part of this loss to me, if you’re a Cowboys fan, is that they seemed to be the better team very early and made several killer mistakes that basically prevented them from getting a lead. Now, it’s possible the game ends the same way, but I wonder if that game goes Dallas’ way if they have a lead to work with.

4

74.19

(61 – 1) / 124

#2 – #13

7

(Bye) Um…anything happening here? In Philadelphia? All I can think of is Marvin Harrison, and that’s not really relevant. Oh, I guess maybe Brian Westbrook is retiring? I think they’re okay if he does; he hasn’t seemed to be giving them much in recent years.

7

70.56

(55 – 4) / 124

#4 – #14

8

(Beat DAL) Hooray, nothing happens for the Vikings! Well, almost nothing, they do regain a sweet beatwin over Cleveland that gives them just enough oomph to vault the Falcons. I don’t like their chances this week, though–not only are they bad on the road, but I think the SuperDome is going to be so rocking that they are going to be completely out of sync. Also, one other comment: I saw the first TD pass Favre threw, and yes, it was a perfect throw on the money. But it’s also a throw that if the corner turns his head and looks for the ball at all, should be knocked away or intercepted. Why doesn’t anyone mention this? I mean, it’s not like Favre put it where no one else could get it…that pass could have easily been nothing, as good of placement as it was.

9

65.32

(38 – 0) / 124

#1 – #20

9

(Bye) I didn’t have anything to say about the Falcons, so I took a couple minutes to look up Family Guy clips on youtube and then came back here. It was surprisingly unhelpful.

8

64.52

(48 – 12) / 124

#8 – #15

10

(Bye) The lack of things to say about the Falcons goes double for the Steelers. Let’s see…what do we think they’re doing this offseason? I would say strengthen the OL, but I would have said that about 3 years running and they’re not doing it, so…defense?

11

60.08

(25 – 0) / 124

#1 – #21

11

(Beat SD) Okay, I hear you: what? The Jets beat the top ranked team and go down a spot in the rankings? What gives you ask? I’m curious too. Here’s what I’ve found out: they lost a few teams from under them, because of a team below them that lost support. FORE–oh screw it, it’s the Panthers! The Panthers dropped this week due to losing a beatwin over the Cardinals. I know, I know, I’ll explain it all when I get to those teams. Meanwhile, for the Jets–kudos, but I don’t like their chances this week. I know their defense is good, but is it going to be that much better than the Ravens? Likewise, is their passing game and/or power running game? And we saw the Ravens basically flounder around and bow out last week against the Colts…so what makes the Jets different?

10

59.68

(38 – 14) / 124

#9 – #18

12

(Bye) Let’s see what Google News has for the Tennessee Titans! Hrm, let’s see…oh, looks like Kenny Britt has been arrested. Fantastic.

12

56.45

(23 – 7) / 124

#7 – #22

13

(Bye) Funny how there were lots of questions over whether Wade Phillips and/or Norv Turner would be retained following disappointing ends to promising seasons, but nobody was wondering about Marvin Lewis. Is the bar so low in Cincinnati that making the playoffs cements your job as coach? Or have people in the NFL just forgotten about the Bengals?

13

56.45

(31 – 15) / 124

#10 – #21

14

(Bye) A big screw you to the Packers for not letting my Bears interview their QB coach for the OC job. Did you know that, for the purposes of having to let people interview, a coordinator job is not considered a promotion over a positional coach in the NFL? I was unaware. Other things I am unaware of: whether “screw you” makes this a family-unfriendly site; whether we care.

15

53.23

(26 – 18) / 124

#12 – #22

15

(Bye) Trying to figure out the subtle changes that put the Giants up two spots can be maddening. Or it can be as simple as looking at the graph and seeing that the Chiefs look better, in picture at least if not really much so in ranking.

17

51.21

(5 – 2) / 124

#3 – #29

16

(Bye) Let’s see, the Draft Tek User Submitted Team Needs section lists the Texans’ biggest need as a cornerback. Fair enough, although I think the real need is “stop whoever in Indianapolis is turning street free agents into frickin’ Marvin Harrison”.

16

50.40

(2 – 1) / 124

#2 – #30

17

(Lost to NO) Okay, what? Arizona loses (albeit to the #2 team) and GAINS ground? Howzit happen? Well, first off, the Saints already had a path to the Cardinals so that didn’t really hurt much. The key was what happened Up North. Remember how I said that there was a 3 team beatloop between Minnesota, Dallas, and Carolina? That removed CAR=>MIN at the 3 team loop level. Thus, a 4 team beatloop from last week was broken up: MIN=>CLE=>BUF=>CAR=>MIN. That meant that CLE=>BUF=>CAR survived later in the graph…all the way down to the 5 team level, where it gets looped away in two 5 team beatloops: ARI=>CHI=>CLE=>BUF=>CAR=>ARI and ARI=>DET=>CLE=>BUF=>CAR=>ARI . Thus, CAR=>ARI disappears, and the Cardinals are no longer under the Panthers (among other teams). That gives them a boost, and they rise in the rankings. Given all that…this game is why I think the Vikings are toast–I attribute most of what stopped the Cardinals O to the SuperDome crowd, and I don’t see the Vikings compensating for it.

20

50.40

(11 – 10) / 124

#8 – #26

18

(Bye) The Dolphins only support right now is the Panthers, and since they’re falling, the Fish Marine Mammals are falling. Fun fact I just discovered: Aquarian does not mean “of the water”, exactly. Has more to do with Zodiac stuff. Good to know in case you’re ever writing up rankings description and don’t want to look like an idiot when you’re fishing for a cheap joke.

14

46.77

(6 – 14) / 124

#9 – #29

19

(Bye) The Jaguars are held directly under the Cardinals, and so when they shed off teams on top of them, the Jaguars did the same–and rose accordingly.

24

46.77

(4 – 12) / 124

#9 – #28

20

(Lost to IND) This win gets rolled into a season sweep, but the first win wasn’t looped away, so no big change for the Ravens. Dear Ravesn: get a big-time receiver. Two if Mason retires. No, TO doesn’t count. I’d suggest instead seeing if Brandon Marshall is available.

19

46.37

(14 – 23) / 124

#13 – #24

21

(Bye) Wow, back to the future! Bills hiring Chan Gailey as head coach. I guess he got a raw deal in Dallas, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to do well in Buffalo. Although, I’m not sure that anyone would do well in Buffalo. Meanwhile, it appears that the best way to get hired for a coaching job in the NFL is to interview for the Bears *grumble grumble*

21

45.16

(3 – 15) / 124

#9 – #29

22

(Bye) Okay, so all that stuff about the Cardinals shaking off the Panthers obviously had the opposite effect on Carolina–they lost a lot of their support. They only have two teams under them right now, Washington and Tampa.

18

43.55

(4 – 20) / 124

#11 – #30

23

(Bye) I saw this week that Peter King thinks that San Francisco will draft Tim Tebow IN THE FIRST ROUND. His reasoning: Mike Singletary did not throw a parade for buy a cute little puppy for write in his diary 1000 times Mrs. say that they absolutely loved Alex Smith, but they WILL absolutely love Tebow when they gaze lovingly into his eyes pull an all-night bible study together totally remain chaste while they wait for the right one together evaluate him at the combine. I guess this more of a “Peter King is crazy/I hate Tim Tebow” comment than a 49ers one, but what do you want? This team has been out of it for weeks now.

22

43.55

(10 – 26) / 124

#15 – #28

24

(Bye) So apparently it’s not a given yet that Cable is coming back? Maybe Al Davis was waiting for the Buffalo position to get filled, so that he knew he’d be the only belle of the ball. News flash Mr. Davis: that doesn’t make you Cinderella, that makes you Last Call.

23

42.34

(0 – 19) / 124

#11 – #32

25

(Bye) And hey, how about those Browns! Whoa, how about these Browns? They moved up in the world! Well, the world of Beatpaths. Reason? If you’ve been paying attention, you know the answer: Talking Heads songs covered by Muppets the fallout from MIN=>DAL that created 2 5 team beatloops. Those loops removed CHI=>CLE and DET=>CLE from the graph. Shedding the beatloss to Chicago just gets them out from under them. They were already out from under Detroit, but it was through a longer beatloop last week: CLE=>KC=>WAS=>TB=>SEA=>DET=>CLE, 6 teams. Since CLE=>DET got removed in a higher loop, that means that CLE=>KC=>WAS=>TB re-emerges. Not only that–the delayed removal of CLE=>BUF that made all this possible (see Arizona’s entry) forms another 5 team beatloop this week, TB=>SEA=>DET=>CLE=>BUF=>TB, which means that Cleveland doesn’t have to suffer under Detroit either. All in all, a decent week for a bottom feeding team that isn’t playing anymore.

30

39.52

(3 – 29) / 124

#14 – #29

26

(Bye) The Gaines Adams thing was another punch in the gut for the organization and its fans in a whole season full of them. Obviously, this is worse than any particular lost game. The worst thing is that I know somewhere down the road–maybe a few months from now, maybe a few years–some Bears fans will want to rip on Jerry Angelo and start using the trade as ammunition against him. You’d hope for better, but I’m not counting on it.

27

37.50

(6 – 37) / 124

#17 – #29

27

(Bye) I thought about mentioning that third 5 team beatloop here, but I didn’t want to paint an incomplete picture of the Browns. So, yeah, the Seahawks mostly miss out on all the fun, and don’t get a beatwin over the Lions, but then, they’re not under the Bucs either.

29

31.45

(2 – 48) / 124

#19 – #31

28

(Bye) Ah, Detroit. You were so close actually having a beatwin again! Also, I just heard that as of right now the Red Wings are out of the playoffs, so it seems like my plan from last week is well underway.

31

30.65

(0 – 48) / 124

#18 – #32

29

(Bye) Kansas City doesn’t move up much in the graph, but they now have beatwins, which is nice. I’m thinking of making a trip to Kansas City this summer. Does anyone have any suggestions on things to do in Kansas City besides catch a Royals game?

28

29.84

(2 – 52) / 124

#21 – #30

30

(Bye) The Redskins were just below the Giants and Panthers, but due to everything discussed above, they are now below the Chiefs. Not good, and it accounts for their drop in the ratings. By the way, if you heard Casey Kasum’s voice in your head when you read that, could you let me know? I’m wondering if it’s just me.

25

23.79

(1 – 66) / 124

#24 – #31

31

(Bye) Rams hop up a spot because the Bucs fall under the Skins. I can tell you that many Rams fans feel much better this week, but that’s more because St. Louis has been a more balmy 40-ish degrees recently as opposed to I-could-live-in-Chicago-and-get-this 18 and such.

32

23.79

(0 – 65) / 124

#22 – #32

32

(Bye) It was a little weird, and sad, to see a video tribute of Gaines Adams on somewhere (NFL Network, I think) that kept talking about him as a Chicago Bear but only had highlights of him as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Sad story, still. It’s probably not the time for this but I wonder how much correlation there is here–how having an enlarged heart is something that gives a gifted athlete an edge, even as it poses a great risk. Or am I competely wrong here–does a larger heart help you in athletics?

26

19.35

(0 – 76) / 124

#25 – #32

7 Responses to 2009 NFL Divisional Beatpaths Power Rankings

  1. Tom says:

    Westbrook hasn’t confirmed he’s retiring, but things don’t look great for veterans like McNabb and Westbrook. The Eagles are pretty ruthless about cutting older players, just look at last year getting rid of Dawkins, Tra Thomas, and Jon Runyan. Not sure if that will change with a new GM, but my bet is that the institutional identity won’t change much. Meanwhile, the Eagles just signed the star rookie running back of the CFL, Martel Mallett. So now the Eagles have Westbrook, McCoy, Weaver, Buckley, and Mallett. Looking a bit crowded.

    Since we here at Beatpaths believe in the transitive property, I think the Jets have a better chance than most people think. San Diego usually beats Indy in the playoffs, and the Jets just beat San Diego’s high-powered passing offense. San Deigo and Indy both have lopsided offenses: heavy passing, but terrible running game. I think the Jets have a solid chance.

    As far as the Ravens, why not get *both* TO and Marshall? Donté Stallworth will be reinstated soon too! What could go wrong? The biggest threat to the Ravens is whether or not Ed Reed will retire because of his neck. Shame his two interceptions didn’t work out on Sunday—he’s one of the most exciting players to watch.

  2. Kenneth says:

    I can see cutting Westbrook in that scenario. McNabb? Hrm…that’s a bigger move.

    I assume that’s some sarcasm there, but I think Marshall could still be a big help to the Ravens, while TO wouldn’t bring a lot. I just said TO because it seems more likely (to me) that they go after him than Marshall. And I’d be sorry to see Ed Reed leave, but it’s his own damn fault he messes up interceptions–carrying the ball way out from his body, lateraling all the time…he’s bound to lose them.

  3. doktarr says:

    Tom, there’s a few key differences that explain why the Jets matched up well against the Chargers, but poorly against the Colts, despite the fact that the Chargers are the team that has the most success against the Colts.

    The Chargers have a pretty good pass defense and a pretty bad run defense. The Colts are fairly balanced on defense – their run defense is much stronger than the Chargers’ run defense. This means the Jets will have a harder time grinding it out on the ground than they did against the Chargers.

    (Note that the Chargers’ poor run defense isn’t very relevant when they play the Colts, who have a terrible running offense this year. So their worst weakness is masked when they play the Colts.)

    The Chargers passing offense is highly vertical and relies on getting their big play receivers far down the field and taking advantage of mismatches. This plays into the Jets defense’s hands, as they have one of the three best lockdown corners in the league (possibly the best) and they love to blitz, which is great at disrupting relatively slow-developing passing plays.

    The Colts, by contrast, have a spread-the-ball philosophy that is rivalled only by the Saints, and continually exploit whatever the weakest defensive spot is. Furthermore, Manning is the hardest QB to blitz successfully in the game – probably the second best ever after Marino. If the Jets overload blitz a lot, Manning is only too happy to hit the underneath receiver in the vacated spot.

    The teams that have given the Colts trouble defensively (Chargers, Steelers and Pats back in the day) do so mostly by getting effective pressure with 4 defenders and dropping everyone else into coverage. The Jets defense is very talented, and it’s possible that they can play this style and be successful. But I don’t believe they can be successful with their typical high-pressure style for four quarters against Manning and those receivers.

  4. ThunderThumbs says:

    Apparently, Baltimore being in the playoffs severely restricts their ability to get Marshall since he’s a restricted free agent. I don’t know the details.

  5. Tom says:

    Doktarr, overall I agree, and I think that Indy will do better than San Diego did. I’m not willing to write off the Jets, even though, as you note, Manning is one of the best against the blitz of all time (some statistics demonstrate that he gets better when blitzed).

    Against the Chargers the Jets blitzed a great deal, and were effective not simply because of the pressure, but also because they use press corners rather than have them play deep. This did a good deal to mitigate the quick dump-off or slant pass. I think Peyton has a wider range of receivers to go to, but I don’t think Rex Ryan is mindless about blitzing either. The Jets (like the Saints D) will often show one thing and do another, generating turnovers/sacks by unexpectedly dropping back from a blitz, or by blitzing a safety or corner out of nowhere. Even Peyton’s famous skills at reading defenses and adjusting can’t always account for that.

    Anyway, this reminds me I just read a decent article on Peyton vs. The Blitz today: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704320104575015162979275340.html

  6. doktarr says:

    Thanks for the link to that article, Tom.

    I agree that the Jets will probably be more judicious with their blitzing than they usually are against the Colts. And the talent of their corners means that they’re really going to need Clark and Collie to step up. But still, I’d put the Colts as at least 3:1 favorites.

    For all the talk about Colts O versus Jets D, I suspect the game will largely be decided on the other side of the ball, and by the Jets return game against the Colts return coverage.

  7. […] The Winning Ways of Winners « 2009 NFL Divisional Beatpaths Power Rankings January 22nd, 2010 […]

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