Week Fifteen Team Rankings
Donovan McNabb (AP)
Donovan McNabb (AP)
Senior NFL Reporter
Posted Dec 17, 2009


Can the Philadelphia Eagles continue to be consistent on offense? Can their defense rebound from last week's struggles? Where do they stand in the overall team rankings? Details inside?

1) New Orleans Saints: Offensively, this team is about as close to unstoppable as possible. Drew Brees is one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL that makes the players around him better. The injuries in the secondary are a concern going forward.

Record: 13-0

Last Ranking: 1

Needs Still to be Filled: RT (veteran depth), DT (depth), SLB (veteran depth)


2) Indianapolis Colts: By clinching home field throughout the playoffs this early, their banged up players will get a chance to heal up some more. However, the coaches need to make sure the starters can still stay sharp until the playoffs start.

Record: 13-0

Last Ranking: 2

Needs Still to be Filled: RT (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth), MLB (veteran depth)


3) Minnesota Vikings: As long as Adrian Peterson becomes the foundation of the offense, or at least becomes more of a focal point, defenses will have to commit more attention in the box. With that being the case, the down field passing game could open up again. Teams will continue to try to run at rookie MLB Jasper Brinkley, as the Bengals did last week.

Record: 11-2

Last Ranking: 3

Needs Still to be Filled: C (veteran depth), MLB (veteran depth), WLB (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth), SS (veteran depth), FS (veteran depth)


4) San Diego Chargers: There are few concerns with the offense at this point. The offense has excellent balance and no teams have been able to take it off course. Defensively, they are playing well enough that the opponents have not had an easy time exploiting any one facet of that side of the ball. The defense is really playing with tremendous discipline--a complete departure from the early season struggles.

Record: 10-3

Last Ranking: 4

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), CB (veteran depth)


5) Philadelphia Eagles: For the first time in many seasons, the offense is find some semblance of balance. Two things have transpired since starting RB Brian Westbrook got hurt again. QB Michael Vick has become a factor in the redzone area. Look for that to continue. Opposing defenses are reacting to him being in the game--that's a complete departure from earlier in the season. Also, FB Leonard Weaver has become a bigger part of the offense as a runner. Defensively, the tackling and mental errors from last week need to be cleaned up.

Record: 9-4

Last Ranking: 7

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth)


6) Cincinnati Bengals: The injury to starting DT Domata Peko is a concern as teams are making a concerted effort to run inside. On offense, they have to find some semblance of a down field passing game. The problem is, none of their receivers other than Chad Ochocinco runs well. That's why starting RB Cedric Benson is the foundation of their offense, not Carson Palmer.

Record: 9-4

Last Ranking: 5

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), DT (depth), CB (veteran depth/nickel)


7) Green Bay Packers: The offensive line is making marginal strides and is protecting Aaron Rodgers better these days. The Packers have a star in the making with second-year TE Jermichael Finley. He's basically a matchup nightmare for the defense. The young group of linebackers are playing at a high level and no defensive player is having more of an impact around the league than CB Charles Woodson. He's been lined up at safety, slot CB, and linebacker this season.

Record: 9-4

Last Ranking: 10

Needs Still to be Filled: QB (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), DE (veteran depth), OLB (pass rushing depth), CB (veteran depth)


8) Arizona Cardinals: The left side of the offensive line is a concern. The running backs have to stop putting the ball on the ground--that's killing drives. The defense is hanging in there, but the lack of depth in the secondary continues to be a concern.

Record: 8-5

Last Ranking: 6

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), C (veteran depth), CB (depth), S (veteran depth)


9) New England Patriots: Tom Brady hasn't really been able to be as consistent as many would like this season. He's now pretty banged up and isn't likely to heal up for some time. They've got to find a quality third receiver for the future. It's hard to run a spread passing game without a quality third receiver. Defensively, the secondary has to improve if this team wants to make a playoff run.

Record: 8-5

Last Ranking: 11

Needs Still to be Filled: QB (veteran depth), WR (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), ILB (depth)


10) Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has become more of a passing offense this season, but it's good to see RB Felix Jones getting more involved of late. The big play element in the running game has been missing. They have coverage issues at safety which have been exploited in recent weeks. They have to find more of a pass rush from someone else other than OLB DeMarcus Ware.

Record: 8-5

Last Ranking: 8

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), OLB (pass rushing depth), CB (veteran depth), S (veteran depth)


11) Denver Broncos: This is a good football team, but there are some issues on offense that need to be resolved. For whatever reason, second-year WR Eddie Royal has been underutilized this season. They need to find a consistent passing option opposite Brandon Marshall. The tight end position is also not being used enough.

Record: 8-5

Last Ranking: 9

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth upgrade), G (veteran depth)


12) Miami Dolphins: Chad Henne continues to show that he's going to be a solid quarterback. He can make every throw and there's nothing that he can't do. The defense, however, needs to get more pressure on the quarterback. That side of the ball just doesn't evoke fear from opposing offenses.

Record: 7-6

Last Ranking: 13

Needs Still to be Filled: G (veteran depth), LT (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), NT (depth)


13) New York GiantsEli Manning played well last week, but he needs to be more consistent if the Giants want to make a playoff run. Defensively, the lack of discipline is alarming. That's been an issue for a while.

Record: 7-6

Last Ranking: 12

Needs Still to be Filled: RT (veteran depth), G (depth), S (veteran depth upgrade)


14) New York Jets: The defense is really coming on of late. While the schedule has certainly been favorable, you have to like the discipline which it has been playing with. As long as the running game can stay on schedule, their quarterback issues won't be exploited.

Record: 7-6

Last Ranking: 16

Needs Still to be Filled: WR (slot), G (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), DE (depth), OLB (veteran depth)


15) Jacksonville Jaguars: For whatever reason, the offense just can't seem to find a consistent rhythm from week to week. Veteran Torry Holt no longer should be starting, he should be their third receiver. Defensively, until they can find an improved pass rush, this team won't be much better than .500.

Record: 7-6

Last Ranking: 14

Needs Still to be Filled: WR (veteran depth), DE (depth), OLB (veteran depth), ILB (veteran depth), CB (veteran depth)


16) Baltimore Ravens: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron needs to make the running game the foundation of the offense again since the receivers aren't good enough as a group. The defense simply isn't good enough to stop teams consistently.

Record: 7-6

Last Ranking: 15

Needs Still to be Filled: G (veteran depth), ILB (veteran depth), OLB (veteran depth), CB (veteran depth), S (depth)


17) San Francisco 49ers: While Alex Smith has played fairly well of late, he still can't drive the ball more than 20 yards down field with consistent accuracy. He'll probably be the starter next season, but the team needs to find a stronger-armed passer if they want to have a better and more complete passing game. Defensively, that side of the ball is playing better as well of late, but there are still some upgrades that need to be made.

Record: 6-7

Last Ranking: 21

Needs Still to be Filled: G (depth), RT (veteran depth), OLB (pass rushing depth)


18) Tennessee Titans: Defensively, the coaches have to find a way to get more pass rush help opposite end Kyle Vanden Bosch. That will be the biggest need for next season on that side of the ball. Offensively, they are solid at receiver and especially at running back. The quarterback position just needs to be more consistent from week to week.

Record: 6-7

Last Ranking: 18

Needs Still to be Filled: G (veteran depth), LT (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), WLB (veteran depth), MLB (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth)


19) Houston Texans: They need to find a running back that can be featured each week instead of using a committee approach. Defensively, the front-seven is decent, but the secondary needs some upgrades. This team should be than their record indicates.

Record: 6-7

Last Ranking: 20

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (depth), DE (veteran pass rushing depth)


20) Pittsburgh Steelers: We're finding out that the depth on defense at a few positions simply isn't good enough. Offense coordinator Bruce Arians is making a mistake by not getting RB Rashard Mendenhall the ball more. The best way to keep a struggling defense off the field is to sustain offense with a good running game, which the Steelers possess.

Record: 6-7

Last Ranking: 17

Needs Still to be Filled: G (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), LT (veteran depth), OLB (depth)


21) Atlanta Falcons: The offense isn't the problem with this team. Finding depth on the defensive line and adding depth and talent in the secondary are the real reasons why this team continues to struggle to win.

Record: 6-7

Last Ranking: 19

Needs Still to be Filled: WR (depth/speed), RT (veteran depth), SLB (depth), WLB (depth), S (veteran depth upgrade)


22) Carolina Panthers: Count Carolina as yet another team that needs to make a change at the quarterback position for the long-term. They also need to get younger at receiver. Defensively, better depth needs to be added to the front-seven.

Record: 5-8

Last Ranking: 22

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth), WLB (veteran depth), CB (nickel/depth)


23) Chicago Bears: The offensive line needs big upgrades next season if the Bears are going to be able to sustain offense. Obviously, it would help if QB Jay Cutler could find some consistency.

Record: 5-8

Last Ranking: 23

Needs Still to be Filled: QB (veteran depth), G (depth), OT (depth), MLB (depth)


24) Seattle Seahawks: This team needs to find out who their quarterback of the future is relatively soon. Starter Matt Hasselbeck's contract is up after 2010 and he's looking pretty beat up this season. The defense has talent, but as a unit, it's well below average. The secondary has been looking just as bad this season as it was last season.

Record: 5-8

Last Ranking: 24

Needs Still to be Filled: RT (depth), G (veteran depth)


25) Buffalo Bills: Buffalo is yet another team with a dire quarterback problem. At least the running game is decent. Defensively, they need to become more physical and depth in the front-seven continues to be an issue.

Record: 5-8

Last Ranking: 25

Needs Still to be Filled: TE (veteran depth), G (depth), RT (depth), LT (depth), WLB (upgrade/veteran depth), SLB (depth), MLB (depth)


26) Oakland Raiders: Until this team can find stability at the quarterback position, the playoffs will still be a long way off.

Record: 4-9

Last Ranking: 26

Needs Still to be Filled: G (depth), MLB (depth), SLB (depth), CB (depth)


27) Washington Redskins: The defense isn't the problem with this football team. The offensive line must be improved. Same with the receiver position. While Jason Campbell has improved of late, he still takes too long to throw the ball.

Record: 4-9

Last Ranking: 27

Needs Still to be Filled: G (veteran depth), LT (veteran depth), RT (veteran depth), G (veteran depth), WLB (depth), S (veteran depth)


28) Cleveland Browns: The players are playing hard for head coach Eric Mangini, but the overall talent level on both sides of the ball is alarming. The quarterback position needs to be upgraded if the Browns want to be a much improved team next season.

Record: 2-11

Last Ranking: 32

Needs Still to be Filled: WR (speed), LT (depth), RT (depth), NT (depth), ILB (veteran depth), OLB (pass rusher), CB (veteran depth), S (veteran depth)


29) Kansas City Chiefs: Despite a few good wins this season, this team needs major work on both sides of the ball. Despite how bad he's been playing of late, it's hard to judge QB Matt Cassel until the offensive line gets upgraded.

Record: 3-10

Last Ranking: 28

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (depth), G (depth), DE (depth), OLB (pass rushing depth), CB (veteran depth), S (depth)


30) Detroit Lions: The offensive line needs major upgrades. Defensively, we could see most of this year's starters backing up next season or not with the team--that's how bad it is on that side of the ball.

Record: 2-11

Last Ranking: 29

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (depth), DE (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth), S (depth)


31) St. Louis Rams: The quarterback situation is the biggest issue the Rams have going forward. The talent at receiver is actually solid and veteran RB Steven Jackson should have at least three good years left. Defensively, they need help and upgrades at several positions.

Record: 1-12

Last Ranking: 30

Needs Still to be Filled: LT (veteran depth), G (depth), DT (veteran depth), SLB (veteran depth), WLB (veteran depth), MLB (veteran depth), CB (veteran depth)


32)  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rookie QB Josh Freeman is starting to regress a bit, but he still has to be in there to get meaningful playing experience. Tampa Bay need upgrades at receiver next season. Defensively, finding a pass rush is a major problem.

Record: 1-12

Last Ranking: 31

Needs Still to be Filled: WR (veteran depth), G (depth), C (depth), LT (depth), RT (depth), DT (veteran depth), DE (veteran depth), CB (depth/nickel), S (depth)



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