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Ranking the Contenders

It has been said all year long that the Colts were the best team in football. But there was always the argument that the defense wasn’t that good, which was true or that the schedule wasn’t that tough, also true. But the truth about how good of a team really is to watch how other teams react to them. Both the Patriots and Steelers, two teams which would of beat them a year ago, are attempting onside kicks to start the second half rather than try to come up with a defensive stop.  Teams that would prefer to run the ball are doing their best Philadelphia Eagles impression, passing on every down. Whether the Colts go 17-0 is irrelevant. Just like Peyton Manning pursuit of Dan Marino consumed the media and most of football, the Colts going unbeaten is a side show. The Colts have the swagger of a Champion, and that is what it is all about. And the Colts will need that because Denver, Dallas, San Diego and even Chicago look primed for a playoff run.



1.      Indianapolis Colts 11-0 (1): The Colts continue to beat everyone, no matter what the situation.


2.      Denver Broncos 9-2 (2): Denver may of got a gift win when Billy Cundiff missed a 4th quarter field goal, but a win in Dallas on Turkey day is always a good one.


3.      Seattle Seahawks 9-2 (3): The Seahawks survived this one. That’s not a bad thing, but you can’t keep giving a good opponent chances to win like that. But it has been a very good season and they are in control of the NFC.


4.      Chicago Bears 8-3 (4): The Bears are for real and good make a run like the 2000 Ravens. But at some point they will have to have a little bit of offense.


5.      Carolina Panthers 8-3 (6):  Jake Delhomme has become one of those QBs that defenses do not want to see with the ball when the game is on the line.


6.      Cincinnati Bengals 8-3 (7): The offense is great, but giving up 29 to the Baltimore Ravens shows how much work they need on defense.


7.      San Diego Chargers 7-4 (12): LT is simply amazing, and they will need more of that because they are far from a lock to make the playoffs.


8.      Dallas Cowboys 7-4 (9): The Cowboys love to win on Thanksgiving Day, and Billy Cundiff cost them by blowing and easy FG. They arguably out played a very good Denver team, and that says a lot about how deep the Boys can go in the post season.


9.      NY Giants 7-4 (8):  The Giants should have won Sunday because 2 of the 3 FGs Jay Feely missed were very makeable. It also cost them a chance at being a game up on Dallas.


10.  Pittsburgh Steelers 7-4 (5): The Steelers got out played and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look his old self the first game back. But a QB draw with an unhealthy QB on 4th and 4 was almost as stupid as the onside kick they lead the 2nd half off with.



11.  Jacksonville Jaguars 8-3 (11): Even without Byron Leftwhich, the Jags can go 3-2 and make the playoffs. But they’ll need him and Fred Taylor healthy to have a chance beyond that.


12.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-4 (10): It was nice to see Carnell Williams play well against a good defense for a change. But the offense is just to young and inexperienced to play well enough to win against a defense like the Bears.



13.  Atlanta Falcons 7-4 (14): The Falcons got back on track after losing 2 straight at home. The can regain a share of the division with a win in Carolina.


14.  Kansas City Chiefs 7-4 (15): The Chiefs picked up an important win against the Pats, but finish against 5 teams all likely to be in the playoffs.



15.  Minnesota Vikings 6-5 (16): The Vikings are proving that it is better to have a mediocre QB that makes few mistakes, than a talented one that makes a bunch. They’ve won 4 straight and are back in the playoff hunt.


16.  New England Patriots 6-5 (13): This week proved that the Pats are little more than a bad team with a great QB. If Brady isn’t close to perfect, they don’t have a shot.


17.  St. Louis Rams 5-6 (19): I was convinced the Rams would find a way to lose this game last week, but Harvard phenom, Ryan Fitzpatrick changed that.


18.  Philadelphia Eagles 5-6 (20):  It has been awhile since the Eagles where just playing out the rest of the season like they are now. But my guess is they will be back on top next year when McNabb returns.


19.  Washington Redskins 5-6 (17): The 3-0 start seems a long way away. It seemed that Joe Gibbs finally had turned the Skins around but are now on a 3 game slide with back to back road games ahead.


20.  Oakland Raiders 4-7 (18): The defense that looked so good a week ago, certainly didn’t show up against Miami. But the Kerry Collins of old seems to have permanently come back.



21.  Miami Dolphins 4-7 (26): The offensive juggernaut that is the Miami Dolphins did it again, but this time picked up a meaningless win. Well it is meaningless to their coach at least.


22.  Buffalo Bills 4-7 (21):   The Bills played the Panthers tough, but have to find a semblance of a passing game to give McGahee a chance.



23.  Cleveland Browns 4-7 (23): The Charlie Frye experience last 1 play for 1 pick. Looking at the remaining schedule, maybe it might not be a good idea to put him in a situation where he is bound to fail.


24.  Detroit Lions 4-7 (22): How does Matt Millen sleep at night knowing he put this team together, poorly I mind you, but made the coach the scapegoat?



25.  Arizona Cardinals 3-8 (24): At least they Cardinals are supply some good fantasy players this year.


26.  Baltimore Ravens 3-8 (25):  Jamal Lewis finally had a decent game, but the once stout defense got shredded.


27.  New Orleans Saints 3-8 (27): It is nice to see the Saints win a game. But other than that, what a completely irrelevant game.


28.  Tennessee Titans 3-8 (30): McNair looked like him old self for the first time in awhile.


29.  Green Bay Packers 2-9 (29): It is tough to watch Favre go out like this.


30.  San Francisco 49ers 2-9 (28):  The 49ers are a long way away from getting the talent to be competitive.


31.  NY Jets 2-9 (31): We will see how bad the offense is this week. If they can’t do much against New England, then that is very bad.


32.  Houston Texans 1-10 (32): Just when it started to look good, the Texans blow a 24-3 lead. That is just pathetic considering, it was to a kid playing at Havard a year ago.

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