The Chiefs and Chargers are playing tonight, and though the Chiefs were the #1 team on my original “Suck 4 Luck” Power Rankings, they have done enough non-sucking to remove themselves from consideration win or lose tonight. So unlike last week, when I had to amend my Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings due to Jacksonville’s improbable win over Baltimore, I have no such fears today.
Before we count down the NFL’s suckiest, let’s get our weekly reminder of what the contestants are playing for.
Before this past Saturday, we already knew that Andrew Luck can throw, that he can run, that he can tackle, that he can catch, and that he can design tall buildings (while probably being able to leap over them too), but now we also know that he can respond to adversity and be clutch when he needs to be.
The undefeated and highly ranked Stanford Cardinal faced their first real test of the season on Saturday against Matt Barkley, Layla Kiffin, and the USC Trojans. Luck and the Cardinal were able to overcome a late interception by The Chosen One to force overtime, where they ultimately won 56-48 after three extra frames.
Luck’s numbers were predictably sterling. He was 29-40 for 330 yards, 3 TDs, and that one interception. Yet, because Andrew Luck excretes lilies and daffodils and toots potpourri, even that pick is being turned into a positive. It’s almost as if Luck threw the pick-6 (which put USC up 7 with three minutes play) just to challenge himself and show us all that not only can he dominate people but he can vanquish adversity too.
Either way, everyone who was bowing at the alter of Luck before Saturday (which is everyone) is doing so with even more vigor now.
The question is, after another Sunday of NFL action, which “professional” football teams are putting themselves in the best position to draft Luck and guarantee themselves at least 8 out of the next 10 Super Bowls?
As we do every week, we’ll break it down for you right here in the Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings.
NFL “Suck 4 Luck” Power Rankings for Week 9
1. Miami Dolphins (0-7)
The Dolphins did it again. They played a halfway decent game, were competitive against a good team, and still found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Quarterback Matt Mooreino turned in the best passing day by a Dolphins QB since Week 1: 13-22, 138 yards, 0 TDs, and a 1 INT. He also ran the ball five times for 31 yards, equaling the career rushing output of Dan Marino. The ‘Fins even got 120 total yards from Reggie Bush (including 103 on the ground!) as the full-time Pizza Hut pitchman and part-time running back used rumors of a Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries break up to motivate himself into the best game he’s played since stonewalling NCAA investigators.
But, as usual for these Dolphins, it was all for naught. The Giants won 20-17, outscoring Miami 10-0 in the decisive 4th quarter, dropping the Dolphins to 0-7.
I continue to keep Miami in the top spot because of the fact that luck seems to be so much on their side in their quest for the #1 pick. They continue to be in ball games yet somehow lose/win. It’s very curious. It’s almost as if they are a team of destiny. Much like the St. Louis Cardinals just couldn’t seem to lose after late August, the Dolphins cannot seem to “lose” either.
2. Indianapolis Colts (0-8)
I suppose the Colts really could be considered 1a. In fact, objectively, they probably should be #1 were it not for my own wishful thinking. Indianapolis already has one more loss than the Dolphins, plus they are by far a worse team. Indy’s point differential is -131, and they are the only team other than St. Louis to have a differential of 100 or more. Miami’s is just -59.
On the bright side for the Colts, they may finally have found the heir apparent to Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James. Curtis “Thor” Painter rumbled for an 11.3 yard per carry average on seven rushing attempts against Tennessee on Sunday. So if they do end up with Andrew Luck, it will surely help the rookie’s transition to have Painter behind him ready to ground and pound.
Also in the Colts’ favor is the continued presence of Jim Caldwell. Maybe it’s time we stop criticizing Tony Dungy for hand-picking a cardboard cutout of himself to be the Colts coach. Dungy knew in 2009 when he tabbed Caldwell to be the coach that the Manning Era would have to end at some point. That clearly has to be why he nominated Caldwell and his 26-63 career head coaching record (all compiled at Wake Forest) to be the man. Now three years later, everything Dungy did to build the Colts up has come crashing down. Oh sure, blame it all on Peyton’s injury. But as I presciently did last season, I blame Caldwell.
Clearly these are the two favorites to suck enough for Luck. As we did last week, I’ll put it to a vote and let you decide who has the leg up.
Last week, the Dolphins narrowly edged the Colts 49%-47% in the voting, with St. Louis siphoning off the other 4%. Now that the Rams have eliminated themselves by trading for a #1 WR and stomping the Saints, who is #1?
Which team do you think should be the current #1 in the "Suck 4 Luck" Power Rankings? Total Voters: 503
Which team do you think should be the current #1 in the "Suck 4 Luck" Power Rankings?
Total Voters: 503
3. Denver Broncos (2-5)
Tim Tebow is struggling so mightily, with a gameplan so clearly not tailored to his strengths, that national writers are penning articles like this one, accusing John Fox of sabotaging his QB. What else really needs to be said about the situation in Denver right now?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: John Elway would loooooove to get his hands on Andrew Luck. Not only is Luck perhaps the greatest college QB prospect since Elway himself, he’s a fellow Stanford Cardinal who has all the skills to excel in a pro style offense. Though I doubt he’s a Satan worshiper, and he may well win a Heisman and perhaps a national title, Luck is otherwise the exact opposite of Tebow. And as much as I like Tebow and want to him succeed, it’s not going to happen in Denver. That’s obvious.
However, whether the Broncos stick with Tebow, or let Brady Quinn prance around and overthrow open receivers, or turn back to Kyle Orton, they are not going to be winning many games. They may have already won too many to have a prayer of competing with the Dolphins and Colts, but damn it if they won’t try from here on out.
4. Arizona Cardinals (1-6)
The Cardinals are now tied with the surging Rams for last place in the NFC West, a full five games behind the 49ers with not even half the season over. That is remarkable. What is also remarkable is how much Kevin Kolb continues to suck and how badly Arizona defends the pass. If either were not true, they would have been able to beat the Ravens on Sunday.
Alas, it keeps getting worse for the Cardinals, now losers of six straight, with little reason for hope on the horizon.
5. Washington Redskins (3-4)
Yep, I’m putting Washington above a handful teams with 1 and 2 losses. Why? Because John Beck and Rex Grossman, that’s why.
Washington tricked everyone into thinking that they were a different team this year when they started 3-1. Nope. They’re the same crappy team with the same crappy QB play and same creepy-looking coach.
Image source: UnathleticMag
Remember, I’m trying to project forward here, and after getting shutout by the Bills, and with so many injuries stacking up, and with one of the few owners who might actually be clueless enough to order a “Suck 4 Luck” strategy, the Redskins have plenty of time and potential to make up their loss deficit before the season ends.
6. Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
It’s good to be the San Francisco 49ers. Half of their division is in the top 6 in the Suck 4 Luck Power Rankings, and the team not yet listed is already buried five games below in the standings.
As for Seattle, they just let Cincinnati completely obliterate the supposed Qwest Field advantage. A rookie QB and a rookie WR, playing without their workhorse running back, strode into Seattle, kicked the Seahawks asses all over the field, and left the Seahawks with a 2-5 record and one of the league’s worst point differentials.
But hey, on the bright side, even though the Seahawks have probably won too much to get Luck, they might be in a good position to grab Matt Barkley. In all seriousness, he won’t be a bad consolation prize for whoever doesn’t quite suck enough.
7. Cleveland Browns (3-4)
Yep, another 3-4 team gets listed before a bunch of teams with fewer wins. But forgive me for not being impressed by victories over the Colts, Dolphins, and Seahawks. Yes, those are the three teams Cleveland has beaten, so you tell me why they should be ranked ahead of a team like St. Louis, which can beat New Orleans, or Carolina, which actually has an offense that can score points.
Cleveland is almost completely devoid of difference-makers on the offensive side of the ball. San Francisco exposed that again yesterday. And with the schedule about to get much, much tougher (at Houston, @ Cincinnati, two games v Baltimore and Pittsburgh), I’m having a hard time seeing where the wins are going to come from outside of games against St. Louis, Arizona, and Jacksonville.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
Speaking of Jacksonville, the Jaguars come in at #8 this week. Admittedly, you could make a case for the Jags to be as high as 5th on this list, but I guess I feel bad for assuming they’d lose last Monday night. Plus, the Jags still have two games left against Indianapolis and one against Cleveland, which should guarantee them at least two more wins.
9. St. Louis Rams (1-6)
I have been very hesitant to bury this team because of my belief in Sam Bradford and my thinking that by the time Bradford and Josh McDaniels get on the same page the Rams’ schedule will ease up and give them the opportunity to get some wins. I didn’t expect a victory over New Orleans, but this does show what the Rams are capable of doing.
With Brandon Lloyd now giving whoever plays QB a legitimate #1 option, and Steven Jackson playing like a man possessed, it would not surprise me at all to see the Rams parlay future games against Arizona, Cleveland, Seattle, Arizona again, and Seattle again into at least 3-4 more victories. If they can steal one against San Francisco in Week 17 (with the 49ers likely to have a playoff spot locked up), this could be a 6 or 7 win team by the time it’s all said and done.
10. Dallas Cowboys (3-4)
I could have, and perhaps should have, chosen the Panthers or Vikings for this spot. But based on what I saw yesterday, the Panthers and the Vikings would both have demolished Dallas. Did the Cowboys even show up in Philadelphia Sunday night? It sure didn’t look like it. And though it’s easy to say that Dallas could be 5-2 or 6-1 right now, they could also be 1-6 or 2-5 if the balls didn’t bounce their way against San Francisco and Washington.
Seriously, the Dallas Cowboys football team is a football team that needs to play football much better than they have been playing football in football games during this football season football football football.
Image source: Popfi.com
No really. It’s time for Tony Romo, Rob Ryan, and the Cowboys to put up or shut up, but they’ll probably just keep playing like the middle-of-the-pack team that they are and finish 8-8. Either way, it’s now legitimate to start wondering if the Panthers and Vikings are more settled at QB than the Cowboys. I’ve long been a Tony Romo supporter, but even I’m starting to lose the faith that he’ll ever become anything more than what he is: good, but nowhere near great.
Honorable mention: Carolina (2-6), Minnesota (2-6), Kansas City Chiefs (3-3), New Orleans (5-3)…just for this week.
Okay folks, now it’s your chance to agree with me, ream me, or just tell me how ridiculous of a post idea this is and how it sullies the integrity of the game. All’s fair in love and comment sections. Have at it.