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Posted: Wednesday September 30, 2009 12:55PM; Updated: Wednesday September 30, 2009 2:52PM
Don Banks Don Banks >
NFL POWER RANKINGS
NFL Power Rankings (cont.)
21Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 22
I like Jim Mora, but does he really think calling out his kicker, Olindo Mare, helps No. 10 the next time he lines up for a critical field goal? Putting a linebacker or a running back on the spot may work, but a kicker's whole existence is about being on the spot every time he takes the field. OK, so Mare helped lose the game last week against Chicago. But he was 24 of 27 in field goals last year for Seattle, so he did something right at some point.
 
22Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 28
Moved the Jaguars up six notches this week, which is probably more respect than they deserve at this point based on their win at Houston. But I couldn't have them trailing the Texans after just humbling Gary Kubiak's team, so Houston had to drop five spots, and Jacksonville had to climb a half dozen. That's basic power ranking logic.
 
23Houston Texans
Last Week: 18
They're calling it a must-win game in Houston this week, but the reality is, that's the case every time anyone plays Oakland. But beyond the jokes, if the Texans have any shot to make some noise in the AFC South this season, a 1-3 start, with all three losses at home, can't occur. Houston's not good enough to look past anyone, and that's how it ended up losing to the Raiders in Week 16 last season.
 
24Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 23
The Chad Henne era has arrived in Miami, and it was probably coming soon anyway, with or without Chad Pennington's season-ending shoulder injury. There are some factors that could make Henne's starting debut a successful one. For one, the Dolphins are home against 1-2 Buffalo, whose defense is struggling. Secondly, the Bills secondary got wiped out by injuries in the loss to the Saints and might feature three new starters against the Dolphins. If you're Henne, you can't ask for more than that.
 
25Detroit Lions
Last Week: 30
The Lions get bumped up five spots this week because winners get rewarded here at the SI.com NFL Power Rankings. It's kind of like the "Coffee is for closers" line if there are any "Glengarry Glen Ross" fans out there. Especially winners we predicted would win after 19 consecutive losses.
 
26Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 26
If the Panthers season continues to tank, and John Fox is fired after this season, the loss Monday night at Dallas might be the one that kind of gets remembered as the tipping point. The Cowboys were awful in the first half, and if Carolina had mounted anything resembling a quality effort it could have won and maybe started on the road back to contention in 2009. But alas, no.
 
27Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 24
Watching the Raiders almost beat San Diego in that Week 1 Monday night game, I got the feeling that Oakland wouldn't be able to reach that kind of emotional crest again this season. Tom Cable's club got up for that showcase game, almost won it, but in the end, found a way to lose it. And the Raiders haven't remotely played with the same intensity or passion since.
 
28Washington Redskins
Last Week: 25
If I had to handicap it, I'd say it's Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden -- in that order -- on Daniel Snyder's coaching wish list. Snyder likes to hire the offensive genius, and that's been his history with Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and Jim Zorn. But Shanahan might be waiting on the Cowboys job to open up, and how crazy would that make Snyder?
 
29St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 31
The Rams may not be all that competitive yet, but contrary to the opinion of some, they are competing hard for new head coach Steve Spagnuolo. There just aren't any wins to show for it yet because the talent simply isn't there in St. Louis.
 
30Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 27
The Chiefs keep trying to get some sort of winning combination together at offensive line, but nothing seems to work. Chiefs quarterbacks have been sacked eight times in three games, and that's not going to help Matt Cassel shake off his early season struggles and find some rhythm to his game.
 
31Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 29
Byron Leftwich sits and Josh Johnson gets his turn to start at quarterback, but who knows how long it lasts? Bucs head coach Raheem Morris this preseason reminded everyone that Tampa Bay is "married to" first-round pick Josh Freeman, so Johnson looks likes a short-term fix at best. I don't know about you, but this sounds as if the Jon Gruden era never really ended.
 
32Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 32
We'd like to thank Browns head coach Eric Mangini for not taking all week to decide between starting Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson at quarterback. But somehow I don't think the Bengals, who play at Cleveland this week, were hanging on the decision. At this point, everyone has lost interest in a quarterback battle that really has no winner.
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