IDP Consensus Rankings Analysis - Week 9
Each week, PFF’s Nate Hodges, Jeff Ratcliffe, and Ross Miles reveal their rankings for each of the three IDP positions. In this piece, I digest all of the information and look to mine some potential gems based on match ups and expected future performance.
Here is where you can find the entire list of rankings for Week 9, ranging from offense to defense.
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The wild card for this week appears to be DeMarcus Ware, who is rated 13th overall. One of the concerns heading into this season was that the Cowboys transition to a 4-3 and subsequently moving Ware to defensive end would leave the superstar pass rusher more exposed to injury. Ware has admitted that the extra physical contact has taken a toll, as made evident by the fact he is missing games with injury for the first time in his illustrious nine year career. Ware is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Vikings, so have a backup ready to slide in when the inactives are announced.
The Eagles offense is an unmitigated disaster right now, and the play calling that was supposed to revolutionize the game is actually one of the most predictable in football. Even though he is a third-string rookie, the Eagles allowed the Giants to tee off on LeSean McCoy because Matt Barkley never tucked the ball and ran. In all likelihood, the threat of Nick Foles running is even more limited than usual because he is coming off of a concussion, and Chip Kelly is hardly eager to leave Foles more exposed to injury and make another mid-game switch at quarterback. With the Eagles keen on keeping the ball on the ground in Oakland, defensive end Jason Hunter, ranked 24th, will be asked to contain LeSean McCoy, and could rack up a ton of tackles in the process.
The Chicago Bears defense has been decimated by injuries this year, and they face their biggest challenge of the year in Green Bay on Monday night. After a horrific performance in a 45-41 loss to the Redskins, the Bears took the bye week to recharge the batteries and take on a division foe they are very familiar with. Under Lovie Smith, the Bears defense did give Aaron Rodgers trouble at times, which is a lot more effective than many other defenses can say. After a 3-0 start, this could be a make or break game for Chicago if they wish to avoid a third straight season without a playoff appearance. In order for them to stand a chance, Julius Peppers needs to have his first dominant game of the season. After recording double digit sacks for two straight seasons, the 12th year pro only has one sack for the entire year. Nonetheless, Peppers is still ranked 20th for Week Nine, which I took is too high. Even though their offensive tackles are a couple of no-names, the Packers’ newfound ability to run the ball this year is keeping pass rushers very honest, and there isn’t much reason to believe that this is the team Peppers will turn his season around against.
There was a great read in this past week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, on how Luke Kuechly has quietly spearheaded a Panthers defense that has done a complete 180 this season. No matter what the Panthers ask him to do, whether it is covering Jacquizz Rodgers in the flat, or shutting down Tony Gonzalez, expect Kuechly to do so while accumulating double digit tackles and possibly forcing a turnover or two.
While the Chiefs have established themselves as a legitimate force in the AFC through their 8-0 start, they have had an absurd stretch of playing backup quarterbacks. They face another one this Sunday in Thad Lewis, who actually might be too injured to play, which will then force Jeff Tuel to enter the starting lineup. The Bills have been incredibly feisty this year, especially at home, which has led some to believe that an upset is brewing in Orchard Park. However, if the Chiefs get off to a quick start, then they will have an opportunity to tee off on whoever is taking snaps for the Bills on Sunday. Look for the 17th ranked Justin Houston to add on to his already strong sack totals.
Terrell Suggs has provoked some disagreement between our Ross Miles and Jeff Ratcliffe, being rated 24th and 43rd, respectively. I tend to side more with Miles here because I think Suggs will spearhead a very strong defensive effort for Baltimore coming off a bye. Suggs already has eight sacks on the year, and now that there is some film out on what the Browns will be trying to do with Jason Campbell, the always well coached Ravens will be ready to shut him and the rest of the Browns offense down.
The NFL schedule has seemed particularly cruel to this season’s cellar dwellers, namely the Jaguars and Buccanneers. This weekend, Tampa will have to travel to Qwest Field, where Russell Wilson has literally been unbeatable since entering the league. Even though the outcome of the game isn’t really in question, it will be interesting to see how the Seahawks respond on a short week. Earl Thomas called Monday night “the most physical game” he has ever played in. Thomas is ranked third this week, and the sight of a rookie quarterback taking the snaps should reinvigorate him and the rest of the lethal Seahawks secondary.
History notes that the Patriots struggling offensively in the first half isn’t unusual, but it will be interesting to see if they evolve into the juggernaut they typically become in the second half of the season. While Pittsburgh’s two game winning streak was snapped in Oakland last week, their last stand to salvage the season will come in New England. I expect the Steelers to bring their A-game defensively, with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, rated 13th and 18th, respectively, leading the charge.