NFL Power Points: Clash of Titans

The Titans' defensive rating improved after they held Jamal Lewis, the NFL's leading rusher, to just 35 yards.

Updated: January 6, 2004, 11:19 AM ET
By By Ryan Early | NFL Insider
The Titans climbed to the No. 2 spot while the Colts stormed up the rankings to No. 3 after their demolition of Denver. Most of the Titans' increase came from a 1.2 point improvement in their defensive rating after they held Jamal Lewis, the NFL's leading rusher, to just 35 yards while intercepting Anthony Wright twice. Because one of the Ravens' touchdowns came on a defensive play, the Titans' defense gave up only 10 points in their wild-card game.

The Colts had a more well-rounded improvement, increasing their offense rating two full points while seeing their defensive rating improve 1.6 points. Of course, their defense still lags well behind the league average with a negative 2.6 rating. Their contest against the Chiefs this week is looking like one of the biggest playoff shootouts in recent memory as it features the top two offenses, above average special teams, and poor defense.

At the end of the regular season, both the Cowboys and Panthers had almost identical overall ratings, ranking 19th and 20th, respectively. The complete lack of a Cowboys running game and the Panthers' home-field advantage turned into a clear and decisive win for the Panthers, improving their Power Points rating 2.7 points. But that lifted them only to a 16th ranking, and they look like easy meat for the Rams in St. Louis, where the home-field advantage is huge.