NFL Power Rankings - Week 9: Colts make monster leap

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 9: Colts make monster leap

Every Tuesday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week 1 Week2 Week 3 Week4 Week 5 Week6 Week 7 Week 8

SK JF Comments 1 SK: Surprisingly the underdog, went into Philly and stomped the Eagles.
JF: Stayed undefeated with impressive win against the Eagles. 2 SK: Much needed bye for AFC's best.
JF: Nearly blew it against the Cowboys, but Bryant's fingertips made the difference.
3 SK: Despite the W, failed to put Cowboys away when they should have.
JF: Enjoyed the BYE and now ready to build off of recent success. 4 SK: Offense continues to be inconsistent, but a win is a win.
JF: Defense continues to dominate in many ways. 6-1 is a great start to the season.
5 SK: 7 rushing yards allowed against Cardinals! Oh and Alex Smith rebounded nicely.
JF: Got past Cardinals with an impressive performance by the defense and Alex Smith
6 SK: Should NOT have been that close against the lowly Jaguars.
JF: Not dominant, but got the job done.
7 SK: Will Gronk bring the "Nutcracker" dance back to the States?
JF: Brady and Co. would probably welcome more trips to London after Sunday's win.
8 SK: Peyton Manning is showing no signs of slowing down.
JF: The Ravens are 4-0 following the BYE week under John Harbaugh.
9 SK: Only team that's been able to stop RG3.
JF: Manning, Decker and Thomas were on fire Monday night!
10 SK: Hopefully they added about 100 more runs for Ray Rice in their playbook during the bye.
JF: Took care of business against RG3 and the Redskins.
11 SK: Went into MetLife and put a whooping on the Jets.
JF: Left another win on the table.
12 SK: Looks like Thursday's loss may just be the beginning of the Vikings downfall.
JF: Still in the race, but lost another close one.
13 SK: How's Ballard's head feeling after hitting the pylon?
JF: Very impressive victory on the road against the Jets.
14 SK: The defense is really starting to struggle in Seattle.
JF: The defense struggled for the second straight game.
15 SK: Offense isn't the issue in Washington, but the defense is another story...
JF: Peterson is back, but the defense has been BAD as of late.
16 SK: If only Bryant's fingers were a little smaller...
JF: Rebounded after Monday's loss, Stafford pulled it out in the 4th quarter...again.
17 SK: Things don't get any easier with Green Bay and Atlanta on tap.
JF: A win over the Chargers now has the Colts sitting 1 game above .500.
18 SK: Could Dougie "Fresh" Martin challenge RG3 for Rookie of the Year?
JF: Offense continued to burden Arizona in loss to 49ers.
19 SK: Clock's ticking on Andy Reid, but Nick Foles is NOT the answer.
JF: Couldn't get back on track against the Browns.
20 SK: Desperately need to beat Broncos or they could fall out of AFC North race.
JF: Did they play this week? It doesn't feel like it.
21 SK: It's about time they fed DMC the rock.
JF: Impressive win in Minnesota after heartbreaking loss to Saints 2 weeks ago.
22 SK: Is Titus Young Sr. Stafford's new go-to-guy?
JF: Will they take the next step this week?
23 SK: Allowing 75 points in the last two games isn't going to get it done in St. Louis.
JF: Proved me wrong, even though it was against the Chiefs.
24 SK: Their secondary is just absolutely brutal.
JF: Still think they're right there. Tough loss against the Patriots.
25 SK: I'll say it again: Was Norv Turner fired yet?
JF: The Broncos defense really kept Brees and the Saints in check.
26 SK: Collapsed against Colts. Time to go back to Locker?
JF: Maybe not as close as I originally thought.
27 SK: Will Tebow be traded before Thursday's deadline?
JF: Hasselbeck couldn't work his magic in OT against Indianapolis.
28
SK: Don't expect the defense to improve with rough matchup against Texans on Sunday.
JF: A win was in their grasp against the Bears, but let it slip away.
29 SK: Their still ways away, but Cleveland will be a force in the coming years.
JF: What Bills team will we see coming off the BYE?
30 SK: Had a chance to put the Bears away, but choked.
JF: The defense was outstanding in their victory against the Chargers.
31 SK: Great effort in Green Bay, but couldn't get it done.
JF:Solid effort against the Packers, but another loss is another loss.
32 SK: It may be time for Scott Pioli to work on his resume and look for other jobs.
JF: Failed to show up in a winnable home game against the Raiders.

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs turned Theo Epstein’s “Baseball is Better” speech from his first Wrigley Field press conference into a marketing pitch that might distract fans for a moment from an awful big-league product.          

The 2017 “That’s Cub” ad campaign actually uses what started organically years ago within the farm system, two words that recognized a great at-bat or a heads-up play or a defensive stop.    

Business vs. baseball is no longer the dominant storyline it had been during the early phases of the Wrigleyvile rebuild. Business and baseball are booming for what’s become Major League Baseball’s version of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s just interesting that a franchise valued at north of $2 billion has found so much inspiration on the back fields of this spring-training complex, where staffers you wouldn’t recognize get to work before dawn and players you’ve never heard of dream about their big break.

It’s not just drafting Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. And trading for Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell. And hiring a manager obsessed with T-shirts. Baseball operations became a marketing department, selling prospects to Cub fans, the Chicago media and the gurus putting together the rankings – and trying to get buy-in from players who all think they belong in The Show.

Minor-league field coordinator Tim Cossins gets credit for “When It Happens,” a theme that didn’t simply revolve around 1908 and the championship drought. Jason McLeod, the senior vice president who oversees scouting and player development, suggested pairing the W flag with that phrase, and it became this ubiquitous idea around the team.   

“We tied everything into it,” McLeod said Sunday at Sloan Park. “When that time comes, when it happens, can you lay the bunt down? When it happens, can you execute a pitch? Can you go in and pinch-run, steal the base when the time comes?

“The big ‘When It Happens’ is when we win, of course, but for us in (player development), it was about everything that we’re going to be asked to do in that moment: Are you going to be ready when it happens?”

Now what? The defending World Series champs are going with: “Where It Happens.”

A bullet point from Epstein’s bio in this year’s media guide references how his first three first-round draft picks with the Cubs “combined to set up the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series when Schwarber singled and (Albert) Almora pinch-ran, moved to second on Bryant’s deep fly to center, and scored on Ben Zobrist’s double.”

“We’re never going to forget about the importance of young players,” Epstein said. “There’s definitely a lot of talented, interesting prospects still in the system and sometimes they get a little overshadowed because of the star young players we have at the big-league level and how quickly some of those guys moved through the system. But there’s a lot of talent there.

“We’re going to lean on young players beyond our prospects, not just in trades, but also to provide organizational depth and also to serve as the next generation, the next infusion of talent at the appropriate time.

“But it’s a process. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs in development for all these guys. And we have a ton of faith in our player development operation to help these guys along the way.”

So Ian Happ will start the season one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa and see if some combination of injuries and his switch-hitting skills and defensive versatility gets him to the North Side at some point. Or used as a trade chip for pitching, the way third baseman Jeimer Candelario and catcher Victor Caratini appear to be blocked.

Joe Maddon already compared Eloy Jimenez – who can’t legally buy a beer in Wrigleyville yet – to a young Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Martinez. The Cubs are practically begging for someone like Eddie Butler to pitch his way into the 2018 rotation.

By Monday morning, when the full squad reconvenes after a weekend trip to Las Vegas, the Cubs could start making cuts and shaping their Opening Night roster. But the Cubs are going to need so much more than the 25 players who will be introduced next Sunday at Busch Stadium. Maddon used 26 pitchers and 149 different lineups last season. This is “Where It Happens.”

“If this particular group of youngsters were in a different organization that had a greater need right now, you’d probably hear a lot more about these guys,” Maddon said. “But the fact that they’re stuck behind a Bryant and a Russell and a Javy (Baez) and a Rizzo and a (Willson) Contreras and a Schwarber, et cetera, et cetera, it becomes more difficult to really push or project upon these guys.

“But I think these young guys have gone about their business really well. If it’s bothering them or if they’re concerned about that, they’re not showing that. I think they’ve put their best foot forward.”